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Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Almond's outing one of many standout performances

Thursday, 09.16.2010 / 11:33 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Minnesota Wild prospect Cody Almond refused to allow another golden opportunity to slip away.
 
It was just last year that Almond, a fifth-round pick (No. 140) in 2007, suffered a torn knee ligament the day before the opening faceoff of the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament. As if learning he'd be out a month wasn't painful enough, the Wild dropped a 4-1 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes in the championship game of the tournament five days later.
 
Fortunately for Almond, opportunity came knocking again.
 
Not only was the 21-year-old center named captain of the Wild's team for this year's event, but he helped rally the Minnesota prospects to a 3-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings' hopefuls in the tournament final Thursday at Center Ice Arena. The Wild, who finished 4-0 in the five-day event while outscoring the opposition 15-7, connected for three goals in a span of 7:28 in the third period to help the Wild overcome a one-goal deficit.
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Alex Pietrangelo Traverse City Tournament blog

Wednesday, 09.15.2010 / 5:53 PM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

NHL.com

Alex Pietrangelo, a defenseman who was chosen No. 4 in the first round of the 2008 Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues, is one of 24 players within the organization attending the NHL Prospects Tournament this week in Traverse City, Mich. Pietrangelo has agreed to give an inside look at the tournament both on and off the ice. Return to NHL.com for more of Alex Pietrangelo's Traverse City blog throughout the week.

Leaving Traverse City on a positive note
09.15.2010 / 5:51 p.m. (ET)

Well, it was our final day in Traverse City and we really wanted to finish on a positive note against the Blue Jackets … that was the big thing for us. The other thing is guys are still playing for jobs. It's wasn't a nothing game, everyone is still trying to earn a spot. We knew both teams would come out flying since we both had tough losses. You want to go into camp on a positive note and that's certainly what we did.

There were some fights and it was certainly was an entertaining game to be a part of (a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the seventh-place game) and we scored all five goals (on eight attempts) on the power-play. It would have been nice if the game were for first place instead of seventh place, but it is what it is.
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Tatar has showed scoring touch everywhere

Wednesday, 09.15.2010 / 9:43 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Tomas Tatar was quite the world traveler last season -- and in the end, he was one exhausted blue-chip prospect.
 
A 2009 second-round draft pick (No. 60) of the Detroit Red Wings, Tatar played 70 games in three countries during the 2009-10 season.
 
He endured his first season in North America, totaling 32 points in 58 games with Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. He had 5 points in six games for Slovakia at the 2010 World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, Sask., and represented his country again in the World Championships in Germany, where he scored 2 goals in six games.
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Rangers' trio opening eyes at Traverse City

Tuesday, 09.14.2010 / 11:02 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"It's awesome when you're playing with guys like that … they make it easy for you."
-- Ryan Bourque on playing with Derek Stepan and Evgeny Grachev

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- If you think the New York Rangers' hierarchy hasn't been paying close attention to the young players at the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament this week, think again.
 
In addition to Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark and assistant coach Benoit Allaire, the Rangers' on-site evaluators include Adam Graves (Hockey and Business Operations), Mark Messier (Special Assistant to the President), Jim Schoenfeld (Assistant General Manager) and Glen Sather (President and General Manager).
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Campbell, McCollum to get all the time they need

Tuesday, 09.14.2010 / 10:20 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"We don't put anybody in there we don't think is ready to get it done at the NHL level. We don't choose a certain time and say, 'Bang, he's got to be ready.' We just stress to them to have a good day today and tomorrow, and hopefully these days lead to something good."
-- Red Wings goalie coach Jim Bedard

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. --  The chances that goalies Jack Campbell of the Dallas Stars and Thomas McCollum of the Detroit Red Wings earn NHL roster spots with their respective teams this season are slim to none.
 
Not that the two U.S.-born goalies aren't good, but patience long has been the virtue when it comes to grooming goalies.
 
Campbell, of Port Huron, Mich., was taken by the Stars with the 11th pick at the 2010 Entry Draft, while McCollum, a native Amherst, N.Y., was taken by the Red Wings at No. 30 in 2008. The two faced each other in the opening game of the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament on Sept. 11 and McCollum, the more poised of the two at this stage in their careers, earned a 6-1 victory behind 17 saves.
 
After allowing three goals in the opening six minutes of the game, Campbell settled down to finish with 32 saves, including 14 in the second period. 
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Jack Campbell Traverse City Tournament blog

Tuesday, 09.14.2010 / 12:30 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

NHL.com

Jack Campbell, a goalie who was chosen No. 11 in the first round of the 2010 Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars, is one of 25 players within the organization attending the NHL Prospects Tournament this week in Traverse City, Mich. Campbell has agreed to give an inside look at the tournament both on and off the ice. Return to NHL.com for more of Jack Campbell's Traverse City blog throughout the week.

Off-day in Traverse City; practice, mini-golf and great meals
09.14.2010 / 12:30 a.m. (ET)

Today may have been a day off playing games, but the competition definitely did not stop.

In fact, the competition level within our team only got stronger. We started the day with a full hour, long team practice that consisted of tons of shooting drills, some team system work, and most of all a couple of competition drills.

Once practice was over, the boys all gathered up in the locker room for the 2010 Dallas Stars Mini-Golf Tournament Draft. All the rounds on the course over the course of the past few days each player took part in was instrumental towards who got picked where. Pick by pick the fire inside the dressing room rose to new levels.
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Babcock set to show Wings still among elite

Monday, 09.13.2010 / 10:42 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"He's still thinking like a player, but seven years from now he's not going to be thinking like a player. Look at (Lightning GM Steve) Yzerman now, he's management. I'm a big believer in surrounding yourself with the best people and asking them questions. In the end, you have to make your decisions. He'll be a wealth of knowledge for us, if we tap that wealth."
-- Mike Babcock on Chris Chelios

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock never is at a loss for words, but he somehow managed to sum up his thoughts on the upcoming season to just two.

"We're back."

That was his message to Red Wings fans and the rest of the NHL. The reason for Babcock's optimism are both the new and familiar faces in and around the Red Wings' dressing room these days.

The veteran coach recently took the time to sit down with NHL.com at the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament to discuss the 2010-11 season.
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Strong play can put Moore, Skinner in NHL mix

Monday, 09.13.2010 / 9:53 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- It was only last season that forward Jeff Skinner and defenseman John Moore were heating up the ice as teammates for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League.
 
Skinner was in his second season with the Rangers while Moore, a steady influence for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League in 2008-09, was a first-year force along the blue line.
 
Together, they helped lead the Rangers to the Western Conference finals against the Windsor Spitfires, where they lost a dramatic seven-game series to the eventual OHL champion. In 20 playoff games, Moore had 4 goals and 12 assists, while Skinner erupted for 20 goals and 13 assists.

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Yzerman downplaying shootout win versus Wings

Monday, 09.13.2010 / 9:39 AM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"I really didn't think about facing the Red Wings much. I was hoping our kids would play better than last game (a 4-2 loss) and I was focusing on watching our players and trying to get a good feel for them because, by the end of this tournament, we have to decide where these kids are going and what we're doing with them." -- Steve Yzerman

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Steve Yzerman can downplay the victory all he wants. But many of the 21 players who participated in the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect team's 4-3 shootout win against Detroit will never forget it.
 
In one of the more thrilling finishes to any game in the 13-year history of the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament, Yzerman's band of youngsters got the win via a 16-round shootout before a loud and boisterous capacity crowd at Center Ice Arena.
 
It was one of the most anticipated contests on the docket this week since it pitted Yzerman, the former Red Wings legend and current Tampa Bay General Manager, against his former employer. The battle lines were drawn, too, as Yzerman sat with his director of pro scouting, Pat Verbeek, in one corner of the rink, while the Red Wings' brass, including GM Ken Holland and assistant GM Jim Nill, were perched in their usual suite directly opposite.
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Brind'Amour settles into Chapter 2 of career

Sunday, 09.12.2010 / 12:28 PM / Traverse City Prospects Tournament

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.  -- Life after hockey officially began for Rod Brind'Amour Saturday on the opening day of the Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament.

It was indeed strange seeing Brind'Amour in civilian clothes, watching from the stands, but he appears to be settling into his new role as the Carolina Hurricanes' Director of Forward Development. In all honesty, however, Brind'Amour still looks to be in peak physical condition, capable of going hard for three periods. But in his new role with the team, Brind'Amour will instead serve up his offensive expertise and, perhaps, some workout tips, to those promising prospects within the Carolina organization.

"I guess (Saturday) was my first official day (on the job) because everything else I've been doing has almost been the same. I was training with the young kids back in Raleigh and that's almost like working out like I used to do," Brind'Amour told NHL.com. "Now, it's like I'm up in the stands. Not being out there is different, but I'm going to enjoy it. My role with this team right now is working with the younger players, so I'm looking forward to that. It's life after hockey and it's something I've been thinking about for a while. I'm looking forward to this next stage of my life."

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Quote of the Day

With this being the last year [at the Coliseum], we'd love to try to get back to the dance like we did against Pittsburgh and prove ourselves and go even further. It's an important year.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano