First overall draft pick Taylor Hall not enough as Sharks rookies down Edmonton 4-3

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Friday, September 17, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


2010 Penticton Rookie Tournament Final Standings
2010 PENTICTON ROOKIE TOURNAMENT FINAL STANDINGS


First-overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft selection Taylor Hall, 2008 first round draft pick Jordan Eberle and 2009 first round draft pick Magnus Paajarvi(-Svensson) were not enough for the previously undefeated Edmonton Oilers prospects on Wednesday night. Despite a clear speed advantage 5-on-5, the physical play and blue collar work of the Sharks rookie team carried them to a 4-3 win in Penticton, British Columbia. Michael Sgarbossa scored a hat trick with a pair of powerplay goals in the first period and an unassisted tally in the second. Tommy Wingels also scored for the Sharks, and 18-year old tryout goaltender J.P. Anderson (2-0, 2.00GAA, .920SV%) earned his second win of the tournament with 20 saves on 23 shots.

This rookie game had a little more meaning between the Oilers and the Sharks after both signed co-affiliation agreements with the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder this August. The two organizations wanted to evaluate themselves against each other before working together to develop prospects. The Oilers will also be breaking in a new AHL affiliate in 2010-11, the Oklahoma City Barons.

The Sharks went with a more experienced lineup against Edmonton than the one they used two days earlier against Vancouver. Edmonton center Tyler Pitlick registered two big hits in an early shift in the first. He was answered by free agent signee Tommy Wingels, who laid out an opponent along the bench. Wingels was signed by the Sharks in June after helping Miami of Ohio reach back-to-back Frozen Four appearances, including a NCAA Championship Final in 2009.

After the Oilers starting pulling away in the shot and scoring chance category based on three consecutive Sharks penalties, Wingles made a critical play shorthanded. After an Edmonton faceoff win, Wingels broke up the back pass to the point to kill off more time on the clock. Following up on the play, he carried the puck behind the net and passed to Benn Ferriero. Ferriero was by taken down by defenseman Johan Motin, and Motin was called for holding at the side of the net. It was one of the plays that would cause a scout to circle your number in a game.

On a subsequent power play, Wingels curled around the left faceoff dot as Zach O’Brien provided a screen in front of Edmonton goaltender Bryan Pitton. From 30 feet out, Wingels beat Pitton blocker side for the first goal of the game. “I thought we controlled the play a lot. It was back and forth… guys are going to have a lot of opportunities,” Wingels said during an intermission interview. “(This tournament) gives you a good understanding of the pro game.” Wingels and free agent signee Cam MacIntyre, who missed the rookie tournament to rest a sore groin, are two of the prospects looking to make an impact at the main Sharks NHL training camp this weekend.

Less than a minute later Michael Sgarbossa scored the first of his three goals on the night. On the power play, Sgarbossa punched home a rebound in tight at 14:52. Sgarbossa was an agitating element against Vancouver on Monday, Wednesday he would be a fixture on the score sheet. The OHL center added a second power play goal from a similar range after a Benn Ferriero shot with 19 seconds left in the first. He completed the hat trick with a hestitation toe drag around defenseman Jeremie Blain and a snap shot blocker side in the second. A similar deke attempt around Vancouver’s Kevin Connauton Monday was unsuccessful.

#84 Taylor Hall was the focus of a lot of attention inside and outside of the rink, but he forced goaltender Bryan Pitton to kill off his first period holding minor with several clutch saves. Hall moved to center for the prospect tournament, centering the Big Three line of Eberle-Hall-Paajarvi. The Edmonton Oilers have struggled after a 2006 Stanley Cup Final appearance against the Carolina Hurricanes, finishing last or next to last in their division for 4 straight seasons. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi all have a legitimate chance to make the NHL roster in training camp, and regardless of their destination they give the Oilers some of the best young talent in the Western Conference. Hall told the Edmonton Sun that his first order of business if he has to move to center will be a better command of the faceoff circle.

Magnus Paajarvi kept the Oilers in the game in the first period. After scoring twice against the Canucks, he added his third goal of the tournament after a point shot by Jordan Eberle. Paajarvi corralled the rebound behind the net, and sent a quick pass to the front of the crease. The puck deflected off of defenseman Matt Irwin to beat J.P. Anderson. The first period was punctuated by a pair of fights. 6-foot-4, 235-pound Brandon Mashinter dropped the gloves after pushing and shoving around the Oilers goal escalated at his urging. Mashinter hammered 6-foot-4, 225 pound defenseman Alex Plante, hitting him several times as he fell to the ice. Plante would leave the game with an injury and not return.

The game featured several more fights. San Jose defenseman Samuel Finn drew a fighting major and an instigator penalty for dropping the gloves with Cameron Abney in the first. Brandon Mashinter also earned his second fight of the period with a tussle against Mike Thomas. In the second Cameron Brodie squared off against Drew Czerwonka. Tommy Wingels met a much larger Jordan Bendfeld in the third, and Freddie Hamilton faced off against Ryan Martindale. All told both teams registered a combined 17 minor penalties, 104 penalty minutes and 6 fighting majors each. The Sharks finished 3-5 on the power play Wednesday, 6-for-19 for the tournament. The Oilers finished a woeful 2-12 against San Jose, 5-for-26 for the tournament (19%).

Right wing James Livingston and Taylor Hall (PP) finished the scoring for Edmonton. In the second period Livingston beat Zach O’Brien in a battle for the puck, then snapped a quick shot up high as J.P. Anderson sealed off the near post. Taylor Hall scored his first goal of the tournament, bringing the Oilers to within one 50 seconds into the third period. A subsequent 5-on-3 Oilers power play was broken up by an excellent effort from Benn Ferriero. A diving poke check by #78 killed off the final seconds of the 2 man power play, and allowed Tony Lucia to get back onto the ice and into the play.

Taylor Hall tried to elevate his game in the final minutes. He was dominating down low. After being run over by defenseman Cameron Brodie in an #84 on #84 collision, he continued to control the action with body position and puck control like it was on a string. After Pitton was pulled for an extra attacker, Hall was back on the ice in the final seconds. Hall curled behind the net and fired a quick shot that was blocked by J.P. Anderson, but Edmonton could not get to the loose rebound. The Oilers suffered their first loss of the tournament, and may have lost first place overall with a loss to San Jose.

“I think it is good for the kids, they get to play against their own age group,” San Jose Sharks development coach Mike Ricci said in a second intermission interview. “Sometimes in bigger camps when they are playing against veterans and don’t feel comfortable going in and hitting them. Here they are able to do some of those things.” Ricci was also asked about the makeup of the prospect roster the Sharks brought to British Columbia. “We have probably got 6 or 7 (guys with AHL experience), which is a little more than other teams” Ricci said. “It just happened that way. Our prospects have been developing for a few years. A few years ago we had a bunch of young guys.”

The NHL Board of Govenors implemented a new tiebreak policy for the NHL on Tuesday. According to friend of the blog Mark Stepneski’s Dallas Stars site on ESPN, the new NHL tiebreak procedures will not include shootout victories for the first time since they were implemented in 2005. The tiebreak will now be determined by first place in division, points, regulation/OT wins (not shootouts), head-to-head points, and greater goal differential. That criteria would not strictly apply to the Penticton rookie tournament with the Canucks playing one more game than every other team, but used as a tie-breaker the Sharks (2-1) would edge the Oilers (2-1) based on their head-to-head meeting. It would be the Sharks first win in a multi-team rookie tournament in 5 attempts.

“We’d definitely consider doing it again… I think it works because you have fans in the rink so that these kids aren’t just playing in front of a lot of scouts and an empty building,” Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis told the Vancouver Sun. “I think it works because we put in rules about ages and different things so it doesn’t disintegrate into a fight-filled kind of atmosphere. I think it works because it gives young guys an opportunity to play against other young guys who are similarly situated for the most part and gives them an interim step before jumping head-first into main camp.”

[Update] Edmonton Oilers’ GM ‘very, very’ encouraged, Tambellini liked what he saw at prospect tournament – Edmonton Journal.

[Update2] San Jose Topped Edmonton 4-3, The Sharks Prospects Finished 2-1 In The Tournament – SJsharks.com.

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