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Pirates look to get defense together in time for the playoffs

by Caitlin LoCascio
on
The playoffs are a month away. The postseason roster is set; the Washington Capitals have arguably given up on the team as far as this season is concerned; the Pirates are hanging on to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with the skin of their teeth; and the defense might be in the worst shape of the season. If this were the movies, the Portland Pirates would be a shoo-in for the Calder Cup. Unfortunately, Emilio Estevez is now where to be seen, and it’s going to take a lot of hard work and a pinch of luck for the Pirates to make a run for it.

Defensive woes have been this season’s theme. Despite remarkable goal-scoring capabilities from nearly every member of the team, scoring four or five goals a night has not been securing enough wins. The arrival of goaltender Corey Hirsch helped to restore confidence, and there have been more patches of solid defensive work, but the team remains the most scored upon in the league.

The Portland Pirates announced their Playoff Clear Day Roster earlier this week. Currently, the defense consists of Patrick Boileau, Mike Farrell, Jakub Ficenec, Nathan Forster, Jean-François Fortin, Jamie Huscroft, Dean Melanson, and Todd Rohloff. There is the possibility of the addition of up to two players from the junior leagues and two more from Europe. This could include defensemen Steve Shirreffs returning from Finland and Michael Sivek from the Czech Republic, both of whom would be huge boosts for the roster.

Unfortunately, the return o Read more »

Caps Make Moves For Playoffs

by Rick Davis
on
In case you don’t read much about hockey or have been living in a cave, the Capitals made a couple of moves that could turn out to have a serious impact on the upcoming postseason. The one that really sticks out is the acquisition of Trevor Linden and Danius Zubrus from Montreal in exchange for Richard Zednik and Jan Bulis. The Capitals also traded their first round pick in the upcoming draft in exchange for New Jersey’s second round pick to sweeten the deal for Montreal. Washington also acquired Jason Marshall from Anaheim in exchange for Alexei Tezikov and a fourth-round pick, and swapped AHLers by trading Matt Herr to the Flyers for defenseman Dean Melanson. John and I will look at these deals and try to see what they mean for the Capitals and their affiliates, both in the short and long term.

The Deal With Montreal:
Washington gets: Trevor Linden (some salary picked up by Montreal), Danius Zubrus, New Jersey’s 2001 second round pick
Montreal gets: Richard Zednik, Jan Bulis, Washington’s 2001 first round pick
Read more »

Where the Help Will Come? Pre-Mike Smith Prospects

by Bill Placzek
on

Pre-Mike Smith picks who may help.

Mark Bell is the flat out best prospect picked by anyone besides Mike Smith. The Hawks were able to trade up with Toronto since the leafs felt that no one suspected they would reach with Nicky Antropov, so the Leafs felt comfortable dropping down two slots.

Mark was pressured early to contribute two bad Hawk clubs and the speed of the NHL game and expectations viewing him a regular were factors Mark had trouble overcoming.
Assignment to Norfolk has enabled him to develop and return to playing without thinking, something he said he was guilty of doing in his Blackhawk tryout. It would be no surprise to this writer if Bell eventually ends up as one of the Hawk four centres. The Blackhawk commitment to Zhamnov, Nylander, and the emergence of Chris Herperger, leaves Bell in a position where he must show he is better than other proven vets already established.

Although Kent Huskin’s Clarkson team did not survive the first round of the ECAC Tournament, he is another Ottawa born player who has the size and abilities that make the parent club take notice. He is not yet 21 and will probably be again selected to the ECAC All-Star team.
Another college player making noise in heard by the Hawk brass is Centre Tyler Arnason of St. Cloud. He has improved in his goal scoring with 14, 19, and 24 goals in the WCHA. His father scored 109 goals in the NHL from 1972-79, so his bloodlines are good. He is a good face-off man with scoring touch. His passing ability is why he has been asked to play the point on the power play i Read more »

Jiri Novotny – a darkhorse of the draft

by Robert Neuhauser
on

Name: Jiri Novotny
Position: Center
Team: HC Ceske Budejovice
Birthdate: August 12th, 1983
Birthplace: Jindrichuv Hradec, Czech Republic
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 190 lbs.
Shoots: R
CSB mid-term rank: 9th Read more »

The Weekend Warrior

by Randy Nicholson
on

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.

Blueline makeover continues: After studying several other market opportunities, the Maple Leafs opted to stay with the organization’s long term focus on deadline day … rather than chasing any of the veteran blueliners available (Lumme, Housley, Houlder, Leschyshyn, Slegr, Svehla, Hedican etc.), Toronto obtained a player whose best years are still decidedly in front of him … Aki-Petteri Berg was selected 3rd overall by Los Angeles in the 1995 Entry Draft, behind only fellow defenders Bryan Berard and Wade Redden … a 5 year NHL veteran at the tender age of 23, Berg has thus far failed to live up to the lofty expectations attached to him during his junior career … Aki certainly has prototypical NHL size (6-3, 220) and is an extremely fast and agile skater … these two factors have allowed the strapping Finn to deliver many devastating hits already during his young career … it would be fair to say that Berg is mainly a “non-factor” on the attack at this point and that he still has much to learn about defensive play as well … during the 1998/1999 season, Aki played for Turku in the Finnish League following a nasty and prolonged contract dispute with the Kings … Berg joins a burgeoning group of young blueliners in the Toronto organization (Kaberle, McCabe, Markov, Belak, Svoboda, Rourke, Zion, Zavoral and others) and this key position could Read more »

A Rating for the german under-20 national-team

by Oliver Janz
on

Ernst Höfner, coach from the under-20 german national-team, rated the
players, who played at the B-junior-world-junior-championship.

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G Dimitri Pätzold (TSV Erding Jets/Second League)

+ constant

+ many self-confidence

+ coolness

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G Dimitrij Kotschnew (Crocodiles Hamburg/Third League)

+ constant

JAY HENDERSON

Age: will turn 23 in September

Role: pest
Read more »

USHL Update – Dubuque Fighting Saints

by Jason Shaner
on
The 2000-2001 campaign has been tough to swallow for not only the Dubuque Fighting Saints coaching staff and players, but also for the Saints faithful fans. Prior to the beginning of the season rumors swirled as to whether or not the Saints would be around next year. Midway through the season the rumors became truth as it was announced the Saints were being moved to Tulsa, Ok to become the Tulsa Crude next season. With that being hung over them the Saints struggled early and often this season and although they have started winning a few games, the USHL playoffs have long been out of the picture, now they are playing for pride and memories.

Offense – Although Dubuque’s claim to fame is usually defense and goaltending, this season the Saints have been the proud possessor of one of the brightest budding stars in Jonathon Foster. Foster has 21 goals and 21 assists to lead the team with 42 points, not bad for a rookie. Foster is not the biggest of forwards as he stands in at 5’9” but he certainly is scrappy. On top of being tough in front of the net and at times fearless, he also is a strong open ice skater with the ability to fake his opponents out of their pads. Joining Foster on the offensive front is Luke Fulghum (Denver U.). Luke is a 3-year USHL veteran; the first 2 and ½ seasons were spent with the Waterloo Black Hawks, the Saints archrival. Luke certainly is the king of open ice moves as he is about as good as they get when it comes to overall skill for a forward. Combined between both teams on the season, Luke has scored 19 goals Read more »