- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net12 hrs ago
There is checking to make an impact and then there is hitting to hurt a valuable player who was in a prone position. The collision on Sunday between Plymouth's Gianluca Curcuruto and Ottawa's Travis Konecny was clearly the latter.
The sport loses when a player of Konecny's gifts gets targeted, and on the first viewing and 21st (as noted), it appeared that Curcuruto was charging and interfered with the 17-year-old NHL draft prospect during Sunday's Plymouth Whalers-Ottawa 67's game. The Ontario Hockey League, in response, has handed down a 12-game suspension to Curcuruto, the Whalers' most seasoned defenceman, citing the player's excessive speed, the distance travelled to deliver a check to the head and the fact it put Konecny out of the game.
This is the longest suspension the OHL has meted out so far this season.
A saving grace for the 20-year-old Curcuruto and the Whalers might be that it was apparently inconclusive whether there was elbowing.. That might have added more games to the suspension.
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net17 hrs ago
Plan the parade? It's easy to forget the state the London Knights were once in but it bears revisiting on the occasion of Mark Hunter taking leave to become the director of player personnel of Toronto Maple Leafs.
On an OHL scale, the Knights had a Leafs-like mien up until the early 2000s — a big-city team that had typically overpromised and underdelivered. Before the Hunters arrived, the Knights had never won a championship in more than 30 seasons' despite being smack-dab in the middle of a hockey hotbed in southwestern Ontario. That's all changed, obviously.
The Knights' consistent — persistent? — success for more than a decade running owes substantially to Mark Hunter hitting the hockey hustings in search of capable players. It's not just about the profitability, although that helps a lot.Wed, Oct 224:00 PM PDTToronto at OttawaPreview Game
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net18 hrs ago
Philippe Cadorette is at the fulcrum of the endless push and pull between performance and process.
Last weekend, the undrafted 19-year-old was the victor twice over as his Baie-Comeau Drakkar took all four points from the Rimouski Océanic and Philippe Desrosiers, one of the goalies whom Hockey Canada had its summer development camp. Drakkar GM Steve Ahern, rather than downplay it, took the opportunity to inveigh about talent evaluators for the national junior team overlooking his guy in favour of goalies who have been anointed by one of the 30 NHL teams.
Cadorette, after helping the Drakkar go to the Quebec League final in successive springs, has a 2.45 average and .921 save percentage so far this season and has helped the Drakkar surge toward the top of a tough division. His play is doing the talking.
Here is the weekly look at who is flowing and who is ebbing across major junior hockey.
Hot: Oshawa Generals
Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...
Philadelphia Flyers first-rounder Travis Sanheim was the truth during a Calgary win, but also lost a tooth. Ouch. (Calgary Sun)
True story: former Kelowna Rockets coach Ryan Huska got his first AHL win on the same night that current Rockets absorbed their first loss. (Regan's Rant)
Celebrating a game-winning goal on the other team's centre-ice logo? Well-done, Moose Jaw Warriors left wing Jaimen Yakubowski, but the Swift Current Broncos might exact a troll toll. (Moose Jaw Times-Herald)
The Saskatoon Blades: they are much better. (The Pipeline Show)Wed, Oct 225:00 PM PDTPhiladelphia at PittsburghPreview Game
As an overage and former NHL draft pick, Joseph Blandisi is a compelling character to watch in the Ontario Hockey League since he is trying to get a foothold someplace constituting the next level. The 20-year-old has been tearing it up since rejoining the Barrie Colts, with 21 points in 10 games to lead all players who are not Connor McDavid, Dylan Strome, or on the power play with that terrific tandem.
It's fair to say, though, that Blandisi's best work was his short-handed strike Saturday in the Colts' win over the Windsor Spitfires, where he put the puck behind his back to play keepaway from defenceman Andrew Burns, then cut across the goal to tuck the puck home.
Burns, indeed. On both the defenceman and the goalie.Wed, Oct 227:30 PM PDTBuffalo at AnaheimPreview Game
Ottawa 67's Travis Konecny felled by blindside hit from Plymouth Whalers' Gianluca Curcuruto (VIDEO)
Travis Konecny sees the ice about as well as any player in the Ontario Hockey League and even he could not see Gianluca Curcuruto coming. Curcuruto, in turn, is in his fifth season in the OHL, which is presumably long enough to have learned by osmosis where the line is drawn on contact to the head.
Nevertheless, during the Plymouth Whalers-Ottawa 67's game on Sunday, Konecny was chasing the puck as it rimmed along the left-wing boards in his end when he received a blow to the head from the Whalers' 20-year-old defenceman. Curcuruto, whose feet might have been off the ice before initiating contact with the 17-year-old Konecny — who never did get to touch the puck on the play — received a checking to the head major/game misconduct.
All checking to the head ejections are subject to an OHL review; you might be looking at the OHL's first significant head suspension of the season.
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net4 days ago
Once he got routed properly at the renovated TD Place, Brian Kilrea was vintage forrm prior to making a one-game return to the Ottawa 67's bench in honour of his 80th birthday.
The Hockey Hall of Famer with a major junior hockey record of 1,193 wins flashed his trademark feigned impatience — "what do you guys want?" — as he entered an interview room two hours before the opening faceoff. It felt like it could have just easily been 1984 or 1999, the seasons which Kilrea's 67's capped off with Memorial Cup victories, as 2014. Or 1974, when Kilrea first went behind the bench.
"I got the brown suit on," Kilrea, who retired from coaching in 2009 and relinquished the GM reins two years later, told reporters. "I had to get it out of mothballs. It was always lucky for me. I had to get the lucky suit.
"I'm going to yell once," he added. But I won't be quiet if it's a bad call."
First-year 67's coach Jeff Brown was the one who had the idea of having Kilrea, who becomes an official octogenerian on Tuesday, make a one-game comeback.
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net4 days ago
For convenient symbolism's sake, it is it tough to top Josh Ho-Sang scoring twice against a goalie whom Canada chose for the past two world junior championships.
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net5 days ago
No. 1 star: Jean Dupuy, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
With overage and alternate captain status comes greater responsibilities, and Dupuy is delivering. The power winger had a career-high four points to help the 'Hounds stay unbeaten thanks to 5-4 decision over the North Bay Battalion, who also came in having yet to lose in regulation time.
The 20-year-old from Orléans, Ont., assisted on both the tying and winning goals in the third period. North Bay took a third-period lead on a snapshot goal from Vancouver Canucks prospect Miles Liberati. Dupuy (1G-3A, +2) and the 'Hounds had a goal waved off due to having a player in the crease, but five minutes after Liberati's goal, Dupuy fed Canucks first-rounder Jared McCann, who drove to the net and tied the game 4-4. With just 4:26 left, Dupuy won a puck battle and got the puck to defenceman Médric Mercier, whose blast from the blueline was redirected by Gabe Guertler for the game-winner.
Dupuy, who attended a NHL camp with the Winnipeg Jets before rejoining the 'Hounds, has eight points in his past three games. That's uncharted waters for someone who had only four multi-point games over his first three seasons.
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net5 days ago
Connor Burgess, this much is obvious, never should have been in a position to become such an object of scorn for much of the Sudbury Wolves fanbase.
The best part about news that the son of Wolves owner Mark Burgess has left to pursue his university studies full-time is that 18-year-old Connor is free to get on with the rest of his life and discover hockey for its own sake, like the rest of us. The worst part might be on the Wolves' end; no longer having the sideshow of playing someone whose only qualification for being in the OHL appeared to be on the back of his jersey removes any distraction from the state of the team.