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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 2:50 PM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Weekes' Prediction: Central winner is?

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 2:45 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Barry's Prediction: Atlantic winner is?

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 2:44 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Barry's Prediction: Southeast winner is?

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 2:12 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Torres prepared to change style, avoid suspensions

Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres has been suspended six times in his NHL career, including a 25-game suspension during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs for a hit to the head of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa.

Torres must sit out the first eight games of the 2012-13 season to finish that suspension, but when that's done, Torres hopes it's the final time he has to sit out due to NHL supplemental discipline.

"I can't afford to go through something like that again," Torres told the Arizona Republic. "There are some things that I'm going to have to change if I want to keep playing in this League at a competitive level, so I look forward to it. I know I can bring more to the game than just physical play."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 1:07 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Team Orr coach impressed with prospects

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- One practice and discussion with his players was all it took for Team Orr coach Mike McPhee to realize times have changed from his playing days.

McPhee, who will oppose Don Cherry at the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet) here at Metro Centre, took some time out to discuss those differences with NHL.com.

"The pace of the practice, movement and size of these kids … it's different than it was 20 years ago in the NHL, but it sure is fun to be involved," McPhee said. "Everyone talks about the kids being bigger, faster and stronger. I think maybe they're training harder and the technology is a lot better so you know how to attack things.

"The other thing is how well they handle themselves as 17- and 18-year-old kids. Maybe they're more used to the media with how widespread the Internet is today. Still, I think all the players will be nervous [Wednesday] and they realize it's big, but they're good kids and respectful and will look you in the eye. So whether they make it in the NHL or not, they all have that good quality moving forward."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 12:38 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Cherry ready for exciting game

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- The ever-loquacious Don Cherry met the media Wednesday morning to set the stage for what he believes will be an unforgettable matchup in the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet) here at Metro Centre.

"I think, as coaches, we won't have a problem getting the kids up for the game, but we'll probably have to take them down a few notches," Cherry said after Team Cherry practice and a team photo. "After the first couple of shifts, you'll start to feel the hate but it takes a couple of shifts. I guarantee this will be a great game."

While Cherry will be offering some words of wisdom to his players prior to the game, he said assistant coaches Brian Kilrea, Bert O'Brien and Nick Kypreos will do much of the coaching.

"I'm there and I'll do a little bit, but you can't have 50 guys telling them what to do," he said. "Brian and Bert are the guys who will take charge out there. Brian Kilrea is the winningest coach in junior hockey. And you better not stay on your shift too long. I remember Daniel Briere [in the 1996 Top Prospects Game] staying out longer than he should have … holy smokes. And they're going to have Kypreos miked for this -- they better have a seven-second delay going on, I can tell you that."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 12:17 PM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Weekes breaks down the Eastern Conference

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 12:04 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Erie's Harper helping future star

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- In addition to the excitement of playing in his draft year and having an opportunity to take part in the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet), Erie Otters forward Stephen Harper also is looking ahead to the 2015 NHL Draft, when good friend and linemate Connor McDavid already is the favorite to be the No. 1 pick.

McDavid, granted exceptional-player status March 21, 2012, by Hockey Canada, allowing him to be eligible for the 2012 Ontario Hockey League draft at age 15 (a year earlier than other prospects), currently leads all first-year OHL players in scoring with 45 points (19 goals, 26 assists) in 38 games. He also was the youngest player ever to compete in the 10-year history of the Subway Super Series when he suited up for Team OHL against Russia on Nov. 8 in Guelph, Ont.

In an effort to make McDavid's first season less stressful, Harper, who serves as an alternate captain for Erie in his second season, asked team management if he could room with the young prodigy this season.

"He said he thought he could mentor him," Otters general manager Sherry Bassin said. "He did that without any encouragement. He came to me of his own free will. That's the character this kid has."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 11:00 AM

By Matt Sitkoff -  NHL.com Contributor /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Cisco NHL Live previews Northwest, Northeast today

It is Northwest and Northeast Division day on Cisco NHL Live from 5 ET on the NHL Network with Bill Pidto and EJ Hradek. EJ will breakdown and give his predictions for these divisions that both experienced major upheaval this off-season

Every day this week the NHL Network will be at a different training camp. Making the biggest headlines this offseason, Minnesota will be the next stop on Wednesday. We'll talk to the prized free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter about their adjustments playing in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The team's architect, Chuck Fletcher, and the man in charge, Mike Yeo, will also stop by, along with Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Michael Russo.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 10:59 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Jones among five Americans in Top Prospects game

    Ryan Hartman, Plymouth Whalers, OHL

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- While the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be dominated by Canadian-born players, it's worth noting that five Americans will also be strutting their stuff on Wednesday at Metro Centre.

Leading the way is Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones of Plano, Texas. He will be joined on Team Orr by Quebec Remparts forward Adam Erne of New Haven, Conn., and Kitchener Rangers forward Justin Bailey of Williamsville, N.Y.

The two U.S. representative on Team Cherry are Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman of West Dundee, Ill., and Oshawa Generals forward Cole Cassels of Columbus, Ohio. Hartman and Jones each played a big role for Team USA in a gold medal-winning performance at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

NHL Central Scouting's David Gregory believes it's a sign of the times to see more Americans participating at the CHL Top Prospects Game.

"First of all, more Americans are comfortable coming to the CHL to develop their career and when you get a guy like Seth Jones, who is a potential first overall pick doing it, I think that's the kind of trend you're starting to see," Gregory told NHL.com. "The teams pick who they want here, so it's almost on who they feel are the best prospects and who they want to see in this game. I think there's more Americans in the league so there's a chance more Americans will get here.


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Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season