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.
Ownership changes loom: According to published reports this week, the Toronto Dominion Bank’s shares in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. are now for sale … several concerns within the ownership group of MLSEL (including both Larry Tanenbaum and Steve Stavro) are said to be interested in acquiring all or part of this package, thought to be worth approximately $120 million CDN … it has been confirmed that a standard agreement is in place whereby any available shares must be offered to the other shareholders in proportion to their current ownership stakes … that means neither Stavro nor Tanenbaum, whose relationship is said by those in the know to be indifferent at best, can gain any more control than they already have … moreover, nothing would really change substantively even if one or the other acquired the TD’s entire position … however, should an outside investor seek to gain control, Stavro and/or Tanenbaum could become important power brokers – as useful in preventing control from shifting as they would be in assisting someone to gain full control … last September, BCE (which controls the CTV network) and the powerful Thomson family announced a new $4-billion joint venture into electronic media … BCE/Thomson is anxious to acquire the broadcast interests of MLSEL, though not necessarily the entire company … if this is not possible Read more »
The player they compare to Mike Modano, another state of Michigan
hockey superstar, is making a name for himself in the ranks of the
National Hockey League. It will only be after several years in the
league that those comparisons will start to diminish.
In the meantime, the high-profile draft pick and native Detroiter
continues to create excitement on the ice with his talent and
ability…talents that many saw him use to his full capacity while playing
in the Compuware system and with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.
“You can see the signs that he’s going to be a great player,” says
Nashville Predators assistant coach Brent Peterson. “He’s only
20-years-old, he’s still learning the game, and yet we’ve thrown him
into the lineup every night and he’s handled it well.”
Certainly Peterson says Legwand has a lot to learn about the pro game,
but the tools are there.
“He has the potential to be an outstanding player as soon as he
matures,” says Peterson, a former Detroit Red Wing, who played with the
Wings back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, before Legwand was even
born. “He’s a Modano-style player, with terrific skills and he’s done
as much as we want him to.”
Adjusting to the long season schedule in the NHL and the travel has
been a big part of the climb for Legwand, who has 9 goals and 23 assists
for 32 points in 64 games so far this season for the Predators.
“It’s a different game up here,” says Legwand. “You get better every
game and you realize it’s all about total team effort,” h Read more »
At the 2000 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the New York Islanders,
with the first overall selection, shocked the world by selecting Goaltender
Rick DiPietro, and trading Roberto Luongo and Kevin Weekes. DiPietro
instantly made hockey history by being selected the highest drafted
Goaltender ever, surpassing Luongo, who was selected by the Islanders with
the 4th overall choice in 1997.
At Boston University, DiPietro had a 18-5-5 record with a 2.45 goals
against average and a .913 save percentage. DiPietro won the Kevin Mutch
award as the Most Valuable Player of the Boston University vs. Boston College
Series. One of DiPietro’s top qualities are his confidence and his puck
handling ability. His ability to play the puck was the reason that Mike
Milbury, General Manager of the New York Islanders, believed he would be a
better Goaltender than Luongo. Milbury was quoted a few weeks after the
draft saying “DiPietro will revitalize the goaltending position.”
After struggling at training camp, where he suffered a groin injury, he
was sent to the Chichago Wolves of the International Hockey League. He also
struggled in Chicago where he posted a sub-par 3.39 Goals Against Average.
In the World Junior Championships for Team USA, DiPietro played almost 360
minutes, and allowed only 8 goals on 109 shots. He played in six games, and
had a 5-1 with a 1.33 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.
After the World Junior Championships, DiPietro finally got his chance to
play in the NHL. In Read more »
In a disappointing season for the Panthers, there has not been too many thing for fans to get excited about, but there has been two constants all season that have brought optimism for next season. The record-breaking season by Pavel Bure, and the exemplary play of Roberto Luongo.
In the midst of a streak that has seen Roberto lose only once in his last nine starts (3-1-5), Roberto has been keeping the Panthers competitive in every one of these games. In the last three games alone, he has stopped 110 of 114 shots (.965 sv), and has allowed two goals or less in six of the last 9 starts, and 14 goals in his last 23 starts.
The night before playing Montreal to a 2-2 tie, a game in which he faced 40 shots, 23 of which came in one period alone, Roberto was gracious enough to speak with Hockey’s Future regarding his season so far, and his thoughts on a variety of other topics Read more »
Ron Hainsey, the Canadiens’ first round pick in last years’ draft, was signed to a 3-year contract. He will report to the AHL’s Quebec Citadelles immediately, in order to begin an AHL amateur try-out.
Formerly of U Mass-Lowell, Ron Hainsey is the popular choice as the Canadiens’ top prospect. He played consistently well all season, going no more than 2 straight games without a point. He registered 16 points in his first 10 games, and was named Hockey East’s player of the week for the week ending November 12th.
The 6’3″, 194 lbs. Hainsey has played 33 games. He has 36 points (10-26-36), with 51 minutes in penalties. Six of his goals were scored on the powerplay, while 1 was scored short-handed. He had point-scoring streaks of 4 games on two different occasions, as well as one streak of 3 straight games with at least 1 point.
Hainsey also played for the US squad in the World Junior Championships. He had a strong tournament, as he put his puck movement skills on display. He played 7 games, helping the US finish with a 5-2 record; Good enough for 5th place. He had 5 points (0-5-5), and was +3 with 2 minutes in penalties. He finished 3rd overall in scoring among defensemen, and registered 14 shots on net during the tournament.
Hainsey has all the skills to be an NHL regular. He must however increase his upper body strength. A jump to the NHL next season would be an incredible achievement. However he does have the skills to compete at the AHL level.
Hab you Heard?
Francois Beauchemin, the Habs’ 3rd round pick in the ’98 Ent Read more »
The University of Michigan’s Andy Hilbert raced down the left side from
the opening face-off of the CCHA championship game, grabbed a loose puck
and tried to drive a shot from the left circle past eventual tournament
MVP Ryan Miller, sophomore goaltender for the Michigan State Spartans.
Miller stopped it and 19 shots later stopped everything else as MSU
glided to its second straight CCHA playoff championship, defeating the
Wolverines 2-0 in the CCHA title match at Joe Louis Arena.
It was a muscular defensive effort by the Spartans and their Hobey
Baker-nominated netminder, who in most hockey worlds could be referred
to as a human wall.
But, the promising goalie and cousin of three of MSU’s greatest
contingent of Millers says the defense in front of him should not be
“The guys in front of me played outstanding,” said Miller, who became
the first-ever two-time tournament MVP. “They really limited the shots
and didn’t let them (U-M) stretch the ice out on us. They took away a
lot of the back-door plays.”
Miller was outstanding in getting his second straight tournament
championship shutout (last year the Spartans defeated Nebraska-Omaha in
the final 6-0) but those green and white defenders (Andrew Hutchinson,
Jon Insana, John-Michael Liles, Brad Fast, Joe Markusen and Kris Koski)
had a hand in it too, tying up potential maize and blue offenders at
every opportunity and forcing them into taking bad shots at times.
“That was Spartan hockey at its best tonight,” said head coach R Read more »
Ben Assenmacher doesn’t have to speak in the Springfield Jr. Blues
locker room to command respect from his teammates. He merely shows them
what he’s talking about by collecting points on the ice and making big
plays. He leads by example.
Springfield head coach Craig Heggs says his star can play in all zones
and all corners and is possibly the hardest worker on the team.
“There’s no stat category for hard work,” says coach Heggs. “Benny
logs a lot of ice time. You don’t have to worry about him away from the
The Blues’ team captain is one of the top penalty killers on the team
and simply leads by example, much like his linemate Greg Rallo.
“He is a tough kid, a captain by example,” says Heggs. “We need to
bring more players like Benny into this program. He’s very coachable,
Assenmacher himself would be the first one to tell you that he’s a
hard-working guy and he knows what it takes. He works hard off the ice
and in the gym. He constantly tweaks his game, and knows he’s not
always going to be perfect. But, he expects to win. And he expects his
teammates to win.
Ben Assenmacher is from a highly competitive background and the
athletic trademark runs deep through his family roots.
Ben’s dad received a full-ride scholarship to play football at the
University of Detroit. His father is now a hard-working doctor. He has
five older brothers, one younger than he and a sister thrown in there
Assenmacher says although his dad never forced Read more »
We’re going to talk about a player, who has really shown that a recall from the affiliate
team can turn your career on. Petr, a Anaheim Mighty Ducks forward, seems to be a lock on the
Ducks roster for the future now. And that when he was a household name only for the hard-core
Ducks fans the season before. They knew that in the Finnish league there is a high scoring winger,
belonging to the Mighty Ducks. But this season they could see Petr on the Pond. And they’ve
really seen a player, who can put great numbers for the Ducks in the future!
Petr grew up in a small city of Kladno, not too far from the capital Prague. In fact, he played
hockey in one of the best known Czech cities for producing NHL-caliber players. You may know that
Jaromir Jagr also played in the system of Kladno before he started his star career for the
Pens. That’s a little of history, Petr, even if he was a decent prospect, was in no way
compared to the famous Number 68. He was born 1977 and that year Kladno produced a lot of
high quality players. Petr grew up playing with fellow ’77 born Jiri Burger, Marek Zidlicky
or Jiri Kuchler. These four players were the top on the junior team of Kladno and they played together
since they were kids. But only Petr Tenkrat was able to reach the NHL, even if center Jiri
Burger and defenseman Marek Zidlicky were regarded as better prospects. The last player, Jiri
Kuchler is almost forgotten also in the Czech Republic now. It is interesting, that Tenkrat,
Burger and Zidlicky all played in the Finnish SM-Liiga at some time of their care Read more »
The Tampa Bay Lightning sent right-winger Dmitry Afanasenkov and defenceman Mikko Kuparinen to the Detroit Vipers of the IHL on Wednesday.
Afanasenkov was recalled by the Lighting on March 9 and played in eight games this season, recording a goal and an assist. The Russian is in his first professional season and has recorded 15 goals and 18 assists with Detroit.
Kuparinen was recalled by the Lightning on March 27 but did not play. The Finn has been in 34 games with the Vipers this season, recording a goal and three assists.
Kuparinen was picked by the Lightning in the ninth round of the 1999 NHL entry draft. He was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in October 1999 and was reacquired by the Lightning in March 2000 for defenceman Chris McAlpine.
IHL RESULTS FOR THURSDAY MARCH 29, 2001
Milwaukee Admirals 4
Detroit Vipers 1
Mark Mowers scored two goals for the second consecutive game and Jason Goulet and Ville Peltonen each added a goal and an assist as the Milwaukee Admirals beat the Detroit Vipers, 4-1. Mowers, a former standout at the University of New Hampshire who scored twice in Milwaukee’s 5-3 win over Cleveland yesterday, broke a scoreless tie 3:25 into the second period with his 20th goal before netting his second goal with 10 seconds left in the frame to give the Admirals a 4-0 lead heading into the third. Goulet and Peltonen also scored in the second period and Sean Haggerty added two assists as Milwaukee won their fourth straight game. Jan Lasak picked up the win after stopping 29 of 30 shots. Scott Nichol foiled Read more »