By Michael Caples –
BUFFALO, N.Y. – After the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, Mike McCarron tweeted three words.
Bragging rights baby –
Who could blame him for being excited about his Team McClanahan squad posting a 5-2 win over Team Housley in the battle of draft-eligible players in Buffalo?
McCarron ended up playing against 13 players who are currently or previously skated with the U.S. National Development Program, the place McCarron has called home since the start of the 2011-12 season.
Yet it was McCarron’s team who won the inaugural prospects game, with the Macomb native and Honeybaked product contributing in a big way.
“He’s a big boy, a big boy,” said Rob McClanahan, McCarron’s coach for the night. “It took him a little bit of time for him to get comfortable out there, but as the game progressed, he got more comfortable. A lot of the kids, it took a while, they were a little nervous at first, and it just took them a while to get relaxed, get their energy out, and then they came around.”
Once McCarron settled in, he started making his presence felt on the ice. The NTDP forward, who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 227 pounds, was a physical force for the entire night, playing a ‘crash and bang’ style that surely caught the attention of the many NHL scouts in attendance.
The power forward said it was a speech from his coach that had him feeling comfortable throwing his weight around for the game, despite who he was playing against.
“McClanahan is a great guy; he told us just to work hard,” McCarron said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re playing against your best friend, you still have to go out and work hard and compete. That’s what makes you a competitor. That’s what I picked up.”
McCarron ended up picking up an assist on Team McClanahan’s fourth goal of the night; he fired a shot on goal that was stopped, but teammate Quentin Shore (Denver, Colo.) knocked in the rebound. Include the many hits he distributed throughout the night, and it was a typical outing for McCarron.
“I picture myself as a power forward,” McCarron said. “You know, get pucks deep, play the body a lot, and just get shots on net … create room for everyone else. I think I’m a playmaker, I don’t think a sniper so to say, but I like to think I make room for other people out there.”
The Michigan native has committed to Cornell University, where he will join his older brother John. It is also expected that he will hear his name called at the NHL Draft.
McCarron said that it was a bit nerve-wracking to play in front of so many scouts in the All-American Prospects Game, but that he didn’t think about the scouts too much during the action.
“It was fun,” McCarron said. “Got to play with some guys I had never played with before, like Seth Jones, and obviously the other team was full of my guys, guys from my own team, so it was cool to play with some different guys, and I had some fun.”