Sunday preseason wrap

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, August 31, 2008 | 8/31/2008

Some quick notes on a preseason Sunday in the CHL... Drew Schiestel suited up for a pair of assists in Niagara's 6-3 win over Oshawa. Consistent with his camp thus far, the fourth-year defenseman was said to have played with a greater physical edge than in previous seasons. Hamburg native John Cullen stopped 15 of 17 shots for the Ice Dogs. In the Q, Paul Byron (+1) had a pair of assists in Gatineau's 6-5 shootout win over Montreal. The Ottawa native went 10/16 from the dot while picking up his usual handful of shots, blocks, and hits. Sabres prospects TJ Brennan and Luke Adam watched from the stands for the Juniors. Jordon Southorn (-1) had an assist and a game-high five hits in PEI's 5-2 loss to Saint John. A day after a three goal, one assist performance in a camp scrimmage, Jacob Lagacé did not play in Chicoutimi's 5-3 win over Baie-Comeau. In the WHL, Tyler Myers and Kelowna are laying low until a Friday tilt with Vancouver. Meanwhile, Tyler Ennis and the Medicine Hat Tigers are in Edmonton for the Oil Kings Preseason Tournament. After sitting out of a 6-4 loss to Regina on Saturday, Ennis will skate Monday against the hosts. The busy Tigers will then head to Saskatoon for another tournament next weekend.
8/31/2008 | 7 comments | Read More

Allard to miss Sabres camp

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, August 30, 2008 | 8/30/2008

At the opening practice with his new club on Friday, Quebec Remparts C Jean-Simon Allard absorbed the receiving end of a Yannick Reiber elbow that will keep him sidelined for at least four-six weeks. Details of the play are coming together, but the injuries are said to include a fractured jaw (chin area) and dislocation. Surgery was required. Chosen in the 5th round of the 2007 draft, the 6'2, 185-pound Allard is in a good spot to achieve with a loaded Quebec squad after breaking out with 60 points last season for St. John's. The injury will obviously prevent the forward from skating in Buffalo's main camp in a few short weeks, and may force Remparts boss Patrick Roy to peruse the QMJHL trade market.
8/30/2008 | 4 comments | Read More

Southorn a leader on the Island

Continuing on with notes from junior camps, The Guardian of Prince Edward Island reports that third-year man Jordon Southorn (2008, 4th round) is assuming the role of leader on the PEI Rocket blueline.
And at the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League club’s 2008-09 training camp which began Friday, the 18-year-olds realize all eyes are on them to anchor this year’s squad — this after shadowing players like David Laliberte, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Brett Morrison and Geoff Walker. But Southorn said he's ready for the burden, with his ego checked at the door. “I want to be one of the leaders for the guys to look up to us and we'll move together as a team and not individually. We’re stepping up to the role. We’re eighteen (with) a lot of expectations, but don’t put pressure on yourself,” said Southorn.
The 6'2, 190-pound Southorn's ability to elevate his overall game will be a key driver for a Rocket club that went 30-36-2-2 in 2007-08. A good way to cast a shadow is by contributing offensively. The Pointe-Claire, Quebec native went 12-19-31 in his draft year, and there's no reason why he can't hit the 41-point mark that fellow Q prospect T.J. Brennan posted the past two seasons with St. John's. However, "Southy" knows his primary responsibilities lay in the defensive end. With his example, a better team concept should help spin around last season's -10 as well. Judging by his words, we like where his head is at as he embarks on his first NHL training camp. The lefty turned 18 in May, so he will be in the Q for two more seasons. Evaluating his development to date, his skating style suggests a smooth transition to the AHL once the added strength and experience blends in.
8/30/2008 | 2 comments | Read More

CHL: Open for business

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, August 29, 2008 | 8/29/2008

Labor Day weekend in the United States means it's time for work if you're a Canadian major junior player. 2008 first-rounders Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis of the WHL were the first to get cracking on their 2008-09 campaigns, and by now the rest of the CHL has started their Memorial Cup quest. Niagara defenseman Drew Schiestel (2007, 2nd round) will participate in an intrasquad scrimmage this evening before opening the exhibition season with a pair of weekend contests. The Dogs will travel to Jamestown, NY for a game against the Erie Otters on Saturday, then return home to skate with Oshawa the next day. Another player who should get an extended look from the Dogs over the weekend is Hamburg, NY native John Cullen. A goaltending standout last season with Rochester of the Empire Junior Hockey League, the 17-year old recently played for Team USA at the U-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and has been very sharp in the early sessions in St. Catherines. As the players hit the ice in Saginaw, it seems that Nick Crawford (2008, 6th round) will have some new faces to work with as the OHL's Spirit sorts out their blueline. The Michigan-based club will play a two-game exhibition set with Sault Ste. Marie on September 6 and 7 before playing another home-and-home with Schiestel's Ice Dogs the following weekend. The inaugural training camp for the Montreal Juniors hockey club (formerly the St. John's Fog Devils) opened today at the Verdun Auditorium. A pair of Sabres second rounders, Luke Adam (2008) and TJ Brennan (2007), will play leading offensive roles as the QMJHL returns to Montreal for the first time since 2003. The Juniors open exhibition action on Sunday against a Gatineau Olympiques club lead by 2008 playoff darling, Paul Byron (2007, 6th round). J.S. Allard (2007, 5th round) will wear a Remparts uniform for the first time on Sunday when Quebec opens against Rimouski. A teammate of Adam and Brennan the past two seasons in St. John's, Allard was part of a June deal that sent Angelo Esposito back to his hometown of Montreal. Also on Sunday, class of '08 members Jacob Lagacé (Chicoutimi) and Jordon Southorn (PEI) will kick off their Q warm-ups with games against Baie-Comeau and Saint John. Speaking of Saint John, 2006 fourth-rounder Felix Schutz is skating a few laps at the training camp of his former QMJHL team while waiting for the start of Sabres camp.
8/29/2008 | 0 comments | Read More

Myers scrappy as Rockets launch

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, August 27, 2008 | 8/27/2008

With junior camps getting underway, it has taken just one day to see a top prospect begin to assert himself as more of a controlling on-ice presence. Kelowna defenseman Tyler Myers, who said after having his first fight last season that he wanted to "do it more", dropped the gloves with LW Evan Bloodoff in Tuesday's opening camp scrimmage. According to Rockets radio broadcaster Regan Bartel, no real punches were thrown as the 6'7, 204-pound Myers mostly tied up his feisty, 5'11 opponent after a round of pushing and shoving. Much ado about nothing, perhaps. Bloodoff will never be considered a heavyweight (89 PIM in 128 career games), but the exercise is an encouraging start for Myers after being assessed a respectable five fighting majors in 2007-08. Myers isn't nasty by nature, but the Rockets are expecting a natural pick-up from the Albertan who lists Chris Pronger as one of the players he watches most. Teammate and physical pacesetter Luke Schenn may stick with Toronto to start the NHL season, and with that comes added leadership responsibilities for Myers, and the likelihood of WHL checkers testing his composure. Aside from steadying the Rockets backend, how he deals with it all could also be a determining factor in his inclusion on Canada's roster for the World Junior Championships this December. As of now, the first-rounder seems fit for the challenge. Thinking long term, the first professional training camp can do wonders for an 18-year old who's still finding his physical comfort zone. Don't expect him to challenge anyone when he arrives in Buffalo in a few weeks, but do keep an eye on the corners and in front of the net as the initial awe wears off and the development cycle revs up.
8/27/2008 | 2 comments | Read More

Tropp puts on the foil as camp closes

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, August 10, 2008 | 8/10/2008

After a Thursday break, tournament play at the U.S. National Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid resumed on Friday against entries from Sweden and Finland. Per's Shawn Roarke, RW Corey Tropp (3rd round, 2007), along with Colin Wilson, Jake Gardiner, Colin Long, and Drew LeBlanc, moved from Team Blue to Team White as USA coaches mixed-and-matched talent as part of their assessment. The Friday contest between USA White and Sweden was the first of two games to be played on the Olympic sized 1980 sheet. Packing more familiarity with the wider surface, Sweden skated their way to a 7-3 win. Tropp did not play a part in any of the USA White goals. White would bounce back on Saturday, defeating Finland by a 5-2 score. Tropp was again held off the scoresheet, but did register a fighting major and match penalty after a skirmish with Thrasher's prospect Niclas Lucenius. Coming at the 18:48 mark of the second period, his battle with the hard-checking center was the only of its kind in the camp's eight games. Another Fin received a misconduct on the play, but the circumstances or extent of what took place are unclear at this point. A nice picture of the action can be found here. In the end, Tropp scored one goal through four international games. When factoring in production in the intra-squad scrimmages, a dent of some sort was made during the initial evaluation process. Either way, the USHL product should translate his experience into leading minutes with Michigan State this fall. The only question now is where the Spartan sophomore will be playing his hockey over the Christmas break - in Detroit at the Great Lakes Invitational, or in Ottawa at the World Juniors.
8/10/2008 | 1 comments | Read More

Tropp making case at USA camp

Written By Kris Baker on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 | 8/06/2008

Michigan State RW Corey Tropp has been making a name for himself this week at the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid. After a steady offensive display throughout the opening sessions, the 6'0, 185-pound sophomore was elevated to top-six duty in Team Blue's 7-1 throttling of Sweden on Wednesday. He didn't score any goals, but was in a dominant cluster of Blue forwards who gained the zone and helped control play all evening. Tropp did however pot a goal for Blue in their 4-1 win over Finland on Tuesday. With just under two minutes to play in the opening period, he took a pass from Drew LeBlanc and buried a wrister past Juha Metsola to give Blue a 2-0 lead. Prior to the international contests, Tropp posted a goal and an assist in Team White's 6-4 scrimmage loss to Team Red on Sunday. Both points came in the first half of the 38-minute contest. After taking a Justin Schroeder feed, the Grosse Point, MI native beat Thomas McCollum to give White an early 2-1 lead. He'd again work with Schroeder to set-up Robbie Czarnik for the sixth of seven first half goals between the two clubs. Tropp was held off the scoresheet in White's 5-0 blanking of Team Blue the night earlier. The teams will take a break tomorrow before closing camp with another set of doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday.
8/06/2008 | 0 comments | Read More

Tropp on ice in Lake Placid

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, August 3, 2008 | 8/03/2008

Corey Tropp (2007, 3rd round) is one of 30 forwards (and 53 players overall) currently skating in Team USA's Development Camp in Lake Placid, NY. Much like the Canadian gathering last week, the week-long camp is a preliminary evaluation for the 2009 U-20 World Junior Championships. Unlike the Canadian camp, teams from Sweden and Finland have again made the trip across the pond to scrimmage two USA clubs marked White and Blue. A third team (Red) is formed for practice purposes only, with the players being dispersed evenly to the White and Blue rosters. With this being his fourth national development camp, Tropp is no stranger to USA Hockey. The pool of 2009 talent at forward is fairly deep, and his chances are as good as any. It would seem that the time is now for for the six-footer to build some momentum heading into his sophomore year at Michigan State. With six of their top-10 scorers from 2007-08 lost to graduation and/or professional deals, Tropp will have ample ice time to make an early dent with the Spartans. Hot starts can do wonders for WJC hopefuls. Just ask another former Sabres third-rounder, Clarke MacArthur. His blazing start for Medicine Hat in 2004 landed him a spot on Team Canada for the 2005 WJC's. Below is a schedule for the week's activities. Games are slated for August 5th-9th, with a break on the 8th. We'll do our best to provide updates as they become available.
2008 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp Schedule Friday, August 1 USA Arrives 6:00-6:50 pm USA Group I USA Rink 7:00-7:50 pm USA Group II USA Rink Saturday, August 2 9:00-10:15 am USA RED - USA WHITE USA Rink 10:30 - 11:15 am USA BLUE USA Rink 4:15 - 5:00 pm USA RED USA Rink 5:15 - 6:30 pm USA BLUE - USA WHITE USA Rink Sunday, August 3 Sweden/Finland Arrive 9:00-10:15 am USA BLUE - USA RED USA Rink 10:30 - 11:15 am USA WHITE USA Rink 4:15 - 5:00 pm USA BLUE USA Rink 5:15 - 6:30 pm USA WHITE - USA RED USA Rink Monday, August 4 9:00-10:15 am USA BLUE - USA WHITE USA Rink 10:30 - 11:15 am USA RED USA Rink 11:30 am-1:00 pm Sweden USA Rink 1:30-3:00 pm Finland USA Rink 4:15 - 5:00 pm USA WHITE USA Rink 5:15 - 6:30 pm USA BLUE - USA RED USA Rink Tuesday, August 5 9:30-10:15 am Finland USA Rink 10:30-11:15 am USA White USA Rink 11:30 am - 12:15 pm Sweden USA Rink 4:00 PM USA Blue - Finland USA Rink 7:00 PM USA White - Sweden USA Rink Wednesday, August 6 9:00-9:45 am Finland USA Rink 10:00-10:45 am USA Blue USA Rink 11:00-11:45 am Sweden USA Rink 4:00 PM USA White - Finland USA Rink 7:00 PM USA Blue - Sweden USA Rink Thursday, August 7 10:00 AM USA White Testing 11:00 AM USA Blue Testing Friday, August 8 8:30-9:15 am Sweden USA Rink 9:30-10:15 am USA White USA Rink 10:30-11:15 am USA Blue USA Rink 11:30 am - 12:15 pm Finland USA Rink 4:00 PM USA White - Sweden Herb Brooks 7:00 PM USA Blue - Finland Herb Brooks Saturday, August 9 1:00 PM USA White - Finland USA Rink 4:00 PM USA Blue - Sweden USA Rink
8/03/2008 | 0 comments | Read More

Gogulla receives warning

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, August 2, 2008 | 8/02/2008

German prospect Philip Gogulla, 21, has been given a public warning for being in violation of National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) procedures. A member of the NADA test pool, the Dusseldorf native committed his first program offense after missing a quarterly reporting deadline. Despite the warning, it should be noted that the 6'2 forward provided clean results when submitting a test.
"In January, the online sheet was filled out, but apparently it was posted incorrectly. The unintentional violation of the deadline annoyed me deeply. It was a blunder of mine, from which I will certainly learn. Dealing with the reporting requirement is still quite new for us, but this may no excuse for my mistake."
Chosen 48th overall in 2005, Gogulla has opted to return for a fifth season with the Cologne Sharks (DEL) in 2008-09.
8/02/2008 | 2 comments | Read More