Back in the early days of the Sabres franchise, former Buffalo GM Punch Imlach used his top pick in both the ’70 and ’71 drafts to select offensive stars from the Quebec League. Those two selections, C Gilbert Perreault and LW Rick Martin, went on to form 2/3 of the high-flying French Connection line that terrorized NHL goaltenders throughout most of the 70s.
Recent incarnations of the Sabres have been about as offensive as a Disney animated feature, so it is no surprise that current GM Darcy Regier placed an emphasis on offense during the 2001 draft. One of those ’01 selections, RW Jason Pominville of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes, is bringing back memories of those early draft successes, perhaps signaling an end to the Sabres’ long search for a sniper.
Jason is off to a blazing start this season, as his 34 points in 15 games will attest. Pominville has scored 15 goals and added 19 assists, which is good enough to make him the Cataractes’ leading scorer, while leaving him second in scoring in the QMJHL. 7 of Jason’s goals have come on the power play, while 4 goals have been game-winners, both totals being an indication that Pominville has a knack for scoring important goals. In one early season contest, Jason racked up 7 points (4G, 3A) in a Shawinigan victory.
Shawinigan is currently tied for first overall in the "Q" with Rimouski, although the Oceanic are the higher-ranked team in the CHL rankings. The Cataractes are currently ranked 9th in the CHL.
Jason’s fast start is most Read more »
Updates on Flyers prospects playing in Europe.
Antero Niittymäki: Defending champion TPS Turku is off to their worst start in years. One of the bright spots, however, has been the early-season resurgence of goaltender Antero Niittymäki, who encountered a sophomore slump last season after a Rookie of the Year season in 1999-2000. Niittymäki has been splitting starts roughly in half with veteran Fredrik Norrena. In 8 starts to date, “Antsu” has a miniscule 1.69 goals against average and a .948 save percentage. However, those numbers have only been good enough for 4 wins (against 3 losses and a tie). Likewise, Norrena has played well (2.09 GAA, .926 save percentage) but has also suffered from lack of goal support, as his 2-5-2 record attests.
Marko Kauppinen : Defenseman Marko Kauppinen struggled terribly out of the gates for TPS, but has come on nicely over the last three weeks. In 17 games to date, he has 3 goals and 5 points. A few weeks ago, Kauppinen had a team-worst minus-five rating, but he now is the plus side of the ledger, with a plus-3.
Jussi Timonen : Playing for KalPa in Division One, Kimmo Timonen’s younger brother is playing his first season at the senior level. He has three points (all assists) in 12 games.
David Printz: Hulking defenseman David Printz was set to play college hockey for Northern Michigan this season, but opted instead to accept an offer to play for AIK in Elitserien. Printz, who was originally trained in the AIK junior developme Read more »
This year’s training camp ended with everyone viewing a different Mark Bell. The one we viewed this season was more relaxed, confident and a beneficiary of a year in the farm beside teaching coach Trent Yawney. Everybody saw the difference on the ice.
Mark Bell, future Hawk centre certainly would play in the NHL eventually. The question as training camp ended was if he would be able to crack the Hawk line-up there this season, where lack of ice time while dressed for games and press box time when scratched would only serve to dampen his spirits.
Coach Brian Sutter saw an opportunity for Mark Bell to play in Chicago now. But it would be in a job position where his performance each night would dictate if he would return for the next game to play again. And it would not be at the position where he was heir. It would be as the third line LW. Left wing is the position that this writer stated Bell would be better suited for three years ago, but a 3rd line Left wing has to play a much more rigorous game than any centre, and the job is one where being physical is a certainty to success.
So far Mark Bell has answered the call each night he has fought, scored and never been a passenger on a team whose early success is somewhat tied to his success.
Granted, The Hawks good record early on reflect the play of all of the pieces. The emergence of Thibault as an early competitor who can keep teams under three goals has to rank high in the success. And the early sniping by young diminutive forward Kyle Calder and young vet Eric Daze certainly cannot be Read more »
Goaltender plot thickens; ICE trade for Kolewaski
Ever since the New York Rangers decided that they were keeping standout goaltender Dan Blackburn on their NHL roster, the goaltending pendulum for the Kootenay ICE has been swinging back and forth between Jeff Harvey and rookie Bryan Bridges.
That pendulum just added another direction for it to swing.
The Kootenay ICE decided to add some depth to their goaltending department by acquiring Tony Kolewaski in a trade with the Saskatoon Blades on Thursday that saw the ever popular ‘future considerations’ go the other way. It was a move that Kootenay ICE G.M. Jeff Chynoweth says can be best construed as both a reflection on the current goaltending situation with the ICE and as an insurance policy. “I think it’s a little bit of both,” said Chynoweth. “You look at our record (6-7-2), we’re giving up less than 25 shots a game which is pretty impressive for Major Junior hockey.”
“Goaltending is such a key part and not to place all the blame on the goaltenders but at times this year it’s been a little weak.”
Weak, inconsistent, inexperienced call it what you want. The pleasant surprise of the play of rookie Bryan Bridges aside, the familiar rant throughout the corridors of the Rec/Plex all season long had a common ring to them – the goaltending, or lack thereof. After being treated to the stellar netminding of Dan Blackburn for the past two seasons, perhaps the ICE faithful were just spoiled. At any rate Chynoweth felt that something had to be done. “We felt this was an opportunity to get a look-see,” he sa Read more »
On Thursday, October 25, 2001 in the afternoon the Moscow Police visited the hotel where Avangard Omsk was staying after their Wed. game with CSKA Moscow. They took Alexander Svitov, Stanislav Chistov and Kiril Koltsov under their escort and took them to the local military base of the Moscow garrison. It appears that the Moscow Military garison is the body drafting the players into the army. The players are already part of Avangard, which counts as service in the Airborne Forces (VDV), but Moscow’s military priorities superceed that of Omsk.
A likely version that has been suggested is that CSKA Moscow is not doing well and Vladimir Krutov is looking for additional reinforcements. If the players are drafted into the Moscow garison they could play for CSKA to serve their time in the army. Another version is that this could be a move directed at Avangard president Bardin from the political system. There will be an Avangard Omsk press conference on Friday regarding the Thursday incident.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR NHL TEAMS:
Read more »
Lobb to Guelph
2001 4th round draft pick Aaron Lobb was traded
from the London Knights to the Guelph Storm.
A much needed change for the struggling prospect. Through the first ten games of the season,
Lobb posted one goal and two assists for the Knights. Since his trade, he has added two more assists in three games,
both on game winning goals.
“He needed a change,” said London General Manager Mark
Hunter of Lobb. “Sometimes a player
gets in a rut and it becomes an anchor on his back. I’ve been there myself.”
Ollie Slowly Making His Mark
Rookie Jimmie Olvestad has not scored since opening night in
Tampa Bay, but the young Swede is making his mark in other areas. He led the team in hits for most of the
season and is currently ranked second behind Pavel Kubina, with 10 hits in 8
games. While averaging 13:25 minutes a
game, Olvestad is one of only seven Lightning players ranked in the plus side
of the goal differential category.
Invitee Inked & Brother Tags Along
The Lightning have signed camp invitee Gaetan Royer and
assigned him to the Pensacola Ice Pilots of the East Coast Hockey League.Read more »
Here are some of my random notes and observations from the Avs season so far.
Unfortunately, I did not get to see as much of the rookies as I would have like to this year. The Avs spent most of their time in Sweden or Hershey and I mistakenly planned my vacation around a failed attempt to check out the USA Olympic practice in Colorado Springs. Little did I know that they would not let me in to watch. So I drove up Pike’s Peak to over look the World Arena and to get closer to the Hockey God’s. I ask them for good things to happen for team USA. Little did I know that less than a week later, patriotism would take on a whole new meaning. What I did see of the rookies were in their 3 preseason games:
Mikhail Kuleshov: By now everyone knows about the impression he made on Dallas Star goalie Ed Belfour. Kuleshov scored two spectacular “goal scores goals” in a short period of time. Both goals were unassisted goals in which he picked the pocket of a Dallas defender and whisked the puck past Belfour before he knew what had happened. After a very moving moment of silence and a great rendition of “ God Bless America” the crowd was ready and willing to show Eddie our love with a big round of BELLLLLLL-
FOOOOOORRRR chanting. Looking down on the bench from my nose-bleed seats, I distinctly remember Coach Hartly discussing some strategy with Kuleshov and he was listening very intensely. To me, this was a good sign that these two flashy goals weren’t going to his head.
Czech mates: It can’t really be call Read more »
Anders Myrvold, signed as a free agent in September out of Norway spent last season taking the bus between Springfield and Nassau on Long Island with the Islanders. Myrvold a 6-1 200 smooth skating defender spurned offers from the Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders as well as the St.Louis Blues in order to sign with the Rangers and have a chance at playing in Madison Square Garden with the Rangers.
Myrvold`s stay with the big club lasted exactly three days and was re-assigned to the group going to Hartford (AHL). Upon arrival and impressing the Rangers Myrvold signed a 25 game tryout contract and has not seen much playing time as he has a nagging shoulder injury. Myrvold`s one note of the AHL season came in a game against Bridgeport assisting on Jeff Toms goal before nearly 11000 at the Civic Center in Hartford.
The Norwegian defender hopes to earn another contract and a shot at the NHL and his play during rehabilitation has been impressive.
Originally drafted by Quebec with their 6th choice (127th overall) in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft Myrvold played little with Quebec/Colorado and then went onto Boston along with Landon Wilson, afterward back to Europe(AIK-Sweden) and back again to North America with the Islanders/Springfield. Myrvold has already shown an interest at playing for Norway in the World B Championships, a stint that can only help.
In final, with the Rangers defense in such disarray it is only time before the Lørenskog boy get`s a shot at a shift on MSG ice…
We hope you will enjoy the following look at an NHL training camp as seen through the eyes of rookie centerman Stephen Weiss. Weiss, 18, a native of Toronto, Ontario, played in 62 games last season with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) scoring 40 goals and 47 assists (87 points). He was the Panthers’ first selection and fourth overall in this year’s entry draft held at National Car Rental Center.
Week One / Part One:
I’d like to start out by saying hello to my family and friends that I know are going to be reading this on the Panthers’ website. I’m doing great here in Hull and looking forward to rookie training camp. I’m rooming with Niklas Hagman. He was drafted in ’99 with the Panthers and played in Finland last year. He speaks English well so there’s no problem communicating. He’s a good guy and all the other guys seem like good guys too.
How was your off-season?
I had a good summer. I had a chance to train hard. We had the rookie camp in Thunder Bay with the Panthers. That went real well. I got to meet some of the guys and that was a neat experience. The summers start to fly by once you get older. It was good to get some training in and put on some weight, which was good for me. And it was nice to spend time with my family.
How do you feel physically coming into this camp? What’s your mindset?
I feel real good right now. I put on a lot of weight, feel strong, and I’m looking forward to getting camp started. Even just last year compared to where I am now it’s totally different. I was just 170 Read more »