MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Happy Sunday. Greetings from what is not a Toronto suburb, according to the people who live here and were so kind to repeatedly tell me such after a story I wrote about native son Brad Boyes. We're in the pretty sweet Hershey Centre, host building for the Memorial Cup.
Brayden McNabb, the recently signed Sabres prospect, is scheduled to play tonight for Kootenay against host Mississauga St. Michael's and fellow Buffalo draft pick Gregg Sutch. McNabb, however, may not be in uniform as we kick off your look around hockey:
*They were billed as the hottest junior team in Canada, the surprising little engine that could that swept through Western Canada in the post-season stunning one favorite after another. Well, the Kootenay Ice may have been all that, according to Damien Cox of the Toronto Star, but they landed in upper Canada with a thud Saturday night.
For Kootenay, a 5-0 loss to Owen Sound was a disastrous start to the Memorial Cup, and making it worse was an elbowing major assessed to captain Brayden McNabb with 5:35 left in the third on a play that left Owen Sound centre Joey Hishon lying on the ice dripping blood from his face.
McNabb could be suspended for tonight’s collision with St. Mike’s, a big game early in the competition with both clubs looking to avoid falling to 0-2.
Kootenay coach Kris Knoblauch doesn't believe the 6-foot-4, 218-pound McNabb deserves to be suspended for his hit on the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Hishon. Knoblauch said Hishon lowered himself on the play, which made it difficult for the bigger McNabb to make the necessary adjustment.
"It was a very difficult situation, you have a player who is 6-foot-4 stepping up to make a hit on a player who is 5-foot-10," Knoblauch said. "Joey Hishon is an excellent hockey player and got his head up at the last minute and was trying to dodge that play so he lowers himself trying to get out of the way.
"So now you have a 5-foot-10 player who is a little bit smaller than that and it was pretty tough for Brayden McNabb to get out of the way and finish that check."
Reeds was critical of the hit but wouldn't say whether McNabb should be suspended.
"Yes he is obviously 6-foot-4 and Joey Hishon is 5-foot-10 but again still his elbow came out and made contact with his head and in the Ontario Hockey League that's a head shot," Reeds said. "I understand we're playing CHL rules and again he is a big part of Kootenay.
"I'm not part of the process that dictates these things, I'll leave that up the people that do that."
*Mike Smith has joined Simon Gagne in hurting the Boston Bruins during the postseason.
Smith was perfect in relief of goalie Dwayne Roloson, and Gagne snapped a tie in the third period for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who erased an early three-goal deficit and evened the Eastern Conference finals with a 5-3 win in Game Four over the Bruins on Saturday.
Roloson was pulled in the first period after he allowed three goals on nine shots. Smith came on and made 21 saves as the Lightning avoided dropping into a big hole against the surging Bruins. Boston will host Game Five on Monday.
*About 200 Atlanta Thrashers fans gathered on Saturday to tailgate outside Philips Arena for perhaps the final time. With the Thrashers reportedly close to being sold and moving to Winnipeg, fans blamed the team's ownership group, the Atlanta Spirit, for the club's seemingly imminent departure next week.
*San Jose hosts Vancouver tonight in Game Four of the Western Conference finals, and the Canucks can still grab a stranglehold on this series despite dropping Game Three. Vancouver has a 2-1 lead in the series.