The NAHL Showcase Tournament is going on in Blaine, Minnesota. You can follow the tournament on Pointstreak. In addition to the annual tournament featuring all of the NAHL teams, the NAHL is also hosting a Midget Showcase with some excellent Midget Minor and Midget Major teams participating. Needless to say, it's a lot of hockey.
I was there most of today, and will be there most of tomorrow. There's quite a bit to digest, so I won't have comments on individual players until sometime this weekend or early next week. In the meanwhile, here's a few general comments on some of the teams in the NAHL Showcase.
Fairbanks ended up knocking off the NTDP U18 team in an overtime shootout by a score of 3-2. I had to leave after the first period, but it looks like I missed two more periods of what I saw in the first. Fairbanks is one of the stronger franchises in the NAHL, and look like they have a pretty decent team this year, but the NTDP U18 team should have been able to beat them easily. There's too much talent on that roster not to. From what I saw, there was a lot of talented individual effort from the US players, but not a lot of team play. During their first period powerplay, I swear their ratio of shots to passes on the powerplay was about 5:1. It was a far contrast from last year's NTDP team, where that ratio was probably the opposite. Everyone on that team seemed willing to make the extra pass to set up a teammate for a nice one-timer.
Comparing this year's U18 team to past team's, I don't think that this year's rendition will have the success against college programs that some past teams have had.
In the NAHL Central Division, Fargo-Moorhead looks like they'll be the team to beat. They played pretty well today. Their rivalry with Southern Minnesota for division supremacy will probably continue this year. The Express played awful today, but I think they've got such a talented roster that they'll be right there at the end of the year.
In the North, Alpena looked good today, but apparently struggled on Thursday. St. Louis always seems to be strong. Mahoning Valley looks to have a good team again this year, but their bright orange jerseys could be considered a war crime.
Fairbanks looks to be the class of the South Division so far. Why Fairbanks is in the "South" Division is beyond me. Shouldn't the divisions be named West, Central and East?