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2011 NHL Entry Draft
2011 NHL Entry Draft Hats
(Page 9 of 23)
2011 NHL Entry Draft

Rakell learned fast he had to get dirty to score

Saturday, 06.11.2011 / 1:21 PM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

It didn't take Plymouth Whalers forward Rickard Rakell very long to understand the battle required to score goals in North America.
 

"Getting dirty is what it takes to score a goal here. You can't get too fancy. You have to play a smart game and I really like that." -- Rickard Rakell

"Getting dirty is what it takes to score a goal here," Rakell told NHL.com. "You can't get too fancy. You have to play a smart game and I really like that."
 
Let's put it this way. If Rakell were a baseball player, his uniform would be caked in dirt and covered in grass stains because he'd probably be the one diving for fly balls in the outfield or dropping to one knee to control a grounder. As a hockey player, his jersey usually is the one with all the colorful scuff marks.
 
You kind of get the feeling Rakell could turn out to be a player similar to Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins -- a player who performs bigger than his frame, is willing to battle, offers decent speed and is a pain in the neck to play against. Depending on where he's chosen, he also might be the steal of the 2011 Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., on June 24-25.
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Mom's employment turned Kucherov to hockey

Saturday, 06.11.2011 / 1:03 PM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

There's lucky bounces, and then there's how Nikita Kucherov got into hockey.

"It was like an accident. We moved to Moscow and my mother went to look for a job and we were passing a hockey rink and she went there and got work and decided to bring me to play hockey."
-- Nikita Kucherov

Born in the southern Russian town of Maikop, near the Black Sea, Nikita and his family moved to Moscow at an early age. Nikita's mother took him on a search for a job, and it just so happened she ended up getting a job at a hockey rink.

The ice turned into the perfect daycare center for young Nikita, whose skills have blossomed enough for him to be regarded as a top prospect for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

"It was like an accident," Kucherov told NHL.com via a translator. "We moved to Moscow and my mother went to look for a job and we were passing a hockey rink and she went there and got work and decided to bring me to play hockey."
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Friberg looks to build on Skövde success in SEL

Saturday, 06.11.2011 / 12:45 PM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

When it came time to pick a team for the 2010-11 season, Max Friberg went with his heart.

"I don't think it's hurt his development at all by playing in the minors, as long as he played on the senior level. And he had a big role on the team. That's better for him to play there with a big role rather than playing in Swedish Elite League and perhaps being a fourth-line guy." -- Goran Stubb

That's why the talented Swedish forward elected to stick with Skövde in Sweden's third division rather than play at a higher level. Scouts certainly didn't hold that choice against him, ranking the 5-foot-11, 185-pound left wing 13th among European forwards for the 2011 Entry Draft.

"I decided to just be with Skövde (because) we had to go to reach the next division, Division 2, and I wanted to be a part of it because I've always played in Skövde," Friberg told NHL.com. "I've got my heart in Skövde."

A Skövde native, Friberg said he felt a responsibility to help his hometown team climb a step closer to the Swedish Elite League. Dedication to Skövde runs in the family -- Max's father, Ulf, played for Skövde from 1978-85, and nearly helped the team qualify for the Swedish Elite League.
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Catenacci credited with helping both his 'sons'

Saturday, 06.11.2011 / 9:00 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

"He always just let me play my game. He was the coach who developed the offensive side of my game. That's huge for me today. That's what I'm known for -- I'm known as an offensive defenseman. That's all credit to him."
-- Ryan Murphy

Kitchener Rangers defenseman Ryan Murphy might be the most offensively skilled blueliner in the 2011 Entry Draft, while Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds center Daniel Catenacci easily is among the draft's best skaters.
 
For those two gifts, they have their minor hockey coach to thank.

Moe Catenacci, Daniel's father, coached both boys with the York Simcoe Express Hockey Association for 10 years, from the time the boys were 7 years old until they hit 16 and left for the Ontario Hockey League.
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Mersch no stranger to hard work

Saturday, 06.11.2011 / 9:00 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

University of Wisconsin forward Michael Mersch is no stranger to performing at a high level in big moments -- on and off the ice. In fact, Mersch's determination in the classroom helped him earn his stripes in his first year on campus.
 
"I was willing to come whenever (Wisconsin) wanted me," Mersch told NHL.com. "I had to really balance schoolwork, working out, training and my development as a player. It was a unique path, but I definitely matured a lot through the process."
 
A 6-foot-2, 198-pound left wing, Mersch has a rare combination of size and agility that earned him the No. 83 spot NHL in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Mersch led all Wisconsin freshmen with 8 goals, and added 11 assists while playing a team-high 41 games in 2010-11.
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How high can Mem. Cup raise a prospect's stock?

Friday, 06.10.2011 / 1:43 PM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

"The more you get to see them play, the more you get to know about them. You can make better projections." -- Capitals General Manager George McPhee

Ask any scout and they'll tell you -- there's no such thing as too much information when you're projecting 17- and 18-year-old hockey players.
 
"The more you get to see them play, the more you get to know about them," Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee told NHL.com. "You can make better projections."
 
For players from the Saint John Sea Dogs, Owen Sound Attack, Mississauga St. Michael's Majors and Kootenay Ice eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft, they provided teams with as many as a half-dozen opportunities to gather information to make their projections.
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Curtis hoping to bring winning ways to the next level

Friday, 06.10.2011 / 11:48 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the 2011 Entry Draft fast approaching, it's hardly surprising that Belleville Bulls left wing Michael Curtis has been referring to a lot of things lately as "nerve-wracking."
 
The draft, after all, is the culmination of a lifetime in hockey for Curtis, who developed a reputation in junior hockey as a strong two-way forward. But despite a couple of challenging seasons with the Bulls, there are two other words Curtis often finds himself saying: "Winning attitude."
 
"Having a winning attitude doesn't need to change if a team doesn't have success right away. You always have to have a winning attitude," said Curtis, whose Bulls qualified for the Ontario Hockey League playoffs this past season, but was swept in the first round by Mississauga. "You’ve got to go into every game expecting to win. The OHL is a competitive league and every team has a chance to win every night."
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Father played major role in Cramarossa's development

Friday, 06.10.2011 / 11:26 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

His statistics aren't flashy, but Mississauga St. Michael's Majors forward Joseph Cramarossa will have other assets at his disposal at the 2011 Entry Draft.
 
The 18-year-old center spent this season refining his two-way game, and he certainly got enough opportunities -- the Majors advanced to the Ontario Hockey League championship series and the title game of the Memorial Cup.
 
Cramarossa credited Majors coach Dave Cameron for his growth this season. He had 12 goals, 20 assists and 101 penalty minutes in 59 regular-season games, and 4 points in 16 OHL playoff games. It earned him the No. 63 spot on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the Draft.
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Grimaldi refuses to allow size to be an issue

Friday, 06.10.2011 / 11:09 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"If ever I lose a battle in the corner with a big guy, it's not because he's bigger or stronger than me, it's because I did something wrong and he just took advantage." -- Rocco Grimaldi

Why do you think the shortest player at the NHL Scouting Combine attracted so much attention earlier this month?
 
Well, unless you know 5-foot-6, 163-pound Rocco Grimaldi of the U.S. National Team Development Program on a personal level, words couldn't possibly paint the complete picture.
 
"When we asked him if he was 5-foot-7, he said, 'No, I'm only 5-foot-6' and we all laughed because he's not afraid of his size," one veteran Eastern Conference amateur scout, who interviewed Grimaldi at the Combine, told NHL.com. "He's very honest and focused, and at that size, if you're not focused you won't be able to play this game."
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Gibsons have look of franchise cornerstones

Thursday, 06.09.2011 / 1:55 PM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Any NHL general manager in the market for a future franchise goalie would be hard-pressed not to consider one of the two Gibsons at the 2011 Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., on June 24-25.

The two marquee names between the pipes, according to NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen, are John Gibson of the U.S. National Team Development Program in the United States Hockey League and Christopher Gibson of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (no relation). Central Scouting has John Gibson ranked as its No. 1 North American goalie for the draft, while Christopher is No. 2.

The University of Michigan-bound John Gibson fashioned an impressive 24-11-3 mark with a 2.55 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 40 games this past season. He led the U.S. to its third straight gold medal at the World Under-18 Championship in April, making 28 saves in a 4-3 overtime victory against Sweden in the final. He won the tournament's best goaltender award after going a perfect 6-0-0 with a 2.34 GAA and .926 save percentage.

John Gibson praised USNTDP goalie coach Joe Exter for much of his success.
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