OHL Graduates Have Presence at All Star Game
Among the 54 NHL players selected to play in the All Star Game this weekend, an impressive 28 are former members of the Canadian Hockey League. More specifically, 14 players from both Team Staal and Team Lidstrom played junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League, including the likes of Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, Eric Staal, and Jeff Skinner to name a few.
Of the six main events at the NHL Skills Competition on Saturday night in Raleigh, North Carolina, OHL graduates played a prominent role in at least four.
Former Windsor Spitfire and current Edmonton Oiler Taylor Hall was the second fastest skater behind New York Islanders speedster Michael Grabner. OHL graduates Corey Perry (London Knights) and P.K. Subban (Owen Sound Attack) showed flashes of brilliance with an impressive array of shootout skills, along with a consistent performance from Perry, who was crowned the winner of the elimination shootout. Former London Knight Patrick Kane nailed three-of-four targets in the accuracy shooting portion, finishing closely behind Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks. Finally, in the hardest shot event, former Plymouth Whaler Tyler Seguin clocked an eye opening time of 97.1 miles-per-hour, which is above average for a rookie.
Overall, the OHL was well-represented at the All Star weekend, which continues the trend of young players moving up the NHL and making an impact. Some of the prominent rookies on the radar that could vie for a spot in the All Star Weekend next season include Gabriel Landeskog of the Kitchener Rangers, Dougie Hamilton of the Niagara IceDogs and Brandon Saad of the Saginaw Spirit. These are just a few of the players who look to follow in the footsteps of Hall and Seguin, who are only one season removed from junior.
Majors Second in CHL Rankings
The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors posted four straight wins last week (Jan. 23-30) while outscoring their opponents 22-7. The Majors are currently ranked second in the entire Canadian Hockey League, behind the QMJHL’s Saint John’s Sea Dogs, in a weekly vote conducted with a panel of NHL scouts. Mississauga has an OHL-leading 34-8-0-2 record after 18 weeks of play.
The Niagara IceDogs (31-11-2-4) jumped three spots, from ninth overall to sixth, to move ahead of the Saginaw Spirit (32-13-3-1) in the rankings. The Ottawa 67’s (29-15-1-1) received an honourable mention for their play last week.
Anderson Gets Called Up
The San Jose Sharks rewarded Mississauga goaltender J.P. Anderson for his excellent play this season with a call up, albeit brief, to the NHL for one game this season. Sharks starting goaltender Antti Niemi suffered an injury during the Sharks morning skate and could not recall a minor league goaltender in time, so opted for a less experience goalie in Anderson.
Anderson did not see any game action, but was on the bench to witness the Sharks 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on January 22nd.