Rookie tournaments recap: Saturday, Sept. 11

For some people, the NHL season won’t really begin until the regular season starts on Thursday, October 7. Still, hockey nuts will lap up every little bit of puck-based competition they can get, and the first sample is in the rookie tournaments taking place in three areas.

Let’s take a look at the results from the games.

Traverse City Prospects Tournament (box scores via Points Streak.com)

Minnesota Wild 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1

Tyler Johnson and Joel Broda scored in the first period for Minnesota, with Johnson’s goal coming on the powerplay. Jarod Palmer had two assists for the Wild. Mike McKenzie scored for Carolina in the third period, but they fell short as the Wild took the win.

Carolina goalie Mike Murphy stopped 21 out of 23 shots while Matt Hackett made 29 out of 30 saves for Minnesota.

NY Rangers 5, Columbus 4

Evgeny Grachev scored the game’s last two goals to win the game for the Rangers. Grachev’s game winner came with only six seconds remaining in the game. Thomas Kubalik’s scored two goals for the Columbus Blue Jackets in a losing cause.

St. Louis 4, Tampa Bay 2

Brett Sonne scored two goals for the Blues, including the game winner in the second period. It was a good game for Brett’s in general, as Lightning first round pick Brett Connolly scored both of the Lightning’s goals.

Detroit 6, Dallas 1

The Red Wings “won” all three periods (4-1 in the first, 1-0 in the second and third) with the opening period involving the biggest beating. US World Junior team hero Jack Campbell had a rough one, but Stars fans shouldn’t give up on his potential just yet.

London, Ontario Prospects Tournament

Pittsburgh 5, Ottawa 3

Click here for the Penguins perspective and click here for the Ottawa Senators’ side of the story. Joe has more on Penguins prospect Alex Grant’s injury situation.

Toronto 6, Chicago 3

I imagine 99 percent of Blackhawks fans either don’t know about this one or don’t care, but Toronto folks covered it nicely. Check out the ridiculous GIFs all over the comments section of the Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets for more proof. Oh, and if you have six minutes, here’s a video summary of the game.

(Thanks to Carolyn Christians for the box score tip. There weren’t any games in the Young Stars Tournament today.)

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    PHT’s second-round playoff predictions, featuring the red-hot Random Thing Picker

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    It was a tough first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for many of the so-called experts of the world.

    Upsets included the Predators over the Blackhawks and the Blues over the Wild. The Rangers over the Canadiens was a quasi-upset, too.

    Here at PHT, it was a mixed bag. Mike Halford and Cam Tucker each went an impressive 6-2. And so too did the Random Thing Picker, which as its name suggests, picks random things. (And picks them rather well, apparently.)

    Of note, the Random Thing Picker and James O’Brien were the only ones to pick the Preds over the ‘Hawks. So congratulations to both robotic lifeforms on that bit of soothsaying.

    Rounding out the rest of the first-round results, Adam Gretz and Joey Alfieri went 4-4, while at 3-5, O’Brien and yours truly couldn’t even crack .500. (Stupid Jake Allen.)

    On to the second round!

    Washington versus Pittsburgh (Stream Capitals-Penguins)

    Brough: Capitals in 7
    Halford: Penguins in 6
    O’Brien: Capitals in 7
    Gretz: Capitals in 7
    Tucker: Capitals in 6
    Alfieri: Capitals in 7
    Random Thing Picker: Capitals

    New York versus Ottawa (Stream Rangers-Senators)

    Brough: Senators in 6
    Halford: Senators in 7
    O’Brien: Rangers in 7
    Gretz: Rangers in 6
    Tucker: Rangers in 6
    Alfieri: Senators in 6
    Random Thing Picker: Senators

    St. Louis versus Nashville (Stream Blues-Predators)

    Brough: Predators in 6
    Halford: Blues in 7
    O’Brien: Predators in 6
    Gretz: Predators in 6
    Tucker: Predators in 7
    Alfieri: Predators in 6
    Random Thing Picker: Blues

    Anaheim versus Edmonton (Stream Ducks-Oilers)

    Brough: Ducks in 7
    Halford: Ducks in 6
    O’Brien: Ducks in 6
    Gretz: Oilers in 7
    Tucker: Oilers in 6
    Alfieri: Ducks in 6
    Random Thing Picker: Ducks

    Feel free to add your picks below…

    Auston Matthews to skip Worlds

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    Auston Matthews is going to take some time off.

    As such, the 19-year-old star forward won’t be heading overseas to represent the United States in the upcoming World Championship.

    You can hardly blame him. Matthews just finished his rookie season in the NHL, playing all 82 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, plus six more in the playoffs.

    Oh, and he also played in the World Cup for Team North America.

    Matthews did participate in last year’s Worlds. He had six goals and three assists in 10 games on the way to a fourth-place finish.

    Related: Gaudreau, Eichel commit to USA Worlds roster

    Blackhawks fire their AHL head coach

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    Yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks fired longtime assistant coach Mike Kitchen.

    Today, it was longtime AHL coach Ted Dent who got the ax.

    Dent has been the head coach of the Rockford IceHogs the past six seasons, and he was an assistant coach for Chicago’s AHL affiliate the previous five seasons.

    “The Chicago Blackhawks thank Ted for all of his contributions throughout his tenure with the organization,” GM Stan Bowman said. “He played a major role in helping a number of players reach the NHL level with the Chicago Blackhawks, many of whom became Stanley Cup champions. We wish Ted and his family the best.”

    The IceHogs missed the playoffs this season, finishing last in the AHL’s Central Division with a record of 25-39-12.

    Related: A furious Bowman addressed the Blackhawks’ postseason failure

    Report: Canucks close to naming Travis Green head coach

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    The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly set to announce Travis Green as their next head coach.

    According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the announcement will be made in the next couple of days.

    Green, who played over 1,000 games in the NHL including the playoffs, has been the head coach of the Canucks’ AHL affiliate in Utica the past four seasons. Under his watch, the Comets have played mostly winning hockey in spite of some rather depleted lineups.

    Ever since Willie Desjardins was fired at the end of the season, Green has been the leading candidate to take over in Vancouver. The only question, really, was whether he’d be a candidate for another NHL head-coaching vacancy, perhaps with the Florida Panthers.

    Assuming no last-minute hiccups, Green will take over a transitioning Canucks team that has finished 28th and 29th overall in its last two seasons, respectively.

    “We’re going to be young,” president of hockey ops Trevor Linden said. “Young players make mistakes. There’s going to be some growing pains. We need a coach that understands exactly where we are.”

    Related: In farewell to Vancouver, Desjardins defends his approach to young players