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Posted On Sunday, 08.12.2012 / 3:45 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Mitchell takes Stanley on the water

PORT MCNEILL, B.C. -- Willie Mitchell and the Stanley Cup have been left behind temporarily at the community arena in Port McNeill, where the last few thousand fans waited for their chance to get a group picture with the guests of honor.

The rest of the Mitchell entourage, including grandfather Les, who was once invited to training camp with the New York Rangers in the Original Six era, is already aboard three different boats bound for Alert Bay on a nearby Island.

Mitchell and the Cup will take a helicopter over a bit later for a traditional ceremony at the Namgis First Nation Longhouse. But it's not like Mitchell, an avid fisherman, hasn't had a chance to take the Cup out onto the ocean that is such a big part of his life and this small community on the northern end of Vancouver Island.

The Los Angeles Kings' defenseman woke his father, Reid, with a 3:30 a.m. call to take the Stanley Cup fishing, a trip that left other family members with blood from the day's catch still on their clothes during the morning ceremony at the arena, and left more than a few tourists out on whale watching expeditions shocked to see hockey's famous trophy out in a boat in the wee hours.

... More to come

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Posted On Sunday, 08.12.2012 / 1:30 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Mitchell brings the Cup to Port McNeill

PORT MCNEILL, B.C. -- With a population listed just over 2,600 people, it's safe to say traffic jams aren't the norm for the town of Port McNeill.

But with Willie Mitchell bringing the Stanley Cup to the north end of Vancouver Island on Sunday, the lineups were as long as that big stick the Los Angeles Kings defenseman uses to poke the puck away from top NHL forwards.

Organizers were expecting up to 7,000 people to see Mitchell and the Cup, more than doubling the population of the oceanside fishing and logging town Mitchell grew up in -- and still returns to every summer. The local arena was already overflowing, with lineups winding in every direction out the door, more than half an hour before Mitchell and the Cup were expected to arrive by helicopter in an adjacent field.

With so many people eager to see both, the plan was to bring people into the arena 50 to 75 at a time for group photos before Mitchell flies it to Alert Bay on a nearby island for another afternoon ceremony.

More to come ...

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 5:37 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Housley happy with U.S. effort despite loss

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- It wasn't the way Phil Housley was hoping this week's National Junior Evaluation Camp would end, but the U.S. coach said there were things to like even with Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss to Finland.

"I really liked the effort all the way to the end of the game," Housley said. "We battled and we were able to tie it up toward the end. I was happy with that. The disappointing thing was we turned the puck over too many times and played right into Finland's hands. They're a passive team when they can't get on the forecheck; they sit back and we played right into it. It was a great, valuable learning experience in how we have to play in December (at the World Junior Championship)."

Tyler Biggs scored game-tying goals twice in the third period after Finland goalie Janne Juvonen had shut down Team USA for almost 50 minutes. Housley said he believes that shows the players have faith that if they stick with the game plan implemented by the coaching staff they'll have a chance to be successful.

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 5:27 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Leafs prospect Biggs has big game for U.S.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- To be good, it takes a helping of luck, and Tyler Biggs had a double helping of that Saturday.

Biggs scored both goals in Team USA's 3-2 overtime loss to Finland on the final day of the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, but neither goal could be classified as a work of art.

"I got pretty lucky with some opportunities," he told NHL.com. "I'm standing in front on the power play, Griz [Matthew Grzelcyk] throws one, bounces off me and goes up and in. I throw one across, it bounces off a guy, comes right back to me."

Each goal tied the game, with his second, with 2:44 remaining regulation, forcing overtime.

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 4:22 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Finland heading home happy after win

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- With a schedule that saw Finland play five games in six days here at the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp, a 3-2 overtime win against the United States on Saturday will send the Finns home happy.

"To win this game was very important for us because it was the fifth game and we had four losses in a row," Finland coach Harri Rindell told NHL.com. "So we needed to have this. It's always nice to have that kind of end of the tournament."

Miro Aaltonen, who led Finland in scoring this week with three goals and three assists, broke in alone for the winning goal in overtime, knocking his rebound past U.S. goalie Jon Gillies.

Rindell said he was a bit surprised to see his team still be able to finish those kind of plays with all the hockey they played this week.

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 3:13 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Final score: Finland 3, U.S. 2 (OT)

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Miro Aaltonen scored at 2:11 of overtime, giving Finland a 3-2 win against the U.S. to close the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation camp here at Herb Brooks Arena.

Aaltonen broke in alone on U.S. goalie Jon Gillies and knocked in his own rebound as Finland won for the first time in five games here.

Tyler Biggs scored a pair of goals in the third period as the U.S. twice rallied from one-goal deficits to tie the game.

Biggs' first goal, a re-direction of a Matthew Grzelcyk shot at 10:17 of the third, tied the game at 1-1, but Finland's Artturi Lehkonen banged in a loose puck in front to put Finland up 2-1 at 14:33.

Biggs again tied the game with 2:44 left, when he lifted a loose puck in front over a fallen Finnish goalie Janne Juvonen.

Back with more from both locker rooms.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 2:26 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Second period: Finland 1, U.S. 0

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- It took until their sixth chance of the game, but Finland finally took advantage of the U.S. with the man-advantage, getting the game's only goal to lead after 40 minutes here at Herb Brooks Arena.

Back-to-back penalties on U.S. forwards Stefan Matteau for slashing and Ryan Hartman for roughing left the U.S. with tired penalty killers. With Hartman in the box, Finland took advantage by cycling the puck in the left corner. Top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Barkov then made a nifty pass through the zone to Markus Hannikainen, who batted in his own rebound at 18:35.

Philadelphia Flyers prospect Anthony Stolarz, who started the game in goal for the U.S., stopped all 16 shots he faced in 29 minutes of action.

The U.S. failed on its one power-play chance in the period, and now is 0-for-3 in the game.

Back with more after the final horn.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 1:36 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

U.S., Finland scoreless after one period

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Each team had multiple chances to crack the score sheet, but a physical, tight-checking game ended scoreless after 20 minutes.

Finland went 0-for-3 on the man-advantage, and now is 1-for-19 on the power play in its time in Lake Placid.

The U.S. outshot Finland 13-7, but failed on a pair of power plays.

Back with more after the second period.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 1:19 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Sabres happy with Armia's progress

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- With a home in the Olympic region, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula has been a frequent presence at this week's USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp. He's kept an especially watchful eye on Finland forward Joel Armia, the team's first round pick in 2011.

Heading into Saturday's camp finale against the U.S., Armia has just one goal in four games, but some of that lack of production can be attributed to Finland's brutal schedule this week -- Saturday's game will be their fifth game in six days.

"I think Joel's first game here on Monday I thought was the best I'd ever see him," Sabres director of pro scouting Jon Christiano told NHL.com. "I thought he was a real difference-maker in that game. He saw the puck a lot, he made things happen with it. I really liked his vision, how he distributed the puck and I liked his compete level. He was trying to play the man, trying to play through guys on the forecheck. It was good to see that growth there. I think his last couple games have been a little less. I don't know if that's four games in five nights taking its toll. The way he played the first day is the way he's going to have to play more often."

Armia admitted this year's trip here hasn't been his best hockey, in part because of the schedule and in part because of the fact Finland entered Saturday's game 0-4 in Lake Placid.

"It hasn't been so good. I don't know why," he told NHL.com. "Sometimes it was decent play, good on the ice. Then I'm not. It's hard to say."

A 6-foot-3, 187-pound right wing taken by the Sabres with the 16th pick in 2011, Armia had 18 goals and 20 assists in 54 games with Pori in SM-liiga, but a knee injury limited him to just three playoff games, and delayed his off-season workout plan.

Christiano said Armia will play at least one more season in Finland, but said he's seen positive progression in the big forward's development.

"I think he still needs to get stronger," Christiano said. "I saw him in Finland last year. I was happy with his level of involvement. Going into some tougher areas, hanging around the front of the net, working the corners, keeping his feet moving. He's still a young kid, and there has to be growth in more areas. We have seen some, we have seen growth through our development camp last month. He's probably on pace where we're pleased, but like all these young guys they have to keep building on what their skills are and getting better in the areas where they're delinquent."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 08.11.2012 / 12:30 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp blog

Lineups for Finland, U.S.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Here are the lineups the U.S. and Finland will use Saturday for the final game of this week's USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.

Among those seeing action will be Nashville Predators prospect Jimmy Vesey, the only skater not to play in the last two games. He'll start on a line with center Cole Bardreau and top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Ryan Hartman.

Also seeing action will be goalies Anthony Stolarz and Jon Gillies, both playing for the first time since the split-squad games Monday. Stolarz, a 2012 second-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, is listed as the starter. He'll likely play half the game, with Gillies, a 2012 third-round pick of the Calgary Flames, finishing the game.

Sitting out for the U.S. are forwards Alex Galchenyuk, J.T. Miller, John Gaudreau, Stefan Noesen, Sean Kuraly and Mario Lucia; defensemen Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba, Mike Reilly and Shayne Gostisbehere; and goaltenders John Gibson and Garret Sparks.

Finland will pack three of its top scorers on line. Chicago Blackhawks 2012 first-round pick Teuvo Teravainen will center Juuso Ikonen, who has a team-high four goals, at right wing, and Miro Aaltonen, tied with Ikonen for the team scoring lead with five points, playing left wing. Ikonen and Aaltonen both are eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft -- Ikonen for the first time, Aaltonen after going unpicked last year.

Janne Juvonen, who played well in relief of Richard Ullberg in Friday's 5-2 loss to Sweden, will start in goal for Finland.

U.S.

Stefan Matteau - Steven Fogarty - Tyler Biggs

Reid Boucher - Vincent Trocheck - Nicolas Kerdiles

Jimmy Vesey - Cole Bardreau - Ryan Hartman

Blake Pietila - Travis Boyd - Colin Blackwell

Thomas Di Pauli

Brady Skjei - Connor Murphy

Jake McCabe - Matthew Grzelcyk

Patrick Sieloff - Garrett Haar

Andy Welinski

Anthony Stolarz

Jon Gillies

FINLAND

Artturi Lehkonen - Robert Leino - Joel Armia

Miro Aaltonen - Teuvo Teravainen - Juuso Ikonen

Toni Kallela - Nico Nyberg - Markus Hannikainen

Heikki Liedes - Aleksi Salonen - Matti Lamberg

Alexander Barkov

Olli Maatta - Ville Pokka

Mikko Lehtonen - Rasmus Ristolainen

Joonas Valkonen - Niklas Tikkinen

Esa Lindell

Janne Juvonen

Richard Ullberg

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Quote of the Day

It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.

— Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on forward Alex Galchenyuk's potential