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Posted On Thursday, 09.20.2012 / 12:15 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Medicine Hat names top prospect Shinkaruk captain

Hunter Shinkaruk, rated as an A player in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft, received a C from his team, the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League.

The Tigers named Shinkaruk, a 17-year-old forward considered one of the top prospects for this year's draft, team captain on Wednesday.

Medicine Hat coach Shaun Clouston told the Medicine Hat News that he's sure Shinkaruk, starting his third season with the Tigers, is ready for the role.

"He is a very mature young man," Clouston said. "I believe he is going to be a great captain for this team. Hunter is a great example on and off the ice. He is focused, committed and he is a determined athlete. He works hard at his game. We are going to rely on Hunter a lot this year."

Shinkaruk was second on the Tigers last season with 49 goals and 91 points. He also had a plus-17 rating in 66 games, and added 11 points in eight playoff games. He got his season off to a solid start with two goals and four assists in six games.

The 5-foot-10, 166-pound center was ranked as an A player on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary watch list.

Shinkaruk said Wednesday he wasn't sure if he was ready for the role, but said he's proud to take it on.

"It was a huge honor," Shinkaruk told the newspaper. "Obviously, the Medicine Hat Tigers organization has been around for a long time. There has been a lot of good captains that have come through this team. When they told me, I was pretty excited."

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

Posted On Thursday, 09.20.2012 / 9:23 AM

By Ian McCoshen -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Ian McCoshen Draft blog

McCoshen ready for season; excited for Prospects Game

Ian McCoshen will be entering his third season with the Waterloo Black Hawks in the United States Hockey League in 2012-13. The 6-foot-2 1/2, 207-pound defenseman, regarded as an 'A List' prospect by NHL Central Scouting entering the 2012-13 season, has produced eight goals and 26 points in 97 career games in the USHL. McCoshen, who will take part in the All American Prospects Game in Buffalo on Sept. 29, has agreed to take the time and maintain a blog for NHL.com all season long leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.

Hello everyone. My name is Ian McCoshen, and I play for the Waterloo Black Hawks in the United States Hockey league. This will be my third year with the Black Hawks.

I am tremendously excited for the season to start back up again. We have a talented group of guys this year, but we need to work all the time in order to really utilize the skill we have.

Overall, all of the boys are pretty excited to start up as well.

Our trip to Russia to participate in the Junior Club World Cup last month was an unbelievable experience for our team and myself. Systematically, we progressed each game throughout the tournament. I believe, if you ask any guy on the team, they would all say that our time in Omsk and Moscow was the best training camp we could have asked for. We collectively bonded as a team far earlier in the season than usual, which I believe, gives us an edge to begin our USHL season.


Posted On Wednesday, 09.19.2012 / 12:53 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Kings keep promise with special Cup party

It's not always easy to take a man at his word, but businessman Chris Byrne had a good feeling in May when he received an email from Los Angeles Kings governor Tim Leiweke. Based on their correspondence, if everything went according to plan, Byrne, a longtime Kings fan, could be the host of his very own Stanley Cup party.

It started weeks earlier, when the Kings were struggling to secure the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Byrne, whose roofing materials company has had Kings season tickets since the team played at the Great Western Forum, attended an event held by Leiweke. Though the presentation was intended to discuss plans for a football stadium in Los Angeles, the Kings governor spent much of his time talking about his hockey team. Inspired by Leiweke's passion, Byrne sent an email weeks later sharing his love for the Kings. It was a spirited message that included one small request.

"I just ended it with, assuming the Kings win the Cup, he'd make a fan from the beginning very happy if he would bring the Cup to an Irish pub in West Hollywood that we own a little part of," Byrne told NHL.com. "Amazingly enough, he wrote back the next day and said, 'Absolutely.' It's a tribute to that organization."

By the time Leiweke got in touch with Byrne, the Kings had already knocked off the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and had won the first two games in their Western Conference semifinal against the St. Louis Blues. A Kings fan practically since the team's arrival in Los Angeles, Byrne was confident the team could win the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. But the 60-year-old wasn't completely sure if the iconic trophy would really make an appearance at his bar, Rock & Reilly's, in West Hollywood.

"They were playing St Louis and I told a guy, 'They're going to sweep St. Louis and win the Cup.' I felt it. After they beat Vancouver, I thought they were the best team there," Byrne said. "Time went by and he [Leiweke] made good on his word. He's a really good guy."

Sure enough, Leiweke came through on the promise he made almost four months earlier when he brought the Stanley Cup to a party held last week at Rock & Reilly's. Team president Luc Robitaille also was on hand.

"I have three girls who grew up watching the Kings. Kristen, my daughter, got her picture taken with Luc near the end of the party," Byrne said. "She told me later on it was the best day of her life."

Posted On Wednesday, 09.19.2012 / 10:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

NHL Central Scouting releases preliminary watch list

There's little doubt NHL scouts and fans of the game began digesting NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch from North America and Europe the moment the lists hit the pages of NHL.com.

The preliminary lists are really the first indication of which players among the major junior and collegiate ranks we should be tracking entering the 2012-13 campaign. Who doesn't like to speculate on who might be the next great player in the NHL?

In addition to the main story, NHL.com also spoke to NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb for his take on a few of the top international skaters to watch.

By now, many are aware of a few high-profile prospects with familiar bloodlines expected to get plenty of publicity leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., June 28-29. Forward Max Domi of the London Knights is the son Tie Domi. Defenseman Seth Jones, considered to be a certain top five pick at the Draft, is the son of former NBA forward Popeye Jones.

While he might be a 'C'-rated prospect entering the season, goalie Anthony Brodeur of Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota certainly won't fly under the radar as the son of future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur.

There are a few other prospects on the board this season with name recognition.

Posted On Tuesday, 09.18.2012 / 4:06 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Stanley Cup spends whirlwind week in Hollywood

The Stanley Cup is used to keeping a frantic schedule. But last week was especially busy for the iconic trophy, which shined even brighter in the company of some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

It started with a trip to the set of "Wheel of Fortune," where host and longtime Los Angeles Kings fan Pat Sajak couldn't help but show his excitement when the special guest arrived. For the Stanley Cup, it was just the beginning of a wild week in Hollywood.

After the game-show set, the Cup paid a visit to the production offices of the animated series "South Park." The show's co-creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, posed for photos with the Cup, and before long the entire staff was congregating around the trophy.

But the Cup wasn't reserved just for the film and television industries during its week in Los Angeles.

Considering the Kings share Staples Center with two NBA teams, it seemed only right the NHL team include its neighbors in the festivities. The Cup was first hosted by the Los Angeles Clippers, including some players and coach Vinny Del Negro, before the Los Angeles Lakers got their moment.

Though Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was one of the most prominent team members to pose with the Cup, one of the team's newest players may have enjoyed its presence the most. Though Steve Nash has never tried to hide his love for the Vancouver Canucks, the point guard, who was traded to the Lakers in July, relished his moment with the trophy marking the Kings' championship.

Following appearances at local hospitals and charitable events, the Cup made its way to a pair of parties held by team governor Tim Leiweke and president of business operations Luc Robitaille. In typical Kings style, they welcomed a number of celebrities, including producer Jerry Bruckheimer, broadcasters Ryan Seacrest and Al Michaels, actors Michael Vartan, Michael Rosenbaum and Rita Wilson, as well as former Kings owner Bruce McNall.

It all ended Sunday, when the Cup travelled to Manchester, N.H., for an event held by the Kings' American Hockey League franchise, the Manchester Monarchs. The hundreds of fans in attendance at Verizon Wireless Arena were shocked when Robitaille carried the Cup into the building before making a short presentation.

From Manchester, Robitaille was scheduled to bring the Cup to Quebec, where it will take part in one of its final celebrations before being engraved later in September.

Posted On Monday, 09.17.2012 / 2:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

USHL Fall Classic set to begin this week

The 2012 United States Hockey League Fall Classic, one of the more heavily scouted junior tournaments in North America, is slated to begin Wednesday at two venues in Sioux City, Iowa.

This marks the sixth consecutive season that the league's annual preseason showcase, which concludes Saturday, will be hosted by the Sioux City Musketeers. All 16 USHL member clubs will compete in three preseason games during the event at either the Tyson Events Center or I.B.P. Ice Center.

"The event continues to be a boon for the city, while fans and organizers get to watch the most talented junior hockey players in the country,'" Musketeers Executive Vice President Rich Zaber said in a release.

Posted On Thursday, 09.13.2012 / 5:28 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Kings visit 9/11 Memorial to honor Bailey, Bavis

Members of the Los Angeles Kings this week visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York City to pay tribute to scouts Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis.

LA Kings Insider reports team governor Tim Leiweke and president Luc Robitaille visited the memorial Wednesday, and a group of players did so Thursday.

Each group from the Stanley Cup Champions brought a plaque to the site with an inscription that read, "From your friends at the L.A. Kings. You were with us every step of the way."

The executives and players were in New York for the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations.

Bailey and Bavis were killed in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Posted On Wednesday, 09.12.2012 / 12:54 PM

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

Top prospect MacKinnon looks to improve even more

Nathan MacKinnon will enter his second season in the QMJHL in 2012-13. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward had 31 goals, 78 points and a plus-11 rating as a rookie last season. His 47 assists led all first-year players in the league, and he finished second to 2012 first-round draft pick Mikhail Grigorenko in voting for the QMJHL Rookie of the Year award. MacKinnon hails from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, the same hometown as Pittsburgh Penguins star center Sidney Crosby. He recently helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal after scoring a hat trick in the championship match against Finland at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial in Slovakia in August. He finished the Hlinka with five goals and six assists in five games. MacKinnon will be maintaining a blog on NHL.com all season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.

Hello everybody! My name is Nathan MacKinnon, and I am going into my second season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

I gained lots of experience from my first year and am excited to get back at it in a few short weeks when the season opens.

I was born in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, to two awesome parents and a sister. Luckily for me, my parents were very athletic. My mother, Kathy, competed as the youngest swimmer in the Canada games. My father, Graham, was a marathon runner. Growing up, I enjoyed many other sports besides hockey, such as soccer, basketball, paddling and tennis. When it was time to give them up and focus on hockey, it was definitely difficult. I was also a fairly athletic kid and picked up sports easier than others.

Playing minor hockey for the Cole Harbour Red Wings was an amazing experience. You're playing with the same group of guys for nine or 10 years and create a special bond. Cole Harbour was a great spot for development. Lucky enough for me, I always had a good coach and really have to credit my success now to all those hours put in and the help I received growing up.

Posted On Tuesday, 09.11.2012 / 5:13 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Hurricanes sign Welsh to two-year contract

Forward Jeremy Welsh has signed a two-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes, the team announced Tuesday.

The deal will pay Welsh $700,000 on the NHL level or $105,000 at the minor-league level this season. In 2013-14, Welsh will receive $1 million.

"Jeremy is a player we think very highly of," general manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement. "He is a big man (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) that can play center or left wing, and has really good hockey sense."

Welsh, 23, made his NHL debut for the Hurricanes in the team’s final game of the 2011-12 season. He had 27 goals, 17 assists and 47 penalty minutes in 40 games for Union College last season, ranking first on the team and fourth in the NCAA in goals (27).

Union College reached the Frozen Four, where it lost to eventual runner-up Ferris State.

Posted On Tuesday, 09.11.2012 / 3:09 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Free Agency 2012 blog

Jets agree to new deal with Machacek

The Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday announced the club had agreed to terms on a new contract with restricted free-agent right wing Spencer Machacek. Terms of the deal were not released.

Machacek, 23, saw time in 13 NHL games last season, totaling two goals, seven assists -- his first NHL points. He also had 50 points in 61 games with the club's American Hockey League affiliate, the St. John's Ice Caps.

"I was coming into a new organization last year and the coaching staff probably didn’t know much about me," Machacek told the Winnipeg Sun. "At the end of the year, I showed I could play and I’m looking forward to coming to camp and trying to earn a spot."

Originally selected by the Atlanta Thrashers in the third round of the 2007 NHL Draft, Machacek has played 25 NHL games, all with the Atlanta/Winnipeg organization over the past four seasons.

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