Buzzing The Net
- Kelly Friesen at Buzzing The Net2 hrs ago
Look no further than the Western Hockey League for proof that size doesn’t always matter. Starting with Kelowna Rockets star forwards Rourke Chartier and Nick Merkley, who have 45 points apiece, the league’s top seven goal scorers all measure in at under 6-feet.
Not to imply that smaller players can’t play with an edge, but it’s somewhat unforeseen because the WHL has a reputation as the more rugged major junior league in the CHL. Developing the likes of Boston Bruins star Milan Lucic, Nashville Predators blueliner Shea Weber and Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf has helped build that reputation of truculence. But when considering how speed and skating has become the be-all and end-all to some degree, it’s not that surprising to see size become less of a factor.
“I don’t think it’s that surprising because we have a lot of elite, skilled players in our league that are under 6-feet,” says Moose Jaw Warriors GM Alan Millar. “Skating and hockey sense are so important in how the game is played right now that if you can do those things well, you can succeed in this league.”
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net13 hrs ago
No. 1 star: Stuart Skinner, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
The 16-year-old Skinner, who was injured at the world under-17 challenge, made some memories in his first start for the 'Canes in 31 days. Skinner, AKA Seymour Pucks, was the epitome of refreshed and relaxed as he earned his first WHL shutout by kicking out all 37 Vancouver Giants shots in a 4-0 win that ended Lethbridge's nine-game winless skid.
Hurricanes captain Jamal Watson (2G, +3) opened the scoring exactly 60 seconds in to provide some support for the young goaler. The 6-foot-4 Skinner made 10 saves in the first period and 13 in a tight second before the 'Canes got a backbreaking power-play goal in the final minute of a frame against the fragile Giants, who fired coach Troy Ward prior to the game.
Along with Watson, Riley Sheen (4A, +3) was also a man of the hour for Lethbridge. The night belonged to Skinner, who still has another two seasons until he's up for the NHL draft but is already wowing the WHL cognoscenti with how well he fills the goal. Despite being on a sub-.500 team, Skinner has a 3.23 average and .919 save percentage in 15 games.
No. 2 star: Calder Brooks, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
- Scott Sepich at Buzzing The Net18 hrs ago
The Vancouver Giants dropped a late-afternoon bombshell on the junior hockey world today by announcing that first-year head coach Troy Ward had been fired after just 25 games on the job. The timing was odd, given that the Giants are currently on a road trip through the WHL's Eastern Conference and have a game tonight in Lethbridge.
A short press release hit the Giants' website at 3:56 p.m., and suggested that the primary motivation was the team's disappointing 9-16 start under Ward:
“Obviously with where we are in the standings, it just wasn’t working with Troy,” said Giants General Manager Scott Bonner. “This is the unfortunate part of sports, but we thought change was needed. We wish Troy all the best in the future.”
The sudden move is shocking given that the Giants engaged in a lengthy coaching search after parting ways with Don Hay — who coached the Giants for 10 seasons — in the offseason. Hay is now coaching the rival Kamloops Blazers.
Canucks prospect Cole Cassels gets 10-game OHL ban for check to head; high NHL draft prospect Pavel Zacha sitting for 6Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net23 hrs ago
Throw a check with more force than is necessary to change the flow of play in the Ontario Hockey League and you'll likely miss some games.
The moment the Oshawa Generals' Cole Cassels drilled Owen Sound defenceman Damir Sharipzyanov in the corner of the offensive zone on Sunday, there wasinstant recognition a suspension would be coming. On Wednesday, the OHL meted out a 10-game ban to the Vancouver Canucks prospect (and world junior team hopeful) for the check to the head, while also sitting down Sarnia Sting rookie Pavel Zacha for a boarding penalty during a game last weekend vs. the Erie Otters.
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net1 day ago
Come one, come all for the Buzzing The Net CHL Chatravaganza that is slated for Thursday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.
Please join Sunaya Sapurji, Mike Sanderson, Kelly Friesen, Neate Sager and the rest of the Yahoo! Jr. Hockey crew for the blogetariat's most popular, approximately one hour long discussion dedicated to all things junior hockey. Topics typically range far and wide, but the Vancouver Canucks' decision not to send Bo Horvat, the potential impact on Team Canada (and all the debate that usually revolves around that) along with an arena sale that affects the Plymouth Whalers likely figure to be topical.
Please remember the Chatravaganza is BYOP — bring your own peanuts.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.Fri, Nov 284:00 PM PSTVancouver at ColumbusPreview Game
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net1 day ago
Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...
Coming off consecutive losses, Washington Capitals prospect Madison Bowey and the Kelowna Rockets have to make sure a blip doesn't become a full-on slump. (Kelowna Daily Courier)
Losing at home to Prince Albert was a nadir of Edmonton's season. Coach Steve Hamilton: " I’m tired of using the youth card, I’m tired of using the inexperience. Answer the bell as a group." (Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun)
Regina has a shot at a winning West Coast trip if it wins in Prince George on Wednesday night. (Regina Leader-Post)Fri, Nov 282:00 PM PSTNY Islanders at WashingtonPreview Game
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net1 day ago
Eight is enough for a change atop the Dynamic Dozen. Michael Dal Colle and the streaking Oshawa Generals are the first OHL Eastern Conference team in several seasons to top BTN's weekly exercise in quantifying the play of all 60 major junior teams, thanks to their streak and a two-game stumble by the Kelowna Rockets.
Dal Colle was in on every Generals goal during a 3-2 win last Sunday over the Owen Sound Attack and saying that might not have done justice to his play. The two teams each depend on being able to foster a certain enmity — toughess for its own sake — every time out and seemed determined to out do each other in that regard. In those conditions, Dal Colle rose above it to keep the Generals going .Thu, Nov 275:00 PM PSTEdmonton at NashvillePreview Game
- Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net2 days ago
You don't have to be Nostradamus to know the last place Sudbury Wolves have been trying to move star forward Nick Baptiste for a while.
The deal was finally brokered on Monday when the Wolves sent the 19-year-old Buffalo Sabres prospect to the powerhouse Erie Otters. In exchange the Wolves 19-year-old forward Travis Wood, 17-year-old defenceman Cole Mayo, two second round picks and two third round picks. The only thing that's missing is the partridge in a pear tree.
"We worked on (the trade) for a while," said Erie Otters general manager Sherry Bassin on Monday afternoon. "I've been a fan of (Baptiste's) since midget hockey, you couldn't help but be a fan because he's got skill, he's got high character and I can't say enough about him.
"I think Buffalo got one hell of a player."
The Wolves with their 4-19 record get a nice young prospect in Mayo and some picks to rebuild for the future since this season is practically a write off.Fri, Nov 284:00 PM PSTMontreal at BuffaloPreview Game
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net3 days ago
No. 1 star: Anthony Richard, Val-d'Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
The 17-year-old Richard provided the Foreurs with the extra juice to get a 6-5 overtime win over Chicoutimi in the final leg of a road trip. The Foreurs trailed by four goals entering the third period, thanks to Arizona Coyotes prospect Laurent Dauphin netting a short-handed goal for Chicoutimi late in the second.
The Saguenéens are a porous team defensively, though, and Val-d'Or refused to roll over. Richard (3G, +1), who scored a double-overtime goal last May at the Memorial Cup, cued up the comeback by scoring with 13:07 left. After Vytal Côté cut the score to 5-3 with 8:07 to play, Chicoutimi figuratively began to reach for the panic button on the Collapse-o-Matic 3000 command console. Consecutive roughing penalties to Alexandre Ranger turned into consecutive goals by Richard to force overtime. Richard's hat-trick goal with 4:31 left was his team-leading 16th of the year, but fellow 17-year-old Julien Gauthier pulled into a share of the Foreurs' team lead by getting the OT winner.
No. 2 star: Jon Martin, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
- Neate Sager at Buzzing The Net4 days ago
No. 1 star: Nikolaj Ehlers, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Don't worry, Canada, Team Denmark is in the other pool for the world junior championship. The Dashing Dane helped Halifax score an 8-2 win over Rimouski Océanic, who have three players in consideration for the national junior team. Ehlers (1G-3A, +2) opened the scoring with a wraparound goal in the first period, then dismantled Rimouski's defence with three helpers by the end of the second period, including two that came against the line of Toronto Maple Leafs first-rounder Frédérik Gauther (1G, -3), a potential returnee for the national team. Rimouski had Philadelphia Flyers first-rounder Samuel Morin back from missing several weeks with a facial fracture, apparently to no avail.
No. 2 star: Mitchell Marner, London Knights (OHL)Fri, Nov 2810:00 AM PSTNY Rangers at PhiladelphiaPreview Game