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Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 2:14 PM

By Seth Jones -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Jones Draft blog

Jones discusses No. 1 ranking at midterm

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 NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.

Hi everyone!

I just finished up the on-ice testing, so I figured I'd provide some idea what my time has been like leading up to the Top Prospects Game on Wednesday.

During the testing on Tuesday, it was just a matter of going out there and competing a little bit and prove to the scouts and to everyone watching that you deserve to be in this class and just go out do the testing and see what happens.

My roommate here in Halifax is [Portland Winterhawks teammate] Oliver Bjorkstrand. I normally don't room with him on the road, so this is a first. But he's a really good guy, a little quiet and obviously European. Bottom line is if he was quiet I'd ask for a room change, so we're all good.

As far as the testing goes, the on-ice was a little more difficult than the off-ice, which is basically vertical jump, broad jump and little agility testing and medicine ball throws. With the on-ice, you had to think a little bit more and there was one reactionary test where you had to see what color a light was [red or green] and decide which direction you had to go. That was probably the most difficult thing.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 1:08 PM

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

Blues invite veteran White to training camp

Veteran defenseman Colin White has been invited to St. Louis Blues training camp on a tryout basis, the team announced Tuesday.

White, 35, appeared in 54 games for the San Jose Sharks last season posting a goal, four points and 21 penalty minutes.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound White played his first 11 NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils, winning the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003. Overall, White has dressed in 797 career games amassing 21 goals, 129 points and 869 penalty minutes as well as three goals and 17 points in 114 career playoff games.

The New Glasgow, Nova Scotia native was originally drafted by New Jersey in the second round (No. 49) of the 1996 NHL Draft.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 1:02 PM

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

Islanders claim Hickey on waivers

The New York Islanders claimed defenseman Thomas Hickey on waivers Tuesday from the Los Angeles Kings.

Hickey was the No. 4 pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, but has yet to play in the NHL. He has spent the past three seasons with Manchester in the American Hockey League, and had three goals and 12 points in 33 games for the Monarchs this season. He is the only player selected in the first 16 picks of that draft to have not yet reached the NHL.

The Islanders have now added a pair of defensemen via waivers in as many days. They nabbed Joe Finley from the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. New York's depth on the blue line is lacking because Lubomir Visnovsky has yet to arrive at training camp after spending the lockout playing in the Kontinental Hockey League, and because Calvin de Haan is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 12:36 PM

By Nathan MacKinnon -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Nathan MacKinnon Draft blog

MacKinnon on Prospects Game, roommates, testing

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 will serve 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 NHL.com with a monthly blog leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.

Hi everyone!

It's been pretty exciting here in Halifax while we're getting set for the Top Prospects Game.

On Monday night we actually got back to our hotel at 9:30 p.m., ate dinner and then got back to the room. It's funny because [Halifax linemate] Jonathan Drouin is my roommate. I was pretty happy that he didn't snore, too. I don't room with him on the road and he's a good roommate. I usually room with Ryan Falkenham when with Halifax.

Jo did ask me if I snored but I told him I didn't, so we were all good. Jo is quiet and good. We kind of watched television and talked hockey all night but we shut it down early.

This morning I participated in the on- and off-ice testing. I came in not knowing much about it. It's pretty game-similar for the most part but there were some things that you wouldn't do. But they test on-ice ability and it's a good way for scouts to see what kind of intangibles you possess.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 12:25 PM

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

Goalies could steal Top Prospects spotlight

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- In addition to there being plenty of high-caliber forwards and defensemen on the rosters for the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, Sportsnet), the four goaltenders set for battle might have a say in the outcome.

The four goalies were ranked among the top six on NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings of North American goaltenders -- No. 1 Zachary Fucale of the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, No. 3 Tristan Jarry of the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League, No. 5 Spencer Martin of the Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League and No. 6 Philippe Desrosiers of the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL.


Eric Comrie of the Tri-City Americans (WHL), No. 2 on the list, originally was invited to participate in the game, is unable to participate due to an undisclosed injury. He was replaced Monday by Desrosiers.

NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen, who specializes in goalie prospects, gave NHL.com an analysis of each player. Fucale and Jarry will split duty for Team Cherry, while Martin and Desrosiers will share the net for Team Orr.

Fucale, who is 28-4-2 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .896 save percentage, will have the hometown faithful in his corner with the game being played at his home rink, the Metro Centre in Halifax. Fucale probably is the only goaltender of all the 2013 draft-eligible prospects at his position to have the best chance at being chosen in the first round. Earlier this season, he became the fastest 17-year-old goaltender to reach 50 career wins in the QMJHL, and his 28 wins this season ranks first among all Canadian Hockey League goaltenders.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 11:23 AM

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

NHL Live previews Central, Atlantic on Tuesday

 

It is Central and Atlantic Division day on Cisco NHL Live from 5-7 p.m. ET on the NHL Network with Bill Pidto and EJ Hradek. EJ will break down and give his predictions for the two divisions that each had four teams post over 100 points last season.

Every day this week the NHL Network will be at a different training camp. Tuesday’s stop is in Detroit to see how the Red Wings are dealing with the post-Lidstrom era. We’ll talk with coach Mike Babcock and new top Swedish defenseman Niklas Kronwall, and hear from Henrik Zetterberg.

The Central Division preview continues with guests Joel Quenneville, the Blackhawks coach, and Predators top-flight goalie Pekka Rinne. St. Louis Blues analyst Darren Pang will keep us up to date on the defending Central champions.

 

Last season the Atlantic Division fielded both representatives in the Eastern Conference Finals. Rangers and Devils analysts Joe Micheletti and Ken Daneyko will preview what to expect from these finalists. NHL Network analyst Barry Melrose will stop by and give his predictions for the Atlantic.

Don’t forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL and keep an eye on this Senior Reporter’s dance moves in his EJ5: Hradek’s Top 5 Thoughts of the Day.

Make sure to tune in to Cisco NHL Live on NHL Network from 5-7 p.m. ET with Bill Pidto and EJ Hradek.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 10:00 AM

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

Central Scouting's Dan Marr discusses midterm ranks

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Dan Marr, the director of NHL Central Scouting, believes the top spot in 2013 NHL Draft is a four-player race.

While that may be the case, there are also two clear frontrunners -- defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks and center Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads.

In the release of its midterm rankings Tuesday, Central Scouting pegged Jones the top-rated skater in North America, followed by MacKinnon.

"Jonathan Drouin and Aleksander Barkov are going to make a case for themselves," Marr told NHL.com. "Ultimately, the teams selecting will pick their players, but I can tell you that No. 1 and No. 2 are fluid. It wasn't an easy decision, and there's nothing negative to say about either [Jones or MacKinnon].

"They are both very good in their own right, and they play different positions. That will influence some people since they are the best players at their position. To say one is the best overall was tough."

So why did Jones finally earn the nod?

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 9:10 AM

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

Captains prefer action over words

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- Better scratch any thought of a rousing pregame speech from captains Nathan MacKinnon of Team Cherry or Seth Jones of Team Orr prior to faceoff at the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Metro Centre on Wednesday.

Both highly-coveted prospects -- MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads and Jones of the Portland Winterhawks -- would prefer to do their talking on the ice.

MacKinnon and Jones, selected captains of their respective teams last month, were relatively low key when asked if they had any "One for the Gipper" speeches prepared for their teammates prior to skating out for pregame warmups.

"I'm not a big pregame speech kind of guy," MacKinnon said with a grin. "I don't think that's going to happen. Maybe another guy will step up and do that, but I'm sure everyone will be ready to go as it is."

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Posted On Monday, 01.14.2013 / 9:54 PM

NHL.com - Top Prospects Blog

Dauphin to replace Shinkaruk at Top Prospects Game

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia -- The flu bug will keep forward Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Western Hockey League from participating in the 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday at the Metro Centre.

Shinkaruk becomes the fourth player in five days unable to participate at the Top Prospects Game due to injury or illness.

The 5-foot-10.25, 181-pound Shinkaruk, who would have served as an alternate captain for Team Orr, will be replaced by center Laurent Dauphin of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Dauphin, who was notified of his participation Monday afternoon, is third on the Sagueneens with 41 points, including 19 goals, and is plus-3 in 39 games this season. He's also been effective on faceoffs, winning 51 percent of 520 draws.

Shinkaruk, the captain of the Tigers, is tied for the team lead with 49 points (22 goals) in 35 games. In 2011-12, Shinkaruk finished fifth in scoring in the WHL with 49 goals in 66 games. His 91 points ranked second on Medicine Hat and 12th overall in the league.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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Posted On Monday, 01.14.2013 / 8:22 PM

NHL.com - 2012-13 Training Camp blog

Kopitar tests ailing knee at Kings' camp

Anze Kopitar reported no problems after skating with a brace on his sprained right knee at the Los Angeles Kings' training complex Monday.

"I didn't go all-out right off the hop," Kopitar said. "Just curious to explore the turns and stuff, and I didn't have any problems. I thought it would be a little worse than it was. ... I'm very optimistic. It's in my nature."

The Kings' No. 1 center is unlikely to play Saturday when Los Angeles opens defense of the first Stanley Cup in franchise history against Chicago. But the Kings are hoping he won't miss much more than that. Coach Darryl Sutter was encouraged by Kopitar's post-practice return to the ice just nine days after he was injured in a collision while playing for Mora IK in the Swedish Elite League.

Kopitar has led the Kings in scoring in each of the past five seasons. He had 51 assists and 76 points last season, then tied teammate Dustin Brown for the scoring lead during the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 20 points.

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