Having just returned from watching the Buffalo Sabres at their morning skate in Grand Forks, ND, I decided to feature one of their plethora of prospects. T.J. Brennan, a defenseman from South Jersey, was taken 31st overall in last year’s NHL Entry Draft, is the latest high profile draft pick from the Garden State. Joining the likes of Bobby Ryan, James vanRiemsdyk and Bobby Sanguinetti, Brennan had originally intended to pursue collegiate lacrosse when he decided to switch gears and play hockey full time.
A late bloomer, Brennan was playing AA hockey until the 2005-2006 season, when he made the jump to the Philadelphia Junior Little Flyers. From there, he garnered a tryout with the St. John’s Fog Devils of the QMJHL and made the team, progressing rapidly once he hit the Q. In fact, he was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year with 41 points in 68 games.
Blessed with quick (see video here), skilled hands and a mean streak, Brennan also boasts a shot in the 97 mile per hour range. Acknowledging that he wants to improve his defensive game and become a shutdown defenseman, the 6’1 202 lb Brennan is widely thought to be a very coachable prospect. The Sabres project that he will need a couple more years at the junior level before he makes the jump to pro hockey, which is understandable as he has only been playing for eight years.
News You Can Use Late in the Day:
-A look at the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Top Prospects from Hockey’s Future.
-The Montreal Canadiens make some cuts. Among the notables are Yann Danis, Sergei Kostitsyn and Duncan Milroy. Note that Carey Price is still in the mix.
-TSN reports that Sidney Crosby left practice today with a sore groin. Likely from having Pierre McGuire attached to it at all times.
–Referees are excited about the new tools they will have to enforce the rules.
-Famous hockey artist Ken Danby passes away.
–Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in the CHL.
–John McKinnon of the Edmonton Journal feels hockey nicknames are too bland these days.
-The Ducks trim their roster. Included among the cuts is Jason King.
-Taking Note observes that Wild tough guy Derek Boogaard rebuffed his doctor’s advice to wear a visor.
-Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports that although Jimmy Howard had a good camp, he will be heading back to the minors.
-Tim Panaccio notes that Jim Dowd is in tough to make the cut at Flyers’ camp. Also note that Simon Gagne is finally ready to take the Captaincy in Philadelphia.
–On Frozen Blog highlights the complaints against the new Rbk uniforms.
-Fanhouse with notes on Patrick Kane’s take on his place in the Chicago sporting world and on Shawn Horcoff’s ice-time for the coming season.
-A transcript of the Alex Ovechkin press conference. Note that he denies the off-season altercation with Gennady Ushakov.
–Pierre Lebrun highlights teams to watch this season.
-In a departure from the new NHL uniforms, the Omaha Lancers of the USHL go old-school. Very sharp.
–Scott Burnside of ESPN discusses the Top Story Lines for the season, including expansion. He is not confident of Winnipeg’s chances.
-More uniform talk from Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press.
–John Pohl of the Leafs looks to make the most of his opportunity.
-5 Questions for the Manitoba Moose.
-Randy Sportak reports that Adam Pardy will likely start the season in the AHL.
-Blue Jackets owner John H. McConnell with a candid assessment of Doug McLean.
-Battle of California with a look at Lubomir Visnovsky and Mike Cammalleri.
-Add Stan Fischler’s name to the growing list of people betting on Vegas to join the NHL.
-Wes Goldstein has the Top 50 NHL Players. Discuss amongst yourselves.
–Scott Morrison would like to see and end to baseball style swings at the puck. I say keep them in, we need more goals.
-Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports that Brett Hull is pushing Mike Modano to score more.
–Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review answers readers’ questions.Note the quote from Jagr, saying that Pittsburgh made him feel like he was “dying alive”.
-Senators prospect Alex Nikulin with another blog entry. This stuff is priceless.
-Wild rookie Petr Kalus, acquired from Boston, may make the opening night roster.
-The Bruins look to exploit Phil Kessel’s versatility this year.
–The Score with training camp notes from around the league.
For Illegal Curve, I’m Kyle Kosior