A major year for the minors. That should be the new marketing slogan for the American Hockey League. The elaborate list of alterations both big and small, is a lengthy one for the League as it embarks on 2001/2002.
‘The’ League has absorbed 7 surviving franchises from the defunct International Hockey League. The AHL stands with somewhat open arms as Chicago, Utah, Cleveland, Houston, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Manitoba are welcomed. How long before someone says “That’s not how it’s done in the ‘A’.”? It’s probably already happened. And the AHL had its own problems this past season losing two franchises in one state. The Louisville Panthers with parent Florida have sprinkled their prospects throughout the league. The other – the Kentucky Thoroughblades have relocated and reaffiliated in Cleveland. As always new additions via expansion, the Manchester and Bridgeport franchises. Last count 27 teams with designs on a total of 30 by the end of 2002/2003.
30 traditional “farm” teams will finally compete in one developmental league and ultimately, supply the 30 parent teams with the core of their teams over the next 5 to 10 years.
The Eastern Conference will now consist of three divisions (Canadian, East and the North). The Canadian and East divisions will house 5 teams with the North having 4 teams.
The Canadian Division contains the Hamilton Bulldogs, Manitoba Moose, Quebec Citadelles, Saint John Flames and the St.John’s Maple Leafs. All affiliations in this division remain all but the same as last season with the obvious i Read more »
Hockey’s Future is pleased to announce that coming soon will be expanded coverage of the AHL. In a recent agreement with one of our affiliate sites, the AHL Report, they will be officially be joining Hockey’s Future in delivering news and analysis of the AHL.
You might have already seen some of the articles appearing on the main page of HF, and that will continue as well as the launching of the “AHL Report at Hockey’s Future”. The AHL Report will soon replace the AHL League page and will be similiar in appearance to the HF front page.
All AHL Teams will get their own team page, team editors and writers, depth charts, player profiles, and more! In conjunction with the NHL Editors and Writers, this agreement will only mean better analysis and news of all of your favorite teams prospects and AHL veterans.
To be added as well, will be featured columnists, AHL Power Polls, and more. If you have any ideas of what you would to see as well, drop me a line and let me know. All ideas will be considered.
With the AHL Report joining us, it gets us one step closer to giving the CHL teams the same treatment with individual team and league pages. Look for that to be HF’s goal for next year, along with increased draft coverage.
Thanks for reading and all comments are appreciated!
Giants Jump-Start With Team Chemistry
The Vancouver Giants played their inaugural games this past Friday and Saturday night at the Pacific Coliseum. As the WHL’s newest franchise, the Giants certainly left us all recognizing the need for some improvement. That said, the way the Giants rallied together, played as a team and came immediately to the defence of one other was nothing short of inspirational.
In their first match against the Kamloops Blazers on Friday, a game they resoundingly lost 5-2, the third period fell into the age-old category of “I went to the fights and a hockey game broke out”. From the get-go, the Giants appeared tentative. They were slow to move the puck up-ice through the neutral zone, reluctant to play the man and generally looked more like a team that was spent than one making its WHL debut. Remember, they played before a sold-out, standing-room only crowd of 7740 hometown fans.
These things happen. That’s OK. The emotions had been running high with anticipation for weeks, and all the hoop-la before the game clearly took its toll. The players all emotionally jacked were at the rink at 3:00 p.m. game-day. Come the 7:30 p.m. opening face-off, they simply came out flat. But to most everyone’s delight, the Giants did not leave quietly.
Time and time again, scraps broke out between unlikely combatants with the Giants routinely on the ‘short’ end of things. All things except a suprising team commitment to one another. A commitment one would not expect to see from a bunch Read more »
By Al Alven
There was a time not too long ago when even the thought of the Philadelphia Flyers owning the rights to several promising European prospects seemed unrealistic. Times and the NHL have changed, however, and the team now boasts a number of non-North American-born hopefuls on its depth chart.
Without question, Pavel Brendl heads the list. The 20-year-old right winger from the Czech Republic has been the Flyers’ most pleasant preseason surprise to this point. In fact, he currently leads the team with six points (three goals, three assists) in just three exhibition games. The wildcard in the big Eric Lindros deal with the Rangers, Brendl has grabbed the majority of the headlines from other Flyers prospects and rightfully so. He’s been that good so far.
For three of his fellow countrymen, however, the accolades have been more difficult to come by. In this report, we’ll examine the progress of 21-year-old forwards Tomas Divisek, Petr Hubacek and Vaclav Pletka. All three spent all or most of last season with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL. Barring something extraordinary, that’s where they’ll start the 2001-02 season as well.
The furthest developed of the Flyers’ three Czech prospects playing with the Phantoms, Divisek could see some time with the big club this season. Like any Flyers prospect, Divisek faces the unenviable task of attempting to crack a lineup that is literally stacked with quality forwards. Should the Flyers run into injury problems, Divisek could be a call-up candidate be Read more »
A look at some Anaheim Mighty Duck prospects that look poised to breakout in 2001-02.
Samuel Pahlsson: He has played well this preseason, so well, he was rewarded top line play, and he didn’t disapoint scoring 2 goals and 1 assist against the Sharks on Sunday. Pahlsson will challenge Matt Cullen for the 2nd line center spot and by the end of the season look for him to have it.
GP G A PTS
Fearless Forecast: 77 14 31 45
Petr Tenkrat: He has been the Ducks most consistant scorer this season, earning praises from head coach Bryan Murray. He has soft hands and is especially deadly on the power play. Look for Petr to bust out big this season and give the Ducks another weapon.
Fearless Forecast: 71 26 29 55
Antti-Jussi-Niemi: Niemi is a thunderous body checker who is sound defensively and has offensive potential. There’s no reason for Niemi not to become an everyday player in the NHL whether it be this season or next.
Fearless Forcast: 63 3 12 15
Timo Parsinnen: He is a very skilled and determined player which is a perfect recipe for success in the NHL. So far this season Parsinnen has shown terrific skill and chemistry playing with Paul Kariya on Anaheim’s top line. He might play on one of the top two lines this season.
Fearless Forecast: 66 12 26 38
Some other Fearless Forecasts:
GP G A PTS
Andy McDonald 21 3 4 7 Read more »
Norfolk Admirals Off-Season Report
Norfolk Admirals Training Camp Increases to 30
The Norfolk Admirals announce that Syl Apps (Center) has accepted an invitation to attend Admirals Training Camp.
Apps, 25, spent the last two seasons skating for the St. John’s Maple Leafs
(AHL). In 2000-01, the six-foot, 195 pound Pittsburgh, Pa. native
registered 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 69 regular season games
with the Leafs. In four post-season appearances, he remained scoreless.
Norfolk Donating Proceeds From Blue/White Exhibition to United Way
9/20/01 Read more »
The regular season is underway in Europe. Here is how some of the Flyers prospects playing in Europe have done so far (note: no reports available yet on players from the RSL– Alexander Drozdetsky (CSKA), Konstantin Rudenko (Yaroslavl), and 2001 overage draftee Andrei Razin (Dynamo)).
Roman Malek: Malek, the starting goaltender for Slavia Prague, suffered a frightening injury this weekend. Losing his mask in a scramble around the crease, he was struck flush in the face moments later by a slapshot. The initial report I have heard is that his cheekbone was shattered and he suffered a concussion from his head hitting the ice.
Milan Kopecky: Kopecky is on loan from Extraliga’s Slavia Prague to talent-starved Division One Beroun.
Pavel Kasparik : Kasparik, who struggled almost all of last season, is off to a much better start in the early going of the 2001-02 Extraliga campaign. In 5 games played for Sparta Prague, he has 3 goals.
Radovan Somik : The Slovakian winger, who would have been with the Phantoms this season had he been able to come to contract terms with the Flyers, is still playing for Zlin. He missed the start of the season with a minor injury, but has played in the last two games. He has a goal and an assist.
Antero Niittymäki: Defending champion TPS Turku has stumbled out of the gates, winning just one of their first five games. Fredrik Norrena started in goal the first several games. Niittymäki has started the last two. Both have Read more »
Fantasy Hockey Goalies 2001-2002
1. Martin Brodeur- (Devils) Brodeur is arguably the best goalie in the league, and playing behind one of the NHL’s top defenses make’s him a top fantasy value. Brodeur has some of the best reflexes in the league and uses the butterfly style. Brodeur, who is now in the prime of his career, should have a 40-win season.
2. Roman Chechmanek- (Flyers) Chechmanek accomplished many things this past season. He took Brian Boucher’s spot as the Flyers top goalie and made the All-Star Team. Not only did he win 35 of the 57 games he started, but he also had a .921 Save Percentage and 10 Shutouts. The only question to be answered is if he can do it again.
3. Dominik Hasek- (Red Wings) Scotty Bowman was recently quoted comparing Dominik Hasek’s determination to win the cup, to that of Ray Bourque’s last year with the Colorado Avalanche. If Hasek can stay healthy, there is a reason to believe that Hasek could lead Detroit back to the Stanley Cup.
4. Olaf Kolzig- (Capitals) With the Capitals acquisition of Jarmior Jagr the Caps are expected to win more games this year. Also, Kolzig signed a contract extension this summer and with a better team around him, there is no reason “Olie the goalie” won’t be a top tier net minder this season.
5. Patrick Roy- (Avalanche) At age 35, one would have to expect Roy to show some signs of slowing down. But the superhuman Roy, who won his third Conn Smyth trophy last year, continues to get better, as he had Read more »
The BCHL added two new teams over the off season. Coquitlam and Salmon Arm are now in the league. Early on, both teams have posted wins. I guess the owners won`t have to become head coach like Don Cherry. For the first article of the new season here is a look at three players. One from the Prince George Spruce Kings and two from the Vernon Vipers.
Nick Binder(83) Vernon Vipers:
Nick is a rookie in the BCHL but looks good. He plays right wing and has OK size. Nick looks like the type of player that coaches like.He plays his position and does it well. Being that he is a rookie nothing too fancy so far but this guy isn`t going to hurt you out there on the sheet. He has a point a game in the early going. With his solid two way play and if he keeps up the point pace he`ll earn a scholarship one day in the future.
David Morelli(83) Vernon Vipers:
Morelli will attend Nebraska at Omaha next season and you can see why. He is only 5’10”-180 but this kid can power past players 40 pounds heavier than him. Not much bad you can say about Morelli. He can pass, skate, shoot. Dave plays center and has a bright future ahead of him. He is impressive He doesn`t take nights off and that`s why he has a scholarship before the season begins.
Josh Ciocco(83) Prince George Spruce Kings: Read more »
by Dan Perrault
The hockey season is 2 weeks from its start and the Thrashers have some big decisions to make. A lot of players are under close evaluation as the pre-season camp and games are currently undergoing. Ilya Kovalchuck, the team’s 1st choice and, 1st drafted overall in this year’s expansion draft, is impressing quite a few so far, and so is last year’s first pick for the Thrashers, (2nd overall) Dany Heatly.
The team lacks experience and most of the battles for spots on the team, will be between young guns. The only true veteran, leader Ray Ferraro, is most unlikely to reproduce the numbers he put up last year, one of his best season’s in his career. Someone needs to put up numbers for this team, who has many prospects.
Let’s take a look at every position and who stands a chance to make the team:
Tomi Kallio and Lubos Bartecko, are talented veterans who have a spot on the team. Dany Heatley, stands quite a big chance to make the team this season. He is much more talented than both Bartecko and Kallio, but possibly lacks experience. Scouts say he was the best sniper in the 2000 draft, and has shown fans on Monday, in an exhibition game, against Nashville, a small touch of what he can do. He scored 2 goals, including the game-winner in a 4-3 win over the Predators. Shean Donovan and Jeff Odgers should compete for the remaining spot on the team, unless Brad Tapper explodes with energy in the week to come.
Patrik Stefan, who was a top pi Read more »