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Centers of Attention

by Chad Schnarr
on

Last year at this time, center was a big question mark for
the Bolts.  Only two centers, Vincent
Lecavalier
and Brian Holzinger, had achieved even moderate success
at the NHL level.  Wayne Primeau,
Ryan Johnson and Steve Martins were being counted on to shoulder
a good part of the load, but had limited experience.  By the 2001 entry draft, only Lecavalier and Holzinger
remained in the organization.  Nobody
knew how much to expect from Brad Richards last year at this time.

How things have changed.

This season, Lecavalier (pending a contract) and Holzinger
return from last year’s Tier One group to join 2000-01 rookie-star Brad
Richards
and a handful of others capable of playing both the pivot and
wing.  

The organizational depth chart at center can be broken down
into four tiers of impact talent:

TIER ONE

Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Brian Holzinger, Vaclav Prospal,  Juha Ylonen, Tim Taylor.

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Leading the gro Read more »

Rookies push for spots

by Andrew Clark
on

The pre-season is almost over and rookies are making things difficult for Larry Robinson and the rest of the coaching staff come decision time.

The New Jersey Devils have played five games against Atlantic Division foes thus far with only about two weeks remaining until the start of the season in Washington against Jaromir Jagr and the Capitals. During these games, a lot of new and young talented faces have laced up the skates and put on the red and black sweater, and all have impressed coach Larry Robinson in one way or another. Over the next week or so, Robinson and the rest of the staff are going to have to make some very difficult decisions on the open roster spots that were not filled via free agency over the summer. The Devils trimmed the roster to thirty-six over the weekend. Fifteen players were sent to the Albany River Rats and another six were re-assigned to their respective junior clubs. Those joining the Rats are forwards Scott Cameron, Brett Clouthier, Sylvain Cloutier, Ted Drury, Jason Lehoux, Carlyle Lewis, Richard Rochefort and Rob Skrlac with defensemen Daryl Andrews, Joel Dezainde, Alex Johnstone, Mikko Jokela, Andre Lakos, Lucas Nehrling and Victor Uchevatov. Those returned to the Canadian Junior Leagues are Phil Cole (Lethbridge, WHL), defenseman Deryk Engelland (Moose Jaw, WHL), right wing Robin LeBlanc (Baie-Comeau, QMJHL), center Warren McCutcheon (Lethbridge), center Brandon Nolan (Osahawa, OHL) and right wing Igor Pohanka (Prince Albert, WHL). Although most of these players did not see action, the ones who did took full advantage of Read more »

Philadelphia Phantoms Mid-Preseason Report

by Al Alven
on

In just eight days, the Philadelphia Phantoms will begin their sixth season of play in the American Hockey League. As training camp winds down, the team’s roster is all but set, barring a few last-minutechanges. This preseason has been a rather quiet one for the Phantoms, devoid of any major surprises or unexpected happenings.

Perhaps the biggest surprise thus far has been Pavel Brendl’s eye-popping play with the Flyers in exhibition action. Considering the depth the organization has at the NHL level, the Czech right wing was originally considered a lock to start the year with the Phantoms. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen at this point.

While the final decision on where Brendl will start the season is still up in the air, most of the Phantoms’ primary concerns have already been addressed. With the regular season looming, the team has already taken shape.

As expected, rookie Maxime Ouellet is set to take the reigns as the Phantoms’ new starting goaltender. After yet another terrific season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the 20-year-old phenom will get plenty of work in his first full season of professional hockey (he appeared briefly with the Flyers at the start of last season). Neil Little, the Phantoms’ all-time wins leader, will return in the role of backup netminder. Dan Murphy may stick around as a third-stringer between the pipes or else be loaned to the Trenton Titans (Philadelphia’s ECHL affiliate) .

Team captain Mark Greig is back, as is fellow veteran forward Mark Freer. Veteran defensemen John Slaney and
Brad T Read more »

Who will play with Mario?

by Stephen Payne
on


Who will play with Mario???

Coming off a Cinderella comeback, “Le Magnifique,” Mario Lemieux, wants to
win the scoring title this upcoming season. To do this, he must have some
quality linemates. So far, none of them have been announced. Here is a
detailed look at a few candidates:

Kris Beech: Read more »

AHL Truly No.1 Developmental League

by Andrew Bourgeois
on

AHL NEWS

An expanded American Hockey League has entered a new era. There now are 27 teams, up from 20 following absorption of six clubs from the dissolved International Hockey League and addition of a new franchise, and the AHL’s status as the No. 1 developmental league for NHL-bound players has been accentuated by the demise of the IHL.

League president David Andrews is beaming as he awaits the opening Oct. 4 of the AHL’s 66th season. The AHL will have a Canadian Division comprised of the returning St. John’s Maple Leafs, Saint John Flames and Hamilton Bulldogs, as well as two clubs adopted from the IHL – the Manitoba Moose and the Quebec Citadelles.

The change in leagues will be a financial boon to the Moose, who now will travel in Canada instead of making extended trips into the United States as they did in their IHL days. Projected savings for the Moose are at least $250,000.

“It’s great for us,” says public relations director Matt Frost. “Before, we only had one direct flight, into Chicago. Now we can pretty much fly directly to most of our cities, plus we’ll be paying Canadian dollars now on many of our road trips. It will make a huge difference on our bottom line.”

Things are looking up on the ice as well. General manager Randy Carlyle used to piece together a lineup with free-agent signings and players assigned by a grab bag of NHL teams. He was an independent operator. Now he’s getting 15 of Vancouver’s top prospects in an arrangement to be the main Canucks farm club.

“We’re excited about it,” Carlyle says of the partne Read more »

Flyers prospects in Europe (9/26/01 update)

by Bill Meltzer
on

Russia

Alexander Drozdetsky : Drozdetsky, who dazzled onlookers at the Flyers rookie camp in August, has been playing regularly for his club, CSKA Moscow (the former Red Army club). In the early going, CSKA is in 10th place in the 17 team Super League. Drozdetsky scored his first goal of the season on Monday; the game winner. On the young season, Drozdetsky has 2 points (1G, 1 A) and 2 PIM in 5 games.

Andrei Razin : Razin, who will turn 28 next month, was the RSL scoring champion last season. Like Drozdetsky, Razin is with a new team this season. Centering the top line for 4th place Dynamo Moscow, Razin has 3 points (1 goal) in his first five games. Razin, who has a reputation for being careless with his stick, also has 10 PIM.

Konstantin Rudenko : The Lokamotiv Yaroslavl winger has not played in a game. Lokamotiv is in 6th place currently.

Finland

Antero Niittymäki : Fredrik Norrena started the last game for defending champion TPS Turku, which has just a single win (Niittymäki’s shutout of SaiPa) to show for their first six games. In three appearances to date, Niittymäki has a 1.99 GAA and a .940 save percentage.

Marko Kauppinen : Kauppinen continues to struggle mightily in the early going. He was on the ice for all three goals against in TPS’ last game; a 3-0 blanking by league leading Tappara Tampere. In 6 games in the young season, Kauppinen is pointless and has a minus-six rating.

Jussi Timonen: No report.

Sweden

Da Read more »

New Look Coyotes impressive in Preseason

by Russell Brooks
on

The Coyotes have shipped off almost all of their high-priced talent in a plan that’s aimed at making them a real contender in about three years when they’re able to get into a new up and coming Glendale arena. The Coyotes have gone from older, high-priced talent to younger, cheaper, and a more enthusiastic team then we saw last year. There will be tons of young youth and with the veterans in Teppo Nummineen to help the defense and the playoff performer in Claude Lemieux to help the offense, this looks to be a fun-filled, high-energy team.

With the all-stars in Keith Tkachuk and Jeremy Roenick gone, the Coyotes look to place the scoring weight on Shane Doan along with getting help from the new additions Sergei Berezin and Daymond Langkow. Looking at things from an offensive standpoint, we will be hard pressed to score goals this year, as the system Bob Francis will be implementing will be a defense first.

The defense will be young and with the newly appointed captain Teppo Numminen being the most important part of the Coyotes defense this year, they will look to him to teach the up and coming core of the Coyotes defense in Ossi Vannannen and Paul Mara. They will also look to Todd Simpson for his leadership on the blue line this year. But the most important part of the team will be Sean Burke in goal. After putting up career numbers in 2000, the Coyotes will look to him to provide leadership and to keep the defense one of the tops in the league. The Coyotes also have a dependable backup in Robert Esche who led team USA in the World Championships t Read more »

Red Wings Pre Season Report

by Zoran Manojlovic
on

Red Wings Pre Season Rapport

This years camp was very exciting in many ways, for example who was not anxious to see the brand new Red Wings such as Dominik ” The Dominator” Hasek , Luc “Lucky” Robitaille or “Golden Brett” ,(Brett Hull), but don`t forget Fredrik Olausson and “Old” Uwe Krupp. Detroit had also invited many contract hopefuls but unfortunately thay didn`t sign any of them even dough some of them were impressive, such as speedy sniper, Chad LaRose and Danny Groulx, a good two-way defenseman. I was really hopeing that Detroit would sign some of them to add some more depth into the organisation but… The camp had also some interesting young Red Wings prospects, Pavel Datsyuk, Sean Avery, Ryan Barnes who were hopeing to crack the lineup this year.

Let`s take a look at those players that have a chance of makeing team.

GOALIES

Red Wings have some problems with the goaltending, but this year the problem is not that Detroit doesn`t have a TOP goalie, the problem is that they have to many goalies and one must be dealt before the waiver draft on September 25th. The one who will most likely go is Chris Osgood, who has not become the great goalie Detroit had hoped even though he has won two Stanley Cup rings, one as a reserve. He will most likely be dealt to New York Islanders for prospects and/or draft picks. This means that Hasek will be the starting goalie and Legace as his reserve. Jason Elliott, the 26 year old goalie has shown solid play during the pre season and is now third goalie in the organization, he will presumably play in AHL.

Down and up weekend for ICE

by Jeff Bromley
on


Down and up weekend for ICE

If they crowned the Memorial Cup champions on paper, it would be easy to see why the Kootenay ICE were ranked number one in the CHL’s Top Ten rankings. Incredible firepower on offense, size and presence on the blueline and depth and experience between the pipes. Fortunately or not, the games are played on the ice and in reality, or at least well into the season, the initial rankings mean little.

The Kootenay ICE found that out when they began the 2001-02 WHL season with a home and home series with the Spokane Chiefs and came out on the short end of the stick on both occasions by a score of 5-4 and 5-2, respectively. Rebounding on Sunday as the ICE hosted the Tri-City Americans and answered their first two losses with a punctuated shellacking of the Americans, 7-0.

Kootenay coach Ryan McGill, although disappointed at the first two losses to the Chiefs stressed that the club is still in the formative stages of development and obviously nobody was going to push the panic button so early on in the season. Especially in light of the convincing win over the Americans to end the weekend on a positive note. “There were not any changes,” said McGill of the better result between the Chief’s games and Sunday night’s tilt against Tri-Cities. “We’re still trying to get some line combinations going that we feel are solid and we still haven’t come up with those yet.

“We feel that everybody can play and everybody can contribute – even the young guys – that’s how good they are”

“But we didn’t Read more »

Hartford Wolf Pack Report

by Steve Feldman
on

NEWS

Wolf Pack Golf for Kids
The Hartford Wolf Pack will be holding a charity golf tournament to benefit The Children’s Home. On Monday October 8, 2001 at the Topstone Country Club in South Windsor, CT the Wolf Pack will trade in their hockey Sticks for golf clubs to help raise money for The Children’s Home.

Attendees will receive 18 holes of golf, boxed lunch, buffet dinner, goodie bag, raffle, and a picture with a Wolf Pack player or celebrity. Shotgun tee-off is at 10:30with dinner, raffle and awards following at 4:30.

Money raised will go to The Children’s Home, which helps over 100 abused, neglected, or troubled Connecticut children. The Children’s Home is located in Cromwell, Ct, and is a residential treatment center and special education school.

For more information contact the Wolf Pack Golf for Kids at (860) 635-6010, X327 or email golf@childrenshome-ct.org.

WEEK RECAP Read more »

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