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Super Series pays off for Pyett

by Brad Holland
Logan Pyett
knew he’d have to be ready from the first drop of the puck. The 19-year-old, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2006 Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, is being counted on to carry a Regina Pats’ offense that lost its top-two leading scorers from last season.

But Pyett has an ace up his sleeve in the early going. After playing in the 2007 Canada/Russia Super Series in late August and early September, he’s more than ready to roll.

“I’m in really good game shape,” he said. “It was a high caliber of hockey against the Russians.”

Pyett didn’t disappoint in his first action with Regina last weekend, helping the Pats defeat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-2 and 5-1, respectively.

The Pats will next face the Red Deer Rebels this Friday at the Brandt Center in Regina. The Rebels, already down one Sutter (Brent), could be without another, Brandon, too if the 2007 first-round selection of the Carolina Hurricanes isn’t returned from the NHL training camp.

You couldn’t blame Pyett if he hopes his Sutter, his Canadian Super Series teammate, remains in the NHL just a little bit longer. First, he wants to see his friend and teammate succeed, especially after their time spent together in Russia and Western Canada. Perhaps more importantly, Pyett knows that without Sutter’s aggressive, hard-hitting style and penalty killing prowess, Regina will have a better chance at continuing their early season success.

Nevertheless, Pyett knows he has been given a great gift, coming into his team’s first few games already in game shape. He realizes that with each new practice and game is just another chance to get better, a chance to learn the little things that will help him become a better pro.

”I’m excited to compete here and excited to go back to Junior and continue to develop,” he said.

Around the WHL -- Zach Hamill, the eighth-overall pick from this year’s NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins, had 98 points last season in the WHL, playing for one of the most defensive-minded coaches in the league in Kevin Constantine.  A former NHL head coach in San Jose, Calgary, Pittsburgh and New Jersey, Constantine has left to join the American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros, and Hamill is back with another year of development under his belt. A 100-plus point season, barring any surprises, seems all but guaranteed. … Michael Repik, who was signed by the Florida Panthers earlier this summer, had two goals and an assist in the Vancouver Giants’ first game of the season. He added two assists in his second game and sits tied atop the WHL scoring race with five points in two games. … The Medicine Hat Tigers, who claimed the WHL title last season, will be looking to have players step up all over the ice. Goaltender Matt Keatley, along with forwards Derek Dorsett and Darren Helm, will be moving on to begin their respective professional careers. So, the Tigers will be looking to veterans like Tyler Ennis to step up. Ennis, who is eligible for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, scored 26 goals and 50 points in 71 games last season. He has picked up where he left off, scoring four goals in Medicine Hat’s first two games. … When the Lethbridge Hurricanes selected Luca Sbisa, a Swiss defenseman, with the 69th overall selection in the 2007 CHL Import Draft, it’s unlikely that many eyebrows were raised. But that doesn’t mean Sbisa won’t be turning heads this season, as evidenced by his debut (three assists) for the Hurricanes in their 4-3 win over the Tigers in the opening game for both teams. … The Edmonton Oil Kings have looked sharp in their expansion season, with wins in the first two games. CHL Import Draft first-overall selection Tomas Vincour -- appearing in his second WHL game -- scored two goals and added an assist in the Oil Kings’ 6-3 win over the Kooteny Ice. He is also eligible for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Ontario Hockey League

John Tavares showed everyone why he is one of the most highly touted prospects in all of hockey with a pair of four-point nights in the opening weekend for the Oshawa Generals.

Taveres scored a goal and added three assists Friday against the Sudbury Wolves before notching two goals and two assists on Saturday against the Belleville Bulls. His Oshawa Generals won both games.

Tavares and Belleville’s Shawn Matthias sit atop the OHL scoring race with eight points apiece. Matthias was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 2006, but was dealt to the Florida Panthers in the Todd Bertuzzi trade last spring.

Around the OHL -- Stefan Legein, a member of Team Canada at the Super Series, wasted no time in getting off to a hot start for his Niagara IceDogs. He scored two goals and added an assist in his first game back with the club, then scored again in his second game. … The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds took one look at their schedule for 2007-08 and likely weren’t too happy with what they saw -- three road games to open the season. But on the strength of James Livingston (four goals, two assists), the Greyhounds won all three games. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound Livingston has been compared to Cam Neely by one member of the Greyhounds’ staff and is eligible for the 2008 NHL Draft. … The other 3-0 team in the OHL, the Ottawa 67’s, was more than happy to see Logan Couture returned from the San Jose Sharks’ training camp. Couture scored and added four assists in wins over Barrie, Brampton and Kingston. … Steve Stamkos, a member of the Sarnia Sting and an early favorite to go first overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, helped his seventh-ranked club defeat the No. 1-ranked London Knights in the opening game for each club. Stamkos scored a goal and then assisted on the game-winning, power-play goal.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

The most interesting news was made off the ice over the weekend, when the Halifax Mooseheads and Drummondville Voltigeurs swapped picks and players.

The Mooseheads acquired Pier-Olivier Pelletier and the fourth-round selection of the Voltigeurs’ in 2009 for winger Garrett Peters and third- and seventh-round picks in 2008.

Pelletier, the Phoenix Coyotes’ second-round pick in 2005, won 29 games for the Voltiguers last season with a 2.97 GAA and .901 save percentage. Peters had 22 goals and 17 assists in 61 games for the Mooseheads last season.

Around the QMJHL -- PEI Rocket Brett Morrison earned the TELUS Offensive Player of the Week award for his five goals and two assists in a win against the Lewiston MAINEiacs (4-1) and a split with the St. John’s Fog Devils. … Kevin Desfosses earned the defensive player of the week honors with two shutout wins vs. the Val-d’Or Foreurs and the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. His 2-0 shutout of the Foreurs gave the Remparts and head coach Patrick Roy their first win of the season. His 1.92 GAA is now good for third in the League.

Around the Horn -- The CHL has released the pre-season CHL Mosaik MasterCard Top 10 Rankings for the 2007-08 season. The weekly rankings, selected by a panel of NHL scouts, are as follows: 1 London Knights 2. Calgary Hitmen 3. Halifax Mooseheads 4. Everett Silvertips 5. Niagara IceDogs 6. Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 7. Sarnia Sting 8. Rimouski Oceanic 9. Val-d’Or Foreurs 10. Oshawa Generals

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