Thu Oct 28 03:00pm EDT
Throughout the year, Buzzing The Net is profiling Canadian Hockey League players who are in their NHL draft season.
Boone Jenner might gain the most from a playoff run out of all the Oshawa Generals.
The grind of going six or seven games vs. the same opponent late in the season might give a window into whether Jenner is ready, willing and able to use his body (6-foot-2, 196 pounds) and no-nonsense style to good effect. Jenner, 17, whom International Scouting Service currently has ranked 20th for the 2011 draft, missed out on the post-season in his first Ontario Hockey League campaign. However, Oshawa is now at least capable of winning two playoff rounds in the Eastern Conference.
"The last two years, I know Oshawa's been struggling, but we feel we have the guys to make an impact," says Jenner, who was first toughened up by being toughened up as the youngest of three brothers on a 100-acre cattle farm near London, Ont.
"I think we've already shown we're capable of gearing up for a big playoff run.
"(Last season) was a good year for me to step in the league," adds Jenner, who was on Canada's victorious under-18 team at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament in August. "I got a lot of ice and I guess I ran with it."
Jenner has nine points in as many games for the Generals (6-3-0-2) heading into Thursday's tilt against Peterborough. Suffice to say, he's shown a lot of range, both for fisticuffs (he had a two-game suspension a while back after being part of a line brawl vs. those same Petes) and finesse.
His draft status probably rests in a NHL team's confidence in his myriad qualities will carry over to the next level. He's got the intangibles part down pat, which is no surprise coming from someone whose father, Matt Jenner, was his Triple-A midget coach.
"Boone's outstanding," says Generals coach-GM Chris DePiero. "He's a heart-and-soul guy who just works his butt off every day. I can rely on him in every situation. Great young leader.
"People were talking about his skating, but I think he's dramatically improved in that area," DePiero adds. "He's just so hard on pucks. That compensates a lot."
1. In your mind, what would scouts say is the biggest thing you have to work on between now and when you'll be on the cusp of turning pro?
"My speed and my shot can get better and my hockey sense as well. I'm totally up to doing that. The hockey sense part, it's about making quicker decisions on the ice. I know [Generals captain and New York Islanders first-round pick] Calvin de Haan and other guys on my team have said the NHL is that much more quicker and guys are on you that much more quickly, you don't have as much time."
2. What is the biggest asset you bring to a team?
"Just my compete level and my will to win, playing my game no matter what the score. I try to be the complete package — shoot, score, play power play, penalty kill."
3. Who in the NHL do you look at and say, "I need to play more like him?"
"I like to play like [Philadelphia Flyers centre Mike Richards]. He's a great role model. If I can be compared to him, that would be great."
4. Often, we ask people to recognize the person who's had the biggest impact on their career outside of family members, but your father Matt was your minor hockey coach (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs) and your older brother Leo preceded you in the OHL (as a defenceman with the Plymouth Whalers)? What were the biggest things they imparted to you?
"My older brothers [Leo and Cole] were always very competitive with me, whether it was pond hockey or mini-sticks. It was tough, being the youngest, I got the normal little brother treatment.
"Leo helped me a lot with showing me the ropes. He really helped me learn how fast it is in the OHL and how much you're on the ice. Every day you're working out or you're on the ice in practice. That was what surprised me ... I always felt I worked hard and did the extra stuff, but now I know how much you have to do at the next level.
"My dad helped me out a lot in that aspect [work ethic]. Being a farm boy growing up, he had me working on the farm a lot and showing me dedication. He's really good at that and I learned from him. It's helped a lot. I miss it, being on the farm, but I am definitely where I want to be in Oshawa."
5. Worst movie you've had to watch on the team bus?
"Worst movie on the team bus? I don't know, maybe Rambo or something like that, all the Rambo movies? ... Whenever we don't have any movies we put them in.
"They're not bad, but we've just seen them so many times."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
(Photo: Terry Wilson, OHL Images.)