Not very much has gone right for the 2000-2001 New York Islanders. To to
their terrible play their coach has lost his job. Yet one of very few bright
spots, has been the play of Branislav Mezei. Mezei a 6’4 , 221 pound rookie
defenseman is a native of Nitra, Slovakia. He started the year in Lowell of
the American Hockey League. Yet do to injuries and poor play, he arrived in
the show probably earlier then the Islanders would have liked. Yet Mezei has
accepted the challenge and made the most of his chances. Mezei logs a lot of
ice time and is an extremely physical defenseman. He is not a goon. He very
rarely fights. Yet a few nights ago in Pittsburgh, he proved he can stand up
to the NHL’s tough guys. With a bunch of his teammates being bullied around
by Krzysztof Oliwa, Mezei jumped in a did very well in an all out brawl with
one of the best fighters in the league. Mezei is very very talented on the
offensive end, proving it time and time again with numerous great outlet
passes. There is no doubt the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League
greatly miss his presence in their lineup. Mezei played for Belleville for 3
years before getting his shot this year. There might be something in the
water over in Nitra, Slovakia. Juraj Kolnik, a Islander rookie forward was
also born in the Slovakian town. The two friends have been two of a list of
small success stories for the Islanders this year. Look for more from both
Mezei and Kolnik in the very near future.
The Bulls went 3-1-1 over the past two weeks to bring them into contention for their first division title in their 20 year history. They’ve come out on top through the playoffs a few times but have never tallied the most points during the regular season, thanks mainly to the 67’s. The Bulls showed their offensive talents with a 9-2 win over the Kitchener Rangers and a 9-3 win over the Oshawa Generals. They also beat Kingston 3-1, while battling to a 1-1 tie with Sudbury and losing to Barrie 7-4.
KITCHENER(2) @ BELLEVILLE(9) – March 3
The game started off fairly slow with very little scoring or pace, but the Bulls got rolling in the second period and it turned ugly. As usual the top line for the Bulls did most of the damage, chasing Rangers goalie Scott Dickie from the game in favor of Jeff Johnston, who probably wished he was the stick boy rather than the back-up goalie on this night. Andre Benoit and Steve Eminger were the best players on the ice for Kitchener. Branko Radivojevic (2G, 2A) and Randy Rowe (1G, 3A) were the Bulls top scorers on this night. The top two lines of the Bulls were passing the puck very crisply catching the Rangers off guard most of the night. Kyle Wellwood (1G, 2A) was at his crafty best setting up some nice scoring opportunities, while Nate Robinson (2G, 1A) was flying all over the ice. Other point getters for the Bulls were: Mike Renzi (1G, 2A), Alex White (1G, 1A), Nick Policelli (1A), Matt Coughlin (1A), Brad Efthimiou (1A) and an honorable mention goes to Rob Dmytruk for scoring his Read more »
BRUIN DEPTH CHART 2001-2002
TOP FORWARD PROSPECTS
Age: just turned 24 in December
Role: second line scorer/fourth line grinder
Contract Status:: signed [not sure of the terms]
Went into this season with an outside shot to step straight into the NHL but was more expected to simply learn the pro game this year and accustomize himself to the longer season… seems to have met his goals fine and has demonstrated a positive attitude towards following instruction and working on the team’s stated directions for him. Will need to score and pay the physical price to be an NHL factor in the coming years, but does certainly seem willing so far.
PROJECTION/FORECAST-at his age and size [6'3 better than 200 pounds] Goren will have a job to loose in training camp. It would be likely the B’s are hoping he takes a spot as a scorer on the second line but he will probably find more time as the grinder on the fourth line as he try to speed his game up just a notch extra to maybe realize the higher potential. Should see time on the second power play unit though and be a bit more of an asset than the logical guy he would be replacing in Mike Knuble.
Age: will turn 23 in September
Read more »
The 2000-2001 campaign has been tough to swallow for not only the Dubuque Fighting Saints coaching staff and players, but also for the Saints faithful fans. Prior to the beginning of the season rumors swirled as to whether or not the Saints would be around next year. Midway through the season the rumors became truth as it was announced the Saints were being moved to Tulsa, Ok to become the Tulsa Crude next season. With that being hung over them the Saints struggled early and often this season and although they have started winning a few games, the USHL playoffs have long been out of the picture, now they are playing for pride and memories.
Offense – Although Dubuque’s claim to fame is usually defense and goaltending, this season the Saints have been the proud possessor of one of the brightest budding stars in Jonathon Foster. Foster has 21 goals and 21 assists to lead the team with 42 points, not bad for a rookie. Foster is not the biggest of forwards as he stands in at 5’9” but he certainly is scrappy. On top of being tough in front of the net and at times fearless, he also is a strong open ice skater with the ability to fake his opponents out of their pads. Joining Foster on the offensive front is Luke Fulghum (Denver U.). Luke is a 3-year USHL veteran; the first 2 and ½ seasons were spent with the Waterloo Black Hawks, the Saints archrival. Luke certainly is the king of open ice moves as he is about as good as they get when it comes to overall skill for a forward. Combined between both teams on the season, Luke has scored 19 goals Read more »
While not nearly as successful as the weekend before, the Kootenay ICE accomplished what they needed to in their second three game in three nights weekend in a row. Coming off a 4-0 loss to Red Deer and a 2-1 overtime loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers on the road on Friday and Saturday, the ICE saved their best for last in front of the seventh sell-out of the regular season at home with a crucial 4-1 win over their Eastern Conference rivals, the Swift Current Broncos. In getting a leg up on the Broncos by two points, the ICE have the slight edge for maintaining home-ice advantage as the Broncos, as Eastern Division champions will have the second seed for the first round of the playoffs with the ICE settling into the third spot but in the subsequent playoff rounds, the home-ice advantage will go to the club with the better points total.
As the ICE enter into the 2001 edition of the WHL playoffs almost exactly where they started last season before going on their amazing Memorial Cup run, it is clear that where the leader of last season’s playoff run Mike Green left off, Jarret Stoll is ready to emerge as a leader in his own right as the club begins the playoff portion of their defense of the WHL Championship crown.
Starting the season it seemed that everything that Jarret Stoll touched turned to points. Playing on a line with Mike Comrie it was easy to see why. At the same time Stoll would have trouble establishing himself as a dominant player if only for the fact that he was on a line with Mike Comrie. When Comrie was here the perception was that Mike C Read more »
G.M.Glen Sather apparently did not give in to cravings for Keith Tkachuk, Eric Lindros and Andrei Nikolishin at trade day… While each opposing GM asked for most of the Rangers “future” puzzle Sather held fast. (end)
But to believe all is well in New York…is deadly wrong… look for Sather to try again to deal for the Big E, Eric Lindros, Jaromir Jagr and more in the offseason after he re-evaluates the “prospects”. It appears that Rangers management has soured so much on the “prospects” that they would have been dealt for a lot less than they could have brought. It also appears Mike York, the smallish gutty center, is about to be booked a summer flight to somewhere as well as Jan Hlavac, perhaps Buffalo. Mike Mottau has been treated like a yo-yo even after the swiss cheese like defense has needed re-enforcements. Management has identified the few players and prospects that have “tried” as the ones who have value and can be dealt while clinging to the big paycheck, no production “stars” in New York. (end)
I expect to see some big signings this summer and some moves that will clean house in Hartford(AHL). Look for Brad Smyth, Derek Armstrong, Todd Hall, Michal Grosek to be elsewhere… look for either Pavel Brendl and or Jamie Lundmark to be elsewhere and look for Mike Mottau to become Barry Richter and visit each NHL city as a member of the home team. While Pat Aufiero and Filip Novak may spell DEFENSE 2001-02 addition it is not likely… the management has made been run by the free spending Dolans and the team by the same. (end)
Goaltend Read more »
IHL Prospect Watch
The International Hockey League has proved to be a fertile training ground for many youngsters this year while others have struggled. Also, it is apparent that some organizations have bought into the youth movement more than others. Here is a look at the progress of many players that may earn permanent spots on NHL clubs in the near future.
Chicago is stocked with wily veterans. However, they did start off the season with the much ballyhooed Rick DiPietro. After struggling with the Wolves, earning 4 wins, a 3.39 GAA and a 0.880 save percentage in 14 starts, DiPietro has been equally ineffective with the Islanders, obtaining 2 wins, a 3.52 GAA and an 0.878 save percentage in only 13 games.
The Carolina Hurricanes have reason for optimism. In his professional rookie season, Jeff Heerema has contributed 15 goals and 25 points in 58 games. Jean-Marc Pelletier has a respectable 3.09 GAA and 0.906 save percentage in 24 starts. Nikos Tselios, the mammoth defenceman, has been solid on the blueline with 17 points and 64 pims in 64 games. And, although Jaroslav Svoboda has struggled, amassing only 14 points in 52 games, the big Czech winger is only twenty.
Like Chicago, Cleveland also ranks quite low for budding superstars. Peter Bartos has showed signs of promise this year with 4 goals and 6 points in 13 games with the Wild and 13 goals and 32 points in 42 games with the Lumberjacks.
Detroit continues to try to win with youth. They have numerous gems on the squad that should be mainstays with Read more »