Albany Week in Review #24
Trade deadline: Devils’ swaps; no Rats involved
Tuesday, March 19, 2002 was trade deadline, at 3:00 pm EST. The Devils swung a pair of deals by that time, neither involving River Rats. Stephane Richer, right winger who was part of the Devils’ 1995 Stanley Cup championship team, was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 7th round draft pick in next year’s (2003) entry draft.
The bigger deal involved the Dallas Stars. Pivot Jason Arnott and right winger Randy McKay were dealt in the final minutes before the trade deadline. In exchange, the Devils acquired centers Joe Nieuwednyk and Jamie Langenbrunner, both members of the Stars’ 1999 Stanley Cup championship team. The Devils also surrendered a first round draft pick to the Stars. No minor league players were involved in either deadline deal today.
Defenseman (now assistant coach) Kinnear honored
In the year after he retired due to injury, Geordie (“Champ”) Kinnear was honored by the Albany River Rats. An original member of the team, a member of the 1994-1995 Calder Cup championship team, a four-time selectee for the AHL All-Star Classic, and three-time captain, Geordie Kinner had his #4 jersey unfurled from the rafters at the Pepsi Arena on Saturday night.
It was ironic that the ceremony, in which his number was “honored” (displayed, but not “retired”), came against the Providence Bruins. Several years back, he broke a bone in his hand in a fight against the Bruins after a melee broke out in front of the Rats’ Read more »
Hockey players do not live in a vacuum. Their play can be affected by many factors within the game itself. Who they play with, what position they play and how much ice-time they receive are important factors to take into account when judging a player’s performance on the ice.To say that Mike Ribeiro played himself off the Montréal Canadiens’ roster is irresponsible, as it doesn’t take into account the circumstances that contributed to his poor play.The 22-year-old natural center’s last goal in the NHL dates back to a January 19th game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ribeiro played just under 14 minutes in that game. Two nights earlier he had played almost 17 minutes against the Carolina Hurricanes, he would go on to play over 18 minutes two nights later against the Florida Panthers.By this time the Montréal native had become comfortable playing left wing. He had played center throughout his junior career, but left wing afforded Ribeiro the opportunity to develop without the defensive-zone responsibility that comes with pivoting a line.In hindsight, the acquisition of Sergei Berezin was likely the overwhelming factor in the eventual demotion of Ribeiro. Berezin is a right-handed shot who plays the left side. His arrival forced Ribeiro, still in his rookie campaign, to move to his third position this season (right wing).The new position brought with it one main difficulty; the defensive zone. The Canadiens’ coaching staff wants the team’s wingers to chip the puck out of the defensive zone when pressured by the opp Read more »
The defenseman who was coveted by both Glen Sather and Ron Low as well as the Islanders and Bruins was finally landed at the cost of hard working Mike York. Poti a monster of a young man at 6-3 215(liberally given) has a smooth skating style, strong work ethic and laser guided passing ability. His one downside is that he is not as physical as his size would otherwise indicate. But then again for those of you who remember… he is not Willie Huber either.
Poti will be counted on to anchor the Rangers 2nd defense and power play units. Now with Brian Leetch and Vladimir Malakhov in tow the Rangers have three legit powerplay defenders. If Bryan Berard continues to RE-develop then that would mean four. The problem however with the Rangers is guys that can “stay at home” and play defense. While Poti will never be confused with a pure stay at home defenseman or again Willie “the whale” Huber the Rangers are still in need for a physical stay at homer but the move to acquire Poti fixed a couple problems, one the rival Islanders and their persuit and the Rangers quest for Brian Leetch`s successor.
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Regular season over, bring on the post season.
The Western Hockey League held a press conference on Wednesday morning to announce the awards for the regular season and to welcome the playoffs starting March 22nd.
The playoff matchups in the first round look great with many rivalries set to be stirred.
“One of the objectives we had in establishing four new divisions within the Western Hockey League was to create a greater level of rivalry and interest delivering what the fans are looking for. That is more intense games, more meaningful games with their closest rivals and I think when you look at the matchups in the playoffs this year these playoff rounds are going to be just outstanding,” said Western Hockey League commissioner Ron Robison.
The matchups in the B.C. divison are quite possibly the most heated with Kelowna taking on archrivals the Kamloops Blazers. Blazers have home ice advantage first.
Prince George is also on the road to face Kootenay in the B.C. division.
Brian Maxwell discussed next the Lethbridge Hurricanes series with Red Deer now that Calgary has taken over third in the division.
“Obviously taking on Red Deer again this year, we had real good success against them last year,” said Maxwell sarcastically. “We won the first one, all we did was delay it longer we had to play them five times.”
Head coach for the Hitmen, Richard Kromm, strictly stated at the conference he feels his team is ready for their matchup with Swift Current.
“Our guys have basically been in playoff mode for two to three months now, reall Read more »
Below is the transcript of my chat with 2001 Philadelphia Flyers draft pick , and Red Deer Rebels defenseman Jeff Woywitka.
Hockey’s Future : Red Deer finished the season as the top ranked junior team in Canada , what do you think contributed to you guys having such a great season?
Jeff Woywitka : Everyone on the team really stayed with the program during the course of the season. We had a goal at the begining of the season and that was to be number one at the end of the regular season , we accomplished that. Now it is time to focus on the playoffs.
HF : What were your feelings when you were drafted by the Flyers in the first round last summer? , Was there any one team you wanted to really be drafted by?
JW : I was happy to be picked by a first class team like the Flyers. They have a winning tradition , and I hope to be part of their plans in the near future. There wasn’t any one team I wanted to be drafted by , just to be selected was such an honor.
HF : Mikhail Yakubov , a rookie in the WHL was your leading goal scorer and point leader this season , how much did he contribute to your success’ this year?
JW : Mikhail was a huge part of our team and got better as the season wore on. His is a great leader in his own way.
HF : How is it playing in Red Deer? , So many NHL prospects come out of that program , does that really help your development playing up there?
JW : Red Deer is a terrific place to play. Brent Sutter , has taught me about what it takes to succeed on and off the ice. Playing here in Red Deer really does help Read more »
Kris Beech : Right at the start the pressure was on for the young Kris
Beech. He made the team after a strong camp, was put on a line with “Le
Magnifique” and was THE story in Pittsburgh. There was some Calder hope at
that point, but now that the season is coming to an end, it’s time to ask if
hopes were unrealistic for Kris Beech. When you think about it, Beech was
fresh from the Junior where he played only 40 games due to injury, he had
only 4 NHL games to his resume and he was already on a must-produce
situation. Yes, Beech’s expectations were too high for this season, but it
was part of his development. He learned a lot, played some good games
and showed that he has his place in this league. Here are his main skills : puck control, skating abilities, shot and play along the boards. On the
mental aspect you look at hard-working kid with good hockey sense and vision
of the ice. However, the British Colombia native will need to be more
consistent offensively and he needs to keep working on his game. Hopefully
Beech will come up faster, quicker and stronger for next year’s training
camp. If he does so, look up for him next year and forget about the second
Below is a table which shows the stats of this year’s NHL Rookies
coming from the CHL. These poor stats are encouraging for Beech’s future,
but it’s not a good sign for the Canadian Hockey League to have only 4
graduated in the top 30 rookie leading scorers.
Name Age Rank DraftedJunior League/TeamLast Year Stats
This Read more »
Team: Regina Pats (WHL)
Birthdate: May, 7th, 1982
Weight: 180 lbs.
Shoots: L Read more »
The Buffalo Sabres in recent years have built up solid depth at the right wing position via trades and good drafting. Some of this talent is already on the Buffalo roster, but there are still a couple of good prospects in the pipeline. One of those prospects, Norm Milley, is currently playing for the Rochester Americans of the AHL.
Norm was selected by Buffalo in the 2nd round of the 1998 NHL Draft, one of three 2nd round picks the Sabres made in that draft. The Toronto native starred for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL, where he spent four seasons prior to turning pro in the summer of 2000. Milley set or tied several team records in Sudbury, and finished his junior career as the second-leading scorer in Wolves history. While the gentleman one point ahead of Norm on Sudbury’s scoring list (Jamie Matthews) may not be familiar to a lot of hockey fans, the two names directly after Milley’s, Ron Duguay and Mike Foligno, should be a little more recognizable to long-time NHL followers.
Milley turned in a solid first season in the AHL last year, earning Rochester’s Rookie of the Year award. His second season with the Amerks got off to a bit of a slow start, but Norm has come on in the season’s 2nd half to remind the organization why he was a high draft pick. Milley’s strong play recently earned him his first call-up to the NHL, where he picked up his first NHL point.
I had a chance to interview Norm following a recent Amerks practice. Below is a transcript of that conversation, with my questions bein Read more »
Norwegian hockey which has from time to time almost fallen off the earth finally has some positive news stemming from their younger players who are making a splash in the international scene. Among them are Per Åge Skroder who plays for semi-finalist HV71 in the Swedish Elite Series along with NHL prospects Johan Davidsson, Anders Huusko and Peter Ekelund. Skroder registered 20 goals and 33 points this season for HV71 and was the only 20 goal scorer on his club. Skroder a 5-10 185 pounder formerly of Sarpsborg, Norway is opening the eyes of NHL scouts with his quiet but steady play. A trip to a NHL camp just may be in the works.
Martin Knold also of Norway is playing defense for Linkøping of the Swedish Elite Series posting(1-9-10) but a poor -9 +/-.
Meanwhile in Germany, Norwegians Trond Magnussen, Tore Vikingstad (St.Louis Prospect) and Tommy Jakobsen are battling it out in the playoffs. Jakobsen`s club the Panthers of Augsburg are set for a position in the finals while Magnussen and Vikingstad were knocked out in the semi-finals. Both play for DEG Metro-Stars.
Back in Sweden the Trygg brothers Marius and Mats have improved their games greatly and look to be long time Swedish League Professionals and National Team stalwarts.
Over the border Frisk Asker led by youngesters Lars Nagel & Rene Sethereng are ready for Norwegian Final. Their opponent is to be decided between Storhamar and VIF Hockey.
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