News & Features
Kristian Huselius Nabs Rookie of the Month
Highly touted Calder Candidate Kristian Huselius wraps up an exciting month of October by being named the Rookie of the Month. In getting this award, Huselius beat out Mark Bell, and Atlanta’s Kovalchuk and Heatley, and Jeff Jillson
Huselius ranks fourth among NHL goal scorers (9), leads all rookies in goals (9), tied with Mark Bell for rookie points leader (11), tied with Kovalchuk with Power-play goals (3), tied with Jeff Jillson for Power Play Points (5), and leads rookies with Short Handed points (1 goal)
Huselius’s season started with scoring his first NHL goal against Philadelphia on a 2 on 1 effort, where he was able to beat Cechmanek with a shot that trickled over his right pad. The goal-scoring was absent for the next 4 games, as he was getting plenty of chances but was unable to put the puck in the net, most notably in a rematch against Philly on Oct 13th. In his 6th game vs Vancouver on Oct 16th, Huselius notched his 1st power-play goal of the season. But it wouldn’t be till after the Panthers Western road trip that Huselius finally caught on fire.
At home against Washington, Huselius notched his first multi-point game in the 4-3 OT loss against Washington, which also saw his first PP assist on a Bure crashing of the net goal. Against the Los Angeles Kings, Huselius scored his second PP goal on a blast from the left circle which beat Potvin left on the short side. Highlighting what is Huselius’s play-making ability less than 2 minutes later, he added an assist on the PP with a b Read more »
Rats are re-stocked with veterans
The New Jersey Devils have bolstered the Albany River Rats with the signing of three veteran players in the past week. Forwards Bruce Gardiner and Steve Guolla and defenseman Joel Bouchard joined the club and played this past weekend.
While the mission of the minor league club continues to be developing “prospects” for the NHL, in a nod to the more competitive nature of the American Hockey League in recent years (a trend accelerated by the merger or acquisition of former International Hockey League teams), the Devils for the first time in recent memory will have a roster that will allow the team to field a maximum of six “veterans”.
The incoming players join Richard Rochefort, Sylvain Cloutier (out with a knee injury) and Ted Drury. These players, as well as Gardiner, Guolla and Bouchard have played more than 260 combined NHL and AHL games.
The Devils and Rats have not gone overboard, and will not face the situation of being forced to sit a veteran every game to avoid the veteran player ceiling. Indeed, as of the moment, with Captain Sylvain Cloutier still out with a knee injury, the Rats have only five “veterans” on the roster.
The transactions which bolstered the River Rats started on October 21, when the Devils signed Gardiner and Guolla. They were placed on waivers, and after getting no takers from NHL clubs, were assigned to Albany. Both were in the starting lineup on Friday as the River Rats visited Rochester. Bouchard was signed on October 25 and cleared waivers the next day Read more »
GOALIE OF THE WEEK:
Tyrone Garner — Greenville Grrrowl
NORTHERN CONFERENCE NOTES:
The Renegades are now 5-2 after splitting two games at home last
Jay McClement (St. Louis Blues, 2nd round 2001)
Jay has good reason to be very proud of his first 15 games of the 2001-2002 season. In fact, apart from Battalion captain Kurt MacSweyn, it could easily be said that Jay has been the team’s best two-way forward, a style of play that he will definitely depend on if and when he cracks the Blues’ lineup.
After potting 30 goals in his sophomore OHL season, he has continued that pace in his third year in the league, with 7 goals in his first 15 games. What’s more, he has been able to keep up that pace without the benefit of Raffi Torres (now with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL) and Lukas Havel (playing professionally in the Czech Republic) as his linemates. Several of his goals have been of the highlight variety, including a short-handed marker against the Erie Otters that featured him splitting the defence and putting a move on Adam Munro that still has Munro looking for his jockstrap. McClement has only three assists thus far this year, due to several factors. For one, McClement’s versatility allows coach Stan Butler to play him in all situations, including defensive roles that don’t allow McClement to play with the team’s more offensive weapons. Perhaps more importantly, his left winger (Chris Rowan) has taken until the last few games to get untracked, and his right winger (Aaron Van Leusen – Detroit, 4th round 2000) has missed nine games with an injury.
McClement is the type of player that any coach wants on the ice to protect a one-goal lead in the final minute. His innate ability to g Read more »
The season has started and the early season marks are already starting to come in. There are a few surprises and a few things that, well, aren’t such surprises. In the Eastern Division the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders are in 1st place by percentage points. Going off of total points, they are tied for first with the Des Moines Buccaneers and the Rochester Mustangs. The Mustangs are the biggest surprise of the season to date. Last season the Mustangs mustered only 11 victories and they are off to a 6-4 start. In the Western Division the Sioux Falls Stampede lead the way with a 9-2 record for 18 points but the Sioux City Musketeers are right on their heels with a 8-2 record for 16 points.
Superstar Thomas Vanek of the Sioux Falls Stampede is currently leading the league in scoring with 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points. Vanek has already registered two hat tricks, against Tulsa and Sioux City. Not far behind are three Sioux City Musketeers, Brad Zancanaro (7-16-23), Brandon Schwartz (8-13-21) and Matt Ciancio (7-10-17).
Just as it was last season Art Femenella of the Sioux City Musketeers and Tim Conboy are fighting for the penalty minutes lead. In 9 games Femenella already has 52.
As always, this league is full of fantastic goaltenders and this year is no different. So far, the top goaltender in the league statistically wise is Kris Mayotte of Sioux City. In 5 games he is 5-0 with a 1.40 GAA and .942 saves percentage. Bobby Goepfert, considered by most, including myself, the top minder in the league, is currently 6-2 with a 2.32 GAA Read more »
The Kamloops Blazers returned from a six game road trip to the eastern division of the WHL and returned with a 2-2-1-1 record, while overall they sit 9-3-1-1, with twenty points and a slim one point advantage over the Kootenay Ice. The Blazers do hold four games in hand over the Ice, however you need to win those games for it to make any difference. The Blazers were missing some key players in Jarrett Lukin, Conlan Seder, Colton Orr, Jared Aulin and Paul Brown for either all or some of the games, but Seder was the only defenseman missing, which doesn’t help explain why the Blazers were out shot on average, forty to twenty six on the six game trip. Kamloops will need to improve in this area as they face U.S. Division leading Spokane, the tough Prince George Cougars and intense rivals the Kelowna Rockets this week.
The Kootenay Ice are nipping at the Blazers heels with an 8-7-3 record, good for nineteen points and second place, albeit having played four more games then the Blazers. The record is still pretty impressive for the Ice however, as they have played without super playmaker Jarrett Stoll and standout goaltender Dan Blackburn. Stoll is out with a serious hand injury and Blackburn continues to play for the New York Rangers. The Ice also lost the services of import sniper Marek Svatos in an October 17 game against the Red Deer Rebels, but have gone an impressive four wins and two times in the six games since he went down. Import rookie Tomas Plihal has picked up the slack, scoring seven goals and picking up four helpers in the six games while Colin Sinclair (8 Read more »