Stars Notebook (11/08/2000)

By Keith Riskey

Notebook — 11/08/2000

Utah Grizzlies Update

The (IHL affiliate) Utah Grizzlies season record dropped to 7-5-0 after two absymal road games this weekend. On Friday, they lost 4-0 to Milwaukee and on Saturday they lost 5-3 to Cleveland. During this road trip, the Grizzlies have continued to exhibit numerous special teams problems. In both games over the weekend, the power play (which received 10 chances) did not convert, and the penalty kill was exceptionally poor (giving up 4 goals on 11 tries).

But don’t start jumping off bridges just yet, Grizzlies fans. Rugged defensive-minded coaches Bob Bourne, Craig Ludwig, and Jason Taylor, should whip these green mommas-boys into proper penalty killing shape soon — it’s their speciality.

The Grizzlies are 2-2-0 on their current road trip. Their next game is Friday in Detroit against the Vipers.

Top Utah Scorers

Greg Leeb 12 310 13
Jamie Wright12 76 13
David Ling 10 45 9
Ryan Christie 12 53 8
Eric Houde 12 08 8
Chris Wells 12 48 8
Alan Letang 12 26 8

Ott’s Soft Hands

This year’s first round draft pick for the Stars, talented and irascible Steve Ott, is doing exceptionally well with his OHL team in Windsor.

Again this season, Ott has demonstrated his natural knack for scoring — scoring at pace of about a goal every game. He has already scored a total of 12 goals in 13 games this season and is 3rd in the OHL in goals scored. More importantly, Ott continues to play every game like he’s just imbibed about 8 cups of coffee.

Dan Jancevski Update

The (OHL) London Knights captain and the NHL’s Dallas Stars agreed on November 6th to a three-year contract. It could be worth as much as $1.875 million US to the promising, 19-year-old defenceman. Dan Jancevski was picked by Dallas in the second round of the 1999 draft, and has already received rave reviews from the organization, according to national junior scouting director, Barry Trapp.

In typical pro athlete fashion, Jancevski refused to say anything profound or at all interesting to the press about his new contract — instead choosing to relate the typical athlete spiel about how he is always improving his game, has gained a great deal of confidence, yada, yada. Said Dan, “”At camp I felt comfortable playing against guys like Mike Modano and Brett Hull. I think I made some pretty good strides over the summer with my skating. I know there’s always room for improvement and it’s something I’ve got to keep working on.”

Dan is also being closely evaluated to compete for Canada in the World Junior Championships which take place in Moscow next year. There’s a good chance he will make the team, with the only remaining question being how well he can skate on the much larger international ice surfaces. A decision about Jancevski and the World Juniors will be made by December 13th.

Dallas fans everywhere should be kicking their heels in glee at the great number of emerging defensive prospects in the Stars organization.

Source: Jim Cressman, London Free Press

European Report

Mattias Tjarnqvist was slow getting back into the line-up with his Swedish Elite League team Djurgarden after an exceptional rookie camp with the Dallas Stars. He has just now recovered from minor injuries, and has gotten some playing time again with his team. Tjarnqvist is quickly rounding back into form, scoring 5 goals and 1 assist in the only 6 games which he has managed to play so far this year.

On a brief note: Fans of SEL hockey often confuse him with teammate Daniel Tjarnqvist — a speedy defenseman who appears in the offensive zone from time to time. When watching SEL games on your satellite dish, please be apprised of the difference between the two players.

Niko Kapanen started off hot with his new team TPS Turku (moving from Hämeenlinna) of the Finnish Hockey League. In October, he was among the top twenty players in the Finnish League in scoring. Now he is fallen off a bit, is scoring less regularly, and has compiled a modest total of 12 points (3 G, 9 A) thus far this season. He still ranks top 20 in the league in playmaking and setting up big goals appears to be little Niko’s touted speciality. But historically, Kapanen has always started off the season slow and ended strong.

Again this year, Artem Chernov is centering one of the (RHL) leagues most productive lines (the top line for Mettalurg Novokuznetsk). In the first month or so, Chernov has accumulated a respectable 10 points, but — again — Chernov’s very talented linemates, Sergei Shalamai and Yevgeny Lapin, are generating much of the credit for that line’s scoring success. This is the pretty typical rap for Chernov who some claimed rode the coattails of former linemates and highly touted prospects, Alexei Smirnov and Pavel Vorobiev, during the 2000 draft.

Hard-shooting, offensive defenseman Yvgeny Petrochinin (drafted in the 6th round in 94) is off to another consistent and excellent start this year with Severstal (RHL). He is a +3 player and has racked up 6 points quarterbacking the powerplay. Petrochinin, though, has probably been around too long to have much impact on the Stars organization. Much younger prospects now seem to have the inside tack.

Swedish-born Finnish league player, Marcus Kristoffersson, has dropped off my radar for the moment. Apparently, he was dismissed from Ässät Pori, and I’m unsure of where he is now. If anyone has any information on Kristoffersson, please let me know. For now, I’ve moved him off the top prospect list and over to the notables section, since he isn’t even (to my knowledge) playing.