2011 IIHF World U20 Championship - Day Four

2011 Draft Profile: Sean Couturier

Sean Couturier is a big body center who has excellent vision and hands. He’s responsible in his own zone, can grind with the best of them, and is one of the best face-off guys in this year’s draft. If this were the pre-lockout NHL, scouts would be drooling all over him (more than they are) because of his combination of size and skill.

Before the season started, Couturier competing for the #1 overall spot in the draft; he was the only underager to make Team Canada’s World Junior Championship team as well. But concerns about his skating ability knocked him down a peg from the likes of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jonathan Huberdeau.

Comparisons for Couturier have ranged from Jason Allison to Joe Thornton. He’s a big player who just looks like he’d be a dominant force with his playmaking ability. Unfortunately, like Thornton he doesn’t always use his big body to his advantage. A truly talented player, he should be able to make it in the NHL—but if he can improve his skating, he’ll be able to thrive. It hasn’t been a problem so far.

Height: 6’4”
Weight: 197 lbs
Position: Center
Team: Drummondville (QMJHL)

  • 2008-09: 9 goals and 22 assists (31 points) in 58 games
  • 2009-10: 41 goals and 55 assists (96 points) in 68 games
  • 2010-11: 36 goals and 60 assists (96 points) in 58 games



From NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards

“Sean has excellent puckhandling and playmaking ability; he sees the ice and reads the play very well . . . He’s extremely smart and gets himself into good scoring position. He plays a solid two-way game and is very responsible defensively.”

From International Scouting Services:

“He is an extremely smart and skilled playmaking center. He sees the ice well, knows where team mates are at all times; his passing is exceptional plus he is extremely dangerous in close. He creates offense and makes player better around him.”

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?