The site has been selected, the coaches have been named and the rosters
are set, now it’s game on for the NOJHA-BCJHL All-star game. The site
for the game will be the Memorial Gardens in Sault Ste. Marie, home of
the Soo Thunderbirds.
The game will feature some of the best talent from the two Jr. A
leagues. The players participating in the game include NCAA, OHL and
eligible players. You can be sure that there will be a tremendous number
of scouts in the audience for the game.
The NOJHA squad will be led by the coaches of the league’s top 2 teams
as Rayside Balfour Sabrecats coach Ken MacKenzie and Soo Thunderbirds
coach Jim Capy will lead the charge.
The NOJHA roster is dominated by members of the Sabrecats and
Thunderbirds. In goal will be Frank Novello of the Soo and Espanola
Screaming Eagles starter Josh Siembida.
The defensive corps will include Dave Csumrik, Jason Michelutti and
Eric Simmons of Rayside as well as Jeff Cochrane, Seth Vinocur and Josh
Chase of the Thunderbirds.
Representing the NOJHA at forward will be Chris Shamess and Matt Shank
of the Sudbury Northern Wolves;Sean Spencer of the Sturgeon Falls Lynx;
Fred Coccimiglio, David Borelli, Ryan Corcoran and Josh Thompson of the
Thunderbirds;as well as Nevin Patterson, Justin Carre, Matt Barnhardt,
Joey Belanger and Rico Dicarlantonio of Rayside Balfour.
The alternates for the team include netminder Joey Biasucci of the
Thunderbirds, defenceman Todd Rayne of the Sudbury Northern Wolves and
centre Eric Paquette of the Iroq Read more »
The 2000-2001 season has been a roller coaster of ups and downs for one of the most storied franchises in the USHL. The Des Moines Buccaneers hoist a number of banners in the stadium that is called by many as the “Madhouse on Hickman”. Des Moines is coming off a 4th place finish last season after being the dominant team in the league the prior several years. Some Buccaneers fans may have considered last season a down year for the team. This season there was much concern about how the mighty Bucs would turn out. Several new faces took the ice and early on Des Moines struggled to get things going. It appeared they may take another step down in the league until some key transactions and top-notch goaltending has taken this team back to where they feel they belong. Currently Des Moines is 24-14-2 good for 50 points. That gets them 4th in the rough and tumble Western Division but good for 5th in the USHL overall in the playoff standings. The Buccaneers are chasing their archrival Omaha Lancers along with the Sioux Falls Stampede and league leading Lincoln Stars in the quest for home ice advantage. Currently the Buccaneers are one of the leagues hottest teams as they recently had a 7 game winning streak put together. That streak was capped off with road wins at League leading Lincoln and over 2nd place Sioux Falls.
On the offensive side Des Moines had a lot to replace. Losing scoring champion Peter Sejna last season along with rookie of the year Troy Riddle Des Moines had a lot of questions to answer. Des Moines definitely got the season off slo Read more »
After only one year of existence, the Montreal Rocket has accumulated a deficit of 800,000$; and the low attendance has put pressure on the owners to find alternatives. The Montreal Rocket is currently in negotiations that would allow them to move in the Molson Centre, something the president of the team, Mario Messier, has called a “last resort” change for the franchise.
Junior Hockey struggles in Montreal
Montreal Rocket is not the first QMJHL located in the Montreal area that is having difficulties with attendances and survival. Previous teams located in
Verdun, Laval or Longueil all had similar problems in the past, and none of
them has survived to this day. If the Montreal Rocket cannot redress the situation
in the Molson Centre, they could be forced to move to a new location. Since
the last QMJHL expansions have developped most available markets in the province
of Quebec and in the Maritimes, the franchise could go south of the boarder.
The Lewiston Rocket? Read more »
Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
A new angle on the Lindros stalemate: Veteran hockey writer Al Strachan of the Toronto Sun (January 29th) offered an interesting solution to the Lindros deadlock this week … he hypothesized that the Maple Leafs might obtain Eric Lindros for as little as two first-round draft picks … this price would be based upon an offer sheet that starts relatively low but increases with the number of games played … the Leafs could put together a contract paying Lindros $1.4 million a year for three years … bonus clauses that would pay him $1 million for every 10 games and $600,000 at the end of the season would also be included … the total package represent a total of $10 million over a full season – but with only the base salary guaranteed … under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement, this would be a legal contract … although a team is forbidden from starting at $10 million and working down, there is nothing that prevents starting at $1.4 million and working up … the attraction of this arrangement is that, because the guaranteed salary in the deal is relatively low, the compensation required is correspondingly small … at the $1.4M level, the Leafs would have to surrender only two first-round picks instead of the five usually needed to acquire a player of Lindros’ calibre … the catch, of course, is that the Flyers would have Read more »
- Czech defenseman Robert Schnabel was released by the Coyotes earlier this month at his request. Schnabel was struggling a lot this season and wanted a change of scenery. He will now be playing for Timra of the Swedish Elite League.
- The Future Considerations sent to Vancouver in return for Brad May this summer was announced a couple of days ago. The Coyotes will send a 3rd round pick in the 2001 Entry Draft to the Vancouver Canucks.
- The pending takeover of the team by an ownership group that includes Wayne Gretzky appears that the deal will get done before the February 15th deadline that current Coyotes owner Richard Burke and hopeful new owner Steve Ellman agreed upon in December.
- The Coyotes had 2 players participate in the 2001 World Junior Championships in Moscow, Russia earlier this month. Sami Venalainen had 1 goal and 1 assist in 7 games for Silver medal winning Finland and Jason Jaspers had 1 goal and 6 penalty minutes in 7 games for Bronze Medal winning Canada. Krys Kolanos was one of the last players cut for team Canada. Many believe that he should have definitely made the team.
Speed, agility, intensity and courage, those words emulate the USHL player. The United States Hockey League is by far the premier Junior Hockey League and the players prove it every season. Only the top players are selected to participate in the All Star/Prospects game. Not everyone obviously gets a chance to be part of this major event, so the ones that do certainly take advantage of it. This year’s game will take place in Cedar Rapids, home of the RoughRiders. The Cedar Rapids Ice Arena welcomes the opportunity to let their city see the endless talent these players possess. Team USA consists of some of the best talent in the league in the eyes of the coaches. Team World is comprised of the best-imported talent as well as potential NHL draftees. Year in and year out some of the league’s top stars are drafted into the NHL and many more get their wish of a college scholarship and move on to the next level to continue to hone their skills with the dreams of making it to the big show one day. Below is a list of the players who made the rosters of Team USA and Team World.
Jure Penko Goaltender – Jure has been one of the top goaltenders in the league since his arrival a couple of seasons ago for the Green Bay Gamblers. His tall frame intimidates his opponents and his quick reflexes make him the goaltender he is. So far on the season Jure has compiled an 18-5-7 record with a 2.37 GAA and a .912 saves percentage.
Keith Ballard Def Read more »
Brian Collins (Center, 20)- The Boston University sophomore is having a good
year for the Terriers, in which he has 7 goals, 15 points, and 14 penalty
minutes. The 6’1, 190 pound center has had 5 of his 7 goals on the power
Rick DiPietro (Goaltender, 19)- The first overall pick in the 2000 draft
recently mad his NHL debut in a 2-1 loss on January 27th to the Buffalo
Sabers. He notched an assist on a Dave Scatchard goal, and showed solid play
during the game. General Manager Mike Milbury said that DiPietro will spend
the rest of the season with the big club. He represented Team USA in the
World Junior Championships and in six games, DiPietro went 5-1 with a 1.33
goals against average and a .927 save percentage.
Justin Mapletoft (Center, 20)- Mapletoft is having a outstanding year with
the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL. In 47 games, Mapletoft has had 24 goals, 77
points, and 81 penalty minutes. Throughout the season, Mapletoft has been in
the top ten in WHL scoring.
Kristofer Ottosson (Right Wing, 24)- This year Ottosson is playing with
Djurgardens in the Swedish Elite League. This year Ottosson, in 37 games,
has 16 goals and 36 points, with12 penalty minutes.
Raffi Torres (Left Wing, 19)- The 5th overall selection in the 2000 draft,
Torres has been lighting up the lamp with Brampton Battalion in the OHL. In
37 games, Torres has 22 goals, 23 assists, for a total of 45 points. After
almost making the pro club out of training camp, Torres is a great candidate
for the Read more »
Today the Rangers have announced that forwards Jeff Ulmer and Manny Malhotra, along with defenseman Tomas Kloucek have been re-assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL to get some playing time during the NHL All-Star break. It is expected that all three will be called up early next week.
Ulmer made his NHL debut last night and played on the 1st line with Mark Messier and Adam Graves. Ulmer impressed me a lot with his hard work and great speed. He definitely has the wheels to survive in the NHL. He has good vision on the ice and I can’t remember him making one mistake last night in the Rangers 4-2 win over Montreal. Malhotra has been little-used over the last week, being a healthy scratch in some games. He only got 1 minute and 22 seconds of ice time last night. He currently has 2 goals and 2 assists in 21 games this season.
Kloucek heads back to Hartford with 1 goal in 22 NHL games. I really like this kid and I can see him becoming a dominant force on our blueline for a long time. He’s an extremely strong player. Last night he leveled Montreal’s Eric Landry in center ice, causing Landry to miss the rest of the game. I’m not sure what the injury was, but I think I remember hearing Landry suffered a fractured nose. He was bleeding a lot on the bench after the hit. Kloucek has made a couple mistakes this season, but with more playing time he will improve. He has played with a lot of different defenseman, including a couple of games where he paired up with Brian Leetch. He has currently been playing with Kim Johnsson to form a solid pair. At only 20 years old, Read more »
Three Phoenix Coyotes’ rookies (Ossi Vaananen, Wyatt Smith and Robert Esche)
have played important roles this season and have all contributed greatly to
the Coyotes’ success.
Ossi Vaananen, a tough as nails defenseman from Finland, has likely made the
biggest impact of the three. Drafted in the 2nd round in 1998,
Vaananen currently has 4 goals, 8 assists and 56 penalty minutes in 50 games
this season. He has played great defensively, knocking his opponents down in
front of the net and clearing the crease well. He has also chipped in on the
offense too in some games.
Wyatt Smith, a late round pick in 97, has played well as a role player this
season. The 23 year old center has 3 goals, 7 assists and 13 penalty minutes
in 41 games this season. He has worked hard every night and is an effective
forechecker. He’s more of a defensive forward, so the Coyotes consider any
offense from him a plus.
Robert Esche, a 6th round pick in 1996, has played 13 games this
season and has played really well. He has posted a 5-5-2 record with 1
shutout. He has a 3.30 Goals-against-average and a save percentage of .887
while also chipping in with 2 assists. He has played solid when the Coyotes
decided all-star netminded Sean Burke needed a rest.
All 3 of these players appear to have bright NHL futures some day. I have
taken them all off the top prospects lists and have moved them to the
“Graduated” section of the page.
News and Notes: Sheesh, it’s been a while since I updated this page. I
apologize for this greatly, as I Read more »