September 30, 2010

Nesbitt Named Team Captain

Ottawa 67's fans, meet the leaders of your 2010-2011 team.

From the Ottawa 67s's:  The Ottawa 67’s today announced that veteran winger Thomas Nesbitt will be the team Captain this season, with Travis Gibbons, Marc Zanetti and Ryan Martindale serving as Alternates.

Nesbitt, a 20 year old who hails from the Ottawa suburb of Stittsville, is in his 5th season with the team.  He’s coming off a season in which he set career highs in goals (33) and points (57), after establishing himself as dependable 2-way player in his previous seasons.  “Thomas has worked hard and improved since the day that he arrived for his first training camp,” said Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Chris Byrne.   “He serves as a great example to his teammates.”

Gibbons, a 20 year old defenceman, is also an OHL veteran entering his 5th season.  He was acquired by Ottawa from Guelph during the 2008-09 season.  Zanetti, a 20 year old defenceman, is entering his 4th full season in the OHL, all of them with Ottawa.  Martindale, a 4 year veteran who turns 19 next month, is a centre, coming off a season where he set a career high in points (60) and was drafted in the 2nd round of the NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers.  “We’re fortunate to have such a strong leadership group with our guys wearing a letter, and we also have other strong leaders on the team who aren’t wearing a letter,” said Byrne.  “It’s a great situation.”

Congratulations gentlemen - we look forward to seeing the impact of your leadership on and off the ice.

September 21, 2010

Veterans Returning to Ottawa

As NHL teams begin to trim their camp rosters in preparation for the season, 67's veterans are returning to Ottawa.

The Edmonton Oilers are sending Ryan Martindale back and the Detroit Red Wings are sending Mark Anthony Zanetti and Petr Mrazek back. I have been following some Red Wings coverage of camp and both players were doing very well. Apparently the Wings are considering signing Zanetti and have until the end of the month to do so.

Smith is still listed on the Columbus camp roster but Toffoli's status is less clear from the LA site.

While it's likely a let down for the guys returning from their NHL camps, they are not rookies here in Ottawa; they are elite veterans who can provide leadership to their team and continuing honing the skills that got them on the NHL radar in the first place.

Welcome back gentlemen, we look forward to your contributions as the season gets underway this weekend.

ya! Hockey!

September 14, 2010

Thomas Nesbitt Gets Invite to NJD Main Camp

Just surfing the internet from Canada's great (not yet white) North here in Whitehorse and see that Thomas Nesbitt has been invited to the New Jersey Devils main camp as one of 12 right wingers. It will be along shot but as far as I can tell, he's the first one among the guys at rookie camp who has been invited to their team's main camp.

The notice on NHL.com.

Here's another write-up. Someone should contact this guy and give him the scoop on Thomas.

Best of luck to Thomas in NJ!

September 12, 2010

Kingston takes the Game: 4-3

Today was the first chance for Ottawa fans to get a look a the new faces for this year's team Kingston. Both teams had a lot of players missing so I wouldn't put too much into the results. This will be a really quick post due to other obligations.

Forward Combos:
  • Prince, Lindsay, Carnevale
  • Farmer, Graovac, Janes
  • Foglia, Giftopolous, Fontana
  • Hanes, Gibbons,
  • Shipley, Ceci,
  • Fielding
Goal: Perugini

Scratches: Mrazek, Nesbitt, Zanetti, Monahan (injured), Smith, Martindale
It was a pretty up-tempo game with both teams showing a lot of energy - if not finesse. And even with so many new faces, it didn't take long for the rivalry to reveal itself with the new players pushing and shoving after the whistle and getting into each others' faces.

Kingston scored the only goals in the first period on 5 shots. The first was by Mike Farrell with assists from Steven Broek and Nathan Moon about 6 minutes into the game. Nathan, Derek Froats and Mike Farrell combined for the second goal with 7 minutes left in the period. Meanwhile, Ottawa started getting the shots through to Kingston starter Palezzese, piling 15 shots by the end of the first without getting through.

Ottawa didn't get on the scoreboard until close to halfway through the third when Tyler Graovac finally beat Blake Richard who took over Kingston netminding duties in the second period. Robert Farmer had the lone assist.

But before the goal was finished being announced, Kingston restored the 2-goal lead: Mitch Lebar, Nathan Moon, and Clarke Seymour doing the damage.

On the power play with 1:20 left, Ottawa was in the offensive zone but not quite in control when Perugini was pulled. It wasn't hard for Michael Cajovsky to gain possession and send the puck into the empty net to put them up 4-2.

Ottawa kept pushing and with just under 5 seconds left, Cody Lindsay got an unassisted PPG to make it a 1-goal game.

Final shots on goal: 43-22 for Ottawa.

Three Stars:

Nathan Moon was the first star but did not take a turn.
Random Thoughts:

  • Ottawa was 1 - 6 on the PP and perfect in the 4 PKs they were assessed, including great back-to-back PKs in the second. Each team had one shot on goal in during the 4 minutes.
  • Missing Toffoli, Nesbitt and Martindale from the PP was certainly noticed. Kingston had a few great short-handed opportunities that were thwarted by Perugini.
  • The Farmer, Graovac, Janes line was great to watch. They were fast, pushing for shots and in the mix of things. Will be interesting to see if they are kept together.
  • Gibbons and Hanes had their work cut out for them today as the vets on the blue line. Hanes even showed some attitude that I don't recall seeing last year.
  • Saw some great back-checking from Farmer.

I will miss the game on Friday as I will be winging my way back from Whitehorse.
More Pictures:

Shane Prince working his way through the Fronts

Nicholas Foglia

Taylor Fielding

Robert Farmer

Tyler Graovac

Off the post

Chris Perugini finding the puck through the traffic

Ryan Shipley

Then and Now: Catching Up with Thomas Kiriakou

Then: “Then” isn’t so long ago for this 2009 graduate of the Ottawa 67’s. Fan favorite Thomas Kiriakou spent all 4 ½ years of his OHL career with the Ottawa 67’s where his hard work and leadership earned him the respect of team mates, team management and other teams. In his final year he was a reliable point-a-game face-off specialist and penalty-killing machine.
Thomas Kiriakou on his way to a playoff hat trick against the Niagara Ice Dogs.

As one of 16 members of the Richmond Hill Stars to be drafted into the OHL in 2004, Thomas was glad to come to Ottawa and to a great team like the Ottawa 67’s where he had wonderful billets and fantastic team management.

His best memory as a 67’s was being called up for the 2005 run to the Memorial Cup. Chris Hulit, Joe Talbot, Mark Mancari and Bryan Bickell (who was a member of the Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks this past season) were like older brothers to him. He wanted carry the feeling from that experience as inspiration for future playoff success; unfortunately that was not to be.

Thomas considers his most important take-away from his time in Ottawa is the respect that Brian Kilrea and the club ingrained in the players. It may be a cliché but Thomas believes that he came to Ottawa as a boy and left as a man.

Now: I caught up with Thomas just as he was settling into his second year at Guelph University where he is in a general BA program for now but is considering a move to Landscape Architecture after some exposure to it this summer.

He had an outstanding rookie year playing for the Guelph Gryphons with 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points in 26 regular season games which earned him honours as the Ontario University Athletics West top rookie and being named to the CIS all-rookie team. All this while meeting his academic commitments.

There were some similarities and some adjustments in moving to CIS hockey. Academics are a priority; players are not allowed to miss any class that is scheduled at the same time as the daily two-hour hockey practices. Tutors are available to assist the athletes. Road trips are quite different than his major-junior days….it’s very quiet on the bus with everyone’s nose in a book either studying for exams or getting the reading done. As for the hockey, it’s fast and physical (although fighting is not allowed) playing with and against highly skilled mature players.

With his rookie year behind him, he has big expectations for the team this year. Last year’s team was essentially a brand new team with almost 12 new guys – many with major junior experience. With a year under their collective belts, he has his eye set on going the distance.

As for a possible shot at playing professional hockey, like Danny Battochio, he hopes to have the best of both worlds – taking full advantage of his OHL scholarship to get a post-secondary education and playing competitive CIS hockey to the best of his abilities to warrant a shot at the pros. His experience at the Traverse City Rookie Tournament was amazing and showed him what it takes to get to that level. He's going to keep working hard on and off the ice to get another shot at the pros noting "It's not where you start but it’s where you finish."

There is no doubt that Thomas Kiriakou will finish very well, wherever his journey takes him.

September 05, 2010

67's cut 20 from camp


The 67’s can get down to work now.

As they prepare to open the pre-season Sunday against the Kingston Frontenacs, 2 p.m. at the K-Rock Centre, the 67’s sent 20 players packing Saturday, after three days of scrimmages.

With 14 forwards — including nine returnees from last year — six defencemen and three goalies, the 67’s will likely only make one more move before they open the season on Sept. 24 in Sault Ste. Marie.

“The pace really picked up here in the last scrimmage,” said 67’s coach Chris Byrne Saturday. “Some of the veterans who were off to a slow start really picked it up and we’re ready for the next step. We’re keeping the guys we like and that are going to fit in with us.”

While goalies Peter Mzazek and Chris Perugini will split the duties in Kingston, the club also kept local goalie Francis Dupuis. He’ll likely get some action when Mzazek attends Detroit’s camp.

Up front, the 67’s held onto import selection Robert Farmer, Nicholas Foglia, Remi Giftopolous, 2010 No. 4 selection Cosmo Fantana and injured No. 1 pick Sean Monahan, who won’t return for three weeks.

Defencemen Cody Ceci, Marc-Anthony Zanetti, Ryan Hanes and Travis Gibbons will return. Newcomers Ryan Shipley and Taylor Fielding — both selected in Round 2 last spring — have secured spots.

Tyler Toffoli (Los Angeles), Thomas Nesbitt (New Jersey), Ryan Martindale (Edmonton), Zanetti (Detroit) and Mzazek (Detroit) leave for NHL camps next week.

So there you have it. I'm surprised they didn't hang onto a few more while the NHL-hopefuls are at their rookie camps.

September 04, 2010

Last Day of 67's Camp

I took in the morning of the last day of training camp and by all reports it was a good choice - not too much fog on the ice and much more intense than yesterday's games. It was also the last day for some players to make their case.

It was non-stop for a good hour until they broke to have the ice flooded. The whistles were only for goals, goalie freezes and injuries (there were a couple). No penalties called, next to no icing, a few off-sides (Steven Janes took a lot of ribbing for his excursions at the blue line) - just full time playing.

With numbers only on their backs (not on the shoulders and only on a few helmets), and watching mostly through my viewfinder, it was tough for me to keep track of all the newcomers - and there were a lot of them.

Team WhiteTeam Black
1-Petr Mrazek10-Marc-Anthony Zanetti
5-Jon Carnevale13-Remi Giftopolous
6-Ryan Shipley17-Steven Janes
8-Thomas Nesbitt21-Cosima Fontana
12-Zach Rodier27-Robert Farmer
18-Shane Prince29-Braden Mann
19-Tyler Graovac30-Chris Perugini
20-Sean Monahan32-Francis Dupuis
22-Dalen Hedges34-Cody Lindsay
23-Ryan Van Stralen36-Taylor Fielding
25-Copper Rush37-Nicholas Foglia
28-Aaron Taylor40-Daniel Walsh
31-Denny Dubblestyne41-Sean Callaghan
33-Dalton Smith42-Christopher Lane
44-Jon Carlson46-Henry Thompson
45-Brett Gustavsen50-Blake Stephenson
51-Gian Marco DeMeis71-Patryk Wojenski
55-Travis Gibbons77-Ryan Martindale
61-Tyler Toffoli89-Nathaniel Quinn
81-Ryan McCaughan91-Ryan Hanes
84-Cody Ceci
85-Michel Vered

With the departures of Cuma, Demers, Nigro, Cowick and Merrett, there is room for 5 additions (2D, 3F). Earlier this week Brian Kilrea was on Team1200 and noted that a few vets needed to step up their game or be at risk of being replaced (scroll through their facebook posts to hear the interviews with Killer and coach Byrne). So there could be even more new faces this year. This camp will identify the first set of cuts with a few guys getting an extra long look while Mrazek, Zanetti (DET), Martindale (EDM), Toffoli (LA), Smith (COL) and Nesbitt (NJ) head off to their NHL rookie camps soon.

Mrazek and Perugini didn't dress - likely saved for the afternoon game. As reported in the media earlier this week, this year's first round draft pick, Sean Monahan was injured on his first shift of camp. I noticed him at the rink with an ice bag taped to his wrist.

The White Team dominated the first half of the game (or was it the first game - not sure if they played two games or just one long game). It was high-tempo, intense, with a few hits and at times chippy. I lost track of the score - something like 6 - 2 for White; apparently they were handed their butts yesterday so there was some motivation today.

As you would expect, the the guys that are closer to making it to the NHL stood out - especially Ryan Martindale. He just moved the puck at will through and around pretty much everyone.

Of the new guys, I noticed Taylor Fielding, Daniel Walsh, Cooper Rush and Brett Gustafsen the most with Fielding standing out the most for me. These players were in the mix of things with Brett irritating Lindsay enough to nearly start a scrap.

And speaking of scraps, newcomer Robert Farmer dropped the gloves to tangle with Dalton Smith. Jon Carnevale tried to intervene but was clearly more familiar with Dalton's fighting credentials than Robert. If Robert makes the team, he will need to be told about the penalty for removing his helmet for a fight.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I don't know who made it hard for the coaching staff and who made it easy over the last three days. A smaller crew will be traveling to Kingston tomorrow for the first pre-season of the year. Team1200's Jon Abbott will begin this season's coverage of the 67's with this game.

Here are more pictures from today. I tried to concentrate on the hopefuls but without more visible numbers, I am not able to put a name to most of these players. My apologies to them and their families.

And the season begins!!!