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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 »

Mezei Stands Out For Struggling Isles

by Jonathan Litterine
on
Not very much has gone right for the 2000-2001 New York Islanders. To to
their terrible play their coach has lost his job. Yet one of very few bright
spots, has been the play of Branislav Mezei. Mezei a 6’4 , 221 pound rookie
defenseman is a native of Nitra, Slovakia. He started the year in Lowell of
the American Hockey League. Yet do to injuries and poor play, he arrived in
the show probably earlier then the Islanders would have liked. Yet Mezei has
accepted the challenge and made the most of his chances. Mezei logs a lot of
ice time and is an extremely physical defenseman. He is not a goon. He very
rarely fights. Yet a few nights ago in Pittsburgh, he proved he can stand up
to the NHL’s tough guys. With a bunch of his teammates being bullied around
by Krzysztof Oliwa, Mezei jumped in a did very well in an all out brawl with
one of the best fighters in the league. Mezei is very very talented on the
offensive end, proving it time and time again with numerous great outlet
passes. There is no doubt the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League
greatly miss his presence in their lineup. Mezei played for Belleville for 3
years before getting his shot this year. There might be something in the
water over in Nitra, Slovakia. Juraj Kolnik, a Islander rookie forward was
also born in the Slovakian town. The two friends have been two of a list of
small success stories for the Islanders this year. Look for more from both
Mezei and Kolnik in the very near future.

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 »

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