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Posted On Friday, 10.12.2012 / 11:42 AM

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

Dazzling plays show why MacKinnon is a top prospect

Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon is regarded as the potential top pick of the 2013 NHL Draft for his incredible offensive skills. The 6-foot, 182-pound center led all first-year players in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season with 47 assists, was second with 78 points and tied for third with 31 goals.

He's gotten off to a sensational start this season, with nine goals -- third in the League -- and 15 points in eight games.

His most recent goal might be his most spectacular. In a game Wednesday against the Moncton Wildcats, Halifax led 4-1 and after already scoring one power-play goal, he got another chance when Halifax went on the power play early in the third period.

MacKinnon took a pass at the Moncton blue line and carried the puck into the offensive zone. As Moncton defenseman Cameron McDonald stepped up to defend, MacKinnon slid the puck between McDonald's skates and went around the bewildered blueliner.

The puck rolled on net, where Moncton goalie Alex Dubeau tried to swat it into the corner. He whiffed on the attempt, however, and as the puck bounced off Dubeau's pads, MacKinnon controlled it and shot it under Dubeau.

That goal came one game after MacKinnon put on another show in an 11-2 rout of two-time defending league champion Saint John Sea Dogs. The 17-year-old forward had a hat trick, but the prettiest goal was his second.

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Posted On Monday, 10.08.2012 / 10:52 PM

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

QMJHL draft prospects earn league honors

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles center William Carrier showed why he's an A-list skater in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft, totaling four goals and four assists in four games to earn the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's First Star of the Week award.

Carrier, a 6-1.5, 198-pound forward, started his week with both Cape Breton goals in a 5-2 loss Wednesday to Rouyn-Noranda. He had a goal in Saturday's rematch with the Huskies, and had a goal and an assist Saturday in a 5-3 win against Val-d'Or. And on Sunday, he had three assists in a 7-3 loss to Foreurs.

Carrier now has a point in a league-high nine straight games, and with 16 points, he's tied for second in the league in scoring.

Another A-rated skater earned the QMJHL Second Star of the Week, as Halifax Mooseheads left wing Jonathan Drouin was honored after totaling seven points in three games. Drouin had a goal and an assist in a 6-2 win against Acadie-Bathurst, and followed that with a goal and an assist, plus a game-high six shots, in a 4-3 win against Saint John. And in Saturday's 11-2 rout of Saint John, Drouin had a goal, two assists and a plus-4 rating. The three-point game was Drouin's fifth multi-point game in seven this season, giving him 15 points in seven games.

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Posted On Monday, 10.08.2012 / 12:36 PM

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

Ice Breaker Tourney kicks off college hockey season

The 16th Ice Breaker Tournament at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., will officially ring in the 2012-13 collegiate ice hockey season on Oct. 12-13.

The two-day event features four teams -- Army, Notre Dame, the University of Maine and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. This year's tournament will be the fourth for Maine, third for Notre Dame and Nebraska-Omaha, and the second for Army.

According to the most recent U.S. College Hockey poll, two of the four teams are ranked among the top 20 -- No. 14 Notre Dame and No. 15 Maine. All the schools have won titles in their respective conferences.

"We are extremely excited to be invited to college hockey's premier showcase," Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said in a statement. "We look forward to opening the 2012-13 season in a great hockey city and in an NHL-caliber building like Sprint Center. Hockey fans in Kansas City will definitely be entertained with some great college hockey from four great programs."

One player who will be in the crosshairs of those NHL scouts in attendance will be 2013 draft eligible left wing Will Merchant, a freshman at Maine. The 6-foot, 172-pound forward impressed many as a free agent invitee to the Minnesota Wild's development camp in July. He also participated in the CCM/USA All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo on Sept. 29.

"I was surprised he wasn't drafted last June," NHL Central Scouting's David Gregory told "I thought he'd be a nice late-round addition. He needs to show scouts that he can take the next step. Oftentimes, a player overlooked will suddenly get it the next year and teams see that and then give him a shot."

Merchant produced 25 goals and 52 points in 2011-12 as a senior for Eagan High (Minn.), which finished 25-5-1 last season. The Wildcats won the South Suburban Conference and Section 3AA championship, and finished sixth in the Minnesota state tournament. He was a finalist for the prestigious Mr. Hockey Award, given to the top high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota.

Last year, Boston College started its NCAA championship season by capturing the Ice Breaker championship at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.

It marked the second time in four years that the champion of the Ice Breaker would capture the national title. In 2008, Boston University won the Ice Breaker at their home rink before going on to win the 2009 national title.

All games in the tournament will be televised on the NBC Sports Network, with the exception of the third-place game. The championship team will win a trophy and an All-Tournament Team is announced at the conclusion of the event.

Ice-Breaker Tournament Schedule

Friday, Oct. 12

7 p.m. ET: Notre Dame vs. Maine

10 p.m. ET: Army vs. Nebraska-Omaha

Saturday, Oct. 13

4:30 p.m. ET: Third-Place Game

7:30 p.m. ET: Championship

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Saturday, 10.06.2012 / 8:37 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

MacKinnon has hat trick, plus-5 in 11-2 win

Nathan MacKinnon's hat trick was part of a four-point night as he led Halifax to an 11-2 win over Saint John in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League on Saturday.

MacKinnon, one of the top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft, had an assist and was a plus-5 for Halifax, which led 4-0 after one period and 7-0 after two.

MacKinnon and linemates Stefan Fournier and Jonathan Drouin combined for five goals and five assists.

In seven games this season, MacKinnon has 13 points (seven goals, six assists).

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.03.2012 / 2:33 PM

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

USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks suspend three players

The Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League on Wednesday confirmed the suspension of three players for Friday's home game against the Youngstown Phantoms.

Defenseman Ian McCoshen and goalies Eamon McAdam and Calvin Petersen will sit out the game for a violation of team rules.

"They did not adhere to an internal team rule," associate head coach and director of player personnel Shane Fukushima told via email.

All three players, who participated in the inaugural CCM/USA All-American Prospects Game on Saturday, are considered top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft.

NHL Central Scouting ranked McCoshen an A skater in its preliminary players to watch list. McAdam is ranked as a B goalie, while Petersen is a C goalie.

According to Fukushima, the team will likely start Logan Halladay in goal on Friday. Halladay, who earned the start when McAdam and Petersen attended the All-American Prospects Game, was the organization's third-round pick in the 2012 Futures Draft. He scored an 8-4 win over the Sioux Falls Stampede in the team's home opener before joining the Chicago Young Americans Midget Major team.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.03.2012 / 11:05 AM

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

Justin Bailey awaits 'Return to Play' protocol

While forward Justin Bailey of the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers still is experiencing concussion-like symptoms from a hit he sustained last month, the team anticipates a full recovery at some point.

"Generally, Justin is feeling better," Kitchener's head trainer, Dan LeBold, told via email. "However, he is still experiencing some symptoms so we have not begun the 'Return to Play' protocol as of yet. We are continuing to monitor his symptoms to see when he may be ready to begin the RTP protocol."

Bailey was on the receiving end of tremendous neutral-zone hit by Calgary Flames prospect Pat Sieloff of the Windsor Spitfires on Sept. 27. Sieloff was given a charging penalty and a game misconduct on the play.

In three games this season for Kitchener, his first in the OHL, Bailey has no points and four penalty minutes. He was rated as an A skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list.

"The current plans for the hockey club and for Justin are to play again," LeBold said.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.02.2012 / 12:08 PM

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

Dea, Kujawinski, Shinkaruk win player of week awards

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies center Jean-Sebastien Dea has burst to the top of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scoring race after another outstanding week.

The 6-foot, 155-pound forward had six goals and two assists in three games last week. He had his second hat trick of the season in a 9-2 win at the Sherbrooke Phoenix on Wednesday, with two of the goals coming shorthanded, and he also added an assist. He had two more goals and an assist Friday in a 4-2 win at the Drummondville Voltigeurs, and he had a goal in the Huskies' 5-4 shootout win at the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada on Saturday.

His effort also earned him the Telus First Star of the Week.

Dea leads the QMJHL in goals (nine), power-play goals (four), shorthanded goals (two) and points (13).

Another 2013 draft prospect, Saint John Sea Dogs goaltender Sebastian Auger, was named the Third Star of the Week, stopping 97 of 101 shots in three games. He stopped 21 shots in a 4-2 win against the Moncton Wildcats on Wednesday, made 34 saves in a 3-1 win against the Gatineau Olympiques on Friday, and stopped 42 of 43 shots in a 5-1 win at Moncton on Sunday.

On the season, Auger is 4-1 in five games, and second in the league with a .944 save percentage and fourth with a 1.78 goals-against average.

The QMJHL isn't the only place 2013 draft hopefuls have been turning heads.

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Posted On Monday, 10.01.2012 / 7:54 PM

By Ian McCoshen -  Special to / - Ian McCoshen Draft blog

McCoshen proud of role in inaugural 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 all season long leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.

Now that I'm back home in Waterloo, I've had a chance to think about the great time I had in Buffalo last weekend. It was something special being part of the first-ever All-American Prospects Game.

I left Friday night after our game in Green Bay. We took off about 11 p.m., and got into Buffalo like 1:30 in the morning, and I probably didn't get to sleep until 3. Then we started early in the morning with meetings and stuff at the rink.

It certainly wasn't the normal game day. I tried to get my pre-game nap, but I was too excited so I kept waking up every 15 minutes.

Once we got to the rink and started getting our gear on, there was no tension in the room. Guys were loose, excited. We were pretty jacked up to play.

Going out on the ice in an NHL building was pretty surreal. There was a lot of fans out there. It was pretty spectacular facility that the Buffalo Sabers have. What an honor to be in that game.

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Posted On Sunday, 09.30.2012 / 8:27 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Kraft Hockeyville 2012 Blog

Hockeyville clinics highlight upcoming schedule

STIRLING-RAWDON, Ontario – The Kraft Hockeyville celebration was only getting warmed up Sunday.

The festivities will continue Monday and Tuesday with skating clinics that will take place from 5:00-7:45 p.m. at the Sterling & District Recreation Centre. They will consist of three, 45-minute sessions and while the participants have already been chosen, they will be open for public viewing.

The clinics will feature children from ages 4-16 whose names were selected at random.

On hand for the clinics will be former Toronto Maple Leafs Gary Leeman, Dan Dauodt and Tom Fergus.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Sunday, 09.30.2012 / 2:18 PM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - Kraft Hockeyville 2012 Blog

NHL alums sign autographs at Hockeyville Fun Fair

STIRLING-RAWDON, Ontario -- Former NHL players Brad Marsh, Laurie Boschman, Mike Gaul and Jamie Allison signed autographs during the Fun Fair event in the parking lot outside the Stirling & District Recreation Centre on Sunday afternoon.

The festivities included the presentation of a $100,000 check for upgrades and renovations to the Stirling & District Recreation Centre and a $10,000 food bank donation. The Stanley Cup was on display for photographs, while fun for the kids included two bouncy castles, an accuracy game for shooting hockey balls, a slide and free Kraft products for everyone.

The musical stylings of Brian Cosbey and Friends filled the air on an afternoon in which potential rain stayed away.

"It's been a good experience for us," said Cindy Brandy, the chairperson who made the push to bring Hockeyville to the town. "I think this past week, with all the advertisement on the radio and the television stations, things improved dramatically. Hence, the crowd today."

A few thousand people are here today with the alumni game set for 7 p.m. at the recreation centre.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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He's a winner. We want winners here, and he's a proven winner. He's won two Stanley Cups. He's 22 years old and been a big part of it. He's got all the right tools. He's got size (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) and strength. He's exactly what we were looking for. He's going to be a big piece of our team for many, many years to come.

— Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen on Brandon Saad, who he acquired in a trade with the Blackhawks on Tuesday