There’s only one thing better than seeing two rivals battle it out in a game during the regular season…
Seeing two rivals battle it out in a playoff series.
The I-5 rivalry will heat up yet again when the Portland Winter Hawks play the Seattle Thunderbirds in game 1 of their WHL 1st round series on Friday. Portland has had a decisive edge in this series, winning nine games, losing once in regulation, losing once in overtime and getting one tie against them. Portland has outscored Seattle 55 goals to 35 goals in the 12 game series. With all this as evidence, it’s clear that Portland should have absolutely no trouble with the Thunderbirds, right?
Realistically, the Hawks should take this series as long as they come to play. But lets not forget, this is the playoffs. There are no definites in the playoffs. Just take a look at last year, and you’ll see how unpredictable the playoffs truly can be. Seattle was the sixth seed in last year’s Western Conference playoffs, back when they only had six teams in the West. They played the first seed Kelowna Rockets in the first round, and subsequently beat them. This gave the Hawks the bye in the second round, as they were the highest seeded team to make it past the first round. This year, however, there are no byes. With the addition of two teams to the Western Conference, there are 8 teams in this year’s playoffs, and no byes will be given to any team. Portland finished 3rd overall in the West, but they’ll play Seattle in the first round because the first round matchups are divisional.
These teams are not Read more »
Albany Week in Review #24
Trade deadline: Devils’ swaps; no Rats involved
Tuesday, March 19, 2002 was trade deadline, at 3:00 pm EST. The Devils swung a pair of deals by that time, neither involving River Rats. Stephane Richer, right winger who was part of the Devils’ 1995 Stanley Cup championship team, was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 7th round draft pick in next year’s (2003) entry draft.
The bigger deal involved the Dallas Stars. Pivot Jason Arnott and right winger Randy McKay were dealt in the final minutes before the trade deadline. In exchange, the Devils acquired centers Joe Nieuwednyk and Jamie Langenbrunner, both members of the Stars’ 1999 Stanley Cup championship team. The Devils also surrendered a first round draft pick to the Stars. No minor league players were involved in either deadline deal today.
Defenseman (now assistant coach) Kinnear honored
In the year after he retired due to injury, Geordie (“Champ”) Kinnear was honored by the Albany River Rats. An original member of the team, a member of the 1994-1995 Calder Cup championship team, a four-time selectee for the AHL All-Star Classic, and three-time captain, Geordie Kinner had his #4 jersey unfurled from the rafters at the Pepsi Arena on Saturday night.
It was ironic that the ceremony, in which his number was “honored” (displayed, but not “retired”), came against the Providence Bruins. Several years back, he broke a bone in his hand in a fight against the Bruins after a melee broke out in front of the Rats’ Read more »
Raiders to Select First Overall in 2002 WHL Bantam Draft
The Bantam Draft Lottery was held this afternoon at the Western Hockey
League office in Calgary, Alberta and a Prince Albert Raiders’ ball was
drawn, giving the Raiders the first overall pick in the 2002 WHL Bantam
Draft. The second selection will be by the Vancouver Giants, and the third
selection will be by the Vancouver Giants (transferred from the Medicine Hat
Tigers). The 2002 WHL Bantam Draft will be held in Calgary on May 2nd,
Following is the order of selection for the 1st round of the Bantam Draft.
1) *Prince Albert
3) *Medicine Hat (Van)
6) Moose Jaw
11) Prince George
13) Portland (Leth)
14) Kootenay (SC)
18) Swift Current
19) Red Deer
* Indicates via lottery.
Following is the order of selection for the 2nd and all further rounds of
the Bantam Draft.
Note: Traded selections in the 2nd round do not show.
3) Prince Albert
5) Medicine Hat
6) Moose Jaw
11) Prince George
18) Swift Current Read more »
The 2001-02 Western Hockey League regular season was a smashing success. Record smashing, that is.
A season in which geographical realignment was the big story, the WHL topped the 2.5 million mark in attendance for the seventh straight year, finishing with an eye-popping 2.95 million to eclipse last year’s total of 2.7 million.
With the help of the popular Vancouver Giants, who were a huge hit at the gate in their first season, an average of 4,250 people watched Western Canada’s top junior hockey players compete each night. Other success stories include the Kamloops Blazers, who topped 200,000 for the first time in their history, and reigning Memorial Cup champion Red Deer Rebels, who played to a 99-per-cent capacity at the Centrium.
The addition of the Giants led to some division shuffling and the creation of an all-United States grouping, and an all-British Columbia Division, less travel and more intense play brought about by the rejuvenation of some heated rivalries.
It all makes for some interesting first-round playoff match-ups starting Friday.
In the West, the Western Conference’s top team, the Portland Winter Hawks square off against nearby Seattle Thunderbirds in a best-of-seven that opens at Portland’s Rose Garden. The Winter Hawks, led by 51-goal scorer Josef Balej, were 6-0 at home this year against the Thunderbirds, the WHL’s most penalized team.
Last year at this time the Winter Hawks had to travel into B.C. to start the playoffs against the Prince George Cougars while the Thunderbirds did likewise against the Kelo Read more »
Here’s a report on the Rangers prospects. Some continued to be pleasant surprises while others were disappointing, but all in all this is still a solid system despite some of the Rangers deadline dealings.Jamie Lundmark has made great strides since the beginning of the year. His awareness on the ice is perhaps what has made the greatest improvment over the season, which allows him to better use his skills to his advantage. There’s whispers about him being a bust but it’s not fair to say just yet. While Lundmark would best be served to come to camp with the greatest physical and mental preparation possible, the Rangers understand he is a work in progress. Lundmark didn’t adjust immediately to his added bulk over the summer and at times it looked as if he added too much a la Christian Dube, however in time he seemingly made the necessary changes and has played a very encouraging second half of the season. Lundmark needs to concentrate better on his positioning with opponents so that they don’t steam role over him, and if he can make this necessary change he could be an effective two way center. If he doesn’t though, he’ll have a very difficult time making the jump to the NHL. Garth Murray showed a bit more of a scoring touch then hoped for in his last junior season. Not a natural scorer, Murray topped the 30 goal plateau and averaged over a point per game for the Regina Pats. Murray is the ultimate team player and is a safe bet for becoming an NHL player. He likely needs a season in the AHL before challenging for a spot but he could Read more »
In the USHL as well as any other league, goaltending is the key element to success. It’s been proven in many a league that you can win with sub-par goaltending during the regular season relying solely on your offense and defense. But if your goaltender can’t make a stop to save his life, it becomes a different story in the postseason. The USHL is a league that is continually broadening its horizons and the level of play continues to get better with each year, as has its goaltenders. It sounds somewhat like a broken record but this season’s crop of goaltenders appears to be one of the best groups to come through the league.
To back up the fact the USHL has sent quality netminders on to the Division I level you need to look no further than players such as Josh Blackburn(Dubuque/Lincoln), Michael Ayers (Dubuque), Darren Gastrock (Waterloo), Matt Carney (Des Moines), Bernd Buckler (Tri-City), Dan Ellis (Omaha) and David Bowen (Sioux Falls). Each of these goalies has made a contribution at the college level. A few have already seen NHL ice. John Grahame (Sioux City), Scott Clemmensen (Des Moines) and Ty Conklin (Green Bay) have all seen action this season in NHL rinks.
Below is the list of the elite in the league this season. All of whom should become names you’ll hear regularly in the hockey world in the coming years.
1.Bobby Goepfert (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) Read more »
Name: Markus Seikola
Height: 6 ft 2 ” (185 cm)
Weight: 185 lbs (84 kg)
Born: May 6, 1982 / Laitila, Finland
Drafted: 7th Round, 209th Overall (2000 NHL Entry Draft)
European League (Regular Season)
TPS TurkuJr. C SM-Sarja96/97410124
TPS TurkuJr. B SM-Sarja97/98200000
TPS TurkuJr. B SM-Sarja98/993621012324
TPS TurkuJr. A SM-Sarja99/009213-26
TPS Turku Jr. A SM-Sarja00/012613720146
European League (Playoffs)
TPS TurkuJr. C SM-Sarja96/97100000
TPS TurkuJr. B SM-Sarja97/98100012
TPS TurkuJr. A SM-Sarja99/0013101-50
TPS TurkuSM – Liiga00/011010150
TPS TurkuJr. A SM-Sarja00/01310100
Team FinlandWJC Under-182000714534 Read more »
Kris Beech : Right at the start the pressure was on for the young Kris
Beech. He made the team after a strong camp, was put on a line with “Le
Magnifique” and was THE story in Pittsburgh. There was some Calder hope at
that point, but now that the season is coming to an end, it’s time to ask if
hopes were unrealistic for Kris Beech. When you think about it, Beech was
fresh from the Junior where he played only 40 games due to injury, he had
only 4 NHL games to his resume and he was already on a must-produce
situation. Yes, Beech’s expectations were too high for this season, but it
was part of his development. He learned a lot, played some good games
and showed that he has his place in this league. Here are his main skills : puck control, skating abilities, shot and play along the boards. On the
mental aspect you look at hard-working kid with good hockey sense and vision
of the ice. However, the British Colombia native will need to be more
consistent offensively and he needs to keep working on his game. Hopefully
Beech will come up faster, quicker and stronger for next year’s training
camp. If he does so, look up for him next year and forget about the second
Below is a table which shows the stats of this year’s NHL Rookies
coming from the CHL. These poor stats are encouraging for Beech’s future,
but it’s not a good sign for the Canadian Hockey League to have only 4
graduated in the top 30 rookie leading scorers.
Name Age Rank DraftedJunior League/TeamLast Year Stats
This Read more »
Hockey players do not live in a vacuum. Their play can be affected by many factors within the game itself. Who they play with, what position they play and how much ice-time they receive are important factors to take into account when judging a player’s performance on the ice.To say that Mike Ribeiro played himself off the Montréal Canadiens’ roster is irresponsible, as it doesn’t take into account the circumstances that contributed to his poor play.The 22-year-old natural center’s last goal in the NHL dates back to a January 19th game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ribeiro played just under 14 minutes in that game. Two nights earlier he had played almost 17 minutes against the Carolina Hurricanes, he would go on to play over 18 minutes two nights later against the Florida Panthers.By this time the Montréal native had become comfortable playing left wing. He had played center throughout his junior career, but left wing afforded Ribeiro the opportunity to develop without the defensive-zone responsibility that comes with pivoting a line.In hindsight, the acquisition of Sergei Berezin was likely the overwhelming factor in the eventual demotion of Ribeiro. Berezin is a right-handed shot who plays the left side. His arrival forced Ribeiro, still in his rookie campaign, to move to his third position this season (right wing).The new position brought with it one main difficulty; the defensive zone. The Canadiens’ coaching staff wants the team’s wingers to chip the puck out of the defensive zone when pressured by the opp Read more »
The defenseman who was coveted by both Glen Sather and Ron Low as well as the Islanders and Bruins was finally landed at the cost of hard working Mike York. Poti a monster of a young man at 6-3 215(liberally given) has a smooth skating style, strong work ethic and laser guided passing ability. His one downside is that he is not as physical as his size would otherwise indicate. But then again for those of you who remember… he is not Willie Huber either.
Poti will be counted on to anchor the Rangers 2nd defense and power play units. Now with Brian Leetch and Vladimir Malakhov in tow the Rangers have three legit powerplay defenders. If Bryan Berard continues to RE-develop then that would mean four. The problem however with the Rangers is guys that can “stay at home” and play defense. While Poti will never be confused with a pure stay at home defenseman or again Willie “the whale” Huber the Rangers are still in need for a physical stay at homer but the move to acquire Poti fixed a couple problems, one the rival Islanders and their persuit and the Rangers quest for Brian Leetch`s successor.
Read more »