Maybe you hadn't noticed, but it's been awhile since we got to watch anyone from the Hurricanes system playing competitive hockey. Who's with me on this? Anyone?
There is a bit of relief coming up over the next week in Lake Placid, NY as the World Junior Championship development camps for the US, Finland and Sweden gather the best Under-20 players for training, scrimmage games and to determine who will make the cut for the tournament that begins after Christmas. As part of this camp, the three nations will play some games which will be webcast (for $6.99/game) next week. Intra-squad scrimmages began Friday afternoon.
The Canes have five (five?) defensive prospects among those attending. For Team USA, look for Boston College standout Brian Dumoulin, and from the 2010 draft, Justin Faulk and Mark Alt, who are both bound for college in MInnesota this September. Team Finland has Tommi Kivisto (who played on the team last year) and Rasmus Rissanen, both of whom were drafted in 2009 and, with Faulk, attended Conditioning Camp here in Raleigh earlier this month.
For details, USA Hockey has provided an integrated site here: 2010 Junior Evaluation Camp Central that also has links to their blog, and the schedule of the games next week, also found here: USA Hockey WJC 2010 blog Check out the downloadable prospectus on Team USA to see how our kids compare. For starters, that was where I learned that second round pick Faulk scored the Game Winning Goal for the Team USA Under-18 World Juniors in the IIHF Gold Medal game in Minsk, Belarus this past April.
First round pick Jeff Skinner will be attending Team Canada's U-20 Camp, which will be August 4 through 7 in St John's, Newfoundland Labrador.
Off-season updates from a few other familiar faces.
CANOE - SLAM! Sports: Staal brothers go environmental NHL stars Eric, Jordan, Marc and Jared were at Port Arthur Stadium [Thunder Bay, ON] on Tuesday morning, adding their high profiles to a tournament that has already been an enormous success. And here's a photo of all four. I haven't seen all of them together since Jared got so big.
Hall ready to make impact in NHL - Duffer's Dabbles Looking at the Hurricanes' sleeper of a mid-round pick up, Justin Shugg in the context of an article on his former teammate with the Windsor Spitfires:
Forward Justin Shugg, Taylor Hall’s Spitfire teammate the past three seasons and a fourth-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in the entry draft, is thinking the opposite of Hall, understanding how important it will be for him to come back to Windsor as an 18-year-old and play a leadership role with the two-time defending Memorial Cup champions. "I think I’ve been one of the slower-developed players (since) coming over from Oshawa (in 2007-08)," Shugg said. "I had a tough first year, then in my second year, the coaches started playing me in a shutdown role, so I learned the defensive side of hockey."
The Traverse City Prospects Tournament will begin September 11. The Canes should be among the favorites again this year, having won the trophy in 2009. I've looked into the eligibility requirements trying to guess who might be representing Carolina, and it appears that no more than four players with pro experience are allowed. NCAA regulations also limit their college-bound players' ability to participate. Not sure when we'll hear who Carolina will be sending, but the New York Rangers have released their list: Rangers’ 2010 Traverse City Tournament Roster Set | Hockey Independent. I'll save you the click: yes, Dylan McIlrath will be there.
If you've an open Saturday tomorrow, you might plan on heading down to Raleigh Wide Open 5 - July 31, 2010. A diverse city-sponsored event, the festival will feature some opportunities related to the 2011 All-Star Game and take place under the watchful eyes of these familiar faces, just finished yesterday afternoon. Of course, Ovechkin's face would be more familiar without the mullion mask. (photo by LTD) :
UPDATE from the Canes - a little more Behind the Scenes regarding this urban banner that you'll find very interesting. Very cool.
So who's minding the store?
Not everyone is gallivanting around outside all summer playing games. Front office work is at its peak.
Remember when last year the Canes made it to the third round on the playoffs and those eight extra games in Raleigh were what moved the club from loss to profit? Then this post season the idea of tyring to be profitable without any playoff games, is the driving force of Rutherford's need to keep salaries low. If you've been following all that, then this story will really seem hard to believe about the team who sells out 20,000 seats a game, including a run that culminated in the Stanley Cup: Blackhawks finances: Blackhawks win on the ice, lose off it - chicagotribune.com Ganis, of SportsCorp, has a different take. "Business people do not like keeping money-losing ventures on their portfolio," he said. "It's more than pride and ego. It's a business philosophy."
We all know about Steve Yzerman's arrival in Tampa Bay. But that wasn't the last big move new owner Jeff Vinik had in store for the beleagured Bolts' fans Why Tod Leiweke's hire is important to Tampa Bay Lightning fans - Raw Charge Tod Leiweke has resigned from his position as CEO of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment to become the CEO of the Tampa Bay Lightning. What does that mean for the team and the fans?
Favorite funnyblog, Down Goes Brown is keeping track of what the NHL Players' Association is aiming to accomplish in this summer of slow signings: Down Goes Brown: Other NHL player grievances For instance: The current maximum roster size rules significantly reduce our overall earnings potential by artificially limiting the number of players who can receive idiotic free agent offers from Glen Sather.
Before you know it summer will be over (don't I wish!) which brings us to
October in Europe?
While a few more free agents have been signed this week, this has not been a normal July. James Mirtle takes a look at why and what it means: Frozen-out free agents following the money overseas - The Globe and Mail St. Petersburg is a bit of an anomaly overseas as one of the world’s wealthiest non-NHL teams, and it has used its financial might to land goaltender Evgeni Nabokov (four years, $26-million) this summer and defenceman Sergei Zubov a year ago.
A relatively new hockey blog in the SBN community is over at Puck Worlds. This week they began an interesting series: European Hockey for Dummies - Puck Worlds Training camps are already beginning in some European professional hockey leagues. Here's an introduction to the top leagues, and how they compare with each other.
And come October 4th, our Hurricanes will lead the NHL as the first team to play in Russia since 1990. Here's an excellent source to take a look at the SKA St Petersburg roster. You'll recognize long-time NHL veterans Evgeni Nabokov and Sergei Zubov. Eliteprospects.com - SKA St. Petersburg (At this point Ilya Kovalchuk remains off the list. That doesn't mean they have stopped trying.)
For information on the game from the Russian perspective, here is the KHL's website for these historic exhibition games between NHL and KHL clubs.
Last, while I'm on the theme of NHL players playing in Europe, here's a piece looking at subtle perceptions of the most talented Eastern Europeans who play hockey here in the NHL. Hockey Plumber: Hockey's S.O.P. - Same Old Prejudices? Invariably, no matter the team or star caliber of the player, the "knock" on the Eastern European was worded much more harshly.
Perennial standard of Saturday nights on Canadian TV "Hockey Night in Canada" is apparently feeling some ratings pressure from TSN. Now what? Glitter Twins keep on shining - The Globe and Mail Cavalier attitude shouldn’t put HNIC hosts Ron MacLean, Don Cherry in hot water with new CBC producer
A look at how NHL teams got their team nicknames A little history on all thirty teams you might not know. So the Atlanta Flames (now in Calgary) were named for the burning of the city at the hands of the Union Army's General Sherman in 1864. That's just weird. And bad Karma. No wonder they had to move.
Ebay's strangest NHL stuff - From The Rink Plenty of strange NHL collectibles have come out over the past 100 years, but which have made it on to Ebay? A look at the weirdest, goofiest, and coolest NHL items available for bid.
Here is a Hockeymom special: Checkers donate Onesies to Presbyterian Hospital When Bettman said it would take a generation to have real dyed-in-the wool hockey fans in the "Sunbelt", I'm thinking this was exactly what he had in mind. How many of you stalwart hockeyfans even know what a onesie is?
I'll be putting up a poll for the final "Puck Readers" choice of the summer over the weekend - look for it in the fanposts.