REBELS ON TOP OF FINAL BANK OF MONTREAL MASTERCARD TOP 10 RANKINGS
The defending MasterCard Memorial Cup champion Red Deer Rebels are the
number one ranked team in the final Bank of Montreal MasterCard Canadian
Hockey League Top 10 list of the season, as selected by a panel of National
Hockey League scouts.
The Rebels (45-18-7-1) still have one regular season game to play Tuesday
night at Calgary, but they have won the WHL overall title and they head into
the WHL playoffs as the number one seeded team again this season. Red Deer
was ranked number one for the last five weeks of the season and the first
seven weeks of the season, while the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the Quebec
Major Junior Hockey League held the number one spot for the other 10 weeks
in a row.
Red Deer slipped out of the Top 10 for a week during the Titan’s run at the
top, but a franchise record 14-game winning streak and 17 of 18 wins during
one stretch was enough to give the Rebels the nod as No. 1 on the last Bank
of Montreal MasterCard CHL Top 10 list of the season. The Rebels had an
18-week run in the No. 1 spot until the Titan started its 10-week run.
Acadie-Bathurst (44-16-4-5) wound up second in the final poll, up from third
last week, after clinching the QMJHL overall title. The Titan has 99 points
with one game to go Tuesday night and enter the QMJHL playoffs as the number
one seed after appearing on the Top 10 list 19 of the 22 weeks the list was
published this year.
The Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League drop down into third spot
in the fina Read more »
As the trade deadline nears closer and closer, hockey critics have provided
us with their predications of what to expect before the 3:00 pm deadline on
Tuesday. According to the majority of critics, such as TSN’s Bob McKenzie,
deadline should be marked by a number of insignificant trades quite unlike
what we have become accustomed to in the past seasons.
Although the Los Angeles Kings started the season poorly, they have been one
of the NHL’s hottest teams and seemed destined to make some noise in the
upcoming playoffs, especially if they are lucky enough to play the Chicago
Blackhawks in the first round, who have had a strong season but really
cannot be considered a serious contender in the Western Conference.
The Kings were involved in the most talked about trade of last year’s
deadline when they sent Rob Blake to the Colorado Avalanche for Adam
Deadmarsh and Aaron Miller. Will the Kings once again make significant
adjustments to the roster? The answer is likely no, but it should be noted
the recent addition of veteran forward, Cliff Ronning, does improve the
Cliff Ronning has played in over 1000 games and participated in the Stanley
Cup finals as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. Although he is now 36 years
old, he once again led the Nashville Predators in scoring and can be relied
upon to provide some offense, taking away some of the burden from Jason
The addition of Ronning provides Andy Murray with some more depth but
without Karalahti, the Kings are not willing to part with any other player Read more »
Pavel Bure comes to the Rangers, along with the Panthers 2nd round pick this spring (2002), in return for veteran defenseman Igor Ulanov, young prospect Filip Novak, the Rangers’ 1st and 2nd round selections in 2002, as well as a 4th round selection in 2003.
Filip Novak, a 19-year-old defenseman currently playing junior hockey with the Regina Pats of the WHL, is the best player that the Panthers have received in this deal. Novak was originally drafted by the Rangers in the 2nd round (64th overall) of the 2000 Draft and is in his third and final year of junior hockey. (To view a lengthy article on Novak, click here) A swift skating defenseman with excellent offensive ability and the ability to rush the puck up the ice and make the important first pass out of the zone, Novak has progressed well over the last few years and has put on about 25 pounds since being drafted. However, with young defenseman such as Tomas Kloucek, Mike Mottau and Fedor Tyutin in the system, the Rangers deemed Novak expendable in such a deal as this one. Novak has been unable to take his game from about a number 3 defenseman to a more elite role, and that could also have factored in to the Rangers’ decision to move him. Also according to some whispers, the Panthers originally wanted Fedor Tyutin in this deal but Glen Sather quickly turned that scenario down.As for the draft picks that have been swapped, the Panthers will receive the Rangers 1st round pick this June. That selection figures to be around the middle of the Read more »
Size is often a highly coveted asset when measuring a player’s chances on a success at the
NHL Entry Draft. Undersized players, especially defensemen, are often labeled with ‘too small
to succeed’ and other prejuidices. It is really almost impossible for a player that is
too small to handle the physical style of the NHL, where he faces lots of big, bruising forwards.
That’s also the reason why Swedish 1982 born junior star Magnus Hedlund was never picked in
a NHL Entry Draft. He has everything except size, Hedlund is just 5’8”. Let’s choose another
example. New Jersey Devils’ blueliner Brian Rafalski had to sign with the Devils as a free
agent, he also wasn’t selected in the draft. After spending years in Finland he opened the
eyes of many when he showed that also a defenseman who doesn’t posess prototypical NHL
size can compete well at this highest level. The next one who could follow his example is
Vsetin’s 1986 born smallish star, Lubomir Stach.
Born in Vsetin, Czech Republic, Lubomir started playing hockey there when the city was just
known for regional hockey and not for being the mighty perennial Extraleague champion. The
main force which brought him to the game was his dad, even if he played soccer and not hockey.
But instead of bringing his son to the ball, he brought him to the ice, skates, stick and puck.
Lubomir seemed to like the game very much and when he started his career at 6, he felt very
comfortable on the ice. He has a talent for sports and hockey suited him well. Lubomir was
among the best skaters on the team soon and also showed Read more »
With the American Hockey League’s stretch run in full swing, many of the
Houston Aeros are fighting to keep their spot in the Minnesota Wild
According to The Houston Chronicle, one of the toughest decisions the Wild
will face involves newcomer Tony Virta, who leads the Aeros with 55 points.
Virta’s contract includes an option that will allow Minnesota the
opportunity to renew over the summer.
“I would not exercise the option unless I thought he could play at the NHL
level,” said Wild GM Doug Risebrough. “I’m trying to look at our lineup and
find a way to say, ‘This guy deserves a chance,’ because he has been
arguably the best player (in Houston).”
Aeros goaltender Jamie McLennan is an unrestricted free agent this summer,
and has spent the entire season in Houston while Manny Fernandez and Dwayne
Roloson have been strong between the pipes for the parent club. If he isn’t
moved before the March 19th trade deadline, he will have the opportunity to
sign with another NHL club this off-season.
Approximately 50 percent of the Wild’s 50-man roster is under contract for
next season. That leaves some very important decisions ahead for the
National Hockey League club, as they will have to decide who is staying, who
is leaving, and who will be arriving.
Crucial time of year
Nine of the Aeros’ 13 remaining games will be played against West Division
rivals Chicago, Milwaukee, Utah and Grand Rapids, including a crucial two
game homestand on Thursday and Friday against Utah, a team they lost 6-2 on
Read more »
Coming on Tuesday, March 19th, Hockey’s Future is proud to be part of a hosted chat with USA Hockey Asst. Coach Lou Vairo. To take part in this free chat, please follow the banner on the top of Hockey’s Future.
The chat will take place at noon Easter time, and will be moderated by the former NHL Sr. VP of Corporate Communications Arthur Pincus.
To take part, you will need speakers with your computer and any questions you may have. This is an exciting opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the Olympics in Salt Lake City.
LAST FULL WEEKEND OF CHL REGULAR SEASON, PLAYOFFS START NEXT WEEK
The 2002 Canadian Hockey League regular season wraps up in the next few
days, with a full slate of games as the CHL playoffs draw near.
Playoff berths are still up for grabs in all three leagues as the Ontario
Hockey League ends regular season play Sunday, while the Quebec Major Junior
Hockey League and the Western Hockey League end their regular season
schedules on Tuesday.
Playoff action in all three leagues will begin late next week. The OHL is
scheduled to start March 21 while the WHL and the QMJHL will begin first
round games the next night. You can follow all of the playoff races at the
official website of the CHL, www.chl.ca.
Listed below are the full schedules of all remaining games in the three
leagues as we head into the final few days of the regular season. On Monday
the final Bank of Montreal MasterCard CHL Top 10 ranking will be announced,
as there will be just eight CHL games slated for Tuesday night and none on
The three league champions will join the host Guelph Storm at the 2002
MasterCard Memorial Cup, May 18-26, 2002, at the Guelph Sports and
Entertainment Centre. If Guelph wins the OHL title, then the OHL finalists
will also participate to ensure a four-team tournament.
Remember to follow all of the action leading up to the 2002 MasterCard
Memorial Cup at the official website of the CHL, www.chl.ca, with a new
MasterCard Memorial Cup section starting next week.
WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE
Here is the remainder of the Read more »
Welcome to the first installment of the Cub report, a weekly
look at the North American prospects of the Boston Bruins. In our first
installment, we’re going around the leagues to catch up on the young Bruin cubs.
Jiri Jakes has been hot as
of late. In the last 5 games, the rugged Czech winger has tallied 3 goals, 2
assists, and 14 penalty minutes. The Brandon Wheat Kings are currently tied with the Regina Pats for first place in the WHL’s eastern division heading into the final week of the regular season.
It looks as though the injury bug
has once again bitten Seattle Thunderbird winger Darren McLachlan. The rugged forward appears to be out for the remainder of the season with a
shoulder injury. The second last place Thunderbirds will oppose either the Portland Winter Hawks or Spokane Chiefs in a best-of-seven first round series in the WHL playoffs.
Shaone Morrisonn ended the Kamloops Blazers 0-29 Power play drought,scoring on a 5-on-3 opportunity against the Moose Jaw Warriors. Morrisonn,who
missed action with a concussion after taking a stiff check from Tri-City RW
Scott Kelman back in January, was selected to play in the WHL all-star game but
was replaced by Seattle Thunderbird rearguard Matt Spiller.
Blazers tough guy Colton Orr has yet to return to action after breaking his hand during his first game of the season. The Blazers have lost
four straight games for the first time this season.
University of Denver winger Greg Barber e Read more »
The June 1st deadline to sign CHL players drafted in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft is fast approaching. The Montréal Canadiens head into this year’s deadline with only two players directly affected by the previously mentioned cut-off date.Josef Balej (3rd round, 78th overall), and Christian Larrivée (4th round, 114th overall) will need to be signed, otherwise the Habs risk losing their NHL rights. Balej is a speedy right winger playing with the WHL’s Portland Winter Hawks, while the lanky Larrivée currently toils for the QMJHL’s Chicoutimi Saguenéens.Chicoutimi drafted Larrivée third overall in the 1999 QMJHL draft. The Gaspé native had just come off an impressive rookie season with Jonquiere in the Québec Midget AAA league. In 42 games Larrivée managed 62 points (26-36-62) to go along with 10 minutes in penalties.The 6’3″, 195-lbs forward enjoyed a moderately successful QMJHL rookie season (99-00), finishing with 23 points (8-15-23) through 69 games. That said, it was his size, and offensive potential that initially drew Habs’ scouts to the then center. He’s a left-handed shot who protects the puck well. He has a quick release, rather than an overtly powerful shot.Claude Ruel, who’s still involved in the Habs’ player development system once told Larrivée that he uses his size and speed well, and must continue to shoot as often as possible. “Claude Ruel has a great eye for what happens on the ice,” Larrivée told Chicoutimi’s Le Quotidien. “I listen to him as often as possible. He knows the game so well. He’s there to he Read more »
Red Wings Report: NHL and AHL “youngsters”
I have had some questions about why I`m not mentioning players like Jason Williams, Yuri Butsayev and so on in my articles. Therefore, here is an update on “all youngsters” who are playing with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks and Detroit Red Wings.
Name: Jiri Fischer
NHL Stats: 65 games 1 goals 7 assists 8 points 61 pim
Czech giant defenseman Jiri Fischer is improving and getting more ice time for every game that passes. He is playing great right now, logging on a bit over 20 minutes a game while playing a strong defensive game. He has been a regular on the second penalty killing unit all year long which has helped his development. The only minus is that he is not putting up offensive numbers, mainly due to the lack of PP time. I think that Mr. Bowman should give this kid some PP time to develop his offensive game and become more of a two-way defenseman.
Future: Jiri Fischer has a bright future ahead of him in Detroit. If he continues to develop at this pace he should become the best defenseman and the corner stone on the team in 4-5 years. With some PP time he could be a very good two-way defenseman in the NHL.
Name: Pavel Datsyuk
Weight: 181 Read more »