Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Inside the World of Prospects:Tuesday night recap

Tonight we recapped the Mastercard Memorial Cup from two different angles, spoke to a couple of different NHL draft prospects, went in-depth with a very in depth draft guide and got the lastest from the Manitoba capital about the return of the NHL. It was a 6 pack of prospect goodness that joined us on the Moosehead Hotline.

Maineiacs are done, Sherbrooke joining QMJHL

For quite a while now our CHL insider Sam Cosentino has been talking about the Lewiston Maineiacs leaving Lewiston. Sam was half right. While we all thought they were going to PEI, it turns out they are going into thin air. This from the QMJHL tonight.
BOUCHERVILLE, Tuesday, May 31, 2011 – The Commissioner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Gilles Courteau, today announced that the Lewiston MAINEiacs franchise will be bought out by the League.

The decision was rendered this afternoon following a vote from League Members. The financial terms were not disclosed.

“Following a vote from League Members, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is purchasing the Lewiston MAINEiacs franchise,” said the Commissioner. “Therefore, the franchise will be dissolved and the players submitted to a special draft. Details surrounding a special dispersal draft will be unveiled as soon as they become available.”

The Commissioner added: “I am disappointed for the fans in Lewiston. The MAINEiacs enjoyed some very good moments, including a President Cup championship in 2007. I know that Mark Just and his ownership group did all that they could to save the franchise, but the situation was no longer viable.”

“I am truly sad for MAINEiacs fans,” added majority owner Mark Just. “For those that supported the team over the past few years, I would like to thank you. Nonetheless, mounting financial losses became too much to bear for our ownership group.”

The Commissioner also announced that following the 2011-12 season an expansion team will be awarded to a group of investors which is led by former QMJHL and NHL All-Star Jocelyn Thibault. The team will begin play in the 2012-13 season and will play its games at the Palais des Sports LĂ©opold-Drolet in the city of Sherbrooke.
“The QMJHL is very excited to welcome Sherbrooke back into its fold,” said the Commissioner. “With strong local ownership, I am convinced that major junior hockey will once again flourish in Sherbrooke.

In the next few days, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will work toward completing a seventeen team 2011-12 regular season schedule.
I'm not sure anyone saw this coming. To scrap one team and give an expansion to another is an interesting move that could be very successful.

No Rush to NHL for 1st Overall

2006 was the last time that the first player selected in the NHL Entry Draft did not step into the NHL 3 months later. Erik Johnson played a single season with the Minnesota Golden Gophers before moving up to St. Louis in the Fall of 2007. Might 2011 see a repeat of that story? I think that there's a pretty good chance of that happening and it isn't even dependent on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins going 1st overall.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Cup Goes to the Dogs

For the first time in it's long and illustrious history the Memorial Cup is headed to the Maritimes. The hardest trophy to win in North American sports was claimed by the Saint John Sea Dogs on Saturday night after a thrilling 3-1 win over Mississauga. 2011 eligible Jonathan Huberdeau used the big stage to full effect as he won the tournament MVP award for his play the past week.

Winning the national title was the perfect ending for the Sea Dogs who were ranked as the top major junior club in the CHL for the final 15 weeks of the season.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Morning Special - May 28th

The National junior championship will be decided on Sunday at the final of the 2011 Memorial Cup. Obviously that major event was front and center on The Pipeline Show this weekend but, as always, we looked ahead to the NHL Draft next month plus touched on the Stanley Cup final as well. We spoke with two scouts, two players as well as our regular Saturday NHL Insider plus it was CHL awards day... how did we do with our predictions?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Attack Get Iced: Kootenay still alive

Where to begin with tonight's tie breaker game at the Mastercard Memorial Cup? Injuries to Owen Sound? Matt Fraser does it again? A surprise starter in net? No matter where you start, the end result was a 7-3 win for Kootenay and a date with Mississauga in Friday night's semi final.

Another roll in the Hay: The Don to coach Canada again

Hockey Canada announced today the men who will coach our country at the upcoming World Junior Championship and the U18 team for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament.

When the puck drops in Edmonton and Calgary for the WJC Vancouver Giants head man Don Hay will once again be back behind the Canadian bench. Hay's club was perfect in 1995, the first time a Canadian team accomplished the feat, and kept Canada's gold medal run alive. Hays club won the 3rd of a 5 year period of domination at the event. Hay has won more then 500 WHL games and has won 3 League titles and just as many Memorial Cup Championships.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Majors to Semi Final, Attack to tie breaker

The Mastercard Memorial Cup hosts won't have to go the tie breaker route to win the Memorial Cup after beating Owen Sound tonight 3-1 with an empty netter. The game was back and forth and feisty but the Attack will need much more discipline if they are going to get another shot at Mississauga, although I do think some of their penalties weren't deserved. This one would have been a blow out if Mississauga's power play would have been better, they only went 1-9.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Recap: May 24th

With the Memorial Cup well underway, the NHL Entry Draft and the NHL Combine getting closer every day, there was plenty to talk about this week on The Pipeline Show. Dean was away for this episode (say goodbye to that short-lived iron man streak, buddy) but I was joined by a diverse group of guests to make the show interesting once again.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sea Dogs Win, Advance to Final

Saint John proved why they are the #1 ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League on Monday night as they overcame a two-goal deficit, won in overtime and punched their ticket to the Memorial Cup final. Jonathan Huberdeau's goal at 17:35 of extra time completed the comeback and gave the QMJHL Champions the 3-2 victory over Owen Sound in front of 5429 very entertained fans.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kootenay on the Verge

There are two ways to look at the situation that the Kootenay Ice currently find themselves in. The first, call it the half-glass-full version, has the WHL Champions with the possibility of being just the second team ever to come back and win the Memorial Cup after losing their first two games. The second, and probably more realistic, is that the Ice are perilously close to going 0-3 at the Canadian Hockey League's showcase event.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Morning Special - May 21st

The 2011 Memorial Cup opened in fine fashion last night with the hosts from Mississauga putting up a strong challenge to the #1 ranked Sea Dogs of Saint John. The CHL's marquee event took center stage on TPS this morning (obviously) as we spoke with 3 different people who are on hand at the Hershey Centre. But as always, we talked more about the upcoming NHL Draft as well with a couple of players and also the head scout from a key independent scouting agency.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gardiner Leaves Gophers for Tri City? [Updated]

Max Gardiner has left the University of Minnesota after just one season because of a lack of playing time. That according quotes from Gophers head coach Don Lucia in an ESPN story here.

The St. Louis Blues 3rd rounder has 3 options available to him hockey wise: He can turn pro which won't happen. He can play in the USHL after being recently drafted by Dubuque, that story is here. Or he can head to the WHL and suit up for the Tri City Americans who listed him in the fall of 2009.

UPDATE: Guy spoke with Americans GM Bob Tory minutes ago and he offered several comments.

Made In Canada

There are four teams left playing in the Canadian Hockey League but one of them really could claim the moniker of "Canada's team". Believe it or not, in this day and age with the European import draft, the growth of hockey in the United States and the migration of that talent up North, there is a team that has bucked the trends on their way to success. The Kootenay Ice are 100% Canadian made.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Memorial Cup Preview Show

Tuesday night was wall to wall coverage of the upcoming 2011 Mastercard Memorial Cup and TPS had it covered from all angles. We welcomed 3 coaches, a GM and our CHL insider to the show, and even slipped in an update on the potential move of Lewiston to P.E.I.

Pickin' Brains - Mark McNeill

This is the fifth and final installment of "Pickin' Brains" for now but I'll let you know that Dean and I have some interesting stuff in store in our lead up to the 2011 NHL Draft. You'll want to keep coming back to check for new stuff so if you haven't bookmarked us, if you're not following us on Twitter or haven't heard the show... this is a pretty good time to start.

Pickin' Brains is the result of conversations with 10 different scouts from 10 different organizations in regards to some players or specific topics in advance of the 2011 NHL Draft. Part 1 focused on Edmonton Oil Kings forward Dylan Wruck. Part 2 looked at the top D-men available from the WHL this year. Part 3 was similar but zeroed in on the WHL's 2011 crop of goaltenders. Part 4 shed the spotlight on Oil Kings skater Michael St. Croix.

Part 5 looks closer at a consensus 1st round pick, Prince Albert Raiders forward Mark McNeill. The Edmonton product had a very productive year finishing with 32 goals and 81 points in 70 regular season games. He also added 5 points in 6 playoff against with Saskatoon.

McNeill is listed at 6'2 and 210 lbs by the Raiders but Central Scouting has him at a hair over 200. McNeill himself recently said he's 207 lbs. There have been several comparisons made including the rather lofty one of a current Anaheim Ducks star. But is it at all accurate to suggest the former Calgary Hitman as a reasonable projection or is McNeill destined to disappoint fans (and media) who hold that expectation?

Pickin'Brains concludes with a 2-part question:

1) How valuable is Mark McNeill in the class of 2011?
2) Does McNeill project to be a pro player in the mold of Ryan Getzlaf?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saint John Claims the Q Crown

It was another overtime thriller in the CHL to decide a league title as the Saint John Sea Dogs scored in double OT to eliminate Gatineau en route to their first ever QMJHL title. Alex Beauregard's first ever playoff goal came at 15:45 of the second extra session but better late than never - the Sea Dogs will head to Mississauga and represent the QMJHL at the Memorial Cup.

Owen Sound Wins OHL Title

A series with nothing on the line except league bragging rights, went the distance and then some before it was finally decided. Jarrod Maidens second goal of the game, in overtime, gave the Owen Sound Attack a game 7 victory and the OHL Championship. Owen Sound defeated Mississauga 3-2 on Sunday afternoon but both teams will move on to the Memorial Cup as representatives of the OHL.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Morning Special - May 14th

Our season-long build up to the NHL Draft continues each week and as the big event gets closer we start escalating things even more. Each show we speak with another prospect eligible for the draft but now we've upped that to two or even three draft-specific guests each episode. Saturdays means a visit from our NHL Insider and this week we also went to Kingston to try and get a read on what that franchise has done lately plus hit on several hot topics as well.

CHL Playoffs: Kootenay Clinches, Olympiques Alive

Friday night was alright for the Ice as they downed Portland 4-1 to win the series in 5 and claim the Ed Chynoweth Cup advancing to the Mastercard Memorial Cup for the 3rd time in franchise history. It must have been an amazing feeling for Kootenay G.M. Jeff Chynoweth to accept the trophy named after his later father and WHL pioneer.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pucklife Magazine Prospect Video: Domi = Scary Good

If you haven't yet, check out some of the next OHL stars from Max Domi who is very powerful already to Jordan Subban to Nicholas Ritchie. The you tube channel can be found here. If you haven't noticed in the past from time to time we post articles from the writers at pucklife. You can find one on Oil King prospect Curtis Lazar here.

The Great Granlund: Video

If you didn't get a chance to check out Finland/Russia today at the World Hockey Championship you missed what will likely end up as the goal of the year, NHL or otherwise. Mikael Granlund a Minnesota Wild draft pick from 2010 notched a beauty as the Fins knocked off Russia and advanced to the gold medal game where they will meet Russia.

This goal is unbelievable for a few reasons.

1. Granlund steals the puck from a Russian player it the corner.

2. He dances around a Russian defender behind the net.

3. He pulls off the move at high speed, as opposed to past goals (Sidney Crosby, Mike Legg, Kyle Beach) where the players were standing still behind the net.

Outstanding stuff from Granlund who's tied for 4th in tournament scoring with 8 points. it has been a young man's event as Blues forward and 2006 draft pick Patrick Berglund is 2nd in scoring, just ahead of Islanders centre John Tavares.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Overtime Bonanza in CHL Tonight

Wednesday night saw Game 4 action in both the QMJHL and the WHL and in each league, regulation time wouldn't be enough to solve anything. And I don't think anyone in attendance minded a bit. Fans were treated to exciting hockey in Gatineau and Kootenay as both contests went into overtime.

Source: Domi To Be Dealt

A source has told TPS that a deal is close to being done that would see Max Domi dealt from Kingston to the London Knights of the OHL.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Night Recap

Tonight we dove into one of the many pre draft lists that are starting to pop up, spoke to a North American raised hockey player who's heading to Europe as his draft year approaches, recapped the season of a 2011 draft prospect, got the lowdown on the 3 CHL finals and chatted up a possible CHL Player Of The Year. It was as usual, a busy show.

Tonight's Line up

Tonight we're happy to welcome back from The Hockey News Ryan Kennedy. THN draft preview is out and we'll go through the list. Also a 2012 prospect will make his TPS debut as Henrik Samuelsson will tell us more about heading back to Sweden for next year. Our 2011 draft prospect is Mark Scheifele who suited up in Barrie this year and had a great outing for Canada at the U18's. We'll also have our CHL insider Sam Cosentino from Rogers Sportsnet to break down the CHL post season stories.

That and more tonight, 7-9 pm mst on the TEAM 1260, Edmonton's Sports Radio or online here. Drop us a line pipeup@theteam1260.com.

Monday, May 9, 2011

CHL Playoffs: Sea Dogs break log jam

Until tonight every league final in the CHL was tied. Portland-Kootenay 1-1. Owen Sound-Mississauga 2-2. Saint John and Gattineau were also even at 1-1, but the #1 ranked Sea Dogs took a 2-1 lead with about as convincing win as you can get.

Key Oil Kings Prospect Headed to Sweden

The Oil Kings have circled 2012-13 as the year that they believe they can not only be WHL contenders but seriously challenge for the Memorial Cup. With what the team already has on the active roster, recently drafted or on its protected list, Edmonton is definitely pointed in the right direction. Griffin Reinhart (if he's back in the WHL after being drafted), Curtis Lazar, a 20-year-old Dylan Wruck, 19-year-old versions of Travis Ewanyk, Keegan Lowe, Laurent Brossoit and Michael St. Croix plus possible additions between now and then could make for a very strong team.

However, that plan may take a hit with news that an impact prospect they were crossing their fingers for might not be in the mix for them in 2013 after all.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

2011 Draft Blog: Travis Ewanyk Pt.4

Continuing his guest blogging series with us today is Travis Ewanyk, forward of the Edmonton Oil Kings. The product of St.Albert, AB wrote Part I back in October and followed that up with Part 2 in December. Part 3 came out in early March. Since then the Oil Kings reached the playoffs, lost in a 4-game sweep to Red Deer and Ewanyk had the opportunity to represent Canada at the 2011 World U18s in Germany.

In his own words, here's Travis Ewanyk's account of the last several weeks...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday Morning Special - May 7th

With the CHL Playoffs, round 2 in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the RBC playoff round and the World U18s over, the WHL and OHL drafts, there was plenty to talk about on Saturday morning. Dean and I were joined by guests across the continent to cover all of the above plus we spoke with a top prospect of the Toronto Maple Leafs as well.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

WHL Draft Results

The 2011 edition of the WHL Bantam draft is now in the books with much of the early rounds going as predicted. Rather than us attempting to do a comprehensive draft recap, we're going to redirect you to Small Thoughts At Large, the blog maintained by Alan Cladwell. The NHL doesn't produce a summary as thorough as what he's done today so do yourself a favor and check it out.

Briefly, I'll point out that the TPS Final Rankings List that Dean put together (after getting input from various WHL scouts) was pretty successful. 16 of the 22 names on it were off the board after the first round and when you're talking about this age group, I think that's pretty commendable.

Lastly, one other sidebar tidbit that Dean mentioned in that same write up came true. The Tri-City Americans did draft Brian Williams this year meaning they now own the rights to two players with the exact same name coming from the exact same Bantam team. We can only hope that they eventually are playing on the same line in a couple of years.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

WHL Bantam Draft Preview: Final Rankings


The next wave of WHL stars will be selected tomorrow in Calgary during the league's Bantam Draft. In the past players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Brayden Coburn, Kyle Chipchura and Gilbert Brule have gone first overall, so it doesn't always mean said player will be a super star. Here now is our top 22 compiled through several different lists we have received.

The strangest fact about this year's draft: for the second straight year a 'Brian Williams' from the LA Selects could get drafted. Last year Tri City took Brian Williams late and recently signed him...we can only hope Bob Tory goes back to the Selects to take Williams this year and they some day play together.

WHL Awards

The Western Hockey League will hold it's Bantam Draft on Thursday in Calgary (watch for our final draft preview later tonight) but today handed out it's annual hardware at it's awards luncheon.

The full list of winners and runner ups can be found here. For me the only real surprise is the rookie of the year, most of the other award winners were expected.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday night on TPS

Tonight we doubled dipped on the draft, previewed the 3 CHL finals, covered off the Royal Bank Cup and discussed the latest on a terrible situation involving a junior hockey player who's facing an very uncertain future. It was all packed into 2 hours.

Pickin' Brains - Michael St. Croix

Part one of this series was released back in Mid-March with a look at how the scouting community views Oil Kings forward Dylan Wruck. Since then, the once un-ranked Wruck has seen his stock soar and is now slotted in at #99 by Central Scouting on their final rankings.

The second part of the "Pickin' Brains" series asked scouts to name the top WHL defenceman from the Class of 2011. It appears to be a two horse race between a pair of products from Sherwood Park, Alberta.

WHL goaltenders were in the spotlight in Part 3. Who is leading the list of pipemen that are eligible for the 2011 draft? The answer to that question might not be the same as the goalie from the league who gets chosen first.

Today it's another Edmonton Oil King under the microscope as we pose Question #4: Is Michael St. Croix on your 'wishlist'?

I asked 10 scouts from 10 different organizations and here is what they said:

Portland Advances to WHL Final

Craig Cunningham and Sven Bartschi both recorded 3-points to pace the Portland Winterhawks to a 6-3 win on Monday eliminating the Spokane Chiefs and punching their ticket to the WHL finals. Portland outshot Spokane 38-27 overall and in each individual period as well but they needed a big third period to take out the Chiefs.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Olympiques Force Game 7

The Gatineau Olympiques shutout the Quebec Remparts 4-0 on Sunday to extend their QMJHL playoff series to a 7th and deciding game. Defenceman Nicolas Deslauriers (LA, 3rd 2009) led the home team to victory with a 3-point effort and Philip-Michael Devos scored the winner on the power play less than 7 minutes into the game.

Saturday Night in the CHL Playoffs

In Portland the Spokane Chiefs and Winterhawks reverted back to normal after an 11 goal game 4. The home side took a 3-2 series lead thanks to a 3-2 game 5 win. The 4th one goal game in the series. Sven Bartschi led the way on the stats sheet with a goal and 2 helpers and Mac Carruth was solid with 39 saves. In fact both goaltenders were busy as Portland fired 43 shots at the Chiefs James Reid. The Hawks will try and wrap things up on Monday, they won game 3 in overtime but were blown out in game 4. I expect the Chiefs to come out hard and force a game 7, which is great for fans. Hopefully SHAW picks up the remaining games.

Both OHL finalists have been decided already and with Mississauga hosting the Mastercard Memorial Cup this year, it means both the Majors and the Owen Sound Attack are already going to the national championship. That series starts on Tuesday in Mississauga.

In the Q Gattineau will have to win 3 straight over Quebec to reach the league final and face Saint John. They can pick up win number 2 of that streak Sunday night. The Olympique picked up a clutch 5-3 win in game 5 in Quebec and will use home ice advantage to try and force a game 7.