Not to let it get lost in the shuffle...the 2006 edition of the CHL's Memorial Cup kicks off tomorrow! The tournament, featuring the host team and the champions of the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, is used to determine the creme-de-la-creme in Canadian major junior hockey.
This year's tournament features: -OHL Champion Peterborough Petes -WHL Champion Vancouver Giants -QMJHL Finalist Quebec Ramparts -Host & QMJHL Champion Moncton Wildcats (Note: The Ramparts got in by virtue of being the runners-up to the Wildcats, since they managed to be both the host and the champeens.)
And while everyone's crapping their pants over Ovechkin, Crosby & Phaneuf...let's not forget about the kick-ass junior players about to be showcased in the Memorial Cup. -Petes RW Daniel Ryder [Flames prospect] -Petes G David Shantz [Panthers prospect] -Ramparts RW Alexander Radulov [Predators prospect] -Ramparts RW Mathieu Melanson [Wild prospect] -Ramparts G Cedrick Desjardins [Undrafted] -Wildcats C Phillipe Dupuis [Blue Jackets prospect] -Wildcats G Josh Tordjman [Undrafted] -Giants C Gilbert Brule [Blue Jackets prospect] -Giants G Dustin Slade [Undrafted]
Oh, and Quebec also has superprospect Angelo Esposito, who'll probably go really high in the 2007 draft.
I'm impressed that Patrick Roy has done such a good job coaching the Ramparts. Next time there's a coaching vacancy with the Canadiens, watch the rumour mill start churning...
"He looks like a perverted roofer who knocks off early on warm spring days to drink beer and ogle teenage girls at the river, but wrestles like a man who actually cares about his job." ---DVDVR's Raven Mack on "Gigolo" Jimmy Del Ray
The NHL's Western Conference has nine teams in contention for the eight playoff spots. San Jose will finish 3rd. The rest? Well, it boils down to this: THE BATTLE FOR THE TOP: Seeds 1, 2 & 4 COMBATANTS: