The Ontario Hockey League released the results of its Coaches Poll for the Eastern and Western conferences on Friday.
Among the winners were several 2011 Entry Draft-eligible prospects, including Eastern Conference forward Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs. Strome, is No. 19 among North American skaters in NHL's Central Scouting's mid-term rankings of the top North American skaters available for the draft.
Strome received first-place selections in three categories, including Most Improved Player and Best Playmaker, while tying Boston Bruins prospect Ryan Spooner of the Kingston Frontenacs as the Best Stickhandler. Shane Prince of the Ottawa 67's was second to Strome in the Most Improved Player and Best Playmaker categories. Prince, incidentally, is No. 35 on Central Scouting's list.
Strome's teammate, defenseman Dougie Hamilton, also was honored.
Hamilton, No. 7 on the Central Scouting's list, was named the Best Skater and Best Offensive Defenseman, and placed third in the Best Defensive Defenseman category. Overall, the IceDogs had 12 players represented in the top three in 16 categories, followed by the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors with 10 players.
Over in the West, No. 10 Ryan Murphy of the Kitchener Rangers placed in four categories, including a first-place finish as Best Skater. He was second to Nashville Predators prospect Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires as Smartest Player and Best Offensive Defenseman, and finished second to Colorado Avalanche prospect Joey Hishon of the Owen Sound Attack as Best Stickhandler.
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds speedster and No. 43-rated Daniel Catenacci, who won the faster skater competition at the Top Prospects Skills Competition in January, finished third in the Best Skater category.
No. 42-ranked Vincent Trocheck of the Saginaw Spirit finished second in the Best on Face-Offs category and the No. 1-rated North American in the mid-term rankings, Gabriel Landeskog of Kitchener, finished second in the Best Body Checker category.
The Rangers and Attack had nine players represented in the top three of the 16 categories to lead all Western Conference clubs.
Following the ceremony, First Lady Michelle Obama, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean will preside over a street hockey workout and clinic on a rink set up near the South Lawn of the White House. The clinic for local youngsters, which will be conducted by, among others, Patrick Sharp of the Blackhawks and Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, is part of a new collaboration between Mrs. Obama's Let's Move! initiative, the NHL and USA Hockey to encourage American children to lead active and healthy lives.
The Blackhawks players, coaching staff and front office executives visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center Thursday afternoon in what team president John McDonough said would be the team’s most important off-day ever and the team was indeed thoroughly inspired by the meeting the service personnel at Walter Reed.
The team’s family members flew into Washington later Thursday, joining the players and coaches who finished a Florida swing this week, earning a point but dropping a shootout against the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night.
That result didn’t dissuade Quenneville from making rounds cheerfully Thursday. He bumped into one soldier who admitted to being a Lightning fan. Quenneville said, “Well, they got us. But it was exciting hockey game, an entertaining hockey game.”
Kane told NHL.com’s Dan Rosen last week that he planned to Flip-cam the event. Kane also recalled the phone call he received from President Obama on the day of the Hawks' Stanley Cup parade.
"We were doing our team photo with the Cup in the middle and we had to interrupt it so I could talk to the President for two minutes. I'll always remember that," Kane told NHL.com. "They had to go through a 10-minute security thing with the call and then I finally got on the phone and he talked to me about the goal, winning the Cup, how happy the city of Chicago was. We talked about my hometown (Buffalo) a little bit and then maybe one day playing basketball against each other because I know we both like to play. It was a pretty cool call."
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