On the evening that the Saint John Flames clinch the Calder Cup, with a 1-0 victory over the Wilkes-Barrie Scranton Penguins, it only makes sense to look toward the future of the Calgary Flames and where they are headed. Will the club see an influx of talent from the farm next season, and will the success in the AHL translate into success in the NHL? Will the team find that their prospects are ready to make some of the veterans expendable to the point of allowing a deal to improve the top lines? What does the future hold?
With the St. John Flames winning the AHL Championship banner it might be easy to fall into the trap of thinking minor league success translates into major league success. It was pointed out by numerous people during these play-offs, that St. John did not possess the best talent of any team in the run for the Calder Cup. They didn’t have any superstars in the making, or any grizzled veterans to carry the team to victory. What they did have was a solid team approach to playing the game, an amazing chemistry in the dressing room, and an endless supply of heart that willed the team on through out the play-offs. All of this from a team that had an average age of 22. The amazing thing was that the team was lead in the playoffs by four young players, Sergei Varlamov (22), Daniel Tkaczuk (21), Steve Begin (21) and Derrick Walser (23). The only veteran to crack the top five scorers was Marty Murray (26). These young players came to play and proved their meddle through out the play-offs. That must bode well for the Flames in the long run, right?
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After two seasons with the International Hockey League’s Detroit Vipers, the Tampa Bay Lightning has entered into an affiliation with the Springfield Falcon’s of the American Hockey League.
Tampa Bay will share the affiliation with Phoenix Coyotes. Each team will be allowed to send ten players to Springfield.
Phoenix General Manager Cliff Fletcher served as Senior Advisor to Tampa Bay GM Rick Dudley last season. The two have maintained a good relationship, which played a part in the affiliation.
“Having Wayne Gretzky and Cliff Fletcher in Phoenix and [President & General Manager] Bruce Landon in Springfield makes us very comfortable with this shared affiliation agreement,” Dudley said in a Press Release issued by the Lightning. “For an arrangement like this to work successfully for everyone involved, it is essential to maintain strong relationships with both your NHL and your AHL partner. It is clear that the relationship we maintain with those in management in Phoenix and Springfield will make this arrangement work successfully for everyone involved.”
Many of Tampa’s prospects suffered on a hapless Detroit Viper team over the past two seasons. The Vipers only posted 45 wins during the time affiliated with Tampa Bay. With the shared affiliation, Tampa prospects will be able to play at a higher level while in the minor leagues. Player’s who should be playing at the ECHL level, will be able to do so, rather than being used to fill an affiliate roster, as we saw frequently in Detroit.
The agreement with Springfield wi Read more »
Rebellious Cup Champs
As the Red Deer Rebels were crowned
Memorial Cup champions this past week
in Regina in a thrilling overtime victory
over the Val D’or Foreurs, I was
overcome with mixed emotions. On one
hand, the WHL had won the Memorial
Cup for the first time in three years. On
the other, it was the dreaded Rebels who
were carrying the hardware, and
deservedly so after being ranked the
number one club in the country for the
last eleven weeks of the season, but I
still found it difficult to garner any
feelings of elation for the Rebels. After
the heat I took for not towing the line
and pulling for the league representative
my stance has not wavered. Call me a
poor sport or whatever, but I still
couldn’t bring myself to do it. That
being said, congratulations are in order
for the Red Deer franchise. They are the
best club in the CHL and had the
deepest, most well-rounded roster of
any of the Memorial Cup teams. They
relied on talent, hard work reminiscent
of the Coach, G.M. and owner, Brent
Sutter and the rarely wavered from the
system Sutter instituted from the very
beginning. If there was ever a model to
building a Memorial Cup winner, the
Rebels are the latest example.
I did however have lots to cheer about
the actual tournament itself. From the
casual fans’ point of view who watching
on television and perhaps not as familiar
as the dedicated fan with the junior
game and what it has to offer, the week-
long tournament did the junior game
proud in promoting itself to the masses.
The week long televi Read more »
This has been quite a season for Igor Knyazev. After first being replaced as the captain of the Russian Junior National Team and then not being picked for the 2001 U20 WJC team at all, Igor never dissapeared and once proved that he is one of the best all around defensemen in the upcoming 2001 NHL Entry Draft. After being slowed by injuries at the end of the 1999-01 season, Igor was one of the leading defensemen with Spartak Moscow, helping to lead that team into the Super League after a 2 year absense. After being ranked by the CSB 13th in the midseason report, he jumped 6 spots to the 7th place among European skaters.
(for more information, interviews, articles, photographs and etc. please
Standing at 6’1 and 196 pounds at only the age of 18, Igor definitely has the size to play in the NHL. Besides possessing the physical size, Igor uses it well to play a solid all around defensive game. Igor is an above average skater and is a solid puck carrier from the defensive zone. Igor loves playing defense and played at this position his whole life. In an interview with Moscow Hockey he himself said: “I always liked the role of the defense – to disrupt the offense of the opponent and to begin our own”. Igor is very good in this role. He is an aggressive defenseman who racks up the penalty minutes, but he also has great hockey sense. He is able to read the play well, make a quick decision and potentially Read more »
The time is quickly ticking away for the Boston Bruins to come to terms with Memorial Cup Most Valuable Player and top prospect Kyle Wanvig. The Bruins have until May 31st at midnight to sign Wanvig to a contract before he can re-enter the 2001 NHL entry draft.
Wanvig, 6’ 2”, 220-lbs., had 2-4-6 totals in the Memorial Cup en route to being named the Stafford Smythe trophy winner as the tournament’s most valuable player. Both of his goals came on the power play during the championship game against the Val-d’Or Foreurs of the QMJHL.
Kyle, who was drafted in the 3rd round (89th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, had a career season for the Red Deer Rebels (WHL) this past season. In 69 games for the Rebels Wanvig scored 55 goals while adding 46 assists for 101 points while spending 202 minutes in the penalty box.
Many say Kyle could potentially skate alongside Joe Thornton on the Bruins second line next season if he signs. This would be great for the Bruins if Wanvig could step right into the NHL on the second line and play like he did this past season in the Western Hockey League. Wanvig is close to the NHL but to put that type of pressure on a rookie isn’t a good recipe for success.
While Kyle is an excellent power forward he will definitely not let Boston fans forget about Cam Neely who many say invented the power forward position. The Bruins tried Landon Wilson to help fill Neely’s shoes but didn’t work out and Wilson has since moved onto the Phoenix Coyotes where he has found a regular shift and next u Read more »
Curtis Murphy scored two goals and Norm Maracle made 18 saves as the Orlando Solar Bears beat the Chicago Wolves 5-1 to capture the IHL’s 56th and final Turner Cup championship.
Orlando, the top minor-league affiliate of the NHL Atlanta Thrashers, won the best-of-seven series 4-1 in the swan song for both the league and the Solar Bears.
Four IHL teams, including the runner-up Wolves, are expected to join the AHL next season and form a single developmental league for the top prospects of the NHL.
IHL TURNER CUP FINAL RECAP
Chicago Wolves 1 Read more »
Coming from Munich
Christoph Schubert, a 19 year old defenseman, who was born in the bavarian capital München (Munich). He is a eligible draft prospect for the upcoming Draft and maybe a NHL-team picked him up. Is he talented enough? Yes, Schubert are always in the first line of every bantam, midget and junior team he played for. The coaches saw his big potential and gave him many ice-time. They know, that they could have a great defender talent on their roster.
His junior days
His first junior season where he appeared the full length of the season in a junior team was 1998-99. He played for the EV Landshut junior team; their pro team spent the season in the DEL and the best juniors maybe get a shot there. Marco Sturm for example was in the same situation, but Sturm make the team in the pre-season and there wasn’t so much foreign players in the pro team. The terrific number of 18 players haven’t a german passport, so the young prospects had no chance to play. Also, Landshut had eight defenders on their roster, to hard to get a shot to play in th DEL for Schubert.
But he played a solid season in their junior team, appearing in 28 games, scoring 10 goals and recording 35 points. A good number for a def Read more »
Thank you to the people who corrected the information that I had on Danius Zubrus’s contract.
2000-01 regular season numbers – 12 games, 660 minutes, 2.45 GAA, 3 wins, 5 losses, 2 ties, .915 save %
Contract Status – signed through 2002-2003 season
Comments – Although Craig doesn’t get a lot of playing time with the Capitals, he plays very well when he is in. All signs point to him being happy as Kolzig’s backup and the Capitals being happy with him. One of the benefits of having Billington as a backup is that as a veteran, he can and does help Kolzig with positioning and confidence. I would be extremely surprised if he does not return.
2000-01 regular season numbers – 42 games, 1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points, -3, 4 PIM
Contract Status – Capitals have option on 2001-2002 season
Comments – James came into last season still trying to recover from a broken leg sustained the year before, and it seemed that missing camp hurt his conditioning which in turn hurt his position with the team. Primarily a role-player and penalty-killer, James was a healthy scratch for all six Capitals playoff games. It has been reported in the Washington Post that the Capitals are leaning towards not exercising the option on James’s contract, thus making him an Unrestricted Free Agent after July 1.
Peter Bondra Read more »
The Montreal Canadiens have until June 1st to sign their 1999 Draft picks who have played Major Junior hockey. Six players fall into this category. They are Alexander Buturlin, Matt Carkner, Dusty Jamieson, Marc-André Thinel, Sean Dixon, and Jerome Marois. If last year is any indication, the prospective signings will only be announced at the eleventh hour. In fact, last year’s signings of Francois Beauchemin and Michael Ryder were only announced on June 2nd.
Alexander Buturlin -RW (Drafted-99(2/39))
The Sarnia Sting’s Alexander Buturlin began the season quietly, but broke out with 5 points in his ninth game. His was incredibly consistent, going no more than 2 games without a point at any time during the season. He averaged 1.14 PPG, but his greatest accomplishment was his plus/minus. He finished +14, on a team where the next highest total was +4. Seventeen of Sarnia’s players finished the season in the minus, while only 4 (including Buturlin) finished with a plus/minus above zero.
The 6’0″, 187 lbs. Buturlin played 58 games. He had 65 points (28-37-65), and was a team-leading +14, with 27 minutes in penalties. Seven of his goals were scored on the powerplay, while 1 was scored short-handed. He had point scoring streaks of 4 games on three different occasions, along with one streak of 5 games between November 12th, and November 22nd.
Alexander had a relatively strong World Junior Tournament. He scored 4 goals and added 1 assist in 7 games, including 2 goals in the game against Canada. He finished with a +1 rating, but did not handle the p Read more »
With the annual passing of the Victoria
Day long-weekend signifying not only
the start of camping season in these
parts but the culmination of the year’s
Major-Junior hockey in the Memorial
Cup in Regina. Four teams, round-robin
and playoff format with the hardware of
the Memorial Cup clearly in sight.
All the trades Regina Pats G.M. Brent
Parker made to sacrifice the near future
of the Pats in the name of
competitiveness with the champions of
the WHL, OHL and QMJHL as host of
the Memorial Cup and it appears that he
may of forgot one key aspect – goal-
tending. Not to put too fine of point on
it but Pats goaltender Donald
Choukalous has had better outings.
Regina looked like it could play with any
one of the Cup teams save for one
aspect – goal-tending. If the Pats are to
have any hope at all even to make it to
Friday’s Tie-Breaker game stopping the
puck has to be essential. Otherwise the
Pats will have be content with their
‘Host’ moniker and bow out quickly.
Near the conclusion
of the first game of the Memorial Cup
involving the Pats and the OHL
champion Ottawa 67′s, a 5-2 win by the
67′s, Ottawa captain Joe Talbot scored
an empty net goal to seal the victory.
Shortly there after Pat Captain Barret
Jackman leveled him. Of course, a melee
ensued involving almost everyone on the
ice with the TV cameras rolling. Not
exactly a ringing endorsement for the
CHL on national TV. Nevertheless this
is hockey and sometimes this stuff
happens. Jackman pulled a bonehead
move, misconducts were handed out and
Jackman probably Read more »