Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
Seemingly endless slump grinds on: When the team turned in perhaps its worst performance of the season at home against the Bruins on January 24th, even their most staunch supporters began to despair that a season that once seemed so very promising is now gradually slipping away … the Leafs have now won but 6 of 20 games played since December 15th … what’s especially troubling is that so many of these poor outings have come at the Air Canada Centre and against sub-500 teams … a once decent powerplay is now completely ineffectual and stellar goaltending from Curtis Joseph is being wasted on far too many nights … virtually everyone concedes that there is an abundance of veteran leadership in Toronto but this asset just isn’t evident on the ice of late … if something isn’t soon done to reverse this slide, any chance of making a serious bid for a championship this season will melt away long before the games really begin to matter …
Rumours: Insiders suggest that Toronto was also very much involved when the Penguins traded blueliner Jiri Slegr to Atlanta recently – the Leafs may have offered something more substantial than the 3rd round draft pick ultimately accepted from the Thrashers but Pittsburgh was understandably hesitant to deal the talented Czech to a potential playoff opponent … it seems increasingly likely that LA r Read more »
As the title of this article suggests, there is a fair amount of Sabres’ prospect news to catch up on. Some of the items may have already received a mention at the HF Sabres Message Board, but I think it is worth repeating them in this column so that those who had not previously seen these news items will now be caught up.
There is also some information that is new, including an assessment of the changes to the Top 20 list. A couple familiar names have been removed from the list, while some new prospects have moved up the charts, so there is definitely a minor changing of the guard amongst the Buffalo prospects.
D Dimitri Kalinin and LW Denis Hamel both have made the most of their rookie seasons, as they are inexperienced players who have stepped in and contributed immediately. Kalinin has been the more highly touted of the two, as he has performed at a high enough level to have some supporters whispering “Calder Trophy nominee” (Dimitri has struggled some of late, however). Dimitri was always known for his strong defensive play, but he has also exhibited some offensive ability which will only improve as he becomes more confident.
Meanwhile, Denis Hamel has quietly been playing solid hockey, mostly on Buffalo’s 4th line. Denis has chipped in the occasional goal while concentrating on playing a grinding, defensive style that is sure to please coach Lindy Ruff. Hamel has scored 7 goals, with 3 of those goals being game-winners.
Both players have played at least 25 games this Read more »
It is now safe to say that Women’s hockey is no longer on the peripheral of the hockey world. For years looked upon as a novelty on the outside looking in, female hockey is now coming into its own. The names on the roster of the Canadian National Women’s team are now more of the household variety rather than the obscure. Hayley Wickenheiser, the two sport Olympic star who participated on both the Women’s Olympic Hockey team in Nagano in ’98 and the Women’s Softball squad in Sydney is a given. But other names are starting to rise into the limelight in their own right. Names such as Cassie Campbell a three-year veteran of the national squad, Charlene Labonte a goaltender vying for a spot on the national team who played major junior last season with the Acadie-Bathhurst Titan of the Quebec Major Junior League or newly appointed head coach of the national team, Daniele Sauvageau who spent a year as an assistant coach with the Montreal Rocket of the QMJHL last season. Slowly but surely, women in hockey are becoming hockey stars in their own right.
Cassie Campbell, three-year veteran of the National team and resident poster girl of the national squad says that these trips into the small towns of the West as well as the big games like the match-up with U.S. before the NHL All-Star game next week only enhance and expose the Women’s game. “I think that anytime that you get to mix with the NHL guys and get the exposure that they get it’s going to bring a lot of publicity to our game. With the U.S. winning the gold in Nagano it’s going to be a big hype down there – it’s Read more »
I’ll admit I approached it with cautious optimism. Women’s hockey, the Canadian national team against Team Sweden. Being a servant of the great Canadian game, men’s hockey is what I follow. It’s what I write about, criticize, celebrate and lament. Women’s hockey was, up until this point, still a novelty to me. The best comparison to the men’s level would be about Midget AAA I was told. That would be my first mistake over the past few days as I prepared to take in the Cranbrook Regional Hospital Foundation – sponsored Canada vs. Sweden Women’s Hockey game this past week.
The first thing I learned outright is that is it completely unfair to categorize women’s hockey in relation to its gender sibling. The difference’s between the men’s game and the women’s are many. Not the least of which are the obvious – size and physicality of the game. But that’s not the glaring difference that it’s made out to be. Once you start to watch these girls play you notice how they play the actual game with the puck. By not having the physicality of the Men’s game, the Women’s game contain’s the subtle nuances of the game in its purest form. Razor-sharp stick-handling, tape to tape passes and more dipsy-doodles in one game than I’ve seen in a few years. To clarify, I still advocate the men’s style of hockey. Give me a bone-crushing hit or a bout of fisticuffs anytime. But the women’s style of play probably exudes the actual skills of hockey on a more frequent basis and in all honesty, it was a treat to watch.
For the record, the game f Read more »
Kentucky Thoroughblades fans team up with Hart’s Dry Cleaning along with
their co-sponsors WVLK-AM Radio and WKYT-TV for their Twelfth Annual Coat
Drive. This drive is to help those who are in need of warm clothing and
runs from the beginning of October until the end of January each year.. All
that people had to do was drop off coats that they had out grown or no
longer used to Hart’s Dry Cleaning. The cleaners would clean them and turn
them over to the Salvation Army and any organization that needs them at no
cost. The quantity of coats that are turned in has grown to 6,000 coats a
This is the second year that the Kentucky Thoroughblades Charities has
chosen to get behind this coat drive. Every game prior to Thanksgiving an
announcement asking fans to help those who are less fortunate by donating
their old coats was made and fans were told that on game nights they could
bring coats to the game and drop them of there.
That plea didn’t fall on deaf ears. One season ticket holder who is also a
preschool teacher brought that plea back to her students and their parents.
Beckey Herles told it this way. “Our House Pre-School in Nicholasville
(Kentucky) has about 120 students. Every year we have a food drive that the
school donates to a local church to be handed out to the needy, but I wanted
my class to do something as a class project. When the Coat Drive came up I
brought it to my class and they were excited to do it.” Miss Beckey, as
she’s referred to by her students, started gathering the coats that students
brough Read more »
German prospects – the update
A rating for the games since 14th till 22th January
G Christian Rohde plays in two of three games for the Augsburger Panther in the DEL. In the 9-2 win against Eisbären Berlin he replaces Nr.1-goalie Jason Muzzatti for the last 37 seconds. Three days later he plays as the starting-goalie against the Kassel Huskies. In a solid performance in the regualar time he saves 42 shots (4 GA). After the regualar time (4 – 4 goals) he helped his team with his fast gloves to a 5-4 win after the shootout. Stats: Augsburg/DEL: 2 GP, 61 MIN, 1-0-0, 4 GA
Season Stats: Augsburg II/4th: 24 GP, 1434 MIN, 8-16-0, 83 GA, 1 SO, GAA 3,89
Augsburg/DEL: 3 GP, 77 MIN, 1-0-0, 5 GA, SavePct 90,20%, GAA 3,85
The Adler Mannheim defeat Oberhausen 9-2 to go on top of the table and especially in this game, their 19 year-old defender Denis Seidenberg plays a very good defensive and offensive part. The undisputed „player of the game“. Stats: Mannheim/DEL: 3 GP, +1
Season Stats: Mannheim/DEL: 38 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 4 PTS, +3, 0 PIM
Mannheim II/4th league: 8 GP, 3 G, 7 A, 10 PTS, 20 PIM Read more »
In what amounted to be a game of paramount importance for the Kootenay ICE if they have any hope of catching the WHL leading Red Deer Rebels and staving off the surging Calgary Hitmen, the ICE were looking for the automatic two points on Sunday night against the Medicine Hat Tigers. If parity throughout the WHL means anything, two points are never automatic, no matter who you’re playing. Playing against a team that up until Sunday night’s contest had only four wins on the road all season long, the ICE melted in front of the hometown crowd suffering a 4-3 defeat.
In perhaps thinking that a game against the Central Division cellar-dwellers would be an automatic ‘W’ in the standings, the ICE were missing one glaring aspect of their game – defense. Struggling to find the outlet pass out of their own zone all night, turnovers, resulting in at least two of Medicine Hat’s four goals played a key role in the Tiger win. Looking like a man visibly frustrated on the lack of defensive play of his charges, Coach Ryan McGill didn’t have to think hard to find reasons for the loss. “I thought we as a team had a lot of chances to score goals – we just didn’t and I thought our defensemen as a group struggled tonight”, said McGill. “That was the bottom line. Our forwards gave us the chances to win the game and we really struggled behind our blueline. It’s mental breakdowns. As a group we didn’t make any direct passes, we panicked with the puck, we just weren’t focused as a group.”
Due to somewhat of a quirk in the schedule, this game was only the third in the season Read more »
This is a new feature I have developed to profile some of the top performers who have made their way into Mississauga in the past week. When you visit the same arena on a regular basis you have only so many prospects available to watch. These guys may be great talents, but they usually don’t provide enough material for a weekly column. You must branch out with fresh ideas to keep the hobby interesting.
Sunday, January 21, 2001
The Sudbury Wolves came into town and played hungry right from the opening face off. Their huge defensive core set the tone with a bruising barrage of hits. It must have been contiguous, as Wolves forwards installed an aggressive fore check hitting everything in sight. They took a commanding 3-0 lead after one period and didn’t look back on their way to a 5-1 victory.
Here’s a look at some of the Wolves that made an impact in Sunday’s contest.
#13 Alexei Semenov
The Edmonton Oilers have a great future in this kid. Their second round (36th overall) pick from the 1999 NHL entry draft has the all the tools to play with the big boys. He is a definite presence, one of the best all-round defenceman I’ve seen this year. Semenov is a monster (6’6” and 210 pounds) who doesn’t give the opposition a lot of room to maneuver. Loves to play the body and with his long reach is impossible to elude. Clears the front of the net as well as anyone and does not back down from trouble. Deceptive speed with long, smooth strides. He is a great asset on the point in p Read more »