CHL RACES TIGHT AND SO ARE BANK OF MONTREAL MASTERCARD TOP 10 RANKINGS
The races for top spots in the Canadian Hockey League are very tight as the
regular season winds down, as is the race for top spots in the Bank of
Montreal MasterCard CHL Top 10 rankings.
The top three spots in Week 21 of the Bank of Montreal MasterCard CHL Top 10
rankings remain the same as last week, as selected by a panel of National
Hockey League scouts. But there was a lot of movement on the rest of the
list, with just one more week of rankings to come for this season.
Just four points separate the top four teams in the Ontario Hockey League,
while the top four teams in the Western Hockey League are just seven points
apart. As a result, the overall Top 10 rankings saw quite a bit of movement
this past week.
Red Deer Rebels (43-18-6-1) of the WHL are still ranked number one, despite
losing two of three games this past week. Their lead in the WHL overall
standings is down to one point over the Swift Current Broncos, who move up
from sixth place to fourth place this week with a 40-17-5-7 record after
winning three games and picking up another point from an overtime loss this
Plymouth Whalers (38-15-10-2) of the OHL remain ranked second, going 1-0-2
in three games this week to hang on to the overall OHL points lead. The
red-hot Erie Otters have won 10 straight games and as a result, appear in
the Bank of Montreal MasterCard Top 10 rankings for the sixth time this
season, jumping into sixth spot after being unranked since Week 8. Erie won
Read more »
Monday, March 4 to Sunday, March 10
The Week That Was: (3-0-0-1)
A strong week for the Wild as they failed to lose a game during regulation –
their only defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers in overtime – picking
up seven out of a possible eight points. Minnesota received strong offensive
work from their top two lines, and solid goaltending from Dwayne Roloson and
Tue, Mar. 5: L 2-3 (OT) vs. New York Rangers
– Blown 2-0 lead in the third period.
Thu, Mar. 7: W 3-0 at St. Louis Blues
– Roloson records fourth shutout of the season.
Fri, Mar. 8: W 5-3 at Dallas Stars
– Big win over former Minnesota North Stars franchise.
Sun, Mar. 10: W 5-0 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Read more »
Even though the DU Pioneers have not had a lot of playoff experience in recent years, they successfully accomplished three important factors of post-season play over the weekend. First, they were not over confident while playing the number ten seed, Michigan Tech. Second, each player contributed to the game and played as a team. And last, several player were playing though new and old injuries.
The DU Pioneers have beaten the Michigan Tech Huskies in the last 6 games that the two teams have met. Most of these games have been very one sided. It would be very easy to look past this series and focus on the final five next weekend. The other top ranked teams in the WCHA struggled though their weekend series with many one goal games and several overtimes. DU sent a message out to the rest of the league that they would not take any team lightly.
DU’s offense, defense and goaltending played each role selflessly. They dominated in both zones and in every period of both games. Offensively, they totaled 13 goals and 71 shots with 9 different players lighting the lamp and 14 different players with helpers. Defensively, they only allowed 2 goals and 33 shots on goal. The goaltending duo that has trade off duties all season long, has been narrowed down to junior Wade Dubielewicz taking over the starting spot in both games. Sophomore Adam Berkhoel enthusiastically sat on the bench though both games and cheered his team on.
Two weekends ago, during the St Cloud series, DU gained one player back from an injury and saw two other key players go d Read more »
Some notes, news and observations about the Kings system:
The Los Angeles Kings have to be pleased with the return to form of Jarslov Bednar. In his first game back in the NHL on Monday he showed alot of spunk. He played the body all night, made some crisp passes and had several scoring opportunities on a line with Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh. He is a nice fit with those two and could be a key cog if the Kings are unable to land a top six winger.
It seems like a good year to have a rebound as a defenseman in the Kings system. In the collegiate ranks, Jason Crain has had a great season after struggling last year. Crain has developed into a leader and shown some offense this year. Crain has 10 points and is a +7 in 35 games- solid numbers in the college game. Richard Seeley and Joe Rullier have developed their defensive games in Manchester and while neither may be the offensive prospects once hope for, you can’t get enough big, physical defensemen. The best comeback is by Joe Corvo. Once out of hockey and the King’s plans, Corvo is Manchester’s best defensemen and may be in the NHL next season.
College prospect Noah Clarke has had another great offensive season for Colorado College. Clarke has 29 points in 33 games. Clarke and Sweden’s Tim Eriksson are both in the same boat- having great seasons but limited due to their small stature.
Very quietly, Jen Karlsson is finding his game. Look for this kid to keep developing and turning into a solid pick, even though the Kings have taken some heat for picking him in the first round.
Fin Read more »
Ron Hainsey -D (Drafted-00(1/13))Hainsey managed 3 points through 9 games since our last update. He injured his shoulder during a March 3rd game against Manitoba, and has missed the last 2 games. There’s still no word on a possible return date. Overall, the 6’3″, 200-lbs defenseman has played 49 games. He has 27 points (7-20-27), and is +12 with 18 minutes in penalties. He’s second on the Citadelles in plus/minus, and is tops among the team’s current crop of defensemen. Four of his goals were scored on the powerplay, and he’s directed 101 shots on goal.
Mathieu Garon -G (Drafted-96(2/44))Garon was recently recalled by the Canadiens, and will back-up Jose Theodore. Overall, the 6’2″, 192-lbs goalie has played 42 AHL games. He has a 20-11-10 record with 2.63 GAA, and a .921 save percentage.
Eric Chouinard -F (Drafted-98(1/16))Chouinard picked up 6 points through 11 games since our last update. He was shutout by Lowell on March 6th, thereby ending a 4-game point-scoring streak. Overall, the 6’3″, 207-lbs left winger has played 54 games. He has 39 points (17-22-39), and is -1 with 16 minutes in penalties. Surprisingly, he has only one powerplay goal; which actually speaks volumes for Chouinard’s 5-on-5 play this season. He’s also directed 145
shots on goal.
Francois Beauchemin -D (Drafted-98(3/75))Beauchemin scored 2 goals and added 5 assists through 11 games since our last update. He was shutout during a recent game against Lowell, thereby ending a 3-game point-scoring streak. Overall, the 6’0″, Read more »
Coach Ron Low and G.M. Glen Sather who have seemingly lost touch with how to motivate the new era of NHL players have basically refused to look at what is available in the system. Certain questions need to be asked. What is available & can it help? Are there other routes available?
After much “hair pulling” Glen Sather finally made a couple “inspirational” moves: The first was to send Dan Blackburn down to Hartford for a little extra work and motivation while calling up Johan Holmqvist to sit on the bench, face NHL warm up and NHL practice shots proved be a good one. Holmqvist returned to Hartford as even a greater asset and that much better of a player. Holmqvist has registered a solid season in Hartford posting a 19-9-6 record with a very respectable 3.12 GAA. Blackburn responded with back to back starts and solid performances for the Rangers.
The second move was to finally bring the self made enigma Michal Grosek up from Hartford where he was playing his normal physical, penalty filled, offensive game. Grosek wracked up 14 goals and 44 points in 48 games and added 167 penalty minutes. His banging style has been something the Rangers have really needed in the past 2 months. He was united with Eric Lindros and added a nice physical presence, one that can even spell a goal and assist when needed here and there. The problem is that Grosek seems to play when he wants to and in the style he wants, then again … Coach Low seems more out of touch of what any player can offer thus nullifying this argue.
Read more »
In the Czech Republic there are some cities, which are known for raising high-quality prospects,
even if they don’t have an Extraleague franchise. One of those cities is definitely Olomouc.
The city which celebrated championship title in the inaugural season of the Czech Extraleague
These days Pavel Brendl is probably the most known Olomouc talent among NHL fans, but he
isn’t a complete product of the Olomouc system. He just played there since the fourth grade.
Die-hard draft fans will know about two more gems, who form along with Vojtech Polak ‘The
Great Line’ of the Czech Under-17 team. These two are Petr Vrana and Ivo Kratena, who left
Olomouc prior to this season. Just like Jakub Cech, the youngest goalie ever to play in the
Czech Extraleague. And Pavel Rusek, the guy the story is about. Because that’s the other
side of the coin. Not having an Extraleague franchise means that all the top prospects leave
when they are about 15 or 16 to join the system of an Extraleague team. Pavel Rusek is a rookie
in the Havirov midgets.
His dad brought him to the arena in Olomouc when he was seven years old. The little Pavel
liked to be active and doing some sport was the best solution for him. He didn’t have his
relatives coaching or playing organized hockey, so it was only his own decision to play the game.
He started also relatively late, most players begin their careers about one or two years
earlier. He said, he wants to play hockey more than any other sport and the parents liked
the idea, so Pavel began to attend the practices. Read more »
Albany Week in Review #23
Broken record. No wins this week. Sorry.
Any writer covering a team that is in the basement must, to the reader(s), sound like a broken record. “Hey, didn’t we read that last week?” Well, reporting loss after loss is not exactly a picnic. On the other hand, this writer had occasion this week to run into a former Adirondack Red Wings’ fan (who converted to become a partisan of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute college hockey, rather than an Albany River Rats’ follower). This writer told Ron, the Wings/Engineers’ fan, that “now I know what it was like for you several years ago.” Ron, the Wings’ fan, got a laugh out of that.
You see, in the final two (of 20) years as the AHL franchise for the Detroit Red Wings, the Adirondack Red Wings were not really competitive. In a precursor to this year’s River Rats, the Wings were a mediocre team. In 1998-99, the Wings finished with 53 points in 80 games, with 21 wins, 48 losses, 3 overtime losses and 8 ties. The Wings that year (their last in the AHL) notched only 184 goals. The River Rats won the year’s head-to-head matchup, 9-2-1.
The last Adirondack game in franchise history was played on Saturday, April 24, 1999. It was a playoff game, in which the Rochester Americans won, 2-1, with only 1,732 fans in attendance at the Glens Falls Civic Center. (Fans of reform of the playoff scenario noted that the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, with 76 points in the standings, but last in the Mid-Atlantic conference, got cheated out of a playoff chance, while Read more »
The St. Michaels Majors are an excellent defensive hockey team but on this night the hometown Belleville Bulls tore into them for 9 goals. Peter Budaj played the 1st and 3rd periods and Andy Chiodo played the 2nd as the Major’s coaches tried to stop the bleeding anyway they could. The Bulls offense is potent and is assisted by the international size ice surface at the Yardman Arena. The Majors on the other hand use their size to their advantage at their home rink in Toronto, which is no bigger than an average living room but that size was ineffective against a strong Bulls team that dominated every aspect of the game including the physical side.
Michael Knight and Dan Growden were the most active Bulls players throwing their weight around, the latter nailing Michael Gough with a textbook hip check that sent Gough off for the rest of the game. Belleville’s captain Matt Coughlin had a less than stellar game on the blueline but redeemed himself with 2 decisive fight wins in coming to the aid of teammates. David Clarkson played with a lot of tenacity, as he seems to be gaining more and more confidence as he gains more valuable experience. He also created scoring chances with some nifty moves in the offensive zone.
The energy and flow are stymied in the small rink and the Majors have geared their team to take advantage of this. They have 10 players listed at over 200lbs and they use this size to clog up the ice and make it almost impossible to create breakout chances. The Majors have the best home record i Read more »
Jackets CHL PROSPECT UPDATE
Western Hockey League
Shane Bendera – G – Kelowna Rockets
Bendera’s play has not affected his play since moving to Kelowna from Red Deer earlier in the season. In 27 games with the Rockets, Bendera has posted a 2.64 GAA and a .906 SV%. In total this season, Bendera’s numbers are slightly better, with a 2.46 GAA and .909 SV% in 47 games. The bad news is that Kelowna still only sits in 4th in the BC Division with a 28-25-10-5 record, and with have to play some better hockey to launch themselves deep into the postseason.
Ben Knopp – RW – Kamloops Blazers
Knopp has finally adjusted to his new Blazer linemates, and I’m positive that the Kamloops coaching staff could not be happier. During my hiatus, Knopp has played 14 games, registering 18 points. He now sits at 40 goals and 77 points (40-37-77) in 73 games. His plus/minus is the stat that impresses me most since last update, where he has improved 13 GF, and now sits at +5, the highest its been all season. Knopp leads the Blazers in goals and points, but sits 3rd in points-per-game. The top two spots for that category go to 2002 draftee Scottie Upshall and LA Kings prospect Jared Aulin
Kiel McLeod – C – Kelowna Rockets
McLeod has finally come of his pulled groin which left him sidelined for longer than Rocket fans would have liked. He’s managed go play in 7 games since the last update, playing in only 41 of 68 games for the Rockets this seaso Read more »