Memorial Cup: Quebec stars show up just in time

Zach Fucale (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

QUEBEC CITY – Hard to believe, but coming into Thursday’s tiebreaker game at the Memorial Cup, Anthony Duclair did not have a goal. Zach Fucale wasn’t at peak form and the host Quebec Remparts didn’t look too threatening. But in beating their fellow Quebec Leaguers from Rimouski 5-2, the Remparts put it all together.

And of course Quebec wants to win the Memorial Cup on home ice, but there’s also the added factor of the venue itself: Le Colisee, the arena that Jean Beliveau, Guy Lafleur and Peter Stastny all called home in the past, will close after this tournament.

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Detroit prospect Larkin nets two goals in second pro game, helps Griffins tie AHL Western final

Jared Clinton
Dylan Larkin (via Grand Rapids Griffins/YouTube)

Well, that was fast.

Detroit Red Wings top prospect Dylan Larkin waited all of two games to get his name on the professional score sheet and he did so with two goals – the first two professional goals of his career – as the Grand Rapids Griffins downed the Utica Comets 4-2 and tied the AHL Western Conference final 1-1.

Larkin, who has generated significant buzz as one of Detroit’s next great prospects, signed his first professional contract, an entry-level deal, last Thursday. He suited up for his first professional game Sunday evening. And by Monday, he was taking home first star honors as the Griffins move one win closer to their second Calder Cup final in three seasons. Read more

Anton Slepyshev wants to leave KHL to join Edmonton Oilers

Jared Clinton
Anton Slepyshev (via KHL/YouTube)

The Edmonton Oilers are going to have at least one first-overall selection in their lineup next season in Connor McDavid, but they could have another, as 2011 KHL first-overall pick Anton Slepyshev has told Salavat Yuleav Ufa GM’s Leonid Vaisfeld he wishes to play in North America next season.

According to Igor Eronko of Sports.ru, Slepyshev informed Vaisfeld of his interest in playing for the Oilers in 2015-16. Vaisfeld said Salavat Yulaev, who lost in the first round of the KHL post-season, would like to keep Slepyshev for at least one more season and that the club has made him a contract offer. Read more

Oshawa’s Stephen Desrocher bombs Quebec, then drops F-bomb

Ryan Kennedy
Stephen Desrocher (middle) celebrates (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)

It’s been a tight Memorial Cup so far, with all three games being decided by just one goal. In Sunday’s action, the OHL’s Oshawa Generals continued their winning ways by taking out the host Quebec Remparts in overtime.

Vancouver pick Cole Cassels won the draw back to defenseman Stephen Desrocher, who snuck a laser shot bar-down on goalie Zach Fucale (Montreal). It was a pretty goal and Desrocher was clearly excited, as evidenced by his NSFW language in the post-game interview. Check out the goal at the beginning of the clip below, then skip ahead to 1:57 if you want to hear Desrocher’s colorful description:

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Generational talents: McDavid vs. Gretzky, Lemieux, Lindros and Crosby

Connor McDavid  (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

Connor McDavid provided scouts, fans and NHL GMs with plenty of eureka moments throughout his draft year. But none compared to what he did April 10 in a playoff game against the London Knights.

McDavid calmly, casually assaulted the OHL’s most prestigious franchise with five goals, leading his Erie Otters to a 7-3 victory. He wasn’t the first mega prospect to score five in a playoff game, but the way he did it bugged many eyeballs out of many skulls. It was just so…easy for him. He scored on a laser wrister through a self-designed screen. He blew past three Knights on a 1-on-3 rush to create his own breakaway. He picked a defenseman’s pocket and stuffed home a puck in the blink of an eye. He even scored accidentally when a Knight pokechecked the puck into his own goal, for Pete’s sake.

The performance carved McDavid once and for all into an echelon above Jack Eichel as the surefire No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft. McDavid, by all accounts, is a generational talent, the most hyped player since Sidney Crosby, following in the footsteps of Eric Lindros, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. But how do we know McDavid’s game will translate into NHL superstardom? What evidence can we glean by looking at prior generational talents?

The best expertise comes from those who rubbed shoulders with the greats, so we turned to two of them for help: Hall of Famer and Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis and probable Hall of Famer turned Pittsburgh Penguins player development coach Mark Recchi.

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Detroit top prospect Dylan Larkin leaves NCAA, signs NHL deal

Jared Clinton
Dylan Larkin (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s been an eventful few weeks for Detroit Red Wings prospect Dylan Larkin.

First, he suited up for 10 games for the United States at the World Championship in Czech Republic, helping the team capture a bronze medal at the tournament. Then he decided to leave the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines to turn pro, signing a three-year, entry-level deal with the Red Wings. Now, he’s on his way to join the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins as they get set to take on the Utica Comets in the Western Conference final. Read more

Union president undeterred by Washington bill making WHL players amateurs

Ken Campbell
Jerry Dias  (David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The president of Canada’s largest public sector trade union, one that is attempting to get junior hockey players unionized, called the recent bill in Washington State rendering WHL players as amateur athletes and not employees “ridiculous,” and claimed it will not deter efforts to give major junior players collective bargaining rights in Canada.

“Obviously I can’t do anything in Canada, but I’m disappointed by it,” said Jerry Dias, president of Unifor. “But that’s not going to stop what it is we’re doing here in Canada. There’s no question the case here in Canada is significantly stronger. We think we’re in very good shape here in Canada.”

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Call them hockey players or amateurs, but don’t call them employees

Ken Campbell
Gatineau Olympiques (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

So according to Senate Bill 5893, teenagers who play for the Everett Silvertips, Seattle Thunderbirds, Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans are forever to be deemed amateur athletes, not employees.

And in what was effectively sticking up their middle finger to those who are trying to unionize players in the Canadian Hockey League, WHL president Ron Robison and representatives from the four Washington-based team in the league were on hand Monday afternoon, beaming with pride as Washington governor Jay Inlsee officially signed the bill into law.

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