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08-23-2011, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by toughguy73 View Post
there has been alot of speculation about Youssef Kabbaj lately. What is the issue here? is he not wanting to come back to Cornwall, requesting a trade?
please fill me in!
COLTS NOTES: Kabbaj bullish on defensive expectations

CORNWALL - He's their only returning defenceman.

But what a defenceman.

Youssef Kabbaj was voted the Central Canada Hockey League's best blueliner last year, and the Jr. A Colts thought there was a pretty good chance he'd go to the next level for his final junior year and they wouldn't have the Montrealer back in the lineup.

Kabbaj did explore the OHL or QMJHL, but it's tough sledding to secure a spot as an overager, so he's glad to be with the Colts once again.

"Actually I'm really happy to be back and see the boys,'' Kabbaj said on Day 2 of training camp on Tuesday morning at the civic complex.

"Hopefully we'll have another very good season.''

Kabbaj is bullish on the campaign - he says that, potentially, Cornwall could end up icing a squad even better than the one that took the Pembroke Lumber Kings to a Game 6 in the best-of-seven playoff finals last April.

"I honestly believe we can be better than last year,'' said Kabbaj, who had 48 points (eight goals) in 59 games, fourth-highest in points on the squad behind only Jacob Laliberte, Tyson Spink and Tylor Spink.

"There's a lot of young energy here.''

Kabbaj talked about Cornwall's plethora of skilled forwards, its new-look but "impressive'' blueline, and a "battle (for spots) in nets that's pretty good too''.

It adds up to a focused training camp.

"It's more intense than last year,'' Kabbaj opined.

• • • •

That goalie battle for two spots has had nine contenders… and one of the favourites isn't even at camp yet.

Lukas Hafner, 19, of Toledo, Ohio, is one of the favourites to earn a spot in the Cornwall crease, and he'll only arrive here on Friday, associate coach Ian MacInnis said on Tuesday.

Hafner was a backup last season in the United States Junior Hockey League.

He had a 2.90 goals-against-average in 15 games with the Lincoln (Nebraska) Stars.

The Colts have done stellar work the last few years in bringing in top-notch goalies, albeit for short terms in Cornwall. Last year, Pete Karvouniaris set a CCHL record for wins in a season with 40.

The year before, Boston's Doug Carr was superb in the Cornwall net.

Before him, Justin Roethlingshoefer, of Edmonton, starred in the Cornwall goal.

• • • •

Don't expect to see Cornwall's 2011 protected players - Andrew Ming and Tanner Spink - at the camp.

They've got their own camp to worry about, at the minor midget AAA level.

"It would have been nice to have them here, but we're not going to disturb or distract those boys,'' MacInnis said.

"(Minor midget AAA) is their primary focus (this season).''

• • • •

The Colts have four teams, and over 50 players at their camp, but the numbers will start to come down soon.

"We'll be making a few (cuts) before the Blue and White (intraquad) game on Thursday,'' MacInnis said.

"We look at all kinds of things (when reassigning), what makes sense for the kid, what's best for the player.''

• • • •

There was high praise indeed, for Kyle Baun, the Cornwall second-year forward from Scarborough.

In talking about who's guaranteed a spot on this year's team, MacInnis said the 19-year-old grandson of NHL legend Bobby Baun is "my favourite player up front. . . the boy is a machine.

"His consistency last year (was outstanding) - there were games (during which) he outhit both teams… we'll need him to be (doing) that again this year.

"Overall, he'll be a better player too, because he's (a second-year player in the league).''

The 6'1, 205-lb. Baun was sixth in Cornwall scoring last season with 42 points (19 goals) in 56 games.

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