Solid – …Of a satisfactory or substantial character. …Upstanding and reliable. Sound : valid. … Without gaps, crevices, or breaks : compact. – Webster’s Dictionary
With their second pick in the second round of the 1999 NHL entry draft, the Sabres drafted a 6′ 1″ 195 pound defenseman named Doug Janik. Doug had just completed his Freshman season with the Black Bears of Maine. It was a season that saw the University of Maine Hockey program win its second NCAA Division I championship this decade and Doug played an important role in winning this championship. Doug didn’t really do anything too spectacular, but he did do everything that was expected of him. I guess you could have called his performance SOLID.
Solid is probably the best way to describe Doug as a hockey player. He has excellent hands and is a gifted, but unspectacular skater. The combination of these abilities allows him to be able to carry the puck through the neutral zone when the situation requires that. The real strength of Doug’s game however is how he plays on either side of the neutral zone. This is where the word Solid comes into play as the dominant adjective to describe Doug’s game.
In the offensive zone, Doug possesses a NHL caliber slap shot. This makes him a threat to score from the blue line. So far, in 15 games this season, Doug has scored 4 goals to go along with 5 assists for 9 points. His ability to place his shot on net is evidenced by his 44 shots on goal, which ties him for third on his team.
In his own end is probably where Doug will gain most of his notoriety. As a sophomore he is already the leader in minutes played this season and head coach Chris Walsh frequently puts Doug out against the opponents top lines. He is a strong kid who skates well enough to stay with just about anyone and is then able to use his strength to knock opposing forwards off the puck.
Doug was also selected to play for the US Junior National Team, along with fellow Black Bear, sophomore teammate Barret Heisten (also a possible future Sabres teammate). The tournament is presently being played and runs through January 5, 2000. (The US tied their opener against the Czech Republic with Barret Heisten scoring a goal)
Doug’s future with the Sabres appears to be a bright one, but with all of the defensive depth that the Sabres seem to have right now (barring a defensive prospect Fire Sale), look for Black Bear fans to enjoy watching him play out his collegiate career over the next three seasons. Doug probably isn’t worrying about his NHL career just yet anyway. The University of Maine is currently ranked third in the nation, with their only two losses of the season coming against number one ranked New Hampshire. Doug probably wouldn’t mind showing up for his rookie season in Buffalo wearing four NCAA Championship rings; so far it is one down, with three more to go.