April 30, 2009

Off Season Update - Look What I Found

Sitting here in the Austrian alps doing some surfing and look what I found. I occasionally surf the net to see where my pictures are being used and came across this site that is using one of my photos of Thomas Kiriakou for its banner. It's from last year's playoff series against the Oshawa Generals.

I have politely written to the site requesting that they credit the photo or remove it so if you don't see it in the link, they have decided to remove it.

But the cool thing is how far interest in the 67s reaches. My German is pretty rudimentary so I didn't bother trying to read the updates but it appears to be a European-based blog.

OHL priority draft takes place tomorrow. Will check in to see who the 67s chose. In the meantime, have a good off-season everyone.

April 29, 2009

Ottawa 67s in the Post Season

Well, a few (former) 67s are still playing hockey. The San Jose Sharks didn't make it past the first round but their AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks did and Jamie McGinn is back with them (he was up with the big Sharks but I don't think he played).

The baby Sharks are now in round two playing the Providence Bruins. Adam Courchaine is with the Bruins but has not dressed for any of the playoff games as far as I can tell. He did take a practice with the big Bruins last week when they gave Tim Thomas the day off.

The P-Bruins won the first game of the playoff series in OT. McGinn was named the second star having scored both Worcester's goals.

Here is the game sheet.

A side note: Brad Marchand is on the P-Bruins team. I knew he returned to hockey - just didn't know where.

April 17, 2009

Brian Patafie Moves On

Photo credit: Jean Levac of the Ottawa Citizen

If you came here from the Ottawa 67s site, you already know the news - Brian Patafie has decided to move on. This caps a number of moves this year: Brian Kilrea and Bert O'Brien calling it a career behind the bench, Chris Byrne is named as the new coach, Chris Byrne names Mark Grady as his new assistant coach and now Brian Patafie is moving on. A replacement was not named in the announcement.

I am not part of the inner circle and so have limited insights to Brian and his contributions. But from our very few conversations and from reading his book it is easy to appreciate his knowledge and love of the game and his devotion to the players. Kilrea mentioned Brian's loyalties to the players.

He was good to me - he answered my stupid questions without making me feel like an idiot. That's my measure of the man. Being a nice person goes a long way with me.

Knowing when to move on is a very difficult personal decision - lots goes into it. Brian has made many of these in his career so it's easy to respect his decision. That doesn't mean that it's not upsetting. But it is what it is.

Brian, all the best in your new endeavors - where ever they take you. I have a sneaking suspicion that you will be leaving Ottawa. Hopefully it's not too soon - the offer of a round of golf still holds - call me. I'm not a good golfer but the spousal unit is pretty good.

April 14, 2009

McGinn in for the Playoffs

After being sent down to the Sharketts, McGinn has been recalled to the mothership for the playoffs and appears to have a spot in the line up.

Here's an article from their web site.

Good luck Jamie - San Jose is my team for the playoffs!

April 12, 2009

67s Alums in the AHL

With the 67s done for the season, no playoffs for the Sens and the World's yet to start, I am left with poking around the internet to see what the various former 67s are up to.

The Worcester Sharks (Kaspar, McGinn, Joslin, and Couture) played the Providence Bruins (Courchaine). Courchaine was in net. Derek Joslin scored twice on the PP against his former goalie to lead his team in the 3-0 win. Looks like Logan was a scratch. Here's the game sheet. Here's a game summary from the Worcester site.

April 11, 2009

Invitations for the NHL Scouting Combine are out

John Tavares, Victor Hedman, Evander Kane, Matt Duchene all are on the list. Invitations have also been sent to Jared Cowen, Brayden Schenn and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson.

They're all guests at an exclusive party -- also known as the 2009 NHL Scouting Combine -- that will feature more than 100 of the best draft-eligible players from North America and Europe. The players will be put through a vigorous round of physical, medical and psychological tests that could determine where they are chosen when the teams convene in Montreal on June 26-27.

"The Scouting Combine is designed to bring together in one spot, in an economical move, and Central Scouting has been charged with that mission … the League GMs say bring your top 100 rated players to one spot and then we'll get a crack at them," NHL Central Scouting Director E.J. McGuire told NHL.com.

The event will be held May 25-30, and for the second straight year at the Westin Bristol Place hotel in Toronto. The players will be poked, prodded and have their every word and movement judged. One thing they won't have to do, however, is lace up the skates.

McGuire says there are a number of reasons for not putting the prospects on skates. First, for the top players, teams likely have seen them multiple times in person or on video already.

Also, there's the fact that some players, including many with U.S. colleges and high schools, haven't been on the ice since February, while others will have played in the Under-18 World Championships or just finished at the Memorial Cup, which ends the same week as the Combine.

"Is it fair to the kid whose high school season ended in February to stand next to the kid who (just) played in a championship game?" McGuire asked. "It might be unfair to the Memorial Cup participant if the (high school) kid had just been doing the Combine tests, sprinting five times as week, and not having to practice. That Memorial Cup guy, did he block a shot to win a championship and his ankle is sore?"

Instead, the players are put through their paces in a three-hour crucible which includes events as simple as the sit and reach, push-ups and sit-ups, right through a pair of high-tech torture chambers -- exercise bike tests that measure anaerobic fitness and an aerobic-max VO2 test.

From NHL.com. Here's the list.

A quick count shows 21 OHL players invited - none from Ottawa.

April 09, 2009

Ottawa 67s Assistant Coach Named

As reported in the Ottawa Sun:

"The Ottawa 67’s have hired former Cumberland junior A coach Mark Grady as an assistant to new head coach Chris Byrne.

Grady, 45, was coach and GM Grads' Central Junior “A” squad since 2005. He will be reunited behind the bench with Byrne, for whom he was an assistant with the Nepean Raiders CJHL team in the 2001-02 season.

“I’ve known and respected Mark as a hard working, detail-oriented coach and teacher for many years,” said Byrne. “We worked well together and had great success with the Raiders, and, since then, Mark has been extremely successful in Cumberland. He’ll be a valuable asset to our 67’s organization.”

Grady started his coaching career with the Cumberland Barons (now Jr. Grads) of the Cumberland Minor Hockey Association before joining Byrne with the CJHL Raiders. He went back to Cumberland and the CJHL Grads as an Assistant Coach in 2002-03, and was promoted in 2005-06.

Grady won Coach of the Year honours that season and again this past season with the Grads. He was also named Coach of the Canada East team at this year’s World Junior “A” Challenge in Camrose Alberta.

Grady, who has worked in provincial law enforcement for the past 24 years, says he’s looking forward to training camp: “I know training camp is still almost five months away but I’m really looking forward to it,” Grady said.

“I know we have a great core of returning players and we’ll have top-notch prospects as well. It’s a privilege to have an opportunity to work with them, with Chris and the 67’s organization.”

Grady hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He and his wife, Lise, have two children, Sean and Kayla."

April 08, 2009

Tyler Toffoli Named to OHL First All-Rookie Team

From the Ontario Hockey League website:

"The first team includes Grachev at left wing with Seguin at centre and Tyler Toffoli of the Ottawa 67’s at right wing. The defence includes de Haan with John Carlson of the London Knights. Between the pipes in goal is JP Anderson of the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors.

2008-09 OHL All-Rookie Teams

First Team:
Centre – Tyler Seguin, Plymouth Whalers
Left Wing – Evgeny Grachev, Brampton Battalion
Right Wing – Tyler Toffoli, Ottawa 67’s
Defence – John Carlson, London Knights
Defence – Calvin de Haan, Oshawa Generals
Goaltender – JP Anderson, Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors

Second Team:
Centre – Ryan Spooner, Peterborough Petes
Left Wing – Darren Archibald, Barrie Colts
Right Wing – Jason Akeson, Kitchener Rangers
Defence – Erik Gudbranson, Kingston Frontenacs
Defence – Ryan O’Connor, Barrie Colts
Goaltender – Scott Stajcer, Owen Sound Attack"

Congrats Tyler!! You're number one in our books too.

April 05, 2009

Post OHL Season Tracker

Some time to kill on my hands here so I took a quick trip through the internet to see what the boys have been up to since last Tuesday.

As previously mentioned, Logan Couture headed off to the Worcester Sharks. Guess he's still a tad ticked about how the season ended. He got into a fight in his first game. Yes, you read correctly. A fight! Logan?? He didn't take on a heavyweight - he tangled with another former Ottawa 67, Jakub Petruzalek who is currently with Carolina's affiliate - the Albany River Rats. Logan had 5 shots on net but no points.

He was also without points in their Saturday home game against the Manchester Monarchs.

Here's the game sheet from Friday's game and here's the sheet from Saturday's game. Interesting to see that former Ottawa Senator Tom Preissing was sent down to the AHL.

Adam Courchaine wasn't listed on the last two game rosters for the Providence Bruins. Nor has Kiriakou been listed on the game rosters of the last two Stockton games. Andrew Perugini, brother of Chris, is one of the goalies for Stockton. I didn't see Thomas listed on the team roster nor is he listed in the league transactions since April 1st. Hmmm.

And it was already reported that Corey Cowick didn't get a chance to suit up for the the Wolf Pack due to a shoulder injury.

That's all the news for now.

April 03, 2009

The Last Charge: 2008-2009 In Review

Well, another season has come and gone.

68 games, 40 wins, 21 losses, 5 overtime losses, 2 shoot-out losses, third place in the Eastern Conference.

It was a good year to be a fan. This young team often played over their heads and didn't put up too many duds.

Michael Latta brought some real excitement with his creative moves and I nearly drove off the road when I heard the news of his trade. But Travis Gibbons and Anthony Nigro were great additions. And both had career years here.

Logan Couture turned his disappointment from not being invited to the final Team Canada camp into new resolve. He was a much different, more confident, more aggressive player in the second half. He really matured as a player in the last few months and it was great to watch. When teamed up with Cowick and Nigro as his wingers, they were a formidable line.

Overager Thomas Kiriakou, who spent all 5 of his OHL years with the 67s was a great on-ice and off-ice leader and a perennial member of the coaches poll for his faceoff skills and penalty killing.

The trade for Corey Cowick was clearly one of Brian Kilrea's best trades. He thrived in Ottawa and we enjoyed the results.

Tyler Cuma did not have the year he expected to have - especially after going in the first round of the NHL draft here in Ottawa last June. His season ended in early December as he was vying for a spot on Team Canada. He ended up having knee surgery in February and spent a good amount of his rehab in Minnesota. He made it back for the last two home games of the playoffs and stood behind the bench.

Losing him on blue line made room for the young defensemen. The team ended up with a very young D-corps - 50% rookies. Zanetti, Birkhoff and Hartwick got a lot of ice time in all situations.

And speaking of rookies, Tyler Toffoli was a standout - 8th in scoring on the team and just three goals shy of a 20-goal rookie year. He had a regular gig on Kiriakou's right wing.

Chris Perugini had a great sophomore year. He played 49 games and won 27 of them. He also earned 4 points in assists.

Brian Kilrea and Bert O'Brien spent their last season behind the bench. After a long run for each of them they are giving up coaching and focusing on scouting. Brian will stay as GM.

So, where to from here?
Well, to start with, the coach's whistle has been handed off to Chris Byrne. He hasn't named his assistant yet.

Thomas Kiriakou is definitely not returning next season. According to the Ottawa 67s site and the Ottawa Citizen, he has gone to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL. This Oilers affiliate is playoff bound. I hope his agent is aware of the fragile status of the ECHL. Here's what James Mirtle has written up. (Thomas - don't risk your scholarship!!!)

As expected, Logan Couture is joining the Worcester Sharks. They still fighting for the final playoff spot in their AHL division. Conventional thinking is that he will not return to Ottawa as an overager. This top-10 first round pick will likely stay with the baby sharks for the foreseeable future.

Cowick's great news of joining the Ranger's AHL affiliate, Hartford Wolfpack turned to bad news. He didn't pass the medical (shoulder) and he's back in Ottawa. He can still be picked up in the draft in June. He could come back as an OA next year. Here's the link to the Ottawa Citizen article. Disappointment can't begin to describe it.

But I have not heard anything whether Anthony Nigro will be joining the St. Louis Blues AHL affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen. They are looking pretty good for making the playoffs.

Adam Courchaine is headed to the Providence Bruins for the rest of their season. They too are playoff bound. Will he stick with the baby Bruins?

It's possible that Corey, Logan and Adam could find themselves on opposing sides.

Other possible OAs: Martin Paryzek, Julien Demers, and Stephen Blunden.

As for the rest of the team, well, the rookies had lots of opportunities this year. Those that made the best of these opportunities will be back on the roster next year. There are some holes to fill and I'm sure Brian is already planning.

And now it's the off-season for the rest of us. I'll be out of the country for the priority draft (vacationing in Austria - perhaps I can scout some players for Brian) but I will try to post every now and again when I get some news.

Here's video overview of the season in pictures. The song is "Let it Rock" by Kevin Rudolf and Lil Wayne. It was on the team's warm-up play list. Enjoy and see you next season.