Posting a few thoughts for you to chew on as we head into a fairly heavy Saturday of NHL playoff action....
"#Preds Miikka Salomaki was cut from the Finnish World Championship roster today. #Isles Jesse Joensuu was added"
The IIHF U18 World Men's Championship medal games take place Sunday.
Bronze - Canada vs. Finland
Gold/Silver - USA vs. Sweden
Morgan Rielly (2012 NHL Draft) played in his first game since December 28th as his Moose Jaw Warriors faced off against the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL Eastern Conference Finals. Rielly had 1 assist in the 6-1 loss maintaining his point-per-game pace. Edmonton's Henrik Samuelsson (son of former NHL defenseman Ulf) recorded 3 assists as he continues to play well since joining the Oil Kings mid-season.
Portland's Sven Bartschi (Flames) continues to dominate the WHL as his team defeated the Tri-City Americans in overtime to take game one of the Western Conference Final. Maple Leafs' prospect Brad Ross, Penguins' Joe Morrow and Blues' Ty Rattie added a point each in the win for Portland. Teammates Ty Rattie (who I liked a lot at last years' draft) and Sven Bartschi sit atop the WHL Playoff scoring leaders list with 24 points each (12 games). Joe Morrow leads all WHL defenseman in scoring ...ya, Portland is STACKED!
Ducks' prospect Patrick Maroon had two goals and an assist in Tri-City's loss.
In game one of the Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference Final featuring Niagara IceDogs and Ottawa 67's, goaltending was the story of the opening game...as expected. Red Wings' prospect netminder Petr Mrazek continues to have a remarkable season as he stopped 49 of 51 shots but took the loss in overtime. Coyotes' goaltending prospect Mark Visentin stopped 41 of 42 pucks in Niagara's 2-1 win.
Ryan Stome (Islanders), Freddie Hamilton (Sharks), Dougie Hamilton (Bruins), Tom Kuhnhackl (Penguins) and Brett Ritchie (Stars) picked up single points each in the victory.
Overage 67's defenseman Marc Zanetti has likely played in his last OHL game after kicking Tom Kuhnhackl in the head during a scrum.
Kitchener Ranger forwards Tobias Rieder (Oilers) and Michael Catenacci (undrafted) sit 1-2 in OHL scoring with 25 and 24 points, respectively. Ryan Strome (Islanders), Brandon Saad (Blackhawks) and Alex Friesen (Canucks) round out the top five in scoring.
The Halifax Moosehead had a comeback of ages against Patrick Roy's Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL Conference Semi-Final as Halifax faught back from a 0-3 series deficit to win game 7 in overtime. Halifax lost game one of the Conference Final to Rimouski 4-1. Petr Straka (Blue Jackets) had a goal and an assist in the game.
The powerhouse Saint John Sea Dogs were victorious in their conference final series opening game winning 4-1 to record their ninth straight playoff win. Stanislav Galiev (Capitals) and Charlie Coyle (Wild) each tallied two points while Jonathan Huberdeau (Panthers) and Nathan Beaulieu (Canadiens) added single points in the win. Los Angeles Kings' goaltending prospect Christopher Gibson took the loss in net as he stopped 29 of 33 shots.
Wild prospects Charlie Coyle and Zack Phillips sit tied in QMJHL playoff scoring with 23 points through 9 playoff games. Halifax's Nathan MacKinnon (2013 draft class), Stanislav Galiev (Caps) sit third and fourth with 21 points.
Speaking of Nathan MacKinnon, check out his hit from last night....
The American Hockey League (AHL) playoffs have started so take the time to glance over the boxscores to see how your favourite prospects are performing when the pressures to produce are increased.
AHL Eastern Conference Quarter-Final Matchups (with a few notable prospects):
Manchester Monarchs (Linden Vey, Justin Azevedo, Thomas Hickey, Richard Clune)
Norfolk Admirals (Cory Conacher, Richard Panik, Jaroslav Janus, Dustin Tokarski)
St. John's IceCaps (Spencer Machacek, Patrice Cormier, Ben Maxwell)
Syracuse Crunch (Brandon McMillan, Patrick Maroon, Kyle Palmieri, Dan Sexton, Emerson Etem)
Connecticut Whale (Ryan Bourque, Casey Wellman, Christian Thomas, Pavel Valentenko, Tim Erixon)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Rhett Rakhshani, Casey Cizikas, David Ullstrom, Brock Nelson, Calvin de Haan, Ty Wishart, Mark Katic)
Hershey Bears (Cody Eakin, Chris Bourque, Ryan Potulny)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Phillip Samuelsson, Alex Grant, Brad Thiessen)
Western Conference Quarter-Final Matchups:
Oklahoma City Barons (Tyler Pitlick, Philippe Cornet, Magnus Paajarvi, Anton Lander, Colten Teubert, Alex Plante)
Houston Aeros (Brett Bulmer, David McIntyre, Nick Palmieri, Tyler Cuma, Steven Kampfer, Matt Hackett)
Rochester Americans (Corey Tropp, Marcus Foligno, Luke Adam, TJ Brennan, Brayden McNabb)
Toronto Marlies (Nazem Kadri, Joe Colborne, Carter Ashton, Matt Frattin, Jerry D'Amigo, Stuart Percy, Korbinian Holzer, Jake Gardiner, Ben Scrivens)
Chicago Wolves (Jordan Schroeder, Bill Sweatt, Nicklas Jensen, Kevin Connauton, Eddie Lack)
San Antonia Rampage (Jon Matsumoto, James Wright, Bill Thomas, Drew Shore, Alex Petrovic, Jacob Markstrom)
Abbotsford Heat (Akim Aliu, Roman Horak, Paul Byron, Greg Nemisz, Brian Connelly)
Milwaukee Admirals (Michael Latta, Taylor Beck, Chris Mueller, Teemu Laakso)
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the weekend hockey.