BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The puck drops for the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Saturday, and that first puck will be dropped by Hockey Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman.
Bowman coached the Buffalo Sabres from 1979-87, compiling a record of 210-134-60 in 404 games. His best season was his first, when the 1979-80 Sabres finished with 110 points, tied for second-most in franchise history. Bowman also played a role in bringing AAPG coaches Phil Housley and Rob McClanahan to Buffalo.
The rosters for Team Housley and Team McClanahan will feature 40 of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.
That list includes Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones, a candidate to hear his name called first next June, playing for Team McClanahan.
"I've got to say I'm very jealous because Rob has Seth Jones," Housley said on a conference call. "Extremely talented. It just seems like he's made for today's game. He's big, fast, strong, can move the puck and make that first pass out of the zone, can play in all situations. I'm mad at Rob for taking him."
Housley will have more than a few good players of his own on Team Housley, among them defenseman Ian McCoshen of the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL and forward J.T. Compher of the U.S. National Team Development Program. Both are ranked as A skaters on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players-to-watch list.
McClanahan, one of the heroes of the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic team, said he's looking forward to being back in Buffalo, where he started his NHL career.
Housley said he'll be preaching teamwork to his players.
"It's important that we play as a team," he said. "I know everybody wants to showcase their talent and this is an important game for a lot of these kids' future, but you gain individual recognition through hard teamwork and that's the way I think we'll approach it."
NHL.com will have full coverage of the event, including special exclusive blogs from Jones and McCoshen.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK