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Posted On Thursday, 01.17.2013 / 9:39 AM

By Seth Jones -  Special to / - Seth Jones Draft blog

Jones reflects on shutout at Top Prospects

Seth Jones is a defenseman for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman has solid athletic bloodlines -- his father, Popeye Jones, played 11 seasons in the NBA. Jones excelled the last two seasons for the U.S. National Team Development Program and won a gold medal with the United States at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Jones has offered to maintain a monthly blog for that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.

Hi, everyone. Our team just defeated Team Cherry, 3-0, to win this year's Top Prospects Game. Before leaving for Portland, I thought I would put together a quick victory blog.

I thought our goalies [Spencer Martin and Philippe Desrosiers] played phenomenal. Really, you have to give credit to them for the shutout. They both kind of set the tempo in the defensive zone, and I thought our defensive zone coverage was pretty good.

I thought the top line on Team Cherry -- [Ryan] Hartman, [Nathan] MacKinnon, [Jonathan] Drouin -- had a lot of chances and they created a lot of offensive plays, but luckily for our side they didn't get rewarded.

Laurent Dauphin [of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens] got called up because [Hunter] Shinkaruk was ill, and he played great for us [Wednesday] and was named Team Orr player of the game. He was great in the middle and was rewarded with a goal. He played good at both ends. He's a good player.

In the early stages of the game, you had to get a feel for the game with the ice, the pace and then adjust how you needed to play. Right from the start, I thought the game began very fast and thought it would take a little more time to get the pace up, but it started a lot quicker than I thought it would.

It didn't surprise me that Hartman got into a scrap [with Kerby Rychel] in the first period. That's the way Harts plays. He plays with an edge and knows how to get under the skin of the other team.

Overall, this was a great experience. Anytime you can play against top prospects in the CHL, it's awesome. You kind of get to see where you're at overall among the draft-eligible players. I thought it was a fast-paced game and it was physical out there, too. Right from the start, Hartman had a good hit and, actually, the hits were going both ways, so it was a good overall game.

Now, I'm just looking forward to getting back to Portland for the second half of the season. It should be a lot of fun since we're going pretty good as a team right now. I think we have a nice win streak so we're looking to keep it going.

Thanks for reading.

Follow Seth Jones on Twitter at: @seth_jones04

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Posted On Thursday, 01.17.2013 / 9:37 AM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

The EJ5: Pending Free Agents

The EJ5 for Wednesday, Jan. 16, focuses on players that are pending Free Agents.

5: Mighty Duck .... Anaheim has to sign big time forward Corey Perry

4: Mighty Duck, Part II .... The sequel, as the Ducks also have to sign Ryan Getzlaf

3: Key Canuck ... Vancouver d-man Alexander Edler needs a new contract

2: Desert Hero ... Mike Smith was sensational for the Coyotes and needs to be signed

1: Last Call in Calgary? ... Flames captain Jarome Iginla is without a contract next season

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Posted On Thursday, 01.17.2013 / 9:28 AM

By Nathan MacKinnon -  Special to / - Nathan MacKinnon Draft blog

MacKinnon disappointed, but glad for experience

Nathan MacKinnon is in his second season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this year. The 6-foot, 182-pound forward has 23 goals, 55 points and a plus-29 rating in 32 games for the Mooseheads in 2012-13. As a rookie, MacKinnon finished second to 2012 first-round draft pick Mikhail Grigorenko (Buffalo Sabres) in voting for the QMJHL Rookie of the Year award. MacKinnon, who served as captain for Team Cherry at the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax on Wednesday, recently represented Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. He has offered to provide with a monthly blog leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.

Hello, hockey fans.

Well, Team Cherry lost to Team Orr, 3-0, on Wednesday in the Top Prospects Game at the Metro Centre.

I thought we generated a lot of offense and I would have liked to get those chances back, but I thought it was a real up-tempo game. Coming out, I thought it would be a little more scrambled, but both sides played hard and it could have gone either way. I really thought we had some chances, but that's just the way it goes sometimes.

The goalies played really well. We knew the goalies would be very strong, and I thought our goalies [Tristan Jarry of Edmonton and Zachary Fucale of Halifax] played really well. It could have gone either way, and hats off to the goalies.

While the goalies for Team Orr played well, I thought I could have been a little more accurate with my shots. On my first shift, I missed, and on the second shift, Jo [Drouin] gave me a pass and I hit the goalie's blocker. There were a few other opportunities to bury and I didn't, so it was tough.

Overall, it was a special experience. We have a great fan base, as you saw, and it's definitely tough not to get the win for them or a couple of goals. But, like I said, it was a great experience. I thought it was really cool to play for Don Cherry.

As far as my linemates [Jonathan Drouin and Ryan Hartman], we had chemistry. I thought [Hartman] played well; he's a smart and heads-up player. I'm definitely looking forward to playing with Jonathan [in Halifax] in the second half of the season, and I'm sure Ryan will have a great second half as well [in Plymouth].

I'm looking forward to the second half of the season in Halifax. We have a tough three games in three days stretch coming up, and I think I speak for everyone that we're looking forward to it.

Follow Nathan MacKinnon on Twitter at: @Mackinnon9

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Posted On Thursday, 01.17.2013 / 9:05 AM

By Sean Monahan -  Special to / - Sean Monahan Draft blog

Monahan talks win, fights at Top Prospects

Sean Monahan is a center for the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 186-pound forward was a second-team OHL all-star last season after scoring 33 goals in 62 games, and he added 15 points in 18 playoff games. A highly regarded prospect, Monahan has offered to maintain a monthly blog for that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.

So, the Top Prospects Game is over and I can say it was a fun game with a lot of great players. It was really exciting to see the draft class playing together and playing against each other.

Defensively, I think we wanted to win and that's what we showed in a 3-0 victory over Team Cherry.

We worked together well and got the job done. Personally, the pace was up there. I was pretty nervous at the start as I'm sure everyone was, but as the game went on I felt my line [with Curtis Lazar and Kerby Rychel] started to click more. We got quite a few chances there but, unfortunately, couldn't find the back of the net.

Both my linemates got into fights and that was pretty cool -- Lazar and Rychel. They were both good fights and they got the boys going with that.

I think I learned how good every player happens to be in this game. There are a lot of good players out there that I've never seen or never heard of before but you just have to keep working hard because the challenge gets tougher this time of the year when you're entering the draft.

The second half of the season [at Ottawa] is going to be clutch. I have to have a good second half and work with my teammates. Hopefully, we'll get some wins down the road.

I appreciate you all stopping by to read my blog, and check back next month.

Follow Sean Monahan on Twitter at: @Monahan20

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 10:54 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Moulson scores twice in Islanders' scrimmage

Michael Grabner scored in the seventh round of the shootout to lead the Blue Team to a 6-5 victory against the White Team in the New York Islanders' intrasquad scrimmage Wednesday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Matt Moulson scored twice in regulation and once in the shootout for the Blue Team in the Islanders' lone tune-up before Saturday night's season opener against the New Jersey Devils.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 9:58 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Kadri gets hat trick in Maple Leafs' scrimmage

Nazem Kadri did his best to make an impression on Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle on Wednesday.

Kadri -- Toronto's first-round pick (No. 7) from 2009 -- scored three times in the opening period in a Blue & White Scrimmage to help his chances of being on the NHL squad when the Maple Leafs open their season Saturday at Montreal.

"He had a good first period," Carlyle said. "(He) scored three goals in the first period. They were power-play goals, but goal-scorers' goals. He found a way to get the puck to the net.

"We have to make a decision whether he can continue to make a contributions at the NHL level."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 9:35 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Iginla takes part in Flames practice

Jarome Iginla skated at Calgary Flames training camp on Wednesday after missing the first three days with a groin injury.

"Thankfully I felt really good out there today," Iginla said following practice, according to The Canadian Press. "I didn't feel it and it felt way better than last week. Last week, it didn't feel very good at all."

Iginla, 35, said he believes he will play in the season opener Sunday against the San Jose Sharks.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 8:51 PM

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

Team Orr leads 3-0 after two periods

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Team Orr has received goals from three different players to open a 3-0 lead on Team Cherry after two periods in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Metro Centre

Both coaches relieved their starting goalies with 8:39 remaining in the second. Halifax fan favorite Zachary Fucale, despite allowing three goals on 20 shots, did play admirably. Spencer Martin of the Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) was splendid at the other end for Team Orr, turning aside all 16 shots he faced. Martin was rated No. 6 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American goalies on Tuesday; Fucale was the top-rated keeper.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 8:01 PM

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

Team Orr leads 1-0 after first period

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Quebec Remparts forward Adam Erne scored the only goal of the first period and goalie Spencer Martin of the Mississauga Steelheads turned aside 11 saves to give Team Orr a 1-0 lead on Team Cherry after 20 minutes in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Metro Centre.

Team Cherry's Zachary Fucale of the hometown Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) made 11 saves in the opening period.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 6:44 PM

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

Line combinations set for Top Prospects Game

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- The line combinations for the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game have been set here at the Metro Centre.

As expected, the local favorites from the Halifax Mooseheads, forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin and goalie Zachary Fucale, will start the game.

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic