OHL this week: Rossi big plus on both ends

Marco Rossi is the leading scorer of the Canadian Hockey League – and his 74 points are not even his most impressive statistic.

The highlight of the Ottawa 67 is plus-98 in its first year and a half in the OHL. Although plus / min has been devalued as a measuring stick, it is a remarkable achievement for an attacker who has played only 85 regular season games on an NHL ice surface.

“Playing pro hockey (at the age of 15) in Switzerland really helped me a lot,” said 18-year-old Austrian, who will feel good in the top match in Hamilton on Thursday. “I learned how important it was to play in the defense zone. My role model was (formerly Red Wing) Pavel Datsyuk and as you can see, he was a really good defensive man.

“OK, that’s the game I want to play. The pride, it’s the same way of thinking in the D zone. You don’t go for 70 percent and you think about (offensive opportunities). If you play defensively, this will lead to to more O-zone time. “

Rossi, ranked No. 5 in the NHL’s Central Scouting interim list for North American skaters, also has a chip on his shoulder last spring.

As a rookie, he helped the 67s win their first 14 play-off games before losing directly to Guelph four times in the OHL final.

This season, Ottawa is again at the top of the rankings and recently picked up a 17-game winning streak.

“It was tough losing in the final,” he said. “I think we learned a lot about that. We have a number of important players back and I think we will have a very good year again. Last year I didn’t know what to expect. Second year I knew what was expected of me.

“I was prepared for it.”

Rossi did not play in the junior world, so this prospect game appears as a big game against his peers. When he returns to Ottawa next season, he will get his junior world photo in Edmonton / Red Deer, as Austria qualified for the top group by winning the second level this season. Rossi stayed with him in the OHL and those extra games brought him to the top of the scoring race.

“I have watched a few games and I am really excited to be in the group next year,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve had some really good players (lately from Austria) and it’s good that those guys come to Canada and play here.”

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BET TIME: One of the things that made the game with the best prospects unique was the annual $ 100 side bet between honorary residents Don Cherry and Bobby Orr. This game is also not part of the game, which in the wake of the division of Cherry has switched to a boring red and white format that marked the end of his Coach’s Corner run. But the two captains – Quinton Byfield and Alexis Lafreniere – can keep the spirit of that bet alive.

“We have to be pretty good friends (with Canada) with juniors in the world,” said Sudbury Wolves star Byfield. “Competing against him will be very special. We definitely have to risk a little bit of money. “

PERFECT COMEBACK: Cole Perfetti missed his first crack with the Canadian junior team. Now it is fuel for the striking Saginaw Spirit to play the game of the best prospects.

“It’s a shame to be cut into something,” said the 17-year-old. “Gaining the experience of being cut and tasting, it is something you no longer want to feel and it drives me for next year and the rest of this year that I should have been on the team. I’ve looked at it a bit. It’s hard to watch when you get cut. It’s not easy to sit around the TV and be a fan like you used to be. “

It wasn’t even easy to be a fan when he grew up and hired his family of Oshawa Generals players. One of his billet brothers, Cole Cassels, played an important role in the victory of the Gens Memorial Cup in 2015.

“I never touched the cup,” Perfetti said with a grin. “Even then (at the age of 12) it is bad karma. Even when they brought it home, I didn’t want to fool myself.”

After the landing of Ryan Suzuki from Barrie, The Spirit is again the front runner in the Western Conference. Perfetti has a chance to become the first top 10 of the franchise.

“They have built a great program and it is finally bearing fruit. We are getting great players who want to come to Saginaw and it will be a top program and a destination. As one of the first in the fight (for a top 10), it is an honour. “

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BIG THREE

Dog days: Last season, the go-for-it IceDogs exchanged for two of the best veterans of Oshawa. Then the generals beat Niagara out of the playoffs. Whoops. Forced to rebuild this year, the dogs sold their best players and one of their biggest deals was with the Gennies, who acquired Predator’s first round Philip Tomasino for nine draw attempts and the rights to a defender.

Selling time: The trade in Tomasino was strange, since he can return next year and will probably make it to the Canadian junior team. The same applies to the relocation of Barrie Center Ryan Suzuki to Saginaw. He is also eligible to return next season and may be worth even more on the 2021 deadline than he was this time.

Increase number: The Knights put Patrick Kane’s number 88 in the rafters of Budweiser Gardens on Friday. Barrie will give the same nod to Bryan Little’s No. 18 on January 25. Little, who plays for Winnipeg, is the Colts first ever catcher and was captain of 2005-07.

RISING

Windsor: The Spitfires had a quiet trading deadline, then went to Kitchener on Sunday and defeated the rising Rangers in the extension. They are in the first place in the Western Conference and have games about Kitchener, Saginaw and London. Trevor Letowski has placed himself in the coach of the annual interview for his work with a team that should not have competed until next season.

FALL

Guelph: Since defeating Peterborough on January 3, the Storm lost to Owen Sound and Kitchener and then hit an eastern swing to Ottawa and Kingston. Is this the end of the line for Guelph, who had a great and unexpected first half? This weekend should set their course with a 3-in-3, against the attack and then back-to-back against the Rangers.

NUMBERS GAME

35: That is the number of players moved in the week before the 2020 deadline. There were also 20 picks in the second round, the highest with which the OHL can be exchanged, in those 24 exchanges. The IceDogs spent a lot of capital last year. They refilled their drawbox in a few movements.