With only one preseason game remaining before the start of the regular season, the story of the Philadelphia Flyers training camp has been the rapid emergence of a corps of young players. The Flyers are faced with a number of roster decisions that they did not initially anticipate having to make for at least one more season. From the looks of things now, their minds seem almost made up to open the season with up to three rookies on the team- 2000 first round pick Justin Williams (about to turn 19), 1999 first rounder Maxime Ouellet (age 19), and 21 year old Czech center Petr Hubacek. Hopefully, the Flyers will keep their young players’ long term development in mind when they make their decision.
At the Flyers rookie camp before the start of training camp, the most impressive position players by far were Williams, Hubacek, and Vaclav Pletka. All three showed above average skating ability and soft hands.
Pletka was no surprise, having been one of the top scorers in the Czech Extraleague last season. The degree of skill refinement shown by Williams and Hubacek were more surprising.
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Well, the waiver draft came and went, and like I said in my early
article, not many players change teams and only 5 did this year. I’m very
pleased to see no one got taken from the Rangers, especially JF Labbe who I
thought for sure would be taken. I might have liked to see Rich Pilon or John
MacLean be selected, but because of their age and salaries, all 29 teams
passed. However, the Rangers did select a player, 27 yr. old Swede Andreas
Johansson. Johansson spent the ’99-00 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning and
then the Calgary Flames. But don’t expect Johansson to be a Ranger any time
soon, as he signed with a team in Sweden for this upcoming season. Maybe he
has a job with the Rangers in the future, but not as of now.
To touch up on an earlier note, JF Labbe now will likely be the backup to
McLean on the opening night roster because stud prospect Johan Holmqvist, who
I thought played well enough to make it, was sent to Hartford of the AHL on
Wednesday. I am kind of disappointed by the move, however it probably will be
best for Holmqvist so spend this season in the AHL, than fight for the backup
job next season when McLean likely won’t be a Ranger as he is in the last
year of a 2 year contract.
I didn’t get to see last night’s 2-2 tie with New Jersey, but I heard
that Jason Labarbera, who was called up when Holmqvist was sent down, had a
great game. He gave up 2 soft goals in the first period, but shutout the Read more »
The pre-season schedule is only six games, with two of them before the veterans were ready to play, and the rest scheduled so far apart that it would not allow the team to play under game conditions on a regular basis.
Two very early pre-season games against Philadelphia, and two very late games against the Rangers and New Jersey, many decisions had to be made based on the practices.
It clearly cost Rick DiPietro an opportunity to get in a game this week because John Vanbiesbrouck (three starts) and Wade Flaherty (one start) need to play the final two games just to stay sharp and DiPietro did let his feelings be known about being sent down without a chance to play in one game, and in a half-joking comment told Mike Milbury the team has not won a pre-season game yet (0-3-1).
For Islander fans the good news is that DiPietro has recovered from his injury with no setbacks.
DiPietro was assigned to the Chicago Wolves (IHL), where he will share the duties with veteran Wendell Young. This is a veteran team that won the Turner Cup last season and should be able to protect Di Pietro and give him the experience of playing against many former NHL veterans.
Lowell was not a consideration for DiPietro with the Kings two goaltending prospects in place.
Springfield (AHL) is not a primary Islanders affiliate. Trenton (ECHL) is where Steve Valiquette will be starting.
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The Kings are coming off their most successful season in years and are looking for two things this season. Firstly, they would like to win a playoff game and perhaps move into the next round. Secondly, develop some of the young talent that is starting to replenish the Kings system. With that in mind, here are a few predictions and things to watch for the 2000 season.
Firstly, which Russian will progress the most? If it is Alexander Frolov, the Kings will have a bona fide top forward prospect. Andrei Shefer is back in Russia this season and you have to wonder how, after a season in Halifax, that will affect his development to the NHL game. Alexey Volkov moves to the AHL where his netminding talents will be showcased in a more NHL-like setting. His development will help the Kings make a decision at the NHL level- if he is a few season’s away, than the younger Storr will likely stay. If he can play sooner, than Fiset can hold down the fort until his arrival.
Look for Kings prospect Kevin Baker to have a big season. His game is well suited for the NHL game and his grit will complement his nose for the net.
Kip Brennan will lead the AHL in PIM’s. The only thing that can stop this is a call-up to the big club. Kip’s game will also develop and he will finish with 15 goals.
The Kings will officially give up on the talented Scott Barney. His back injury seems to be career threatening.
Eric Belanger will return to his top prospect form. Hopefully he will do it as a King.
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The NHL released the protection lists for the upcoming Waiver Draft on
Friday, and there are a few players left available by the Rangers who might
get taken. Here is a look at the list of protected and unprotected players.
Teams were allowed to protect 18 skaters and 2 goalies from their crop of
Protected Players: Jason Doig, Radek Dvorak, Theoren Fleury, Adam Graves, Jan
Hlavac, Kim Johnsson, Valeri Kamensky, Eric Lacroix, Brian Leetch, Sylvain
Lefebvre, Vladimir Malakhov, Sandy McCarthy, Mark Messier, Petr Nedved,
Stephane Quintal, Tim Taylor, Johan Witehall, Mike York, Kirk McLean, Mike
Available Players: Derek Armstrong, Drew Bannister, Jason Dawe, Ken
Gernander, Daniel Goneau, Mike Harder, Johan Lindbom, John MacLean, Jan
Mertzig, Rich Pilon, Brad Smyth, Ronnie Sundin, Terry Virtue, David Wilkie,
Analysis: I’m very surprised to see the Rangers exposed JF Labbe for the
Waiver Draft. I know there was no way to protect him, but, he will probably
get taken. The Rangers are hoping they play their cards right and Labbe
doesn’t get taken, but In my opinion I think they should have dealt him for a
draft choice instead of taking a chance on losing him for nothing. If Labbe
does get selected, than 22 year old Swede Johan Holmqvist will get back-up
duty to start the season with Kirk McLean. I haven’t heard anything yet on Read more »
He’s one of the youngest players in the league. He was 5th on his team
in scoring. He just became eligible to drink liquor in the United
States less than a month ago. At 21 years old, he’s already earned more
money than most people will see in a lifetime.
For most people his age, their biggest worries are cramming for the
college exam they didn’t study for, and which party they’ll be going to
the next night. For Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks, his worries
far exceed the average 21 year old student.
After a disappointing junior year, the Sharks young center may already
be facing a make or break year. If he struggles this year, there will
undoubtedly be comparisons to former Shark poster-boy, Pat Falloon. If
he does in fact struggle, those comparisons very well be justified.
However, if he rebounds, last year will be remembered as nothing more
than a bump along the road.
Entering the league in his rookie year at just 18 years old, Marleau had
what can be best described as an “expected” season. No one expected him
to jump out and score 30 goals. The Sharks simply hoped he would chime
in about a dozen goals and show signs of the brilliance he showed in
junior hockey and that’s exactly what he did. He scored 13 goals and 19
assists, and showed signs of the brilliance that he showed in Seattle of
For his second year, the Sharks hoped he would continue to build on his Read more »
The Ducks have traded University of Minnesota defenseman Jordan Leopold to Calgary. They got Andrei Nazarov and a ghost of the future in a draft choice. But they gave up a sure-fire NHLer. Arguably, one of the best d-man in all of college hockey.
It’s very easy to defend this trade. The Ducks received “The Most Dangerous Man in Hockey.” Andrei Nazarov brings a player for today into the fold. He’ll be right there joining Jim Cummins as a tag team of sorts. He can fight well not to mention be one of the most brutal players the NHL has ever seen. Just ask his victims. But is he a defenseman that will be around as a potential anchor? Hardly. In fact, he’s your basic role player whom the Ducks love to have a surplus of.
The theory that Nazarov will protect Selanne and Kariya is a good one. But he may not bring enough else to the game. Of course, the Ducks received a second round draft choice as well. It can’t be forgotten that Leopold was a second round draft choice himself. This way, the claim is the Ducks at least made the trade even if not the better end of the deal. It makes no difference if another Nik Tsulygin is chosen with that choice.
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Contract problems kept 22 year old Boston College graduate Mike Mottau
out of camp for the first few weeks, but since coming to camp on a tryout
agreement last week, Mottau has made a huge splash in only 2 games.
Although I did not get to see Mottau’s first preseason game, a 2-1 loss
to the Dallas Stars, I heard Mike played excellent in that game…even better
than in last night’s 8-2 loss against the Devils. If if Mottau played better
than he did last night in Dallas, I can’t wait to see what the future holds
for this potential Brian Leetch clone. Although Mottau is only 6’0 192, he
plays like he’s 5 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier. He is a great open ice
checker, and reminds me of Mike Peca a little bit. His offensive talent is
probably the best part of his game, as he impressed me on the power play last
night. He made quick tape to tape passes in the offensive zone, and read the
play very well. He knew where to be at every moment, and even snuck behind
the New Jersey defense and was alone in front of the crease, but the Rangers
were unable to feed him the puck, or he would have had an easy tap in. One of
the most surprising things from that game was that he wasn’t on the ice for
any of the 8 goals against. And this isn’t saying much since practically the
whole team played poorly, but Mottau was clearly the best player on the ice
for the Rangers, with the possible exception of sophomore Michael York, who I Read more »
September 19, 2000
It took an exhibition game between a mediocre, depleted San Jose Sharks squad and the expansion Minnesota Wild to bring NHL Hockey to the Rose Garden in Portland, OR on Tuesday night. Portland hockey fans finally got to witness what has been dangled under their noses for the past 5 years; whether they have liked it or not. The 8,124 in attendance were treated to an entertaining contest despite the absence of many key Shark players and a Minnesota roster that more resembles that of an IHL team than a competitive NHL team. San Jose took the ice without notables such as Owen Nolan, Patrick Marleau, Gary Suter and Brad Stuart due to reasons ranging from contract squabbles to minor injuries.
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On September, 7th, 2000, was the game over. On that day Czech star Jiri Dopita signed a two-year contract with HC Slovnaft Vsetin of the Czech Elite league. Good news for National team coach Josef Augusta, bad news for the Florida Panthers staff. The negotations lasted for four months, no conclusion. The Czech National team captain stays at home. Panthers assistant coach, Czech Slavomir Lener, knows what they have lost. Lener tried hard to change Dopita’s mind (he found a good school for Jiri’s son) and guaranteed him a roster spot. Not to say, it was the center position next to superstar Pavel Bure, the famed Russian sniper. Not every player would be able to support Pavel. Jiri would. A great leader, Jiri is a superb mix of size (6’4”, 210 lbs.) and skill. Nearly 32 years old, Jiri is a mature player with lots of experience, who could easily play 5-6 years in the NHL. Regarded as one of the top players not playing in the NHL, Jiri is excellent in playing in front the opponents net from where he scores a lot of goals. He is a feared checker, almost unable to be knocked off the puck, and is a king along the boards. Jiri, nicknamed “Dopi” uses his size well and is one of the strongest players in Europe. He can hold two opponents only with his arms. You can see, he is a power forward, but highly skilled. Posesses great passing skills, very good vision and is confident. Vsetin center has respect in the locker room, is a natural leader and leads by example. He simply seems always to see a way how to get the puck into the opponents net or how to make a great pass. Read more »