Showing posts with label girgensons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label girgensons. Show all posts

Sunday, January 13, 2013

1/12 Recap: Kea connects; Brennan's "Gordie" leads way

Justin Kea notched a goal and an assist Saturday as Saginaw extended their winning streak to five games with a 5-2 victory over London. Kea, who finished with a game-best plus-three rating, was rewarded with the game's number three star while upping his season line to 16-20-36 through 44 games. The Spirit victory was the first time in 29 games that the Knights were defeated in regulation time. Saginaw hosts Sault Ste. Marie on Friday

Dan Catenacci recorded an assist as Owen Sound blasted Kingston 7-0. The polished pivot now has 54 points (22+32) in 42 appearances heading into next Friday's tilt at Kingston.

Alex Lepkowski did not play as Barrie handled Niagara 5-1. The Colts' stay-at-homer returned this week for a pair of games, but was forced to sit Saturday after agitating the shoulder that saw him miss seven games from mid-Dec. to early Jan.

In the WHL, Andrey Makarov made 30 saves as Sakatoon lost to Edmonton 2-1. The Blades are back at it Tuesday versus Kootenay.

Colin Jacobs scored his 14th goal of the year on the power play as Prince George lost a 2-1 overtime decision to Kamloops. The Cougars visit Calgary on Friday.

In NCAA play, Jake McCabe returned to WCHA action, earning an assist on the overtime game winner as Wisconsin swept Minnesota State with a 2-1 overtime victory. The Badgers extended their winning streak to six games, while going unbeaten in their last 10 games (7-0-3). Brad Navin was a healthy scratch for the Badgers, who welcome CCHA power Miami to town next weekend.

Christian Isackson saw his four-game point streak snapped as No. 1 Minnesota skated to a 7-1 win over Alaska-Anchorage. Minnesota returns to action next weekend, hosting WCHA rival North Dakota for the final time in the regular season as members of the WCHA.

In the USHL, Judd Peterson was a game-low minus-three as Cedar Rapids was defeated by Dubuque 4-1. The Riders are off until Wednesday's visit to Omaha.

In SM-Liiga action, Joel Armia directed nine shots in 14:08 of work in Assat's 3-2 win over TPS. Armia has one assist in three games with the Aces since returning from the World Junior Championship. The Aces will be in action again on Tuesday versus Tappara.

Linus Ullmark served as backup MODO lost to Linkopngs 4-3. Ullmark will start for the J20 on Sunday, while the top club is off until Thursday when they face HV71.

In the AHL, T.J. Brennan notched the Gordie Howe hat trick by scoring his 14th goal, picking up an assist, and getting in a second-period scrap as Rochester downed Syracuse 4-1. Rick Schofield, Nick Tarnasky, and Kevin Porter added the other Amerks goals.

Rochester rookie Zemgus Girgensons was wiped out by a Richard Panik elbow in the second period and did not return. Girgensons was taken for observation and more info should be known about his status early next week.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

1/11 Recap: Amerks roll; Grigo empty on eve of camp

Brian Flynn scored a goal and an assist Friday to help the Rochester Americans to a 5-2 win over Hamilton. T.J. Brennan, Mark Mancari, Brayden McNabb, and Nick Tarnasky added the other Amerks goals, while Zemgus Girgensons, Luke Adam, and Kevin Porter gathered two assists each. For Girgensons, the two-assist outing was the first multi-point game of his professional career.

The game was a statement for Brennan and McNabb, who both await their missions on the eve of Sabres training camp. Brennan, who currently is tied for 12th in league scoring with 33 points (13+
20), stepped into a booming slap shot for a short-side goal to give the Amerks a 2-1 lead. McNabb dug in and played his physical brand of hockey while adding his third tally of the year. With Marcus Foligno and Cody Hodgson already tabbed for camp duty, the defensive duo are expected to be in the discussion as the Sabres look to round out their troops for the week-long evaluation.

Elsewhere, Mikhail Grigorenko (-2) went without a point for the second straight game as Quebec was embarrassed in a 4-0 home-ice loss to league cellar-dweller Shawinigan. Grigorenko, whose two-game drought is a first in the 2012-13 campaign, will leave for Buffalo early Saturday to participate in his first NHL training camp.

In Western League action, Andrey Makarov returned to action for Saskatoon for the first time since his bronze medal winning performance versus Canada, making 30 saves as the Blades dropped a 3-1 decision to Red Deer. Makarov saw his shutout streak of 134:49 (going back to early Dec.) snapped by surrendering a goal 5:28 into the first period. The Blades battle defending champion Edmonton on Saturday.

Colin Jacobs was kept off the scoresheet as Prince George edged Kamloops 1-0. Jacobs has yet to notch a point in five January games. The Cougars and Blazers play a rematch on Saturday.

In OHL play, newly-named assistant captain Justin Kea was unable to get a point in Saginaw's 4-3 win over Erie. Kea and the Spirit will ride a four-game winning streak into Saturday's game against top-ranked London.

Alex Lepkowski registered a minus-one rating as Barrie suffered 3-2 defeat at Guelph. The Colts welcome Niagara to town on Saturday.

Brady Austin remained out of the lineup with a hand injury as Belleville smoked Kingston 8-2. The Bulls host Windsor on Saturday.

In college action, Christian Isackson notched a pair of assists as No. 1 Minnesota skated to a 4-3 win over Alaska-Anchorage. The helpers extend Isackson's point streak to four games, giving him season totals of 3-11-14 through 21 games. The clubs complete the WCHA set on Saturday.

Jake McCabe made his return from an impeccable performance on Team USA's blueline as the 2013 World Junior Championship as Wisconsin earned a 4-3 overtime victory at Minnesota State. Brad Navin maintained his fourth-line role for the Badgers, who have won five straight and are unbeaten in their last nine games.

In the USHL, Judd Peterson (+1) saw his four-game point streak come to an end as Cedar Rapids defeated Muskegon 4-1. The RoghRiders tangle with Dubuque on Saturday.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

1/4 Recap: Leggio backstops Amerks to road victory

David Leggio stopped 48 of 50 shots Friday and Nick Crawford scored the game winning goal on the power play as visiting Rochester earned a 5-2 decision at Abbotsford. After Brian Flynn and Zemgus Girgensons scored second period goals to give the Amerks a 2-0 lead, the teams combined for five stikes in the third with Leggio making 16 key saves to preserve the victory.

The Rundown:
Girgensons: G, +2, 2 SOG
Flynn: G, -1
Crawford: GWG, 2 SOG
Brennan: +1
Pysyk: +1
Gauthier-Leduc: 2 SOG
Sundher: even

In the OHL, Dan Catenacci recorded an assist as Owen Sound was defeated by Plymouth 4-3. Catenacci, who saw his four-game goal streak snapped in a 3-1 loss to Kitchener on Wednesday, remains seventh in OHL scoring with 52 points (21+31).

Justin Kea did not score as Saginaw was hammered by London 8-2. The Spirit tangle with Catenacci and the Attack on Saturday.

Colin Jacobs (-2) saw his two-game point streak snapped as Prince George dropped a 4-2 decision to Kelowna. The two clubs will play it back Saturday in PG.

In NCAA play, Brad Navin skated fourth line minutes as Wisconsin extended their unbeaten streak to seven games (4-0-3) with a 5-3 win at Alaska-Anchorage. Winners of four of their last six, the Badgers will play their second game without Jake McCabe when they rematch with the Seawolves on Saturday.

In the USHL, Judd Peterson extended his point streak to three games with an assist as Cedar Rapids held on for a 3-2 win over Tri-City. The St. Cloud State commit has 18 points (6+12) heading into Saturday's game with Waterloo.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Brennan unloads as Amerks take wild one

T.J. Brennan uncorked a career-best five points (1+4) Wednesday as Rochester climbed out of the Christmas break with a thrilling 7-6 overtime victory over Lake Erie. Marcus Foligno ended it at 2:40 of the extra frame after Cody Hodgson, who added a pair of goals himself including one shorthanded, picked the pocket of a Monsters defender behind the net and sent a cross-ice feed to his waiting winger.

Brennan used his cannon slap shot to get his goal, and also saw point blasts tipped for two of his four assists. His previous career-best single game output was three set back in 2010-11.

Evan Rankin, Zemgus Girgensons, and Mark Mancari were the other Amerks scorers, while David Leggio stopped 32 of 38 shots to earn his 13th victory of the year and fifth when allowing five or more goals.

Luke Adam saw his eight-game point streak come to an end in the win. Adam nearly extended the streak in the overtime session while on a shift with Brian Flynn, but was unable to beat Calvin Pickard with the open opportunity.

Please visit for the full game recap and video highlights.

The two clubs will travel to Buffalo Friday for a tilt at nearly-sold out First Niagara Center.


In SEL play, Linus Ullmark served as backup goaltender as MODO returned from the break by posting a 2-0 shutout of AIK. MODO's top club goes back at it Friday at Lulea.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

10/16 Recap: Armia suffers concussion

In Tuesday action, Joel Armia was knocked out of the game in the first period as Assat lost in a shootout to SaiPa 3-2. Armia left the game in the seventh minute after a collision with Jere Pulli. Following the game, Assat team sources revealed that Armia had suffered a "mild concussion" with the full extent to be determined following full examination.

In the WHL, Colin Jacobs earned a second-period fighting major and later a game misconduct with two seconds left in the game as Prince George lost to Calgary 5-0. After securing points in the Cougars' first eight games, Jacobs has been kept of the scoresheet in his last two outings.

In Rochester, Zemgus Girgensons recorded his first professional point with an assist on the Amerks' lone goal in a 3-1 loss to Binghamton. Girgensons took a hit along the left boards to advance the puck to Kevin Porter for a pretty goal a little over five minutes into the third. David Leggio made 33 saves in his third straight start, including two stand-out stops on former Ottawa first-rounder Mika Zibanejad. The Amerks return to action Friday versus Grand Rapids.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Prospects set for national camps

With training for the 2012-13 season not officially beginning until late August, a group of Sabres prospects will get a head start by skating with their respective national teams as a first step towards earning a roster spot at the IIHF World Junior Championship. The 2013 tournament will take place in Ufa, Russia from December 26th to January 5th.

The Sabres top pick in 2012, Mikhail Grigorenko, was among 29 players named to Russia's preliminary roster for the Canada-Russia Challenge. The four-game event, which this year replaces Canada's National Junior Development Camp, will be split between Yaroslavl, Russia (August 8-9) and Halifax, Nova Scotia (August 13-14). Filling a prominent role in international play over the past few seasons, the talented center posted five points (2+3) in six games at the 2012 tourney while playing through an ankle injury suffered in the Russians' third tilt. The 6'3 pivot will likely center a line featuring 2012 #1 pick Nail Yakupov down the right side during the series with Canada, who will ice a summer squad absent of any Sabres prospects for the first time since 2007.

Also among the highlighted prospects is 2011 first-round pick, Joel Armia. The 6'3 wing, who recently participated in his first NHL development camp, is a veteran of two U20 tourneys with Team Finland, including a five-goal, seven-point effort at the 2012 event, and should be considered a virtual lock for continued scoring line duty in 2013. A year removed from what he thought was his "worst game ever played", the big-bodied 19-year old will return to New York State (Lake Placid) on August 4th for the four-nation tournament at USA's National Junior Evaluation Camp.

Two picks from the 2012 draft, Jake McCabe and Logan Nelson, will skate in Lake Placid as USA Hockey evaluates a total of 46 under-20 players. The Americans will be split into Team White and Team Blue for intra-squad games and international tune-ups before cutting down for a round robin tourney with their European visitors.

A mobile left-handed warrior, McCabe is one of 17 defensemen in camp, a group that includes four first round NHL picks (Jacob Trouba, Connor Murphy, Jordan Schmaltz, Brady Skjei) and another eyed for top-five status in 2013 (Seth Jones). The 6'0", 195-pounder is set to enter his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin, where he is expected to again log major minutes while manning a point on the Badgers' top PP unit. The Eau Claire, WI native has previous international experience with a 2011 U18 gold medal and should be right in the mix when USA releases their preliminary roster in December.

Nelson, 18, shot on to the radar following his impressive WHL rookie season that saw him collect 23 goals and 62 points (3rd on team, 4th among league rookies) with the Victoria Royals. Playing with an edge while going to the net, the 6'1" wing demonstrated a significant jump from the 6-3-9 posted in 41 games the year before as a member of the USHL's  Des Moines Buccaneers. If the momentum of his stunning rise continues, there is a decent opportunity for him to get a deeper look from the staff headed by fellow Minnesotan and former Sabres first-rounder, Phil Housley.

Linus Ullmark, 19, is one of four netminders in Norrtälje this weekend as Sweden prepares for a two-game set with the Czech Republic on August 1st and 2nd. The 6'3" stopper joins Oscar Dansk (CBS), Niklas Lundström (STL), and Joel Lassinantti in the nets before the Swedes trim their roster from 34 to 22 and head over the pond for USA's camp tourney. Dansk and Lundstrom represent very stiff competition so a strong showing will be necessary for Ullmark to survive the cutdown and get a leg up entering the year with Modo.

Zemgus Girgensons is eligible to play for Latvia at the 2013 tourney, but his availability likely won't be addressed until their selection camp in December. As a contracted NHL player, the Sabres will dictate whether or not he participates. There is no question that the Latvians would love to have their prize forward help them compete after their 2012 promotion.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Girgensons locked up

Girgensons: ready to compete
The Sabres have announced the signing of Zemgus Girgensons to a three-year entry-level contract. The second of two first round picks from the 2012 draft, the 6'1", 198-pound forward used his all-around game to impress the Sabres at their recent development camp. He was good enough to command the offer, while being comfortable enough to forego his "student athlete status" and nullify his commitment to the University of Vermont.

Girgensons, who scored scored 45 goals and 104 points in his 100-game USHL career, is skilled, full-throttle power forward. He likes to play physical. He likes to take the puck hard to the net. The Sabres are firm in thinking that the 18-year old's mature body and mind will immediately translate to the professional game. 

With an NHL spot within reach, the next stop for the Latvian Locomotive may very well in Rochester of the AHL. The Sabres will weigh what's best for Girgensons in this fall's training camp and go from there.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nuthin' But a "G" Thang: Sabres add size, balance down middle

Grigorenko tries on the colors for the first time.
"Now it's time for me to make my impression felt... so sit back, relax, and strap on your seat belt"

The Buffalo Sabres made great strides in their quest to get bigger and more talented down the middle Friday, selecting Quebec Remparts leading scorer Mikhail Grigorenko (12th overall) and Dubuque Fighting Saints power froward Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall) in the first round of the NHL draft.

In all it was a successful opening night for the Sabres. They nabbed the most gifted player available at their original spot, and then acted swiftly with Flames GM Jay Feaster for the second straight draft by bundling the 21st and 42nd picks in exchange for #14 to close out their round earlier than scheduled.

I mentioned in the draft preview how many top-end Europeans are now playing in North American in their draft years. Rated the #3 North American skater by Central Scouting, Grigorenko is the first Russian-born player drafted by Buffalo since 2005, while Girgensons, who was ranked 18th, becomes the first-ever Latvian to be selected in the first round of the NHL draft.

For those wondering, there are no language issues whatsoever with either player. Girgensons is 100% fluent after spending three years in the U.S., while Grigorenko picked things up rather quickly despite living in a city dominated by en francais. Kevin Devine dropped the line of the weekend by joking that Grigorenko already speaks better than (Sabres amateur scout) Iourri Khymlev.

With Grigorenko, the Sabres pick up a highly-skilled center with excellent offensive sense and balance. He has great hands around the net but it's his passing and vision that really stand out. The 6'3, 200+ pounder controls the offensive tempo, a trait that causes many to believe that he's close to NHL ready with a future as a #1 pivot. From a skill standpoint, Devine thinks he could good to go as early as this fall. I fully expect the Sabres to act quickly on a contract but time will tell on that front.

After accumulating four goals and 18 points at the 2011 U18s, Grigorenko was an instant North American hit with 85 points (40+45) to be an easy choice as the CHL's Rookie of the Year. Despite the sparkling results, his will to compete was often questioned, but his coach with the Quebec Remparts, Patrick Roy, always spoke glowingly of his Russian rookie and recently suggested that it has simply been an issue of stamina at the root of the chatter. I'm no doctor, but it makes you wonder about his spring bout with mononucleosis and the impact of its onset.

After listening to Kevin Devine and Darcy Regier speak after Friday's first round, it appears that Roy's input heavily influenced their decision. Grigorenko has informed the Sabres that he'll return to Quebec City next season if he is unable to crack the NHL roster.

The pick worked out the way it should have - don't chase him but don't let him pass by. I'm glad the Sabres agreed that you couldn't pass up a potential Malkin clone with the 12th pick in the draft.

Girgensons: fit for duty in a blue collar town
With Girgensons, the Sabres nabbed a well-rounded center with high character who plays the game hard. He'll hound the puck. He'll slide to block a shot. He'll stand in the crease and push back after the whistle. Simply put, the 6'2, 198-pounder is a natural leader who goes in straight line with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

While some speculated on Grigorenko's work ethic, no one ever questioned Girgensons'. Devine remarked about his no-quit attitude at the World Juniors when he sacrificed his body late in a blowout loss to Russia. He even kept chugging for a few shifts after breaking his jaw in an April playoff game on a play that saw him lay a hit.

And by the way, Girgensons can score. His aggressive style led to 45 goals through 100 USHL games over the past two seasons. While a very capable offensive player, the best seems yet to come as his hard working style should see him create a little more on his own as he develops. The blend of skills combined a very high effort level makes perfect sense after picking a dominant offensive talent two picks earlier.

While the Kelowna Rockets maintain his WHL rights, Girgensons is expected to honor his early commitment to the University of Vermont, where he'll be skating over the next two weeks in preparation for the upcoming Sabres d-camp.

Ironically, Calgary ended up nabbing Girgensons' replacement on the Dubuques roster with the pick they got from the Sabres, selecting Providence commit Mark Jankowski at #21.

The Sabres began day two by selecting American-born defenseman Jake McCabe out of the WCHA's Wisconsin Badgers. From the draft preview:

Jake McCabe – LHD, 6’1”, 200 lbs., Wisconsin (WCHA)

Many of the defenders in this draft bring a strong two-way skill set to the table, and McCabe’s total package could be considered among the best. The Wisconsin native played in the WCHA as a true freshman in 2011-12, using smarts and excellent mobility to score three goals and 12 points while getting PP time alongside points machine Justin Schultz on the Badgers top PP unit.

It’s not all offense though. McCabe has a mature body and good shutdown skills that could make for a nice #4 defenseman after his days in Badgerland. A product of the U.S. NTDP, McCabe’s history with Amerks bench boss Ron Rolston could lend to some valuable input on draft day as the Sabres re-load youth on the blueline.

McCabe rebounded well after missing some time thanks to a cut tendon courtesy of a teammate's skate. While pegged in the preview as a third, the pick in the second makes sense given the relationships and overall skills of the player. Needless to say, I really like McCabe as quality two-way defensemen are always welcome in the NHL.

3rd round (73rd overall): Justin Kea - C, 6'4", 211 lbs.

Happy with their organizational skill and speed at the center spot, the Sabres used their third round pick on another big body that more likely projects to checking line duty.

A former first-rounder in the 2010 OHL draft (13th overall), the 6'4, 211 pound Kea employs a hard-working power forward style that sees him strong on the forecheck, valuable on the PK, and a willing pugilist as evidenced by 14 scraps through his first two years of major junior. Moving forward, many expect the lanky forward to get more opportunity to show his offensive side while filling out his frame.

The Sabres brought the big pivot in for their combine and certainly thought highly enough of his make-up to produce the third round investment. Per Kevin Devine, they think he could be Paul Gaustad type with better skating.

 5th round (133rd): Logan Nelson - C/W, 6'2", 188 lbs.

Yet another Sabres combine visitor, the Minnesota native is a strong, skilled forward who compiled 23 goals and 62 points this past season in Victoria while playing parts of the year alongside fellow Sabres prospect, Kevin Sundher. Naturally a center, Nelson plays with an edge, using his big body to make plays around the net.

Passed over in his first draft year as a member of the USHL's Des Moines Buccaneers, Nelson moved to the WHL where he emerged as a more complete player. His production did not go unnoticed by USA Hockey, who invited the talented Nelson to their U20 Evaluation Camp later this summer. He'll turn 19 in September, giving him one more year of junior to become a stronger skater before hitting the AHL.

Nelson notched his first WHL hat trick back on January 3rd in a 9-4 loss to Calgary. All three goals can be seen below.

6th round (163rd): Linus Ullmark - G, 6'3", 198 lbs.

I thought that perhaps the Sabres would stop their "every other year" trend and add a goalie to build more top-to-bottom depth, and they did just that. We'll go back to the draft preview for the goods on the big Swede who the Sabres had good intelligence on thanks to the January hiring of former MoDo GM Fredrik Andersson as a professional scout.
Linus Ullmark – G, 6’3, 198 lbs., Modo (SWE Jr)

Big and raw, the talented Ullmark enters his second draft year after an excellent season with Modo’s J20 squad that saw him post a solid 2.76 goals against average and .918 save percentage with the storied franchise. Ullmark’s play steadily improved throughout the season and into the playoffs, where he sparkled with a 2.24 GAA, .927 sv%, and one shutout in five starts.

Growing up dreaming of playing for Modo’s top club, Ullmark got his wish at the Christmas break when he was called in to back up Mikael Tellqvist while Anton Forsberg was away at the U20s. When Telllqvist fell ill, Ullmark was thrust into his first start as an 18-year old on two hours notice and held up well in an OT loss to Lulea.

While the bottleneck kept him buried most of the year, we’re still giving Ullmark a good shot to be drafted by the Sabres and an equally good chance to earn a larger SEL role with Modo before coming to North America.

7th round (193rd): Brady Austin - LHD, 6'4", 234 lbs.

The Sabres continued their run of three straight players in their second year of eligibility with the selection of Austin. The mammoth rearguard flourished this past season after an offseason trade to Belleville, leveraging his past experience as a spot-duty forward to score six goals and 26 points while developing his stay-at-home game under the guidance of former Edmonton Oilers bench boss George Burnett. Named the Bulls' Most Dedicated player, the steady improvement and overall package including a strong shot and a nice set of feet for a big man make him a smart pick late in the draft.

One Austin's season highlights came as he showed his mobility up-ice to score the overtime game winning goal in game #4 of the Bulls' first round playoff series against Ottawa (below).

7th round (204th): Judd Peterson - C/RW, 6'0, 190 lbs.

Developing just up the road from Sabres amateur scout Keith Hendrickson, Peterson enters Sabreland following a prolific high school season that saw him rack up 47 goals and 83 points with Duluth-Marshall (MN) High School. Peterson's offensive package, which includes a nice burst and sniping accuracy, along with his relationship earned him an up-close audition at the Sabres pre-draft combine, where he confirmed his standing as a deeper day two option and potential depth scorer.

Native Minnesotan Brian Burke was also said to be interested, but the Sabres acted before the Leafs final pick to snatch up the 2012 Mr. Hockey Finalist. Peterson will play for the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders in 2012-13 before entering the WCHA ranks with the St. Cloud State Huskies.

Peterson ( gold #18) opened the 2011 scholastic season with a hat trick and an assist. You can see the points below.


Sabres Development Camp is scheduled for July 8th-14th. (So just chill 'til the next episode).