When the Kootenay ICE finished their 1999-2000
Memorial Cup finalist season, they lost a good percentage of their offensive output when Captain Mike Green (Florida) and line-mate Jaroslav
Svoboda (Carolina) graduated to the professional ranks. For any club, even as one as deep as the ICE, it is a dent on the stats sheet that would
be a heady task to replace.
Well, if forecasts are accurate, consider it replaced.
The Kootenay ICE announced this past week that Marek Svatos, Kootenay’s 47th overall CHL import draft pick and NCAA Michigan Wolverine
star Mike Comrie, an Edmonton Oiler 1999 NHL Draft pick (91st overall) will both be joining the club for the 2000-01 season. For Svatos, a Kosice,
Slovakia native the move to North America a full two weeks ahead of the beginning of training camp will only benefit him in making the transition
to his new Canadian surroundings. For Comrie however, making the jump to junior from the NCAA is more of a strategic move. The fact that
Comrie will no doubt enhance his professional aspirations by making the transfer if only for the fact that the WHL plays almost double the
amount of regular season games (72 as opposed to 40) and the increased ice time will only be to his benefit in trying to make the jump to the
NHL. Mike Comrie’s arrival to the Kootenays also enhances his contract position with the Edmonton Oilers due to a path carved out by Comrie’s
former Michigan Wolverine teammate Mike Van Ryn.
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Minnesota Gopher sophomore-to-be Dan Welch, who was just drafted by the LA Kings as the 245th pick, will not return to the school next season. In 36 games last year for the Gophers, Welch scored 6 goals and added 8 assists. Welch has been ruled academically ineligible. Welch will attend a junior college in Omaha, Nebraska and will play for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL this season. Welch was suspended last season by head coach Don Lucia because he missed several classes. Welch was also suspended for two games by the school because he failed to turn in his class schedule at the start of the second semester. Welch most recently played in two out of four games with the USA Hockey Under-20 team in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Lucia said that if Welch gets eligible after this year, the team would welcome him back.
This is the first in a two part series providing a detailed look at players who will determine Toronto’s destiny in 2000 / 2001. For the purposes of this discussion, superstars (Sundin, Joseph) and dependable veterans (Thomas, Yushkevich, Domi, Perreault etc.) have been excluded. These articles will focus on players whose contributions have yet to be established over the long term. If a majority of the players listed herein can rise to new levels this season, the Leafs will do battle with perennial powerhouses in Detroit, Dallas, Denver, St. Louis, Philadelphia and New Jersey for league dominance. Conversely, if they fail to step forward sufficiently, the team may once again fall short of its Stanley Cup aspirations.
This week we’ll examine a group of returning players and next week the spotlight will swing over to several key newcomers.
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Former Minnesota Gopher Nate Miller signed a contract with the LA Kings last week. Miller, who had his most prolific season during his senior year with the Gophers, joins fellow former Wisconsin Badger Steve Reinprecht in joining the Kings since the season ended. According to former pro coach and current Minnsota Wild scout Glen Sonmor, the Kings, “got themselves an outstanding player. He is steady, shows good leadership and it’s great for him to get a chance. He makes contributions all the time, and I don’t see that changing at the pro level.” Terms of the contract were not released.
With all of the press about the Sedin’s coming to Vancouver no one has
been thinking too much about some of the other talent in the Canucks
overfilled pool. Josh Holden, who was at one time Vancouver’s golden
boy, showed us he does have a solid future in the NHL, averaging a point
game in limited action. There also has not been too much mention about
Brent Sopel. Sopel was a late season call up who played like a seasoned
veteran. Sopel had a goal and two assists in the final game of last
season in the Canucks 5-2 upset of the playoff bound San Jose Sharks.
We also may see Bryan Allen show of the tools he is so blessed with.
Steve Kariya also showed promise. Somehow Marc Crawford did recognize
his excellent play, so he spent time in Syracuse where he had a
game and was named rookie of the month.
Harold Druken showed promise in
limited action for Vancouver and was also named to the AHL All-Rookie
team. With the need of a veteran defenseman to add to the Canucks, we
may be seeing some of the young guns moving on to other cities but if
not the Canucks have a lot more weapons waiting in the wing than just
Daniel and Henrik Sedin. This will also help the Sedin’s out. It is a
lot easier for high caliber players to learn the game with top talent
around them. This is apparent in Peter Schaeffer, who obviously
benefited from the presence of the recently departed Mark Messier. There Read more »
I know that most of you are saying – Jared who?style=”mso-spacerun: yes”> Unless you follow the Western Hockey League,
you probably don’t know much about him.
Jared Hope was the Leafs final draft choice (230th overall)
in the 1996 Draft. Jared had played
that season with the Spokane Chiefs and suffered two serious head injuries.
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On September 27, 1995 in a game versus the Kelowna Rockets,
Hope was knocked unconscious, taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a
concussion. Twenty-four days later,
Hope played again for the Rockets after recovering from the injury.style=”mso-spacerun: yes”> In that game versus the Tri-City Americans,
Hope suffered another blow to the head that would put his playing career in
jeopardy. Hope did play briefly the
next year (1996-97) with the Edmonton Ice but his career was essentially over.
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Hope was once considered one of the brightest of WHL
prospects. He was drafted 3rd
overall in the 1993 WHL Draft. Jared Read more »
If you know the basic facts regarding the structure of Swedish clubs – stop
reading now. If you don´t, you might learn something new.
Most teams started as non-profit organizations as a way to get people living
in the area interested and active in sports. The only thing one had to do to
become a member of the club was to pay a small fee to enter. The active
members elected a board that should run the club. This structure is still
common in Sweden, although the importance of money in hockey has grown. The
structure of most major clubs are similar to the structure of most
companies, although hockey is not a profit oriented business designed to
please an owner or a group of owners. Teams can not be sold or moved.
Some clubs are even introducing themselves at the stock exchange, turning
themselves into a profit-oriented business. The thinking behind the
metamorphosis is that teams have to have a sound economy if they want to be
successful in the Elitserien, although this sounds pretty ironic considering
the vast amount of Swedish clubs that are in debt.
One key source of revenue is local businesses as they supply sponsoring and
advertise on boards and jerseys. Teams whose Elitserien status can be
attributed to having a large company in the town include MoDo, who has even
assumed the name of the company, and Luleå, who is heavily sponsored by
Read more »
With training camp less than a month away, the Capitals’ roster is falling into place. It looks like Coach Ron Wilson is bringing back the same team as last season – with a couple of veteran additions. However, the opportunity is there for some rookies to gain a spot in the lineup, just as Jeff Halpern and Glen Metropolit did last year. So with that in mind, I present the five Caps rookies that could be playing in the NHL in 2000-01.
Kris Beech – centre (age 19) 98-99: Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
Kris is hoping to follow the lead set by Jeff Halpern a year ago. Last season, Halpern won the fourth-line centre position during training camp and was eased into full-time duties. Beech is being projected as the Caps star forward for the future, and he is ready to play now. Another season in junior would not help him at this stage, and the Capitals expect him to make the team. Kris is currently skating at the Canadian WJC team tryout camp and is a good bet to make the final roster. The Caps would most likely let him play in the tournament, as the big game experience would help his development. His vision and speed make him an excellent set-up man, but he would not be paired with linemates who have a lot of scoring ability at first.
Alexei Tezikov – defense (age 22) 98-99: Portland Pirates (AHL)
Read more »
Since the 1999-2000 season ended IHL clubs have been busy bolstering their lineups and getting ready for the 2000-01 season. Here is a breakdown on what each club has been up to:
CHICAGO WOLVES: After winning their 2nd Turner Cup in three seasons, the Chicago management tandem of GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and Head Coach John Anderson, along with first team IHL All Star Steve Maltais have all re-signed with the Wolves for another season. Maltais captured the IHL scoring title last season with 44 goals, 46 assists for 90 points. Dave Mackey has called it quits after 14 seasons of professional hockey.
CINCINNATI CYCLONES: Head Coach/GM Ron Smith has re-signed with the club for another season. Goaltender Randy Petruk underwent surgery July 17th to repair his left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). He injured himself in an off-season training exercise. Petruk is expected to resume light skating in November and return to the club in late December or early January 2001. Four Cyclones from last season have re-signed with the parent Carolina Hurricanes, including Brian Felsner, Byron Ritchie, Shane Willis and Greg Koeheler.
Read more »
The Canadiens have recently made many moves to bolster the front office. Bringing in solid managerial and scouting talent in Andre Savard, and Martin Madden. Both men should help Houle make the necessary choices when it comes to player movement. But the fact still remains that the Habs are an organization lacking depth; especially at the three forward positions.
Many questions are being asked by Fans and Media alike, “Are the Habs going to grab any free-agents?” And if so who?” Names such as Alexander Daigle, Stephane Richer and Claude Lemieux have been mentioned.
The fact that all 3 of these players are right wingers is no accident. The Habs’ current roster holds only 3 players with tangible NHL experience who shoot right-handed. Which creates a problem among the team’s right wingers. Why is it important for a right winger to shoot right? For 2 reasons; First, it facilitates the transition game. Especially in the defensive zone, where the transition is essential. Not only in clearing your own zone, but in creating offensive rushes. Second, it reduces the likelihood of a turnover in the defensive zone.
Read more »