February 10, 2011
Buzzing The Net is profiling Canadian Hockey League players who are in their NHL draft season.
Scott Harrington, not yet 18, has become an elder statesmen on the London Knights blueline.
The team's rebuilding has left Harrington, ranked No. 67 among North American skaters by NHl Central Scouting, as the lone London defenceman who has played more than 100 Ontario Hockey League games. The upside of Harrington's team divesting older players to start rebuilding is that it left Harrington and Montreal Canadiens first-round choice Jarred Tinordi to play major minutes, a good chunk of which are against first-line forwards. That will provide an unsparing look at Harrington's potential during the run up to the draft in late June. So far, he's helped the Knights go 8-3-1-0 since the Jan. 10 OHL trade deadline.
"I am sure everyone thought we were packing it in, but we've got a lot o young guys here with good potential," says Harrington, who played in last month's CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game for the side coached by his fellow Kingstonian, Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry. "I don't think anyone expected they would step up this well this quickly. It's a good glimpse of this team in the years to come."
The big question with Harrington boils down to fitting him into the pro game. He seems to be ahead of the curve in reading plays. For instance, on Sunday in Ottawa, he made a lunging attempt to deny the potent Ryan Martindale-Shane Prince-Tyler Toffoli trio from getting a shot on goal on a 3-on-1 rush. At another point, he turned a dangerous-looking 67's rush into a 2-on-1 Knights rush just by intercepting a cross-ice pass and flicking the puck back up ice to centre Jared Knight, a Boston Bruins high second-round choice.
Ultimately, at 6-foot-1 Harrington does not have the reach of the typical stay-at-home defender. However, his smarts and experience beyond his years — before joining London, he capped his pre-OHL season by helping his hometown Kingston Kimco Voyageurs qualify for the the RBC Cup, Canada's national Junior A championship — will endear him to a NHL organization.
Below the jump, the 5 Questions.
"You just have to get stronger every off-season if you are going to compete at the next level against grown men. I feel I am a pretty good skater. That is my advantage. I try to model myself as a shutdown defenceman.
"... The biggest asset I bring to a team is just being hard to play against. My coaches have me against the other teams' top lines. That is something I enjoy doing, having the challenge of facing the other team's top scorers."
2. What do you consider your proudest hockey achievement?
"I'd say being invited to the [CHL/NHL] Top Prospects Game. That was something that was a goal of a mine from last year and last summer. Being able to accomplish that was huge for me and I was very proud of that.
"Playing in the RBC Cup [as a midget call-up in 2009] was also a great experience, being able to see what that level of hockey was like at such a young age. There's a lot of ex-CHL players in that tournament. I was very fortunate."
3. Outside of family, who has had the most influence on your career?
"My trainer in Kingston, Brett Angel. He played in London here and he played in the American league. I've been working with him every summer probably for the last six or severn years. He's been great to me and he kind of showed me what it takes to become a professional player. We've had a good relationship. He's not afraid to push me and try to get the best out of me."
4. What is your favourite rink to play in, other than your own?
"I'd say Belleville's, the Yardmen Arena. I played minor hockey in Kingston, so we played Belleville [which is a one-hour drive away] all the time. I can remember playing in that rink ever since I can remember playing minor hockey. It's such a big ice surface, so it really benefited guys who can skate. So I would say that is my favourite other than the JLC [London's John Labatt Centre]."
5. What is the worst movie you'd had to watch on a team trip?
"We've watched some pretty bad ones, but I would say Step Brothers. We've seen that movie probably 15 times. Whenever guys forget to bring movies, that one always seems to find its way on to the TV."
(Pineapple Express and Step Brothers were collectively responsble for ruining my summer of 2008. — Ed.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports . Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. (Photo: OHL Images.)