After a very disappointing season, this summer the Islanders will have to
address many problems that have affected the team throughout the season. A
major question was answered a few weeks ago at a conference when Co-Owner
Charles Wang told Islander fans that Mike Milbury would be the Islanders
General Manager next season. At the same conference Wang stated that plans
have not yet been made on the return of Islanders coach Butch Goring. Wang
also noted that the situation was in Milbury’s hands and the he would make
the decision on the coach’s future.
Another problem that the Islanders have faced for the past few seasons is
goal scoring. The Islanders currently have the second lowest amount of goals
scored, only behind the expansion Minnesota Wild. With the free agent market
being one of the strongest in years, there has been much speculation that the
Islanders will make a push at Joe Sakic who, at press time, leads the league
with 80 points. Another player that the Islanders have been said to be
interested in is gritty forward Martin Lapointe.
One of the only positives about being a bad team is the fact that you
receive a high draft pick. With the Islanders almost assured to have a top
five pick, there is another chance for the Islanders to draft an impact
player. If the Islanders are lucky enough to draft 1st overall for the
second year in as many years, Mike Milbury has been quoted as saying that he
will take Junior star Jason Spezza. The 6’3 center has had scouts drooling
over his talent f Read more »
While Buffalo’s prospect depth at the center position is somewhat weak, they are slightly more blessed with talent on the right side. While there is only one virtual lock to play in the NHL (Norm Milley), there are at least 2 (and maybe 3) other prospects who, should they play to their potential, will have a shot at making the Buffalo roster in the future.
Buffalo’s top prospect at right wing, Norm Milley, is currently in his first pro campaign as a member of the Rochester Americans. Although Norm has not exhibited the goal-scoring prowess that he displayed in the OHL, he has nonetheless been an effective player for Rochester. Norm is currently 5th in scoring for the Amerks, but, more importantly, his +/- ranking is currently a +2. First-year players often sport minus figures, so this is no small accomplishment for Norm.
Norm has proven to be a versatile player for Rochester, as he has spent time on both the power play and penalty killing units. Milley is an excellent skater, an asset that allows him to be solid on both the forecheck and backcheck. And, while Norm may be smaller in stature, he has nonetheless played with some feistiness. As far as Buffalo is concerned, Norm’s best asset might be his right-handed shot, a trait shared by exactly none of the Sabres’ current group of right wings.
Milley had an impressive training camp, and has progressed enough this year that he could land a spot on Buffalo’s roster next season. Given Buffalo’s Read more »
The end may be in sight for overager Nick Greenough.
It was nearly three weeks ago when the Halifax Mooseheads announced the
release of their spirited left-winger. A questionable decision at best but
certainly a chance for the feisty forward to shine elsewhere.
Should no other QMJHL team claim the 20-year-old, Greenough will be free to
sign with any OHL or WHL team.
Mooseheads GM Marcel Patenaude avoided comment as to the performance-related
reasons, if any, that may have influenced his decision on Greenough before
putting him on waivers.
“This [was] a difficult decision,” Patenaude said. “Nick has been a valuable
member of the Mooseheads and has always given 100 percent since he arrived
in Halifax last season.”
“It has always been the Mooseheads’ policy to make every effort to allow our
players to continue their hockey careers. We are making this move today to
give Nick every possible chance to complete the season in major junior.”
Greenough stunned the Mooseheads front office this past September when he
touted himself as a glowing asset to the team during training camp. Many
Moosehead fans expected him to fill the hole created by fan-favourite Ryan
Flinn after his release due to a questionable back.
“I’m going to try to step up offensively this year,” said Greenough at the
end of last summer. “If I get the chance in front of the net to bury it, I’m
going to bury it. I also feel, as a 20-year-old, I have to bring leadership
and the stuff that comes along with that, which I know I can do because I
was an assist Read more »
The QMJHL’s Maritime Division is beginning to look a lot like the NHL’s
Southeast Division with it’s top team playing below .500 yet still winning.
With the 2000-2001 season winding down, the Halifax Mooseheads have been
somewhat of a disappointment for long-term fans. The folks who have watched
the likes of Alex Tanguay, Ramzi Abid, Brandon Reid and Jody Shelley must
feel like parents in a way. They’ve watched their sons grow and blossom and
become draftees into the pros. Now they’re gone.
In sociology, one would consider this the Empty Nest years with the kids
having grown up and moved away. In their absence, we’ve even had a Memorial
Cup hosted in Halifax last year. Once the hoopla had ended, it grew quiet.
Tanguay is now among the NHL’s elite as a member of the Colorado Avalanche
(of course he is, we didn’t have any doubts) and Jody Shelley has managed to
sign with the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets. Not bad.
So the question on every Mooseheads’ fan’s mind is this: Who is going to be
the next Tanguay or Abid?
Two young men who have had an impact on the team are eligible for this
year’s entry draft and are expected to be picked within the first four
rounds. Netminder Pascal Leclaire is touted as the number one goalie
prospect of the Canadian Juniors while a six-foot four-inch Slovak named
Milan Jurcina is likely going to find himself grabbed within the third or
It’s no big secret that the Mooseheads are in a rebuilding phase but it
seems like everyone aro Read more »
Every year about this time, things start heating up surrounding the
forthcoming NHL Draft. The world junior tournament is over, CSB Mid
season rankings are out, the CHL all star and prospect games have been
decided and the playoffs are near. Although its no surprise that so much
focus is placed upon the top junior prospects, NHL teams employ more pro
scouts and invest more money than ever before into the entire draft
process for a reason. In taking a close look at past drafts its
interesting to see how many of the more successful guys in the league
made it, when the odds were so clearly stacked against them. Here’s a
few late round gems from the early 80′s until 1996.
1996 Round 8 - Tomas Kaberle
Round 7 - Pavel Kubina
1995 Round 7 - P.J. Axelson and Peter Worrell
Round 9 - Danil Markov
1994 Round 6 - Daniel Alfredsson and Alexander Selivanov
Round 9 - Steve Sullivan
Round 10 - Richard Zednik, Sergei Berezin, and Tomas Holmstrom
1993 Round 7 - Todd Marchant and Darren Van Impe
Round 9 - Mike Grier and Pavol Dimitra
Round 10 - German Titov
1992 Round 7 - Ian Laperriere
Round 8 - Stephan Yelle
Round 9 - Nikolai Khabibulin
Round 10 - Jonus Hoglund, Anson Carter, and Dan McGillis
1991 Round 8 - Dmitri Mironov, Brian Savage, Janne Laukkanen, and Corey Hirsch
1990 Round 7 - Jason York, Robert Lang, and Eric Lacroix
Round 8 - Andre Kovalenko, Peter Bondra, and Alex Karpotsov
Round 11 - Valeri Zelepukin, Read more »
Playing on a hockey club that is struggling can be difficult and the Trail Smoke Eaters are currently in last place.The Smokies only have one rear guard over 18 years old. Despite this Brett Skinner is having a good year. Skinner plays heads up hockey. He’s not a speedster but but he has a smooth stride and skates well. Not a overly physical defenseman Skinner uses other skills to showcase his game. At 6-1 170 pounds, Skinner has room to fill out and the hitting will increase with maturity. This first year player has his head up and makes alot of smart passes, short ones, a touch of the puck at the last moment springing a teammate free. Skinner seems to be able to find the guy on his club who is skating with a short solid pass not someone who is standing still. These type of passes are important in getting the biscuit out of your own end of the ice. This 17-year-old from Brandon, Manitoba had plenty of ice time including the power play. Currently,Skinner is third on the Smokies in points with 8G 23A in 54 games. Add in 37 penalty minutes and you have pretty impressive numbers for a 17-year-old, first year player in any junior league. This defenseman is smart, a player with good vision and good skills. If the Smokies can keep this player and the rest of this young group of d-men together they could make some noise in the future.Honorable mention to both goalies on this club, especially Isaac Reichmuth who played a good game in a 4-0 loss Feb. 16th against the Prince George Spruce Kings.
In other news the NOJHA defeats the BCHL 6-2 in Sault Ste. Marie. M Read more »
It was announced on Valentine’s day that Giguere was going to replace Hebert as the starting netminder. With the Big Ducks out of the playoff picture and Hebert’s play below normal (doesn’t help to have defensive letdowns in front of your net) the management thought it would be a good opportunity to groom the future goalie. Since the season is practically over, they might as well.
Guy Hebert has only one year left on his contract that contains a no trade clause. He has expressed his desire to end his career in a Ducks uniform. Barring any trades approved by him or retirement it looks like Hebert and Giguere will be the goalie tandem for next season.
For the following season, lookout! There might be a goalie controversy ahead. One thing the Ducks have done the past couple of seasons is acquire depth at the Goalie position. We’ve already seen what Giguere did in the AHL and waiting for him to mature in the NHL. Naumenko has been solid in net and is turning out to be one of the wisest free agent signings the Ducks have done. Ilja Bryzgalov is playing in the Russian elite league this season. We’ll get to see more of him at the World’s (along with Smirnov C) and next training camp where he hopefully signs and plays at the ‘Natti.
Gregg Naumenko has turned in an all-star performance again this season. He was named as the ITECH AHL Goaltender of the Month for January. Naumenko went 7-0-0 with a 2.94 GAA and .917 SV% in eight appearances to lead all AHL goaltenders in January as Cincinnati went 8-2-0-0 to tie a club record for wins Read more »
Norfolk Triumphs Over Mario Lemieux’s Baby Penguins 3-1
Is the slumber of the lumber over? “Whether it was fatigue or staleness we got to the core, after eighty-games it’s going to happen and the best thing is to correct it quickly,” (referring to their four-game skid), said Aaron Downey. Guys out there worked as a cohesive unit and that’s more our established Admirals hockey. Friday night the lumber was awakened and a more aggressive squad stepped onto the ice Friday night against the Mario Lemieux’s team, the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton, Penguins (27-17-7-1). They are second in the Mid—Atlantic Division thus dubbing their northern rivals 3-1.”This was a must needed game for us,” Downey continued. The Penguins have a record of the best penalty kill squadron in the AHL (85.06). But Norfolk’s roster was able to tread and capitalized on opportunities on three of their power plays. “Scoring goals is the key to getting out of a slump,” said Casey Hankinson.
There were only a total of nine penalty minutes in the first round between the north and south. But, the rivalry manifested quickly and ignited both teams adrenaline. The first period took off when rookie Mark Bell (37-9-15-24) slapshot a pass from shipmates Mike Souza, and Casey Hankinson at 8:12. Despite not receiving Chicago recognition, Casey Hankinson still remains unstoppable as Norfolk’s as the team’s leader with his 23-Goals, 15- Assists. But after twenty-three transactions he remains Norfolk bound. Disappointed? “It’s not my decision and I can’t worry about i Read more »
Erie’s Brad Boyes has jumped back up into the top three in OHL scoring … the Otter’s star has 78 points (43-35) in 46 games and certainly seems to be fully recovered from a somewhat disappointing performance at the WJC in December … the Baby Leafs’ Jeff Farkas is really on fire and now trails team scoring leader Bobby House by only 6 points … Farkas has 46 points (17-29) in 56 games and will almost certainly overtake House if he isn’t summoned to Toronto … Farkas’ St. John’s linemate Adam Mair is on a similar roll … Mair has 34 points (13-21) in only 38 games and is also a prime candidate for promotion if the parent team continues to struggle … in fact, many AHL observers feel that St. John’s 1st line featuring Farkas and Mair (along with Alexei Ponikarovsky, who is currently up with the big team) could be playing as a unit in Toronto right now … defenseman Petr Svoboda has recently logged huge amounts of ice time due to a rash of injuries and promotions on the St. John’s blueline … though Svoboda’s talent is obvious, he has displayed a very poor attitude since being assigned to the Rock and apparently considers himself too good to be playing in the minor leagues … coaches Crawford and McClelland are working hard to hasten the maturation process for the young Czech … his development remains vitally important to the organization as the braintrust in Toronto continues to ponder the wisdom of dealing a young defender for immediate help … in Sweden, Mikael Tellqvist recently led the National Team to victory at the Swedish Hockey Games