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Crunch Overcome Bad Bounces, Hang On to Down Phantoms

by Jeff Parzych

Why should the playoffs be any different? All season long the prevailing characteristic of the 2001-02 Syracuse Crunch has been their ability to overcome adversity. They have been faced with a myriad of obstacles and time after time they have triumphed over every impediment.

Saturday night’s contest at the War Memorial between the Crunch and the Philadelphia Phantoms would prove to be no exception. This time Syracuse would be faced with trying to regroup after seeing their two-goal lead evaporate in a span of eleven seconds thanks to a couple of ill-fated bounces of the famed War Memorial end boards.

Drawing from their past experiences, the Crunch never panicked. They would circle the wagons during the second intermission; score early in the third to regain the lead and hang on to down the Phantoms 5-3.

The Crunch, right from the drop of the first puck, were playing like a team on a mission. It was a perfect example of the term “playoff style hockey.” They started with Jeremy Reich’s hit along the boards against Mark Freer less than ten seconds in and continued with their tenacious play throughout the game’s opening minutes.

“Our game plan was to come out in the first five minutes and really try to bring it to them. We wanted to get the puck deep and finish our checks.” stated Crunch center Blake Bellefeuille. “We did that in the first period and that really picked up our team momentum.”

Bellefeuille’s play in the opening period would do more than pick up momentum; it would give the Crunch their first lead. On a well executed bre Read more »

Flyers recall Brendl for regular season finale

by Al Alven

The Philadelphia Flyers announced on Saturday night that they have recalled right wing Pavel Brendl from the American Hockey League’s Philadelphia Phantoms. The move was made immediately following the Phantoms’ 5-3 loss at Syracuse in Game 1 of the Calder Cup quarterfinals.

Through three AHL playoff games, Brendl leads the Phantoms (and the league) with four goals and one assist for five points. He will likely play today in the Flyers’ regular season finale at Long Island, then be returned to the Phantoms for Game 2 at Syracuse on Wednesday.

Brendl’s three-game playoff outburst has been a pleasant surprise for the Flyers organization. After a lackluster regular season, the pressure was on the 21-year-old prospect to perform in the playoffs. To this point, he has been the Phantoms’ best player in the postseason.

Most did not expect to see Brendl back in the NHL this season. The wildcard in last summer’s Eric Lindros trade with the New York Rangers, Brendl surprised the Flyers with a terrific training camp. He made Philadelphia’s opening night roster after leading the team in scoring during the exhibition season (nine points in six games), but was ineffective in seven games. His only point came in the form of a fluke goal at Washington (Oct. 20), when Capitals goaltender Olaf Kolzig misplayed a dump-in from center ice.

After his demotion to the Phantoms in November, Brendl was largely inconsistent. Though he showed flashes of potential, his numbers were rather disappointing. The Olomovac, Czech Republic native tallied only 37 points (15 goals, 22 as Read more »

Hartsburg and Emery Named All-Stars

by Brad Coccimiglio

The Ontario Hockey League has announced the 2001-02 season ending All-star teams and 2 members of the Soo Greyhounds have been named to the 1st team. Greyhound goaltender Ray Emery and team coach Craig Hartsburg were recognized by General Managers in the OHL for their outstanding seasons.

Hartsburg, back in the OHL after coaching stint in the NHL, is in his 1st season as coach and General Manager of the Greyhounds and helped the team to a 33-point improvement over their 2000-01 total. Hartsburg, who coached the Guelph Storm in his other OHL stint, won the OHL’s Coach of the Year award while with the Storm and is once again in the running for
the award and is considered to be a front-runner. Hartsburg turned a team that wasn’t expected to contend into one that was in contention for the OHL title until the last week of the regular season.

Ray Emery had an extremely strong season and is in the running for the Red Tilson Trophy as the Ontario Hockey League’s Most Outstanding Player. Emery was on of the busiest goaltenders in the Ontario Hockey League appearing in a league high 59 games and nearly 3500 minutes of action. Emery also found himself in the top 5 in 3 major goaltending categories. Emery ranked 1st in wins with 33; 4th in Goals Against Average (2.73) and 4th in Save Percentage (.914).

Emery’s strong play this year earned him a 3-year contract with the Ottawa Senators who selected the Cayuga, Ontario native in the 4th round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

Bruins 2002 Draft Preview: 1st Edition

by Shane Walsh

The 2002 NHL Entry Draft appears to be the weakest since 1996. There are some players like Jay Bouwmeester, Rick Nash and Kari Lehtonen who will have decent futures in the NHL, but mostly the 2002 draft class is a complete crapshoot; more so this year than in seasons past. It will be interesting to see which players don’t sign and re-enter the draft that could be good potential investments down the road. The Boston Bruins have one possible re-entry; 6’5” Forward Chris Berti of the Erie Otters (OHL). The Bruins will announce their first selection somewhere between 25-30 depending on the outcome of the regular season and the Stanley Cup finals.

The Bruins traded away their 3rd round pick to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for Winger Marty McInnis. At the trade deadline, Mike O’Connell traded away the Bruins 6th round pick to the Florida Panthers for Defenseman Jeff Norton. The Bruins may also lose a late round pick to the Dallas Stars as part of the future considerations for acquiring the services of Benoit Hogue earlier in the season. The Bruins do pickup the Phoenix Coyotes 5th round pick as part of the Andrei Nazarov trade and any other compensation picks that have yet to be awarded.

The prime question that needs to be answered is what do the Bruins really need most?

The answer is Centers!

Boston will likely choose the best player available on the board when they make their first selection. It’s anyone’s guess as to who that player could be at this point. With drafts such as these, som Read more »

OHL Announces Coaches Poll Results

by Brad Coccimiglio

Toronto–On Tuesday the Ontario Hockey League announced the results of their annual coaches poll.

The poll allows coaches to recognize players within their conference in a number of different categories. The top three players in each category
are recognized by the league.

Coaches, who only voted for players in their own conference, were not eligible to vote for players on their own team. Players received 5 points for a 1st place vote, 3 points for a 2nd place vote and 1 point for a 3rd place vote.

A number of players in each conference were recognized in multiple categories. In the Western Conference, Erie centre Brad Boyes was tops in 4 categories. Boyes was recognized as the Smartest player, Best Playmaker, Best Stickhandler as well as Best on Face-offs. His teammate in Erie, Cory Pecker was recognized as Most Dangerous in Goal Area as well
as Best Shot. Other Multiple winners in the West include Soo Greyhound defenceman Trevor Daley who was named Best Skater for the 3rd year in a row and Fastest Skater for the 2nd straight year as well as Dennis
Wideman who was recognized as the Most Improved Player and having the Hardest Shot. Read more »

2001-02 OHL All-Star Teams Announced

by Brad Coccimiglio

Toronto–On Thursday the Ontario Hockey League announced the 2001-02 All-Star teams as were selected by the General Managers around the OHL.

The Erie Otters were well represented as 4 Otter members were selected. Brad Boyes and Cory Pecker were both named to the 1st team, defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo was named to the 2nd team and head coach
Dave MacQueen was named to the 3rd team.

Also selected to the 1st team alongside Boyes (last year’s Most Outstanding Player) and Pecker, who scored 53 goals in 56 games this season were Belleville forward Nathan Robinson, who led the OHL in scoring with 110 points. The 1st team defence pairing includes Erik Reitz of Barrie and Mark Popovic of the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors. Soo Greyhounds goaltender Ray Emery and coach Craig Hartsburg round out the 1st team.

The silver medal winning Canadian National Junior Team was well represented as 6 members were selected as Boyes, Popovic, Colaiacovo join, fellow World Junior teammates Steve Ott of Windsor, Rick Nash of London and Jason Spezza of the Belleville Bulls.

General Managers around the OHL voted on the teams and were not permitted to vote for players on their own team. Players received 5 points for a 1st place vote, 3 for a 2nd and 1 for a 3rd.

Here’s how the teams shape up:

1st Team

RW–Cory Pecker (ER)
C–Brad Boyes (ER)
LW–Nathan Robinson (BELV)
D–Erik Reitz (BAR)
D–Mark Popovic (TOR)
G–Ray Emery (SSM)
Coach–Craig Hartsburg (SSM) Read more »

Under-18 WJC: Czech Republic team preview

by Robert Neuhauser
For eight years is the Czech Republic waiting for a medal from the Under-18 WJC. This drought
lasts even from the times when the event was only the European championship of the Under-18
teams. Last year’s team was the first one to slip into the semifinals, but finally were the
only unlucky team, finishing fourth. This year this bad streak could come to an end. For
two years it is known that the Czech 1984 birthyear is exceptionally strong, definitely the
strongest one since the 1976 birthyear, which brought NHL stars Patrik Elias and Milan Hejduk
plus some solid NHLers like Pavel Trnka, Radek Bonk and Petr Sykora. The 1984 birthyear boasts
the likes of top 2002 prospects Jiri Hudler, Jakub Koreis, Jakub Klepis or Ondrej Nemec and
some more, of whom the NHL clubs can still one year only dream. This is for example Milan
Michalek or Kamil Kreps. All those players were selected to perform for the Czech Republic
at the Under-18 WJC, held in the Slovak cities Piestany and Trnava.

Now all the focus of
NHL scouts, players agents and hockey fans will be concentrated on those two not very big
cities. They’ll surely see many great players, including the Czech ones. In fact, the Czechs
didn’t invite any 1985 born or younger underager as they have a terrific 1984 born birthyear.
The likes of Lukas Pulpan, Vojtech Polak and Martin Lojek were scratched from the team.
Like in the previous year the Czech will use CHL players on the team, but have to deal
with a limit of four. This year they didn’t even come close to this limit, Martin Vagner
wasn’t permitted to Read more »

Capitals Prospect Report: WHL Playoffs 2001-02

by Seth Keggins

Capitals Prospect Report: WHL Playoffs

Capitals prospects Brian Sutherby and Nathan Paetsch, along the rest of the Moose Jaw Warriors continue to shine in the WHL playoffs. Having snuck through the first round last week, they are currently matched up with Red Deer in the semi-finals. Last evening, Moose Jaw lost in overtime 1-2, which allows the series to now be tied at two apiece. Brian Sutherby (C) continues to prove why he is one of the top prospects for the Capitals organization having scored 6 goals over the 10 games he has played in the WHL 2002 playoffs. Sutherby also picked up an assist, adding to his current playoff assist total (5 assists). Brian is also a team leading +8 and has accumulated 27 PIM. Other Caps prospect, and fellow teammate Nathan Paetsch (D) has been a steady blue liner during the series. Though no highly impressive statistics jump out at you for Nathan, he does maintain a +1 (after going –1 last night 4/10). Paetsch currently has 3 assists for the squad.

Another team still in the hunt for the WHL Championship is Spokane. Jeff Lucky (RW) just returning from the I.R. with a foot injury has played 3 straight games for Spokane. However on a sweet-but sour note, Jeff scored 1 of 2 goals for Spokane in a 2-8 drubbing to Kelowna last night. The series is also now tied at two games apiece. Lucky also has 4 PIM.
Read more »

Wild Week In Review

by Chris Kitching

Minnesota received a scare April 1 in Edmonton when Darby Hendrickson was
hit in the eye by a puck that defelected off his stick, ending his season.

Hendrickson left the game in the second period and was evaluated by two eye
specialists in Edmonton before boarding a flight back to Minneapolis.

The forward has little vision in his left eye, but doctors say he isn’t
expected to have any permanent loss of sight.

“Right now, I can’t really see anything, but I do see floating objects in my
eye,” said Hendrickson. “It’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to play again
this season, but I’m fortunate considering what could have happened.”

No structural damage was found and Hendrickson has been ordered to remain in
bed for two weeks to help control the bleeding in the eye.

The 29-year-old Minnesota native attempted to block a pass by Oilers forward
Marty Reasoner when it deflected up the shaft of his own stick and struck
his left eye.

“I dropped like a ton of bricks. I’m cut above my eye, too,” Hendrickson
told the Pioneer Press. “When you get hit right in the eyeball, you know
it’s serious.”

As Hendrickson returned to Minnesota to recover, his teammates completed the
two remaining games of their Canadian road trip, thankful their teammate is
expected to make a full recovery.

Wild add Nebraska-Omaha prospect to the fold

The Minnesota Wild signed University of Nebraska-Omaha product Jeff Hoggan
to a contract on April 4, and have assigned him directly to the Houston

Hoggan, a native of Read more »