Like seeing the first sixers of Oktoberfest in the cooler, the arrival of NHL prospect tournaments is a harbinger that summer is blissfully ending and the dawn of the new hockey season is drawing forever closer.
They're also usually good for a donnybrook or 10, and the rookies in Traverse City and Kitchener have already thrown down, according to HockeyFights.com. Here's a tilt between the Burkian Richard Greenop of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ryan Schnell of the Pittsburgh Penguins up in Kitchener:
Seeing a prospect hockey fight on Labor Day is like hearing a roadie play the first few notes of a classic song during a sound check: Technically unrefined, but just enough to make you crave the real thing. Alex Berry of the Leafs and Zach Sill of the Penguins also had a bout that was less entertaining yet a tad more chaotic
NHL.com is covering the heck out of the Traverse City camp, including a blog by Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman John Moore. ("The first practice was great, it was nice to get on the ice with everyone and get the bus legs out.") Speaking of the Jackets, former quitter Stefan Legein(notes) scored a goal against the Minnesota Wild in Traverse this weekend.
Also, "The Monster" Jonas Gustavsson(notes) made his debut for the Leafs, stopping 35 shots and "looking nearly unbeatable" and "though it's difficult to use the word 'clutch' in reference to the first game of rookie camp, Gustavsson's performance came close." The NHL immediately announced that Gustavsson had won this year's Calder, Vezina and Hart, and that Pierre McGuire will rename his annual list the "All-Gustavsson Team."