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Malone focused on stretch run to playoffs

by Seamus Malone

Forward Seamus Malone is in his second season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League. The 5-foot-9.25, 165-pound left-handed shooting center, who was born in Naperville, Ill., is No. 128 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters. He has 15 goals, 32 points and a plus-11 rating in 34 games for the Fighting Saints in 2013-14. Committed to the University of Wisconsin in 2015-16, Malone has offered to maintain a blog leading up to the 2014 draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Hello all!

Thanks for checking back in with me. As we are now in the second half of the season things are very busy in the competitive USHL. Right now we are in second place in the Eastern Conference and looking to move up. We had a little rough patch in December, losing four in a row, but with the turn of the year we have really been playing well. We had a nice seven-game winning streak and recently had a big win against Waterloo, which is the best team in the league right now. We hope to keep the success going.

A few recent additions have really helped out the team. We added two new goalies in Ben Johansson and Kevin Reich, as well as a big defenseman in Josh Elmes, who we got in a trade from Fargo. All of them have really helped us improve and earn some wins. Our defense has been playing really well.

Over the last few months I have been playing my game and feel I have been playing well. There is always room to improve and I am trying to get better every day, but our team has had great success and ultimately individual success comes with team success. Skill-wise I want to get faster and continue to improve my skating the rest of this season. I'd like to keep getting stronger in the weight room. I also want to make sure to stay out of the penalty box and not take penalties I shouldn't. I've really improved on that aspect of late. I want to play with an edge but make sure to make team decisions and be competitive and hard-nosed in the right situations.

I know the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings came out not too long ago. You can't not hear about that list, but you have to keep it in the back of your mind and just play your game. If a team wants to draft you, they'll draft you. The list is there, but you just put it behind you and really work hard and try to get better every day.

This season I have really enjoyed learning some new things from our coaching staff which basically is an all-new staff. Last year Jim Montgomery was our coach and he was fantastic. I learned so much from Coach Montgomery and am glad to see his success at the University of Denver. This year I love our coaching staff as well. Coaches will change throughout your career, so the more new voices the better. Hearing new coaches and their views just helps me be a more well-rounded player. Matt Millar is our goalie coach and even he helps me a lot as he helps teach me where are good spots to shoot to score.

In the second half of the season we just really need to take it one game at a time. The Eastern Conference is really tight so we need every point. I feel like our team has really jelled and the new additions have been great, so if we stick to our system I think we have a really great shot to continue to be a force in our conference and the league.

Having won the Clark Cup last season I know what it takes to be a champion. And with the playoffs just a few months away I am again excited about the prospect of coming together as a team and doing something special. We have about 20 games left before the postseason but I’m excited what the next several months and beyond will hold.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Follow Seamus Malone on Twitter: @seamus_malone

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