SYRACUSE CRUNCH NEWS
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Forward Mathieu Darche has been named the Syracuse Crunch’s HG Insurance/K&K Insurance AHL Man of the Year. The award honors the player that is judged to have made the greatest commitment to his community and charitable organizations throughout the course of the 2001-2002 season. Good Job!
Goaltender JF Labbe was named one of the AHL’s 2nd Team All-Stars. He was the only Crunch member to be named an all-star.
The Syracuse Crunch have signed C Randy Murphy to a PTO(Professional Try-Out). Murphy, 29, was second in scoring on Elmira of the UHL with 69 points in 68 games.
Also signed to a contract was RW Jack Baker, 21, who was signed to an amateur try-out contract. Baker appeared in 38 games for Boston University, recording 28 points, and 63 PIM.
Credit www.theahl.com for statistics
Copyright by SportsTicker, Fish Pier, West #1, Boston, MA. 02210 (617) 951-1379 Read more »
The Buffalo Sabres in recent years have built up solid depth at the right wing position via trades and good drafting. Some of this talent is already on the Buffalo roster, but there are still a couple of good prospects in the pipeline. One of those prospects, Norm Milley, is currently playing for the Rochester Americans of the AHL.
Norm was selected by Buffalo in the 2nd round of the 1998 NHL Draft, one of three 2nd round picks the Sabres made in that draft. The Toronto native starred for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL, where he spent four seasons prior to turning pro in the summer of 2000. Milley set or tied several team records in Sudbury, and finished his junior career as the second-leading scorer in Wolves history. While the gentleman one point ahead of Norm on Sudbury’s scoring list (Jamie Matthews) may not be familiar to a lot of hockey fans, the two names directly after Milley’s, Ron Duguay and Mike Foligno, should be a little more recognizable to long-time NHL followers.
Milley turned in a solid first season in the AHL last year, earning Rochester’s Rookie of the Year award. His second season with the Amerks got off to a bit of a slow start, but Norm has come on in the season’s 2nd half to remind the organization why he was a high draft pick. Milley’s strong play recently earned him his first call-up to the NHL, where he picked up his first NHL point.
I had a chance to interview Norm following a recent Amerks practice. Below is a transcript of that conversation, with my questions being designated with the initials HF, and Norm’s answers being denote Read more »
SPRINGFIELD, MA . . . The American Hockey League announced today the 2002 AHL All-Rookie Team, as voted on by AHL players and media in each of the league’s 27 cities.
2002 AHL All-Rookie Team
Goaltender – Michael Leighton, Norfolk Admirals
Defenseman – Ron Hainsey, Quebec Citadelles
Defenseman – Barret Jackman, Worcester IceCats
Forward – Tyler Arnason, Norfolk Admirals
Forward – Andy Hilbert, Providence Bruins Read more »
HF: As far as this season is concerned, Erie is on its way to a division title. How has this season been compared to the previous one?
CC: Well, this year has been a season of ups and downs. We started off great, then hit a bit of an injury bug to some of our star players. Then Christmas time came around, we got all of our guys back, made a big trade at the deadline, and we just started to turn things around from there. We’re finishing off the year with a 10-game winning streak, leading to another division title for the 3rd year in a row, so we’re finishing strong the way that you want to.
HF: As far as your season goes, are you personally satisfied with what you have done, or do you feel like there are things that you need to work?
CC: Obviously, there are a lot of things I need to work on, especially if I want to play at the next level, which is my ultimate dream. This year has been a lot of ups and downs for me, also. I’ve been struggling at times; but then again, I’ve been at the top of my game. Going in to the playoffs, I want to find the top of my game again. It’s coming along very well, right now, and me being a big leader on this team, I’m going to be looked at to contribute in any way possible. Whether it’s scoring goals, making a big hit or a big play on defense, it’s what I have to do to be a leader on this team. I’m willing to take the role of doing anything it takes to win so our team can be successful.
HF: I noticed that last season you were voted the best defensive defenseman in your conference, but I also noticed that you had 39 points. Do Read more »
Thrashers Goalie Depth Chart
Here is how the Thrashers goalie depth chart looks as the 2001-02 season winds down. Note that the numbering reflects the current pecking order, not their future potential.
1. Milan Hnilicka (signed as free agent in
2000) Backed up Rhodes during 2000-2001 season and saw a good deal of action due to injuries. He took complete charge of the starting job in 2001-02 and has been solid in goal, with a .908 save %, about 15th best in the league. Hnilicka has very good international credentials, but is relatively unknown around the NHL. He led the Czech team to gold in the 2001 World Championships and was named to the 2002 Olympic team to replace the injured Cechmanek. Perhaps the most underrated goalie in the NHL, the starting job is his to lose next year.
2. Damian Rhodes (acquired via trade from Ottawa prior to 1999 Expansion
Draft) The #1 goalie first two seasons in name only, he saw little time due to injury. Rhodes played better this year, but once again went down with injury in January 2002 and did not return. He is on the downside of his career. It would not be surprising to see him either traded or bought out of his contract over the summer to make room for younger, more promising goalies.
3. (tie) Pasi Nurminen (2001 draft pick) Drafted as a 26-year-old out of the Finnish League, Nurminen is Read more »
With the NHL trading deadline having passed over a little over a week ago, the hockey world has had ample time to ponder what has unquestionably become one of the league’s biggest annual “events”.
Who were this year’s big winners and losers? What team got the best bargain and which ones made the biggest sacrifices? Which teams are now best equipped to take a run at Lord Stanley’s silver chalice this spring?
While these questions can only be answered over time, one individual quietly emerged from deadline day as a potential long-term winner. If you haven’t heard of Antero Niittymaki, keep the name under your hat. Chances are, you’ll be hearing plenty from him in the near future.
A 1998 sixth round draft selection of the Philadelphia Flyers, Niittymaki became the organization’s top goaltending prospect with the trade of Maxime Ouellet to Washington (as part of the package sent to the Capitals for Adam Oates).
Up until now, Niittymaki’s future with the Flyers had been clouded by his supposed rank on the organizational depth chart. After all, just about everyone in the hockey world had Ouellet listed as Philadelphia’s top prospect at any position. Many still feel that Ouellet is the top goaltending prospect in all of hockey. After an up-and-down season with the Phantoms, all of this is now a mute point (at least from the Flyers’ standpoint).
Now, the doors of opportunity have swung wide open for Niittymaki. All that stands in the way of his North American arrival is his name on the dotted line of a contract.
Surely, the Flyers would lov Read more »
It may well be the last time you see Jeff Farkas in a Toronto Maple Leaf uniform. He might get a call-up for the playoffs, but with what he’s shown this year on The Rock, coupled with his latest cup of coffee in the Big Smoke, there are better candidates. It seems the last remnant of the Cliff Fletcher regime has not only let the rest of the pack catch up to him, but he’s let some overtake him as well. Paul Healey has made the Leafs and from here, the choice would easily Alexei Ponikarovsky should a second forward be needed.
In his latest stint Farkas has shown that he is an unwilling warrior in the corners and in front of the net, much like another U.S. collegian the Leafs signed Mike Johnson. It might be prudent to notice that the aforementioned Paul Healey was skating with Mats Sundin while his St. John’s teammate was logging time further down the rotation. The difference here? Contrarily to Farkas, Healey will get his nose dirty and for that he has been rewarded. Despite two years of AHL hockey, Farkas hasn’t raised his game physically and at 24 has more or less run out of opportunities with this organization to do so. Look for the former Boston College forward to be moved soon while he still remains salvageable perhaps with another team.
And so, the countdown for Brian Sutherby continues. After promising words from both Owner Ted Leonsis and G.M. George McPhee, touted Caps prospect Brian Sutherby could arrive back in Washington as early as next week. Sutherby is currently taking part in the WHL playoffs in which his squad, the Moose Jaw Warriors, is fencing with a Regina team which owns a better regular season record (and owns the season series between the two squads at 6-4-1). Caps team hierarchy report that Sutherby is expected to arrive in Washington, D.C. as early as this weekend, however Brian and his team are more focused towards advancing into the second round of the playoffs.
Read more »
The Trade Deadline:
It was a Good News/Bad News Deadline day for the Islanders.
The Good News:
Mike Milbury did not sacrifice any of the teams future on draft day. The names Isbister, Mezei, DiPietro, Torres and Kolnik were all in rumors, along with Dave Scatchard. After all the years of trading in the kids, it was the right call to stick to a plan and see if one goal-scorer to play alongside Yashin this summer can be added. Which is why my last article had several offers that only should have been made if it was a complete steal for Mike Milbury’s roster.
The Isles did bring in Darren Van Impe from the Florida Panthers for a fifth rd pick this summer to give the defense some badly needed depth and in his early games has played in a pairing with Roman Hamrlik.
Van Impe played only thirty games with Boston last season because of an injury and was released before his arbitration hearing. The Rangers signed him where he saw spot duty before being picked up by Florida. Mike Keenan has a habit of making moves on impulse and Van Impe’s plus six rating on a poor Panthers team makes it an interesting move. We’ll see if he fits the Islanders system better which is half the story for many of these players who bounce from team to team without a real good look.
Dave Roche was re-acquired by the Sound Tigers for
Ben Guite and Swedish product Bjorn Melin. Bridgeport clinched a playoff spot and is in a wild race with the Hartford Wolfpack (Ra Read more »
The Springfield Jr. Blues of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) have
hired Chicago native Nick Pollos as their new Head Coach and General Manager
for the upcoming 2002 – 2003 Jr. A Hockey Season. Pollos comes to the Jr.
Blues from the Chicago Flames Midget program where he captured three
consecutive Illinois State and USA Central District Championships as well as
a USA Hockey National Championship in 1999 and a USA Hockey National Runner
Up in 2000.
“I am very excited about the opportunity here in Springfield” says Pollos,
“It’s a great hockey town with great fans. The people of Springfield will be
proud of the team next season and enjoy watching them perform.” The Jr.
Blues will look to rebound from a dismal 2001 – 2002 season. “One of our
goals as a team is to be the hardest working team on the ice night in and
night out. Hard work, commitment and a discipline attitude are not requested
next year, they are expected,” says Pollos, “We want to be a skilled team
and play a complete team game”. The Jr. Blues currently are fighting for the
final playoff spot in the NAHL’s West Division
The Jr. Blues can be reached at 217-525-2589 or by email at