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NAHL and U-M alum Mike Knuble is rising star in NHL

by Derek Berry
on

You might call Grand Rapids native Mike Knuble a late bloomer. Knuble
got a late start in hockey, learning a lot at the high school level and
then jumping right into the North American Hockey League. Knuble only
needed one year in the NAHL before moving on to the University of
Michigan, where he had an outstanding four years.

The big forward spent one season in Kalamazoo and there were a number
of reasons why he will always value what he learned there.

Besides the exposure and the close proximity to home, Knuble got to
learn a lot more about the game he loves.

“It (the NAHL) really forced you to skate or you couldn’t keep up,”
said Knuble. “It was an excellent step for me in my career because it
really got me involved in the game more.”

Not that Knuble wasn’t already involved or looked at and drooled over
by several scouts and top college hockey schools looking at this big,
young forward with such size, speed and quickness that your head would
spin. But, Knuble says the talent level from high school up to the NAHL
was significant.

“I played with guys like Brian Holzinger, Brian Rolston, and Rob
Valicevic, so I learned a lot real fast,” he says. “And our coach, Paul
Pickard, worked us very hard too.”

Knuble says he worked so hard while in Kalamazoo under Pickard’s
conditioning program, (which included running laps and intense skating)
that he lost weight before he arrived on the scene at U-M.

It was during that year in the NAHL that U-M’s hockey program took a
liking to Knubl Read more »

Knutsen`s Success: Will it Bring More Norwegians to the NHL?

by Evan Andriopoulos
on
As Espen Knutsen`s toils with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks seem to fade away they are still in the picture of the Norwegian sports scene. After Knutsen`s orignal drafting by the Hartford Whalers and then his subsequent demotion as a member of the Mighty Ducks… still the Norwegian Media and young players flocked to the sport of hockey. After his failure and countrymate Anders Myrvold`s return to Swedish Hockey after a failed Bruins effort the sport lost great deals of interest. Coupled with the loss of Norwegian “Stars” to the Swedish Leagues and other European Leagues the fans started to turn their back on the sport. If not for the occassion “bad news” of the Norwegian League or another loss at various international tourneys…the youth avoided the sport and sponsorship money began to fade.

Hopes that Espen Knutsen`s solid play this time around and countrymates Anders Myrvold(Islanders)return to the NHL and the drafting of Tore Vikingstad(Blues)would have bouyed the interest…. but to date the only additional notes are the media`s additional coverage, covering Espen`s daily toils, the fans have been more skeptical perhaps due to the fact that Knutsen`s last voyage failed so miserably.

However in the pipeline players like Vikingstad and Patrick Thoresen, Christian Thygesen and Lasse Fredriksen lead the way…

The problem seems to lie within the organizations. The teams are loading up with lesser Swedish players and stunting the growth of Norwegian players. Former NHLer Serge Boisvert has been a champion of the cause the raise the level of t Read more »

Avalanche of News…

by Mike Kretschmer
on

Hey everyone:

Since my last update, things have been rather hectic, but the Colorado page is about to get back on track. Thanks for the patience!

First off all, I would like to point out that Dan Hinote is just what this team has needed. A while back, I pointed out that the Avs needed an aggressive agitator of sorts to go all the way this year; a Tyson Nash-type of player. But, instead of that, the Avs have something a little more respectable and just as productive in Dan Hinote. Hinote’s play on the third and fourth lines have been downright inspirational at best. While such acclaim will not win him any awards in the league, Hinote’s play has earned him the respect and confidence of his teammates, especially Shjon Podein, who is having a career year. In my opinion, the Avs third line hasn’t looked as good as the old Keane, Ricci, and Yelle line of ’96, but it is getting there, thanks to the play of Hinote.

Another more recent surprise has been the play of Hershey call up Rick Berry. Called up as a temporary replacement for the injured Adam Foote, Berry’s play has been solid. In fact, his play has forced Nolan Pratt back to the bench at times. Berry’s game is simple, and his movement hasn’t looked too shaky. Look for Berry to make the most of his callup time, and look for Pratt to be on the way out of Denver around the deadline.

Read more »

Jimmy Roy’s Dream Still Alive

by Andrew Bourgeois
on
In Northwestern Ontario in the small town of Sioux Lookout on a cold Saturday afternoon it is Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. In goal is a young Jimmy Roy who stops shot after shot in the overtime until his team finally scores the game winner. Roy once again is a Stanley Cup winner. It is the dream of every young Canadian boy growing up playing hockey to win the Stanley Cup and for Jimmy Roy the dream is still alive.

Born in Sioux Lookout, Ontario Roy, began his hockey career like any other Canadian boy on the outdoor rink. “We used to play alot of hockey on the outdoor rinks and alot of street hockey, but I usually played in goal.” Roy said. “All the neighbour hood kids would come down to our place and we would play for hours. I think most of the time they would come and see me and my brother fight, but we all had fun.”

Like many young Canadian boys Roy left home at an early age to pursue a career in the sport he loved. ” I moved to Kenora, Ontario where I played triple A midget for 3 years then moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario and played junior A tier 2 with the Thunder Bay Flyers for a year in the USHL.”
After his one year stint in the USHL Jimmy took a different route in his hockey career. Instead of going to playy major junior A, Jimmy opted to go try the college route with Michigan Tech in the WCHA. After 2 years with Michigan Tech a new door opened for Jimmy when the opportunity to represent Canada on the Canadian National Team. “Anytime you have an opportunity to represent your country and put a maple leaf jersey on, its an honour and I want Read more »

Czech Republic at World Hockey Challenge

by Robert Neuhauser
on
By the time when all the hockey world watched NHL players of the near future competing at the
WJC in Russia, the NHL players of a more distant future played their tournament in Truro and New
Glasgow. The top Under-17 teams had their meeting there and have spent there a week full of high-
quality hockey, the best that 16 year old kids can play.

The Czech Republic presented a strong squad, who is hoping to make a medal at the Under-18 teams
WJC in 2002, loaded with 2002 and 2003 NHL draft prospects. Jiri Hudler, a potential top 5 pick
in the 2002 draft, missed this tournament because he attended the Under-20 team selection camp,
from where he was scratched. He spent the following days with practicing with his HC Slovnaft Vsetin
team, before being moved to the HC Havirov Panthers in mid-January. But other 2002 top prospects
made the trip to Canada. Hudler’s teammate Robin Kovar, a sized winger with great scoring touch,
Petr Kanko of HC Sparta Praha, a speedy winger with some games already played in the Elite
league or Marian Havel, brother of WJC champion Lukas Havel and current captain of SK Jihlava
junior team. The defense boasted the likes of Ondrej Nemec or Martin Vagner, aggresive mobile
defensemen, both serious 2002 prospects. When we look even more into the future, we see the
2003 NHL draft coming. And it’s most likely that the names of defensemen Jiri Drtina and
Lukas Pulpan will be called along with forward Kamil Kreps of Litvinov. Pulpan and Drtina are
1985 born prospects and Kreps was born in late 1984, so 2003 eligible. The Czechs w Read more »

A View from the Other Side

by Jeff Bromley
on
The CHL being what it is, a massive umbrella organization covering three leagues containing fifty-five teams operating from coast to coast, it is not often a small town sports writer from the west gets to see clubs from one of the other leagues. Having the chance to see how one of the other thirds of the CHL operates, naturally I jumped at it.

The North Bay Centennials operate out of the Ontario Hockey League’s, Eastern Conference Central Division and on this night I had the pleasure to take in a game between the hometown Centennials and the storied Peterborough Petes. The first thing you notice when you walk through the doors to Memorial Gardens (Capacity – 3523 plus 500 more for standing room) in North Bay is it’s age. Built in 1954, it’s a far cry from the state of the art facility we enjoy in Cranbrook but it’s not inadequate in the manner that the old Memorial Arena was for housing a major junior club. This old girl had a lot of character and history to it. From its high, sloped bleachers that seemed to go on forever, the sizeable picture of the Queen on one end and a big blue curtain at the other. To its trophy cases and historical hockey and building pictures that adorned the corridors in its wooden innards, it was clearly evident that building had seen some true hockey memories over the years.

The game between the Cents and the Petes was as entertaining they come. The Peterborough squad did seem to have the jump in their skating for most of the night as they clearly dominated the Centennials who were coming off their third game in as Read more »

OHL Prospect Report: Colt King and Aaron Lobb

by Bob Chery
on

(GUELPH – January 16)……..A Tuesday night match-up between the
Guelph Storm and the visiting London Knights promised plenty of
fireworks as a fight-filled game earlier this season between the
two clubs led to allegations that London coach Lindsay Hofford
was instructing his players to start fights. He would ultimately
receive a 12-game suspension for his actions that night.

The game also featured the two premier power-forward prospects
from the OHL for the upcoming NHL Draft. Both right-winger Aaron
Lobb of the Knights and left-winger Colt King of the Storm came
out of the gates trying to establish a physical tone. Lobb
wasted no time in lining up Frank Burgio for a hit, but the
sturdy Guelph defender withstood the body check well. King spent
his first shift in the game’s third minute colliding with Lobb,
and after getting the better of that exchange, just missed an
open-ice hit on a London player trying to go east-west through
the neutral zone.

With both teams determined to set a physical tempo, London’s
Daniel Bois let his exuberance get the better of him as he
needlessly roughed up a Guelph blue-liner after the defender had
cleared the puck out of his own zone.

The ensuing power-play saw Knights goaltender Aaron Molnar make
a great save on Brian Passmore after a nice cross-ice feed from
Charlie Stephens, but eight seconds after the penalty expired, a
Steve Chabbert knuckler from the point was re-shot rather than
re-directed by teammate Martin St. Pierre past Molnar to give
the Storm a 1-0 lead.

< Read more »

Joe Shawhan learned to coach from a goalie’s point of view

by Derek Berry
on
A wise broadcaster and probably a Vezina trophy winner once said, “a
goaltender sees the game differently.” In the case of Soo Indians head
coach Joe Shawhan, that is definitely true.

It’s no secret that Shawhan is a goalie by trade. The locals up in
Sault Ste. Marie know him well. Shawhan rose to stardom playing high
school hockey for Sault Ste. Marie High School, where he led his team to
the state finals one year, only to fall to Trenton High School. He
played goal under two exceptional coaches at Lake Superior State
University – Frank Anzalone and Jeff Jackson, both of whom would lead
the Lakers to NCAA championships.

And in between, Shawhan also played for an earlier version of what is
now the North American Hockey League’s Soo Indians, in the Northern
Ontario Hockey League, which churned out such stars as Denny Lambert and
Chris Simon.

But, why goaltending? What compelled Shawhan to want to play a position
that takes a special individual to play?

“When I started playing, the guys were older than me,” says Shawhan, now
in his sixth season as head coach of the Indians. “I like the position
and I never played another one again.”

Shawhan didn’t take the traditional route of playing travel hockey when
he was growing up. Instead, he learned more in high school and at the
college level. He certainly was not a naturally gifted goaltender, as
he says, but had to work harder.

When Shawhan arrived on the scene at Lake Superior, he immediately won a
starting job and helped the Lakers win a Read more »

IIHF News

by Joeri Loonen
on
Last Saturday and Sunday along with the 2001 IIHF Continental Cup finals,
the IIHF met with the representatives of the major European ice hockey
leagues to review the offer from the NHL to renew the agreement under which
European ice hockey players transfer to and from the NHL.

However, given the significant increase in the number and quality of
European players moving to the NHL, the meeting was of the opinion that
further negotiations with the NHL are required. IIHF President René Fasel
and IIHF General Secretary Jan-Ake Edvinsson will be meeting with NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman to continue the discussions. The date for a
meeting in New York will be confirmed within the next few days.

There are a number of open questions from the previous discussions with the
NHL which require clarification. The European ice hockey leagues position
was unanimous in the weekend IIHF meetings. However, it would not be
appropriate to discuss these until the IIHF and NHL have met.


Russian Goalie Murdered

On Monday after the practice in Magnitogorsk, Russia, 24-year old goalkeeper
of Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Serguei Zemchenok was shot to death. The killing
took place in the apartment building where he lived. The police have not
yet been able to arrest the killer or killers and no motive for the shooting
has been announced.

Serguei Zemchenok played in Metallurg Magnitogorsk since 1994 and in the
very first season he won the silver medal at the 1994 IIHF European U18
Championship in Finland representing his native Ru Read more »

Posmyk gets his chance

by Megan Sexton
on

Marek Posmyk was recalled from Detroit today, to fill the roster spot vacated by Maxim Galonov who cleared waivers and was reassigned to Detroit.

In 30 games with the Vipers this season, Posmyk has posted 15 points and is a plus-5 on a poor Viper team.

He appeared in 18 games with the Lightning last season after his trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs in February. He made a huge impression in his first games. Head Coach Steve Ludzik told the St. Petersburg Times, after watching Posmyk play, how great he was playing and that “He’s pushing a lot of guys for jobs.” Such praises were a rarity from the rookie coach. As the season closed Posmyk’s play slacked and he finished the season with a goal and 2 assists.

After a sub-par training camp, Posmyk was returned to Detroit in favor of prospect Cory Sarich. Given Tampa Bay’s extensive depth at the position, defensive jobs in Tampa Bay are hard to come by. This could be Posmyk’s chance to showcase his skills and move himself up a few notches on the depth chart.

Kyle Freadrich was also returned to the IHL. A frequent healthy scratch, Freadrich had one assist and 36 penalty minutes in 13 games with the Bolts.