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Sabres Report: Pugilistic Prospects Parade Punching Prowess

by Ken McKenna

Back in 1988, in the 5th round of the NHL Draft, the Buffalo Sabres drafted a player out of the OHL by the name of Rob Ray. Rob had totaled 590 penalty minutes during his junior career, so it was clear that the Sabres were looking to add some muscle to a team that had developed a reputation for being soft.

Fourteen years and 3000+ penalty minutes later, Rob has shown that a little bit of talent can go a long way in the NHL, if you work hard enough. The man known as “Razor” has won the hearts of a generation of Sabres fans while simultaneously pummeling a legion of NHL tough guys. There is little doubt, then, that Rob will be crowned Buffalo’s all-time enforcer once he decides to hang up his skates, a possibility that grows greater with each passing day.

Ray will turn 34 in June, an age that often signals the end of a professional hockey player’s career. While Rob may not yet be contemplating retirement, the day is surely not far off, which means the Sabres will have to find a worthy replacement for their all-time penalty minute leader. Luckily for Buffalo, there are a few candidates waiting in the wings, with no one player having a definite advantage over the others.

The obvious choice to replace Ray would be current Sabre LW Eric Boulton. Eric has earned his place in the NHL the hard way, coming up through the ECHL and AHL to surprisingly land a spot on Buffalo’s roster last seaso Read more »

2004 prospect story: Jan Danecek

by Robert Neuhauser
The northeast of the Czech Republic is one of the most important hockey regions in the country.
In cities like Havirov, Trinec and Ostrava (Vitkovice is a part of Ostrava) hockey blossoms
and future gems begin often their career there. When looking at the Czech roster from the
previous Four Nations tournament of the Under-16 teams, eight players learn the tools of the
hockey trade either in Trinec, Havirov or Vitkovice. One of them is Jan Danecek, the small
rocket from Trinec.

Jan was born on February, 15th, 1986, in Havirov. At that time only Vitkovice represented
the northeastern region in the Czechoslovakian First League and Havirov wasn’t a hockey mad
city like it is now, when an Extraleague franchise is based there. But Jan Danecek had good
signs of beginning a hockey career. His father, also Jan, is a respected youth coach and he
wanted to give his best into the career of his son. Read more »

Blades and Pats Warm Up for Possible Playoff Battle

by Tyler Neisz

The Saskatoon Blades headed on the road for a battle with their
southern rivals on Wednesday. The matchup was a key one for the Blades as
they began the day in a tie with the Prince Albert Raiders for the fourth
and final playoff spot in the WHL’s East Division. The Blades were coming
off a successfull weekend at home in which they defeated the Pats 2-1 and
the Hitmen 4-2.

However, the Blades would have their work cut out for them
tonight as they entered the contest on a 6 game road losing streak and
hadn’t one a game since defeated the Raiders on January 24th. The Pats
entered tonights game on a 5 game home ice winning streak. The Pats also
had extra motivation because a Pats win would mean 400 career wins for Pats
head coach Bob Loews. So everything seemed to stack up against the Blades
tonight but you can throw all that out the window.

The first period was a very sloppy period as both teams seemed to miss
several passes thus causing many icings and offside calls. The period
remained scoreless until the 14:33 mark when Pat captain Garth Murray
crashed the net and had a Blade clearing shot bank of his leg and into the
net for a 1-0 Pats lead. Shots in the first were 11-10 Regina. The Blades
controlled the second stanza outscoring the Pats 3-1. However, Matt
Hubbauer was able to score a weak goal as he gained the zone with speed and
fool Blades goaltender Mike Garnett with a shot that glanced off Garnett’s
glove. Cue the comeback. Tim Preston scored to get the Blades on board
just under 2 minutes Read more »

What’s In Storr for Jamie?

by Tony Calfo

It’s a rite of spring for all Kings fans. Is this the trading deadline when Jamie Storr will be dealt to another team for a big name player? The question is more pressing than ever this season. The Kings are playing as well as anyone in the league right now and may be a player away from making a run at the Stanley Cup Finals. The only real tradable commodity for the Kings right now is Jamie Storr, but what does that do for the future?

Felix Potvin is fully entrenched as the #1 goalie and is playing well. Stefan Fiset is in Manchester and with his hefty salary, the Kings would trade him for yesterday’s newspaper. Storr has done an admirable job as a backup, and the Kings have done an even more admirable job positioning him to do so, handpicking his games to make him more effective.

While Storr has not played the toughest schedule, his confidence is high and prior to Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh he was playing the best hockey of his NHL career. The Kings have seen signs of the netminder that they have worked so hard to hold on to, even at the expense of other players on their roster.

If they do deal Storr, what will happen in two years. Granted, Potvin is excelling but how many more years can the Kings count on him. Can Jamie wait another year after this to take the #1 spot? Do the Kings have a goalie they can depend on if they do trade Storr?

If Storr were traded today, Fiset would be the backup. he would be a capable backup, but if pressed into every day service he cannot be relied on due to his injury-prone nature. If Potvin plays thro Read more »

Canucks Statistical Update

by Kirk Pedersen

1. Allen, Bryan (D), Manitoba Moose (AHL). Drafted: ’98 (1/4)

Manitoba (AHL) 49 GP, 5 G, 13 A, 18 P, 85 PIM.
Vancouver (NHL) 11 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, 6 PIM.

2. Umberger, R.J. (C), Ohio State University (CCHA). Drafted: ’01 (1/16)

Ohio State (CCHA) 30 GP, 18 G, 18 A, 36 P, 21 PIM

3. Auld, Alex (G), Manitoba Moose (AHL). Acquired through a trade with Florida (2001).

Manitoba (AHL) 17 GP, 10 W, 6 L, 0 T, 3.48 GAA, .883 SV %
Vancouver (NHL) 1 GP, 1 W, 0 L, 0 T, 2.00 GAA, .909 SV %

4. Smith, Nathan (C), Swift Current Broncos (WHL). Drafted: ’00 (1/23)

Swift Current (WHL) 38 GP, 18 G, 27 A, 45 P, 44 PIM.

5. Vydareny, Rene (D), Manitoba Moose (AHL). Drafted: ’99 (3/69)

Manitoba (AHL) 42 GP, 2 G, 7 A, 9 P, 9 PIM.
Columbia (ECHL) 10 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 P, 9 PIM.

6. Bell, Thatcher (C), Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL). Drafted: ’00: (3/71)
Rimouski (QMJHL) 23 GP, 8 G, 20 A, 28 P, 27 PIM.

7. Reid, Brandon (C), Manitoba Moose (AHL). Drafted: ’00 (7/208)
Manitoba (AHL) 41 GP, 11 G, 12 A, 23 P, 2 PIM.

8. Gladskikh, Evgeny (LW), Metallurg Magnitogorsk (RUS). Drafted: ’01 (4/114)
Mettalurg (RUS) 28 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 P, 6 PIM.

9. Brown, Mike (LW), Vancouver Canucks (NHL). Acquired through a trade with Florida (1999).
Manitoba (AHL) 29 GP, 7 G, 7 A, 14 P, 145 PIM. Read more »

Contracts for Shasby, Dyment and Komisarek?

by Chris Boucher
As the season began there were high expectations placed upon some of the Montréal Canadiens prospects, and lower expectations placed upon others. Of course this type of situation creates the possibility for some players to disappoint, while leaving others with the opportunity to do nothing less than exceed expectations.

To date, some Hab prospects have enjoyed breakout seasons; particularly among the Habs’ defensive prospects playing NCAA hockey.

The University of Alaska Anchorage’s Matt Shasby has had an impressive junior season. He’s increased his offensive output from 0.55 points per game last season to a strong 0.84 PPG this season. He’s become the WCHA’s second leading scoring defenseman in intra-conference games, while maintaining the ability to shutdown opposing teams top guns. He’s a very strong skater, and is considered by some WCHA observers as a one-man breakout machine.

Chosen in the fifth round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Shasby’s strong play may force the Habs into offering the 21-year-old a contract at season’s end. He’s improved his stock dramatically, although his point total might be even higher if he was playing on a stronger offensive team.

He’s third on the team in scoring, and has nearly twice as many points as any other UAA defenseman. The Alaska-native is only two points out of the team’s top scoring spot, as no forward on the Seawolves is scoring at a point-per-game pace.

The fact that both Chris Dyment and Mike Komisarek are enjoying strong seasons might leave Shasby on the outside looking Read more »

Concussions make Kootenay’s Sinclair think twice

by Jeff Bromley

The reality of today’s hockey can be defined by a great many things.

Exuberant NHL salaries that the common fan has trouble relating to.

The transformation of the game from a pastime to a business.

Better, lighter equipment. Bigger, more talented players, the list could go on and on.

Perhaps one of the most defining aspects of today’s game, concussions and the enormous increase in their occurrence, would have to rate at or near the top any list. In doing so, concussions have not only changed the game but also the lives of former players who’ve had to retire due to them. Brett Lindros, Pat LaFontaine, Nick Kypreos to name only a few.

Kootenay ICE forward Colin Sinclair has experienced that change and it’s an encounter that the hard-working forward doesn’t want to make a habit of being a part of. Over Christmas the gritty forward spent most of the holidays in bed trying to recover from one. One that he didn’t even know that he had, at least not when it first happened.

The hit, a check from Seattle forward Danny LaPointe, occurred November 16, a full month before Sinclair was even out of the lineup. The derailment of his Christmas vacation with his family notwithstanding, another setback was that fact that the ICE would be missing a good portion of their first line players due to various world tournaments for up to ten games. It was a chance for Sinclair to shine in a scoring and leadership role that never materialized.

Not to be deterred, Sinclair made his way back from the post-concussion syndrom and was declared symptom-free on January 19. Read more »

Kootenay hits stride with win streak

by Jeff Bromley

It was supposed to be a battle of two heavyweights running elbow to elbow in the race for the WHL playoffs. It was supposed to be a possible prelude to a first round playoff match-up. Tuesday night’s game between the Kootenay ICE and the Prince George Cougars was supposed to be a lot of things.

What it wasn’t was your classic, late regular season division match-up.

In short, it was a massacre.

The Kootenay ICE extended their winning streak to four games after a 10-4 thrashing of their northern divisional rivals in a crucial game that saw the ICE go five points up on the Cougars for second place in the division and a scant four points back of the division-leading Kamloops Blazers. After surrendering the first goal to the Cougars, the ICE potted two in taking a 2-1 lead into the dressing after the first frame. It was a lead that would not be relinquished as Kootenay exploded for seven second period goals and set a new team record for goals scored in a period in the process.

For ICE forward Shaun Norrie, who notched four assists in the romp over the Cougars, the lopsided win was a little payback for Kootenay’s consecutive losses in Prince George a couple weeks back. “When they beat us up there, we weren’t very happy about it,” said Norrie whose been making the most of his time on the top line with Jarrett Stoll and Marek Svatos and chipped in six points (1g, 5a) in the last four games. “We came out tonight and took it to them.”

Norrie however doesn’t think that the game will have that much of an effect come playoff time if the two clubs meet. Read more »

Under the Rock

by Steve Gandour


With the recent injury to Curtis Joseph, the Leafs have reached deep into their pockets and pulled out a relative unknown to take over with the parent club. Sebastien Centomo came on high recommendations from St. John’s coach Lou Crawford . . . and has impressed many in the Leafs organization by literally leaping up the ladder this season of prospect talent.

Sebastien Centomo was an undrafted junior player from the QMJHL. He earned a contract with an impressive tryout at the Leafs rookie camp. The Leafs assigned Centomo to the Memphis River Kings of the Central Hockey League for the start of this season.

Sebastien had a dominant start to the season in the CHL. In November, Centomo posted a perfect eight and zero record, with a 95.3 save percentage and sparkling 1.58 GAA. He was awarded Goalie of the Month honors in November, and named starting goalie for the Northern Conference in the CHL All Star Game. Centomo left Memphis with a record of 16 wins and one loss in 19 starts for the River Kings. He boasted a .934 save percentage and 2.09 GAA during that stretch.

Centomo played for Canada in the Spengler Cup and went a perfect two and zero in the tournament. Included in the two victories was a huge victory over the Finnish Turku team where he held the Finnish players to two goals on twenty-nine shots in a four to two victory. Leaf scouts were so impressed by Centomo that when Tellqvist continued to struggle . . . Sebastien got the call up to try his luck at the AHL level. Since the call up, Sebastien has Read more »

Albany Week In Review

by pbadmin

By Mike Buskus

Albany Week in Review

It was a tough week, by any standards. For the players (5 games in 7 nights) and for the fans (no wins; two overtime losses, one against Hartford, reported last week in AWIR).

Since Albany Week in Review last did a weekly recap, the River Rats have not won a game. They lost a home-and-home series with the Worcester IceCats, losing on the road in Worcester on Wednesday (2-1) and then in overtime at home (3-2). On the road in Lowell with a full bus-load of Booster Club supporters to cheer them on, the Rats lost a one-goal game (2-1) to the Lowell Lock Monsters.

Then came Sunday. With many of those holding tickets staying home to watch the Olympic gold-medal game between Team Canada and Team U.S.A., the Albany River Rats were pummeled, 5-0, at home in Pepsi Arena, for the seventh time this year the Rats have failed to score a goal.

With 22 games to go, the Rats are 19 points out of a playoff spot. However, with Springfield between the Rats and a playoff spot (not to mention Portland and Saint John), the prospects of play in April past tax day are dim at best.

Special teams were just awful this week. The River Rats were zero for 19 on the power play in four games. On the penalty kill, the Rats allowed three opponents’ goals on 16 opportunities.

Using the “last ten games” as a measure of current effectiveness, the River Rats are playing worse than all but one squad in this 27-team league: only the Cleveland Barons (1-8-1) are less effective lately than the River R Read more »

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