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Philadelphia Phantoms Off to a Rollicking Start

by Bill Meltzer

While the Philadelphia Flyers have stumbled a bit out of the gates with just one win (and two come-from-behind ties against Columbus) to show for their first four games, the Flyers top farm club is off to a sensational start. The Phantoms are 4-0-0 and have outscored their opponents by a combined 18 to 7. The Phantoms have begun their first road trip of the season with a 3-2 win in Rochester and a 4-1 victory in Bridgeport.

Even with the callup of top line center Marty Murray to the big club, the Phantoms have not missed a beat since the club departed Philly for the trip. Veteran Mark Freer has moved up from the third line to the center the first line with AHL Player of the Week Mark Greig and red hot sniper Vaclav Pletka. The revised line has continued to dominate.

So far on the young season, Pletka has 6 goals and 3 helpers, including back-to-back two goal efforts against Wilkes Barre/Scranton and Rochester. The second year winger from the Czech
Republic, who reportedly considered going home to play this season because he didn’t think he was in the mix for a job with the big club, has been making a strong case for himself to get NHL consideration, despite his lack of size. He’s shown plenty of speed and a surprising level of grit to go along with his soft hands and laser quick shot release.

Almost everywhere you look in the Phantoms lineup, there are positives.

Second line left wing/ center Tomas Divisek has points in every game so far and has continued to demonstrate a commitment to playing two-way hockey.

Young defenseman Bruno Read more »

Coyotes Minor League notes

by Russell Brooks

A brief look at some minor league players.

Kirill Safronov – Believe it or not but the Falcons of the AHL have Safronov on the left wing on offense and not playing defense. So far he has a goal and assist in 2 games played for them. Will this bring him up in a new position? Only time will tell.

Frederik Sjostrom – After getting off to a real slow start, Sjostrom has picked it up in the last few games. He has a total of three goals and three assists with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. Expect to see at least 30 goals from him this year.

Matthew Spiller – Spiller has gotten off to a decent start with Seattle this year. Her has two goals and four assists in nine games so far with Seattle. He has been playing up on the top pairs of defense on and off. Look to see him with the Coyotes Early 2003.

Martin Podelsak – Podelsak is off to a nice start with Lethbridge this year. He has one goal and two assists in four games. He didnt start the season with the team as he was with the Coyotes in preseason camp. Look to see him have a shot at the team next year possibly.

Ramzi Abid – Abid is playing well after coming off an injury plagued season last year. He has been playing well and look to see him possibly called up this year if his year is not as plagued with injuries as it was last year.

Patrick DesRochers – Patrick played in the second game of the Falcons season. He gave up 3 goals on 30 shots. As with Burke so far DeRochers isnt getting much defense with the new look Falcons. Expect betters numbers coming Read more »

From one end of the spectrum to the other

by Jeff Bromley

From one end of the spectrum to the other

In a world seemingly gone loony and getting crazier by the minute, I offer up a rant and rave about things that, upon further review seem minuscule in the greater scheme of things. Stepping away from CNN for a moment…..

The WHL G.M.’s will have met over the weekend and by the beginning of this week, there should be a decision on the adaptation of the new ‘Fast Face-off’ rule in the CHL. Word is that everybody loves it (except, strangely enough the fans I’ve talked to) and the of tweaking it to the tune that an extension of five seconds be added to the home side’s line change time and every period having one promotional timeout to take care of business. In other words, in that short timeout the fans will inundated with promotional advertising in order to satisfy the business end of things at the hockey games. Just so we’re clear; first, the games are going on too long partly due to the jousting and jockeying for position on the face-offs and the subsequent dismissal of one or both of the combatants by the linesmen. Add on the abuse of the last change rule by the home team and you have the reasoning for the implementation of the rule. Going to the other end of the spectrum whereby it isn’t uncommon to see only one team in at the face-off dot before they drop the puck, now they do a turnabout realizing that advertisements, both in-house and on the radio broadcast aren’t getting enough play time. Tell me again why the powers that be don’t just enforce the rules that exist for delay of game. A couple of power-plays agains Read more »

Devils Top 20 Re-ranked

by Andrew Clark

After a long, drawn out, miserably hot and oppressive summer without hockey and no zamboni in sight, the only thing us Devils fans could do was discuss the upcoming season and speculate on what events that could possibly unfold via the message boards. Well, all of that is finally over and after an excellent training camp and pre-season, especially for the rookies and minor leaguers, there is only one thing that the Devils HF staff can do before the season gets into full swing and start filing reports about our favorite future Devils. And that is reconsider and re-rank the Devils top 20 prospects for the upcoming season. To probably no one’s surprise, there was some movement within the rankings, but nothing major nor nothing unanticipated. The largest climb in position was about 8 spots and the largest drop was 6 places, but most other movements were, on average, only one or two spots. One player graduated and one player was removed from the top twenty. Well, without further due, we would like to present the new top 20 prospects currently in the Devils organization.

1. Ari Ahonen- Goalie- River Rats, 6’2”, 172 lbs. Previous Ranking: #1
After signing a contract with the Devils last spring, Ari has completed his first training camp in New Jersey. Ari did, however, spend some time in Albany with Jacques Caron and the rest of the Rats. Although he did not receive any ice time during the pre-season for the Devils, he did have a solid camp. Ahonen will be working closely with newly hired Rats assistant coach and former Devils’ net minder Chris Terreri for the Read more »

Calder Corner for Oct 9th

by HF Staff
Calder Corner for Oct 9th

The Calder Corner

Nedorost: 1 Assist, 2 shots

As a general rule, I will always list goals and assists and other noteworthy stats. If there is more to be noted, HF encourages our readers to talk about them below!

Sixty Minute Men: UNH Shows Promise

by Jeff Morton

“Now I know how Custer felt”, said University of Ottawa’s head coach and UNH alumni Mickey Goulet after being routed 9-1 by the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team Friday night in Durham, NH. Coach Goulet went on to say, in no particular order, “UNH looks incredible”, They put on one hell of a clinic tonight”, and “UNH showed experience and composure”. Not exactly comments used to describe the play of UNH in the last 12 months.

UNH wasted little time in their rejection of last season. In a display as rare as a snow free New England winter, all five UNH players rushed the net to stuff a rebound. The goal was awarded to the rejuvenated Patrick Foley, who returned this season after surgery on both knees last year. UNH went on to score three more goals in the period, produced by the usual suspects, Jim Abbott, Colin Hemingway and Lanny Gare. UNH displayed excellent puck control, tape-to-tape passing, hustle, good decision making and the one thing curiously absent from last season, the ability to finish.

Goaltending, probably the biggest question mark this season was rarely tested, with Matt Carney stopping both shots on goal. Carney did however handle the puck several times and was rock solid with decision making and skill. At times, had he not played like a professional, Carney ran the risk of falling asleep due to inactivity. Michael Ayers, the second UNH goalie, played the second and third periods. He did give up one goal, but like Carney was dangerously close to losing consciousness at times due to inactivity. Ayers prov Read more »

One Giant Star Overlooked

by Dave Donnelly

One Giant Star Overlooked

In the infamous words of Rodney Dangerfield, some guys ‘don’t get no respect.’ In the Vancouver Giants 6-5 victory last night against the Medicine Hat Tigers and their star, Jay Bouwmeester, the difference in the game was clearly the often spectacular play of netminder Don Choukalos [Chi-call-us].

After the Giants came out of the gate like gangbusters, jumping to a 3-0 lead in the opening five minutes, the thinking was that one more unanswered goal would surely put the Tigers out of contention. But things never played out that way.

To start, Coach Dragicevic had opted to start the game with Brett Jaeger, recently acquired from the Tigers on September 28th. This was Jaeger’s Giants debut. Dragicevic’s reasonable thinking was to let Jaeger face a team he was familiar with and to give Choukalos a much deserved rest.

Although young Jaeger (b. 1983) looked sharp in the warm-up — aptly displaying a very quick glove-hand and excellent up-and-down movement — his game was shaky. Unable to hold off the Tigers, while still never relinquishing the lead, Jaeger allowed four goals on only 14 chances before the mid-point of the second period.

Not the start one would suspect Jaeger had in mind, but opening night jitters clearly played a role. And considering what the Giants gave up to acquire him — their fourth round selection in the upcoming Bantam draft and their first round selection in the 2002 European draft (a selection that netted Marion Havel this year, who has three goa Read more »

Blue Jackets Nielsen Out 4-6 Weeks

by Bill Drake

Chris Nielsen injuried his groin in Monday’s game against the Flyers. He blocked a Chris Therien’s slapshot in the second period. Undergoing surgery last night, Nielsen was released this morning.

Until the injury, Nielsen was matched up against the Jeremy Roenick line. Only in a defensive faceoff did Tyler Wright replace him against Roenick. Wright lost the faceoff andnow Columbus looses their emerging checking forward for at least a month.

In other news, Rostislav Klesla sees his ice time dimnish. In Columbus’ first game, Klesla managed a tip in goal to tie the game against. But in thier most recent game he logged less than ten minutes of icetime.

Player Movement

Jody Shelley was placed on the Syracuse Crunch roster on loan from the BlueJackets on 10-9-01.

Syracuse Crunch Notable Statistics

Mathieu Darche scored two goals in the team’s opener against Bridgeport.

Calder Corner for Oct 8th

by HF Staff
Calder Corner for Oct 8th

The Calder Corner

Ilya Bryzgalov: Replaced Shield in middle of 2nd period, 12 shots, 11 saves

As a general rule, I will always list goals and assists and other noteworthy stats. If there is more to be noted, HF encourages our readers to talk about them below!

Lowell Lock Monsters Report

by HF Staff

Well, they say that first impressions count for a lot. The first time you come home with an “A” paper. That first kiss in the tree fort out in your back yard and of course the first time you witness a credulous, proficient hockey team playing in your own rink.

Fans of the Lowell Lock Monsters got just that this past weekend. They were treated to what looks like an superbly experienced hockey club.

What’s diffrent, you might ask? Almost everything is the answer. The Lowell Lock Monsters are newly affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes. Which means a complete new team (mostly comprised of former IHL Cinncinatti Cyclones), new uniforms (incorporates the Carolina look) a new head coach,assistant coach,trainer, front office on and so forth. Most noticible though, is a new winning attitude.

Games played this week featured division rivals Manchester Monarchs and long time foes St. John Leafs.

Lowell 6 Manchester 3

Home town hero Greg Koehler opened the scoring, taking a pretty dish from between the net from Mike Zigomanis, with a one-timer in front at 6:38. Lowell and Manchester both played with a lot of pep but Lowell seemed to get the breaks when they were needed.

Manchester scored 55 seconds apart on tallies by Jerred Smithson and Eric Healey to go up 2-1.

Newly appointed captain Byron Ritchie would put Lowell ahead. Ritchie scored the final two goals of the period, including a shorthanded tally with 10 seconds left that deflected off the stick of Tomas Zizka and between Fiset’s pads.

Ritchie’s fir Read more »

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