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2011 NHL Entry Draft
2011 NHL Entry Draft Hats

Prepping for the stretch run

Wednesday, 02.16.2011 / 9:00 AM

By Shane McColgan - Special to NHL.com / Shane McColgan draft blog

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Shane McColgan draft blog
Prepping for the stretch run
Shane McColgan is a right wing for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. McColgan, the only U.S.-born player selected in the first round of the WHL's 2008 bantam draft, finished runner-up to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels) as the league's top rookie in 2009-10 after posting 25 goals and 69 points in 71 games. Through 50 games thisseason, he leads the team with 54 points, including 19 goals. The Manhattan Beach, Calif., native was rated No. 103 on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term release of North American skaters in January. A participant of the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, McColgan has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Hi everyone. Thanks for checking in this month. We have a busy schedule the next four days with three big games. Two of our games are against Vancouver, which has 65 points (30 wins) in the B.C. Division. We're second with 63 points (31 wins). We're in Vancouver on Wednesday and then play Spokane (34 wins, 74 points) on Friday before hosting Vancouver on Saturday.

I went out to lunch with our coach (Kelowna's Ryan Huska) on Tuesday afternoon. It was a one-time thing. I think that Coach is just trying to be a little more positive with us and have a little fun. If he's having fun then there's a good attitude in the room and we feel like we can talk about anything when we're getting along with him. Every player, including myself, perform better on the ice when we're not worried about what he's thinking or what the assistant coaches are thinking. So I think it's good to do things like this … maybe we should do it a little more.

Personally, I was up and down last month (6 goals, 5 assists). But the last 17 games are really important to me and most important for the team since we're coming down to playoffs. I think I've done well so far. I battled through surgery at the start of the season but the main thing is I think I need to shoot the puck more. My 19 goals (this season) isn't bad, but I should be up to 25 by now. I just need to shoot the puck more and work hard and things will go my way.

As a team, we did alright in the month of January (8-5); losing is never fun but we battled back after going through some injuries a little bit here and some adversity. Every team goes through that but we have to battle and play as a team and whoever is on the ice must do their job. I think we're having fun with the game. We take ourselves serious but not too serious. The next three games are huge and we just need to play hard and do the little things right. No one is ever satisfied with their play, so you can always step up. We just have to keep winning and keep on that role.

I don't really look too much on the computer to get extra information about upcoming opponents. We have team meetings and before we leave for the game, we have pregame meetings in the morning and prepare for our opponent before our afternoon nap. We know who we're up against and how they might match up lines. It's important and you have to be ready. You have to know who you'll be facing, so I do make it a point to know the opponent and who I might be up against before a game.