A Knight in Shining Feathers?
Lubos Velebny was selected by the Leafs in the seventh round of the 2000 Entry Draft as a little known blueliner from Slovakia and remained so through last season as the focus of most fans attention turned to Mikael Tellqvist, Brad Boyes, Petr Svoboda and Jeff Farkas. However, one person who didn’t lose sight of the rearguard was the coach of the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks, Scott Koberinski. The reason being of course, was that Velebny came over to North America and spent the season learning the finer points of hockey on this side of the pond under the aforementioned bench boss. Now that he has been nabbed by the London Knights in the CHL’s Import Draft, his progress will be more easily followed by Leaf fans in Southwestern Ontario. That said, in a recent conversation with Koberinski, who compares him to a young Lubomir Sekeras (Minnesota Wild) in style, he described a player that while a work in progress, is further ahead in that progress than most defensemen his age.
Offensively minded, Velebny’s main weapon is a devastating slapshot from the point which he doesn’t hesitate to use, especially on the powerplay. Koberinski goes on to say that had he stayed in the USHL this season “he would have easily been the best powerplay quarterback in the league”. In addition to that his first pass out of the zone is almost always flawless and he has adapted to the rougher game over here faster than one would have expected. However, like all wild young horses, there is a downside and that downside is in his decisio Read more »
As the final picks were decided for the 2001 draft, it was evident that the event embodied an outstanding depth of skilled prospects, arguably the best since the 1991 draft. Russian prospects lead the way with Ilya Kovalchuk going 1st overall, followed by Alexander Svitov at # 3 and Stanislav Chistov at #5. Kovalchuk became the first Russian prospect ever to go first overall, as he had become the clear-cut #1 choice in the minds of General Managers and the media.
A large variety of Russian youngsters were drafted. In fact, Russia represented the highest percentage of European prospects as expected. However, not since the early nineties was it that Russia showcased not only such skill but undeniably a large amount of youth. The country has visibly recovered from the recession of prospect depth through the mid-nineties.
In 2002, Russia will be represented with a new row of eligible players. Although the choice is not as deep as in 2001, the talent level is visible, no doubt about it. As expected, the variety is based on skill, speed and skating, the factors which ideally epitomized Russian hockey for decades. However, as of now there is a touch of grit, size and intensity, the words which before were not associated with the Russian style of the game. With prospects such as Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Svitov, Pavel Vorobiev and Alexei Semenov, it is becoming clear that over the years the North American influence has largely impacted the game of hockey not only in Russia, but in Europe as a whole. The 2002 class is represented by several bigg Read more »
All-Star Traded in for Experienced Face-Off Man
Kyle Freadrich and Nils Ekman seem to have lost their place in the
organization, as they were traded to the New York Rangers on June 30th
for experienced centerman Tim Taylor.
seemed to be caught in a numbers game, but appeared to have proved his worth in
his 43 games with the Lightning throughout the 2000-01 season. A two-time IHL All-Star, Ekman tallied 9
goals and 11 assist while with Tampa and another 22 goals and 14 assists in 33
games with the Detroit Vipers (IHL).
only appeared in 13 games with the big club and suffered through an
injury-plagued season while in Detroit.
His notorious battle with Chicago heavyweight Ryan VandenBussche game
him a name late in the 1999-00 season, but he failed to keep the intimidation
factor going. He squared off when given
the opportunity, but never put on much of a show. With the acquisition of Matthew Barnaby and Gordie Dwyer still in
the ranks, Freadrich was quickly ousted from the tough-guy r Read more »
Overall view of the Philadelphia Flyers defensive prospects
Although critics may say otherwise, the blueline is now one of the Flyers organizational strengths. The difference was the 2001 draft. I think the current draft yielded at least 3 rearguards that may make the NHL with in 4 years. Before the draft, I thought the Flyers had average defensive talent, but now they have seem to have above-average talent system-wide.
In the system, Philadelphia has plenty of big defensive blue liners. At the draft, they added more rearguards that can skate and handle the puck. Bruno St. Jacques will be probably the first one of the prospects to make the Flyers. A lot of that, however, depends on what the Flyers get in return for Eric Lindros. Flyer fans can rest assured that defense will soon not be a problem any longer. While most of the regulars on the Flyers blueline are getting up there in age, the kids in the system should be ready to step up and play well by the time the current veterans are gone.
Read more »
The Pittsburgh Penguins shocked the media and fans, dealing scoring champ Jagr to frequent playoff matchup Washington Capitals. Many critics speculated that Jagr was headed for New York or Los Angeles this week. Pens GM Craig Patrick surprised all by moving Jagr to the Caps for three prospects and future considerations.
Frantisek Kucera was also included in the package as obvious salary relief. The little used defenseman was a late pickup last season and hardly saw the ice.
The Pens get in exchange three top 35 1999 draft picks from Washington :
1. Kris Beech 20 6’3″ 200lbs. C Calgary Hitmen (WHL) – Scoring centerman.
2. Ross Lupaschuk 20 6’1″ 215lbs. D Red Deer Rebels (WHL) – Physical blueliner.
3. Michal Sivek 20 6’3″ 209lbs. C Sparta Praha (Czech Rep.) – Two-way center.
Future Considerations are expected to include cash.
People on both sides of the ocean may say what they want about the European players playing
in the CHL, but the fact is, that if the CHL will exist, the young Czech players will be
eager to try their luck in the junior leagues. They want to get used to another lifestyle,
another style of play and play in front of NHL scouts every game. In Europe hockey involved
people rave about young kids leaving for the CHL after their parent clubs invest lots of
money into their development since they start playing at 6 and get nothing in return. In
America people complain about the Euros taking spots which could be filled by home Canadians.
Everyone knows those disputes. The fact is, that from the last year’s CHL crop lots of Czech
players made a name for themselves and got drafted by NHL teams (Hemsky, Krajicek, Podlesak, Mojzis,
Lukes, Jakes, Platil). It is very likely that this situation will be repeated next year,
because CHL teams selected some top-notch prospects from the Czech developmental system.
Now look who is it!
No. 1 Marian Havel – Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Team: HC Dukla Jihlava
Born: January, 26th, 1984
Weight: 180 lbs.
NHL draft: 2002 eligible Read more »
In one of his first interviews after signing a three-year contract with the Boston Bruins, Andy Hilbert told Peter Baptista of Hockey’s Future how excited he was to officially be a Bruin and also his plans to make the Bruins roster next season.
To read the article about Hilbert’s signing, Click Here
PB: How does it feel to officially be a Boston Bruin?
AH : It’s a great feeling. I worked my entire life to be a pro player especially to be a Boston Bruin. I can’t put it into words how excited I am and how hard I’ve worked for this. I am just extremely excited.
PB: Did the Bruins influence your decision at all?
AH: Not really. They told me there was a great opportunity in Boston and it was hard to pass up but the decision was basically mine.
PB: When did you make your final decision to turn pro?
AH: Sunday night
PB: Did you inform Red Berenson or the Bruins first?
AH:I informed the Bruins first and then Red and my teammates at Michigan.
PB: What do you think your odds of making the Bruins out of camp are? Read more »
Former first round selection (1997), Robert Dome has agreed to a one year contract to play for the Penguins. Dome, who was touted as a talented prospect but never materialized, will get one last opportunity.
The 22 year old Slovak has made a habit of reporting to camp out of shape and has yet to produce at the level the Pens hoped he could. After a dispute with management a year ago, Dome chose to play for Kladno of the Czech Elite League. He posted 9 goals and 12 assists with 57 PIM in 29 appearances.
The 6’0″ 210lbs. Dome will have one last chance to make a positive impression on Penguins officials this fall.
If there were an award given out in the USHL for nicest guy, Todd Marr would be a strong candidate. The Waterloo BlackHawks goaltender is without a doubt one of the good guys in the world of hockey. Todd’s modest and kind attitude mixes in well with his maturity that many players in the Junior Hockey circuits do not have.
At 21 years of age he has gone far in the hockey world, starting at a very young age. One of his greatest attributes is that although he loves the game of hockey and plays it as often as he can, he hasn’t let that get in the way of always getting a good education and enjoying life as often as possible. Todd hails from Darien, CT where he grew up enjoying a variety of things on top of hockey. Working out, hitting the golf links, camping and fishing are just a few. He has a musical taste as well listening to everything but country. The Dave Matthews Band is by far his favorite band out there. Todd only has 1 sibling, a sister named Julie who he is very close with.
To start at the beginning, Todd attained his interest in goaltending thanks to one guy, Paul Bishop. Paul got Todd started as a net minder as he himself was a goaltender. It caught Todd’s attention and it’s a move he’s never looked back on. Early in his hockey career Todd played for Avon Old Farms Academy. It’s a step above high school hockey and he played for them for four seasons. Every season Avon Old Farms would make it to the semifinals or quarterfinals of the New England Prep School championships alongside two former USHL stars from Wat Read more »
As the 2001 NHL Entry Draft has now concluded, teams look at their
prospects to determine where they stand in depth, skill, and overall
strength of their prospects.
The requirement for being on this list is simple: 25 games played or
less at the NHL level. I rank the players on two categories: 75% of
their ranking is obviously based on skill and 25% based on how quickly
the player will make an impact on the roster. After the player review
is listed where the player will likely play in 2001, followed by when I
expect them to be a regular on the Sharks.
1st: Remaining atop the list of Sharks prospects is Jeff Jillson,
however, his lead is not as wide as it was last year. While Jillson has
done nothing to reduce his standing, others have improved theirs,
getting within arms reach of the top spot on the Sharks depth chart.
The winner of the CCHA Player of the Week for October 23rd, Jillson led
Michigan’s defense to second place with ten goals and 20 assists in 35
games, finishing the year on an impressive note in his offense. He
recorded a +17 on the season, and spent 74 minutes watching the game
from the penalty box.
While his offense has been down at times, the upside is that Jillson has
been playing a much smarter game than 99/00 and has been more
responsible defensively. He has refrained from committing the types of
penalties resulting of him not reading the play quick enough, then being
forced into a penalty to prevent a goal.
The main reason Jeff Jillson returned to Michigan last season was
toimprove his consistency an Read more »