As the American Hockey League gets set to play the 2002 American Hockey
League All Star game on February 14 in St. John’s Newfoundland, it also
seems like a good time to evaluate the play of its newest team the
Manchester Monarchs, the Los Angeles Kings’ affilate. It has been a
successful start to the franchise to say the least.
The Monarchs are currently in tied for fourth overall with 60 points. They
have played extremely well at home and have scored over 160 goals for, which
is comparable to many of the other strong teams in the league. Their goals
against is a little high but definitely not enough for concern, especially
considering goaltender Travis Scott, who may be somewhat of a suprise
since the Monarchs boast two other goalies with NHL experience in Stephane
Fiset and Marcel Cousineau. While Fiset has been injured most of the
season, Scott, who will suit up for the AHL Canadian All Stars, has won 14
games and recorded a GAA of 2.58.
The Monarchs have a strong mix of veteran talent and youth throughout their
line up. Their leading scorer thus far has been Ted Donato with 37 points
in 28 games. Donato has scored over 20 goals three times in the NHL and
probably could be used by a number of franchises in the league. He also will
play in the AHL All Star game but on the PlanetUSA team. Also on forward is
Jaroslav Bednar, who the Kings expected to make their roster after taking
him in the most recent edition of the NHL draft. He struggled early in
North America, but he has settled down as is just below a point-a-gam Read more »
After the bronze medal game Finland’s head coach Erkka Westerlund said that team had a good tournament and he was satisfied the way his team played. I can easily understand what he said because in my opinion Finland, Canada and Russia were clearly three best teams at this tournament.
Finland’s defence was just as good Russians or Canadians, but Finns forwards were too small and weak compared to Russia & Canada, especially at wing. Finns played very well as a team and they had the tournament’s best goalie (Kari Lehtonen), but that was not enough. After the tournament Westerlund said that talent-wise the gap between Finland and Russia is big and only four-five Finnish players are good enough to play for Team Russia. I’d like to say Finns have five to six players this good, but the truth is that talent difference between Finland and Canada/Russia is obvious.
Finland had in the tournament one or two average showings (first game against Switzerland, semi-final game against the Czech Republic), but in other games they played well to very well. Their best games were the round-robin matches against Russia (win 2-1) and Canada (win 4-1). Team Finland also played well against Russia in semifinals, but unfortunately Russia played maybe their best game in the tournament. The Russians didn’t take stupid penalties and played a very disciplined defensive game. And in that game the Russians skating was superior, they really flew on the ice the whole 61 minutes. The final game was alot easier for the Finns. The Swiss were tired and the Finns, especially Tuomo Ruutu, wanted to w Read more »
TRI-CITY’S ERIC JOHANSSON IS THE CHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The CHL Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 3, 2002 is forward Eric
Johansson of the Tri-City Americans.
Johansson, 20, picked up 11 points in four league games this week, including
four goals. His goals included one power play marker, one shorthanded goal
and one game-winning goal as Tri-City managed a 2-1-1 record for the week
Johansson beat out the two other CHL league winners for the week ending Feb.
3 to become the third WHL winner of the CHL award in five weeks. Greg
Chambers of the Peterborough Petes was the Ontario Hockey League Player of
the Week while Dominic Noel of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (Offensive)
and Marc-Andre Fleury (Defensive), also of Cape Breton, were the Quebec
Major Junior Hockey League winners.
The CHL Player of the Week is selected from among the three leagues’
nominees and announced in Tuesday’s editions of the CHL Daily News. The CHL
Player of the Month for January will be announced in Wednesday’s CHL Daily
CHL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Feb. 5 – Eric Johansson, Tri-City Americans, WHL
Jan. 29 – Jason Spezza, Belleville Bulls, OHL
Jan. 22 – Jarret Stoll, Kootenay Ice, WHL
Jan. 15 – Brad Boyes, Erie Otters, OHL
Jan. 8 – Ryley Layden, Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL
Dec. 17 – Andre Martineau, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, QMJHL
Dec. 10 – Shawn Roed, Portland Winter Hawks, WHL
Dec. 3 – Andy Chiodo, Toronto St. Michael’s Majors, OHL Read more »
FORGE SPLITS WEEKEND WITH DANVILLE
Wings 4 Forge 1 :
NEVILLE ISLAND (Friday, February 1, 2002) — The Pittsburgh Forge Junior A
hockey club lost a 4-1 decision to the Danville Wings. After Danville scored
the only goal of the opening period, Pittsburgh tied the game 1-1 at the
14:16 mark of the second period on a goal by Mike Handza. It was Handza’s
18th goal of the season — which tied him with Pat Levendusky for the team
The Wings got a goal by Marek Hornak moments later at 17:38 and led
2-1 after two periods. Danville increased its advantage to 3-1 just 38
seconds into the final period when Jeremy Hall beat Pittsburgh goaltender
Tim Heneroty. The Wings closed out the scoring for the night on a
power-play goal by Bryan Marshall with a minute and 23 seconds left in the
Forge 3 Wings 1 : Read more »
While some San Jose Shark players like Gary Suter are nearing the end of their careers, the Sharks have plenty of prospects with the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League, NCAA DI college hockey, various European leagues, and major juniors in Canada. Many readers are likely familiar with many of these prospects, but some of them are not so well known to Shark fans, and perhaps they should be.
Summaries of Shark prospects with the Cleveland Barons will be available at a later date. Of some Cleveland news: Ryan Kraft, Mike Craig, and Jonathan Cheechoo have all been selected to play in the AHL All-Star Game. (Cheechoo as a starter) However, Cheechoo has missed the past 16 games due to injury.
Some prospects that are considered “graduated” are included within the report, and are among those that are probably the least known among the Sharks prospects. Some prospects who do not have their own profile at Hockey’s Future will also feature career stats along with their current season stats. As follows is a report by position of the 40+ San Jose Shark prospects.
All Stats as of February 2, 2002
5’10” 160 lb. Catches: Left
6/16/75 Stockholm, Sweden Read more »
Goaltender Corey Hirsch was in net on Sunday for the first time in nearly two months and walked away with the shutout as the Pirates crushed the Manchester Monarchs, 5-0. Last night, he had 30 saves on 32 shots. Prior to his injury, Hirsch had been having a somewhat disappointing start to the season and these back-to-back wins could mark a turnaround for him.
Veteran defenseman Patrick Boileau continues to have the best season he has ever had to date with the Pirates. He brings a lot to the team and among his most important contributions is his work on the power play. The Pirates are notoriously bad when they have the man advantage, but Boileau is among the few exceptions.
I have received an incredible amount of e-mails regarding the development of Jakub Cutta this season. Whilst he still has a long way to go, he truly has made consistent improvement all season long. He is much more mature he is on the ice. He was thrown out of a game very early on this season after a stupid and unnecessary spearing incident and know that now he would be a lot smarter about it. With plenty of structure, playing time and another year or two of experience, Cutta could be a great defenseman. Portland may not be the best place for him to be at this stage – some time with the Pirates’ ECHL affiliate the Richmond Renegades might do him a world of good.
Rob Skrlac recently joined the Pirates on loan from the Albany River Rats. He was sent here to fill the injured Mel Angelstad’s place and will be with the team through the end of Read more »
Lowell remains in first in the AHL’s North Division with 63 points, 3 ahead of Manchester. The Lock Monsters pulled off an impressive 4-3 win over the Monarchs yesterday, then beat Providence 3-1 today while Manchester lost 5-0 to Portland.
Florida is in 5th place in the ECHL’s competitive Southeast Division with 54 points, 7 points behind Greenville.
Updates for all of the Hurricanes’ prospects are provided in the tables below. The statistics are for the games played since the last update (up to Feb. 1st).
As can be seen, Zigomanis, Svoboda, MacDonald and MacNeil continue to be solid contributors for Lowell while Heerema and Ritchie lead the team offensively each and every game. Moss and Pelletier continue to provide a stellar goaltending tandem for the Lock Monsters. Apparently, Ritchie was loaned back to Lowell after being traded to the Florida Panthers and spending some time with the big club.
In the collegiate ranks, Bayda and Fast are key pieces of the North Dakota and Michigan State offences while Malec, Newman and Surma are putting up some offensive numbers in junior. Due to his lack of play, it is unclear whether Daniel Boisclair is injured or was traded from Cape Breton to another QMJHL team.
Everblades goaltender Randy Petruk has the distinction of being called up directly from the ECHL to the NHL. This past week, with the Hurricanes playing in nearby Tampa Bay and Tom Barrasso out with an injury, Petruk got the call to backup Irbe. His solid season is apparently being noticed by the top brass.
The Czech Under-17 team has left a very solid impression at the previous World Hockey
Challenge in Manitoba. The players are in their second year of international competiton
and some of them have already played their first games in the Czech senior Extraleague.
It is obvious that just like every year, Czech hockey will have representation among the
top prospects for the respective draft, this time 2003 or 2004. The top Czech 1985 born players
have already made their presence felt, especially the “great line”, consisting of forwards
Vojtech Polak – Petr Vrana – Ivo Kratena. Those three keep terrorising the opposition and
draw some comparisons to the line Jaromir Jagr – Robert Reichel – Robert Holik twelve years ago.
So let’s have a look at the brightest 1985 born Czech players (I included also players
who play regularly for the Under-18, but due to their birthdate are still eligible to play
for the Under-17 team)!
Jakub Cech – the Havirov goalie broke into the senior Extraleague this season and his start
made some people turn their heads. Cech plays with a suprising portion of maturity and poise
for a 16-year old goalie in the league, where most goalies are around thirty. He plays a mix
of butterfly and stand-up style which is highly effective. Cech has a very good control of
first shots and is also succesfull against rebounds. Uses his blocker and glove well and
is extremly tough to beat on the high side. He has a good size and covers the net and plays
the angles well. Cech plays with lots of confidence and can keep the t Read more »
The World Hockey Challenge is without doubt the most important tournament for the Under-17
teams in the season. This year it took place in the cities of Stonewall and Selkirk in
Manitoba. The Czechs had a very good team this year, the 1985 birthyear isn’t so strong
as the 1984 birthyear, but there were some great individualities on the roster. The amazing
first line Vojtech Polak – Petr Vrana – Ivo Kratena is totally outstanding also among
international competition and all three forwards are blue-chippers for the 2003 NHL Entry
Draft. It can be seen also when looking at the scoresheets. Petr Vrana won the scoring
at the World Hockey Challenge with 15 points (6 goals + 9 assists), followed by Ivo Kratena,
also 15 points (5 goals + 10 assists) and Vojtech Polak finished fourth overall, when only
Russian gem Alexander Ovechkin was able to slip between the hegemony of the Czech elite line.
Polak notched 12 points for 6 goals and 6 assists. The back line of the Czech elite formation
is also very strong. HC Slavia Praha juniors standout Jiri Drtina has a rare knack for
supporting the offense and sometimes he plays like a fourth forward. Drtina is often
paired with his Slavia Jr. teammate Lukas Spelda, who takes care of the defensive duties,
while Drtina is the rusher. Drtina was the clear winner of the defenseman scoring,
registering 10 points for 4 goals and 6 assists. Also on the rest of the team there are
quality players, like Sparta Praha Jr. defenseman Lukas Bolf, a reliable player with solid
size or hardworking Litvinov forward Lukas Kaspar. Between th Read more »
During the Washington Capitals’ recent woes, the team has been able to take a glimpse at
what their future may bring. The recent acquisitions of young forwards Ivan Ciernik from Ottawa and Colin Forbes from the AHL, as well as the recall of defensemen Todd Rohloff and J.F. Fortin from Portland have helped the Caps to bulk up and improve their
team speed in recent weeks.
Through four games in Washington, Ivan Ciernik, 24, has no goals and one assist with a
+1 defensive rating and 0 PIMs in the limited minutes provided by coach Ron Wilson. Standing at 6-1, 220 pounds, Ciernik helps to provide the Caps with the big left wing they have lacked.
The most impressive things Ciernik has shown thus far are his effort and power. The big winger has drawn a number of penalties since his arrival in D.C. by keeping his feet moving at all times. He is not the type of player who effortlessly coasts through the defensive zone as he is always
skating at full stride, trying to keep the opposition in the corners and out from in front of the net.
Ciernik has shown the ability to deliver big hits, but he does not use his body enough. In his first
four games, Ciernik has received spot duty as the left wing on Jaromir Jagr’s line and he may be able to stay there if he plays a more physical role. The negative side of
Ciernik’s game has been
his lack of an offensive presence. So far, he has shown very little
offensive potential, but he has
still managed one good scoring chance per game.
In his first twelve games in Washington, Colin Forbes, 25, has two goals Read more »