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USA Hockey proud to put on Prospects Game

Friday, 09.28.2012 / 3:59 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- For Jim Johannson, timing truly is everything. And for USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, now is the perfect time to bring together some of the top U.S.-born players for an elite game.

Thirty-eight American players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft will hit the ice here at First Niagara Center on Saturday for the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.

"This game literally has been in the works for quite a few years," Johannson said. "… It's time for USA Hockey to celebrate our prospects, and celebrate our game across the country."


Bowman to drop puck at Prospects Game

Thursday, 09.27.2012 / 2:53 PM / Prospects


Scotty Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL history, will drop the ceremonial first puck Saturday night prior to the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at Buffalo's First Niagara Center.

Bowman has a connection to both coaches in the all-star game, having had a hand in bringing both Phil Housley and Rob McClanahan into the Sabres' organization during his seven seasons with Buffalo from 1979-87.

In all, Bowman spent 30 seasons as a coach in the NHL with five teams -- the Sabres, St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings. He owns the record for regular-season wins (1,244), Stanley Cup Playoff wins (233), Stanley Cup titles as a coach (nine) and appearances in the Stanley Cup Final (13). He won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's best coach in 1977 and 1996 and has added three more Stanley Cup titles as a member of NHL front offices -- the most recent with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.


Top U.S.-born draft prospects to showcase their skills

Thursday, 09.27.2012 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Jim Johannson is looking forward to watching 40 of the finest 2013 NHL Draft-eligible, American-born prospects sharing the spotlight Saturday when the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game is held Saturday at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.

For Johannson, USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, the game will provide scouts and fans the opportunity to see first-hand the tremendous growth of hockey in the country.

"It will give people a little bit of an identity with the future rising stars of the game and will also show the broad spectrum of where all these kids are coming from … the grassroots programs they grew up in that gave them the building blocks to get to the elite level," Johannson told NHL.com. "The NHL draft is so much about the future and that's real exciting, but I think to have a group of athletes like this on the ice is a great step in showing the depth of programs we have across the country, as well as the caliber and talent of these players."


Maclellan motivated by early taste of life with Preds

Wednesday, 09.26.2012 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

Jack Maclellan's 15 goals and 15 assists in 30 games last season for the Bears would seem to indicate the two-way approach the Preds prefer. (Photo: John Russell/NHLI)

Starting last March for about two months, Jack Maclellan spent time at the pool and attended cookouts with the likes of Nashville Predators regulars Hal Gill and Roman Josi.

It was not the kind of extended vacation it might sound like. Instead, it was about as unique of an experience as an NHL prospect can have without actually playing.

A graduate of Brown University, Maclellan was sort of like an intern -- he was a part of the team, but he didn't have much of a chance of ever stepping on the ice during a game in the regular season or in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Predators signed the forward, a Calgary native, after his collegiate career ended. Through a contractual agreement, the organization agreed to keep him with its NHL team -- in part to help burn a year of his pro contract, as he already stood less than three months shy of his 24th birthday when he signed.


Rychel family prepares for big season with Windsor

Wednesday, 09.26.2012 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

It's normal for any young hockey player to be closely scrutinized when his father happens to coach his team. But that tension can be magnified if your dad is a Stanley Cup winner who serves as owner, vice president and general manager of that team. For Windsor Spitfires forward Kerby Rychel, whose father Warren owns and runs the Ontario Hockey League club, it's an arrangement that seems to be working out.

"It's good," said Kerby, who had a team-best 41 goals last season. "He's helped me out, telling me how to be a good person and good leader, teaching me to have good habits on and off the ice. I wouldn't be here today without him. It's huge. You can always turn to him for advice. He helps me out a lot."

Ranked an A-list prospect by NHL Central Scouting on its preliminary players-to-watch list, Rychel hopes to be taken in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft. It would be a significant achievement for Rychel, whose father was passed over twice in the draft before working his way through the International Hockey League to the National Hockey League, where he forged a 406-game career spread across nine seasons with five teams, including a spot on the 1996 Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.

"It's just one of those things where he's done all the work to put himself in that position," Warren Rychel said of his son. "It would be pretty neat. I'm sure we'll be there as a family."


Housley, McClanahan to coach in Prospects Game

Monday, 09.24.2012 / 6:02 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Despite never having the opportunities that today's American-born players are given, both Phil Housley and Rob McClanahan know the importance of teamwork when the going gets tough.

That's precisely the mantra that Housley and McClanahan will use when they step behind opposing benches to coach their respective teams at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Saturday. Each will instruct two goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards in the inaugural event, which features 40 of the top American-born players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.

"It's important that we play as a team," Housley told reporters during a Monday conference call. "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."

Housley, who helped the United States win the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, knows what the expected 100-plus scouts in attendance might be seeking.


McClanahan excited for chance to help U.S. prospects

Monday, 09.24.2012 / 4:55 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Rob McClanahan said he's always had a special relationship with the city of Buffalo.

One of the stars of the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team that famously won the gold medal in Lake Placid, McClanahan was a third-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 1978, and he made his NHL debut with the Sabres following the 1980 Olympics.

McClanahan will return to Buffalo as the coach of Team McClanahan at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, to be played Sept. 29 at First Niagara Center, home of the Sabres. The game will feature 40 of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.

U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer and fellow Sabres alum Phil Housley will oppose him as the coach of Team Housley.


USHL pilot program aims to cut down dangerous play

Monday, 09.24.2012 / 12:10 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The United States Hockey League took significant strides in the area of player safety and injury prevention last week with the announcement of a pilot program that commissioner Skip Prince believes is a critical step in the right direction.

"It actually started a year and a half ago when we began hearing about all the anti-fighting initiatives and people were saying that fighting was the cause of so many injuries," Prince told NHL.com. "We weren't defensive about it, but I went back and we did exhaustive research with our trainers to try and figure out what was going on."


Cowley replaces Rutledge on Prospects Game roster

Thursday, 09.20.2012 / 4:02 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

USA Hockey on Thursday announced that goalie Evan Cowley of Wichita Falls in the North American Hockey League has been named as a replacement player for the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, to be played Sept. 29 in Buffalo.

The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Cowley, who was named a B player on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2013 NHL Draft, replaces University of Michigan goaltender Jared Rutledge, who had been part of Team McClanahan.

Cowley, of Evergreen, Colo., was picked in the third round (No. 50) by the Wichita Falls Wildcats in the 2012 NAHL draft. He is the only player from the NAHL participating in the All-American Prospects Game.


Islanders prospect Reinhart named Oil Kings captain

Wednesday, 09.19.2012 / 10:51 AM / Prospects


New York Islanders prospect Griffin Reinhart was named captain of the Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old defenseman, taken with the No. 4 pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, has played for the Western Hockey League team the past two seasons.

"I'm really happy to have the job," Reinhart said, according to the Islanders' website. "I've got to take a bigger leadership role and be more vocal and help the younger guys coming into the league. I've got to lead by example and also communicate with them. I think I'm ready to take a big step up."

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres