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Kootenay starting to put it together

by Jeff Bromley
on
A six game road trip, four out of the six being wins, a possible nine of twelve points in solidifying their current second place in the Central
Division standings. If you could have asked Kootenay ICE Head Coach Ryan McGill for that result from the second longest road swing the
ICE would encounter this season, there is no doubt that he would’ve answered an emphatic answer in the positive.

Coming off a rather embarrassing 3-1 home loss to the Calgary Hitmen in which they managed only 14 shots in front of a sellout hometown
crowd before the swing into the Pacific Northwest and Central Alberta began, the road trip turned out to be perhaps the most crucial point of
the season for the ICE. A sub-par road trip and the club could’ve found itself in a dogfight for third in the conference standings with a
slumping Calgary Hitmen team and the red-hot Regina Pats. After the addition of the nine points garnered on the trip, the ICE find themselves
with somewhat of a cushion between themselves and a suddenly vulnerable Calgary club and enough of a cushion that Regina isn’t a threat
to their position, yet.

In what could be best described as just another cliche to pile upon the heap of hockey mannerisms, the sentence ‘we’ll get together on the
road trip and come together as a team’, seems to have actually applied here. Given that the two newest members of the club, Mike Lee and Eric
Bowen hadn’t yet found their role within the club the before they left, it seems that they may have found it now. Switching from spot front line
duty to more of checking, p Read more »

Kings: Around the System

by Tony Calfo
on
During the Rob Blake talks, one of the expenses the Kings listed was buying their own farm team. The fact of the matter is that no young player is developing at Lowell. Lowell is great for fringe NHL players like Marko Tuomained and Brad Chartrand, but the players the Kings needed to develop this season (Joe Rullier, Kip Brennan, Alexey Volkov)have floundered and even failed. If you look at other teams, the AHL is providing them with NHL talent with younger players. The Kings need to be able to do this soon.

Is Yanick Lehoux the real deal? You can’t blame Kings fans for being a little gunshy. Names like Rosa, Papineau, Perrault and Shevalier show that good numbers at that stage of development do not necessarily translate into NHL success. However, most people who have seen Lehoux think he is the genuine item.

What do the Kings need if they trade Rob Blake? Besides some new season seat holders, they need some size on wing and some ace prospect in net. Volkov’s struggles have the Kings moderately concerned, and while their is talent in net in the system, that seems an area that can never be too strong. The Kings also need a stud. There is no potential goal scorer within three years of having an impact on the NHL level. With Belanger, Reinprecht and Visnovsky, the Kings have some young point scorers, but they are badly in need of a finisher, and no one besides the young Lehoux has shown they can do that.

Top Prospects, Top Pressure

by Jeff Bromley
on
The sixth annual CHL Top Prospects game took place this past week and it didn’t fail to live up to it’s accrued billing of the showcase of top major junior players on the continent. Trouble is, it’s only one game. Take it or leave it, this game can have a major impact on where and when a player is taken in the NHL Draft come June in Sunrise, Fla. That’s of course not to say that NHL scouts haven’t done their homework and seen each and every player a couple dozen times but in a nationally televised game against your brethren who are fighting for the betterment of their own draft status, the game does take on new meaning in the eyes of scouts and players alike.

Forty 2001 draft eligible players, two teams, celebrity Coaches Don Cherry and Bobby Orr patrolling behind the bench, this game isn’t any All-Star extravaganza, it’s a stage in which to showcase your skills as a player. Think one game can’t make a difference? Think again. Last year’s prospect game is a clear example. Calgary Hitmen goaltender Brent Krahn going into the game in the draft rankings was ranked highest among goalies, save for number one pick overall Rick DiPietro who didn’t declare his eligibility until after the final rankings were released. But in the overall scheme of the things it wasn’t expected that Krahn would be picked until well into the first round, if at all. An outstanding performance at the 2000 edition of the Top Prospects game in Toronto changed all that. Krahn ended up being taken ninth overall by his hometown Calgary Flames. A surprise to some but to others not surprising at Read more »

Ellsworth having Vezina-like season for Soo Indians

by Derek Berry
on
He might remind you of an Olie Kolzig or a Byron Dafoe and he’s having
one heck of a season in goal for the NAHL’s Soo Indians.

His name is Cam Ellsworth. Remember his name. He’s big (6′ 1″ 200
lbs., to be exact), strong and handles the puck with the finesse of a
fine-tuned NHL goaltender.

Soo Indians’ head coach Joe Shawhan, a former goalie himself, knew he
would have a solid netminder coming into this season and had very few
worries.

“He had a good year last year and he came in ready to play this year,”
says Shawhan. “He has played very consistently and that’s carried over
from what he did last year.”


A RELIABLE PRESENCE

This season, the all-star goalie has a 1.94 GAA with a .921 save
percentage, a 26-5 record and 5 shutouts at the halfway point.

Shawhan says Ellsworth has excellent work habits, that will carry him
far in the future.

“When we came into this season he quickly picked up on what he did the
year before,” says Shawhan. “He did the work that was necessary to do
and it wasn’t all that much. We knew he was going to be reliable coming
in.”

Shawhan says Ellsworth merely had to work on his stance and his
compactness in the net.

Ellsworth himself also knew what he had to do coming into this season,
which basically involved standing tall in the net and staying tough.
The skills were there and still are…this season was a matter of carrying
over the consistency.

“I knew we had a good team coming into the season,” said Ellsworth. “I Read more »

Top german prospects – the second update

by Oliver Janz
on

German prospects – the update
A rating for the games since January, 23th till February, 9th

VERY GOOD
Good, better, Marcel Goc. The first line, ukrainian Vadim Slivchenko, czech Patrik Augusta and Marcel Goc is the only line in Schwenningen who wins the games. In the game against Mannheim he skate past all five players from mannheim and shots a sensational goal! Also in this game whe was named the best player of the game for the fourth time in this season and for the third time in the month january. In fact of this he was named the player of the month, together with DEL-top-scorer Sergej Vostrikov, goalies Mike Rosati, Chris Rogles and Sinuhe Wallinheimo.
Season Stats: Schwenningen/DEL: 46 games, 10 goals, 23 assists, 33 points, +/- 0, 12 PIM

Two very good weeks for defenseman Patrick Köppchen and his career. The München Barons signed him to a Junior-licence (german „Förderlizenz“) and he makes his DEL-debut in the 3-1 win against Augsburg. Coach Sean Simpson said he gave the team spirit and impulse in his second game against Düsseldorf, where he assist one goal.
Season Stats: Erding/2nd: 33 games, 7 goals, 11 assists, 18 points, 54 PIM
München/DEL: 2 games, 1 assist, 1 point, +1 Read more »

ECHL All-Star Game

by Parker Neale
on

The 2001 ECHL All-Star Game will take place this Tuesday, February 13th in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is the third straight year that the game will be showcased on a national television broadcast as ESPN2 is picking up the coverage. Once again, the Northern Conference all-stars are pitted against their counterparts from the south.

In terms of the starting line-up for the Northern Conference, the attack is led by Kevin Hilton. The Charlotte forward has tallied 66 points in 51 games thus far. Also up front are Scott Bertoli and Cail Maclean of Trenton. Both these Titans players have been consistent all season, notching 39 and 32 points, respectively. On defence are Calvin Elfring of Roanoke and Tom Nemeth of Dayton. Elfring has contributed 35 points and 48 penalty minutes in 50 games while Nemeth has been stellar on the offence, with 43 points in 48 games. And, in goal is Scott Stirling, who is having a sensational campaign for Trenton, with 20 wins, a 2.10 GAA and a 0.924 save percentage in 30 games.

The Southern Conference has a powerful offensive attack with Dany Bousquet of Pee Dee, Brent Cullaton of Tallahassee and Matt Demarski of Florida leading the charge. Bousquet has 32 goals in 43 games, Cullaton has dominated with 68 points in 44 games and Demarski is on a point-a-game clip with 47 in 46 games. On defence are Trevor Demmans of Pee Dee and Chris Valicevic of Louisiana. Both these defenders have been steady at both ends of the ice and have recorded 36 and 40 points, respectively. In net for the south is Kirk Daubenspeck of Sou Read more »

Czech NHL rookies – Pavel Kolarik

by Robert Neuhauser
on
It was a big surprise, the Bruins ninth round selection at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. After
taking Zdenek Kutlak in the eighth round the Bruins grabbed Kolarik with their first pick
in the ninth round at the 268th place, a 27-year old defenseman of HC Slavia Praha of the
Czech Extraleague. Born 10-24-1972 Pavel was drafted 9 years after his draft year, 1991.

That was awesome. Only Czech Extraleague fans knew that this 6’0”, 185 lbs. blueliner, who
never played for the National team, exists. It looked like he’ll spend the rest of his
career as an average Extraleague player, with hope to play some games in the National Team,
maybe. Harry Sinden drastically changed this vision of the future. The Bruins, who missed
the playoffs in 1999-2000, were looking for some players who could provide immediate help.
They took forward Sergei Zinoviev and defensemen Jarno Kultanen, Zdenek Kutlak and finally
Pavel Kolarik to fight for a spot in the Bruins team. Not even Pavel believed in such a big
turnover in his career…

Born in Vyskov, Czech Republic, Pavel Kolarik broke into the Extraleague in the 1996-1997
season with HC Slavia Praha. He acquired the jersey with the number 16 after Petr Macek,
a defenseman who left Slavia before the 1996-97 season and started playing. He appeared in
half of the regular season schedule games, playing 27 of 52 games. Pavel notched 3 points
(1 goal + 2 assists) and was a +3 along with 10 PIMs in his inaugural season. He was
scoreless during 3 playoff games, in which was Slavia swept 0:3 by the future champion
of Vset Read more »

The Weekend Warrior

by Randy Nicholson
on

Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.

The Future: Though the situation on the ice seems somewhat muddled at times this season, the Maple Leafs have established some grand plans for the club’s business operations in the coming years … modeling itself after England’s storied Manchester United Football Club (a sports empire worth about $3 billion CDN) the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment conglomerate has more than tripled its assets during the past three years … the organization currently has plans to add 44 new employees to its staff (bringing the total close to 400) as it implements Phase II of the mid-term business plan … Phase I involved the merging of 2 operations (hockey and basketball) and the completion of the ACC on time and on budget … much effort was also spent in getting the hockey and basketball teams into perennial playoff contention and booking out the new playing facility during the past 2 years … at this time, the Air Canada Centre is the #2 concert venue in North America in terms of gross revenue, just behind the Staples Centre in Los Angeles … last year there were 230 separate events staged at the ACC … the prime sports tenants lead the way with the Maple Leafs being sold out for every game and the Raptors currently representing the NBA’s #3 draw for road and home games combined … satisfied that their initial goals had been met, the MLSE board of directo Read more »

Bolts Bits – Tampa Bay Prospect Update

by Megan Sexton
on

Next up: Dieter Kochan

With the departure of netminder Dan Cloutier yesterday (sent to Vancouver for Adrian Aucoin and a 2nd round pick in 2001), Dieter Kochan may finally get his shot at the big time.

Kochan has spent his career bouncing around various leagues, but has never managed to get a big break. Now, at age 26, he may finally have the opportunity to solidify himself as an NHL goaltender.

There was an air of disbelief in late March last season when it was announced that the virtually unknown goaltender from the UHL would start in goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Just one day after being signed by the club, Kochan was left seeing stars, literally. He was pulled 15 minutes into the 1st period, after being shelled by the Stanley Cup Champion Dallas Stars and allowing 3 goals on 6 shots. Kochan was replaced by Cloutier 7 minutes into the 1st period, but re-entered the game at 2:00 of the second when Cloutier went down with a knee injury. He performed well in the second half of the game, only allowing one additional goal.

One week later, Kochan came back to redeem himself. He replaced Zac Bierk, and stopped 30 of 31 shots to help the Bolts to a 5-4 win over Boston.

So far this season, Kochan has appeared in 7 games with the Lightning, including two spectacular performances against the Colorado Avalanche. His 2.08 GAA and .933 save percentage is one of the best in the league.

Tampa Bay General Manager Rick Dudley told the Tampa Tribune after the Cloutier trade, “We’re going to give Dieter Koc Read more »