Monday, March 4 to Sunday, March 10
The Week That Was: (3-0-0-1)
A strong week for the Wild as they failed to lose a game during regulation –
their only defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers in overtime – picking
up seven out of a possible eight points. Minnesota received strong offensive
work from their top two lines, and solid goaltending from Dwayne Roloson and
Tue, Mar. 5: L 2-3 (OT) vs. New York Rangers
– Blown 2-0 lead in the third period.
Thu, Mar. 7: W 3-0 at St. Louis Blues
– Roloson records fourth shutout of the season.
Fri, Mar. 8: W 5-3 at Dallas Stars
– Big win over former Minnesota North Stars franchise.
Sun, Mar. 10: W 5-0 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Read more »
Even though the DU Pioneers have not had a lot of playoff experience in recent years, they successfully accomplished three important factors of post-season play over the weekend. First, they were not over confident while playing the number ten seed, Michigan Tech. Second, each player contributed to the game and played as a team. And last, several player were playing though new and old injuries.
The DU Pioneers have beaten the Michigan Tech Huskies in the last 6 games that the two teams have met. Most of these games have been very one sided. It would be very easy to look past this series and focus on the final five next weekend. The other top ranked teams in the WCHA struggled though their weekend series with many one goal games and several overtimes. DU sent a message out to the rest of the league that they would not take any team lightly.
DU’s offense, defense and goaltending played each role selflessly. They dominated in both zones and in every period of both games. Offensively, they totaled 13 goals and 71 shots with 9 different players lighting the lamp and 14 different players with helpers. Defensively, they only allowed 2 goals and 33 shots on goal. The goaltending duo that has trade off duties all season long, has been narrowed down to junior Wade Dubielewicz taking over the starting spot in both games. Sophomore Adam Berkhoel enthusiastically sat on the bench though both games and cheered his team on.
Two weekends ago, during the St Cloud series, DU gained one player back from an injury and saw two other key players go d Read more »
Coach Ron Low and G.M. Glen Sather who have seemingly lost touch with how to motivate the new era of NHL players have basically refused to look at what is available in the system. Certain questions need to be asked. What is available & can it help? Are there other routes available?
After much “hair pulling” Glen Sather finally made a couple “inspirational” moves: The first was to send Dan Blackburn down to Hartford for a little extra work and motivation while calling up Johan Holmqvist to sit on the bench, face NHL warm up and NHL practice shots proved be a good one. Holmqvist returned to Hartford as even a greater asset and that much better of a player. Holmqvist has registered a solid season in Hartford posting a 19-9-6 record with a very respectable 3.12 GAA. Blackburn responded with back to back starts and solid performances for the Rangers.
The second move was to finally bring the self made enigma Michal Grosek up from Hartford where he was playing his normal physical, penalty filled, offensive game. Grosek wracked up 14 goals and 44 points in 48 games and added 167 penalty minutes. His banging style has been something the Rangers have really needed in the past 2 months. He was united with Eric Lindros and added a nice physical presence, one that can even spell a goal and assist when needed here and there. The problem is that Grosek seems to play when he wants to and in the style he wants, then again … Coach Low seems more out of touch of what any player can offer thus nullifying this argue.
Read more »
In the Czech Republic there are some cities, which are known for raising high-quality prospects,
even if they don’t have an Extraleague franchise. One of those cities is definitely Olomouc.
The city which celebrated championship title in the inaugural season of the Czech Extraleague
These days Pavel Brendl is probably the most known Olomouc talent among NHL fans, but he
isn’t a complete product of the Olomouc system. He just played there since the fourth grade.
Die-hard draft fans will know about two more gems, who form along with Vojtech Polak ‘The
Great Line’ of the Czech Under-17 team. These two are Petr Vrana and Ivo Kratena, who left
Olomouc prior to this season. Just like Jakub Cech, the youngest goalie ever to play in the
Czech Extraleague. And Pavel Rusek, the guy the story is about. Because that’s the other
side of the coin. Not having an Extraleague franchise means that all the top prospects leave
when they are about 15 or 16 to join the system of an Extraleague team. Pavel Rusek is a rookie
in the Havirov midgets.
His dad brought him to the arena in Olomouc when he was seven years old. The little Pavel
liked to be active and doing some sport was the best solution for him. He didn’t have his
relatives coaching or playing organized hockey, so it was only his own decision to play the game.
He started also relatively late, most players begin their careers about one or two years
earlier. He said, he wants to play hockey more than any other sport and the parents liked
the idea, so Pavel began to attend the practices. Read more »
Albany Week in Review #23
Broken record. No wins this week. Sorry.
Any writer covering a team that is in the basement must, to the reader(s), sound like a broken record. “Hey, didn’t we read that last week?” Well, reporting loss after loss is not exactly a picnic. On the other hand, this writer had occasion this week to run into a former Adirondack Red Wings’ fan (who converted to become a partisan of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute college hockey, rather than an Albany River Rats’ follower). This writer told Ron, the Wings/Engineers’ fan, that “now I know what it was like for you several years ago.” Ron, the Wings’ fan, got a laugh out of that.
You see, in the final two (of 20) years as the AHL franchise for the Detroit Red Wings, the Adirondack Red Wings were not really competitive. In a precursor to this year’s River Rats, the Wings were a mediocre team. In 1998-99, the Wings finished with 53 points in 80 games, with 21 wins, 48 losses, 3 overtime losses and 8 ties. The Wings that year (their last in the AHL) notched only 184 goals. The River Rats won the year’s head-to-head matchup, 9-2-1.
The last Adirondack game in franchise history was played on Saturday, April 24, 1999. It was a playoff game, in which the Rochester Americans won, 2-1, with only 1,732 fans in attendance at the Glens Falls Civic Center. (Fans of reform of the playoff scenario noted that the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, with 76 points in the standings, but last in the Mid-Atlantic conference, got cheated out of a playoff chance, while Read more »
The St. Michaels Majors are an excellent defensive hockey team but on this night the hometown Belleville Bulls tore into them for 9 goals. Peter Budaj played the 1st and 3rd periods and Andy Chiodo played the 2nd as the Major’s coaches tried to stop the bleeding anyway they could. The Bulls offense is potent and is assisted by the international size ice surface at the Yardman Arena. The Majors on the other hand use their size to their advantage at their home rink in Toronto, which is no bigger than an average living room but that size was ineffective against a strong Bulls team that dominated every aspect of the game including the physical side.
Michael Knight and Dan Growden were the most active Bulls players throwing their weight around, the latter nailing Michael Gough with a textbook hip check that sent Gough off for the rest of the game. Belleville’s captain Matt Coughlin had a less than stellar game on the blueline but redeemed himself with 2 decisive fight wins in coming to the aid of teammates. David Clarkson played with a lot of tenacity, as he seems to be gaining more and more confidence as he gains more valuable experience. He also created scoring chances with some nifty moves in the offensive zone.
The energy and flow are stymied in the small rink and the Majors have geared their team to take advantage of this. They have 10 players listed at over 200lbs and they use this size to clog up the ice and make it almost impossible to create breakout chances. The Majors have the best home record i Read more »
Jackets CHL PROSPECT UPDATE
Western Hockey League
Shane Bendera – G – Kelowna Rockets
Bendera’s play has not affected his play since moving to Kelowna from Red Deer earlier in the season. In 27 games with the Rockets, Bendera has posted a 2.64 GAA and a .906 SV%. In total this season, Bendera’s numbers are slightly better, with a 2.46 GAA and .909 SV% in 47 games. The bad news is that Kelowna still only sits in 4th in the BC Division with a 28-25-10-5 record, and with have to play some better hockey to launch themselves deep into the postseason.
Ben Knopp – RW – Kamloops Blazers
Knopp has finally adjusted to his new Blazer linemates, and I’m positive that the Kamloops coaching staff could not be happier. During my hiatus, Knopp has played 14 games, registering 18 points. He now sits at 40 goals and 77 points (40-37-77) in 73 games. His plus/minus is the stat that impresses me most since last update, where he has improved 13 GF, and now sits at +5, the highest its been all season. Knopp leads the Blazers in goals and points, but sits 3rd in points-per-game. The top two spots for that category go to 2002 draftee Scottie Upshall and LA Kings prospect Jared Aulin
Kiel McLeod – C – Kelowna Rockets
McLeod has finally come of his pulled groin which left him sidelined for longer than Rocket fans would have liked. He’s managed go play in 7 games since the last update, playing in only 41 of 68 games for the Rockets this seaso Read more »
Marek Svatos, Center, Kootenay (WHL)
Stats: (SVK-WJC) 7 GP, 7 G, 1 A, 8 P, 6 PIM, +5
Stats: 49 GP, 36 G, 37 A, 73 P, 56 PIM, +7
Kurt Sauer, Defenseman, Spokane (WHL)
Stats: 57 GP, 3 G, 16 A, 19 P, 71 PIM, +21
Blake Ward, Goaltender, Lethbridge (WHL)
Stats: 35 GP, 11-17-4, 3.58 GAA. .875 SV%
Charlie Stephens, Center, London (OHL)
Stats: 58 GP, 22 G, 34 A, 56 P, 55 PIM, -26
Danny Bois, Right Wing, London (OHL)
Stats: 59 GP, 16 G, 12 A, 28 P, 243 PIM, -12
Aaron Molnar, Goaltender, London (OHL)
Stats: 15 GP, 4-9-2, 3.98 GAA, .870 SV%
Agris Saviels, Defenseman, Owen Sound (OHL)
Stats: 57 GP 5 G, 27 A, 32 P, 33 PIM, Even
Colt King, Left Wing, North Bay (OHL)
Stats: 55 GP, 14 G, 11 A, 25 P, 123 PIM, -30
Cody McCormick, Right Wing, Belleville (OHL)
Stats: 59 GP, 10 G, 16 A, 26 P, 112 PIM, +11
Darryl Bootland, Right Wing, Toronto (OHL)
Stats: 57 GP, 38 G, 56 A, 94 P, 129 PIM, +47
Scott Horvath, Right Wing, Toronto (OHL)
Stats: (UMass-Amherst, HE) 15 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 P, 8 PIM, -2
Stats: (Toronto-OHL) 23 GP, 7 G, 5 A, 12 P, 19 PIM, +6
Peter Budaj, Goaltender, Toronto (OHL)
Stats: (SVK-WJC) 4 GP, 3.11 GAA, .919 SV%, 1 SHO
Stats: 40 GP, 24-9-5, 2.31 GAA, .922 SV% Read more »
The Carolina Hurricanes have a surplus of goaltenders in their system. They recently acquired Kevin Weekes, another “potential” number one man from Tampa Bay. He had become disgruntled over the fact that he wasn’t getting any playing time behind the red-hot Nikolai Khabibulin.
In return, the Lightning receive forwards Chris Dingman and Shane Willis. Dingman has yet to provide any offensive punch at the NHL level during his career. However, you do know what you are getting, a big, physical presence. Willis is suffering through a season-long sophomore slump after enjoying a terrific rookie campaign last year. He appears to have the offensive tools and a change of scenery may be the cure to all that ails him.
Now, back to the matter at hand. What do you do with all of the goaltenders on the Hurricanes depth chart? Irbe, Barrasso and Weekes all command quality playing time. Jean-Marc Pelletier and Tyler Moss are putting up solid numbers in Lowell. Rob Zepp, probably ticketed as the “goaltender of the future” for Carolina, has had to spend the season in the ECHL as there was no more room above. Randy Petruk seems to be knocking on the AHL’s door as well. And, Daniel Boisclair was selected in the sixth round of the past NHL Entry Draft.
How will this play itself out in this way with the big club? Irbe will maintain his status as the number one goaltender (he has a long-term contract while Barrasso doesn’t). Weekes will assume the role of quality back-up that Barrasso has been this season, filling the void that existed in the past. Th Read more »
Quality goalies don’t grow on trees. First you have to recognize the talent and then develop
it patiently into the future diamond. Only then you can from a kid make the next cornerstone
of your franchise. The best of them compete for a NHL job and often became the stars of the
senior national teams. One of the biggest talents to come out from the Czech goalie developmental
system can be Sparta Praha midgets standout Marek Schwarz.
Marek was enjoying first a non-hockey childhood like millions of other kids, he didn’t seem
to be on the beginning of a hockey career at all. He just liked sports, that was it. Sons
of hockey coaches or players often make their first strides immediately after the first normal
steps and have hockey all around them. Not Marek Schwarz. None of his relatives played hockey
and a career in pro hockey wasn’t one of Marek’s first dreams. He laced up the skates in the
small Czech village Piskova Lhota for the first time, he was regularly visiting his granddad
there. And one day he took him skating on a frozen pond. Marek was a quick student and soon
he was capable of making all the skating moves and turns.
He started attending elementary school in his native city Mlada Boleslav, the ‘Czech Detroit’.
The well-known Czech car factory Skoda is based there and almost nobody knows the city for
hockey. Only for cars. Even if most of the kids start playing the game when they are about
five or six, not Marek. His time didn’t roll around until he was eight years old. By this time
kids often have two or three years of experience with organ Read more »