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Blacker Looking For Second Memorial Cup

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

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Jesse Blacker is the last member of the Maple Leafs organization standing.

The Owen Sound Attack defenceman is the only Leafs prospect in the MasterCard Memorial Cup which begins Friday night with Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors facing the Saint John Sea Dogs at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. writer Mike Ulmer caught up with the only member of the Attack to own a Memorial Cup ring. Blacker won a title at the 2009 Cup in Rimouski while a member of the Windsor Spitfires.

Drafted in the second round by the Maple Leafs in 2009, Blacker scored 10 goals and recorded 54 points while recording a plus 17 this season.

Mike Ulmer: How does it feel to be the last guy standing?
Jesse Blacker: I don’t think too much about being the last guy. I’m more focused on winning this thing but I will admit I was speaking to Brad Ross (a Leafs prospect with Portland) and we agreed how fun it would have been to play against each other here.

Mike Ulmer
: Many of the players at this tournament have been drafted by NHL teams. Many are hoping that a good performance will put them into the draft or push them higher.  Is it harder to justify a past pick, earn a new one or perform in front of your own scouts.
Jesse Blacker: I don’t know what is easier or harder. Draft eligible players might have a little more pressure on them.  There are two scouts here for every game and you are the only guy playing now. There’s a lot of pressure to perform. On the flip side, if you are drafted, there is someone from your team watching you.

Mike Ulmer: What effect does that have?
Jesse Blacker:  It does put a bit more pressure but it drives me to play a little bit better, work a little harder and keep playing the same style that has been successful.

Mike Ulmer: You have been very successful in junior hockey.   How ready are you to and continue our development with the Toronto Marlies?
Jesse Blacker: I think every player would want to take that next step and I think I’m ready to take it.

Mike Ulmer
: Tell me about your play this year.
Jesse Blacker: This year has been a big year in terms of playing a shut-down role, but in doing so I got more points than I have in other years. I learned a lot this year from our coaches. I’ve learned defence first and offence when you can.

Mike Ulmer: How much were you able to watch the Leafs this winter?
Jesse Blacker:  I definitely watched. It’s somewhere you want to play and that’s a way to get better, watch the present level. It’s an exciting thing to be part of a team going in the right direction.
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