Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ennis 6 - Raiders 2

Edmontonian Tyler Ennis helped out his home town last night, taking out the Prince Albert Raiders in a 6-2 win, by scoring all 6 goals!!!! The Raiders are battling the Oil Kings for the final playoff spot. The 6 pack is one goal short of the WHL record held by 5 different skaters. The last to do it was former Swift Current Bronco Kimbi Daniels (who just happens to hail from Brandon)who just happened to score all 7 in a win over Medicine Hat 9 years ago.

The Buffalo Sabres first round pick notched his first 3 goals (a natural hattrick) in an 11:13 span of the 2nd period. He scored 2 more, giving him 5 in a row in, 1:57apart in the 3rd, before adding his 6th late in the final frame, and as you would expect in a 6-2 game it wasn't an empty netter. The outburst gives the gold medalist with Canada's World Junior team 41 on the season, pushing him past the 40 goal mark for the 2nd time and putting him in a tie for 3rd in WHL scoring. He might only be 5.09, 164 lbs (listed anyway) but if he can be this explosive it should overcome any shortcomings (pun intended) his size might present.

Just give him the POW award already.

One on One: Max Pacioretty

Earlier this month the Montreal Canadiens made a stop in Edmonton and were soundly beaten 7-2. That morning I had the chance to speak with rookie forward Max Pacioretty for an extended interview for online magazine Future Considerations.

The former 1st rounder has rocketed to the NHL after a single year in the USHL (Rookie of the Year) and another single season in the NCAA (CCHA Rookie of the Year). I asked him if his rapid success has surprised him.

The NHL freshman has 3 goals and 10 points thus far through 25 games and has played alongside a myriad of linemates including captain Saku Koivu.

We also talked about the rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State that boiled over this year when his former teammate and friend Steven Kampfer was attacked by a pair of Spartans. Making the story more complicated is that a fellow Canadiens prospect was one of the MSU players who went after Kampfer. You'll hear what Pacioretty had to say about the entire matter.

And does a boy from Connecticut playing for the Sioux City Musketeers have any idea what it means to be chosen by the Montreal Canadiens when he first hears his name called on draft day?

All that and more from Montreal's 'Max Pac' can be found in the archives at the website for The Pipeline Show or you can take the shortcut and click HERE.

Falcons furios comeback falls short, NHL's hottest goalie stops them in 3rd, new gear from Mad Brothers.

Springfield failed to pick up their 9th point in their last 12 games Friday, despite throwing everything at Lowell in the 3rd period. Scott Clemenson, recently sent down by the Unholy for contract reasons, continued his red hot play for the New Jersey lite. He was 25-13-1 while filling in for Martin Brodeur but once it was Marty's Party again, the former Boston College Eagle returned to the AHL, and the Falcons found out what it was like to face an NHL calibre goalie, even if he was only one for 40 games.

Ryan Stone scored a pair in the 3rd where the Falcons peppered Clemmensen with 16 shots and 36 overall, but ended up losing 3-2. Newly acquired Charles Linglet continued his fine play for Springfield, setting up both Stone goals. The 6.02, 212 pound left winger has 6 points in his 5 falcon games and 15 in 11 overall in February.

The loss Friday comes on the heel of an overtime win Wednesday over Portland. It was a big night for the D pairing of Taylor Chorney and Cody Wild. Wild scored the O.T. winner and was plus 2. Chorney set up another and was plus 3. Springfield is on the road Saturday against the Sharks farmhands.

As for the Oil Kings, they lost in overtime in Swift Current. Edmonton climbed back in this one after trailing 2-1, only to have speedy creek win it in next goal wins time. However Edmonton gets a point, while Prince Albert lost, so the OK kids occupy 8th place alone, by one point with 6 games to go for each. Both clubs are in action Saturday against weaker teams. Edmonton is in the Jaw to face the Warriors, while the Raiders take on Red Deer.

It's funny how both teams under the Oilers umbrella are scrapping to get into the big dance. Three of the Kings 6 games are against the 2 worst teams in the East - 1 vs. MJ and a home and home series to end the season with RD - while the Oilers have 8 of their next 21 games against teams they lead by atleast 3 points in the west or are out of it in the East. They also play 6 games against the teams they are fighting for spots 7 and 8 (Minnesota, Anaheim, Nashville, Vancouver) I figure it's a coin toss whether the Oilers get in, while the Oil Kings have to just out preform one team down the stretch. It would be very cool to see double the playoff hockey in Edmonton after having none at the highest levels for 2 years.

And finally, you may have noticed Guy and I in our styling Hamilton Mustang Jerseys (top right of page) well now the producers of the jersey's from the best junior hockey movie ever made, Youngblood, have more gear from the flick. Mad Brothers has added a Carl Racki #20 jersey to their roster, along with just about anything you can imagine from the movie slap shot. Check 'em out if you're a sweater collector like myself and tell 'em The Pipeline Show sent you.

Friday, February 27, 2009

One on One: Brenden Dowd

He's the team captain, leading goal scorer and top point getter but he's only got 7 more WHL games left in his career.

Brenden Dowd leads the Edmonton Oil Kings into action tonight as the club visits Swift Current for the first stage of a 2-game road trip. Edmonton enters the fray tied for the 8th and final playoff spot with the Prince Albert Raiders who are also in action tonight - in Medicine Hat.

The Pipeline Show caught up with Dowd after Wednesday night's home win over Red Deer, a conversation that you can hear HERE.

Dowd talks about everything from current events with the team, his feelings last year when he was picked up in the expansion draft, what may be in his future and of course whether or not he was going to get the Oil Kings into the post season.

The Saskatoon native leads Edmonton with 26 goals and 59 points and is red hot right now with 16 points in his last 14 games. He was originally property of the Kamloops Blazers before being snapped up by Bob Green in the expansion draft. His NHL rights are up for grabs so the unrestricted free agent is there for the taking but right now he's trying not to look too far ahead.

Dowd's hoping to add at least 4 playoff dates to his remaining WHL career.

(photos courtesy: Edmonton Oil Kings/Andy Devlin)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Moore From The Pipeline - Part 1

Hello, my name Is John Moore and I am really excited to be keeping a blog in the upcoming months leading up to the draft. It’s my first experience with one so I’ll ask you to bear with me!

I am from Winnetka, Illinois, which is about 20 miles north of Chicago. I grew up playing for the Chicago Young Americans and then made the switch to the Chicago Mission for my bantam and midget years. With the Mission, I had the opportunity to play for Steve Smith, who played a couple of years in Edmonton. He was a great coach and our families remain close to this day. His son, Barron, recently had shoulder surgery and so he is back in town from Peterborough where he was playing for the Petes. Barron and I are going to meet up some time this week and go bowling which should be a good match now that he is reduced to one arm (I am absolutely brutal).

I play for the Chicago Steel in the USHL, and one of the benefits of this is that I live at home during my junior career. This year, I have two teammates living with me in Alex Simonson and Philip Samuelsson. It has been a tremendous experience living with these guys and I couldn’t ask for two better roommates.

This year for the Steel has been up and down. We are a young team that was a bit inconsistent in the beginning of the year. We are currently chasing the Waterloo Blackhawks for the fourth and final playoff spot in the east division. We trail them by just three points and are just taking things one day at a time, game to game. I’ve had a lot of fun this year though and love coming to the rink everyday.

Earlier this year, our captain Mike Walsh had season ending shoulder surgery and I was named captain. It was a tremendous honor to be named captain and it is a responsibility that I have enjoyed every minute of. One thing that I definitely need to work on is my pre-game speeches though. I’m a pretty quiet kid who sticks to himself and early on my speeches were a little rough, most of the guys would start giggling—they were that bad. I’ve come a long way in that department though and most of my teammates gave me the thumbs up when I appeared on The Pipeline Show earlier this month.

John Moore is ranked 17th overall by International Scouting Services (Feb '09) and 8th in North America by NHL Central Scouting (mid-term rankings). The 6'2 and 189 lbs defender currently has 13 goals and 33 points in 43 games this year with Chicago in the USHL. He recently made his first appearance on The Pipeline Show on February 10th.

(photos courtesy: The USHL and the Chicago Steel)

Tangradi Dealt to Pittsburgh

The NHL trade deadline is rapidly coming up and today saw a fairly significant deal between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Anaheim Ducks which included Eric Tangradi of the Belleville Bulls.

Certianly the deal will be looked at more for the NHL players changing sweaters - Chris Kunitz goes to PGH for Ryan Whitney - but Tangradi shouldn't be overlooked in this trade. The Belleville captain was a 2nd round pick by Brian Burke's Anaheim Ducks in 2007 after he ended that season on a tear including 17 points in 15 playoff games.

The next year he helped get the Bulls to the Memorial Cup and he had 18 more playoff points on the way there.

Tangradi played for USA at the 2009 World Junior Championship in Ottawa and is known for his tenacious in-your-face style of play. At 6'4 and 221 lbs he's already NHL size and with 38 goals and 87 points this year in the OHL, he's clearly ready for a bigger challenge next year. The newly turned 20-year-old should find a place with the Penguins sooner rather than later.

Good pick up by Pittsburgh but I realy like the guy they gave up in the trade too.

New head Hound in Notre Dame, and TPS adds another blogger.

It's come to my attention that Notre Dame will have a new head coach for it's Junior A team next year. Mike Vandeberghe is leaving the team at the end of the season. The former Brandon Wheat King D-man will help out with the University of Regina as well as help out with team Western for the U-17's. "Big Red" is also heading to Romania this spring to help coach the countries national team alongside former Brandon University Bobcat head coach Tom Skinner. This means in two years the Hounds will have a new coach for their Junior A team as well as AAA midget team after Dale Derkatch left to coach Regina of the WHL.

Speaking of "Joe Pesci" as some have dubbed Derkatch, someone asked me today through a text message if his job was in jeopardy because the Pats post Christmas slide. From what I've heard, G.M. Brent Parker is standing behind his man. But that has been the kiss of death for coaches in the past.

One final note, starting next week on this day, TPS will welcome CKPG TV sports director Allan Bristowe for the "Down-lo with Bristowe". Big Al will give us his take on the WHL's western conference and other items in the world of prospects. However we may have to rein Bristowe in if the P.A. Raiders beat out the Oil Kings for the 8th and final playoff spot, as Prince Albert is his home town. On the bright side, Bristowe is also cut from the goalie cloth so there will be more pipeman talk from The Pipeline Show. I'm very pleased to welcome my old Western Academy Broadcasting College buddy to "Coming Down The Pipe"

Close... But No Bacon!

The Edmonton Oil Kings were 4-1 winners over the Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday night much to the chagrin of the crowd at Rexall Place. Confused? The local team has a promotion that should the Oil Kings score five goals, every fan in attendance gets a free Big Bacon Classic from Wendy's... and, well, the fans wanted their bacon!

At one point in the game I heard a fan yell towards the Red Deer bench "Pull the goalie!"... that was with about 10 minutes left in the third period.

Off topic for a second here but, if you haven't seen commedian Jim Gaffigan's routine on bacon... do yourself a favor and get ready to chuckle:

Anyway... back to the Oil Kings. Thanks to last night's win the second year club is still tied with the P.A. Raiders for the 8th and final playoff spot in the WHL's Eastern Conference. Since getting thumped 11-2 by Spokane a while back, the Oil Kings have been pretty decent and some players in particular are white hot.

Brenden Dowd has 16 points in the last 14 games while Tomas Vincour potted a pair of goals last night and now has 6 points in 3 games since returning from a shoulder injury. Netminder Torrie Jung, a guest on The Pipeline Show next Tuesday, has been sharp since returning from a concussion.

I spoke with Vincour after last night's game... you can hear that interview HERE.

The Oil Kings are on the road this weekend for games in Swift Current and Moose Jaw then return home for 5 games in March, 4 of them at Rexall Place.

As always, you can catch Oil Kings action live on the TEAM 1260 with A.J. Jacubec painting the picture.

(photo courtesy: Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oil Kings)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Warriors staying put, other WHL notes

A few reports coming out of Moose Jaw has the city voting 60% in favor of a multi-plex arena which would keep the Warriors from leaving the city. The current barn, dubbed the "Crushed Can" isn't up to WHL standards, and if a new rink wasn't in the plans, the club would have been forced to move. This is good news to me, and I'm sure the Regina Pats who have one of the best rivalries in sports going with the Tribe. I guess I can put my Winnipeg Warriors jersey back in the closet as the team isn't heading back to it's original city.

The WHL again has 4 teams in the CHL top ten and the Brandon Wheat Kings have now moved up to 8th spot. Vancouver wasn't able to get past Calgary in the top 10 after Kelowna put up a Giant performance in Vancouver with a 6-2 win. Windsor remains number 1 and have been in the rankings every period this year.

1. Windsor (52-6-0-1)
2. Calgary (54-7-3-1)
3. Vancouver (49-7-1-3)
4. Drummondville (47-10-0-4)
5. Shawinigan (47-12-2-0)
6. Belleville (41-15-2-2)
7. Saskatoon (44-15-3-1)
8. Brandon (42-16-3-1)
9. Moncton (44-10-2-4)
10. Brampton (39-18-1-1)

Werek's World - Part 1

Hello everyone, my name is Ethan Werek and I’ve been asked to write a blog leading up to the draft.

I’ll start off with a little background information about myself. I’m from Goodwood, Ontario which is a small hamlet about an hour north east of Toronto (assuming there is no traffic). I started playing hockey in Stouffville but I played my minor hockey with the Toronto Marlies in the GTHL and spent last season with the Stouffville Spirit of the OPHJL. This season, I play for the Kingston Frontenac’s of the OHL. Kingston is a great town about three hours east of Toronto. I also attend Queen’s University where I’m taking Politics.

This year our team has struggled and we have found ourselves on the outside of the play-offs and in the basement of the O, but we’ve been playing some better hockey of late, beating teams like Ottawa, London and Brampton.

In November our team had a coaching change that made some big news by hiring hockey legend and local Kingston boy, Doug Gilmour. It was amazing to have Doug, or as many refer to him as “killer” on the ice with us teaching us the game that he played for 20 years at its highest level.

At a recent Toronto Maple Leafs game, Doug Gilmour was honoured by the hanging of his number at the ACC. That night, all of our team members were in attendance courtesy of Mike Zigomanis of the Pittsburgh Penguins and a former Kingston Frontenac.

This past weekend we had three games and had one of our best weekends taking 2 of the 3 games. Thursday we travelled down the 401 to Oshawa to play then Gen’s. We started off slow, down two goals, but rallied and took the game 4-2. The next night we were back in Kingston to play Niagara who are one of the top teams in the east. We played hard and took that game as well 4-2. We had Saturday off so I enjoyed the day with some of the boys at “all you can eat sushi” and a movie. Sunday we played Kitchener at home. We started off slow, but played them hard: however we fell short with the score being 3-2. All in all we had a pretty good weekend and hopefully we will continue to play well with only 10 games left this year.

Next weekend we’re at home on Friday playing Peterborough and then we hit the road to play Sarnia on Saturday, then London on Sunday. I believe the game Sunday will be on Sportsnet.

Until my next report, have a good one.

Ethan Werek

Ethan Werek is ranked 24th overall by International Scouting Services (Feb '09) and 43rd in North America by NHL Central Scouting (mid-term rankings). The 6.05' and 191 lbs forward currently has 26 goals and 51 points in 56 games this year with Kingston. He recently made his first appearance on The Pipeline Show on February 17th.

(photos courtesy: Kingston Frontenacs and the National Post)

2009 NHL Draft Prospect Blogs

Last year The Pipeline Show was fortunate to welcome a pair of guest bloggers in Camrose Kodiaks forward Joe Colborne and Jordan Eberle of the Regina Pats. Both players took the time to share the experience of playing for the RBC Cup or the NHL Draft combine as well as the events leading up to and after the NHL Draft itself.

The Pipeline Show is excited to announce that the tradition will continue again this season as the 2009 NHL Draft approaches.

We have plans to have 2009 eligible prospects from the WHL, OHL, QMJHL and USHL on board who will periodically update how things are going for their team and for them as individuals during this pivotal season in their careers.

We are not going to release the names of the players who will guest blog with us until their first entires are ready to be released but I will go so far as to say that every player who will be on board is considered to be a high profile 2009 draft prospect.

The first edition of the guest blogs for 2009 will be posted... later today!

Wednesday Re-Set

Last night on The Pipeline Show we began with the 2009 Draft Prospect Performers of the Week (see below) and then spoke with the top ranked defenceman available this June for the NHL entry draft (not named Hedman). Simon Despres of the Saint John Sea Dogs told us about his year and was blunt when asked how the team felt earlier this year when the management traded away two of their best players at the deadline.

Oiler fans will be pleased to hear how well Chris Vande Velde has been playing as of late, picking up the WCHA Player of the Week award for the second consecutive week thanks to a recent hat trick. The Moorehead product talked about the team's struggles early on this year and how they've managed to turn things around for another strong finish, like every other year at UND. And speaking of an annual event, Vande Velde has been to the Frozen Four in both of his seasons with the sioux and we asked him if anything less this year would be considered a failure. Plus for the Oiler fans who only care to know when "Vandy" will turn pro - we asked, and he answered.

International Scouting Services has released their February rankings and that meant it was time for Mike Oke to make his return to the program. The head scout talked about a number of players including those down south with the USA U18 development program like Jeremy Morin, Drew Shore and a player The Pipeline Show is getting more and more interest in - Kyle Palmieri.

From the U18 squad to the goalies for 2009, Oke was asked if it compared to last year where it was a strong crop that didn't look that way halfway through the season. Oke also gave us scouting reports of Swiss netminder Benjamin Conz as and Swede Robin Lehner.

Finally, John Moore has become a bit of a favorite for TPS and one scout recently told us that he felt the Chicago blueliner's skating is so impressive that "people would pay money just to see this kid do laps!" Did Oke agree?

Our final interview of the night was a scrum turned one-on-one that Dean had earlier in the day with Tampa Bay rookie Steven Stamkos. The budding star talked about his year thus far, the ups and downs, what it's like playing with guys like Vincent Lecavalier and then also gave us his predictions for the OHL playoffs this year.

What didn't make it into the show last night was a couple of conversations that Dean had with Tampa Head Coach Rick Tocchet where he asked the bench boss about Stamkos as well as netminder Karri Ramo. Vincent Lecavalier also talked to Millard about Stamkos and, like always, had some interesting things to say.

If you missed it live, click the archive! The entire February 24th show can be found archived right HERE.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2009 Draft Prospect Performers Of The Week

Each week, International Scouting Services (ISS), Sports Management Worldwide (SMWW), Hockey Now, and The Pipeline Show recognize the Top Draft Eligible player from each of the WHL, OHL, QMJHL, & USHL leagues for the upcoming 2009 NHL Entry Draft based on their play over the course of the week. You can hear some of them Tuesday's on TPS.

Ontario Hockey League – Calvin de Hann, Oshawa Generals
Calvin de Haan wins this week’s OHL award after posting 2 goals and 4 assists in 4 games for the Generals. de Haan, who assumed an a greater role on the Oshawa blueline after the departure of Michael Del Zotto, currently sits 7th amongst defensemen and 5th amongst rookies in scoring this season with 7 goals and 52 points. The native of Carp, ON logs a lot of minutes in all situations and is very confident with the puck on his stick.

Calvin de Haan
Born May 9 1991 -- Carp, ONT
Height 6.00 -- Weight 170 -- Shoots L

Western Hockey League – Brayden Schenn, Brandon Wheat Kings

Brayden Schenn picks up another award this week after notching 2 goals and adding 4 assists alongside a plus- 6 rating in 3 games. Schenn, a native of Saskatoon, SK has 28 goals and 60 points for Brandon, who currently sit third in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. Schenn has great hands and hockey sense as well as the ability to be physical when necessary.

Brayden Schenn
Born Aug 22 1991 -- Saskatoon, SASK
Height 6.00 -- Weight 196 -- Shoots L

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League – Jordan Caron, Rimouski Oceanic

Jordan Caron (left at the Top Prospects Game) takes home another draft performer of the week award after recording 3 goals and 4 assists in 3 games for the Oceanic. Caron has 32 goals and 25 assists for 57 points in 49 games this season, his third with Rimouski. Caron is a player with good size who plays a well rounded two-way game. The Oceanic are hosting the 2009 Memorial Cup.

Jordan Caron
Born Nov 2 1990 -- Sayabec, PQ
Height 6.02 -- Weight 196 -- Shoots L

United States Hockey League – Philip Samuelsson, Chicago Steel

Philip Samuelsson wins his first award after putting up 5 assists and a plus- 3 rating in 3 games this week.

Samuelsson is currently in his rookie season in the USHL and has posted a solid 17 assists from the Chicago blueline. Samuelsson is known for his checking ability and a strong shot from the point. He's the son of former NHLer and current Coyotes assistant coach Ulf, and is property of the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.

Philip Samuelsson
Born Jul 26 1991 -- Scottsdale, AZ
Height 6.02 -- Weight 195

Monday, February 23, 2009

Top 5 Tuesday:Falcons and others who could be flying the coup next year

Today we take a look at 5 Oilers prospects who could be looking for another organization next season.

5. David Rohlfs
The Oilers drafted Rohlfs in the 5th round of the 2003 draft out of the North American Hockey League. In his draft year he scored 30 goals for 44 points in 53 games. Since then Rohlfs has a total of 51 goals in 6 seasons of hockey, 4 at Michigan State and the last 2 in Stockton, with 2 games in Springfield. .The intriguing aspects of Rohlfs are his versatility as both a forward and defenceman and his size at 6.03 and 215 pounds he should be a load to handle near the net, which you would think would lead to a few goals. Yet he has sniped just 4 times in 37 games with Stockton of the ECHL. Rohlfs joined Guy and I live in studio this past summer and spoke about hoping to spend the whole season in Springfield, you can hear the conversation which also included Geoff Paukovich (who could be on this list next year) here Rohlfs is an RFA next year and it's unlikely the team will make him a qualifying offer.

4.Glenn Fisher
He was signed to a minor league deal only last year and the Oilers will be cutting bait with Fisher at the end of the season. It was perfectly clear when the Oilers acquired Danny Sabourin and sent Fisher to Las Vegas of the ECHL that the Edmonton product wasn't in their plans anymore. Fisher played 4 years at Denver and is unfortnunately destined to be a career minor leaguer.

3. Danny Sabourin
The goaltender acquired along with Ryan Stone for Mathieu Garon has been pretty good for a Falcons team with it's head a few leagues under the sea right now. In his 5 games with Springfield, Sabourin has 2 wins, a 2.33 gaa and a save percentage of .925. But the Oilers had to many goalies before they picked him up and as we saw in Edmonton this year a crowded crease is an unhappy one. The Oilers would also test the waters with soon to be 30 year old Bjorn Bjurling who is having a pretty good year in the SEL.

2. Sebastien Bisaillon
He once scored 35 goals from the blueline and was an emergency call up for the Oilers in 2006-07 when everyone under the sun was injured and they couldn't bring anyone from the farm up to the big club. Bisaillon has a booming shot from the point but he's been joining Lerg to many times in the press box as a healthy scratch. He was sent to Stockton Monday for the 2nd time this season and the defence position is one of strength for the Oilers, especially if Joseph Hrabl returns and or Jeff Petry decides to leave school early next year.

1. Stephane Goulet
This is the player I am most certain won't be offered another contract from the Oilers. He was sat for 8 straight game earlier this year in Springfield and has just a single goal in the 18 games he has suited up in. The Oilers drafted Goulet in the 7th round of the 2004 draft, and he did score 51 goals with Moncton in 05-06, the year the Wildcats lost to Quebec in the Memorial Cup final.

So there are 5 who I think won't be offered a second contract next season. There are a few bubble players like Colin McDonald. However I spoke to someone with the Oilers today who said MacDonald is playing better as of late and settling into a checking role. Bryan Young is another RFA next year, but Young plays a pretty simple, solid game and fills they physical role as well. Mathieu Roy is another blueliner who could be cut lose by the club, simply because he can't seem to stay healthy at the NHL level. But when he's not hurt he plays fairly decent.

Agree or disagree with any of they players listed, feel free to chime in. Or you can pipe up tonight on TPS . This evening we'll welcome UND junior and Oilers prospect Chris Vande Velde, as well as ISS head scout Mike Oke, 2008 first overall selection Steven Stamkos and much more. 7-9 PM MST on The TEAM 1260 in Edmonton, and heard around the world at

One on One: Matt D'Agostini

The Montreal Canadiens rolled through Alberta recently, a trip the Habs and their fans would like to forget as they were stomped by both Calgary and Edmonton. On the morning of the game against the Oilers I had a chance to speak with a couple Montreal rookies including Matt D'Agostini.

D'Agostini was a 6th round pick by Montreal back in 2005 (not 5th like I say in the interview) while he was a member of the OHL's Guleph Storm. In Guelph he played two seasons and put up solid points in both years. As a member of the Storm he played alongside Ryan Callahan (NYR), Ryan Parent (PHI) and a 15-year-old Drew Doughty (LA).

He's spent most of the last 3 seasons in the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldgos but with 16 points in 38 NHL games this year since being recalled, the farm might now be in his past for good. He help the Bulldogs with the Calder Cup in 2007 when he recorded 13 points in 22 playoff games.

We spoke about his season thus far, about being drafted by the Canadiens, whether or not he consider himself to be a late bloomer and I also asked him how much flak he's taken from his buddies back home in the Soo since becoming a Hab.

You can hear the entire interview HERE.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

School Wrap Sunday

Here was the NCAA Top 20 coming into action on Friday and how those ranked teams made out:

1 Boston University - Tied Northeastern twice
2 Notre Dame - A pair of 1-goal wins over Nebraska-Omaha
3 Michigan - Split with Ohio State Buckeyes
4 Northeastern - Tied Boston University twice
5 Miami - Split with Northern Michigan
6 Vermont - 0-1-1 against Mass-Lowell
7 Yale - Tied Quinnipiac and lost to Princeton
8 Denver - Two road victories over Wisconsin
9 North Dakota - Two road victories over Alaska-Anchorage
10 Princeton - Beat Brown and Yale
11 Cornell - Beat RPI and Union
12 New Hampshire - Won both ends of the home-and-home against Boston College
13 Wisconsin - Swept at home by Denver
14 Minnesota - Swept by Colorado College
15 Minnesota-Duluth - 1-0-1 against Michigan Tech
16 Ohio State - Split with Michigan
17 Boston College - Swept by New Hampshire
18 Colorado College - Swept the Golden Gophers
19 St. Cloud State - Did not Play
20 St. Lawrence - Beat Dartmouth and tied Harvard

Last week I predicted that Notre Dame would regain the #1 seed but that didn't happen. It definitely should this week as the Irish picked up a pair of wins while the Terriers netiher won nor lost, settling for a pair of ties against #4 Northeastern.

The pair of victories locked up the CCHA regular season title giving them the top seed in the conference playoffs in March. They needed an overtime goal from Billy Maday to win Friday's contest and the Irish scored the only goal in Saturday's 1-0 game. Notre Dame has lost only once in their last 28 games after getting off to a 2-3 start to their schedule. Senior Erik Condra (OTT) leads the team in scoring with 32 points in 33 games (pictured).

BU should slide back to the #2 spot with Northeastern coming in at #3 on the strength of their two ties against the top ranked Terriers. The #3 spot should open up for them because Michigan split against Zac Dalpe (pictured) andthe Ohio State Buckeyes who upset the Wolverines 3-2 on Saturday. The Buckeyes erased a 2-goal deficit and withstood 37 Michigan shots to pull out the win on a C.J. Severyn goal with under five minutes left in the game. 8390 fans were in attendance.

Miami, Vermont and Yale should all lose a little ground in the rankings because the three teams earned a single win between them. Miami was upset by Northern Michigan and should drop from #5 because of it. Vermont had their hands full with Mass-Lowell and could only squeak out a single point from their 2-game series. Yale tied Quinnipiac and then lost a key game against the Princeton Tigers, a loss which should see them fall past both them and probably Cornell as well.

The next five teams in the ranking all won both games they played on the weekend so movement in the middle of the top 20 should be expected. Denver's sweep over Wisconsin thanks to more heorics from freshman Joe Colborne, should be enough to get them back into the top 5. The Pioneers got a late tying goal from Colborne on Friday and then on Saturday it was the Patrick Wiercioch (pictured) show as the rookie blueliner collected 4 points in a 5-0 white wash of the Badgers.

The Fighting Sioux won the was against Alaska-Anchorage sweeping the Seawolves in overtime on Friday and then pounding them 6-2 on Saturday. Junior Chris Vande Velde recorded a hat trick on Saturday, good timing as he'll join Dean and I on Tuesday night as the Oiler prospect makes his return to The Pipeline Show.

Both Princeton and Cornell won twice in ECAC Conference play and New Hampshire put another nail in Boston College's coffin as the Eagles' chances of defending their National title are rapidly slipping away.

The free-falling Golden Gophers continue to struggle. Minnesota has won only 1 game in their last 8 contests and were swept by Colorado College. The Gophers take on Duluth and Michigan Tech to close out the regular season while Colorado College will face North Dakota next weekend and close things out with a single game against their arch-rivals from Denver.

St. Lawrence had more success as they smoked Dartmouth by a 7-2 score and followed that up with a tie against Harvard. The Saints have only lost once in their last 9 outings but with 3 other ECAC programs ahead of them in the rankings, probably have to win their way into the National Tournament. Undrafted junior Mike McKenzie (pictured) continues to lead the club with 30 points in 32 games.

One team on the outside looking in at the Top 20 that hope to get on the list is Air force who beat Holy Cross twice. The Falcons have won 5 of their last 6 and are now tied with RIT for top spot in Atlantic Hockey. Wouldn't it be great if Air Force and RIT ended the year with a series against each other to determine the regular season Conference champs?? Well you've got it! The Tigers will host the Falcons next weekend in Rochester with bragging rights and top seed in the playoffs on the line. The two programs splite their series played in Colorado earlier this year.

Mass-Lowell is probably going to squeak into the bottom of the top 20, perhaps at the expense of Boston College. Their upset of Vermont comes on the heels of those same BC Eagles as well as Massachusetts and Maine. The River Hawks will be challeneged though by both Air Force and RIT for that 20th spot.

Guy's Fearless NCAA poll prediction: 1-Notre Dame, 2-BU, 3-Northeastern, 4-Michigan, 5-Denver, 6-Miami, 7-North Dakota, 8-Vermont, 9-Princeton, 10-Cornell, 11-UNH, 12-Yale, 13-Minn.Duluth, 14-Ohio State, 15-Wisconsin, 16-Colorado College, 17-St. Cloud 18-St. Lawrence, 19-Minnesota, 20-Mass-Lowell

Bears leading the way in China

Canada is off to a roaring start at the World University Games in Harbin, China. The Canucks smoked the host country 13-0 in their opener and pouned Great Britain 11-2 in their second contest, they will face the Czech Republic next.

The 7 Alberta Golden Bears have been making quite the impact for Canada, as well as having Bears boss Eric Thurston behind the bench. Canadian captain Ben Kilgour netted 2 goals while fellow Bears Chad Klassen and Ian Mcdonald added singles. This after Brian Woolger netted a hattrick against China and goaltender Aaron Sorochan made 18 saves for a tournament opening shut out. Canada has outshot their opponents 149-37 in 2 games.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Send them Back for Memorial Cup runs

Here's an open letter to a few NHL teams, namely the New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild. The Islanders are battling it out for John Tavares to play with Kyle Okposso and Josh Bailey and the trio could be deadly for years to come. But this year Garth Snow should send Bailey back to Windsor. I'm not aware of a rule that says a player can't be returned to junior after the trade deadline (if I'm wrong let me know) Bailey would get the chance to go deep into the playoffs and possibly the Memorial Cup with the CHL's #1 team. I think the Minnesota Wild should do the same with Colton Gillies, but in Doug Risebrough's defence, the Wild is in a playoff chase right now. The Saskatoon Blades could seriously use his muscle and presence, especially after the Calgary Hitmen tooned them in the other night on Rogers Sportsnet. The Hitmen now lead the Blades by 20 points in the WHL's Eastern conference and right now look like the favorites to represent the WHL at the Memorial Cup in Rimouski. There might be others who should be sent back to junior if their clubs are looking like they could make a run.

Falcons win streak over, Oil Kings go Cougar Hunting, Jumbo Joe strikes gold for Pioneers

Springfield's win streak has ended just as it was getting started...literally. After doubling up Portland 6-3 Tuesday, they fell to Worcester 2-1 in overtime. Springfield grabbed a point for the second straight night though. Newly acquired Charles Linglet scored the only Falcons goal. The winger was picked up from Peoria, the farm club of the St. Louis Blues, in exchange for Carl Corazzini. Corazzini was signed in the off season to a minor league deal. Devan Dubnyk was the games 2nd star and deservedly so, kicking out 35 saves with the game winner a deflection with under a minute to go in next goal wins time. Gilbert Brule sat this one out with an injury, as did Geoff Paukovich (See Guy's post below) You can hear Head Coach Rob Daum's post game comments courtesy of the Falcons website. Springfield is home to Bridgeport tomorrow and travel to Providence Sunday.

Meanwhile, apparently Guy was a little premature with his locust warning (again see below) as the assist J.F. Jacques looked to get last night on a Liam Reddox goal, has been taken away by the NHL.

The Edmonton Oil Kings brought out both barrels in Prince George Friday night, firing 38 shots on net and winning 3-2. Jeff Lee, Thomas Vincour, and Logan Proulx scored for Edmonton. Vincour was playing just his 3rd game since January 11th due to an injury. P.G. pulled within 1 with 51 seconds to play, but the Kings held off a late rally. The same two teams will do it again tomorrow night in Big Al Bristowe's town. Prince Albert was idle so the OK kids are tied with the Raiders for the 8th and final playoff spot. Regina beat Moose Jaw on Rogers Sportsnet so the Pats are still 8 points back. 2 interesting things about the Pats, they gave away some really cool posters as Guy pointed out below and was shown on Global TV Friday, and Colton Teubert went off on fans in Regina. Check out Greg Harder's story. I hope this guy turns things around, because when he's good he can be a game changer with big hits. But it's his reputation that's taking a big hit right now.

Also tonight former Camrose Kodiak Joe Colborne, who was once a guest blogger for TPS, came up extremely large for the Denver Pioneers tonight. The game was on the NHL network, and Colborne made sure it didn't end on time, scoring the tying goal with 15 seconds to go. The Pioneers won it the first minute into overtime. It's the second straight week Jumbo Joe has tied a contest as he salvaged a point against Colorado College last weekend. After a slow start with just 2 goals in his first 16 games, the Bruins first rounder has 3 in 2 games and 5 points in 4 February games. He has 26 points in 31 games overall, and if he can finish strong he might catch the eye of Team Canada for next year's World Junior Championship in Saskatoon and Regina.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Paukovich Dodges a Bullet

The Falcons struck six times on Tuesday night for an impressive 6-3 victory against the Portland Pirates (BUF) but lost one of their own in a scary incident. Forward Geoff Paukovich scored a goal but left the game after being taken out awkwardly into the end boards.

The former 2nd round pick of the Edmonton Oilers crashed heavily into the boards as he chased after a loose puck and was tripped up by Portland's Kenny MacAulay, who played for Stockton earlier this year.

I touched base with Paukovich this morning just to get a sense of the situation and he was pleased to report that the end result, although not perfect, is far from as ugly as it originally appeared.

"Just a strain thank God; it was pretty scary," he told me, "[I'm] going to try to start skating lightly tomorrow."

I asked him if he expected about a 2-week layoff which, as bad as that is, is a lot better than 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain.

"I think so," he guessed in regards to the time frame, "I'm just glad nothing was torn or broken."

Paukovich has played sparingly this season but is a +1 through his five appearances in February. With just 5 points and 23 PIMs to his credit though, next season he'll be looking to make more of an impact on the scoresheet. Paukovich's entry level contract expires at the end of the 2009-10 campaign and he'll become a RFA.

The Falcons are in action tonight as they host the Worcester Sharks (SJ). Springfield plays 3 games in 3 days this weekend as the action continues against Bridgeport (NYI) tomorrow and wraps up on Sunday in Providence (BOS) against the first place Bruins.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jacques Gets First NHL Point... (and other signs of the apocalypse)

You knew it had to happen sooner or later but now you'll be able to answer the question: Where were you when J.F. Jacques recorded his first point in the NHL?

The big moment happened with exactly 3 minutes left in the opening period when Jacques redirected a point shot, with a clear highstick, and winger Liam Reddox tapped the rebound past Dallas netminder Marty Turco.

The play was reviewed before the goal was finally given the thumbs up from the officials both on and off the ice. It may have taken him 54 games to make a dent on the scoresheet but now he can rightfully claim to be on a 1-game hot streak!

Jacques played just 2:01 in the period.

This moment in history follows the first ever pro hockey goal by Oiler prospect Bryan Young who notched the game winner for the Springfield Falcons on Tuesday night. Earlier this season prospect Matt Glasser struck for a hat trick with the Denver Pioneers, Glasser has managed just 6 times in his previous two NCAA seasons combined.

The Pipeline Show will update as soon as we start seeing swarms of locusts or streets overflowing with frogs.

Eberle... Superhero!?!


This wickedly cool poster is available to fans attending the Regina Pats game tomorrow. TPS buddy Rod Pedersen has the details here, I just think the poster is fantastic.

I know many Edmonton fans are already expecting Eberle to be an incoming hero for the Oilers but this might be taking it a bit too far! It's tongue in cheek I'm sure, I'm just hoping that (a) Oiler fans don't start piling up their expectations to Schremp-like proportions and (b) Colten Teubert's head doesn't explode.

(a bit of an inside joke there about Colten "The Punisher" Teubert.)

The Pats are going to need a heroic effort from Eberle and the rest of the roster as well as they are currently 10th in the WHL's Eastern Conference standings, 4 points back of the Oil Kings and 6 behind Prince Albert who currently hold down the 8th and final playoff spot. In Regina's favor - 2 games in hand on both Edmonton and P.A.

Eberle is 28th in league scoring with 58 points, including 30 goals, in 49 games. The Canadian WJC hero has points in 5 of 6 February games but is also an ugly -8 combined in his last three outings.

As Greg Harder recently pointed out, Eberle did hit the 100-goal plateau with a goal against the Calgary Hitmen last weekend.

Bus Crash Injures AHL Team

Last night the bus carring the Albany River Rats from a game in Lowell went off the road resulting in the hospitalization of 4 players as well as a team broadcaster.

You can read an updated story on the situation HERE.

Thankfully none of the injuries are of the life-threatening degree although it would be understandable if everyone involved is feeling pretty shaken up today. The crash harkens back memories of the tragic accident involving the Swift Current Broncos which resulted in the deaths of 4 WHL players back in 1986.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Reset: JFJ Recalled

It was a pretty interesting show last night with Junior, NCAA, and the AHL covered with our guest list.

Before I get to that, the Oilers announced today that forward J.F. Jacques has been recalled from his conditioning stint with Springfield. JFJ had back surgery in the off season and in 8 games with the Falcons had 6 points, 1 power play goal, was even with 13 penalty minutes. He'll join the team in Dallas, but likely won't play tonight.

As for last night, Guy and I started out the program by discussing why the Falcons were Flunking, although they did pull out a big win last night, more on that in a bit. We then moved onto the play of Theo Peckham and Ladislav Smid, 2 Oilers D-men who are picking up some slack with Lubomir Visnovsky and Denis Grebeshkov out right now. We spoke about some troubling stuff with Montreal right now, sending a player to the AHL, leaving another at home and what might fix Carey Price's problems right now. Here's a hint, he helped Mathieu Garon quite a bit in the past. Lot's of other topics discussed in the opening segment including Guy's Flaming Hot/Not and my fantasy prospect pick up of the week.

After that, we moved south to Cornell University where we spoke with Spruce Grove product Ben Scrivens. The pipeman told The Pipeline Show what it's been like playing for the Big Red, with Riley Nash and being up for the Hobey Baker Award.

From Cornell, we took a trip to London courtesy of D-man John Carlson. The big, physical blueliner is a Knight after backing away from UMASS this off season. He told us why, and just how sick London's power play is right now. At first I thought Carlson was a Sheldon Souray type player, but the more I watch the Washington Capitals 2008 first round pick, the more I think he's a Dion Phaneuf kind of guy, in that he's fairly mobile and likes to sneak down low on the power play. The Caps might have a steal getting Carlson 27th overall.

Bad Ass Trivia brought us more YoungBlood fans, as Gus took home the T-shirt, while Cole couldn't close the deal on the Mustang gear.

We dove back into the OHL with our 2009 Draft Prospect Performer of the Week. Ethan Werek of the Kingston Frontenacs was our guest. Werek who represented Canada in last year's World Junior A Challenge told us why he chose Kingston over Boston University, after committing to the Terriers. We also spoke to Werek about the upcoming draft and playing for Doug Gilmour. Has anyone asked Killer for his autograph and do they call him Coach Killer?

Finally we welcomed back to TPS Oilers 2005 2nd round pick Taylor Chorney, who was fresh off a 6-3 win over Portland. Choreny scored in the contest and the Falcons actually outshot a team in getting Rob Daum his first win behind the bench. Chorney's goal gives him 4 on the season, a year that fans have focused on his bloated minus number. The former Fighting Sioux rearguard talked openly about why he is a -20 right now and how tough the adjustment has been going from college to the AHL. Chorney told us about trying to be patient when it comes to call ups and who he's played with this year.

All in all it was an interesting show, and as Guy likes to say, if you missed it live, click the archive at

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Top 5 Tuesdays: AJHL-NCAA Skaters

A little while ago I made a brief mention of the fact that there are several AJHL alum who are playing extremely well this year for various NCAA programs. Many of them are actually goaltenders but for this time around I'm looking strictly at skaters.

Some of these guys are drafted, some aren't but should have been if not for issues like a lack of size. And again, like every week when we do the top 5 lists, these are personal opinions and not necessarrily the top 5 guys in the eyes of scouts or coaches polls or statistically speaking. They're simple the top 5 guys in my opinion.

That said, feel free to comment by adding some other names I could have considered.

#5 Jesse Martin - Spruce Grove Saints

It might be the local boy aspect that has me always checking the Denver Pioneers box scores to see if Martin's name appears. Maybe it's because I took him late in the draft during my fantasy league's 2006 Draft. It also might be that I interviewed Jesse for ISS during his NHL draft year so his personality kind of stuck with me from there.

The Atlanta Thrashers took him late in their draft as well and have really been hands off on his development ever since. When Jesse appeared on The Pipeline Show earlier this fall he talked about how the NHL club told him not to bother attending their summer prospect camp.

After his AJHL days in Spruce Grove where he put up strong numbers until an injury sidelined him long term, Martin went on to the USHL's Tri-City Storm. Now in his sophomore year with the Pioneers, Martin has a respectable 18 points. He's playing down the depth chart behind a myriad of household names so it an accomplishment to a degree that he's been able to land in the top 10 on his team's scoring.

#4 Lee Jubinville - Camrose Kodiaks

It's a bit of a down year for Jubinville who led the ECAC Conference in scoring last year but finds himself 4th on just his team this season. He's on pace for about 25 points which would be less than the number he's ended up with in each of the last two campaigns. He's now a senior so he should be at the top of his game but for whatever reason (chime in if you know) he just isn't producing at the same level as he has been.

Jubinville had a pair of 20-goal seasons with the Camrose Kodiaks before joining Princeton in 2005-06. He nearly tripled his freshman numbers during his second year with the Tigers and last year he was a Hobey Baker level player.

The Edmontonian made his TPS appearance in late August and talked about how key the coming senior year was. Back then I thought he was a no-brainer to get a pro contract but with the way he's struggled this year, without knowing why, I'm wondering if he's got much interest from NHL clubs who might be looking at 5'10 and 165 lbs more than his NCAA stats.

#3 Mike Connolly - Camrose Kodiaks

After having watched him play in the AJHL playoffs and during the Doyle Cup against Penticton, I thought that Connolly would have been a terrific sleeper pick last year. However, whether it was his diminutive size or his lengthy injury last year that scared the scouts away, Connolly went undrafted and joined Minnesota-Duluth when his AJHL days were done.

This year Connolly is surrounded by other AJHL alum and perhaps that has helped team chemistry to a degree. The 5'8, 180 lb center has 25 points in 30 WCHA games, third best on his team. The freshman got off to a tremendous start with 7 points in the first 5 games but has been on and off the scoresheet regularly since then. His recent 3-point weekend against Denver was his most productive series though since October. On February 11th he was named as the WCHA Rookie of the Week.

What intrigues me about Connolly is that, although lacking in height, he's got those stereotypical tree-trunk legs making him really hard to knock off the puck. He's a playmaker first and foremost but did manage to score 25 goals in just 37 games last year with the Kodiaks. I really think this is a guy that was overlooked and that he'll have his pick of NHL contracts when it's all said and done.

#2 Justin Fontaine - Bonnyville Pontiacs

Another Bulldog enjoying a bunch of success this year is this former Bonnyville standout. Fontaine had the unenviable task of replacing Mark Letestu with the Pontiacs the season after he dominated the AJHL. The Bonnyville native had 81 points in his first full AJHL compaign and scored 30 goals in 52 games the following season.

As a freshman at Duluth, Fontaine was fairly unspectacular as he collected just a dozen points all year. This season however, the 5'11, 165 lb forward has broken out with 37 points in 30 games so far and leads Duluth in scoring by a fair margin and was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week back in December.

MacGregor Sharp and Evan Oberg, both Camrose alum, are also on the team as former Calgary Royals blueliner Brady Lamb.

#1 Joe Colborne - Camrose Kodiaks

It's safe to say that "Sleepy Joe" woke up in time for the NCAA season as he currently has 25 points in 30 games with the Denver Pioneers. The Pionners are in first place in the WCHA standings thanks to Colborne's 2-goal effort against Colorado College last Friday night.

Colborne was a 1st round pick of the Boston Bruins last June and joined the Pioneers admist rumors of a planned short NCAA career. When Colborne joined us on The Pipeline Show last November he back tracked from that and said he was not looking to jump to the WHL's Tri-City Americans.

The freshman is tied for tops on the team in rookie scoring with blueliner Peter Wiercioch. He didn't get consideration for the Canadian WJC team like Wiercioch did but you'd have to think that won't be the case in 2010.

For those critics of Colborne who felt he was to much of a gentle giant for the pro game, a NCAA program which allows him up to 4 years to develop has to be considered the perfect fit. Plenty of time in the weight room will go along way to addressing the issues Colborne knew he was facing as he left Camrose for the NCAA.

Dean and I got to know Colborne during his draft year thanks to his ongoing blog that ran here at Coming Down the Pipe last spring.