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Help bigduga pick a CHL team:

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Old
09-25-2012, 05:16 PM
  #1
bigduga
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Help bigduga pick a CHL team:

If you would be so interested, Please help a wayward hockey fan (or fans, really) out. I need some CHL experts, and I figure this is as good a place as any to ask.

With the NHL season once again teetering on the brink of collapse, and the CHL leagues now offering video packages, a group of guys I usually watch Blues games with (we’re all – nominally - from St. Louis.) have decided to split the (sorta ridiculous) cost of the online video package, and adopt a CHL team for at least the season, and hopefully longer – to slake our thirst for hockey games to watch. We’re hockey guys, we love the sport, most of us play (badly) weekly, and we want to love your CHL team.

The difficulty here, is that apart from late-season look-ins to follow draft-eligible prospects, and casually following the teams associated with the randomly cast crop of baby-blues…none of us have any real sense of which team we should pick. It’s just not easy to come by coverage here. What say you, CHL fans? Can the afflicted loons on this message board community at least help us narrow this down a little?

Some things to (hopefully) help make an argument for your team:

The Baby Blues: There’s no team stocked with enough Blues talent right now to merit outright favor. One is mostly as good as the next, and there’s no super-prospect among our current CHL prospects that we feel like we *must* watch. Rattie is close, but Portland has other things working against it. That much being said, Having a Blues property on the current roster certainly won’t hurt.

Sleeping with the Enemy: Conversely to the previous item, we don’t want to find ourselves following a team with multiple prospects set to become Red wings (ick), Blackhawks (gross), or Predators (ick, gross, and worse) As we’re fully planning on making this “our” CHL team and – while we appreciate that these factors are fluid, we’re not about to spend time developing a massive fan-crush on some Austin Watson/Brandon Saad type only to have to break up with him later. The star attraction of any serious contender for our fan-hood can’t realistically be a fledgling Red Wing, Blackhawk or Predator. It won’t work.

Time should (preferably) be on our side: We’d like to be able to watch most of the games in real time, because – especially if we take to the team like we hope to – we’re going to be incapable of stopping ourselves from checking out the score ahead of time. 7:00 Games in the Pacific time Zone start at 9:00 local. That crummy practicality may realistically eliminate all the teams in the Dub. As it is, we’re not wholly opposed to forgoing this time-zone bit because:

Puncher’s Chance: We’d like our team a little on the salty side. Not “Vityaz Chekhov” salty, mind you…but nastiness will sway some support. Think Brian Sutter. We will take to a guy – or group of guys - that relish the chance to finish their checks. And while an enforcer certainly isn’t a must, a legitimate, fear-worthy pugilist doesn’t hurt anything. I’m of the impression that – if we could just watch the majority of the games in the right time zone – this would be a huge bargaining point for like, half the teams in WHL. That being said, no sissy “finesse teams,” please.

Bad is Bad: We’re suffering enough, having potentially lost all or most of our NHL Season. Please don’t attempt to sell me on the OHL equivalent of the Blue Jackets. That’s just mean. I don’t need (or necessarily want) the League Favorite, but any truly *sh!tty* team will just sour the whole experience for everyone.

Language Barriers: We’re all Midwestern English speakers. Having to learn French (I’m looking at you skeptically, Q.) is a lot of work. If you’re going to convince me to become bilingual, you better be bringing me “l'équipe parfait” with the rest of the argument.

A Truly Great Barn: This I know absolutely nothing about, and I really want to know better. Who has the best live atmospheres in the Canadian Juniors? I’m realistically hoping to adopt this team for the long haul, and – while I’m not sure I’ll feel worthy of a road trip this first season, having recently jumped the bandwagon – the prospect of a future road trip and an awesome trip to see the team play on rowdy home ice in a distinctive building is always a plus.

That’s about it.

If you’re inclined to lobby for your team, please *please* do so. I really don’t want to pick a team for some lame reason like “because their jersey looks cool,” and exhaustive research into all 60 CHL teams is – frankly, exhausting. I’ve been reading up previews and news for a few weeks now, and I’ve even taken some notes, but at the end of the day, I’ll never come to love a team by studying alone, and I’m hoping maybe someone here can either make an awesome, impassioned case to recruit a new fan to their side or at the very least I can get enough of a response to whittle my list down to a few solid finalists or whittle away some bad choices.

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09-25-2012, 05:55 PM
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I am a WHL guy myself so I guess I'd argue most passionately for the Edmonton Oil Kings.

They were WHL Champions last year and kept a large majority of the team through to this year. Their top two lines are both very explosive with a mix of older vets (St. Croix), recent draftees (Moroz), and future first rounders (Lazar). There D core is solid, including last years 4th overall pick Griffin Reinhart, and goalie Brossoit is one of the better CHL goalies and a possible choice for Team Canada at the World Juniors.

Logistically though it sounds like you're looking for an OHL team for earlier start times and in that case I think Owen Sound would be a good choice. I believe they are the home of the Blues only OHL prospect in Jordan Binnington, they don't have any major central division prospects, they are a solid team (prob not mem cup worthy but more than probably a playoff team) and with players like catenacci, smith, and maidens even there better players are of the gritty, high energy variety

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Old
09-25-2012, 07:10 PM
  #3
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Don't be so down on the Q! If you like exciting, fast-paced hockey, then the Q is your place!

Trust me, I'm an Anglo-monoglot and following a French language hockey game isn't that hard. If you have video to follow, it makes it even easier.

As for the teams, there are really only two QMJHL teams that are at all worth cheering for. The Val-d'Or Foreurs are a feisty team that doesn't know the meaning of the word quit. I haven't seen them play yet this season, but much of their core is still intact from last season, so I don't expect big changes. They will be better though. We went up there for a game last season, and after we scored an empty net goal to make it 6-2, they came back to make it 6-4! There was another game that we won 6-4 (again, the sixth goal was an empty netter), only issue was that it was 5-0 Hull at the second intermission! Also, their goalie is a Blues prospect, and Tremblay is pretty awesome. I know you said you don't care about this, but I also think that they happen to have the nicest jerseys in the Q. Foreurs fans are pretty reserved (unless they're playing the Huskies), but the Air Creebec Centre is an experience not to miss. The ice is only 190' long! Val-d'Or is small, but pleasant, and I think you would enjoy your stay up there. The people don't always speak much English, but they're more than happy to try if you're not a dick about the fact that you don't speak French. It's amazing how far starting a conversation off with 'Est-ce que tu parle Anglais?' can get you.

Now for my team. The Olympiques (Gatineau, or Hull if you ask a lot of our fans). We might not have any Blues, but we don't have any Red Wings, Blackhawks or Predators prospects either. We do have a Kings prospect in Tomáš Hyka (that's TOW-maash HEE-ka), but who can hate the Kings? (Oh, right... ). Like the Foreurs, we're an Eastern time zone team. You like tough teams? Well, we're on the right track there! (Google Translate is a glorious thing, remember, I too am an Anglo monoglot). We have all the makings of being a top team this season, but we came out of the gate pretty flat. Fear not, I expect big improvements. We have a good team, and we're building for a championship run next season.

Now, as for the Barn. We have, unquestionably, the best fans in the CHL. We're unmitigated, unapologetic *******s, but we'd all give the shirt off our back to one of our own. To give you an idea of this, just this past season I made one of the Saint John Sea Dogs cry, and just about got into a fight with one of the Armada players and the Huskies mascot. At the same time, I've made many great friends and as a relative newcomer feel like a full part of the community. When we went to the finals two years ago, all through the playoffs I don't think I've ever been anywhere so loud, and this includes NHL playoff games. When Claude Giroux (one of our alumni) dropped the puck in the ceremonial faceoff before Game 6, I thought the building was about to collapse. And this isn't to say that we're in any way quiet during the regular season. Like I said, we went up to Val-d'Or and Rouyn-Noranda last season. It's not hard to spot a Hull fan - the six of us (my wife, son, and three Olympiques employees) had no trouble drowning out both crowds. I'm still sceptical that we'll ever get the new arena, but we're supposed to get a new arena in 2015. If you're going to make the trip up here, I suggest doing so while you still have the chance to visit Le Vieux Bob. Truly one of Hockey's cathedrals.

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09-25-2012, 07:31 PM
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The most painfully obvious team you want to follow is the Halifax Mooseheads.

Predicted by most to be one of the top 2 serious contenders this year, it will be an exciting team to watch with depth at all positions.

You will see Nathan Mackinnon, Jonathan Drouin and goalie Zach Fucale in action, all star 17 year olds leading into their draft years. Its very likely all 3 are 1st round picks, with MacKinnon likely going 1st overall.

The home games will usually draw 7000-10,000 people this year as interest is at an all time high. They play in a well lit rink so webcasts are pretty clear. The home webcasts also tap into the video screen so you get to see goals and hits replayed throughout the game. They have english play by play home and away, so language is not an issue.

Media attention for the team should be high especially with the potential lost NHL season.

If you are looking to be entertained, have most games 6EST-9EST, have a clear english webcast while watching 3 potential 1st rounders including Nathan MacKinnon... this is the team you want to watch.

The end.

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09-25-2012, 07:43 PM
  #5
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I truly apprieciate the feedback thus far. A few things:

1) i'm not wholly discounting either the dub or the Q. I will lose sleep or learn passable french for the right team.

2) cool logos and sweaters are always a plus. I just don't want to "buy the book for the cover" - to borrow a phrase.

3) as buildings go, I kind of dig Val D'or's quirky aluminum shed. And I agree with the suggestion that the logo is awesome.

4) speaking of logo's...i like most everything about Owen Sound, except that the bear in their logo looks like it's licking a window. Granted, I've never been attacked by a bear. It may just look like that.

Thanks for taking the time to make suggestions, guys.

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09-25-2012, 08:44 PM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigduga View Post
2) cool logos and sweaters are always a plus. I just don't want to "buy the book for the cover" - to borrow a phrase.

3) as buildings go, I kind of dig Val D'or's quirky aluminum shed. And I agree with the suggestion that the logo is awesome.
Oh, it's not just the logo, which is perfect, given the mining (hence 'Foreurs') and forestry that drives the Abitibien economy, it's the uniform set as a whole. The shade of green that they use looks great out on the ice, and it's accented with just enough gold that it's noticeable but still not garish. I'm a bit of a jersey nerd...

The Air Creebec Centre is an interesting blend between an old barn (you can tell that it was built in 1949) and a new (it's recently been renovated). They also have a beautiful new scoreboard, so I bet their video feed would also include the replays that they show up there.

One other note, not that I'm one to run a smear campaign, but you don't want to cheer for the Mooseheads. Are you familiar with what Eric Lindros did? He got drafted by the Québec Nordiques, refused to play for them, and demanded a trade (he got traded to Philadelphia). He did the same thing when he got drafted by Sault Ste. Marie into the O. He had to be traded to Oshawa because he didn't want to be so far from his parents. Well, MacKinnon pulled the same **** with Baie-Comeau when he got drafted into the Q. What if St Louis managed to win the draft lottery when, God forbid, the season is cancelled? They draft MacKinnon, and then he refuses to play for St. Louis. Best not to get too attached.

Also, if you're having any difficulty following French feeds, just take note of particular words or phases that you hear a lot (close approximations will do). I check the junior hockey forums most days, and I'd be happy to help you out. For starters, an excited 'IL COMPTE!' is good if you're listening to your team's feed.

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09-30-2012, 12:39 PM
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I'll make a case for the Moncton Wildcats:

The Baby Blues: The Wildcats have 2 Blues prospects. Yannick Veilleux (STL 4th, 2011) is playing on the top line with the exciting Saulnier twins who were both top 20 scorers last year. Veilleux should rack up some points. The real exciting one to watch though is Dmitri Jaskin (STL 2nd, 2011). This guy is the most exciting player on the ice to watch every night. He can take over offensively and enjoys throwing his 6'3" 205 lb frame around. He's scoring at a goal-per-game pace through 4 games so far. The cats are a contender this year so they'll be fun to watch and both guys will get tonnes of ice time as they'll be relied on for production. Also of note they have highly ranked 2014 prospect Ivan Barbashev.

Sleeping with the Enemy: Only two other NHL draftees on the team. Florida defenceman Jonathan Racine and Phoenix defenseman James Melindy.

Time should (preferably) be on our side: THis may be the only major drawback. Moncton is in the Atlantic time zone, so their home games would start at 6:00 EST. Look on the plus side though, you could watch a full live game and it would only be 8:30 PM. the night is young. Any of their Quebec road games though would be EST.

Puncher’s Chance: They've certainly got some grit. As I mentioned Jaskin can steamroll guys, but they've also got several other physical players that are fun to watch. The team has also had 5 scraps in 4 games to date (including Veilleux who won one on Friday night)

Bad is Bad: As I mentioned the Wildcats should be a contender this year. Plus they will battle with another major contender (Halifax) 8 times so there's lots of great games there. The Mooseheads of course have Mackinnon, Drouin, Fucale, all top talents for 2013.

Language Barriers: Wildcats broadcasts are all english.

A Truly Great Barn: The Moncton Coliseum is about 40 years old. It seats just under 7,000. The atmosphere is mixed. When the team is winning the place gets loud, especially during playoffs. THe building has some of the best sight lines around. Not a bad seat in the house. The city is also pushing hard to build a new 10,000 seat downtown rink within the next few years so there's lots to be excited about.

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Old
09-30-2012, 02:28 PM
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Kamloops Blazers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKq-I...ature=g-user-u

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10-05-2012, 02:48 AM
  #9
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Ill throw in the London Knight's name. Some great grinders on the team, a lot of success predicted for the season. Great logo, fairly unique colours and a great arena. I don't believe there's any Blues drafted talent on the team, but there are three projected 1st round picks for 2013 (Horvat, Domi and Zadorov) which could soon become Blues property. The only drawback is that there are two Central division prospects on the squad (Alex Broadhurst, Hawks and Josh Anderson, BJ's)

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10-05-2012, 09:27 AM
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I'll echo the Knights as I'm a fan, but if you're interested in Sutter hockey Red Deer might be for you.

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10-11-2012, 07:15 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taoiseach View Post
Don't be so down on the Q! If you like exciting, fast-paced hockey, then the Q is your place!

Trust me, I'm an Anglo-monoglot and following a French language hockey game isn't that hard. If you have video to follow, it makes it even easier.

As for the teams, there are really only two QMJHL teams that are at all worth cheering for. The Val-d'Or Foreurs are a feisty team that doesn't know the meaning of the word quit. I haven't seen them play yet this season, but much of their core is still intact from last season, so I don't expect big changes. They will be better though. We went up there for a game last season, and after we scored an empty net goal to make it 6-2, they came back to make it 6-4! There was another game that we won 6-4 (again, the sixth goal was an empty netter), only issue was that it was 5-0 Hull at the second intermission! Also, their goalie is a Blues prospect, and Tremblay is pretty awesome. I know you said you don't care about this, but I also think that they happen to have the nicest jerseys in the Q. Foreurs fans are pretty reserved (unless they're playing the Huskies), but the Air Creebec Centre is an experience not to miss. The ice is only 190' long! Val-d'Or is small, but pleasant, and I think you would enjoy your stay up there. The people don't always speak much English, but they're more than happy to try if you're not a dick about the fact that you don't speak French. It's amazing how far starting a conversation off with 'Est-ce que tu parle Anglais?' can get you.

Now for my team. The Olympiques (Gatineau, or Hull if you ask a lot of our fans). We might not have any Blues, but we don't have any Red Wings, Blackhawks or Predators prospects either. We do have a Kings prospect in Tomáš Hyka (that's TOW-maash HEE-ka), but who can hate the Kings? (Oh, right... ). Like the Foreurs, we're an Eastern time zone team. You like tough teams? Well, we're on the right track there! (Google Translate is a glorious thing, remember, I too am an Anglo monoglot). We have all the makings of being a top team this season, but we came out of the gate pretty flat. Fear not, I expect big improvements. We have a good team, and we're building for a championship run next season.

Now, as for the Barn. We have, unquestionably, the best fans in the CHL. We're unmitigated, unapologetic *******s, but we'd all give the shirt off our back to one of our own. To give you an idea of this, just this past season I made one of the Saint John Sea Dogs cry, and just about got into a fight with one of the Armada players and the Huskies mascot. At the same time, I've made many great friends and as a relative newcomer feel like a full part of the community. When we went to the finals two years ago, all through the playoffs I don't think I've ever been anywhere so loud, and this includes NHL playoff games. When Claude Giroux (one of our alumni) dropped the puck in the ceremonial faceoff before Game 6, I thought the building was about to collapse. And this isn't to say that we're in any way quiet during the regular season. Like I said, we went up to Val-d'Or and Rouyn-Noranda last season. It's not hard to spot a Hull fan - the six of us (my wife, son, and three Olympiques employees) had no trouble drowning out both crowds. I'm still sceptical that we'll ever get the new arena, but we're supposed to get a new arena in 2015. If you're going to make the trip up here, I suggest doing so while you still have the chance to visit Le Vieux Bob. Truly one of Hockey's cathedrals.
Forget what he said, The Quebec Remparts is the team in the Q this year.

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10-11-2012, 07:36 PM
  #12
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Forget what he said, The Quebec Remparts is the team in the Q this year.
Want to make an avatar bet over it? We win tomorrow, you wear an Olympiques avatar for the rest of the month, Remparts win, I sport a Québec avatar?

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10-14-2012, 11:18 PM
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I'll, for obvious reasons say the Mooseheads. but I'll answer some of these questions to convert you to the Q

The Baby Blues: Look no further than the Wildcats. Dmitri Jaskin is having a great season, and first-liner Yannick Veilleux joined the Cats this season. They also play the Sea Dogs 8 times (Tesink) Andrew Ryan for the Moose got an invitation to Blues camp if it would've happened lol.

Sleeping with the Enemy: Racine and Melindy on the Cats. For the Moose, we have Brent Andrews (preds) and Marty Frk (wings) so I guess we're of no help there.

Time should (preferably) be on our side: If you live in St. Lou then all Moose/Cats games start at 5 central. Quebec games at 6.

Puncher’s Chance: Cats and Moose are both physical and big teams. Jaskin and Johnston are big boys on that Cat team and the Saulniers aren't afraid to get in there too. Each teams D corps are big and physical. Roussy, Racine, Melindy on Moncton are big and in your face. Lewis on Halifax is our captain, not afraid to drop them and will throw one big hit a night. Hardie and Gillard are good on the physical side too.

Bad is Bad: Moncton have been terrible to open the season, but no one expects them to stay there. They're a better team than their record indicates and it's only a matter of time before they get better. The top 3 consensus teams were Halifax, Blainville, and Quebec. So far they've been great and have the top records in the Q.

Language Barriers: English! John moore has been the voice of the Moose for ever

A Truly Great Barn: The "Bob" in gatineau is cool. Halifax has been averaging 8000+ for their games so far, and our playoff atmosphere last season was something I haven't seen in a long time.

As for my team in general, the Mooseheads are stacked at all positions and look to win it all this season. You've heard of Nathan MacKinnon, Zach Fucale, and Jonathan Drouin... And if you haven't, you will lol. 3 of the top prospects for upcoming draft and some would say MacKinnon is the most exciting player in the Q. Him and Drouin form one of if not the best 1-2 punch in the league. Marty Frk can be exciting when you get over the fact he's a Wing in the making. Abeltshauser can rush and shoot the puck with the best D in the league. Our depth is arguably the best in the league, three lines deep and lots of firepower.


SO there you have it... I hope you choose the Moose, and if not the Q

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10-15-2012, 12:03 AM
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I guess to make a case for my Brampton Battalion, our 1st round pick this past off season is a native of St.Louis and played for the Jr Blues last year.

Our only NHL draft pick is a Tampa Bay 2nd rounder.

We can be a gritty team, lots of sandpaper.

We are an eastern time zone team.

Barn sucks though, attendance isnt that good.

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10-16-2012, 02:38 AM
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Try the Calgary Hitmen.

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10-17-2012, 12:24 PM
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Some teams I like.

Guelph - The underdog to win the division like St Louis was. Most of the NHL draftees are Eastern conference. Smaller rink than London or Kitchener but packed with dedicated fans and better beer.

Kamloops - Great history, and a very good team. Downside some very Detroitish names like Ranford and Chevaldae. :p

Rouyn-Noranda - I honestly don't know much about the team, but they are doing well and I've been to Noranda for hockey tournaments and they LOVE that team, great times there.

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10-17-2012, 12:31 PM
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Rouyn-Noranda - I honestly don't know much about the team, but they are doing well and I've been to Noranda for hockey tournaments and they LOVE that team, great times there.
Except for the woman with cornrows and a staring problem, and the mascot that was actively trying to pick a fight with me...

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10-18-2012, 07:55 PM
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Look no further than the Oshawa Generals. They're the junior team I follow the most. As for draft picks, they currently have:

RW Tyler Biggs (Maple Leafs, Rd. 1, 22nd overall, 2011)
C Scott Laughton (Flyers, Rd. 1, 20th overall, 2012)
C Boone Jenner (Blue Jackets, Rd. 2, 37th overall, 2011)
D Geoffrey Schemitsch (Lightning, Rd. 4, 96th overall, 2010)
G Daniel Altshuller (Hurricanes, Rd. 3, 69th overall, 2012)
LW Lucas Lessio (Coyotes, Rd. 2, 56th overall, 2011)

Along with highly touted 2014-eligible C Michael Dal Colle (7th overall in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection from the GTHL's Vaughan Kings).

Not only that, but they're 7-2-0-1 so far this season. There are no St. Louis prospects for you to watch, and it might be a bit disappointing for you to watch a Blue Jackets prospect destroy everyone on the scoreboard (Boone Jenner, 17p in 10gp), but they're a contender and also exciting to watch!

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10-19-2012, 09:07 AM
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Except for the woman with cornrows and a staring problem, and the mascot that was actively trying to pick a fight with me...
That wasn't a woman, that was Colby Rasmus.

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10-19-2012, 10:00 PM
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That wasn't a woman, that was Colby Rasmus.


I wonder if he'll be there again tomorrow night.

The people in Val-d'Or are so nice though. Save for the guy who tried to pick a fight with me tonight because I'm Anglo. Read some Irish history there bro...

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