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Tag:Brandon Saad
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:57 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 3:59 pm
 

Etem, Saad lead final U.S. World Juniors roster

By Brian Stubits

The World Junior Championships are a really big deal in Canada. The country looks forward to them almost as much as it does the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The same can't be said in the U.S., but every battle against Team Canada ratchets up the excitement level. This year will be no different. The Americans took the bronze in the World Junior tourney last year but the year before came away with the gold in a 6-5 final win over the Canadians.

USA Hockey finalized its world Juniors roster on Thursday in a much less celebrated way than Canada, which has a media scrum at the door of every cut player when he is told the news. Ouch.

The American roster that will be challenged with not only beating the Canadians on New Year's Eve in Edmonton but also with winning the gold, has some experience to speak of. Seven players who were part of the 2011 U.S. National Junior squad are playing, highlighted by some high NHL prospects like Emerson Etem, Charlie Coyle and Derek Forbort.

Notre Dame, Minnesota and Miami U lead the way with two players apiece from their schools. As far as NHL teams with most prospects named, the Florida Panthers (Connor Brickley, Kyle Rau and Nick Bjugstad) and Chicago Blackhawks (Brandon Saad, Adam Clendening and Stephen Johns) lead the way with three each.

The apparent strength of the roster the U.S. has assembled chock full of first-round draft picks not only bodes well for the team's chance at another gold but also at the continuing strength of USA Hockey in its development levels.

Good news for fans who want to cheer on the Red, White and Blue, all games will be televised on NHL Network. The first tournament game for USA is on Monday, the day after Christmas against Denmark.

To see the USA Hockey release and team tournament schedule, click here. You can find the full team roster here. And as a public service announcement, @DaveStarmanCBS and @chrismpeters are great follows on Twitter if you want to keep up with the news on the U.S. World Juniors squad.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 4:05 pm
 

Daily Skate: Mark Messier to run in NYC Marathon

By Brian Stubits

RUN, MARK, RUN!: Rangers (and Oilers, of course) icon Mark Messier announced on Thursday that he will be running in the next New York City marathon on Nov. 6. He's doing it to benefit two charities, the New York Police & Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund as well as the Tomorrows Children's Fund. Messier says he has no goals -- that's a first! -- and would just like to finish. (NHL.com)

WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' DIVISIONS: This might be the most interesting realignment prosposal I have seen to date. This idea calls for the banishment of divisions from hockey, that way you don't have teams being forced to play so ofen in other time zones, a la Dallas, Detroit and Nashville. (Hockey News)

MINI PAVEL: The Red Wings had a classic giveaway for Thursday night's game against the Canucks, handing out Pavel Datsyuk bobbleheads. "Awesome," Datsyuk said about his appearance. "Lots of tan. Looks like me in summertime." Nice keepsake for Red Wings fans. (Detroit Free Press)

HOMETOWN HERO: While Jaromir Jagr didn't return to his original team in Kladno, Czech Republic to play this summer, he is making a very big impression on his old club. To help save the struggling team, Jagr purchased a 70 percent ownership stake in the team, leaving the locals a happy group. (J.J.'s Knights)

TORONTO TROUBLE: Cody Franson was openly sharing his frustration last week that he is the seventh defenseman for the Maple Leafs after they acquired him from Nashville in the offseason. Coach Ron Wilson's response? “He plays the next game and the rest is up to him,” Wilson said of Franson’s status with the team. “He put a lot of pressure on himself talking this week. Now he’s got to perform.” (Globe and Mail)

TOUGH SPOT: The St. Louis Cardinals are currently doing battle with the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS, leaving Blues tough guy Barret Jackman in a tough spot. He played a little with Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan when Morgan was still giving hockey a shot. "He was one of those guys you loved to hate because he had so much energy," (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

OVER THE HILL: Chicago Blackhawks veteran Sean O'Donnell just turned 40 on Thursday and for a short while was on the roster the same time as 18-year-old Brandon Saad. Here's a look at the differences in generations from each of their favorite TV shows to hockey heroes. (ESPN Chicago)

NEW TRADITION: The Islanders are putting a new twist on an old hockey tradition. The idea launched by captain Mark Streit, the Isles are now lining up to create a human tunnel for the announcement of the Three Stars of the game. Here's the rendition after Thursday's rout of the Lightning, including a John Tavares imposter.

Photo: Detroit Red Wings Twitpic

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


Posted on: October 6, 2011 12:25 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 12:57 am
 

Blackhawks will rebound and lift the Cup again

By Brian Stubits

Last season there was a hangover in Chicago. Champagne-induced ones are the worst. That's a big reason why the Blackhawks had to fight at season's end to earn the West's final playoff spot.

But like a regular ol' college student, a day after being bed-ridden it's time to party again. That's my forecast for this season's Stanley Cup: a return to the Madhouse on Madison.

By now everybody has heard enough about the salary cap trouble Chicago found itself in. Former GM Dale Tallon gets a lot of credit for building a Stanley Cup winner, but when he was forced out of town, there was more than a parade to clean up after. For that, current GM Stan Bowman deserves a lot of credit.

Chicago was so crippled by their cap crunch that they lost a few key players to their championship like Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Antti Niemi and Kris Versteeg. But the core remained, and now Bowman has reshuffled the cards to stack the deck around said core again.

2011-12 NHL Season Preview

Welcome into the fold Andrew Brunette, Dan Carcillo, Jamal Mayers, Steve Montador and Sean O'Donnell to the existing group that includes two of the best young players in the game of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, it's a solid group that also now has a true grinder line. Add the apparent solution to the goal riddle with Corey Crawford and you can see why optimism is back in the Windy City.

Three reasons to like the Blackhawks:

1. Skill: There are three players on this team that topped the 70-point mark last season. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp are each capable of doing it again. Marian Hossa is right there with them. If second-round draft pick Brandon Saad really is as good as he showed this preseason as he earned a spot on Chicago's TOP line, then it's an unexpected lethal addition.

2. Defense: Oh yeah, the group on the blue line has some skill, too. There's a past Norris Trophy winner who will be in the conversation again this season in Duncan Keith. He's a horse for Chicago. Last season he played more minutes than any skater in hockey. He is teamed up with another outstanding and young defenseman in Brent Seabrook. The belief is that they don't have to rely on those two as uch this season as the corps got deeper, adding Montador and O'Donnell to round out a rock solid group that also includes Niklas Hjalmarsson and Nick Leddy. But the big key is Crawford. He was very impressive in his first full season and with a group like that in front of him, can continue to look stellar.

3. Chemistry: I'm not a massive believer in the intangibles in sports, but you can't deny its impact, especially among linemates. This group in Chicago doesn't seem to have any personality problems on the horizon as it is a close-knit group. "We've had that chemistry right from Day 1 -- no question about it," the veteran Sharp said on Wednesday. "When you bring in veteran players who have had success all across the league on different teams it seems like there's one excitement in the room." Let me put it this way; good chemistry can't hurt matters. Also under intangibles: They have been there before.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 5, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: October 5, 2011 10:01 am
 

Daily Skate: Leafs' Franson not pleased with role

By Brian Stubits

FRANSON FRUSTRATION: The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Cody Franson in a trade with the Predators presumably because they thought he could play on their blue line. So did he. Well as they break camp in Toronto, Franson is still on the roster, but is the seventh defenseman. "Right now I'm not too thrilled with it," Franson said. This will be worth watching. (Globe and Mail)

DEBUT DELAY? Martin Havlat is ready to begin his tenure as a member of the San Jose Sharks, but it might have to wait just a little longer. The former Wild forward acquired this summer in a trade flew to Cleveland to meet with a shoulder surgeon hoping to gain clearance for Saturday's first game. Havlat had his shoulder operated on in the offseason after getting hurt in the World Championships. (Working the Corners)

LESSON LEARNED: In September, Milan Lucic made his way into some negative publicity when he was involved in a slight confrontation with his girlfriendand pulled the "Do you know who I am?" card. The young Bruins scorer says the whole incident taught him a major lesson. As far as the "DYKWIA?" card? He says it wasn't to get special treatment, but to ask the police to think of why he, with so much to lose, would do anything to jeopardize it. (CSN New England)

CHARITABLE RIVALS: When the Capitals and Penguins get together in Pittsburgh on Oct. 13, they will be wearing commemorative patches on their jerseys for the KHL's Lokomotiv team. After the game, they will autograph then auction off the jerseys and donate all the proceeds to the families of the players killed in the plane crash. (CBSSports.com)

STILL NO. 1: TSN put out their list of the Top 50 players in the NHL for this season, so who is No. 1? It's still Sidney Crosby, even if there's no guarantee as to when he'll return from post-concussion symptoms. No surprise that he comes in just ahead of Alexander Ovechkin. (TSN)

LUCKY LINEMATE: The winner of the Marian Gaborik-Brad Richards linemate sweepstakes with the Rangers is ... Brandon Dubinsky. He'll start the Rangers' game on Friday manning the left wing spot on the top line and coach John Tortorella will "see where it goes" from there. (@thenyrangers)

NOT A SAAD STORY: The Blackhawks are loaded with talent. It's why many see them as a Stanley Cup contender this season. So that gives you an idea how much second-round pick Brandon Saad impressed as he not only has earned a spot on the roster, but is slated to start on the first line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. Not too bad for a player whose draft stock slipped. (CSN Chicago)

COUTURIER A CATCH: Saad isn't the only player who slipped in the draft that is looking like more than a player on an extended tryout. Sean Couturier was once seen as maybe the best prospect in the draft but fell to No. 8 where the Flyers were waiting with open arms. GM Paul Holmgren is willing to give up a season of control of his contract if Couturier continues to make an impact. (Philadelphia Sports Daily)

HUBYMANIA ENDS: Not all the top draft picks are going to get that extended look. The Panthers elected to send No. 3 overall draft choice Jonathan Huberdeau back to his junior team on Tuesday despite the forward leading the Cats in scoring this preseason. Interesting that a team so desparate to win and attract fans is willing to let their top prospect develop. (NHL.com)

BOUDREAU MIC'D AGAIN: This time it's clear of profanity ... because it's bleeped out. Bruce Boudrea, the Capitals coach who drew plenty of attention for his actions (and words) in HBO's 24/7 last season, was mic'd up for the Capitals' first preseason game held in Baltimore and let's just say he didn't like getting shut out.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 13, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 8:21 pm
 

Craig Smith and other prospect tournament news



By: Adam Gretz

By now you probably already know the story of the Nashville Predators and the way they have to construct their roster.

They don't have the funds at their disposal to acquire many big-name players in free agency or the trade market, and they may even struggle to keep the star players they draft and develop themselves (like defenseman Shea Weber, for example). The key to maintaining a competitive team on the ice is to have a steady pipeline of young, low-cost, homegrown talent flowing through the farm system.

In recent years they've done an admirable job putting together a playoff caliber team while playing in what is one of the toughest divisions in the NHL -- the Central Division -- going up against two Original Six power houses in Chicago and Detroit. They've qualified for the playoffs in six of the past seven seasons, and this past season advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

One of the prospects that has been gaining plenty of attention over the past year is their fourth-round pick from 2009, forward Craig Smith, who has spent the past two seasons playing at the University of Wisconsin. During the Predators prospects game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night, Smith managed to score four goals (highlight video shown above; Smith is wearing No. 15) in a 7-3 win, before adding two more goals against the Florida Panthers prospects on Tuesday.

That's six goals in two games, and perhaps the most impressive performance of any player in any of the ongoing prospect tournaments.

Earlier this summer Smith represented the United States at the World Hockey Championships in Slovakia, and despite being the only collegiate player on the roster, finished as one of the leading scorers on the team, scoring three goals to go with three assists in seven games. Prior to that, he was the second-leading scorer for Wisconsin with 19 goals and 24 assists in 41 games.

The step from rookie tournaments in early September to the NHL during the regular season is, obviously, a massive one, but Smith's performance at all levels over the past year is an encouraging sign for the Predators organization. He's taken advantage of every chance he's been given and established himself as a player that may have some sort of NHL future.

Here are a few other notable performances from the many tournaments that are currently taking place.

Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks: A year ago Brandon Saad was projected to be one of the first North American players off the board during the 2011 draft. His stock dropped a little during the season and he was eventually selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the middle of the second round. Saad was also left off the 2011 World Junior roster earlier this year, and is using that as a motivational tool as he described in an interview with Erin Nicks of NHL.com. The Blackhawks rookies are taking part in the Oshawa Rookie Tournament, and Saad, a power forward from the Pittsburgh area, has five points in his first two games. He has great size (already listed at 6-foot-2 and over 200 pounds) and plenty of upside, and looked to be a nice find in the second-round right from the start. His early performance here has only reinforced that.

Here's what Ted Dent, the head coach of the Rockford Ice Dogs who is also coaching the Blackhawks rookies at the tournament, had to say about Saad's early performance, via NHL.com:
"I didn't know much about Brandon coming into the tournament this weekend, but I've been very impressed. He puts the puck hard to the net; he has good hockey sense, as well. He's been very good the past few games. I know a situation like missing out on the World Junior Championship would be a huge disappointment, but this is another chance for him to make an impression on those who see him. I think he'll continue to take advantage of that fact."
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers: For the second year in a row the Edmonton Oilers had the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and used it on playmaking center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He's making his Oilers debut at the Young Stars Tournament, and while his first appearance on Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks didn't result in the type of goal-scoring clinic that we saw from Smith or Saad, observers, including Ian Walker of the Vancouver Sun, came away extremely impressed with his playmaking ability, on-ice vision and awareness. He's still a little on the small side (not as big of an issue as it used to be in the NHL), and the debate as to whether or not he should open the season in the NHL continues to rage on in Edmonton and across the league. But the early returns, for what they are based on one game against other rookies, are promising.

The Winnipeg Jets: Finally, fans of the Winnipeg Jets have been able to get their first look at players wearing the new uniforms, the surest sign of all that hockey is officially back in Winnipeg. It may not be the NHL roster playing a real game, but it's a start. Their rookies made their debut on Monday night against the San Jose Sharks prospects and picked up a 4-0 win, with the first goal going to Levko Koper. Mark Scheifele, the Jets first-round pick this past season (No. 7 overall) added a shorthanded goal in the win. You can check out the highlights in this video from the Jets website.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: June 22, 2011 12:26 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 1:02 pm
 

NHL Draft positional rankings: Wings

Oftentimes they are the most electric guys on the ice. It's partly why it never hurts to have a slew of wings on your roster.

While this year's class doesn't have a whole lot in the way of absolutely elite blue-chip prospects, there will be more than enough to like for potential Stars from snipers to the dirty workers. At the top of just about everybody's list is Gabriel Landeskog, a Swedish import to Canada. He figures to be a steady presence, and you will know what to expect from him.

After that, there is a host of players with plenty of potential ... for booms or busts.

1. Gabriel Landeskog, 6'0/207, Kitchener (OHL): It seems pretty clear Landeskog is the top winger available, and he might also be the most NHL-ready player in the draft. His upside might not be as high as some other skaters in the draft, but the ceiling is still great, and he figures to be a very good scorer in little time. Playing for the Rangers of the OHL, Landeskog had 36 goals and 30 assists in 53 games. His leadership qualities stand out, too, as he was the youngest to be named captain for Kitchener in 30 years. He draws comparisons to Mike Richards, who also played for Kitchener.

2. Sven Baertschi, 5'10/181, Portland (WHL): Put up great numbers as a rookie in the WHL, leading the league's freshmen with 85 points, which included 34 goals and 51 assists, as he demonstrated his great vision on the ice. The kind of guy teams love because of his work ethic. Per Portland coach Mike Johnston: "Quick, skilled, very fast type of player ... I don't think anyone can stay on the ice as long as he does. We have to tell him to get off the ice 45 minutes after practice ends. He stays out there forever to work on his game. He works on inside-outside moves, quick shots and little foot movement."

3. Tyler Biggs, 6'2/210, USA U-18: A guy whose name fits the bill, Biggs plays in a big way on the ice, with a physical presence and a leadership grit. Committed to play for Miami University, Biggs has shown up on the big stage, netting the overtime winner to beat Canada in the semifinals of the U-18 championships. He has seen his stock fall some in recent weeks, but the upside is still solid and you have to love the leadership qualities he possesses. Can help toughen up a team's forward corps. Prospect interview

4. Joel Armia, 6'3/191, Assat (Finland): The thing that immediately jumps out about Armia is that he earned a spot on the top line for a team playing in the highest league in Finland. In 48 games, he scored 18 goals and had 11 assists. He is tall, but it doesn't hamper his skating as he moves well. He's young and will need more seasoning before coming to the NHL, but the potential is there to grow into a sniper down the line. Player highlights

5. Brandon Saad, 6'1/208, Saginaw (OHL): The Pittsburgh native put up very good numbers in the OHL this season with 27 goals and 28 assists in 59 games, including 12 scores that came on the power play. Has excellent speed as a skater, so much so that as a young teen he won the puck relay event and the breakaway contest at the U.S. Nationals skills competition. Only helping matters is this from NHL Central Scouting's Jack Edwards: "He plays a solid two-way game and is very responsible defensively.” Player profile

6. Ty Rattie, 5'11/163, Portland (WHL): Playing with Baertschi for the Winterhawks, Rattie posted 28 goals and 51 assists. He's fantastic on the power play with his ability to sneak his way into the tough areas, scoring 12 with the man-up this season. He could use more size if he's going to continue to make his way in those spots, though. Excellent with the puck on his stick, he's the type of player that can make a play out of what seems like a dead-end. Player highlights

7. Tomas Jurco, 6'2/187, Saint John (QMJHL): Playing for the stacked Sea Dogs, Jurco still tallied 31 goals with 25 assists in 60 regular-season games. The Slovakian has made a name for himself with his amazing stick skills. It's fair to say he's one of, if not the top, puck-handler in the draft. It's no surprise after seeing those moves that, in two years in the QMJHL, Jurco has scored on 14-of-17 shootout attempts, an astonishing .823 conversion percentage. Player profile

8. Nicklas Jensen, 6'2/187, Oshawa (OHL): You have to love that the Danish winger came over to arguably the best junior hockey league in the world and adjusted well, scoring 29 goals with 29 assists in 61 games. A good puck-handler with a fast shot off the wrist, Jensen could develop into a very good scorer who can create his own shot -- just look at the highlights below to see his capabilities. At this point, he isn't quite ready to come to the NHL; he could stand for a little more muscle and become more acclimated to the physical play in North America. But the potential is there for an offensive steal late in the first round. Player highlights

9. Matt Puempel, 6'0/196, Peterborough (OHL): There's little question about his ability. Puempel had 34 goals and 35 assists in 55 games. The concern, though, is a hip injury that cut his season short. He doesn't have a complete two-way game as he's much more in the mold of a sniper on the ice, so that could be a concern for some teams. But the upside as a scorer is high, and considering he's credited as an intelligent hockey player, teams could feel comfortable they can teach him enough defense to not be a liability. Player highlights

10. Phillip Danault, 6'0/170, Victoriaville (QMJHL): Awarded the Guy Carbonneau Trophy this past season as the best defensive forward in the QMJHL, Danault is much more of an intangibles guy. Just look what Victoriaville coach Yanick Jean had to say about his captain: "The thing about Danault is he's a tremendous worker. He's dedicated to the game, but now he's taking more and more leadership and it's contagious. He'll bring work ethic, dedication and leadership." Oh, he can play offense, too. He had 23 goals and 44 assists in 64 games. Player highlights

-- Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com