So here we are, about 26 hours prior to the start of the 2009 NHL Prospects Tournament, something I suppose qualifies as the unofficial start of the hockey season for me personally (this, despite working a Traverse City North Stars preseason game two nights ago - against the Alpena IceDiggers - , which truly was a warm-up for all parties involved, on-ice and off-ice).
The only real revelation I have to offer since my last offering about the Prospects Tourney is that the NHL Network will indeed NOT be returning to reprise their (tape-delayed) coverage. Tourney director Pete Correia informed me Thursday night that the NHL Network would not be able to get their television crew to Northern Michigan to call the games. Safe to say that'll be a bit of a disappointment for everyone not living near T.C. or traveling to Northern Michigan over the Labor Day weekend.
NHL.com will be providing updates, coverage and blogs from Centre I.C.E., so hopefully I'll be able to pose the question to Brad Holland, Mike Morreale, or Dan Rosen (all three of whom I was able to chat with at last year's tourney) regarding the NHL Network's absence. Either way, it looks to be an excellent tourney will be on deck, with some top notch talent taking the ice tomorrow (which I had previosuly outlined last week). Outside of NHL.com, it'll be difficult to find coverage of this tournament (but I know somewhere that'll provide coverage - HINT, HINT, WINK, WINK....).
One final strange observation I noticed with the eight rosters was that Columbus' and Minnesota's lineups were mostly comprised of free agent tryouts. Perhaps in the case of the Blue Jackets, it illustrates the dearth of yougn talent already on their main roster (Filatov, Brassard, Mason, Voracek, et al). Meanwhile, it shows how Minnesota seems to be drawing more from the U.S. junior/NCAA ranks, as prospects choosing this route for development are ineligible for this tournament, thanks to NCAA eligibility rules. It'll be interesting to see how this affects both teams' chances at wrestling the crown away from Dallas, last year's champs.