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Pens Focus On Youth & Size!

by Richard A. Plisco
on

The Penguins have intentionally narrowed thier search for player personnel in an effort to solve two glaring dilemmas. One, to establish some immediate support for Mario and what may prove to be his final attempt at a Stanley Cup. Two, to lay the groundwork for the not-too-distant future as the Pens anticipate a new home.

The first issue is to give the club offensive and defensive options. Last season, when they needed to fill holes at the blueline due to injuries, they turned to Dollas and Kucera. Complete busts. When they needed role players to step in and score they pinned thier hopes on Corbet, Beranek, Primeau, and Laukkanen. No red lights were lit. The team got bigger and nastier with additions like Oliwa and Stevens. But they didn’t get faster and certainly not consistent. When one line opened it up, the others disappeared. Not enough players stepped up to change the outcome of the playoffs. Most critics cited depth. Why didn’t Hilinka utilze his other lines often? He didn’t trust that they would or could contribute, and often he was correct in his assumptions. Take Morozov. Please. Anyone.

Will Hrdina ever shoot enough to hit twenty goals, like so many people claim he has the ability to do? And anyone can tell you, when Slegr left so did what little blueline offense they had. Not that even that was much. Evidently the team needs to create offense on more levels. They need to bring speed and scoring to complement and somehow replace what was lost. They need wings that go into the corners and come out with the puck, that don’t shy away from the crease Read more »

Rangers Agree to Terms With Fedor Tyutin

by Brandon LeBourveau
on
The New York Rangers have announced today that the team has agreed to terms with their 2nd round pick from this past draft (2001) in Russian defenseman Fedor Tyutin. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is believed that Tyutin agreed to a three year entry-level contract.

Fedor Tyutin, a 6-3 202 pound defenseman from Russia, was drafted by the Rangers in the 2nd round (40th Overall) of the 2001 Entry Draft. The Rangers scouts are extremely high on Tyutin, as they had him ranked 10th overall on their list heading into the draft and were ecstatic to see him still on the board in the 2nd round. A stay-at-home defenseman with some untapped offensive potential, Tyutin will likely play the 2001/2002 season with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Tyutin was selected by the Storm in the 1st round of the CHL Import draft a few weeks ago. Tyutin will be in camp, but most likely he will report to the Storm before training camp is over with.

Since Tyutin was drafted from Europe, the rules barring junior players to play in the AHL before they are at least 20 years old or have completed three junior seasons do not apply to him. Tyutin can play in the AHL this season, but it will be better for his development to play a season in juniors so he can get used to the North American style of hockey, as well as the different culture and also the English language. Tyutin will likely follow the same path that Tomas Kloucek took, as Kloucek came over to North America and played a season in the QMJHL before being an outstanding rookie with the Hartfo Read more »

Lost Season in Louisville

by jennifer-mccarty
on

Thoughts and Recollections on a lost season in Louisville

When the Florida Panthers limped to season’s end decimated by injuries all year round, it truly was an eye-opening realization that no team can compete when 367 man-games are missed and the roster is never set. The season truly affected the level of play in another team too, the AHL Louisville Panthers.
With a rotating call-up list, 14 of Louisville’s regulars saw extended time filling in at the NHL level, which included Joey Tetarenko and Brad Ference. Combined with the rotating roster in the AHL, a merciless schedule that saw Louisville play 20 of its first 23 games on the road, and a shaky ownership group, the season closely matched the NHL season as a season to forget.
Joey Tetarenko was called up for 29 games and was able to make an impact with his physical play and chipped in 3 goals as well. Brad Ference was aiming for a roster spot after a solid stint in 99-00, but had the misfortune of getting his jaw broken by Steve Smith in a game of shinny. He wasn’t able to rebound quickly enough and only got to see time in 14 games in South Florida, but is aiming for a roster spot for this upcoming season. Kyle Rossiter spent his whole season in Louisville, but his strong solid play and physical presence will make him one of the key components on the future Panther blue-line.
These 3 players took the time out of their busy off-season to give Hockey’s Future an update of what they are looking forward to, what they want to improve on, and their Read more »

Depth no longer a dirty word in Hab-land

by Chris Boucher
on
During each of the last two off-seasons the Canadiens have found themselves without enough experienced NHL players to fill their roster. Fortunately, André Savard has been able to solve this problem. The recent acquisitions of Juneau, Dackell, and Quintal have increased the number of players with tangible NHL-experience to twenty-five; not including goaltenders.

This bolds well not only in regards to the team’s depth , but also in terms of intra-roster competition. The increase in the number of experienced players should force those players who find themselves on the bubble to work that much harder. Roster spots will have to be earned, rather than just acquired by default.

Of these twenty-five players with NHL experience. Fifteen of them are forwards, and ten are defensemen. Joé Juneau is the most experienced forward (616 games), while Stephane Quintal is the most experienced defenseman (822 games).

There is however a lack of balance as far as the forwards are concerned. They now find themselves with five natural centers (Perreault, Koivu, Bulis, Kilger, Darby). Although, three of them also have experience playing left wing. Seven of the remaining ten forwards are natural left wingers (Savage, Rucinsky, Zednik, Poulin, Juneau, Brunet, Odjick), fortunately five of these players have also played right wing. That said, there remains only three players who are natural right wingers (Dackell, Petrov, Asham); two of which are right handed.

Confusion aside, the team should adjust well to their new roles. Recent injury-plagued seasons Read more »

Youngsters get invite to compete for Team Canada roster positions

by Jake Dole
on
According to numerous sources, Wade Redden, Eric Brewer, Ed Jovanovski, Alex Tanguay and Ryan Smyth, among others, have been invited to a summer orientation camp, in preparation for the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City. There is a clear indication that Canada is making an attempt to add some speed and youthful enthusiasm to an all-new version of its Olympic hockey squad.
It will be a while before the deciding reserves are announced, but so far there is a clearer sense of the attempt to construct a faster, more energetic team. The memories of the failure in Nagano still come to minds of Canadian hockey fans when the world winter Olympics are mentioned. The attempt to assemble a team based on experience, failed miserably. The 1998 squad looked tired and slow, showing little ability of putting the puck in the net. Although the gold medal game did not seem far away, Canada failed to score when it mattered most.
The key for Canada, as well as for any other hockey nation participating, will be to build a team based centrally on speed. With the large Olympic ice surface, skating will dominate. The key is not to build a Stanley Cup contender (and the 1998 team seemed to be built according to that idea), but a gold medal contender; two distinct goals which cannot be achieved using the same mind set. Let’s think of some recent Stanley Cup winning teams: Dallas, New Jersey, Colorado. Main players involved being Scott Stevens, Joe Nieuwendyk, Bobby Holik, Ray Bourque to name a few. Recently it has been elementary to note that to succeed in the Read more »

Jakes goes one-on-one with Hockey’s Future

by pbadmin
on

Less than a month after being drafted by the Boston Bruins Jiri Jakes tells Peter Baptista of Hockey’s Future that he was surprised that he fell to the 5th round and would like a contract from Boston after this season.

PB: Were you surprised you slipped to the 5th round after being ranked 43rd among North American Skaters?
JJ: Quite surprised and nervous. I expected about 3rd, maybe 2nd but I was quite surprised but I can live with that.

PB: Had you spoken to the Bruins prior to the draft?
JJ: Not at all. No interview.

PB: Who did you have interviews with?
JJ: About 15, Columbus, Nashville, Chicago, Washington, Rangers. Can’t remember the rest.

PB: What is the biggest adjustment you had to make this year being your first year playing in North America?
JJ: Rink is smaller so have to play faster and be a little bit tougher. Have to move the puck a little bit quicker. Go to net a lot more.

PB: What is the strongest aspect of your game?
JJ: Make a good play. Make some good hits and score some goals

PB: What is the weakest aspect of your game?
JJ: I would think skating. I have to work on my skating.

PB: Will you be attending the Bruins training camp this year?
JJ: Yes I will.

PB: Describe your style. Read more »

Pens Prospect Update

by Richard A. Plisco
on

The Pittsburgh Penguins will recieve $4.9 Million in cash from Washington in addition to three prospects for Jagr and Kucera.
Konstantin Kolstov, the 1999 18th pick, will decide if he will remain in Russia or accept an invitation to Penguin training camp. His decision will be forthcoming according to his agent.
Brooks Orpick, the 2000 18th pick, will also decide relatively soon if he will complete his senior year at Boston College or accept an offer from the Pens.
Eric Meloche, the 1996 186th pick, has come to terms with Pittsburgh for the 2001-02 season. The 5’11” 195lbs. forward posted 20 goals and 20 assists for Wilkes-Barre last season in 79 contests.

Tampa Bay Lightning sign Three Prospects

by pbadmin
on

Goaltenders Michal Lanicek and Alexander Polukeyev, and defenseman Marek Priechodsky all signed standard three-year rookie contracts today.

Lanicek spent the season with HC Berounsti Medvedi of the Czech 1st league. In 17 regular season games, he recorded a 2.44 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. He appeared in 7 playoff games and had a 2.28 GAA and .877 save percentage.

Lanicek Profile

Polukeyev played five games in the Russian Super League with SKA St. Petersburg. He had a 4.55 GAA and .852 save percentage. He spent the rest of the season with St. Petersburg’s junior club.

Polukeyev Profile

Priechodsky played 43 games with HC Slovan Bratislava of the Slovakian Extraleague. He had five assists and a plus-18 rating.

Priechodsky Profile

Lubos Velebny progressing

by Stephen J. Holodinsky
on


A Knight in Shining Feathers?

Lubos Velebny was selected by the Leafs in the seventh round of the 2000 Entry Draft as a little known blueliner from Slovakia and remained so through last season as the focus of most fans attention turned to Mikael Tellqvist, Brad Boyes, Petr Svoboda and Jeff Farkas. However, one person who didn’t lose sight of the rearguard was the coach of the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks, Scott Koberinski. The reason being of course, was that Velebny came over to North America and spent the season learning the finer points of hockey on this side of the pond under the aforementioned bench boss. Now that he has been nabbed by the London Knights in the CHL’s Import Draft, his progress will be more easily followed by Leaf fans in Southwestern Ontario. That said, in a recent conversation with Koberinski, who compares him to a young Lubomir Sekeras (Minnesota Wild) in style, he described a player that while a work in progress, is further ahead in that progress than most defensemen his age.

Offensively minded, Velebny’s main weapon is a devastating slapshot from the point which he doesn’t hesitate to use, especially on the powerplay. Koberinski goes on to say that had he stayed in the USHL this season “he would have easily been the best powerplay quarterback in the league”. In addition to that his first pass out of the zone is almost always flawless and he has adapted to the rougher game over here faster than one would have expected. However, like all wild young horses, there is a downside and that downside is in his decisio Read more »

Kings Goalie Prospect Matthew Yeats Interview

by Tony Calfo
on

Maine goalie Matthew Yeats answered some questions for Kings’ Editor Tony Calfo-

HF- When do you hope or plan to break into the NHL?

MY- I don’t plan on making an arrival into the NHL for a couple of years. I have one year left of college eligibility which I plan on using this coming year and will graduate in May. From there it is up in the air. I would guess that I would play a couple of years with the farm team and work my way up from there.

HF- What do you think of the Kings’ organization?

MY- I think the Kings organization is great. The three previous summers I have attended the rookie camp that they host, two were in Thunder Bay and last year in Los Angeles. Everything was done with class and everyone makes sure that you are happy and doing your best all the time. The Kings would be a great team to play for.

HF- Do you follow the Kings or their system?

MY- I don’t keep too close to what is going on in the Kings system, but I do like to see what they are doing and how their goaltending situation is from time to time. If I see a paper lying around or if someone is reading the hockey news, I will go right to the kings section to see what is new.

HF- Do the Kings keep in touch with you?

MY- The Kings don’t really keep in touch. I usually talk to one of the scouts once or twice a year, checking in to see how I am doing and to tell me what they thought of when they saw me play. Most of the time it is positive.

HF- How do you compare with Alexey Volkov?

MY- It is tough for me to say how I compare Read more »

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