August 22 2012 10:01AM
With five goals and 20 points in 37 games in the WCHA in 2011-12, LaBate had a solid freshman campaign for the Badgers. While Wisconsin is returning most of their forwards from last season, they are losing a key piece on the back end (Justin Schultz, you may have heard of him) and LaBate looks ready to take on an even bigger role with the club as a sophomore. . LaBate is still very young, and already he brings a lot to the table for the Badgers. Expect them to ensure that he is given enough minutes to be a difference maker going forward.
August 21 2012 10:20AM
The Canucks surprised many at the 2012 NHL Draft with their second round selection (including the guy they selected). Typically players who have been passed over in previous drafts do not go in the first couple of rounds, but that is exactly what happened to rugged center Alexandre Mallet.
August 18 2012 10:45AM
The Canucks surprised many with the early season trade acquisition of David Booth from Florida. Although the Canucks had already been burned by acquiring a $4 million player from the Panthers just one year previous (Keith Ballard), the team had a hole to fill on the second line, and on paper Booth looked to be the right guy to fill it.
August 17 2012 09:27AM
To say that Canucks prospect Alex Friesen plays bigger than his size would be an understatement. The generously listed 5-10, 185 pound centre was one of the most physically intimidating forwards in the OHL over his five year career with the Niagara Ice Dogs.
August 16 2012 08:44AM
To say that Ryan Kesler has tunnel vision at times would be accurate. The gifted two-way pivot was criticized at times last season for failing to properly use his linemates (Kesler isn’t totally blameless, but he did see a revolving door of wingers and seemed out of sorts for much of 2011-12 after rushing back from offseason hip surgery).
There is a reason why Kesler looks to shoot – he has a great shot. In 2010-11, he used a newly-developed wrist shot to score a sizable chunk of his 41 goals. Teams seemed to key on his go-to move last season, which was a major reason (along with fewer power-play opportunities and shooting percentage regression) for the decline in goals (only 22). He loves rushing the puck up the ice on his off wing or up the middle, cutting in, and firing a wrist shot across his body to the blocker side of the opposing goaltender (or the glove hand side for the righty catchers).
On January 21st, 2012, Kesler scored a beautiful goal by doing exactly what got him 41 goals one season previous – rushing the puck up the ice, taking it to the middle of the ice, and scoring on a wrist shot. The difference with this goal is that he was a bit tighter in to the goalie, and he added a deke before shooting the puck.