By Victor Fernandes Erie Times-News staff blogger
Staff writer Victor Fernandes has ice in his veins. Hockey – he plays it, coaches it and provides the region's best coverage of it.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1716
Posted: May 1st, 2014

First-round record: 3-1 

No. 3C Chicago Blackhawks vs. WC1 Minnesota Wild
Season records: Chicago 46-21-15, Minnesota 43-27-12
Season series: Chicago won 3-2
Playoff recap: Chicago - def. No. 2C St. Louis 4-2 in quarterfinals; Minnesota - def. No. 1C Colorado 4-3
Players to watch
Chicago – C Jonathan Toews (3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points), D Duncan Keith (2-5-7, plus-5 rating), RW Patrick Kane (3-3-6), G Corey Crawford (4-2 record, 1.98 goals-against average, .935 save percentage, 1 shutout), D Brent Seabrook (2-4-6, +4), C Andrew Shaw (2-2-4), 
Minnesota - LW Zach Parise (3-7-10), C Mikko Koivu (1-5-6), RW Jason Pominville (1-4-5), C Mikael Granlund (2-3-5), C Charlie Coyle (3-2-5), D Ryan Suter (1-3-4, -1)
Outlook: Who will play in net for the Wild? Darcy Kuemper? Ilya Bryzgalov? Someone else? The answer will make or break the Wild’s chances for a second straight playoff upset?
Prediction: Blackhawks in 6 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Friday at Chicago, 9:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday at Chicago, 3 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at Minnesota, 9 p.m.
Game 4 – May 9 at Minnesota, TBD
Game 5 – May 11 at Chicago, TBD*
Game 6 – May 13 at Minnesota, TBD*
Game 7 – May 15 at Chicago, TBD*
* If necessary

No. 1P Anaheim Ducks vs. No. 3P Los Angeles Kings
Season records: Anaheim 54-20-8, Los Angeles 46-28-8
Season series: Anaheim won 4-1
Playoff recap: Anaheim - def. WC2 Dallas 4-2 in quarterfinals, Los Angeles - def. No. 2P San Jose 4-3 in quarterfinals
Players to watch
Anaheim - C Ryan Getzlaf (3-4-7), RW Corey Perry (2-5-7), C Nick Bonino (3-1-4), C Mathieu Perrault (2-2-4), C Andrew Cogliano (1-3-4), G Frederik Andersen (3-2, 3.40, .892)
Los Angeles - C Anze Kopitar (4-6-10), G Jonathan Quick (4-3, 3.10, .914, 1 SHO), D Drew Doughty (1-6-7, +2), RW Justin Williams (4-2-6), C Jeff Carter (2-4-6), RW Marian Gaborik (3-2-5)
Outlook: The Ducks are the better team on paper. But the Kings have a ton of playoff experience and momentum from erasing a 3-0 series deficit in a first-round win over San Jose.
Prediction: Kings in 7 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Saturday at Anaheim, 8 p.m.
Game 2 – Monday at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
Game 3 – Thursday at Los Angeles, 10 p.m.
Game 4 – May 10 at Los Angeles, TBD
Game 5 – May 12 at Anaheim, TBD*
Game 6 – May 14 at Los Angeles, TBD*
Game 7 – May 16 at Los Angeles, TBD*
* If necessary  

- Victor Fernandes


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 1st, 2014

Victor’s first-round record: 4-0 

No. 1M Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 2M N.Y. Rangers
Season records: Pittsburgh 51-24-7, 45-31-6
Season series: Tied 2-2
Playoff recap: Pittsburgh - def. WC1 Columbus 4-2 in quarterfinals; New York - def. No. 3M Philadelphia 4-3
Players to watch
Pittsburgh – C Evgeni Malkin (3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, C Sidney Crosby (0-6-6), D Matt Niskanen (2-6-8, plus-1), D Paul Martin (0-8-8, +7), LW Chris Kunitz (2-3-5), G Marc-Andre Fleury (4-2-0, 2.81, .908)
New York - G Henrik Lundqvist (4-3-0, 2.11, .919), RW Martin St. Louis (2-4-6), C Brad Richards (2-4-6), C Derek Stepan (2-2-4), LW Mats Zuccarello (2-2-4), LW Rick Nash (0-4-4)
Outlook: Crosby and Nash, two of the key frontline players in this series, haven’t scored a goal in the playoffs. Whoever finds his rhythm offensively could spark his team closer to the conference finals.
Prediction: Penguins in 6 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Friday at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at New York, 7:30 p.m.
Game 4 – Wednesday at New York, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5 – May 9 at Pittsburgh, TBD*
Game 6 – May 11 at New York, TBD*
Game 7 – May 13 at Pittsburgh, TBD*
* If necessary

No. 1A Boston Bruins vs. No. 3A Montreal Canadiens
Season records: Boston 54-19-9, Montreal 46-28-8
Season series: Montreal won 3-1
Playoff recap: Boston - def. WC 2 Detroit 4-1 in quarterfinals; New York - def. No. 2A Tampa Bay 4-0 
Players to watch
Boston – G Tuukka Rask (4-1-0, 1.16, .961, 1 SHO), C Patrice Bergeron (1-4-5), D Torey Krug (1-4-5, +2), LW Milan Lucic (3-1-4), RW Jarome Iginla (2-2-4), D Dougie Hamilton (1-3-4, 0 rating) 
Montreal - G Carey Price (4-0-0, 2.33, .904), RW Brendan Gallagher (3-2-5), C Lars Eller (2-3-5), D P.K. Subban (0-5-5, +2), RW Rene Bourque (3-0-3), LW Thomas Vanek (1-2-3)
Outlook: Crosby and Nash, two of the key frontline players in this series, haven’t scored a goal in the playoffs. Whoever finds his rhythm offensively could spark his team closer to the conference finals.
Prediction: Bruins in 5 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Today at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Saturday at Boston, 12:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at Montreal, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Thursday at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5 – May 10 at Boston, TBD*
Game 6 – May 12 at Montreal, TBD*
Game 7 – May 14 at Boston, TBD* 
* If necessary

- Victor Fernandes 


Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 30th, 2014

OHL playoffs at a glance
League finals (best-of-7 series)
No. 1W Guelph vs. No. 2E North Bay
Season series: Guelph won 2-0
Playoff recap: Guelph - def. No. 8 Plymouth 4-1 in Western Conference quarterfinals, def. No. 4 London 4-1 in semifinals, def. No. 3 Erie 4-1 in finals; North Bay - def. No. 7 Niagara 4-3 in Eastern Conference semifinals, def. No. 4 Barrie 4-2 in semifinals, def. No. 1 Oshawa 4-0 in finals
Players to watch
Guelph – RW Zack Mitchell (10 goals, 13 assists, 23 points), LW Kerby Rychel (8-15-23), RW Scott Kosmachuk (9-11-20), LW Jason Dickinson (5-14-19), G Justin Nichols (12-3-0 record, 2.65 goals-against average, .921 save percentage, 2 shutouts), C Robby Fabbri (9-9-18), LW Tyler Bertuzzi (8-6-14), D Matt Finn (3-7-10, plus-10 rating)
North Bay - RW Barclay Goodrow (11-10-21), G Jake Smith (12-5-0, 2.01, .919, 3 SHO), D Brenden Miller (3-12-15, +11), C Nick Paul (9-5-14), LW Ben Thomson (4-7-11), RW Alex Henriksson (7-3-10)
Fast facts: Guelph looks for its first league championship since the 2003-04 season and third in franchise history. … The Battalion have reached the finals in their first season since moving to North Bay from Brampton, Ontario. … The Battalion have never hoisted the J. Ross Robertson Cup as league champion. But North Bay has won a title, in 1993-94 with the Centennials. The city had been without an OHL franchise since the Centennials moved to Saginaw, Mich., and became the Spirit in 2002. …Mitchell and Rychel lead the league in playoff scoring, with Goodrow two points behind them. … The Battalion rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat Niagara in the opening round.
Outlook: The Battalion have been the feel-good story of the postseason. But that story won’t enjoy a happy ending.
Prediction: Storm in 6 games 

- Victor Fernandes

Series schedule
Game 1 – Today at Guelph, 7 p.m.
Game 2 – Friday at Guelph, 7 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Wednesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – May 9 at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
Game 6 – May 11 at North Bay, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – May 12 at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary

Posted: April 28th, 2014

Alex DeBrincat (Contributed/

The Erie Otters don’t often attract players like 16-year-old forward Alex DeBrincat – free agents that haven’t been picked in the OHL Priority Selection and appear headed the NCAA route. But 52 wins and a berth in the conference finals has changed that.
DeBrincat, who plays with Lake Forest (IL) Academy, reportedly committed – at least verbally – to Division I UMass-Amherst – last August. He also was the Waterloo Blackhawks’ second-round pick (No. 27 overall) in the 2013 USHL Futures Draft. But now he’s headed to the Otters. He may not be big (5-7, 160), but he can score. Check out his stats here

Posted: April 25th, 2014

Overagers Spencer Abraham, Michael Curtis and Dane Fox played their final OHL games tonight. But the Otters could lose X players of this team.
Here’s the list…

D Spencer Abraham (overager)
RW Connor Brown (Toronto – signed)
LW Andre Burakovsky (Washington – signed)
LW Michael Curtis (overager)
G Oscar Dansk (Columbus – unsigned)
D Troy Donnay (N.Y. Rangers – signed)
LW Dane Fox (Vancouver – signed & overager)
C Brendan Gaunce (Vancouver – signed)
D Kurtis MacDermid – (Los Angeles – signed)
D Adam Pelech (N.Y. Islanders – signed)

Brown, Burakovsky, Kurtis MacDermid, Troy Donnay, Brendan Gaunce and Adam Pelech may have played their final games in Erie, since all have signed NHL contracts. Oscar Dansk remains unsigned with Columbus. …

Posted: April 25th, 2014

Game 1, Thurs., May 1 North Bay at Guelph, 7:00
Game 2, Fri., May 2 North Bay at Guelph, 7:00
Game 3, Tues., May 6 Guelph at North Bay, 7:00
Game 4, Wed., May 7 Guelph at North Bay, 7:00
Game 5, Fri., May 9 North Bay at Guelph, 7:00*
Game 6, Sun., May 11 Guelph at North Bay, 2:00*
Game 7, Mon., May 12 North Bay at Guelph, 7:00*

*if necessary

Posted: April 25th, 2014

GUELPH, Ontario – There isn’t much to say about the Erie Otters’ season-ending 5-0 loss to Guelph in Game 5 of the OHL’s Western Conference finals.
It was all Storm from start to finish of a dominant performance, starting with 3 special-teams goals in the first period and ending with Justin Nichols’ 40-save effort.
The Otters had their moments – in this game and in this series. But aside from their Game 4 win on home ice, the Otters failed to capitalize on their chances in this series.
“Ultimately, they were the better team in these games,” Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch said.

Check out the post-game news conference with Knoblauch and captain Connor Brown here

Posted: April 25th, 2014

(starters in bold italics – starting lines/D pairings still to come)




Scratches: Felker, Raddysh, Maksimovich, Betz




Scratches: Craievich, Stevens, McFadden

Posted: April 24th, 2014

Check out the Game 5 edition of Knoblauch Korner here

D Spencer Abraham shares his thoughts on facing the Storm in another elimination game…

OHL playoffs at a glance
Western Conference finals, Game 5
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 1 Guelph Storm
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Sleeman Centre – Guelph, Ontario
On the air: WJET-AM/1400, (live stream)
Series update: Guelph leads 3-1
Players to watch

Andre Burakovsky

Erie – G Devin Williams (9-2-1 record, 2.50 goals-against average, .914 save percentage, 2 shutouts), LW Dane Fox (8 goals, 11 assists, 19 points), C Connor McDavid (4-15-19), RW Connor Brown (8-10-18), C Brendan Gaunce (6-10-16), LW Andre Burakovsky (10-3-13), D Adam Pelech (2-3-5, plus-6 rating), C Dylan Strome (3-6-9); Guelph – RW Zack Mitchell (8-13-21), LW Kerby Rychel (7-14-21), RW Scott Kosmachuk (9-11-20), LW Jason Dickinson (5-13-18), G Justin Nichols (11-3-0, 2.86, .914, 1 SHO), C Robby Fabbri (9-8-17), LW Tyler Bertuzzi (8-6-14), D Matt Finn(2-7-9, +9)
Fast facts: The start time was moved up from 7:30 p.m. to accomodate Sportsnet’s television broadcast in Canada. … Otters face a second straight elimination game after winning 5-2 in Game 4 at home Tuesday. … They are 0-5 in Guelph this season, including 5-4 and 7-2 losses in Games 1 and 2 last week. … The Otters are looking to become the fifth team in league history to win a series after falling behind 3-0 in games. They are 0-5 all-time when trailing 3-0. Two of those series ended in four games, while two others ended in five games. The 1998 club pushed a first-round series with London to Game 7 before being eliminated. … Williams will start a second straight game and the fourth time oerall in this series. He stopped 26-of-28 shots in Game. … Erie’s No. 1 line of Brown, Fox and McDavid combined for three goals and seven points in Game 4 after being held to a combined one goal and four points in the series. … The Storm closed out Plymouth and London in the opening two rounds with Game 5 wins at home. … Nichols allowed three goals on 11 shots before being pulled in the first period Tuesday after stopping 80-of-87 shots in the first three games.
Outlook: The Otters overcame a big challenge in winning Game 4. Now they face a larger challenge – winning in Guelph for the first time all season.

– Victor Fernandes

Series schedule
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 1 Guelph
Storm lead series 2-0
Game 1 – Guelph 5, Erie 4
Game 2 – Guelph 7, Erie 2
Game 3 – Guelph 7, Erie 1
Game 4 – Erie 5, Guelph 2
Game 5 – Today at Guelph, 7 p.m.
Game 6 – Saturday at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – Monday at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary

Posted: April 24th, 2014

The OHL will announce the winner of the Max Kaminsky Trophy as Defenseman of the Year today at 3 p.m. Erie Otters D Adam Pelech is one of 6 finalists. Here is that list:

Trevor Carrick (Sudbury Wolves)
Aaron Ekblad (Barrie Colts)
Slater Koekkoek (Windsor Spitfires)
Roland McKeown (Kingston Frontenacs)
Adam Pelech (Erie Otters)
Nikita Zadorov (London Knights)

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