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NHL Prospect Notebook: McTavish arriving just in time for Petes

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The Peterborough Petes were the recipients of some good news when Anaheim first-rounder Mason McTavish was sent back to the OHL. McTavish scored in his NHL debut and was playing well before suffering a lower-body injury Oct. 18 against Calgary.

McTavish scored two goals and added an assist in his nine NHL games, the last of which was Nov. 18 against Carolina. Upon his return, he was assigned to AHL San Diego, where he played three games, scoring one goal and adding one assist. The Petes desperately need McTavish’s help as they sit ninth in the OHL’s Eastern Conference. The Petes host North Bay at home Friday night. McTavish, chosen third overall by the Ducks in 2021, played with the Petes in the 2019-20 season, scoring 29 goals, adding 13 assists for 42 points in 57 games.

• The San Jose Sharks made a similar move earlier this month when they returned first-round pick William Eklund back to his SHL club in Djurgarden.

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• Hendrix Lapierre was reassigned by the Washington Capitals to Acadie Bathurst on Nov. 10.

• Seth Jarvis may have seen the last of his time with Portland in the WHL. Jarvis played in his 10th NHL game Monday and drew an assist as the Hurricanes fell to San Jose 2-1 in overtime. The super-skilled winger has been playing on Carolina’s top line with Jordan Martinook and Sebastian Aho. The Canes selected Jarvis with the 13th-overall pick in the 2020 draft.

Another prospect, Cole Sillinger of the Columbus Blue Jackets, continues to make his case. Head coach Brad Larsen said, joking “we’ve been trying to get rid of him since camp, but he won’t let us.” Larsen has been impressed with Sillinger’s work ethic, compete level, preparation and most importantly, his hockey IQ. Sillinger has spent the season on a line with veteran Jakub Voracek and 2020 first-round pick Yegor Chinakov. The “one man and two babies” line was highly effective in a 3-0 win over Winnipeg on Wednesday.

Jarvis and Sillinger are still able to play for Canada at the world juniors, but if they continue to play big minutes for their respective NHL clubs, it’s hard to see how their GMs Don Waddell and Jarmo Kekalainen would release them. Carolina is pacing the Metropolitan Division, while Carolina currently possesses the first wild-card spot in the East. Jarvis is playing 14:12, while Sillinger is averaging 14:25 per game.

• As for other pro prospects eligible for the World Juniors, cross Tyson Foerster off the list. He was injured while playing for Lehigh Valley in the AHL, and is scheduled to have shoulder surgery, a procedure that will keep him out of the lineup for at least five months. Last season, Foerster injured his other shoulder and missed significant time. Another highly touted Flyers prospect, Zayde Wisdom underwent shoulder surgery in August, and no return date has been established for him.

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• I’m really excited for 5-foot-7, 175-pound Montreal prospect Xavier Simoneau continuing to have success. After four years in Drummondville, he’s lighting it up with Charlottetown, leading the league in scoring with 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 points in 17 games. The Montreal Canadiens took a flyer on him in the 6th round of the 2021 draft after he went overlooked in 2019 and 2020.

• Don’t look now, but Matthew Savoie is leading the WHL point parade, with 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points in 21 games. Jn fact, Winnipeg Ice players account for the top three scorers in the league going into play Thursday. Savoie has five multi-point games in his last seven.

• For our non-drafted player of the week, we will fudge the 2003 rule and stick with a late-born 2002 player in Winnipeg’s Mikey Milne. Born on Sept. 21, 2002, Milne went undrafted in 2021, but continues to get extended looks, in part because of playing on Savoie’s team. In his own right, Milne continues to hover around the WHL lead with 15 goals. Teammate and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Connor McClennon leads the league with 17.

• Looking ahead to the 2023 draft, consider Oshawa’s Calum Ritchie. Generals’ head coach Todd Miller says there are some similarities between Ritchie’s game and that of Mark Scheifele, whom Miller had coached while an assistant to Dale Hawerchuk for the Barrie Colts. Ritchie is the OHL’s top rookie scorer going into play Thursday.

• One very important piece of news may have been overlooked when the QMJHL approved the QMJHL Cup’s most recent format change. Moving forward, the QMJHL Cup will consist of three tournaments to showcase the best draft-eligible players in Quebec and the Maritimes.

The first event takes place Dec. 16-19, featuring two U15 teams and the top 80 prospects from the LHEQ and the RSEQ.

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Maritime provinces in conjunction with QMJHL Central Scouting will create one roster for each province with the top U16 players and participate in a tournament in Dartmouth, N.S., between Feb. 3-6, 2022.

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From April 27 to May 1, 2022, the top 40 Maritime-born prospects will be split into two teams, while the top 80 Quebec born prospects will split into four teams and compete in a tournament in Blanville-Boisbriand.

These events will also allow for Hockey Canada to see the best QMJHL prospects in preparation for the annual U17 development camp.

• The U.S. team captured eight of the nine top scorers in the recently completed U18 tournament in Switzerland, led by Rutger McGroarty and Cole Spicer, who each had eight points in the four-game tournament. Jimmy Snuggerud, Isaac Howard, Logan Cooley and Lane Hutson all put up seven points, while Cutter Gauthier had six.

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• Lastly, a couple of weeks ago while preparing to do a CHL game between Ottawa and Barrie, I spoke to 67’s GM James Boyd. We covered a number of topics, but one most interesting piece of information was brought to light about Ottawa’s success over Boyd’s five-year tenure as GM.

While working as an assistant coach and GM for Mississauga before taking the job in Ottawa, Boyd employed the services of leadership and performance coach Marc Guevremont. Upon taking the Ottawa job, one of the first things Boyd did was to reach out to Guevremont. After couple of conversations, it was easy to see why. The basic premise behind Guevremont’s teachings is that when all things are equal, the team with better leaders will win.

Guevremont preaches the F.B.C. method: When adversity strikes, the team with the leaders who respond First, Best and most Consistently will drive their team to victory. While hockey teams typically focus on the X’s and O’s, Guevremont feels a leadership system can be developed within a team.

The program helps coaches connect with players, and players connect with players. The system features a leadership council of players from all age groups, so that with the cyclical nature of junior hockey, new leaders can be churned year over year. Leadership techniques make for better accountability and the desire for all players and coaches to pull in the same direction.

Boyd feels this program has been the basis for his overwhelmingly strong record in the standings, and in developing players for careers in pro hockey and several other vocations. You can see more of Marc’s work here.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo And The Bucks Are On A Roll

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(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

 

The Milwaukee Bucks easily defeated the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night, beating them with a powerful 127-108 final.

The team was led by Brook Lopez, who had yet another dominant game with 24 points and 9 rebounds.

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But Giannis Antetokounmpo, the team’s unquestionable leader, was once again in fine form and playing like the MVP candidate he is.

He scored 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists.

That means that over his last ten games, Antetokounmpo has scored an average of 33 points, 14.4 rebounds, and 5.8 assists on a 57.3% field goal percentage.

Not surprisingly, his team has gone 10-0 during that time.

Are the Bucks once again the most exciting and promising squad in the East?

The last time the Bucks lost was on January 21, when Antetokounmpo sat out and the Cleveland Cavaliers took them down, 114-102.

Since then, they have been on an eight-game winning streak.

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Antetokounmpo has been incredible this season, which is very impressive since he has long been one of the greatest basketball players alive.

But this season, he is playing with a resurgent desire to make it all the way to the NBA Finals.

He has stepped up and is taking his team to new heights but the rest of the team is right behind him and helping out in noticeable ways.

Jrue Holiday is scoring 19.1 points, Bobby Portis was making 14.4, while Brooke Lopez and Khris Middleton are also scoring double digits.

Every team wants someone like Antetokounmpo on the roster but they can only achieve true postseason greatness if the entire team is playing hard.

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The Bucks have a busy week ahead, taking on the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, and Boston Celtics in the upcoming days.

Will Antetokounmpo’s latest surge continue during that time?

The post Giannis Antetokounmpo And The Bucks Are On A Roll appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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MLB Analyst Reveals A Must-See Realignment Plan

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It’s not a secret that MLB wants to expand from 30 to 32 teams.

Sure, they will have to solve the issues in Oakland and Tampa Bay, but the plans for an expansion are there, and several cities are shaping up as candidates to have an MLB team.

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The Athletic’s Jim Bowden took the time not only to come up with two viable candidates for the expansion, but to re-configure divisions and leagues as we know it.

“When MLB expands to 32 teams, it should forget the AL and NL. Embrace a dramatic geographic realignment,” The Athletic tweeted, with the graph of the new geographic configuration.

Bowden is proposing to eliminate the American and National Leagues and replace them for a more traditional, NBA-like Eastern and Western Conference.

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There are eight divisions with four teams each.

The two expansion teams will be, according to this hypothetical exercise, in Charlotte and Nashville so both will be part of the Eastern Conference.

The four divisions in the Eastern Conference would be East, Mid-Atlantic, North, and Southeast.

The Western Conference would be formed by the West, Pacific Coast, Southwest, and Midwest divisions.

The system follows a geographical logic: for example, the Miami Marlins, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Atlanta Braves, and the new Nashville team would be in the Southeast division.

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Will this work?

Would MLB be open to adopting a similar scheme?

Something will have to change with the two new teams.

On several levels, the proposal makes sense.

It may still need some work (Colorado on the coast instead of San Diego doesn’t feel right, for example), but it’s a fun idea to think about.

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The post MLB Analyst Reveals A Must-See Realignment Plan appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Steve Wilks Is Hoping To Follow A 49ers DC Trend

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The San Francisco 49ers lost their star defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans to the Houston Texans this offseason.

So they were in the market to find a new defensive coordinator with plenty of experience.

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Luckily for them, Steve Wilks was not given the Carolina Panthers job, and he was on the open market.

The 49ers and Wilks agreed to a deal to make him the team’s next defensive coordinator.

Wilks spent last season as the DC in Carolina, before taking over as interim head coach when the Panthers fired Matt Rhule.

Despite coaching a team that appeared to be tanking, Wilks had the Panthers playing very well.

He was the head coach for 12 games with the team, he led them to a record of 6-6, and was in contention for the NFC South title.

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It might not be long until he gets another shot at head coach.

The 49ers have had one of the best defenses in the NFL for some time now.

So it should not be a surprise that their defensive coordinators are getting head coaching positions.

Wilks was already a head coach for one season in 2018.

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He took over the Arizona Cardinals, and it was a complete disaster.

The Cardinals finished 3-13 that year, and Wilks was not brought back for a second season.

Some teams may be hesitant to hire him after that, but the Cardinals did not have a good roster.

Wilks will be working with some elite defensive players on the 49ers.

So there is no excuse for them to be a great defense again in 2023.

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But, Wilks is in the perfect spot to get another head coaching job.

He just needs to prove he can coach one of the best defenses in the NFL.

The post Steve Wilks Is Hoping To Follow A 49ers DC Trend appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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