The show stoppers

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

ZACH BOGOSIAN
Success won't change Zach Bogosian.

Expected to be selected second or third in the NHL draft at Scotiabank Place tonight, it'll be work as usual for the extraordinary young player this summer.

Bogosian will still work for his father Ike's carpet and dry cleaning business in Massena, N.Y., a small town located just across the Canada-U.S. border, near Cornwall, Ont.

"I work there whenever I can," said Bogosian, a stellar defenceman with the Peterborough Petes. "(My dad) did a lot for me to help me advance my hockey career, by making sacrifices and driving me places, the least I can do is give something back."

In fact, Ike was a co-captain with the Syracuse University football team.

Determined to get noticed by NHL scouts, Bogosian hooked up with personal trainer Lorne Goldenberg at the Athletic Conditioning Centre in Ottawa.

While most kids are still sleeping -- and some just going to bed -- Bogosian is up at the crack of dawn every day to make the 90-minute drive to Ottawa for an intense workout and then heads back to Massena around lunch time to put in some time at his father's business.

"There are not a lot of places like (the Athletic Conditioning Centre) around Massena, so I figured if I pay the price now, it's going to pay off in the long run," said Bogosian. "I get up at 6:30 a.m. and I'm usually out the door by 6:45 a.m. and in the gym by 8:30 a.m. It's a long drive, but I feel like it's worth it. For the summer, it's good for me and it's part of the commitment that I wanted to make to show that I can get to the next level. The schedule pretty much makes you behave all summer. It keeps me out of trouble. There's no going out at night. It keeps me focused on my goal. I know what I want."

The hard work has paid off for Bogosian. He has made a meteoric rise to the upper echelon of Central Scouting Bureau's annual rankings for prospects. He was barely on the radar screen going into last season, but his franchise-leading 11 goals and 50 assists got him noticed.

Bogosian has been compared to Los Angeles Kings blueliner Rob Blake and Chris Pronger of the Anaheim Ducks because of his tremendous strength and ability to throw the big hit.

"This is a special player," said Chicago assistant GM Rick Dudley.

"He's the kind of guy who hits like Scott Stevens and also has the skills offensively to get the job done. He improved so much last year and the hard work really paid off for him."

FAVOURITES
NHL player: Chris Chelios
NHL team: Ottawa Senators
Movie: Enemy at the Gates
Actor: Russell Crowe
Non-hockey activity: Bowling
Sport (other than hockey): Lacrosse

DREW DOUGHTY
Drew Doughty will be at the centre of a debate tonight. Will he or won't he go No. 2 in the NHL draft?

The Guelph Storm blueliner might be the guy who is most ready to make it to the NHL next season, but most teams like to project upside potential -- which means the Los Angeles Kings could choose Peterborough Petes defenceman Zach Bogosian.

But there is absolutely no question that Doughty has distinguished himself in the Class of 2008 and he's not going to have to wait long to hear his name called tonight.

Doughty would rather not wait beyond No. 2 ... at least partially because of a long-standing relationship he had with the Kings as a fan.

"There's a lot of honour in being ranked that high," said Doughty. "I do feel some pressure if I'm going to go that high. But I can strive under that pressure. I'd like to go to the Los Angeles Kings at the No. 2 spot and I think if I went there, it would be a good fit.

"Pretty much everyone knows that (Stamkos) has Tampa locked up. The Kings were my favourite team growing up. I followed Wayne Gretzky."

Doughty, who had 13 goals and 37 assists in 58 games with the Storm, is viewed as an offensive defenceman.

He played almost 30 minutes a night for the Storm and won a gold medal with Team Canada at the world junior championship in the Czech Republic.

"He's one of the best-skating defencemen in this draft. He's got all the tools you want," said Senators chief scout Pierre Dorion. "He's very active offensively and defensively.

"He's tough to play against. He just looks like a great, great prospect."

FRIENDLY COMPETITION

Doughty said there has been a friendly competition with the likes of Bogosian, Tyler Myers (Kelowna), Luke Schenn (Kelowna) and Alex Pietrangelo (Niagara Falls) to be the top blueliner in the CHL.

"Throughout the season, you see the rankings and we know that it's a very close group," said Doughty. "Off the ice, we're all buddies. When it comes to (the rankings), we definitely want to push each other and do as well as the other guy."

FAVOURITES
NHL player: Joe Sakic
Video game: NHL 2008
Movie: Coach Carter
Actor:: Jessica Alba
Music: Rascal Flatts
Book: Romeo and Juliet
Sport (other than hockey): Soccer

THOMAS MCCOLLUM
There have been several bumps along Thomas McCollum's road to Scotiabank Place.

But as the Guelph Platers goaltender prepares to put on his best clothes and head to the NHL draft tonight, in a lot of ways the 19-year-old Sanborn, N.Y., native is really just happy to be here.

LONGSHOT AT BEST

Just 24 months ago, playing in the NHL -- or even getting a shot to turn pro -- looked like a longshot at best for McCollum after he was passed over in the junior draft by every OHL team.

Playing for the Wheatfield Blades in the Golden Horsehoe Conference of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League near Buffalo, McCollum was spotted because his coach had a friend who scouted for the Platers.

"One of the assistants talked his friend into coming out to a game," said McCollum.

"I played pretty well in that game. I had a couple of more solid games and then they invited me to go up to Guelph's rookie camp.

"I was able to do well there and the rest is just history. Two years ago, I didn't even think I'd have the chance to play in the OHL.

"To have this happen has really worked out well for me. I never expected to be a possibility for the NHL draft, let alone be a high pick."

McCollum is the highest-rated North American goalie in the Central Scouting Bureau's final rankings and performed well at the NHL's combine for top prospects earlier this month in Toronto.

MOM WORKS IN BAKERY

McCollum's father Paul is a heavy machine operator and his mother Shelley works in a bakery, so the kid knows what hard work is all about.

"I never gave up on myself," said McCollum. "I knew I had the talent. It was just a matter of getting one break to help me get to the top. I finally got it and here I am. I never expected this kind of success. I hoped for it. But you can't really expect anything that major to happen."

How was he missed?

"In the Ontario Hockey League, you're going to have players who get missed because the teams don't spend the money on scouting like they do in the NHL. That's just the reality," said Andre Sawyer, a Sarnia-based Columbus Blue Jackets scout. "You can't see everybody. Fortunately, this kid has shown the commitment to get to this level and now he's going to get a chance on draft day. He's a solid prospect."

FAVOURITES
TV show: The Simpsons
Book: Harry Potter
Music: Nickelback
Food to cook: Macaroni and cheese
Video game: Rock Band

NIKITA FILATOV
Nikita Filatov isn't prepared to wait.

"I'd like to be in the top 10," said the top-rated European prospect in this weekend's NHL entry draft.

That's why Filatov, a nifty left winger from the CSKA Moscow Dynamo, has been trying to assure any NHL GM, player personnel director or scout that will listen he has no plans to play in Russia next season and will immediately sign a contract to play in North America.

With NHL teams backing away from Russian prospects because of the lack of a transfer agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation, Filatov and agent Don Meehan have spent the last couple of months re-assuring everybody that his No. 1 priority is to play in the NHL.

"I really want to play in the NHL. I'm not planning to wait to come here," said Filatov. "I will be here next year. I'd like to be in the (league), but if it means that I have to play junior, then I will play junior.

"I'm not worried about what's going on at home. It's always been a dream of mine to play in the NHL and I will do what I have to do."

MOM TEACHES ENGLISH

Scouts have liked what they've heard and not lost is the fact that Filatov's mother is an English teacher.

"He's a dynamic offensive player with a lot of the attributes of the great Russia players that play in the league," said Senators scout Pierre Dorion, who saw Filatov at the world under-18 championships in Kazan, Russia in the spring.

"You can't help but notice the fact that he speaks English.

"He's already show the commitment to be an NHL player by learning English, by acting a like a professional. He's got all the tools.

"He's got high speed, good hands and a great shot. He's going to be a front-line offensive player.

"He's told every team that he's playing in North America at any level -- whether it be NHL, AHL or junior.

"That's an attractive quality in a player."

FAVOURITES
Music: "Russian bands you don't know."
Movie: Gladiator
TV show: Comedy Club
Sport (other than hockey): Tennis
NHL player: Sidney Crosby


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