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Battle plan key to Canadiens victory

by Chris Boucher
on
The NHL playoffs are a marathon tournament where success is measured not by a player’s personal statistics, but by the length of their playoff beard. Longevity is the key to success, and this longevity comes from winning the battles within the war. Any chance for a Montréal Canadiens’ opening-round victory can be found in their battle plan.

The Canadiens begin the playoffs against the Eastern Conference’s top team. The Habs are over-matched offensively, as well as physically. The mainstream media will tell you that the Habs have to play a sound defensive system, while relying on a phenomenal Jose Theodore to steal at least two games in order to win the series. These are indisputable facts, but what does this sound defensive system entail?

The patient system that the Canadiens will need to use comes with some rules. The most important of which is to support the puck carrier; as much in the defensive zone, as in the offensive zone. Regardless of the zone, puck-support comes from the third man into any scrum for the puck. In the defensive zone, the first player fighting for the puck’s primary concern is to try to get body position on his opponent (tie him up). This will allow the player producing the support ( the third man) to play the puck; the third man quickest to the puck in this instance should normally get possession.

In the neutral zone, as well as just inside the offensive and defensive blue lines, puck-support comes from making sure that the player handling the puck is not the last man back. Thereby ensuring that a turnover doesn’t Read more »

Monarchs AHL Playoff Report

by Sean Speer
on

As the National Hockey League are set to begin, hockey fans can easily
forget that the American Hockey League playoffs have began and each team is
working just as hard to win the Calder Cup and individuals are hoping a
strong playoff might help them get recognized as a potential NHL player next
season.

On Wednesday night, the Manchester Monarchs host the Hartford Wolfpack in
game three of their best-of-five series. Hartford took game one 5-3, but
Manchester returned the favor with three unanswered third period goals in
game two to split the games in Hartford. The Monarchs must feel confident
returning to the friendly confines of the Verizon Wireless Arena, where they
complied one of the league’s best home records.

The Monarchs have been led offensively by the line of Adam Mair, Derek Bekar
and former first round pick, Steve Kelly. The three have combined for
points in the two games and have figured in on five of the Monarch’s seven
goals thus far. Team MVP, Joe Corvo, has remained consistent and leads the
Monarch’s blueline with three assists.

With their strong home record and the gradual emergence of other players
offensively, such as Ted Donato, who has been consistent the entire time he
has spent with the Monarchs, and team leading scoring, Eric Healey, the
Monarchs have to go into Wednesday’s game as the favorite in the series.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of this series and how the
Monarchs do throughout the American Hockey League playoffs.

Islanders Finally Back in Playoffs.

by Bill Bennett
on

The Islanders did not win the Atlantic Division Title and finished Fifth, one point short of division champ Philadelphia.

Eighth overall for a team dead-last a year ago by ten points.

Fourth best turnaround in NHL History.

Nothing will diminish how much heart this team showed to beat out a Devils team that went to the last two finals and were unbeatable down the stretch. They got no help on any out of town scoreboard as every team in the race went on winning streaks.

Expectations:

It’s been the Islanders best season since they were an NHL Dynasty in the early eighties.

As a team all expectations of the regular season were met and beyond….as a team and clearly as an organization.

As individuals, several players underachived in a league that saw it’s lowest offensive output in fifty years at both the NHL/AHL levels.

The Islanders are not an easy team to figure out because of the scoring inconsistency but one thing about this team that was consistent all season is that they found a way to win when they had to. Michael Peca called it character and without a doubt it cannot be denied they had that and more when it counted most.

The Islanders were one of the top scoring teams in the Eastern Conference and the NHL overall, and yet several players did not meet the expected numbers.

The Islanders got points in every game but one on the road in the Atlantic Division all season. They won the season series against Toronto and Boston.

Islanders-Leafs:
Read more »

Lets Play Two; Cedar Rapids beats Lincoln in 4 overtimes

by Kory Catlett
on

It was the equivalent to the Boston Marathon. A hockey game that actually was two games and then some. Alexander Valentin scored the game winning goal after two hours, six minutes and 45 seconds of hockey. That’s right it was in the forth overtime period when the contest was finally decided.

Lincoln took an early 1-0 lead but the Riders answered back with two first period tallies to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. The Riders Shawn Vinz then scored on a powerplay goal, which was set up on a Kevin Brooks pass. Kevin Brooks, who was not voted as one of the three stars but should have been, had three assists on the night. This after returning from a two game suspension.

Lincoln cut the lead to one with 3:52 left in the game on a short-handed goal by Ryan Potulny. Then with goalie Philippe Lamoureux pulled and Rider defensemen PJ Atherton in the box for tripping, Lincoln scored again on a 6-4 tally by Matt Wavra. This is what set up the longest game in USHL history.

Rider goaltender Bobby Goepfert cemented his place in Rider history, as well as USHL history, with 77 saves on 80 shots. Philippe Lamoureux had 56 saves on 60 shots. Valentin’s wrist shot was high to the glove side and Lamoureux almost stopped that one as well. It hit the top of his glove but had enough momentum to still find the back of the net. When it was all over the Riders mobbed Goepfert and Valentin but the celebration was short-lived as it was almost 1 in the morning and they had played a total of 2 games and half of another period. Not to mention they had to be in Linc Read more »

Riders Lose Tough Game Three

by Kory Catlett
on

The Lincoln Stars finally won an overtime game in the USHL playoffs. And because of it, the Stars live to see at least another three days in the first round.

Cedar Rapids won the first two games of the first-round series in overtime, including game two on Friday that lasted a USHL-record 126 minutes, 45 seconds. Dirk Southern made the Stars’ comeback complete, redirecting a shot by T.J. McElroy into the net for a 3-2 win against Cedar Rapids in game three at the Ice Box. Southern’s game-winner came 7 minutes, 12 seconds into overtime.

“They made a rare mistake and left our man unattended in front of the net, and Dirk was in the right spot and was able to get a stick on it,” Stars Coach Steve Johnson said. “Hopefully we can build off this and it helps us play a complete game. I thought Cedar Rapids outplayed us again, but we just found a way to get it done tonight.”

Southern won a draw to the left of Cedar Rapids goaltender Bobby Goepfert and tipped the puck back to McElroy at the blue line. As McElroy sent a wrist shot toward the goal, Southern slipped in front and got his stick on the puck for the score. It appeared to be deflected with a high stick. Goepfert argued to no avail and broke his goalie stick as he left the ice. Riders Coach Mark Carlson also went out of his way to give the referee some comments at center ice after the goal was scored.

Cedar Rapids leads the best-of-five series two games to one and has a chance to wrap it up in game four Tuesday. In what seems to be a forming pattern, the Riders took a penalty at the end of the game, which Read more »

Florida Panthers 1st Round Draft History and Analysis

by Mark Fischel
on

They say sometimes good things happen to teams who have suffered long enough. After having a season in which the Panthers led the NHL in man-games lost due to injury, saw GM Bill Torrey and Coach Duane Sutter get fired and the arrival of the ultimate wildcard Mike Keenan, some would say this franchise has seen enough turmoil to last a few seasons.

But as bad things tend to happen to the Panthers, there is always something else to pile on top of the troubles. This year also saw the trade of Pavel Bure, whose indifferent attitude, lack of scoring, and his complete lack of effort in fitting into a coaches system or dressing room full of young players, led the Panthers to get whatever they can in a trade for a player making 10 Million dollars for the next two years.

So it is only fitting that with all the suffering of this year, that something positive would finally happen for the Florida Panthers, and that misery ended today with the Panthers locking up the first pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Instead of desiring a certain player and hoping he falls to where Florida is, this year the Panthers have the option to choose who they see will be the best player for the future of their franchise. But before examining this, let’s look at the Panthers first round history.

Looking Back at Florida’s 1st Round Draft Picks

1993: Robbie Niedermayer, 5th overall, Medicine Hat Tigers: Robbie made the jump to the NHL right after being drafted and he might have been rushed into the spotlight too soon. He didn’t get a chance to play Read more »

Halifax Mooseheads 2001-02 Season in Review

by Mike Simon
on

Halifax Mooseheads 2001-02 Season in Review

The Halifax Mooseheads season came to an end April 15th
in Cape Breton with a 6-3 loss to the Eagles in game 6
of their series. Cape Breton now advances to the Dilio
Conference finals against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

The Mooseheads finished the regular season with a
39-21-9-3 record. Placing them 2nd in the Dilio
Conference and 3rd overall in the QMJHL.

League Leaders –

The Mooseheads had several players among the QMJHL
league leaders over the season.

Jason King led the QMJHL and the CHL with 63 goals,
in 61 games.

Brandon Benedict finished 2nd in the QMJHL among +/-
leaders with a +41, in 71 games. With Louis Mandeville,
Jason King and Milan Jurcina Right behind him also with
+36.

Dany Dallaire warped up his QMJHL career finishing
with the 2nd best save percentage in the QMJHL .9150 in
66 games played with a 35-23-8 record.

Jason King led the league with 10 Hat Tricks.

Statistical review –

Goals Scored – Jason King 63
Brandon Benedict 33
Sergei Klyazmin 24
Robbie Sutherland 24

Assists – Brandon Benedict 48
Louis Mandeville 46
Sergei Klyazmin 37
Jason King 36

Points – Jason King 99 (61 games)
Brandon Benedict 81 (71 games) Read more »

Bears and Admirals split weekend series

by Corine Gatti
on

Old memories were brought to the surface over last weekends split series between the Hershey Bears and the Norfolk Admirals.

Especially, for the Admirals fan, whose team was eliminated last season in the quarterfinals against Hershey. And those memories haunt the hearts of many fans in the present. Even though Norfolk played the first game focused and with fierce fore-checking. By the time the second game started, the combination of losing focus and officiating left a 3-2 loss that evened the series at one apiece. With Hershey leaving with home ice advantage

Hershey Bears 1 Norfolk Admirals 4

The first period both teams played competitively, and Hershey lost its flavor by the time the second period started. “ They came out tough in the first period and they just slowed down,” says Valeri Zelepukin who had a helper with Mike Peluso in the third. Norfolk has a 6-2-1-1 record against the Bears in during the regular season.

After consecutive shots off of Phil Sauve glove, Jean-Yves Leroux earned his first goal of the playoffs on a rebound that caromed off of Steve McCarthy stick two minutes in the second period. Both teams’ who struggled in power plays in the regular season, both failed to score on a combined seven power plays.

The rest was all Norfolk. Vern Fiddler faked out Bears’ defenseman by circling back towards the blue line slap shot for the second goal of the game. Jim Campbell added back-to-back goals in the third a slap shot and sending the rubber to the top corner. Mike Peluso added a goal one-minute Read more »

London Knights Playoff Ride Comes to an End

by Jason Ahrens
on

The Erie Otters knocked Cinderella out on Sunday, but not before 5000 plus fans had their fill of an exciting playoff game and run. A month ago it seemed that London might not even qualify for the playoffs, and for them to get to the second round seemed impossible. But they did just that, through blood and guts and some great performances from key players, sending the top ranked Plymouth Whalers home and giving Erie everything they could handle with the exception of game 5, an Erie walk in the park.

How did the Knights do it? Lets start with Rick Nash. Where he goes in the draft might get decided today, as some teams might be leaning towards defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, others might want this skilled winger. He will go no lower than second, and his strong playoffs, coupled with the fact that the laid back Bouwmeester has yet to taste playoff action should help in the intangibles section. Nash led London in scoring in the playoffs and was a force with the puck. He was doing a bit too much diving, but he did draw several penalties and he does receive numerous hooks on every shift. He was hitting, scoring, and playing well in most aspects of the game. He needs to learn to shift gears sometimes and let the defence back up and use them as a screen. He also has a habit of getting in too deep, he likes to stay behind the net, even when he has two linemates in the corner fighting for the puck, this can create odd man rushes for the opposition, as well if London gets the puck he is not in a scoring position.

One other knock is his power play positioning. Read more »

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