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Islanders trade deadline report and look ahead

by Bill Bennett
on

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.

Minor Move:

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 »

New Coach to Lead the Jr. Blues Next Year

by Ron Valerino
on

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
jrblues@cityscape.net

The CHL Daily News: Playoff Edition

by League Press Release
on

The Toronto St. Michael’s Majors (6) became the first CHL team to advance to
the second round of the playoffs Tuesday night, as the North Bay Centennials
became the first team to be eliminated from the post-season.

Toronto defeated North Bay 5-2 Tuesday night, winning the best-of-seven
Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference opening round series in four
consecutive games. As a result, there are now 45 teams still alive in the
fight to join the host Guelph Storm at the 2002 MasterCard Memorial Cup May
18-26 in Guelph, Ontario.

It was the final OHL game in North Bay, which has been home to the
Centennials for 20 years. The team was recently sold to a group that will
transfer the team to Saginaw, Michigan next season.

Tuesday night was a busy night in the CHL playoffs as 17 games were played.
Details on all of the games are listed below.

In each edition of the CHL Daily News (Monday through Friday) right up until
the conclusion of the CHL playoffs, the playoff results of all three CHL
leagues will be included. First round playoff action in all three leagues
will be completed by April 3.

Wrap-ups from all of the games are included daily, along with that day’s
schedule of games.

Starting April 3, a special MasterCard Memorial Cup section will also be
available at the official website of the CHL, www.chl.ca.

The complete playoff schedules of the three leagues are listed below. Be
sure and follow all of the CHL playoff action at the official website of the
CHL, www.chl.ca, daily right up until the 2002 MasterCard Memoria Read more »

Top Czech Under-17 team players: Vojtech Polak

by Robert Neuhauser
on
It didn’t happen very often in the history of Czech hockey that a line would be so dominating
on the international junior stage like the Vojtech Polak-Petr Vrana-Ivo Kratena line. Young
guns of the late 80’s Jaromir Jagr, Bobby Holik and Robert Reichel also formed a great line
and the three 1985 born blue-chippers draw many comparisons to them when speaking about
their level of skill. The scorer of this line and the most offensive player is the right
winger Vojtech Polak, the current captain of the Czech Under-17 team.

Vojtech Polak had ‘hockey player’ written all over him since he was born. Just like many stars of the
past and future he was born in a hockey family. His dad, also of the name Vojtech Polak, is
a respected youth coach and the current coach of Karlovy Vary’s 5th grade team. Just as the
little Vojtech could walk, he also became his first pair of skates and his dad laced him the
tights up for the first time. So it came that already at the age of two years Vojtech Polak
took his first strides. He was born in the small city Ostrov nad Ohri, but lives his whole
life in the famous spa city Karlovy Vary and at the local rink he also learned how to keep
balance on his skates. The little kid was very talented, when he was four, Vojtech was already
a solid skater for his age, took the stick into his hands and touched the black piece of
rubber for the first time. His hockey career began very early, at the mere age of four Vojtech
Polak was admitted into the Karlovy Vary’s pre-novice cathegory and also played his first
game. From the very first gam Read more »

Wild news and notes

by Chris Kitching
on

As expected, the Minnesota Wild were very quiet last Tuesday, making only
one minor deal leading up to the much anticipated NHL trade deadline. Minnesota’s only move sent C Darryl Laplante to the Boston Bruins for LW Greg Crozier.

Crozier, a third round pick (73rd overall) of the Pittsburgh Penguins in
1994, has played only one NHL game in his career. The 25 year old has spent
all season with the Providence Bruins (AHL) this season, tallying 11 points
in 54 games. He was assigned to the Houston Aeros following the trade.

Laplante, meanwhile, has played in the minors with Houston all season, with
17 points in 31 games, and never played a game in a Wild uniform.


Park shines

With Sergei Zholtok on the sidelines, C Richard Park has been given more
time on the power-play and more ice time, overall. Park took advantage of
the extra action to bang home two power-play goals in Monday’s 4-2 win,
including the game winner.

It was the first two-goal game of Park’s career, and extended the South
Korean’s season totals to eight goals and 12 assists in 51 games.

This is Park’s first season in the NHL since 1998-99 when he played seven
games with the Philadelphia Flyers.


Trainer’s Room

Minnesota was able to take two positives out of Saturday afternoon’s loss as
D Brad Bombardir and C Wes Walz returned to action. Bombardir missed four
games with a sore right ankle, while Walz had been on the shelf since the
Olympic break with injuries to his chest and left shoulder.

Read more »

Norfolk Admirals clinch playoff berth

by Corine Gatti
on

The Norfolk locker room is happy.

“We’re excited and there is a lot of energy. We knew we had to win t and we did the small things right,” said center Peter White.

Ten points behind first place Philadelphia in mid- February and despite call-ups and untimely injuries-the Norfolk Admirals are 8-1-2 in the last 11 games clinched a playoff for the second year of the franchises existence and extended their winning streak to six last weekend.

Norfolk swept their two home games by defeating the last place Portland Pirates 1-0 Friday and Philly 6-0 on Saturday and sent the reeling third place Philadelphia to another loss with a 4-0 victory on the road Sunday night. With their sixth straight win and only allowing one goal in the last three games, the Admirals now lead the former first place team by seven points.

Portland 1 Admirals 2

With a stellar performance from Craig Anderson and goals from Valerie Zelepukin and Quintin Laing gave the Admirals more room to breath in the Southern Conference.
Quintin Laing put the first goal on the board for Norfolk on a power play at 15:29 of the game. Norfolk who out shot Portland by 12 by the second period constantly bombarded the goalie and defense.

With consecutive shots amiss, veteran Valerie Zelepukin found the back of the net in the last three minutes before intermission. However, Anderson lost his shut out in the last few seconds of the third period. “The kid played a heck of a game and we work together to do the little things right,” said Jean-Yves Leroux who had assist in the second perio Read more »

Kamloops International Bantam Tournament

by Glen Crichton
on

KAMLOOPS INTERNATIONAL BANTAM ICE HOCKEY TOURNAMENT

MARCH 27-APRIL 1, 2002

It’s that time of year again when the twon of Kamloops, British Columbia hosts some of the best Bantam Teams and players from across Canada and the United States. The Detroit Compuware team, a regular fixture at the tournament are joined by three other U.S. based teams, the Michigan Ice Dogs, Cleveland Barons and Team Illinois. Kamloops will have two teams in the tourney with the Triple “AAA” Kamloops Jardine Blazers and the Double “AA” Kamloops Dolson Raiders. The remaining 19 teams in the tournament come from across Canada inlcuding, B.C. (3), Alberta (11), Saskatchewan (2) and Ontario (2).

Some former and currrent NHLer’s who have competed at the tournament are: Mario Lemieux, Don Murdoch, Tony McKegney, Ryan Walter, Curt Fraser, Dino Ciccarelli, Glenn Anderson, Doug Lidster, Jarri Kurri, Cliff Ronning, Kevin Hatcher, Mark Recchi, Jimmy Carson, Tony Twist, Joe Sakic, Rod Brind ‘Amour, Mike Modano, Darryl Sydor, Keith Primeau, Adam Foote, Richard Matvichuk, Mike Peca, Brendan Morrison, Darcy Tucker, Shane Willis, Andrew Ference, Patrick Marleau, Michael York, Scott Hannan, Brad Ference, Eric Brewer, David Legwand and Vincent Lecavalier.

Some former participants currently playing major junior hockey include: Tyson Mulock, Brad Priestlay, Ryan Jorde, Ryan Thrussell, Jason Jaffray, Jeremy Jackson, Craig Olynick, Jared Aulin, Chad Davidson, Ryan Craig, Jeremy Colliton, Nick Chibi, Shawn Belle, Paul Brown, Mark Rooneem, Joff Kehler, Pat Jarrett, Gary Gladue, Br Read more »

Is this the end for Kootenay?

by Jeff Bromley
on

It’s the end of March and playoff fever taken hold around the Kootenay’s. Unfortunately, it’s become more of an illness rather than a euphoria to both the players and their fans.

Left untreated, this condition will prove fatal.

The Prince George Cougars shocked the Kootenay Ice, their fans and just about anybody but themselves after walking away from the Cranbrook Rec/Plex this past weekend with 4-1 and 3-1 wins respectively, and a 2-0 lead in their WHL Western Conference quarter-final. Facing the prospect of returning to the Prince George Multiplex for three consecutive games, the Cougars will be looking to wrap the series on home ice. Cougar head coach Ed Dempsey, who’s charges failed to win in either of the two occasions at the Rec/Plex during the regular season, including a lopsided 10-4 drubbing the last time the club visited the Key City, was more than satisfied at the two wins.

“We were looking for two solid efforts on the road and that’s what we got,” said Dempsey. “It was nice to win the first one and it gave us an opportunity for another strong effort in the second game.” Dempsey was guarded against overconfidence against the suddenly sputtering ICE and was quick to warn about complacency in the playoffs. “Let’s give some credit to our opponent, these guys have the most goals of any team in the WHL (second to the Medicine Hat tigers actually), you don’t do that without talent and they have some absolutely gifted forwards led by Jarrett Stoll. If we’re going to have any hope at all we better be able to look after our own end or you’re going to Read more »

Simon Gamache after one year pro

by Holly Gunning
on

Gamache was a star in the QMJHL. He finished as the top scorer of the in 2000-01 with 184 points in 72 games. He was named the 2001 Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year, as well as the 2000-01 QMJHL MVP and MVP of the 2001 QMJHL playoffs. He led his team to the Memorial Cup finals. And most impressively, he beat Mario Lemieux QMJHL’s playoff point record with an amazing 57 points.

Despite these very impressive numbers, Gamache was drafted in the 9th round in the 2000 Entry Draft. Thrashers GM Don Waddell said after the draft that the only reason he fell so far was because of his size, but it is hard to tell if this is the real reason, since Waddell speaks well of all his prospects, even the ones who are longshots. Even if Waddell saw something lacking in his game, he is unlikely to state that publicly.

The question on everyone’s mind is: will Simon Gamache make it to the NHL?

Gamache has good hands, vision, and passing skills. He’s high energy, and exciting to watch. His greatest gift is his ability to put the puck in the net. On the other hand, he’s small, listed at 5’10”, 180 pounds, which does not automatically preclude him from succeeding in the NHL, but unlike some other small players like Paul Kariya or Steve Sullivan, Gamache may lack the speed to compensate for his size.

First Pro Season
Like many players before him, Gamache’s success in juniors has not translated into immediate success in pro hockey.
Read more »

Haydar shines at UNH

by Brian Roe
on

The bigger prospects in the Nashville Predators system, Adam Hall (6’3″), Dan Hamhuis (6’1″), Brian Finley (6’4″) and Andrew Hutchinson (6’2″) are all prominent names in the Preds future. There is, however, a saying that good things come in small packages, an adage that is personified in the form of another Nashville prospect, and University of New Hampshire star, Darren Haydar.

The hockey gods have certainly smiled on the University of New Hampshire Wildcats this season. The #1 team in NCAA Division I hockey boasted an often times unstoppable offense, as well as two senior goaltenders that have played very well. Next week, UNH will make an appearance as one of the finalists in the NCAA’s Frozen Four hockey tournament, where they will open against the Maine Black Bears in a rematch of the Hockey East championship game. UNH won that previous confrontation, 3-1.

Perhaps the main reason for New Hampshire’s success this season is their leading scorer, vocal leader and captain, Darren Haydar. Haydar (22, 5’9″, 165 lbs.), who wears #20 for the Wildcats, is the leading scorer in the nation. In 39 games so far this season, the Milton, ON native has 31 goals and 43 assists for 74 points, an offensive explosion that comes on the heels of back-to-back 41-point seasons. His breakout season has not gone unnoticed, as he is a finalist (and favorite) for the Hobey Baker Award, t Read more »

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