Saturday, January 30, 2010

On the Mark - Part 3

Each year The Pipeline Show is excited to bring you entries to our blog written by players in their draft year and 2009-10 is no exception. So far we've heard from Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman Mark Pysyk and Prince George Cougars forward Brett Connolly.

Today we're able to bring you the 3rd chapter in Pysyk's ongoing series that we've called 'On the Mark'. The member of the Edmonton Oil Kings represented the team at the annual CHL Top Prospects Game a couple of weeks ago and its that experience that Pysyk (Photo: Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings) shares with our readers today.

Hey everyone, Mark Pysyk here...

I recently got back from the Top Prospects game and I had an amazing time and it was such an incredible experience.

First of all, with the Oil Kings we had 3 games in 3 nights against Regina, Brandon and Moose Jaw on the 15th 16th and 17th of January. I missed the game in Brandon because I was battling the flu the week before and just wasn't feeling well enough to play but after the game on Sunday I went back to Regina and flew out very early on the Monday.

We got to Windsor around noon and went to the hotel for a little down time while other guys were still getting to town. I shared a room with Quinton Howden and we had a great view out our window. Across the river from us was the Joe Louis Arena which we didn't realize for a couple days but that was pretty neat. We had a practice that night. It was great to finally be there and it felt good to get the plane legs out.

The 19th was the day of testing and the skills competition. the testing consisted of 14 on ice time skating drills which wasn't too demanding but the warm up was. The man leading the warm up on the ice told everyone to go about 1/4 speed for the warm up but everyone, thinking the same thing, looked up and saw a ton of NHL scouts so everyone was going 110% for each of them which was probably the hardest part.

The skills competition was definitely a cool thing to be a part of. I was in the fastest skater and came in third place behind Taylor Hall and Alexander Burmistrov. The really exciting part of that event was the 3 on 3 at the end. It was played just like it was on a pond behind somebody's house; everyone was having fun and working hard and trying their best to show off some new dangles.. only one difference - there was a huge crowd watching which made it even more exciting!

The next day was the game day and although it was the same with the pre-game skate and nap and everything, a lot more was on the line and during guy's pre-game naps there was interviews.

The game went well, I remember how nervous I was; I could barely stand my knees were shaking so much! Usually in big games these nerves go away but not this time, so I tried to play a simple game and limit my mistakes which I felt I did. After the game I got a few Bobby Orr autographs.. some pucks, my team Orr jersey... and oh yea.. my Oil Kings jersey. My trainer was not too happy about the last one because I had only worn it one game because we got new jerseys after Christmas but come on... its Bobby Orr right? how can you be mad? Anyways.. I flew home on the 21st to medicine hat with Emerson Etem and we had another 3 in 3 so it was a very tough week but one that I will remember for the rest of my life.

- Mark Pysyk

Mark Pysyk is ranked 9th overall by NHL Central Scouting in their Mid-Term release and he was recently slotted 12th by TSN's Bob McKenzie. The 6'2, 178 lb defenceman has 7 goals, 16 assists for 23 points in 42 games with the Oil Kings. Pysyk was Edmonton's first pick in modern franchise history, selecting him 3rd overall in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft.

(All photos: Aaron Bell & Terry Wilson OHL Images)

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