Jets sign Olli Jokinen
The Winnipeg Jets have found their No. 1 center in Olli Jokinen.
The Jets signed the unrestricted free agent to a two-year contract Monday night. TSN is reporting the deal will pay Jokinen a total of $9 million.
“Olli is someone that we identified when we went through the process of identifying a players that would be available at the free agency time,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said. “We were looking to get at centerman if we could and we were very fortunate to get him. We’re very excited about getting him. He’s got the size, a tremendous amount of experience. He had great consistency over the years. With adding the size of [Alexei] Ponikarovsky and now Jokinen, we’re a bigger and harder team to play against.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to bring in a front-line player and top-six player into the organization.”
Jokinen, 33, was second on the Calgary Flames last season with 61 points, and third with 23 goals. He played all 82 games, including No. 1,000 of his NHL career.
“Very excited about joining the Winnipeg Jets and getting a chance to play in front of the loudest fans in Canada!” Jokinen wrote on his Twitter account.
In 14 seasons with the Kings, Islanders, Panthers, Coyotes, Flames and Rangers, Jokinen has 292 goals and 391 assists in 1,042 games. He’s fourth all-time among Finnish-born players in games played and points (683), and third in goals.
Cheveldayoff said in speaking with Jokinen, the veteran is excited to be joining a young team like the Jets.
“He’s someone that when we did actually speak with his representative and spoke with him in the end here, he’s very excited about being at the forefront of a group that has young players that have a chance to continue to grow and get better,” Cheveldayoff said. “He’s really looking forward to the opportunity to contribute in that regard.”
Coyotes re-sign Bolduc to two-way deal
FS Arizona Reports
The Coyotes re-signed center Alexandre Bolduc to a one-year, two-way contract on Monday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 27-year-old Bolduc skated in two games with the Coyotes in 2011-12 but did not record a point. He appeared in 23 games with the team’s AHL affiliate in Portland, tallying three goals, 12 assists and 30 penalty minutes.
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound forward also played 24 games with the Canucks in 2010-11, posting two goals and two assists in the regular season before going pointless in three Stanley Cup playoff games.
Bolduc, a native of Montreal, was originally drafted by the Blues in the fourth round (127th overall) of the 2003 draft.
Sharks Re-Sign Defenseman Matt Irwin
San Jose Sharks
SAN JOSE, California – San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has re-signed defenseman Matt Irwin to a one-year contract. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In 2011-12, Irwin played 71 games for the Worcester Sharks, posting 42 points (11 goals, 31 assists) and 48 penalty minutes. He finished the season first on the team in shots on goal (209), assists (31), power play goals (9) and power play points (24), and second on the team in points (42).
Amongst all AHL defenseman, Irwin finished the 2011-2012 season first in power play goals, first in shots on goal, tied for ninth in goals and tied for ninth in points. He was named to the 2012 AHL All-Star game where he played for the Eastern Conference.
The six-foot-two, 210-pound native of Victoria, British Columbia was signed by San Jose as a free agent on March 23, 2010.
D Andrew Campbell signs two-year deal with Kings
Fox Sports West
LOS ANGELES – The 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings have signed defenseman Andrew Campbell to a two-year contract, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.
Campbell, 24, had 19 points (2-17=19), 54 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating in 76 games with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League while serving as an alternate captain this past season. His 19 points and 17 assists both served as AHL career highs, and so did his plus-14 rating.
At the conclusion of the 2011-12 regular season, Campbell was named the winner of the Monarchs’ Mark Bavis Unsung Hero award for the second straight year (voted on by Monarchs players), and he shared the Monarchs Community Service award with teammate Thomas Hickey.
The 6-3, 207-pound Campbell is a native of Caledonia, Ontario, and he has skated with Manchester in each of the past four seasons.
Campbell was selected in the third-round (74th overall) in the 2008 NHL Draft, and he has 50 points (8-42=50) and 262 penalty minutes in 298 career AHL regular season games – all with the Monarchs. Additionally, he has five points (1-4=5) and 28 penalty minutes in 27 career AHL postseason games.
Oilers Nail Yakupov puts on a show (Larionov)
Before Tyler Bunz began boasting about his role as the set-up man by deftly linking the tale of his assist to the wildly popular Twitter feed @nail10_1993, the Edmonton Oilers goaltending prospect talked about the shot.
It wasn’t just one particular shot, but the shot that belongs to Nail Yakupov, the dynamic winger the Oilers selected first overall at the recent NHL entry draft.
“He’s got a lot of speed and a really quick release. Real quick,” said Bunz, who will battle it out with Oliver Roy for the backup job with the Oklahoma City Barons next season.
The Oilers re-signed Yann Danis, the American Hockey League’s goaltender of the year, on Sunday, but backup David LeNeveu won’t return.
Bunz, Roy and Yakupov were among 34 prospects on the ice Monday for the final day of the Oilers development camp.
Fittingly, it ended on a shootout goal by Yakupov, who had clearly won over the crowd gathered at Sherwood Park’s Millennium Place.
He snapped in three goals during the four-on-four scrimmage, then celebrated each with unbridled enthusiasm. He pumped his fist, cocked his ear to the crowd, slid down the wing, never repeating his gestures.
Bunz set up the winger for one of his goals.
“(Yakupov’s) speed and his technical skills are of such an elite nature. His one-timer? No matter where, no matter how, he can also hit his target,” said Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger, who was among the camp curious.
“But today, there was a situation where he dropped back for a defenceman and had to cover for him. As a coach, I have to be honest, I know everybody wants the show, but we do have to spoil it sometimes with good defence and … it looked like he had some good instincts away from the puck.”
As for his showmanship, Krueger figures it won’t be as, well, showy, when the rookie is around the NHL veterans.
“It’s just for the fans, for the fun. You have to smile sometimes,” Yakupov said.
“(But) you have to work hard in the practices and in the games … you have to be serious. You have to play hard, play the system. Play disciplined. It’s not junior league.
“(But) why not (celebrate)? If you score goals, you can show something … just maybe not crazy like that.”
With camp over, Yakupov is going back to Russia, where he will spend the next two months gearing up for the Canada-Russia Challenge that will start in Yaroslavl on Aug. 9 and wrap up in Halifax, N.S., on Aug. 14.
After that, the winger will be in Edmonton for the NHL training camp, barring a work stoppage as the league and its players association needs a new collective bargaining agreement as of Sept. 15.
In the meantime, Yakupov said he was leaving Edmonton fuelled by a fun, informative week that saw the players get everything from a hands-on lesson on nutrition to on-ice drills to add to their training programs.
They went to a baseball game, took in the Edmonton Eskimos’ home-opener against the Toronto Argonauts, and then headed their separate ways.
“It was a good experience, a good week,” Yakupov said. “This is just once in your life, so you take it. I’ll get a couple of days rest, then I’ll start working. We do have games against Canada in August, so I have to be ready for those games.”
“He got picked first for a reason. He really showed it today and all through camp,” said defenceman Joey Laleggia, a University of Denver product drafted by the Oilers a week and a half ago.
Laleggia also knows a thing or two about skilled forwards, having grown up in Burnaby, B.C., with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The second call he received after he was drafted in the fifth round at Pittsburgh was from the centre.
“(Yakupov) is a special player, a guy you dream about playing alongside one day,” said Laleggia. “He does have a good focus about him, but he knows when to have fun, too.”
And fun he had, particularly on the final day. Krueger said Yakupov had told him he was blown away by the people that showed up to watch a development camp and figured they deserved to see his lighter side.
“He loves the spotlight. He’s going to do very well in Edmonton,” said Bunz. “I think a lot of the fans, a lot of the players, are looking forward to having him around. From what I’ve seen, the city has got a lot to look forward to.
“He does a lot of showboating stuff out there, but it’s just for the fans. He’s actually pretty quiet. He’s shown us a different personality away from the rink.”
Yakupov’s excellent adventure (Larionov)
EDMONTON – Wow, that was awesome. But don’t do it again.
Nail Yakupov put on a spectacular exhibition to complete his excellent Edmonton adventure, combining skill and showmanship to bring fans to their feet in Millennium Place in Sherwood Park.
They cheered him wildly but then, as they left the final day of Edmonton Oilers’ prospects camp, you could hear them saying “Gee, I sure hope he doesn’t do that stuff in the regular season.”
Yakupov, the Oilers third consecutive No. 1 pick in the draft was the show, the whole show and nothing but the show as people packed the place and stood four and five deep to get a look at the young Russian star on the holiday Monday.
And Yakupov, who after keeping his personality pretty much bottled up leading up to the draft and popping the cork the minute he arrived in Edmonton, couldn’t have been much more flamboyant than he was as the Oilers ended camp with a four-on-four game.
How often is a performance at prospects camp something to tell your grandchildren about? It was.
Yakupov scored three consecutive goals for openers.
He took a pass from goaltender Tyler Bunz at the far blueline, took a couple strides and blasted a 25-footer top corner behind Samu Perhonen to get it going. He then turned to the crowd and threw his arms open to welcome the expected applause.
His next two goals, which came on hard, perfect one-timers from set-ups on the doorstep, were followed by an archer pose and by holding his ear to the crowd to again to welcome the applause.
Daniil Zharkov, his Russian running mate, chosen 91st overall in the draft, the guy who told reporters he planned to be “better than Yakupov”, opened the session-ending shootout session with a sick, Linus Omark-worthy between-the-legs left-right backhand bit of razzle-dazzle.
He also played to the crowd, but with a much more understated tip-of-the-hat sort of salute.
Yakupov ended up winning it going last, electing to go with a quick snap shot. And he upstaged even himself by dropping to his butt and pretending to paddle a canoe.
“I had a lot of fun with the fans. It’s exciting. I’ve never seen that before. It was great,” he said of the scene the fans provided in Sherwood Park.
When asked if he’d carry his act over the the regular season, Yakupov’s answer illustrated the joy of hockey he clearly has in him but indicated, I think, that fans need not fear he’s planning on being the clown prince of hockey.
“If you score goals, you celebrate,” he said.
“But not crazy like that.”
It was crazy how the crowd enjoyed the show immensely and then debated it all the way to the parking lot.
Ralph Krueger isn’t expecting to have to take Yakupov aside in the fall.
“He’s entertaining. His spirit and love for the game comes through in that,” said the Oilers’ new head coach.
“How he will function in the mature, older group at training camp will be a lot different based on the conversations I had with him here.
“We’ve connected well the past few days and I know he was trying to make sure everyone was having fun.
“His speed and his intensity is prevalent at all times. You don’t play with that skill level if you’re not practising at a high level, and you can see that whether he’s in the gym at Rexall or here on the ice — he was always working at high intensity.
“He’s also very generous in the way he tried to make plays for other players. Not only did we see a goal-scorer this week, but we saw a playmaker.”
So today, Nail Railovich Yakupov flies home to Russia and his hometown of Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan to discover to what extent he’s returning a celebrity.
Asked if he’s headed home exhausted from everything involved from the NHL combine, the Stanley Cup final top draft pick day, the pre-draft interview tour, draft week itself and the 10 days here, Yakupov had the perfect answer.
“You only get to do this once so I have to make the most of it,” he said.
You’d have to say he did. And then some.
The 18-year-old, whose first real Edmonton experience included getting Twitter-pated, used the social media outlet where he’s gone from zero to 24,513 followers to say his final farewell before he returns for the serious stuff whenever NHL hockey is played again:
“Great week with the boys !!! Thanks for everything guys !!! See u soon!!;-
“Take care in the summer!!))):-
“Nice caaaaamp :-
“Love u fans.”
Malcolm Subban, Justin Courtnall Trying to Carve Out Own Identities Within Famous Hockey Families
WILMINGTON, Mass. — For most of the undrafted or unsigned players invited to participate in the Bruins development camp, it can be a pretty anonymous existence skating alongside the organization’s most highly-touted prospects.
That’s not the case for Justin Courtnall. He brought to the camp not just the solid resume he had put together in his first three seasons at Boston University, but also a recognizable hockey name and all the baggage that comes with it.
Courtnall’s father, Geoff, played 17 seasons in the NHL, beginning with parts of five seasons with the Bruins, and finished with 799 points and 1,465 penalty minutes in 1,049 career games after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 1983.
His uncle, Russ, played 16 seasons in the league. He piled up 744 points in 1,029 games after being taken seventh overall by Toronto in the 1983 draft. “My uncle was really highly skilled when he was younger, so he was fortunate to just be able to make it,” Justin Courtnall said. “He worked hard, but he was really skilled and that’s how he was given the chance at the beginning of his career. He was really talented, but my dad really had to work hard and learn to become a pro and learn to work harder than everyone else to make it. That’s something he’s taught me along the way. When I was younger he really showed me what hard work was and what it took to become a pro.”
Having his father and uncle around to give him guidance, not to mention some good hockey genes, has certainly helped Justin Courtnall pursue his own dreams on the ice. But the pressures of bearing such a well-known hockey name and trying to live up to the family legacy can have its downsides too.
“When I was younger, coming into junior and stuff like that, it was tough at the beginning,” Courtnall said. “You had guys in your ear saying stuff to you about being a Courtnall and having that kind of a shadow over your head. You kind of have to learn to figure out who you are as a person and make your own identity when you’re faced with that situation.
“But with the negatives come the positives,” Courtnall added. “I probably have an edge over guys just because of that inside knowledge of what it takes and how to act and how to be a good teammate.”
Courtnall didn’t have an edge over everyone at this year’s development camp. Defenseman Matt Benning, the Bruins sixth-round pick this year, also comes from quite a hockey family. His father, Brian, played 10 seasons in the NHL as a defenseman with St. Louis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Edmonton and Florida. Just to add even more pressure on his plate, Benning’s uncle Jim also happens to be the Bruins’ assistant general manager who played nine seasons himself with Toronto and Vancouver. The younger Benning didn’t get much of a chance to carve out his own identity in this camp, as he suffered a groin injury on Sunday.
Saginaw Spirit’s Jimmy Lodge to suit up for Team USA in U-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament
Saginaw Spirit forward Jimmy Lodge will represent Team USA in next month’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, an Under-18 world tournament to be held in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
In his rookie season with the Spirit, Lodge recorded eight goals and four assists, tops among Spirit first-year players.
“Jimmy is a very skilled young player with a high hockey I.Q. and he is a player we hope makes a considerable contribution offensively this season,” Spirit GM Jim Paliafito said in a statement.
Lodge earned a spot on Team USA’s roster with a standout performance at USA Hockey’s Youth Select 17 Player Development Camp, where he recorded three goals and four assists in six games.
Lodge is the second player with local ties to make Team USA’s Ivan Hlinka roster, along with Saginaw Township goaltender Devin Williams, who currently plays for the Erie Otters.
Perfect fit for Finn
Winnipeg Free Press
It’s all about a fresh start for Olli Jokinen, even in a career that dates back to 1998 and has featured more pit stops than the Indy 500.
It’s about getting energized again in a new locker-room where the 33-year-old Finn will hold the most seniority and serve as a voice of experience.
And so while the debate rages on about the merits and faults of the Winnipeg Jets’ new addition — some have praised the franchise for landing the top free-agent centre, others spit out Jokinen’s name like they’ve just gulped sour milk — the man himself is ecstatic he’s found a place he believes is a perfect fit.
“I had two other offers (Vancouver is rumoured to have offered a one-year deal) and when I looked at Winnipeg’s lineup, they are an upcoming team and I thought it would be a good fit for me,” Jokinen said from Finland.
“The more I was thinking and talking with my agent, we came to the decision that at this time in my career it’s the best situation for me. I can go to a place and help a team hopefully take that next step and at the same time I can be part of something good.
“There’s a lot of good young guys and so as an older guy it gives you energy, it gives you excitement.”
Jokinen’s addition to the Jets became official late Monday when he signed a two-year, $9-million contract with a modified no-trade clause. His arrival helps upgrade a team that was looking for more size — he is 6-3, 210 pounds — and an offensive boost to its first two lines. The 33-year-old veteran of 1,042 NHL games is coming off a season in which he finished second in scoring for the Calgary Flames with 23 goals and 38 assists.
His arrival not only gives the Jets some breathing room in the development of top prospect Mark Scheifele, but bolsters a Top 6 that finished with the promising but inconsistent Alex Burmistrov (13 goals, 15 assists) as the No. 2 centre.
In Jokinen, the Jets are getting more of a shooter than a distributor down the middle and a player who insists he has worked on developing the defensive side of his game. “I think a lot of people had (written) me off when I went back to Calgary (in 2010),” said Jokinen. “(Former GM) Darryl Sutter brought me back there and those guys believed I could still play in the league and be an impact player. The last year and a half I’ve changed my game to be a better overall player and the credit goes to (ex-Flames’ coach) Brent (Sutter). He taught be how to play good in both ends and how to play against the tough lines and be more helpful to the team than just score goals and get points.”
Olli Jokinen looking to provide Winnipeg Jets will offence and experience
The Canadian Press
Olli Jokinen is starting to feel his age.
While mulling over a US$9-million, two-year contract offer from the Winnipeg Jets, the 33-year-old centre started examining the team’s roster. And he was surprised with what he saw.
“I looked at the lineup and I think I’m the oldest player on the team right now,” Jokinen said Tuesday after signing the deal. “I’ve always been around older players and more experienced teams.”
In Winnipeg, that role will fall to him. But Jokinen was brought in to be more than just a veteran presence around the dressing room.
The Finn is coming off a 61-point season in Calgary and became the Jets highest-paid forward. Clearly, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff expects him to provide an offensive boost to a lineup that relies on scoring by committee.
Jokinen is willing to do whatever coach Claude Noel asks of him.
“When you get older, you want to win and you want to be part of something good,” he said. “I think there’s something good in the players already in Winnipeg. I think they’re a good team.
“Whatever my role’s going to be, I’m going to do the best I can.”
Jokinen’s free-agent decision came down to three teams. He knew his time was up with the Flames as soon as the regular season ended, although he still considers his second stint with that organization successful because of the impact coach Brent Sutter had on turning him into a more effective two-way player.
Many scoffed when Calgary signed Jokinen to a two-year deal in July 2010 — just months after dealing him away at the trade deadline — but he feels he proved the doubters wrong.
“I think the last year and a half I changed my game to be a better overall player,” said Jokinen. “And credit goes to Brent. He (taught) me how to play good in both ends and how to play other teams’ top lines and how to be more helpful to the team.”
Jokinen has seven NHL seasons with at least 20 goals under his belt and found free agency “a little bit stressful,” especially when it came down to making a decision.
He was intrigued by the opportunity to live in a hockey-mad city and play in front of the enthusiastic fans at MTS Centre. A native of Kuopio, in northern Finland, he wasn’t the least bit concerned about the city’s notoriously cold climate.
“My family loves living in Canada,” said Jokinen. “They’re not afraid of the cold weather. My kids, they love snow.”
Jokinen excited about opportunity with Jets
Olli Jokinen is no stranger to the critics.
Two summers ago, plenty of people thought he was done and would have trouble finding work in the NHL again.
His production was in decline and Jokinen was essentially a one-dimensional player.
Instead, the Calgary Flames opted to re-sign him in 2010 after moving the Finnish centre to the New York Rangers prior to the trade deadline the season before.
Heads were being scratched throughout the hockey world at the turn of events.
But the return to Cowtown came with a caveat: the status quo wasn’t good enough.
Enter then-Flames GM Darryl Sutter, who brought him back into the fold and head coach Brent Sutter, the man Jokinen credits with helping him reinvent his game to become more of an all-around player.
“A lot of people wrote me off a couple years ago when I went back to Calgary and those guys believed in me that I could still play in the league and could still be an impact player,” Jokinen said during a conference call from Finland on Tuesday morning. “The last year-and-a-half I changed my game to be a better overall player. (Brent Sutter) taught me how to play good in both ends and how to play against other teams top lines and how to be more helpful to the team, not just score goals and get points.”
Jokinen is also a big body that plays with “weight” and has been involved in plenty of “heavy” games Jets head coach Claude Noel often talks about.
Nobody is saying Jokinen is done now — though once again there are those suggesting his best days might be behind him.
Obviously Jokinen’s play will dictate whether or not that’s true, but he sure doesn’t sound like a guy who signed a two-year deal just so he could fade into the sunset.
“I think I’m the oldest player on the team right now. That’s the first time for me,” said Jokinen. “I’ve always been around older players who are more experienced. The biggest thing going into any new team and being a NHL player, you have to respect the game, you have to respect your teammates, you have to respect the people around you. At the same time, you want to do your best every single day.
“There’s always room to improve, there’s always room to get better.”
Those are lessons passed down to Jokinen from his days with the Florida Panthers when he called the likes of Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk and Carman product Eddie Belfour teammates.
“It was an eye-opener of how hard you have to work, how well you have to prepare yourself to be a professional in this league and stay in the league,” said Jokinen. “I take a lot of pride on my off-ice conditioning. I try to eat well and do the little things right.
“At the end of the day, when my career is over, I don’t have to think ‘I should have done that better.’ I try to do everything in my power the best I can. Hopefully I can bring that in the room.”
Jokinen also sounds like a guy who wants to add to the six playoff games on his resume, all of which came in 2009 as the Flames were ousted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round.
“When you get older, you want to win and be part of something good,” said Jokinen. “And I think there’s something good with the players already in Winnipeg. It’s a good team and whatever my role is going to be, I’m going to do the best that I can.”
Nobody is asking Jokinen to put the Jets on his back and carry them to the promised land.
However, he’s posted nine 50-plus point NHL seasons, has a big shot and is sure to give the power play a much-needed shot in the arm. Plus, he gives the Jets another offensive threat on a team that could use one.
Given the other options that were available, this sounds like a smart pick-up to me.
Bears sign Forward Mathieu Beaudoin
The 28-year-old was limited to 47 games (5-17-22) with the Portland Pirates in 2011-12 by a thumb injury that required surgery. He said the injury is 100-percent healed.
Matt Beaudoin took some of his initial AHL strides during a short stint with the Hershey Bears as a first-year pro in 2007-08.
Now the forward, signed as a free agent to a one-year AHL deal on Tuesday by Hershey, aims to deliver a season-long, all-star performance in 2012-13.
“I’ve learned a lot and I’ve grown a lot since I was there,” Beaudoin said.
“To be able to come back five years later with a lot of experience behind my belt, I think it’s a good match for me and for the Bears.”
The 28-year-old was limited to 47 games (5-17-22) with the Portland Pirates in 2011-12 by a thumb injury that required surgery. He said the injury is 100-percent healed.
Beaudoin played in the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic at Giant Center during a 2010-11 season in which he produced 21 goals and 30 assists for the San Antonio Rampage.
The 5-11, 190-pounder’s breakout AHL season came in 2009-10 with the Texas Stars, when he had 19 goals and 25 assists. Texas lost to Hershey in the Calder Cup finals.
“It’s another experience that I did in Hershey — losing in the finals,” Beaudoin joked. “Hopefully, by joining the Bears, I’ll be on the other side next year and bring another championship to Hershey.”
Beaudoin again will be reunited with Texas and Portland teammate Garrett Stafford in Hershey. The defenseman was signed as a free agent on Monday.
“I’m really excited to already know a familiar face and one of my good friends,” Beaudoin said. “We’ve had success together before and we’ve had a good working relationship and a good friendship. It’s going to be fun to bring that to Hershey.”
In Beaudoin, who played seven regular-season games and one playoff game for Hershey in 2007-08, the Bears get a former all-star who also is a non-veteran.
“No. 1, we know him,” Bears President-GM Doug Yingst said. “He’s been here before. From then on his career has taken off.
“It gives us good speed, added depth as a right winger.”
Beaudoin was at Portland’s training camp last season when Alex Berry, signed as a free agent by Hershey on Monday, suffered a season-ending compound arm fracture.
“If I remember right, it was kind of a one-on-one drill,” Beaudoin recalled. “There was a body check involved and he kind of fell awkwardly on the ice and got caught in the boards. It wasn’t a pretty scene out there. The ambulance had to come pretty quick because he was bleeding. It was a quick reaction by the coach [Ray Edwards] and the trainers to get everything under control. It could have been worse.
“I remember him, a big, strong power forward. I think he’s going to be good for the Bears. He’s a guy who works hard. I think a full year of recovery, he’s going to be excited.”
Beaudoin was college teammates with Sean Collins, Dave Steckel and Johann Kroll at Ohio State.
Beaudoin scored a goal in the Stars’ 4-3 victory over Hershey at Giant Center in Game 2 of the 2009-10 Calder Cup finals.
Schofield Signs with Rochester
Democrat and Chronicle
Schofield, 25, is fairly unknown to Amerk fans but Rolston liked what he saw when they played the Crunch and did more homework this summer. Schofield, a native of Pickering, Ontario, played four years at Lake Superior State. Lake State coach Jim Roque is a very good friend of Rolston (Not that it plays too much into the equation, but Rolston was an assistant coach at Lake State from 1990-1995).
Schofield scored only 8-9-17 in 73 games last season but was primarily a fourth-line checker. Most importantly, he is, as his agent Ian Pulver says, ”a wide-bodied centerman.” Rolston wants to get much bigger at center and Schofield is 6-2, 200.
“When we played Syracuse he was always out there 3-against-5, he was a real good faceoff guy and we know he has some of an offensive upside,” Rolston said. “We feel, when given the opportunity, he can put some points up.”
Schofield agrees. He led Lake Superior State in scoring as a junior and senior (team MVP both seasons). He scored 15-13-28 in 36 games as a junior and 17-18-35 in 39 games as a senior.
“When given the opportunity, hopefully I can contribute a little more,” he said. “(With the Crunch) I didn’t take too many chances, I played safe. This year I want to play a good, two-way game. I definitely think I can chip in.”
He doesn’t foresee himself blossoming into a top-line center, though. “If I’m going to move up to the NHL some time, I’m not going to be a top-6 guy,” he said. “The third line (this year) would be wonderful. In today’s NHL and AHL, the top three lines play a lot. I don’t mind being that (shut-down) guy.”
Rolston said Schofield will be important because he won’t need to exhaust his top offensive centermen in penalty-killing situations, which happened often last season with Phil Varone and Paul Szczechura.
“You’re using Phil and Paul on the power play, the penalty killing, 4-on-4; you’d like to free up some of those minutes, especialy when you’re playing three-in-threes and at 3 in the afternoon on that third day,” Rolston said.
“You need those guys to have some aspect of being fresh late in the game.”
Pulver said the Sabres/Amerks were the first organization to phone about Schofield and did so on Sunday. The fit here seemed best, Schofield said.
Wedding bells lure Thiessen to Pens
There are a few reasons behind Brad Thiessen’s decision to resign with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization in recent days.
Thiessen, who spent the last three seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, wasn’t happy with his performance last year, one that resulted in a goals against average of 2.82 and a .887 save percentage. He wants to re-establish himself as the player who won the Baz Bastien Award as the AHL’s top goaltender in 2010-2011.
And there’s another reason why Thiessen wants to come back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton — he’s got a family to think about now.
The 26-year-old netminder is getting married later this month in New Jersey, and he wants to start his new family life in a familiar place.
“It’s always nice to go somewhere familiar with the coaches, staff and the town,” Thiessen said. “I’m getting married, so I have to consider that in my decision.”
Thiessen was an unrestricted free agent this summer and seemed destined for another organization after Pittsburgh traded for and signed veteran Tomas Vokoun to be Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup for the next two seasons.
With the first two goaltending spots locked up, it made sense for Thiessen to look elsewhere for an NHL shot.
“Obviously I was disappointed when (Vokoun) signed. We wall want opportunities to play in the NHL and that kind of solidified (Pittsburgh’s) goaltending situation,” he said. “But looking ahead, my best opportunity was here.”
Other than being familiar with Wilkes-Barre and the organization, Thiessen mentioned several other reasons why returning made sense.
He wanted to play for head coach John Hynes again and, being in Wilkes-Barre should give Thiessen plenty of mintues in net to redeem himself from last season.
“I wasn’t happy with the way I played last year,” he said. “I wanted to come back and re-establish myself as a top goalie in the AHL.”
Thiessen also said the signing off goaltender Jeff Zatkoff – an AHL All-Star last season, should help him get his career back on track.
“He’s a great goaltender and it will create good competition,” Thiessen said. “There’s only one net and, as a goaltender, you want to make sure you’re at the top of your game. Having another good goaltender pushes you to do that.”
Last season, Thiessen got his first taste of the NHL, posting a 3-1 record in five games with Pittsburgh. While the experience was definitely a benefit, he said, it may have contributed to the decline at the AHL level.
“Last year, maybe I was thinking too much about that NHL shot and focused on that more than I should have,” Thiessen said.
Heading into this season with a new one contract and, as of July 22, a wife, Thiessen’s focus is clear. Another NHL shot remains the goal, but this time it won’t be a distraction.
“You never give up on that opportunity. It’s a long season and reaching the NHL again is something I won’t close the door on,” he said. “It’s just not something I’m going to dwell on. I need to play well and be consistent no matter where I’m at.”
Maple Leafs seeing double with Rupert twins
Two for the price of one.
Maybe that’s what Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke was thinking when he chose Ryan Rupert in the sixth round, 157th overall, in the 2012 draft.
Ryan’s got a twin, Matt. They’ve played together all their lives. Where one goes, so goes the other. When Matt wasn’t drafted, it was only natural for him to follow Ryan to Leafs prospects camp.
“When I got the call to come here, it was exciting,” said Matt Rupert, a winger. “We played together our whole lives. It was exciting being in the Blue and White, living the dream. I watched the Leafs all my life.”
They’re a hard-working — if undersized — agitating duo that found a role on the OHL champion London Knights.
“You’ve got to play physical and get little jabs in but not go overboard so the refs don’t catch you,” Ryan Rupert, a centre, said about his game. “Gets the other guys frustrated out there.”
Says Matt: “We’re gritty players. If it comes to fighting, we’re not going to back down. I like fighting, it’s fun.”
The Ruperts were tutored by Dale Hunter (until he left to coach the Washington Capitals) quite literally night and day. The lived with Hunter, watching hockey when they weren’t playing it. Hunter would point out — stopping the PVR if he had to — what players were doing right or wrong during whatever game happened to be on the TV at the time.
“He’d go up to the TV, point out plays, corrected us. He was coaching us for pretty much 24 hours,” said Matt.
The two Ruperts are fraternal twins who look alike except for one telling point: Ryan has all his teeth. Matt’s got the Bobby Clarke smile.
“One game, I ran a goalie and a defenceman cross-checked me in the face,” said Matt. “Then the other one was in practise. Puck deflected off a stick.”
Spitfires notebook: Devlin at Rangers camp
It was the next best thing to being drafted for Windsor Spitfires defenceman Brandon Devlin.
Passed over in the NHL Draft, the 18-year-old Devlin almost immediately received an invite to attend the New York Rangers’ prospect camp.
“Being drafted, I would have been really honoured, but going to the Rangers’ camp was pretty special,” said the six-foot-two, 197-pound Devlin, who skated with the club for five days last week.
Acquired in November by the Spitfires from the Barrie Colts, Devlin was ranked by NHL Central Scouting on its mid-term list, but failed to make the final rankings.
“I was hoping to (get drafted), but I guess I’ll take it as a learning curve,” Devlin said. “Hopefully, next year, I get my named called.
“The Rangers camp was good and I thought I did well. I picked up a couple of points and tried my best.”
Now, he’s hoping to take it forward into the 2012-13 season and build off it.
“We have a really good young team and I’m really looking forward to it,” Devlin said of the Spitfires.
“I think it’s going to be fun to watch us.
“I’m looking to strengthen my qualities and, hopefully, I’ll be in a different situation next year (at the draft).”
Jets did right with Jokinen: Sutter
WINNIPEG – The man who helped Olli Jokinen resurrect his hockey career believes the Winnipeg Jets made a wise decision bringing him into the fold.
Brent Sutter, the former head coach of the Calgary Flames, was singing the praises of Jokinen when we caught up to him at his ranch in Sylvan Lake, Alta.
“Number one, he’s a great guy,” said Sutter. “Olli Jokinen is a very good hockey player. I like him a lot. He trains hard, he’s a fit guy who takes care of himself and he’s a tremendous team guy.
“Like all players, they want to score goals and get points but the thing with Olli, he got to learn and understand how important it was to defend and play without the puck. He’s a real good example of a player who, as he got up in age, he understood the importance of changing his game. To get a guy like Olli, it’s a great move by the Jets.” Sutter was a few months into his second season as Flames bench boss when the two had a frank discussion about Jokinen needing to transform his style.
“He really flourished. The last two years, his game went to a whole new level, as far as the type of player he was. With doing it, he was still able to contribute and put up offensive numbers.”
The commitment to the defensive zone led to increased production, bucking the trend for a player in his 30s.
“You look at players, the majority of them, will decrease and not increase, so you have to adapt and do things differently,” said Sutter. “It’s a young man’s game, but players in their 30s can still be great contributors by making some adjustments.”
Those adjustments allowed Jokinen to bounce back with 23 goals and 61 points last season, helping him earn a two-year deal with the Jets worth $9 million.
“This past season, there’s no doubt Olli, from start to finish, was our top forward,” said Sutter.
The Jokinen Sutter knows is determined to win, despite the fact he’s appeared in only six playoff games.
“No question, he’s a team-oriented guy that really wants to win bad,” said Sutter. “He took a lot of pride in wanting to do things right and playing that team game.
“Olli has become a complete player that every team needs on their hockey team to have success. Teams that have big centre-icemen always seem to find a way to win. He’s a big body that can skate and he’s learned how to play the game the right way. He just needs to stay with it.” Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is counting on it.
NHL Player Agent Ian Pulver with Jim Lang & Mike Farwell
So where are contracts headed in the NHL? How can owners cry poor after all this money is doled out yet again? NHL sports agent Ian Pulver, (who represents Olli Jokinen, Alex Galchenyuk, and Leafs prospects Ryan and Matt Rupert) discusses the league’s financial situation on Brady and Lang in the Morning.
Loktionov takes home Stanley Cup
The Windsor Star
Former Windsor Spitfire Andrei Loktionov had his day with the Stanley Cup this week.
The five-foot-10, 180-pound forward shared the Cup with teammate Slava Voynov as it toured Russian cities on Wednesday.
Voynov took the trophy to his hometown of Chelyabinsk where he showcased the Cup at the arena of KHL team Traktor.
Later that day, Loktionov brought the Cup to a municipal building in his hometown of Voskresensk near Moscow.
From there, the Cup travelled to Slovenia Thursday where Kings all-star forward Anze Kopitar became the first player to the trophy to the country.
Kings forward Kevin Westgarth of Amhersburg has yet to have his day with the Stanley Cup, but has said he will bring it to the United Communities Credit Complex.
“Have friends, family and the town enjoy it,” Westgarth said in an interview with americajr. com last month.
The Stanley Cup is scheduled to make stops in Viking, Alta., next week when head coach Darryl Sutter will bring it to the farm where he was raised.
Loktionov Photos with the Stanley Cup in Russia (Larionov)
LA Kings Prospect Andy Andreoff Hopes To Leave A Mark In Manchester In 2012-13
LOS ANGELES — Last fall, left wing prospect Andy Andreoff was busy turning some heads during the Los Angeles Kings’ annual Rookie Camp, and he even lasted longer in the team’s 2011 Training Camp than most expected of a third round draft pick (80th overall, 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft).
The 6-1, 201-pound native of Pickering, Ontario, known for his physical play, opened some eyes by displaying some decent skills.
That combination of physical play and skill is what grabbed the attention of Kings scouts in the 2010-11 season, when he broke out for 33 goals and 42 assists for 75 points, with a +34 plus/minus rating, and 109 penalty minutes in 66 regular season games with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League.
Andreoff also scored three goals and contributed eight assists for eleven points with a +3 rating and 16 penalty minutes in ten playoff games.
Coming off that season, and knowing that he made a strong showing at the Kings’ 2011 Development Camp, and the subsequent Rookie Camp, Andreoff also made it past the first roster cuts during training camp last fall.
Andreoff was part of the next group that was assigned to the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, the Kings’ primary minor league affiliate, and there was some thought that he might start the 2011-12 season with the Monarchs, at the very least. He got some great news on October 12, 2011, when the Kings signed him to a three-year, entry-level contract. But there was also some bad news, as he was assigned back to Oshawa at the same time.
Having to return to his junior team for the 2011-12 season was tough for the 21-year-old to accept, at first.
“The biggest challenge might have been getting sent down from the AHL at the start of the season, learning that I had to go back [to the OHL] for another year,” Andreoff told Frozen Royalty in an exclusive interview. “It was a little disappointing, but you learn from that.”
To his credit, Andreoff did not pout. Rather, he took advantage of the opportunity.
“I had to battle through it,” he noted. “It’s a little tough to get sent down. But I learned a lot from the coaches [at Oshawa, they] helped me a lot, so it was good to get back with the Generals for my last year.”
“I don’t think [getting sent down] was anything bad,” he added. “They just thought I’d get more ice time with the Generals, and that was better for me, as a player, to develop more and be ready for the next year. I got a lot of ice time with the Generals, so I was able to improve my skating, and my skills there. Now I’m ready to be a pro, at Manchester, or wherever I might play.”
It was also a lesson in humility.
“It was a good thing,” said Andreoff. “It taught me that you’re not going to be handed everything you want. I got drafted, and I had a good summer, working out, and training at the  Development Camp. Then, I went to Manchester for a little bit.”
“When they sent me back from Manchester, it was good to be back with the guys again, back with the Generals,” added Andreoff. “It’s a great organization. It’s a pretty close group [there], so I was pretty excited to play with them for my last year [in junior hockey].”
Andreoff’s 2011-12 numbers dropped considerably from his 2010-11 marks, with 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points, with a +1 rating and 88 penalty minutes in 57 regular season games this past year.
Andreoff also scored a goal and tallied three assists in six playoff games.
Despite the decline in his offensive output, Andreoff’s development appears to be on track, especially in terms of his defensive zone play, an aspect of the game that most young prospects need a boatload of work on.
“I thought I had a pretty good year, all around,” he said. “Everything went well, offensively and defensively. I learned a lot from [Oshawa head coach] D.J. Smith. He’s a great coach. He taught me a lot of things about the defensive zone that’ll help me with my game when I become a pro.”
The Kings also kept an eye on him during the season.
“Nelson Emerson, [who heads up Player Development for the Kings], came to a couple of games in Oshawa,” Andreoff explained. “We went out for lunch a couple of times, and went over video [of his play], looking at the key things that the Kings like—board battles, face-offs, and stuff like that.”
“One of the things they keep telling me to work on is my first three steps, having quick feet and explosiveness, so I can be ready for the next level, because it’s a lot faster,” he elaborated.
After the Generals lost to the Niagara Icedogs in the OHL playoffs, Andreoff was recalled by the Monarchs, getting into five regular season games, scoring one goal, his first in the AHL, and in professional hockey.
“It felt great to get that first goal out of the way,” he beamed. “Some guys struggle, and they get nervous as they play more games, but don’t get the goal, so I was happy that I got it out of the way in the first couple of games.”
“I was really happy about that,” he added. “I’m looking forward to that giving me some confidence going into next season.”
Like most young players taking the step up from junior hockey, playing at the AHL level required some adjustments.
“It took me a couple of games to get used to it, but I got comfortable with it, eventually,” said Andreoff. “There’s a great group of guys at Manchester, and they helped me out with everything.”
“I was talking to the guys, asking how it was, in the practices,” added Andreoff. “It’s a little different with the speed, and there’s a lot of older guys, in their late twenties, and they’re a little stronger than in the OHL.”
Andreoff, who also played in four playoff games with the Monarchs, scoring two goals, got a crash course introduction into life at the professional level.
“What stood out the most was being a pro,” he stressed. “It’s a little different in junior, where you live with your billets, and I lived in Oshawa, which is pretty close to my family. Pickering is only 15 minutes away.”
“Being a pro, you live on your own, in your own condo,” he added. “You have to do your own thing—[prepare] food, and everything.”
Andreoff also took note of how hard the pros work.
“At Manchester, Marc-André Cliche was our captain, and he worked hard, on and off the ice,” Andrehoff noted. “He wasn’t just a guy who worked hard on the ice. You’d see him in the gym after practice. That rubs off on you, and you learn [from] those guys.”
Andreoff was one of several Monarchs players who were recalled by the Kings during their playoff run, all the way to the first Stanley Cup Championship in the 45-year history of the franchise.
“It was unbelievable, watching the crowd in a sold-out [arena], every game,” he said. “It was pretty crazy. It really makes you want to be there, more than anything, just seeing the crowd, and the guys playing that hard. It’s the way they won, too, beating Vancouver, who was the top seed. It was awesome.”
Although the young prospects were no longer with the Kings after the Western Conference Finals, Andreoff was glued to the television, watching the Stanley Cup Final.
“I was very happy for them [when the Kings won the Stanley Cup],” said Andreoff. “Watching them throughout the playoffs, they worked so hard. It was the way they played, and they proved [themselves] to everyone who was doubting them.”
“That stood out in my mind, seeing them do that, no matter how many people thought they weren’t going to win,” added Andreoff. “They still battled through everything. No matter how good any [opponent] was, they still worked hard.”
Like all the other young prospects in the Kings’ system, Andreoff now plays for an organization that is the defending Stanley Cup Champion, one that has developed a winning culture.
If that brings any more pressure to bear on the young prospects, in terms of their development, Andreoff is not showing any effects.
“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing—working hard over the summer, doing what they want me to do—the little things that help me as a player,” he emphasized. “That’ll help me become an LA King someday.”
Nail Yakupov: “I Want to Prove to the Oilers They Made the Right Choice”
Nail Yakupov is only a few weeks into his career with the Edmonton Oilers, but already he has impressed with his performance at the team’s summer development camp. OilersNation’s Andrey Osadchenko caught up with Yakupov there.
Yakupov: We’d get up at 6am, go to the rink and come back around 8pm. It’s not like it was all practice and nothing else. We had a lot meetings and other stuff that’s not directly involved in sports. Every day was so long. We’d get back to hotel, go to sleep only to wake up the next day again at 6am.
Osadchenko: Oilers had options with how they were going to spend their first overall pick, but they finally drafted you. Were you nervous about it or you sort of expected to be picked by the Oilers?
Yakupov: Honestly, I didn’t expect anything before the draft day. But when I woke up on that day, I got really nervous right away. I was shaking all over! Hours went by and I was still shaking. Nobody knew what they were going to do and neither did I. Everybody just kind of waited. When they called my name I felt relieved. It was cool.
Osadchenko: You talked to the Oilers at Combine Tests in Toronto and right before the draft. Did they give you the impression they were interested in you more than in anyone else?
Yakupov: No, there were no hints that they were going to draft me. They talked to me just like they talked to everyone else. They showed me around the rink, introduced me to the personnel and stuff like that. But nothing concrete was ever said. Toronto and Montreal would have done the same thing, but I chose to go to Edmonton. They called me first and I went for it. I mean, the team wanted to see me here, so why would I say no, right? But they never said they’d draft me.
Osadchenko: Former Oilers 1st overall pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, was up there on the stage with you. Did you get to talk to him?
Yakupov: Yeah, I did. My family and I were invited to a dinner that evening. There we talked a little bit. Great guy. Everything was awesome. We didn’t fight or anything like that (laughs).
Osadchenko: There’s a picture of you talking to somebody on the phone during a photoset right after you were picked. Who were you talking to?
Yakupov: Sam Gagner.
Osadchenko: How did he get your number?
Yakupov: He didn’t. Somebody just gave me the phone and told me Sam wanted to talk to me.
Osadchenko: What did he say?
Yakupov: He congratulated me and wished good luck. That was all.
Osadchenko: Do you think you can get more than 8 points in one game?
Yakupov: (laughs) I’d like to. It’d be great. That’s not what I’m focusing on, though, right now. So far I just want to make the team. I want to prove with work and the way I play that I deserve to be on the team. I want to get as much ice-time as I can. I want my team to win. I want to get a lot of points. I want to feel comfortable on the team. I don’t want to be in the limbo. I want to be a part of the team. I don’t want to be an up-and-down guy. And I want to be the best (laughs).
No-no-no, don’t get me wrong. It’s like I’m going to show up at the camp all cocky and going to act like I’m a star. No, nothing like this is going to happen. You see, getting picked first overall was just step one. Step two is to actually make the team. I want to work hard and be on the team. I want to prove to the Oilers they made the right choice. I want to prove to my family they put all this effort into to me for a good reason. I want to prove to all of my former coaches back in Sarnia and Nizhnekamsk that they taught me well.
I’m very grateful to everyone he helped me in Nizhnekamsk – from security people and janitors to Chemical Factory director Vladimir Busygin. I’m deeply thankful to all those who congratulated me after draft, including mayors of Kazan and Nizhnekamsk – they called my dad right after I was picked. I’m being serious – I don’t want to look bad in their eyes. I want to be a part of the team and play for the Oilers. Hopefully, it’s going to happen. Knock on wood.
Osadchenko: Last summer you went to Neftekhimik’s pro team training camp and looked good. As the matter of fact, you even scored some goals in scrimmage games. Did you feel back then that you were playing with pros? Was there a huge gap for you between this and junior hockey?
Yakupov: I wouldn’t say it was ‘huge’. It’s still just another hockey game. If you come into it well-prepared, nobody can stop you. As soon as you get legs going for you, you’re going to be fine. Sure, when you play with grown men it’s a little bit different – they skate faster and hit harder. They also think faster and do everything faster. I spent a month with them, got to know them better, felt the rhythm they worked in, so it felt comfortable in scrimmage games. Also, I’d like to point out that I’m very thankful to Neftekhimik for letting me practice with them last summer. It was a great experience for me.
Osadchenko: Do you think transition from the Sting to the Oilers would go just as smooth for you?
Yakupov: Even though it’s still early, I think about it. Everything happens to you for the first time some time, you know? It’s just the way it goes. You wait for it to happen and you get somewhat nervous. Not because you don’t think you can do it, but simply because it’s your first time and you’ve never tried it before. I’m interested in how it’s going to pan out. I don’t want to be scared of it. I want to show what I’m capable of, I want to prove I’m ready for the NHL – the best league in the world. I want to be on that level. To summarize my point – yes, I think about it, I feel kind of anxious about it, but only because I don’t want to let people down.
Osadchenko: There’s a lot of talk about the ‘Russian Factor’. Are you fed up with questions about you possibly leaving to the KHL?
Yakupov: I’ve been asked so much about it. So many questions about it. I mean, I understand them. It’s their job. Every agent, scout and GM would ask me about it because his job is on the line. Did you see what happened after the draft? Quite a few teams fired their scouts. It’s their job. They have to know. They have to trust you. Then again when you’re asked the same question over 30 times it kind of gets under your skin. But you can’t do anything about. I’m being honest about it. Whether or not you trust me – I have no control over it. It’s not like I’d get on my knees and beg you to trust me, right?
I told the truth. It’s always been my dream to play in the NHL. This is why I came to Canada. I came here to learn how to play hockey. Then I was lucky enough to be drafted. Now I just have to make the team. I don’t even think about the money at this point. I don’t care who’s going to offer me what. Lots of people asked me: ‘What if you’re offered big contract? Would you leave?’ I thought I said everything that was needed to be said when I said ‘I want to play in the NHL’. Yet, they still ask me this. I want to play in the NHL. That’s the bottom line. Knock it off.
Osadchenko: Could you tell me a little bit about what was your experience like at the rookie camp?
Yakupov: What if I don’t tell you?
Yakupov: (laughs) I’m just messing with you. Okay, where do I start? About 30-35 guys came to the camp – guys who were just drafted, free agents, Europeans… Right after we arrived we had to undergo the same tests we had last month in Toronto. Everything was pretty much identical. The next day we began the actual work. Before going to the ice we’d watch a few videos of what we’re going to work on today. It’d take us about 20 minutes. We’d skate in the morning for 2 hours. First 30 minutes we’d just work on our skating because everybody comes in a different form – some guys didn’t skate at all after last season.
Then we’d split – defensemen would go to one end, forward would go to the other end and goalies formed the last group. Every group worked on its own. Then they’d refresh the ice and we’d reunite. We were practicing 3-on-0 rushes and 3-on-1 rushes… You know, stuff like that. You have to do everything very fast so it was a lot of fun. Because it was so fast-paced, nobody would get bored even though there were a lot of people on the ice – you may be idle for 20 seconds, tops, and then you’re back in action.
Then we’d go to the arena, get changed and grab a quick lunch. Then we’d have different meetings. One day we had two chefs, who came over to tell us everything we needed to know about nutrition. After a meeting we’d have another practice with a fitness coach. With him we did some yoga. That would last also for 90 minutes. The other day we had guys coming over to tell us how to invest our money, what banks should we use and stuff like that. Money stuff. Then we had a meeting with our PR guy who told us how to talk to the media, what to tweet and what not to tweet, how should we act on social networks in general.
One day we went to Superstore with those chefs. There we split up into two teams. We were going around the store and they’d tell us what we should buy and what we shouldn’t. Then we had to pick foods so we’d cook the next day. It was like game – our team vs. the other team. We cooked salad, pasta with chicken and veggies and dessert. Judges ruled that we lost this challenge. But it was a lot of fun. Every team was divided into groups of five. My group was responsible for salad.
Osadchenko: Who was on your team?
Yakupov: Two Slovaks – Marincin and Gernat. Also, Kristians Pelss and Taylor Fedun, who was our captain.
Osadchenko: What did the Oilers PR guy tell you exactly? What aren’t you supposed to talk about?
Yakupov: No trash-talking. Lose or win – you have to respond to questions moderately. Never answer a question with a question of your own. All in all just don’t be rude. He talked about Twitter for some time. It’s not a good idea to tweet irresponsibly. You tweet something you’d better not be tweeting and before you know it everybody is all over it. You don’t want this to happen. For instance, if you’re asked a provocative question, you’d be better off ignoring it. Don’t try to be the King of Twitter or something. Tweet usual stuff. Like ‘Edmonton is a nice city’.
Osadchenko: People are getting worried your Twitter won’t be a fun place anymore. So far you’re quite open on it.
Yakupov: Look, Twitter has to be taken seriously. You may be kidding but people would think otherwise and you’d be in trouble. It can be very difficult to explain to fans that you were misunderstood.
Osadchenko: Did the chefs’ food recommendations were any different from those you received in Sarnia?
Yakupov: Not too much. I’d say it’s pretty much the same. My first year in Sarnia I stayed at Galchenyuk’s and his dad is a former hockey player, so he knows what nutrition is good for you. Then my mom cooked and my dad helped her. And my dad has been in hockey for over 20 years now, so he knows what to eat. It wasn’t a problem in Sarnia. In Edmonton they told me a few little details that I didn’t know. For instance, you have to weigh yourself after workout. If you lost a certain amount of weight, you have to drink a certain amount of water.
They gave a list of foods that you shouldn’t eat. It’s like you can’t eat them at all, but you shouldn’t. Then again it’s hard to always make right food choices. Every now and then you still want to eat some bakery or something. I don’t have a problem with it. It’s not an issue. For instance, on a game day I would never eat fries. But if I can eat something like this some other time, sure, I’ll have it. If I want to get a Subway sandwich late at night, I’d go and get it. I’d rather be sated than hungry. I can’t sleep when I’m hungry.
I was taught many things here. You’d be surprised how many exercises are out there. You look at it and you think it’s worthless. Because it looks so unnecessary. But you do it and you feel terrific. Same with protein drinks. If you started to drink one protein drink, stick to it. Don’t go around and swap it as you like. Because sometimes you feel bad during a game and you don’t know why. If you swap it as you like, you’ll never know.
Osadchenko: So you can still have traditional Tatar meals like vak-belyash and chuck-chuck?
Yakupov: It’s my favorite food! My mom likes to cook it at home. If you’re hungry, you can it quite a lot of Tatar food. I really love soups with uch-pochmak.
Osadchenko: You were born in a small town in Russia. Then you played in a small Canadian town. Edmonton must look very big to you. Do you have to adjust to it?
Yakupov: I like it. It’s quiet and beautiful. And I came here to play hockey. This is my focus now. Besides, Rexall Place is huge. You can practically live in there. When you come there you just sort of forget that there’s something else outside.
Osadchenko: Do they recognize you on the streets already, though?
Yakupov: They do and I like it. Every day there were 2,000 fans in the stands at the training camp. 2,000 fans! Can you believe it?! Guys would score a goal and fans start to cheer. It was a lot of fun. It wasn’t like we couldn’t smile and had to stay serious on the ice. Fans had fun and so did we. When you’re in a good mood, you perform better. I have never experience anything quite like this.
Osadchenko: Women are going to all over you now.
Yakupov: I’d rather prefer girls (laughs). So far it’s not like this. Perhaps, it’s because we were always under cover. We were either at the rink or hotel. It was a quiet week in this sense.
Cody Bradley, son of former Tampa Bay Lightning star Brian Bradley, shines at Lightning’s development camp
Tampa Bay Times
BRANDON — As befitting a former NHL player who has seen it all, Brian Bradley, watching from a balcony Saturday at the Ice Sports Forum, hardly flinched when the Lightning prospect roofed a goal.
He was similarly stoic several seconds later when the same prospect stole a puck and scored again.
As a parent, though, Bradley could not have been prouder, because the prospect was his son, Cody, who continued to distinguish himself at Tampa Bay’s development camp.
“It’s great,” said Brian, who played for the Lightning from 1992-97, was the team’s first legiti mate star and is the organization’s director of youth hockey. “Any time you wear the pros’ colors, it’s a good experience.”
Cody, 18, was not at the camp because of his father, said Al Murray, Tampa Bay’s director of amateur scouting.
A center like his father, Cody last season played for Dubuque of the junior United States league and next season will play on scholarship for Colorado College.
He was on the Lightning’s June draft list. When not selected, he was invited to camp with a phone call from general manager Steve Yzerman, something Cody called “a pretty big deal.”
“We evaluated Cody as every other player is evaluated,” Murray said. “We didn’t even talk to Brian prior to the draft.”
Cody, 5 feet 10, 163 pounds and a lifelong Lightning fan, made the most of his time at the five-day camp that wrapped up Saturday. In six three-on-three games, he had three goals, four points and nine shots on goal.
“He’s skates well, seems pretty smart and makes good plays,” player development coordinator Steve Thomas said. “He certainly didn’t look out of place.”
“He’s skilled,” assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said. “He’s responsible. He competes.”
Cody was too young to recall his father as a player — he wasn’t born when Brian in 1992-93 was the Lightning’s first 40-goal scorer — but he knows Brian’s 13-year career was ended by a concussion.
That was in even sharper focus when Cody missed more than three months last season with a concussion.
It occurred during January’s USHL All-Star Game when Cody’s head smacked the boards after a hit. He played only four more games, in April in the playoffs.
Given Brian’s history, it would be understandable if the injury, which Cody said was “a little bit more serious than I thought,” caused concern about Cody’s career path. But neither he nor his father seemed worried.
“Stuff like that happens,” Brian said. “You just have to overcome it and work hard and battle through it.”
“His most important advice,” Cody said of his father, “was I’m young and not to pressure myself to get back on the ice right away. Make sure it was fully healed before I was ready to go. In the long run, I found out I was going to be fine.
“It’s not really in my head whether a concussion will end my career or not. I just keep playing, hope for the best and work hard every game.”
Like he did during Saturday’s three-on-threes, in which he showed good hands with his top-shelf goal, good anticipation with the steal that led to his second goal and good grit with a goal off a scramble in front of the net.
“He can snipe,” Bradley said. “He needs to shoot more, like anybody, but he can put it in the net.”
Spoken like a proud father.
3 OHL Grads on Russia’s Sary-Arka Karaganda for 2012-13
Previously a member team in Kazakhstan’s 10 team elite league, Sary-Arka Karaganda joins Russia’s VHL for the 2012-13 season. The VHL (Vysshaya Hokkeinaya Liga), also known as the Major Hockey League is an elite league based in Russia but not currently affiliated with the KHL. Karaganda will be carrying three grads of the Ontario Hockey League for the upcoming season: Todd Perry, Brett Parnham and Ben O’Connor.
Todd Perry played three years in the OHL from 2004-05 to 2006-07. His first two seasons were spent with the Barrie Colts before moving over to the London Knights for his final year. Undrafted, Todd played with a handful of clubs in the AHL and ECHL before moving to Russia for the 2011-12 season. This past year, he played for Molot-Prikamie Perm in the VHL.
Brett Parnham recently had a try-out with Ilves in Finland’s SM-Liiga but finds himself returning to the VHL for a second season. Parnham played in the OHL for four years from 2005-06 to 2008-09. He was the 13th overall pick at the 2005 OHL Priority Selection by the Sudbury Wolves. Brett started his OHL career with the Wolves but was traded to the Oshawa Generals 31 games into his first season. He finished out his career with the Generals, topping out with 50 goals in his final season.
Undrafted, Parnham spent two years in the ECHL with the Utah Grizzlies before making his move to Russia for the 2011-12 season. Like Todd Perry, Brett also played for Perm in the VHL.
Igor Larionov talks on being drafted by the Canucks in 1985