Jacob Trouba is a defenseman for the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program of the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 193-pound native of Rochester, Mich., was the youngest player on the U.S. National Junior Team at the 2012 World Junior Championship in Edmonton and Calgary, Alta. He also won his second straight gold medal for Team USA at the Under-18 World Championship in Czech Republic, connecting for one goal, three points and a plus-5 rating in six games. Trouba has agreed to give fans a players' perspective while attending the 2012 NHL Combine, scheduled May 28-June 2, by blogging his experiences.
Before I even had to start thinking about the fitness test on Friday, I had a great opportunity to join teammate Stefan Matteau on Wednesday for a fun night out at the Playdium in Mississauga.
Thanks to NHL.com for arranging the trip and I think a video is being made documenting our trip, so it's possible we'll get to relive the memories on NHL.com sometime soon. The Playdium is like a Dave & Buster's Arcade kind of place with lots of different things to do. If was fun … like being a kid again.
It was just good to get out of the hotel for a couple of hours and have some fun. Not that interviewing with NHL teams wasn't fun but, well, you get the idea.
The go-karts were alright. My car stopped halfway through so I got lapped by Matteau and he loved that. But the final camera angle has me in front of Matteau, even though he really lapped me. But that's fine with me because now it looks like I won -- and it's on tape.
TORONTO -- The San Jose Sharks were one of the most active teams at last year's draft, making a pair of moves that landed them defenseman Brent Burns and forward Martin Havlat. It might not be at the same level this year, but Sharks GM Doug Wilson could see his team being just as active this year.
"We have six picks, hopefully we'll have more picks by the time the draft comes around," Wilson told NHL.com. "We think it's a good draft, we really do. Lot of people do tend to just look at the top five or seven or 10 picks and value the draft on that basis. There's quality guys in those spots, but I think there's some really good players deeper in the draft that are going to play and have very successful careers."
The Sharks currently have the 17th pick in the first round, and Wilson said they'll stick to their philosophy of taking the best player available, regardless of position. However, if there's a player they like, Wilson said he won't be afraid to move up to get him.
TORONTO -- Marc Bergevin wasn't able to spend much time at the NHL Scouting Combine, but the new Montreal Canadiens general manager knows he has real good people in place that will help the team get the most out of the third pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.
Leading the way is Trevor Timmins, the club's highly respected director of procurement and player development.
"I didn't know Trevor other than who Trevor was," Bergevin, hired May 2, told NHL.com. "He's an outstanding person. The way he conducts his meeting, the way he runs his staff, is very impressive."
Bergevin, who left the Combine to return to Montreal late Thursday afternoon after arriving Wednesday night following the GM meetings in New York, said he'll have the final say on what the Canadiens do at the draft. However, he said Timmins and his scouting staff will play a major role in what happens June 22-23 in Pittsburgh.
TORONTO -- Belleville goalie Malcolm Subban loves his older brother, Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, but you should know that the two are different people. And it goes beyond the positions they play on the ice.
"If you know P.K., you know he likes to be the center of attention," Malcolm told reporters. "I feel like I'm a bit more of a quiet guy, a more humble guy. We share some similar attributes, but I'd say for the most part we're two different people."
Malcolm said if the opportunity to play with P.K. arrived -- the two are four years apart so they never have played together -- he'd relish it. However, he doubts it's going to happen with the Canadiens.
TORONTO -- Filip Forsberg is only 17, but he already has two seasons of experience playing against men with Leksand in Sweden's Allsvenskan, the nation's top minor league.
He had a solid season in 2011-12 with eight goals and nine assists in 43 games. He excelled, however, against players his own age, totaling five goals in six games at the 2012 World Under-18 Championship. He also was the youngest player for Sweden at the 2012 World Junior Championship, contributing one assist in six games as the team won the gold medal. It all earned him the No. 1 spot among European skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking.
At 6-foot-2 and 181 pounds, he also has good size. So is Forsberg ready to make the jump to the NHL?
TORONTO -- Which player will be picked first at the 2012 NHL Draft? Right now, the only team that can answer that question is the Edmonton Oilers, and they're not quite ready to make that announcement yet.
I'm going to be writing a blog for NHL.com during the Stanley Cup Final, and this will be my first entry. Hopefully, hockey fans will able to read about what this is like from a player's point of view, and I'll tell some stories about what goes on in the next two weeks as well as others from earlier in my career.
Wednesday night was Game 1 and we won in overtime. I also scored my first NHL playoff goal, so it was a special night.
The day leading up to the game was super exciting. We had seven days off, so the guys were pretty anxious to get going. There was a lot of lead-up to the game, a lot of time to practice and sitting around waiting to play.
Between Adam Henrique scoring two series-clinching goals and Dwight King notching several big goals in the Western Conference Finals, youth has served both Stanley Cup Final teams well. But for players who have made it to hockey's grandest stage early in their careers, getting back there is far from a guarantee.
"Things happened so quick. It felt like this is what we're supposed to do, be in the Final every year," said Rob Blake, who played in the 1993 Cup Final with the Kings in just his third NHL season. "Ten years later, I realized quickly that that doesn't happen. I can share with young players that you need to take advantage of the opportunity when you can."
Both the Kings and Devils have players on their roster who can speak to that experience. And for a rookie like Henrique, it can only help playing alongside veteran winger Dainius Zubrus. After reaching the 1997 Stanley Cup Final as a rookie with the Flyers, Zubrus has waited 15 years to get back.
"That moment didn't last as long as I wanted and didn't end the way I hoped," Zubrus said of his first Cup Final appearance, in which the Flyers were swept by Detroit. "Fifteen years later, here I am back in the Finals. Obviously, you're lucky to be on a team that gets to this point. You just don't know. You could be traded or going to an organization that might be in a so-called rebuilding process. You just don't know."
It may be easy to take that first Cup Final appearance for granted, but young players can learn from a veteran who has been there before and may not have been sure when they would be back.
"When you're young and naïve, you think, 'We'll get there next year.' It doesn't work that way," said Warren Rychel, a rookie on Blake's 1993 Kings team. "I said to myself, 'Don't worry, we'll get back next year.' It never happens [that easily]. We didn't make the playoffs the year after."
Kelowna Rockets captain Colton Sissons appears fully recovered from a concussion he suffered in February and is looking forward to joining the initial group through the fitness tests at Toronto International Centre on Friday.
The 6-foot-1, 187-pound forward, who is NHL Central Scouting's No. 14-ranked skater in North America, finished second on the team with 26 goals, including a team-leading 13 power play markers, in 58 games as the Rockets finished in sixth place in the Western Conference of the Western Hockey League.
Sissons was injured in the team's 3-2 loss to the Kamloops Blazers on Feb. 11 at Prospera Place in Kelowna.
When Trouba got word that Lidstrom was calling it a career after 20 seasons in the League on Thursday, he expressed much respect and admiration for one of the greatest defensemen to ever lace on the skates.
I'll be happy, believe me, if we win our last playoff game. Not taking anything away, but we've had a fairly good lead for a while now. It would be more surprising if we didn't get the division. Business as usual.
— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau after clinching their third straight Pacific Division title