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The Flyers can fly high with Jiri Dopita

by Robert Neuhauser
on
We’ll probably not exactly find out which reason forced Jiri Dopita, arguably the best forward
outside the NHL, to try his luck on the other side of the pond. But one thing is for sure.
After refusing offers from the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and lastly the Florida
Panthers, Jiri joins former Vsetin teammate Roman Cechmanek in Philadelphia. Jiri Dopita,
nicknamed Dopi (read Dopey) will celebrate his 33rd birthday in December and this native
from Sumperk, Czech Republic can’t be labelled as one who is entering his prime. But he can
provide immediate help and boost the Flyers offense for the next 4-5 years.

Jiri started to play hockey and handball in his native Sumperk in mid-70’s. It was soon clear
that this guy has a very good hockey sense and talent and Jiri stayed in Sumperk only till
he was ready to play in the elite junior league. HC Olomouc has brought him into the system, but
he didn’t make his Czechoslovakian 1. liga (elite league at that time) debut in Olomouc jersey. He
had to enter the army for two years and he played in his debut among the seniors for the army
team HC Dukla Jihlava. That was in the 1989-90 season. Jiri split the two army years between
HC Dukla Jihlava and VTJ Tabor and returned to Olomouc as the 1992-93 seeason passed the
halfway mark.

Jiri Dopita was originally a Boston Bruins’ draft choice back in 1992, 132nd overall. At one time
it seemed that Jiri will accept their offer and fight for a roster spot with the Bruins, but
finally Jiri refused the Bruins offer and chose to play for Eisbaren Berlin (Berlin Ic Read more »

2001-02 Season Previews, From Vydareny to Reid.

by Kirk Pedersen
on

The Canucks have been a team in the past who have gotten quite a bit of high-quality talent from the NHL Draft. The past few seasons have been no exception. Since Brian Burke and his band of merry men took over in 1998, the Canucks have seen players such as Artem Chubarov and the Sedins take roles in the future of this franchise. With players such as Bryan Allen, Rene Vydareny and Brandon Reid set to undertake spots in the hopefully not-too-distant future.

Here are prospects #3-6, a preview and forecast of the upcoming seasons for Rene Vydareny, Alexander Auld, R.J. Umberger, and speedster Brandon Reid.

Rene Vydareny was drafted in 1999, in the third round, from Bratislava, in the Slovakian Junior league. He was the #12 European skater for the ’99 draft, ahead of such players as Luca Cereda, Kristian Kudroc, Andrei Shefer, and Mattias Weinhandl. He came over to North America for the 1999-2000 season, picking up thirty points (7g, 23a) in 51 games with the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL.

He missed a good chunk of this season due to a contract dispute with his Slovakian Club team, which blew up into him not being able to play in Kansas City, or with the Canucks, as stipulated in his contract. The Canucks spent the better part of a few weeks trying to wrestle the rights to Rene away from Bratislava, and eventually succeeded, although they paid an undisclosed sum to the Slovakian team for Rene’s services. He finally arrived in Kansas City, around the midpoint of the final season for the IHL. He didn’t score at all; (0g,1a in 39 games) but he showed flas Read more »

Tim Branham

by Scott McFarlane
on

When the Vancouver Canucks selected Tim Branham with their 3rd pick (93rd overall) in the 2000 NHL entry draft, the Canucks knew that they were drafting a solid, talented defensemen.

Tim Branham

Position: D

Shoots: Left

Height: 6-2

Weight: 185 lbs

Birthdate: 1981-05-05

Hometown: Eagle River, Wisconsin

The 6’2, 185-pound Branham is known more as an offensive defenseman, rather than the typical defensive defensemen. Tim Branham’s skating is one of his more notable skills, along with his big shot. Branham will have more of a realistic chance to make the Canucks within the next 4 years.

The Canucks are deep on defence, with Bryan Allen, Zenith Komarniski and Rene Vydarney all ready to make the next step to the NHL. It leaves very little room for Tim Branham and other defensemen prospects like Bonni, Hay, and Ytfeld to make the team. There are hardly any open spots on the Vancouver Canucks for the next couple years. So many players are trying out for those few spots, only so many can earn those spots. It is going to be tough for the players, but fun for us writers and fans to watch.

Last year Branham played for the Barrie Colts of the OHL.

Tim Branham’s stats

1999-00 Barrie Colts OHL GP 38 G 3 A 16 P 19 PIM 46

2000-01 Barrie Colts OHL GP 68 G 7 A 25 P 32 PIM 77

Tim Branham posted very respectable numbers last season. A nice stat to see was the 77 penalty minutes in 68 games; this shows that he can throw his tall, skinny frame around and doesn’ Read more »

Fulfilling the league’s potential.

by Jake Dole
on
Since 1946, hockey has taken over as the sort of competition which, to this day, familiarizes other nations with Russia and its system of sporting procedure. Until the fall of the Soviet Union, the system was extremely successful(although somewhat inhumane), which was evident with the enjoyed success of the “Sbornaja” clubs for more than 3 decades. Although, the system had its flaws, the secret lay within the strict development of youth to ensure the country’s athletic prosperity and assure consequent triumphs.
With the upcoming winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, one can only wonder if the nation can realistically compete for gold. Whether or not the problem lies within the apparent shortage of hockey youth, an argument can be made that unlike in the late 80’s or early 90s, Russia can no longer exhibit a punch of youthful energy to its lineup. Ten years ago, the likes of Mogilny, Bure and Fedorov represented the core of the country’s hockey prosperity. However, in 2001 the country is faced with putting together a team either with the millionaire stars who don’t want to be there or with the unproven youngsters who…well, have yet to prove anything. The lackluster development of hockey posterity in the 90’s has resulted in numerous disappointing world championship results for Russia, a tournament which was supposed to showcase more of the country’s budding youth. Although there has been clear improvement with an increase, let alone, the proportion of talent, many problems still plague the junior hockey systems in Russia.
A key problem Read more »

A “Goal”den Group of Prospects

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

The New York Rangers have one of the deepest group of talented goaltending prospects, rivaling only a few teams, including the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks. The Rangers have put a lot of time and effort into developing potential NHL goalies. Although the current goaltending for the Rangers in the NHL is questionable, with Mike Richter rehabbing a second torn ACL and no current back, their are not many doubts about the prospects playing all over the world between the pipes for the Rangers.

When the Rangers selected goaltender Dan Blackburn from the Kootenay Ice of the WHL 10th Overall this past draft, it left many Rangers’ fans shaking their heads. “Why another goaltender?” was a common phrase that was being used. But, in today’s NHL, you can never have enough goaltending. Goaltending wins championships, and if you don’t have an excellent goalie between the pipes, don’t expect your team to go far. The selection of Blackburn reminded me of the situation with the New Jersey Devils two years ago. With Martin Brodeur in his prime and the fact the team just drafted goaltender JF Damphousse in the 1st Round of the 1997 Entry Draft, the Devils selected goaltender Ari Ahonen from Finland in the 1st round of the 1999 Draft. This move puzzled many fans as well.

Now a little more than two years later, the selection is looking like a great one for the Devils. Martin Brodeur’s play has clearly been slipping over the last year and a half, and Ahonen is arguably one of the top goalt Read more »

Team Toughness not a problem in Flyers system

by Mike Castor
on

The Flyers have a long history of playing tough and having the top enforcers in the game. Although the game has changed much since the Broad Street Bullies era, hockey still needs policemen. The Flyers in recent drafts have drafted players that can play and are willing to drop the gloves to add a spark. This article will look at the current Flyer players that will lead the way in the toughness area. Also it will take a look at the players trying to make their mark with the orange and black. The Flyers enter this season with a team that is highly skilled but also feisty. The addition of Roenick will only add to the overall toughness of Richardson, Primeau, McGillis, and Tocchet. The Broad Street Bullies they are not, but they are not a team that can be pushed around.

Todd Fedoruk - Todd has progress through the Flyers system rather rapidly. He played some games for the Phantoms 1999 – 2000 and also saw action with the Trenton Titians. The Flyers have always been impressed with his skating ability for such a large man (6’2 235 lbs). Todd’s nickname is the “ Fridge “ because of his wide stocky build. He also has his last name tattooed on his back so the fans will know who he is when he gets his jersey torn off he once said jokingly. Fedoruk has average skill that will allow him to take regular shifts and not hurt the team. Last preseason he knocked Sandy McCarthy out with the nasty left that he likes to throw in tight. He also can switch up hands during a fight to throw off the opponent. Todd had several fights his rookie year in which he won most of t Read more »

Habs’ development camp (day 3)

by Chris Boucher
on
Day three of the Canadiens Prospect Development Camp came and went with the same level of intensity as the previous two practices. Drills were up-tempo, players worked hard, and Clement Jodoin (AKA: King of the X’s and O’s) put together another masterfully, well organized practice.

Russian goaltender, Vadim Tarasov continues to wade through visa problems. But might be in Montreal by the weekend. He, along with Mike Komisarek (US Junior camp), and Duncan Milroy (Canadian Junior camp) continue to be the only notable absentees.

The Habs’ brain trust is well represented on site. With André Savard, Martin Madden, Michel Therrien, Guy Carbonneau, and Pierre Boivin all present and accounted for. Their main focus appears to be on Ron Hainsey (1st round, 2000) who continually demonstrates strong puck-handling skill to go along with his mobility, and positive attitude. Hainsey leads by example. He’s always smiling, and obviously enjoys the game with a contagious passion.

Non-property invitee Francois Fortier, a 21 year-old forward who split last season between Hartford and Quebec has shown a strong skating stride, as well as good puck-skills. Most surprising however, has been the 5’11”, 194 lbs. forward’s intensity level.

Alexandre Tremblay, another non-property invitee has continued to impress with his skill level. He has an NHL-calibre release, and shot. However, his lack of size may be the deciding factor in his potential future with Montreal.

Jerome Marois (9th round, 1999), who will likely begin the season in Quebec, or Miss Read more »

Fantasy Hockey: Centers 2001-2002

by Drew Bennett
on

1. Peter Forsberg- (Avalanche) While missing around 10 games last year
due to injuries, Forsberg still managed to put up very good numbers (62
assists, 89 points). An injury-free year could mean a career year for
Forsberg, who could possibly win the scoring title.

2. Mario Lemieux- (Penguins) After coming out of retirement last season
to help the struggling Penguins, Lemieux jump started the Penguins and
led them to the playoffs. The talented Lemieux will put up points, but
he will take games off to rest and might miss the absence of one of the
world’s most talented players, Jaromir Jagr, more than he might think.

3. Joe Sakic- (Avalanche) The league’s Most Valuable Player last season
showed no signs of slowing down. If Sakic can stay healthy he
could once again challenge for the scoring title. With the help of the
high-powered Avalanche offence Sakic should have a 50 goal 50 assist
season.

4. Doug Weight- (Blues) Weight, who was traded to the Blues during the
summer, will find joy in playing with Keith Tckchuk and Pavol Demitra.
A change of scenery was something that Weight needed, and he could have
a 90-point season, but only 25 of those points being goals.

5. Jason Allison- (Bruins) Allison, who had a career year last year,
will probably not be in Boston by season’s start. After a 95-point
season last year, there are not many reasons why he should not repeat
that total, besides the fact that he might be playing on a weak team or
holding-out. Allison could finish the season in th Read more »

Hockey’s Future profiles Stephen Weiss

by Mark Fischel
on

Of all the players drafted this year, Stephen Weiss might have been the most complete and well-rounded of the top players. Blessed with natural offensive instincts and a solid scoring touch around the net, Stephen makes his teammates better due to his unselfish play and very good hockey sense. Former Whalers Asst. Coach Steve Spott on his star center “Stephen Competes very hard, He doesn’t put himself in awkward positions on the ice, he is very intelligent that way.” To go with the natural instincts, Weiss is an effortless skater with excellent speed, acceleration and can outskate and outplay his opponents in one-on-one situations.

Stephen’s smaller stature might have been the only thing keeping him back from going higher in the draft, but Stephen doesn’t let his average size hold him back in all ends of the ice “The offensive Stuff is god-given, and he (Stephen) can do that anyways, but he has made a conscious decision to play well defensively, and that is why he is such a complete player.” This effort to play in all zones and be considered a threat whenever he is on the ice, is what made Stephen stand out to the Panthers as well. Stephen is a good fore-checker and will put the team ahead of personal statistics.

While he excelled in the OHL in faceoffs, it becomes a different skill altogether in the NHL, According to Steve Spott “In junior hockey, sometimes, you get in a habit where the importance of faceoffs aren’t stressed enough. That is something he will have to continue to work on and technically he is very good, but along with his s Read more »

Habs open rookie development camp

by Chris Boucher
on
The Canadiens opened their annual rookie development camp on Monday. Unlike last year, when the team chose to invite mostly signed, or drafted prospects, the Habs chose instead to invite fifteen non-property invitees (16 if we include Dusty Jamieson) to go along with sixteen prospects who are already considered Montreal property.
Here’s a quick look at the three goalies, seven defensemen, and five forwards who the Habs hope to have a solid look at during the 11-day camp.

Goaltenders

Luc Belanger

The top goaltender in the CIAU last season. He recorded a 1.91 GAA, and a .931 save percentage to go along with 5 shutouts in 18 games. He finished with a 15-0-2 record, and led UQTR to the CIAU Men’s Championship.

Adam Russo

An 18 year-old QMJHL rookie who recorded a 3.25 GAA, and a .891 save percentage in 35 games with Acadie-Bathurst. Finished with a 15-13-2 record.

Olivier Michaud

A 17 year-old QMJHL rookie who recorded a 2.96 GAA, and a .882 save percentage in 21 games with Shawinigan. Finished with a 12-4-4 record.

Skaters

Jeff Beatch (6’5″, 188 lbs.)

The 20 year-old defenseman recorded 11 points (2-9-11) in 71 games with Seattle of the WHL. He finished the season +1, with 67 minutes in penalties.

Mike Colgan (6’3″, 204 lbs.)

The 21 year-old defenseman recorded 13 points (1-12-13) in 41 games during his senior season with Colorado College of the WCHA. He finished the season with 20 minutes in penalties.

Kevin Dallman (5’11”, Read more »

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