Harrison is up in Penticton for the duration of the prospects camp, hobknobbing with the elite and bein’ famous. Also, he’s checking in with the blog every morning, because he knows who butters his bread.

 

PENTICTON HAS ODD ART

Yesterday, there was nothing going on, so I did some serious walking around. I ventured down to Okanagan Lake Park, which is beautiful, but has some really curious art. For instance, here’s what appears to be some sort of archangel deer wooing a fox dressed as Princess Leia for some reason:

Topical. And here’s, um, well, the miracle of life, I guess. I suspect this one was put up especially for the attendees of that event at the Tiki Shores.

You might not be able to make it out, but the artist chose to mix in some smiley faces and some birds, and what I think might be a ghost. Ah, the mysteries of procreation.

CANUCKS PROSPECTS VS SHARKS PROSPECTS

The Canucks dressed 9 of their 10 invitees versus the Sharks (not counting Brendan Jensen, who hasn’t even dressed at the backup for one of the three games), so you knew that, for a lot of these kids, this was their last chance to impress the people they needed to in order to earn a contract. The results was the strongest effort we’ve seen out of the white helmets since the tournament opened. The Sharks had the territorial advantage in the first, outshooting the Canucks 11 to 6, but the Canucks came out stronger in the second, putting up 13 shots, and putting three of them past goaltender JP Anderson. That was all they’d need, playing a tight, defensive third, and holding on for their second win of the Young Stars tourney. Here’s a few thoughts:

  • Another dicey night for David Honzik. He gave up the opening goal after kicking out another sloppy rebound right in front of his net. The puck squirted out to Sharks’ winger Ben Thomson, who buried it, and things only got worse from there. On the second goal, Honzik and Marc Anthony Zanetti got crossed up behind the net, and Honzik wound up giving the puck away to Nathan Moon for a freebie. Then, later in the period, Honzik was beaten a third time when a puck deflected off Zanetti’s stick and past him. Honzik settled down in the third, but he looked pretty deflated after that third goal.
  • By the by, Honzik and Zanetti are completely incompatible. They should never go out.
  • This is Prab Rai’s third YoungStars tournament, and tonight was perhaps the first time he’s really stood out. In his best game in a white Canucks’ helmet, Rai scored a goal and put up a game-high six shots. He struggles with his work ethic, and often looks uninterested in the play, but he definitely earned his goal. After flubbing a promising centring pass from Alexandre Grenier, Rai chased the puck into the corner, fought off a check, then muscled it back to the net.
  • Darren Archibald scored his second goal of the tournament on a fantastic dash down the left side. I’m beginning to get excited about the guy, but I’ll be a lot more sold on his power-forwardy play once I see him replicate the performance against men. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do at the main camp.
  • In his first game, Adam Polasek was a minus two and a half (he gets half a plus for the broken nose), but he was the best Canuck defenseman tonight, both defensively and offensively. He scored the game-winner, a powerplay goal assisted by Kellan Tochkin, and he made a fantastic breakout pass to Anton Rodin for the insurance goal late in the third.
  • Speaking of Rodin, it was great to see his show off some of that high-end skill we’ve heard so much about. He’s been quiet this tournament, giving us only brief glimpses of flash and looking a little taken aback from the physical element, but his goal was one of the spiffiest of the week. After receiving Polasek’s pass, Rodin went wide on his defender, then deftly cut back inside on him, and beat the netminder cleanly.
  • I thought Alexandre Grenier was noticeable tonight, and not just becuase he’s 6’5″. He picked up an assist on Prab Rai’s goal after making a nice move to step around his man and start the play, and he was around the puck quite a bit. He’s a good skater and stickhandler, too. If he can fill out a bit (he’s a beanpole out there), he could turn out to be a quality pick.
  • After being the standout player of the game on Monday, Nathan Longpre was the only Canuck to finish in the minuses. He wasn’t bad — he controlled the puck well, for the most part — but he was centring a line with Anton Rodin and Darren Archibald, a great opportunity to show that the other night wasn’t a one-off, and he didn’t make the most of it. This will likely be his last game of the tournament, and it has to be a disappointing note on which to go out. It will be interesting to see if the Canucks still feel he’s worthy of a contract.

CHATTING WITH KELLAN TOCHKIN

Kellan Tochkin has been a surprise at this tournament, both for his play and for the odd fact that he models his game after Kyle Wellwood (which is appropriate, considering his babyface). We named him the second star of Monday’s game, and he was just as good today, setting up two Canuck goals — the first and the last. I caught up to him after the game.

HM: You’ve been a standout player over the last two games. Can we chalk it up to confidence?

KT: Yeah, absolutely. The biggest thing for me is just to keep moving my feet. That’s probably just the biggest difference from last year. I can’t control how many points I get, but I can control how hard I work. I’ve been working hard, and it’s paying off.

HM: I’m guessing that work started in the summer.

KT: Yeah. Yeah. Monday to Friday, on the ice three times a week. It was a long summer, but it was one that I really needed, and I think the brass are seeing the results of it.

HM: Now, you’re from Abbotsford, as am I. Do you get any flack about this?

KT: *laughs* No. There’s a lot of people that I didn’t know from Abbotsford that added me on Facebook, though. I’m very proud of where I came from though, that’s for sure.

HM: What high school did you go to?

KT: Mouat.

HM: Well, I have nothing good to say about that school, so I’ll just move on.

KT: *laughs*

HM: You made a pretty slick pass to Michael Curtis on  the opening goal. Take me through that play.

KT: I was just using my hockey sense. I beat a guy, and someone else was open and he was calling for it, so I just fed it back to him. He made a great play to Janesy and Janesy put it in. Pretty greasy second assist on my part, but I’ll take that.

HM: How has this year’s tournament differed from last year’s?

KT: Yeah, it’s my third camp, and probably the one I most enjoyed because I’ve been playing my best hockey. All the hard work in the summer is really paying off. The biggest thing for me is I just want to leave a good impression, and I think the way I’m playing right now will leave a good impression. I’m playing tomorrow, too. I’ve gotta show up and do what I enjoy.

HM: You went undrafted, and then shortly after the draft, the Canucks offered you a contract. What’s that like, when you don’t get picked, and you’re disappointed, and then right after that…

KT: It was weird. My agent told me. I was driving home from prospects camp and my agent texted and told me, and I didn’t really believe him. And my parents were in the car, and we’ve been Canucks fans our whole life, so obviously they were pretty excited. It was pretty surreal. It still kind of is. I’m a huge fan. I used to wear the jersey when I was a kid, so I wear it now with a lot of pride.

HM: So what happens, say, if sometime down the road, you get traded to another team? Will you still cheer for Vancouver on the sly?

KT: I’ll always love the Canuckls, but you never know what the future brings. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about it right now. All I have to worry about is trying to make the club — the more realistic goal is Chicago. Just trying to take it day by day. And the day’s been good so far.

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8 comments

  1. Noodle
    September 14, 2011

    Abbotsford eh? What do you do for fun there, cow tipping? …..yeah, I got nothing.

    I can’t imagine how amazing that must feel to get the call that you have a contract with your childhood heroes.

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  2. Paul
    September 15, 2011

    If u watch the video on Archibald goal, Longpre made first pass out of zone so he should have been credited with assist but was not. This would have made him even for the night and leading scorer of tourney.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      September 15, 2011

      Hey Paul, you wouldn’t happen to be related to Nathan, would you?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      September 15, 2011

      Still would not have made him even for the night. Plus/minus has to do with whether you are on the ice at the time of the goal, not whether you got a point on the goal.

      But he definitely deserves to go to the main camp and he absolutely deserves, at the very least, an AHL contract.

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  3. Paul
    September 15, 2011

    I am. kid is having a good Tourney and deserves a shot at the main camp and hopefully an AHL contract.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      September 15, 2011

      Father? Brother? Cousin? Uncle? …. Sister?

      I agree, btw. He deserves to go to main camp.

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  4. Paul
    September 15, 2011

    Not to argue but he did not credit for being on the ice for that goal ….doesn’t really matter now. He got good news today. Cheers

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    • Daniel Wagner
      September 15, 2011

      If he didn’t get credit for being on ice, that’s a different story and I can’t really speak to that. I’m definitely glad he got the invite to main camp today.

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