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OHL Trade Deadline In Review...

Jan. 10 - Deadline Day:

*Michael Whaley from Windsor to Plymouth for 13th in 2012.
At least Windsor gets one pick for their future. 

*Belleville sends Kyle DeCoste to London for a 7th round pick in 2012.

*Brandon Archibald to Saginaw from SOO for Michael Kantor, 4th in 2012, 6th in 2013, 2nd in 2014
A bit surprised that SSM got less for Archibald then they did Carrick, but clearly they just want picks to rebuild their now weak team. 

*Jake Carrick from Sault Ste Marie to Windsor for Brent Sullivan 4th in 2012, 3rd in 2013, 10th in 2014, 2nd in 2015.
Windsor continuing to surprise and build another Mem Cup team, while SSM gets a handful of much-needed picks. 

*Chris DeSousa from London to Mississauga for 2nd and 4th in 2013.
After requesting a trade from Niagara, landing him in London last year in efforts to go deep in the playoffs and get some scouting attention, DeSousa has had one of his worst OHL seasons this year. Maybe he can turn things around in Mississauga with a potential Memorial Cup team. London stocks up to rebuild, decent trade. 

*Jeremy Gottzmann from Erie to Peterborough for 5th in 2011.
Good move for Erie to grab a pick. 

*Corey Czarnik from Barrie to Plymouth for 12th in 2011.
Again, Barrie stocking up on draft picks. 

*Victor Terreri from London to Niagara for 5th in 2011 (BRM), 8th in 2012
Just what Niagara needed - a legitimate heavy-weight enforcer. Although they have plenty of guys who will mix things up, they did lack a guy to protect the smaller stars from the big guns. Good trade for both as London is clearly rebuilding after going through there worst year in many. 

*Plymouth trades defenseman Jay Gilbert ('91) to Owen Sound for defenseman Curtis Crombeen ('93), SAG 2nd round pick in 2012, OS 3rd round pick in 2013.
Gilbert has never been a top four defender, but plays a role as a shutdown third pairing d-man. He went from the IceDogs to Plymouth, now to Owen Sound, nothing to special regarding him, Plymouth is the winner out of this deal. 

*London sends Tyler Brown to Kingston for an 8th round pick in 2011 and 4th in 2012.
Not a blockbuster trade by any means, but one that gives London some picks and gives Kingston and average player that will be an OA next season. 

*Sault St. Marie sends offensive powerhouse and Soo native Brett Thompson ('91) and 2nd round import pick to Erie for David Broll ('93), 1st round import, 3rd round pick in 2013, and 4th in 2014.
After a 42 goal season last year, Brett Thompson is having an okay season this year but may not reach 40 with 25 goals and 21 assists in 40 games. However, Thompson is a pure goal scorer that will compliment Greg McKegg and take some weight off his shoulders, while Broll is a promising young forward, and the picks will help SSM rebuild in years to come. 

*London Knights trade overage defenceman Michael D'Orazio ('90) to Mississauga for three 2nd round picks.
Mississauga receives a solid OA defenseman who is well-liked by many coaches and teammates, should be a great fit and addition to an already powerful team. London looking shaky this season, they're in need of some picks.  

Jan. 9: 

*Windsor sends promising youngsters Eric Locke ('93) and Josh Malecki ('93) to Barrie for high-scoring forward Taylor Carnevale ('91). 
A lot of people in Windsor are puzzled at this one. The first rumours circulating around the Spitfires were the two World Junior stars Ryan Ellis and Zack Kassian being on the trading block, but instead it seems like Windsor opted to keep the pair and go for another big name in Taylor Carnevale... Going for the three-peat???  Risky trade for Windsor, great trade for Barrie though, Locke seems very promising and two '93's will help rebuild the team. 

*Barrie sends over-ager Dalton Prout ('90) to Saginaw for sophomore defenseman Alex Lepkowski ('93), veteran blue-liner Matt Ashman ('90), Kitchener's 3rd round pick in 2013, and a 3rd round pick in 2014. 
Prout is a proven leader that will add experience to Saginaw - a team that wants to go for the title in the Western Conference this year, while Barrie receives some much-needed picks and a young defenseman that adds a whole lot of size (6.03, 216 Lbs.) Good trade for both teams.  

*Barrie sends defenseman Stephen Gaskin to Guelph for their own 2nd round pick in 2012, and a 4th round pick in 2012. 
Barrie is cleaning house and making some room for all of the draft picks they have acquired along with the many '93-born players in efforts to rebuild the struggling last place team. Good trade for Barrie to get the picks, Guelph gains an exceptional defenseman. 

No Room In The League For Guys Like Conor Stokes...

With guys like this in the league, there's no wonder why fighting is gaining a bad reputation throughout the hockey world. 

It began with banning the removal of the helmet prior to the fight because of one death in over 100 years of hockey. Now it's gone even further with the CHL's new rule regarding pre-staged fights, suspending players who drop the gloves off the opening face-off of a period. 

And with guys like Conor Stokes pulling moves like these game after game, it proves that one or two guys can ruin it for everyone - and it shows the lack of honour and mutual respect that enforcers are expected to have. 

This first video shows Stokes throwing a late, dirty punch that earned him a misconduct and a suspension, and below is a clip of his most recent fight against the Niagara IceDogs' Johnson Andrews, where Stokes proceeded to throw haymakers when the players both tumbled to the ice. 

The punches landed and bashed the IceDogs player's head off the ice causing severe bleeding, and Stokes was awarded a mere five minute fighting major. It is known among enforcers as an unwritten rule that once the fight reaches the ice, it's over. 

These types of actions are what cause people to doubt the necessity of fighting in hockey - and trust me, without the fight in the game of hockey, it is not hockey. It's already sad to see fighting majors decline due to the no buckets off rule; now players fear breaking their hands on the shield or helmet. For the amount of deaths or injuries caused by fighting with no helmet, there has to be plenty more beat up/broken hands by leaving them on. 

Back to the point, the gutlessness shown by Stokes should strike the league as a foreshadow of what this kid is capable of - no one I know personally in the sport would carry out actions like this, and if the kid is merely tapped on the wrist for these actions, I don't want to think about what he is capable of in the future. 

This is not how the game of hockey is meant to be played; grit and physicality is great, but dishonour and disrespect cannot be tolerated. 

If Michael Liambis was expelled from the league for his hit from behind as a repeat offender, I think Stokes' time should be soon. The fact he even wears an "A" on the Frontenacs shows that his behavior is obviously encouraged or supported by the team and coaching staff, which is totally shocking. 

If a player who continually throws cheap shots while fighting and carrying out his role is a leader on your team, something is going wrong.

So instead of making senseless rules that effect the enforcer that wants to do things right - we should re-evaluate what gives fighting in hockey controversy, and that's classless players like this...

View the videos and judge for yourself. 

The Magnificent Seven - Canada's OHLers Contribute at World Juniors


And then there were seven... Out of the many OHL players named to the Canada World Junior Selection Camp, seven would make it through the final cuts.

Canada captain Ryan Ellis was just about the only sure-shot, while Zack Kassian, Marcus Folingo, Casey Cizikas, Erik Gudbranson, Calvin de Haan, and Mark Visentin also made the team and have all done their part to bring Canada past the U.S. and into the gold medal game against Russia.

Ellis has been his usual self - contributing well offensively and jumping up into the rush, while also playing a key leadership role and remaining sound defensively. As it is Ellis' third trip back to the World Juniors, there could be no better-suited captain. While Ellis has done his part, it should not take away from the rest of the OHLers that have played some outstanding hockey for Canada for what really is a hard-working blue-collar team.

Let's break it down:

Zack Kassian - Although Kassian served a two game suspension after what the IIHF deemed as a suspendable headshot, his importance to the teams grit, power play and secondary scoring should not be overlooked. The Buffalo Sabres draft pick fit in well with his fellow line-mates, and as a teammate of U.S. goalie Jack Campbell, he knew enough about his Windsor Spitfires tender to beat him on a breakaway in the semi-final. There's no doubt that when Kassian is playing, Canada is complete.

Marcus Folingo - He and Kassian are the teams bash brothers. While Kassian slowed down his physical game a bit after his suspension, Folingo never let up as he was by far one of the tournaments most effective physical threats. His big body also helped out while parked in front of the opposing net, and I believe Folingo is this year's version of Stefan Della Rovere. Sabres fans should be very excited about this player, as he will add the grit and toughness that I think the Sabres lack.

Casey Cizikas - At first I was a bit skeptical about Cizikas because of his connection with his OHL coach and Team Canada head coach Dave Cameron, but within the first couple games my worries were laid to rest and full credit can be awarded to Cameron for this pick. Game after game, Cizikas was one of Canada's hardest working forwards. He created many great chances shift after shift, and went above and beyond his penalty killer/ checking line expectations, which Cameron acknowledged by often making Cizikas' line the first line on the ice for Canada. Very impressed by this kids play.

Erik Gudbranson - I was surprised when this kid didn't stay up with the Florida Panthers, but the experience at the World Juniors will definitely make him NHL-ready for next season. Gudbranson played well this tournament, being a stand-up defenseman who can still contribute from the point as we saw with his 3 goals over the course of the tourny - a number that matches his goal-scoring total for the entire first half of the OHL season with Kingston.

Calvin de Haan - Although I previously mentioned that Ellis was the only sure-shot, this guy was just as much of a sure thing. His experience defensively, his size, strength, and ability to shoot the puck are just a few qualities that make de Haan a valuable defender not only for Canada but for the Oshawa Generals.  De Haan went through a bit of a scare with a minor injury in the Canada vs. Czech game, but you can be sure that he will see lots of ice time both while even strength and on the penalty kill in the gold medal game.

Mark Visentin and defenseman Calvin de Haan
Mark Visentin - Last but certainly not least come the great success story of Niagara IceDogs goaltender Mark Visentin. He went into camp not knowing what to expect. Then, when coach Cameron chose Visentin over his own Mississauga Majors goalie JP Anderson, you knew this kid was something special. Although he initially was deemed the back-up goalie to Olivier Roy, he quickly took the starting position over. After a poor game from Roy in Canada's loss to Sweden, Visentin got the nod in their next game against the Swiss. He started off shaky, letting in a fluky goal from behind the net just minutes into the first period of the game, but after the goal, it was lights out. Visentin played a solid game in net vs. the U.S. earning him the player of the game for Canada and the starting spot in the gold medal game.

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