News of the Colorado Avalanche - Links around the NHL - May 28th, 2013

Claus Andersen

NEWSFLASH: Nathan MacKinnon has replaced Seth Jones as the favorite to go #1. Funny. I thought people were totally and utterly convinced that there's no way Jones wouldn't be the right draft choice for the Avs and anyone who thought so was off their rocker...or at least totally wrong.

With the close of the junior hockey season this past weekend and in advance of the upcoming NHL Draft, ISS Hockey has named Nathan MacKinnon the #1 ranked prospect, supplanting Seth Jones who had held the position for much of the season. Rounding out the Top 5 are #2-Seth Jones, #3-Jonathan Drouin, #4-Valery Nichushkin, and #5-Sasha Barkov. The current ISS Top 30 can always be viewed at: ISShockey.com/iss-top-30

“Nathan MacKinnon moves back to ISS #1 after answering any questions we had about him with his dominating MVP Memorial Cup performance”, says ISS Director of Scouting Dennis MacInnis. “I have personally been watching MacKinnon since he was a pee-wee, and while his skills have become top 1% in the world, what has impressed me most has been his growing maturity – the bigger the moment, the more hungry he becomes.”

Will Daniel Alfredsson continue playing in the NHL?

Alfredsson says he won’t even begin contemplating whether he’ll play next season for at least a week as he recovers from an exhausting season that ended Friday with a playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I feel my game is good enough and I can keep up and I don’t feel like I don’t have it anymore," he told reporters Monday at the Senators’ season-ending media availability. "If I felt that it would make my decision pretty easy I think. I still feel I can play all situations and I enjoy playing all situations."

Is this Varly's year to prove himself?

Go back in time two years. The Avalanche had just drafted Gabriel Landeskog and impending free agency had many people believing that the Colorado Avalanche were going to lure, then Florida Panthers goalie, Tomas Vokoun to the Mile High City after Craig Anderson was shipped out of town.

Instead, the Avalanche made a pretty big trade to land, then Washington Capitals goalie, Semyon Varlamov for a first and second round draft pick. There has never been a dispute about Varlamov’s potential to become a stellar goalie, but whether or not he ever actually will live up to that potential is wide open for debate.

The NHL Combine has begun.

The Maple Leafs’ chief amateur scout and his chief lieutenants, such as Mike Palmateer and Garth Malarchuk, have gathered in an airport hotel for a week of poking and prodding NHL wannabes, 17- and 18-year-olds who hope to hear their names announced in June’s annual entry draft.

"This is when we get really busy, it seems, where things are really starting to heat up," said Morrison. "We’re going to see quite a few guys, 70 or 80. We interview a lot of players because we have that chance. It makes for long days. The opportunity to talk to all of these players just increases our database for the future."

Hockey Canada is taking body checking out of the Peewee level.

The announcement was made on the weekend that there will no longer be body checking at the Peewee level of minor hockey, which is essentially made up of 12-year-olds. The decision to change that came primarily from research done by the University of Calgary that is, frankly, troubling to read.

But here's what wasn't said on the weekend -- and needs to be said.

The majority of minor hockey players in this country -- almost 70% of those participating -- play house league and community hockey. Pretty much across the board, that is hockey that doesn't allow body checking. The rule change, which only affects one age group going forward, actually represents a tiny percentage of those playing.

But that, too, gets lost in the debate about when to introduce body checking.

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