October 7, 2010
Shugg's goal? Win third Mem Cup
By RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency
The site of the next Memorial Cup is a tempting place.
Mississauga's Hershey Centre, as you'd expect, is full of vending machines packed with assorted chocolate bars and sweets.
It's so easy for one of the Cup host Mississauga St. Michael's Majors to grab a quick Oh Henry! bar on the go. They're delicious but not exactly on a nutritional par with a post-practice protein shake.
"That's nothing," new Majors forward Justin Shugg said of the rink's sugary setup. "At my billets' place in Windsor, they had every chocolate bar you could imagine. Anything you wanted, they had it.
"That was tough."
Chocolate can be addicting. But so, too, Shugg knows well, is winning.
The 18-year-old was part of two straight Memorial Cup titles with the Spitfires. Now with the Majors, he's four wins away next May from making it three in a row. So did Shugg, a Niagara Falls native, chirp a little bit at a few of his NHL counterparts during off-season skates this summer? New York Rangers defenceman Dan Girardi, a Welland native, played five OHL seasons and has one Cup ring with the London Knights in 2005.
"I don't say too much about it because he just signed a new deal with the Rangers for ($13.3 millon over the next four years)," Shugg quipped, "and I'm still getting an allowance."
In fact, Shugg had just finished a workout with the wine region summer ice crew when he learned he was traded. Windsor had campaigned hard for the Cup that went Mississauga's way.
"(Buffalo Sabres forward) Matt Ellis played for Dave Cameron (when the Majors were in Toronto) so we were able to joke about the trade a little bit," Shugg said. "Dave brings a lot of intensity. We're in the Cup but there's still a long season to go. Everyone's coming after us. Dave told me he expects me to score for this team and I want to get 40 goals this year."
He had 39 with Windsor last year.
"I can think of two that got called back," Shugg said with a laugh.
There's another reason to impress Cameron. He's the Canadian world junior coach, too.
Shugg, selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the fourth round of the NHL draft this past June, will try to earn an invite to the 2011 tourney in Buffalo.
"When (former Spits boss) Bob Boughner was a Canadian assistant (before taking a job with Columbus), he came back to Windsor and told me (the attitude towards him) was Justin Shugg Who," Shugg said. "It was an eye-opener. I wasn't on the radar with Hockey Canada and I want to do what I can to change that. "
The Majors are also trying to change the perception of junior hockey in Leafs-dominated Toronto. There was an announced attendance of 4,148 for their opening win over Windsor. Shugg had a couple assists against his old club.
"All I know is you win and people will want to watch you play," Shugg said. "In Windsor, we had great support and when we started winning, it was unbelievable. I've been to two Cups and if Dave ever has a question about what it's like in a certain situation, I hope I can help him.
"No, (Cup) parades never get old."
They're still sweeter than chocolate.
AROUND THE OHL
The Michael Liambas incident last year sparked a debate on over-agers and the need for 20-year-olds in junior hockey. Along comes Sarnia F Tyler Peters, an overager in just his second OHL season, and right now, he's the league's early scoring leader ... Commissioner David Branch gassed the all-star game this year. Top prospects don't need any extra recognition, but it would've still been a perfect platform for guys such as Peters and Windsor's Zack MacQueen ... Kingston will have the tallest captain in the OHL. It's San Jose prospect Taylor Doherty, the 6-foot-8 Cambridge native ... The four teams that missed the playoffs last year are better. Sarnia and Owen Sound have exciting clubs and some star power. Oshawa is the only team that hasn't lost yet. Belleville is 1-3 but it has been close in every game ... Looking for a new penalty minute king after Philly Flyers prospect Zac Rinaldo graduated? Early money's on Windsor's Zack Kassian, the Buffalo Sabres top pick who, if he stays healthy and doesn't get a long suspension, could be good for 200 PIMs and 30 goals.