By Mike Buskus
Albany Week in Review #17
Down on the farm: Salomonsson and Zyuzin
They have been with the River Rats long enough for a comment or two: rookie forward Andreas Salomonsson (10 games in Albany) and defenseman Andrei Zyuzin (3 games of a two-week “conditioning stint”).
Touted by some as the next Brian Rafalski at forward (as an older player who spent considerable time in Europe), Andreas Salomonsson was the Devils’ 8th choice, 163rd overall in the 2001 entry draft, listed at 6’1″ and 200#. He made the Devils out of training camp, but lagged all New Jersey players in plus/minus (at -13) after 35 games.
Enter rookies Christian Berglund and Brian Gionta. Bus ticket to Albany for Salomonsson.
For the first week and a half, Salomonsson skated at left wing on Albany’s top line, centered by Steve Guolla. He did not make an immediate impact, with few shots on goal and fewer still hits on opponents. His skating is smooth and passing is accurate. In one early game during his 10-game (to date) visit in Albany, when Brian Gionta was on right wing, Salomonsson fired a pin-point precision pass ahead of Gionta, who was crashing the net, and a nice-redirection goal by Gionta resulted.
Salomonsson has speed and good ice vision, anticipating plays as and before they develop. He has an aversion to physical play and, at times, unloads the puck in a hurry to avoid taking a hit.
The past two games, Salomonsson has been moved from the first line to the second line centered by Mike Rupp (w Read more »
DU vs. Minnesota pt. 2
The Denver University Pioneers traveled to Minnesota this weekend for round 2 of this WCHA match-up. These same two teams met in Denver in December and split the series at one game apiece.
Game one: Round one was a battle of the goalies with Wade Dubielewicz (DU) vs. Adam Hauser (UM) pitted against each other. Hauser was the key to this match in December, stopping 30 of 31 shots and frustrating the Pioneers. This time, it was Dubielewicz that stole the show and kept his team in the game until they could weather the storm of the first period.
Over ten thousand vocal fans came to see their Gophers take on the number one team in the nation. A caged tiger named Dan Welch, who has not played for over a year, due to academic reasons, was released on the Pioneers in the first period. He created two excellent scoring chances in the first two minutes but Dubielewicz was not phased by the rowdy crowd, or the momentum created by Welch. There was no score in the first period but it was far from being boring. Dubielewicz made 9 saves and earned every one of them.
Minnesota controlled the game and the momentum at the beginning of the second period too. Finally DU’s defenseman Ryan Caldwell deeked a UM player and slapped one past Hauser as Erik Adams screened his view. Very late in the second period Minnesota was on the power play when the puck innocently squirted out of DU’s zone.
Paul Martin slipped while trying to retrieve the puck and DU’s Max Bull blew by him, scoring his second short handed goal of the season Read more »
The Saskatoon Blades have finally started to regain health and have put
together a nice streak. Since losing 9-4 to a the Lethbridge Hurricanes at
home, the Blades have realed off 4 straight wins including a pair this past
weekend vs the arch rival Prince Albert Raiders. The Blades began with a
4-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers, then followed with a 5-4 win over
the division leading Regina Pats.
The Blades continued there winning ways
this past weekend defeating the Raiders by scores of 7-2 in Prince Albert,
followed by a 9-3 win at home Saturday night. With the recent success, the
Blades now have a 7 point lead for the final playoff spot in the east and
also have 1 game in hand on the Raiders. The Blades trail the Moose Jaw
Warriors by 6 points with 2 games in hand for 3rd in the division.
The recent surge for the Blades has been led by 20 year old, 5 year veteran
Justin Kelly. Kelly has been on fire since christmas, averaging more than
2.5 points per game. During the recent four game win streak, Kelly has
notched 8 goals and 12 points. Kelly has moved into 4th in league scoring
with 67 points on 31 goals. As Justin Kelly go’s, the Blades go down the
Blade Tidbits and Prospects:
The Saskatoon Blades have several prospects looking very good for
possible roster spots next season. Blade 1st Rounder and 2nd overall pick
Joe Barnes scored 1 goal and 4 assists in the Manitoba AAA all-star game
this past weekend. Barnes has scored 45 points in 40 games as a 15 year old
this season. Read more »
Nobody said it was going to easy..
Nobody said that the path to the Calder Cup was an easy task..
And the Admirals found out why, the hard way..
If the Admirals are preparing for its game against the first place Phantoms Saturday, they sure didn’t show it Friday night against Grand Rapids.
“ We did not play a good game an it showed all night. We just could not get it together,” says assistant captain Rumn Ndur staring down at the floor in disgust.”
You cannot get behind a first place team and capture a win down by four goals by third period. The more the Admirals fought the harder and faster the Griffens moved itself to an 7-1 win behind goalie Simon Lajeunesse in front of an announced crowd of 4,362. The Admirals started in winning mode, but a hat trick from Chris Balla, and couple goals in the second period melted any chances of a comeback and ended the Admirals winning streak at five-games.
Game 1: The speed of the Grand Rapids Griffens rattled Norfolk like a bolt of lightning in first period. Skating circles around the second place team, the Griffens left Norfolk to play bang’em up bruise’em up hockey- here’s the reason. Grand Rapids in first place in the Western Conference for a reason, they are 27-15-4-0. Norfolk out shot the opponents in the first 14 minutes of play and the visitors played catch up for the remainder of the period. Both teams had two power plays apiece, but both failed to score.
Things looked good Ajay Baines who was on scoreless streak for the last several games broke lose with his second goal Read more »
Ron Hainsey -D (Drafted-00(1/13))Hainsey managed 1 goal through 3 games since our last update. Despite Québec losing 2 of 3 games this week, Hainsey still managed to raise his plus/minus from +6 to +8. Overall, the 6’3″, 200-lbs defenseman has played 33 games. He has 19 points (7-12-19), and is +8 with 12 minutes in penalties. Four of his goals were scored on the powerplay, and he’s directed 71 shots on goal. The 20-year old rookie will play for Team PlanetUSA during the upcoming AHL all-star game.
Mathieu Garon -G (Drafted-96(2/44))Garon recorded a 1-2 record through 3 games since our last update. Saturday’s game against Providence was the 24-year-old’s 21st straight start. Overall, the 6’2″, 192-lbs goalie has played 28 AHL games. He has a 13-7-7 record with 2.71 GAA, and a .916 save percentage.
Eric Chouinard -F (Drafted-98(1/16))Chouinard picked up 4 points through 3 games since our last update. He averaged 3 shots per game over the recently mentioned 3-game span. Overall, the 6’3″, 207-lbs left winger has played 36 games. He has 31 points (13-18-31), and is +2 with 12 minutes in penalties. Surprisingly, he has only one powerplay goal; which actually speaks volumes for Chouinard’s 5-on-5 play this season. He’s also directed 107 shots on goal.
Francois Beauchemin -D (Drafted-98(3/75))Beauchemin was shutout through 2 games since our last update. He suffered a concussion during a game against Manchester, and is out indefinitely. Overall, the 6’0″, 201-lbs defenseman has played 28 games. He Read more »
The Calder Corner
This week’s HF’s Calder Corner Prospect of the Week goes to Vancouver netminder Alex Auld, who made his NHL debut in stopping 20 shots to earn his first NHL win in his first NHL game. Not content with that, Alex also assisted on a goal, thereby getting his first NHL point, a feat that takes most goalies some time to accomplish.
McDonald: 2 Assists (12,13)
| ||2 Games|
Heatley: 1 Assist (24)
Kovalchuk: 1 Goal (25), 1 Assist (21)
| ||4 Games|
Girard: 1 Assist (3) Read more »
New Jersey Devils Prospects Updated
Newcomers- D Mikko Jokela(13), D Viktor Uchevatov(19), LW Andrei Posnov(20)
Biggest Jump- D Paul Martin: From 12th to 6th
Biggest Fall- RW Temmu Laine: From 5th to 10th
Dealt Away- RW Anton But, D Sascha Goc, D Josef Boumedienne
Permanent NHL Jobs- D Mike Commodore, G JF Damphousse
New Top 20 Prospect List
Stats through games of January 24th, 2002
1) G, Ari Ahonen (8.5), Albany (AHL)
The Finnish netminder is currently in his 1st pro season. He has split the goaltending chores with fellow prospect Scott Clemmensen. Even though he has only won 4 games so far in Albany, he has a respectable GAA of 2.91 and a sparkling SV% of .914 for a weak Albany squad. Ahonen is able to keep his team in many games that they shouldn’t be in. Has had to face 35 to 40 shots on many occasions. Quick and agile, Ari is the goalie of the future for the Devils
2) LW/RW, Christian Berglund (8), New Jersey (NHL)
The gritty Swedish winger has adapted to the North American game with ease. Started the season in Albany where he posted 23 points (9 goals and 14 assists). He was called up on January 9th for his first NHL game and has made a big impression in the swamp with 6 points through his first 9 NHL games. Berglund plays a strong two way game, and is not afraid to crash and bang in the corners. He should stick in New Jersey for the rest of the season and shoul Read more »
Before the season most people believed that Robert would have no problems making Leksand’s team
in the SEL. The team was relegated from the Swedish Elitserien and was now to play in the 2nd-tier league.
As the season got starting Robert got ill and missed the first couple of games. Then he was back on the team
only to see very limited ice-time. This isn’t/wasn’t very surprising really. Despite Robert’s excellent skills, he is still very young and Leksand’s squad is without any doubt the strongest in the 2nd-tier league. The player material
is most likely even stronger than what several of the SEL teams can show up.
With forwards like Jens Nielsen, Mikael Karlberg, Stefan Hellkvist, Sami Ahlberg, Chris Goverdaris, it’s not
easy for an 16-year old kid to have great impact. Not to forget all the other talented prospects in Leksand
(Jonas Norduist – Chicago, Daniel Widing – Nashville, Johan Eneqvist – Montreal)..etc.
So instead of being a regular on the team, Robert found him self in a role where he was part time a member
of the senior team, and part time with Leksand’s junior team in the Swedish J-20 league.
This is the way it has been most of the season for Robert.
If he would have played for another team he could easily have had quite an impact, but with the strong competition
in Leksand it’s more or less impossible.
He has so far played 14 games with in the 2nd-tier league (Allsvenskan) and he has been registered for 1 goal
and 4 assists (5 points). Read more »
On of the many late born 1984 players who still has one year and a half before being potential draft pick of one of the NHL teams. Right now Roman Vondracek is a player of the junior team of Sparta Praha but his history as far as different teams are concerned is very rich. He is a member of the U-18 national selection which has participated on the Viking Cup taking place in Canada. Roman played good games there where for most of the time he was a first liner and scored 1 goal.
Roman gained the nomination to Viking Cup taking by his good performance in a tournament taking place in Slovakia at the beginning of November. Czech squad performed really well there wining the tournament in Kezmarok with full points beating Russia 3:1, Slovakia 7:1 and Germany 6:0. Roman played all 3 games where he scored 1 goal and had 2 assissts.
As many other players who are now members of Sparta also Roman isn’t Prague native. He comes from town of Trutnov which is on the North of Czech Republic. But as usual he was taken to hockey rink by his dad who liked to watch hockey. Roman was about 5 when he first stood on the ice. His dad wanted Roman desperately to do something and hopefully also achieve something. Hockey seemed as a good option for him. In the 4th grade Roman started to play for Nachod which is about an hour away from Trutnov. Roman’s dad was taking him there everyday. In the 5th grade his talent was spotted by coach of Hradec Kralove when Nachod came to play against them. Roman was presented with a new offer and he accepted that. This lasted till the 7th grade. Kladno Read more »
The Canucks are in the midst of their best run of the season, and are, as a write this, in a tie for the eighth and final play-off spot in the Western Conference.
I attended the Toronto-Vancouver game last night, and, it was probably the best game I’ve taken in at the Garage since the building opened back in ’95. A complete offensive and defensive effort on both sides of the ice, and Peter Skudra, when tested, was more than equal to the challenge posed by the now-anemic Leaf offense. Brent Sopel, who is a shadow of his former self, (in a good way, though) is producing offensively, and being responsible defensively. He’s gone a long way to help a defensive corps which was severely hurting going into the Christmas Break.
This week, Alex Auld made his first start for the Canucks against the former juggernaut in Dallas, and did very well for himself, turning aside twenty-two of twenty-four shots in a win. He reminded me a great deal of Phoenix goaltender Sean Burke, big, lanky, not much of a flopper, and always was at a good angle to make the save. I enjoyed watching the youngster play, and the more I saw, the more I liked. When Dan Cloutier gets back, Canuck management might have a decision to make, but I would let Auld play at least once more before they make it.
Down on the farm, recent acquisitions Tyler Bouck and Read more »