Friday, 16 March 2012

Q&A with Mark Scheifele of the Barrie Colts/Winnipeg Jets

@PuckCentralHQ: I guess ill start with how do you think your season is going, personally?

@markscheifele55: I think it is going pretty good, our team has been succeeding and that's my main focus I wanted to do whatever it takes to help the team so that's how I gauge my success.

PC: You started the year with the Winnipeg Jets, what was it like being a part of that franchises first 7 games?

MS: It was a great feeling being a part of something so passionate and exciting,it was one of the best feelings I've ever felt.

PC: It must have been really special,although you got sent down soon after what was it like scoring your first goal?Especially against the Leafs,what was running through your mind when you saw it go in?

MS: It was an amazing feeling I really wanted to score a goal and help the team so just to score made it very special but to do it so close to home made it that much better,being able to do it in front of family and friends. And I was just thinking to myslef is this really happening it was always a dream of mine and for it to actually happen made it so special.

PC: It was definitely something special to watch. You were somewhat of an "off the board" pick at 7th, were you surprised at all that the Jets took you at 7 or did you have a pretty good idea they were going to select you?

MS: I was pretty surprised, I had a feeling they had interest in me but had no idea they were going to take me but I was just honoured to be drafted because it was a dream of mine since I was a little kid.

PC: You had a huge training camp and pre-season, which surprised a lot of people, did you do anything different in the summer training wise to prepare yourself?

MS: I did the same thing I did the summer before just with different exercises to help what I needed to do to improve my strength and just continued to work my hardest every day to reach my goal of playing in the NHL and will continue to work my hardest.

PC: Well the hard work is definitely showing. What has it meant to you to have arguably the greatest Winnipeg Jet,Dale Hawerchuck as your coach? And what did he say to you about being drafted to Winnipeg?

MS: It is unbelievable having such a legend as a coach and having someone so knowledgeable about the game teach me new things about my game and he told me how great of an organization it is and how it is such a passionate place and a great city to play in.

PC: I know it maybe didn't go as planned for the team and maybe you personally but what was it like playing for Canada at the WJC?

MS: It was a great experience even though we didn't achieve our goal of winning the gold medal it taught me a lot about handling pressure and taught me about my hockey game to help me develop as a player and also it was a fun experience being with such a great group of guys.

PC: You had your Barrie teammate Tanner Pearson there with you, did it help you guys at all having each other there?

MS: Ya I think it helped a little bit having the chemistry there and knowing one guy very well but by the end of the tournament everyone was best friends which is why it made it such a good experience.

PC: On the note of teammates, what's it like having Aaron Ekblad on the team, there was a lot of hype surrounding him, what kind of an impact has he had on the team and in the dressing room?

MS: Well he is a great player and he is a great guy in the room he's a key player on our team and its only been positive he helps our team out a lot and will be a great player in the future.

PC: You guys have already clinched a playoff spot, how hard is it to try and stay focused on the season and not start thinking ahead to the playoffs?

MS: I don't think its that's hard to stay focused we still want to continue to build our team chemistry and also try to climb the standings as much as we can.

PC: We ask this to everyone, Who do you try to model your game after? Or do you just try and play like "Mark Scheifele"?

MS: I try to model my game after 2 players, Pavel Datsyuk I try to model myself after his 2 way play and his creativity with the puck and also Joe Thornton, I try to bring a big playmaking centremen but then I also try to play unique style as well.

PC: With all that said,which aspect of your game do you take the most pride in?

MS: I take most pride in just playing an all round game I don't want to just be offensive or just defensive I want to help on both sides of the puck.

PC: Okay and I have two more small questions that I probably should have asked earlier haha. Which player helped you the most during your time in Winnipeg?

MS: Probably either Bogosian or Ladd I roomed with Ladd on the road and he helped me a lot of things after games to help me with my game and Bogosian was probably my best friend when I was there we talked a lot and he helped me a lot with my game and how to conduct myself.

PC: Seems like you had two great players helping you out!. Last question now, besides your first goal and that first Jets home game what was your "welcome to the NHL" moment?

MS: Other then those 2 things it was probably travelling on a plane instead of a bus it just feels so professional and it gave me the welcome to the NHL moment.

PC: Alright well that's pretty much all I have.So thanks again for doing this, it means a lot. Best of luck to you and the team in the playoffs!

MS: No problem and thanks. :)

This interview was conducted via Twitter DirectMessage.

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Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Saga of Alexander Radulov

      In July of 2008 Alex Radulov turned his back on the Nashville Predators, and the National Hockey League. The elite scoring, Russian Winger left for the newly formed KHL in his home country of Russia, however he was still under contract with the Preds. For obvious reasons this caused a fairly big uproar in Nashville and the IIHF, but ultimately there was nothing they could do and Radulov left, but here we are nearly 4 years later looking at a possible much anticipated return for Radulov.

     Radulov has now confirmed that he would like to return to the Nashville Predators THIS season, which would burn off the final year of his Entry-Level contract, and make him an RFA in the summer. So I guess in a perfect world this whole situation would finally be resolved and Radulov would finally be a Predator again, he would help this underdog team to a Stanley Cup,and they'd live happily ever after but unfortunately for Nashville and Radulov,Salavat Yulaev (Radulovs KHL team) isn't big on fairytale endings. It's not that Salavat Yulaev is trying to stick it to Radulov, or the NHL, they just don't want to lose their rights to the KHL's alltime leading scorer, and as hard as it is to admit, that's fair. The only way Radulov can leave and S.Y. can retain his rights is if Alex leaves for the NHL in the fall, which isn't ideal for anyone. Another option would be if Radulov paid off 2/3's of his contract, but that's not likely to happen due to the millions of dollars it would cost him. Of course there's always the illegal option, which Radulov is oh so famous for, bolting, but I believe Radulov's agent has already shot down any chances of that happening, which in a way is a sign of relief, showing that Radulov has matured as a person and is ready to handle things the proper way.

     Alex Radulov, and the KHL are set to sit down at some point and discuss the whole situation. I think it'll be interesting to see how the KHL handles this situation. They obviously want what's best for their teams, and players, but they appear to want some kind of a relationship with the NHL, so they could make some kind of an ''exception'' and allow Radulov to leave early, and Salavat Yulaev keep his rights. If the KHL truly wants a good relationship with the NHL this would be a good way to start mending their relationship.

     The NHL,and NHLPA have already worked out an agreement which would allow Radulov to return to the NHL without having to clear waivers. This would be huge for a Nashville team that doesn't have any elite scoring talents, so if the KHL can somehow figure this out and let Radulov return, I think the Preds could become a serious contender for the Cup this season, however I will save this for my next segment of "The Saga of Alexander Radulov".

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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Jaden Schwartz (Part 1)

      In 2010 the St.louis Blues took somewhat of an "Off the Board" pick when selecting Jaden Schwartz 14th overall. Most had this undersized, but highly-skilled forward going late in the first round, but I think in a few years we'll all be saying this was a steal for the Blues.

Jaden Schwartz Jaden Schwartz, drafted 14th overall by the St. Louis Blues, poses for a portrait during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

      Before I go any further with this story I'd like to talk about what special qualities Schwartz brings to the Blues besides his "skill" and high hockey IQ. Jaden Schwartz brings leadership, heart, courage, and unbelievable strength. As I’m sure many of you know Jadens sister, Mandi, died in April of 2011. Mandi was diagnosed with leukemia in December of 2008, and received a bone marrow transplant in September of 08. Unfortunately in December of the same year her cancer returned. During this time Jaden was going through the World Junior Championships, to make things harder on Schwartz, during the second game of the tournament he broke his ankle, ending his tournament. But before he was willing to call it quits in that second game, he scored a goal on his broken ankle. If that's not heart and desire, I'm not sure what is. Everything that Schwartz has been through has given him leadership and maturity beyond his years, which is why he was selected as Team Canada's Captain at the World Junior Championships in Alberta this past Christmas Break.

      Besides his leadership, and maturity, Jaden Schwartz will bring a highly skilled two-way game to the league leading St.louis Blues. Schwartz, 5-10, 182lbs, isn't very big but he has a hard work ethic and the drive to make up for any lack of ''size''. This drive gives him the ability to win battles for the puck along the boards, and in the corners. His skating isn't great but he's able to keep up without any trouble, and his skating doesn't suffer any with the puck either which is nice. Jaden Schwartz has a tremendous amount of offensive ability, which should excite Blues fans. It should take a few years for Schwartz to completely find his offensive game, but the Blues have enough offensive tools that he should be able to develop into that role without being rushed. On top of his great offensive potential, he also posses a great deal of defensive potential that could allow him to play a bottom six role with the Blues, at least until he can work his way up to the top six.

      If Schwartz stays with the big club for the rest of the season, and in the playoffs he'll be able to provide some depth to the team, which is going to be necessary is the Blues want to makes a big playoff push, which I'm sure they do considering they're sitting at the top of the standings. He's capable of scoring some goals both on the Power-Play and 5on5, he can also kill penalties if needed.

**Once Schwartz plays some games, I will provide a ''part 2" to this article talking about what he's brought to the team, and how he's been playing.

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Friday, 9 March 2012

Niagara IceDogs VS Ottawa 67's (Game Preview)

Tonight I will be in attendence of the Niagara-Ottawa game, in Ottawa. This game will surely be a great test for both teams, as they will likely meet up at some point in the late rounds of the playoffs. Both teams sit 1-2 in the Eastern Conference, with only one point seperating the two teams. Both teams have 5 games remaining, so a win tonight for either team could make or break their chances at winning the conference.

The game tonight is likely to be a classic "shootout" as both teams have many offensive weapons. Including Islanders '11 top draft pick Ryan Strome,Bostons '11 to pick Dougie Hamilton, and the league's point leader Tyler Toffoli. The game tonight will showcase four of THN's top 59 prospects, and many more top prospects. What I find most exciting about this game is it will include five, yes five of the leagues top 15 scorers (1-Toffoli,5-Prince,7-Agozzino,9-F.Hamilton,15-Monahan). I cranked the numbers, and those five forwards make up 30% of the ''top 15's'' point totals!.

With all the high scoring potential this game has, I wouldn't be surprised to see the goalies take over this game. Niagara will likely start the leagues top goaltender, Mark Visentin. Visentin is the league leader in G.A.A(2.05)and Shutouts (10) which is a new single season record in the OHL, he's tied for 3rd in Save%(.923), and 4th in Wins(28). Petr Mrazek is likely to get the nod in net tonight. Mrazek, like Visentin,also sits high in goaltending statistics. He's 7th in G.A.A (2.78),8th in Save% (.918),2nd in Wins (29),tied for 6th in Shutouts(3),and sits 5th in the whole league with total Saves this season(1494). Either one of these goalies could win the game for their team, both have played well in the World Junior Championships, so I don't expect the pressure of this game to get to either of them.

This will be the third meeting of these two teams this season. Both teams have one win and one loss against one another. The first meeting came October.20th where Niagara beat the 67's 4-1. The second meeting came November.20th, the 67's got their revenge stomping on the IceDogs 5-2. These stats show proof that fans can expect a high pace, even game tonight.

Players to Watch:
1-Ryan Strome ('11 5th overall pick,NYI),Niagara IceDogs
2-Dougie Hamilton('11 9th overall pick,BOS),Niagara IceDogs
3-Tyler Toffoli('10 47th overall pick,LAK),Ottawa 67's
4-Mark Visentin('10 29th overall pick,PHX),Niagara IceDogs
5-Freddie Hamilton('10 129th overall pick,SJS),Niagara IceDogs
6-Sean Monahan(2013 Draft Eligible),Ottawa 67's
7-Jamie Oleksiak('11 14th overall pick,DAL),Niagara IceDogs
8-Cody Ceci(2012 Draft Eligible),Ottawa 67's
9-Petr Mrazek('10 151st overall,DET),Ottawa 67's
10-Shane Prince('11 61st overall,OTT),Ottawa 67's

I'll be tweeting through out the game so follow me on twitter for updates: @PuckCentralHQ

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Tuesday, 6 March 2012


I'd like to write just a small statement regarding our interviews. It seems there's some people out there who feel our Interviews, or Q&A's are fake. I'd like to just say that I can 100% confirm that these interviews are real. Our Interviews are conducted via Twitter,email, or in person. These are the players real Twitter accounts, emails I am given are given to us by the players through Twitter Direct Message. We have no problem confirming that these are real so if anyone at anytime is questioning us, please let us know so we can confirm to you the authenticity of our Interviews

Thank you,
Bradley Henstock

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Monday, 5 March 2012

Q&A With Scott Wedgewood!

Puck Insiders: So I guess ill start by asking you how you feel your season is coming along? The team is obvious doing well&you're a big reason for that.
@ScottWedgewood:Well for us before the season started we knew we were going to have a strong team. I think for the most part we have lived up to that expectation. In 2nd seat now, with the adversity at times. For me personally this season has been definitely the one I have learned the most in, being a 4th year guy andk nowing what to expect and how to handle this and keeping a good work ethic and attitude through otu the year.

PI: You sort of entered the WJC as an underdog by some do you feel your extremely strong camp and taking the number 2 job has helped you develpo as a goalie?
SW: Yeah of course, I mean all 4 goalies were given the chance to make the team Visentin being a returning guy was favoured to be selected, and for me I just tried to show my ability to stop the puck and be able to play under pressure. Doing well at the camp helped with confidence moving forward into the tournament but i think the tournament in itself helped me a lot more in developing just through the experience you learn thing and how to better understand your mindset in big situations and the oppurtunity you are given.

P.I: So obviously that loss to the Russians was a heartbreaker especially since it was mainly due to bad luck rather then a poor performance. Do you think that loss has not just made you a stronger goalie, but also a stronger person?
S.W: Yeah it was definitely a heart break not just for the players but for our country. The puck definitely wasn't on our side during the first two periods with the bounces we were getting and unfortunate plays. Leaving the game at the time I did was not what I wanted to do, not being able to help the team come back, but they almost did the impossible and made it close. The learnign experience I took away from that game has definitely changed the way I look at any game I play in now, because your never to far behind to come back. Also that when the bounces are against you ,just means you have to work that much harder to make them go your way and give the team a chance to win. Also helped with the maturity and how to handle myself in that situation, you can't explain how it feels or even what to expect until  you have experienced that situation and going through it will know what is expected and how to prepare for it if I am ever in that sitiuation again.

PI: Well I certainly felt for you that game, it was tough to watch. Your junior career is coming to an end, and you may still be a few years away from the NHL but with Martin Brodeur's career coming to an end and you being one of if not the best NJ goalie prospect do you feel any added pressure to get there sooner?
SW:I haven't really put things into perspective yet on that situation. For a goalie to come out of junior and make an impact in the NHL is not to common, would be great to do but in reality, going to take things a day at a time and develop no need to rush things. Brodeur has accomplished almost everything a goalie could dream of doing while in NJ and to be projected to replace him is an honour in itself. Will see what happens when the time comes but no going right now. Main focus is here with Plymouth and winning a Championship.
PI:Fair enough. Sorry to go back to the WJC, I missed a question has your life changed a lot since then? Like do you get noticed in public more?
SW:Since the tournament I have a lot more twitter followers haha, but not really things are back to normal, i've soent most time in the states, fans here congradulate me and things like that,sign more autographs for fans in different arenas throughout the league, but for the most part just back to the ways things were before.

PI: Alright, so back to the other questions now. You're very good at playing the puck, is that something you work on, or does it just come naturally?
SW:playing the puck kind of transferred over when I switched from player to goalie when I was 11. Still play player in the summertime and what not but was a defensemen back in the day, so knowing what to do behind the net I've learned from experience and love to get my stick in the play whenever I can to make it easier to break out for our team.

PI: Oh wow, didn't know you played player until you were 11. What made you make the switch then? And did you ever expect to be where you are now when you made the change?
SW: I had always been goalie in road hockey due to two older brothers, and just played one summer in a 3on3 league and fell in love with the position. I always wanted to know where I would be if I had stayed player, but I am very happy with where I've gotten and think I made the right choice.

PI: Yeah, I used to play goalie as well and thought the same thing haha obviously it turned out better for you! So I'll try and wrap things up here. So obviously Plymouth has clinched a playoff spot already. Is it hard to keep focus knowing you're already there?
SW:I think the biggest challenge when clinching a playoff spot is knowing that every team your going to face is going to bring out their best performance because most likely they are battling for home ice or a playoff position. So for us right now is taking the challenge and competing just as hard so we get into playoff mode and are ready to take on the challenge we will get in the first round.

PI:Alright and last question. I asked Galchenyuk this too. Is there anyone you try to model your game after? or do you just try and be "Scott Wedgewood"?
SW:While growing up Brodeur was my idol. I always thoguht I played like him, but more just like to be able to stop the puck anyway I can. Any goalie in the NHL i'd compare myself to right now would be probably Kiprusoff or Quick. But my mentality and composer in the net I learned from Brodeur growing up.

PI:One last quick question. Have you had the chance to talk to Brodeur at all since being drafted by NJ?
SW:I skated with him this past camp when we both were recovering from injuries, Definitely have a lot to learn from him and hopefully get the opportunity to do so.

PI:Thank you so much for this, it means a lot to us! Good luck with the rest of the season and playoffs.
SW:Thanks guys.

Shout-out to Scott Wedgewood for taking the time to do this! If you aren't already, follow him on Twitter!:

This Q&A was conducted via Twitter DirectMessage.

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Thursday, 1 March 2012


Hey everyone! Its been a slow day on the site, we got the Mock Draft up(there's a lot of spelling mistakes,i'm sorry, I'll fix them tomorrow) but behind the scenes we have a lot of exciting things coming up in the next few weeks! We can't give away too much but we have two big Draft eligible prospects doing Q&A's with us and one with a goalie who's just about won it all at the World Juniors, also look for our Q&A with Scott Wedgewood to be posted early next week! Remember everyone spread the word and lets get this thing out there!

Twitter: @PuckCentralHQ

2012 NHL Mock Draft (February)

Columbus Blue Jackets- Nail Yakupov,Sarnia Sting(OHL)R.wing
Edmonton Oilers-Ryan Murray,Everett Silvertips(WHL),Defense
Montreal Canadiens-Mikhail Grigorenko,Quebec Remparts(QMJHL),Center
Carolina Hurricanes-Filip Forsberg,Leksands(Sweden),L.Wing
New York Islanders-Mathew Dumba,Red Deer Rebels(WHL),Defense
Buffalo Sabres-Jacob Trouba,U-18(USA),Defense
Tampa Bay Lightning-Morgan Rielly,MooseJaw Warriors(WHL),Defense
Anaheim Ducks-Alex Galchenyuk,Sarnia Sting(OHL),Center
Minnesota Wild-Griffin Reinhart,Edmonton OilKings(WHL),Defense
Toronto Maple Leafs-Radek Faksa,Kitchener Rangers(OHL),Center
Calgary Flames-Zemgus Girgensons,Dubuque(USA),Center
Washington Capitals-Cody Ceci,Ottawa 67's(OHL),Defense
Washington Capitals-Brendan Gaunce,Belleville Bulls(OHL),Center
L.A. Kings-Sebastian Collberg,Frolunda HC(Sweden),R.Wing
Winnipeg Jets-Olli Maatta,London Knights(OHL),Defense
Dallas Stars-Derrick Pouliot,Portland Winter Hawks(WHL),Defense
Florida Panthers-Pontus Aberg,Djurgardens(Sweden),L.Wing
San Jose Sharks-Slater Koekkoek,Peterborough Petes(OHL),Defense
Chicago Balchawks-Malcolm Subban,Belleville Bulls(OHL),Goaltender
Phoenix Coyotes-Tomas Hertl,Slavia(Czech Republic),R.Wing
Ottawa Senators-Stefan Matteau,US-NDP(USA),L.Wing
New Jersey Devils-Andrei Vasilevski,UFA(KHL), Goaltender
Philadelphia Flyers-Brady Skjei,U-18(USA),Defense
Pittsburgh Penguins-Teuvo Teravainen,Jokerit(Finland),L.Wing
Boston Bruins-Matt Finn,Guelph Storm(OHL),Defense
Buffalo Sabres-Martin Frk,Halifax MooseHeads(QMJHL),R.Wing
St. Louis Blues-Jordan Schmaltz,Green Bay(USA),Defense
New York Rangers-Philip Di Giuseppe,Michigan(NCAA),R.Wing
Tampa Bay Lightning-Oscar Dansk,Brynas IF(Sweden),Goaltender
Vancouver Canucks-Thomas Wilson,Plymouth Whalers(OHL),R.Wing