Today’s news will be a sight for sore eyes in Edmonton (and perhaps a generator of bitterness for Toronto since they sacrificed their first and second rounders for Phil Kessel). As I mentioned earlier today, the Oilers’ losing ways guaranteed that they will have one of the top two picks. So they might look at the upcoming combine as a hockey buffet, since the list of invitees was announced today.
This year’s invitation list includes top prospects from all corners of the globe, including the two most-talked-about prospects — Windsor Spitfires left wing Taylor Hall and Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin.
Also on the list are the top defensemen available — Erik Gudbranson of the Kingston Frontenacs, Brandon Gormley of the Moncton Wildcats, Windsor’s Cam Fowler and the Edmonton Oil Kings’ Mark Pysyk.
Top goalies Jack Campbell of the U.S. National Team Developmental Program and Calvin Pickard of the Seattle Thunderbirds also will be in attendance.
Here are a few names that stood out to me, merely for joke-related reasons.
If Brandon Archibald isn’t nicknamed “Tiny” after the Hall of Fame NBA guard, then there is no justice in the world. Yes, I know that he is 6-3 and 200 lbs. but he will be called “Tiny” and you all will just have to live with it.
I’d make fun of Tyler Pitlick, but I assume he got to where he is today by beating up people who make unimaginative nicknames for him. I feel the same way about the careers of Jody Shelly, Derek Boogaard and Dick Butkus. Miroslav Satan, however, is exempt from this rule.
Anyway, the bigger story will be about Taylor Hall vs. Tyler Seguin (with a possible appearance by Cam Fowler). We’ll be sure to keep you up to date on the big prospects this summer.
Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)
The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.
The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.
“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”
The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.
The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.
Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.
The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.
According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.
“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”
In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.