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Memorial Cup Final: Kirill Kabanov's Amateur Finale

Two years later, he fills out that jersey a little better.
Two years later, he fills out that jersey a little better.

The 2012 Memorial Cup final is tonight (TV: Sportsnet in Canada, NHL Network in the U.S.). London Knights coach Mark Hunter says he and his brother have "evolved" (presumably Dale has opposable thumbs now) and are more calm than the last time they were in this spot. That hasn't kept Mark Hunter from labeling the Shawinigan Cataractes as a team of divers.

If Shawinigan wins -- and here are some reasons they could, via Buzzing the Net -- they'll be just the second team to do it by going through the loser bracket (Windsor in 2009 also did). London has been resting since early last week, while Shawinigan had to knock off Edmonton and tournament favorite and defending champion Saint John.

For New York Islanders prospect Kirill Kabanov, who has had an impressive tournament in terms of game play if not in the boxscore stats, this will be the end of his junior career: He's likely to be in Bridgeport next season and possibly even on Long Island (barring KHL rumors and such). On that note, Kabanov's progress and passing skills as a right-handed shot make you wonder if he's one reason the Islanders have yet to commit long-term to free agent P.A. Parenteau. Both sides surely want to continue their relationship, but the Islanders might see replacements in the picture sooner than Parenteau is ready to be replaced.

Finally, Kabanov isn't the only Cataracte whose junior career is likely at an end before entering the pros. In particular, Coyotes defenseman Brandon Gormley and Blue Jackets center Michael Chaput (which is just fun to say aloud, I don't care who you are) have had excellent tournaments and are a huge reason the hosts have made it this far.

If you're keeping an eye on things, let this be your game-watching thread.