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2001-02 Season Previews, from Bonni to Branham.

by Kirk Pedersen
on

The Canucks 31st Training Camp gets underway September 11th in Burnaby, and they are still without a goaltender. There are many options for the Canucks, however, most exist in the form of possible trades. A couple of guys who interest me are Tomas Vokoun from Nashville, who is roadblocking young prospects Jan Lasak and Brian Finley, and Jamie Storr, who had a terrible season with the Los Angeles Kings. Storr may come cheap, but not until the Kings get Felix Potvin under contract. Also, there’s old vet Kirk McLean. He’s aging, and declining in effectiveness, but McLean could be good at keeping the seat warm for Alex Auld, who might be ready after this coming season.

Canucks 2001-02 Player Previews Installment Number Four

Ryan Bonni was a second-round pick in 1997 by the Canucks, a draft which also yielded current Canucks Harold Druken, Matt Cooke, and acquired from the Flyers in 1999, Pat Kavanagh. Bonni was thought of as a rock-solid defender at that time, and not much has changed. He’s limited offensively, which is obvious, if you look at his junior and minor-pro scoring totals, but that’s not what he’s on the ice for. Bonni is a tough, stay-at-home Defenseman. His puck-moving skills are below average, and he’s not a particularly good skater, but Bonni does the job on the defensive end. He took a big step back in his development this season in Kansas City, posting poor offensive totals, but, once again, that’s not his game. He improved little by little as the season wore on, but has nonetheless slipped on the Canucks defensive depth ch Read more »

Adam Mair

by Tony Calfo
on

When the Kings gave up on Aki Berg last season, the Kings seemed pretty happy about getting rid of Berg and getting a draft pick. They also acquired left wing Adam Mair and while most hockey pundits don’t give Mair much of a chance to contribute, he will help the Kings this season.

There isn’t much to Adam Mair. He stands about 6-0 and weighs about 190 pounds. He has a pretty good shot and loves to play the body. He will drop the gloves if need be, and he is defensively responsible. That description fits not only Adam Mair, but about half of the Kings’ potential line-up. What makes Adam Mair stand out among the others?

Mair has never been a scorer. His career high 25 goals in 56 OHL games in 1997-98 is his high water mark. He is not a great distributor of the puck- his 35 assists in 1996-97 were the most he’s ever had. How can Mair help the Kings?

Adam Mair has the potential to be what the Kings need- a gritty player who can get both his team and his fans into a game with one hit. He has only one speed- extra high intensity. The Kings and their fans know what a player like this brings- they have seen Ian Lapperriere develop into a fan favorite and a vital cog in the Kings’ machine.

Trying to make a team over from the offensive team that feature Luc Robitaille to a grinding, playoff-style team with players like Steve Heinze and Adam Deadmarsh sets the table for a guy like Adam Mair. He can offer the open ice hitting, the defensive intensity and even pop in some goals with his heavy and accurate shot. Mair didn’t get much of a chance last Read more »

Kings Organizational Roster

by Tony Calfo
on

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
LOS ANGELES KINGS ORGANIZATIONAL ROSTER

Owners: Philip F. Anschutz and Edward P. Roski Jr.
President / Governor: Tim Leiweke
Executive Vice President / Chief Financial Officer: Dan Beckerman
Executive Vice President / General Counsel: Ted Fikre
Vice President / Sales & Marketing: Kurt J. Schwartzkopf
Vice President / Human Recources: Kevin McDowell
Assistant to President: Rogatien Vachon
General Manager: Dave Taylor
Assistant General Manager: Kevin Gilmore
Assistant to the General Manager: John Wolf
Director of Player Personnel: Bill O’Flaherty
Director of Professional Scouting: Ace Bailey
Director of Amateur Scouting: Al Murray
Professional Scout / Director of European Evaluation: Rob Laird
Amateur Scouts: Mark Bavis, Greg Dreschel, Parry Shockey, John Stanton, Michel Boucher
European Scouts: Vaclav Nedomansky, Ari Vuori, Victor Tjumenev
Media Relations / Team Services: Mike Altieri
Trainer: Peter Demers
Speed-Strength / Conditioning Coach: Joseph Horrigan
Equipment Manager: Peter Millar
Assistant Equipment Manager: Rick Garcia
TV Commentators: Bob Miller and Jim Fox
Radio Commentators: Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans
Affiliates: Manchester [AHL] Reading [ECHL]
Head Coach: Andy Murray
Assistant Coaches: Dave Tippett, Mark Hardy, Ray Bennett
Goaltending Consultant: Andy Nowicki Read more »

Jean-Francois Racine

by Stephen J. Holodinsky
on


The Other Goalie

Talk to anyone about goaltending and the Leafs’ draft of 2000 and the first name that is bound to pop out is the aforementioned Mikael Tellqvist. However, 20 selections later the Blue and White nabbed a second puckstopper out of Drummondville by the name of Jean-Francois Racine with much less fanfare. At 6’3″ and now 188 pounds the Voltigeurs netminder is, like many that come out of the Q, a large butterfly style goalie, in the mold of Patrick Roy. He skates well for a big man and his Coach, Daniel Bissonnette, points out that while his charge “is at times too fast to go down he is very good at regaining his feet (once he has done so)”. Not that Racine is helpless once on the ice. The 19 year old is quite accomplished at following the puck in a scramble and keeping his body between the rubber and the mesh. In addition to that he is quick to cover anything near him and has a short pokecheck he uses to good effect when the situation warrants it.

While he has a snappy glovehand, he can be had backing up on the rush at this time. Bissonnette states that “most of the time he’s good but when a player comes in the zone on an angle, he has to improve.” That said, “bad goals don’t stick with him” and although it is true that he sometimes has problems holding onto a third period lead, “he holds up well (in games with) heavy shot counts.” Not a risky player like St. Patrick, he doesn’t get caught wandering often and when he does leave his net he tends to use the forehand to get the puck out of danger. At times he is capable of the outlet pass Read more »

Washington’s Potential 2001 NHL Rookies – Forwards

by Rick Davis
on

Last year, Washington’s camp was relatively mellow. More than a few veterans did not play the best hockey they could have, because they were virtually guaranteed roster spots no matter how hard they played. Notable exceptions to this were Jeff Halpern, Ulf Dahlen, and Steve Konowalchuk. The overall lack of fire continued into the regular season, and the Caps went 3-8-6-1 in their first 18 games.

Fortunately for Washington and their fans, the Caps eventually won the Southeast Division in spite of the poor start. However, it is certainly in Washington’s best interests not to have that kind of a start again.

Last year, the Capitals had some things working against them that should not be a problem this year. Multiple holdouts hindered the progress of the team – neither Sergei Gonchar nor Chris Simon attended camp. Brendan Witt was still upset about his arbitration hearing, and Peter Bondra had requested a trade.

This year, Jeff Halpern and Glen Metropolit have not been signed yet, but are expected to sign before camp starts. Halpern attended Washington’s rookie camp even though he doesn’t have a contract, and it’s certainly a possibility that he would attend Washington’s main camp without one as well. His leadership has been exemplary over the last couple of years and it would certainly not hurt his chances to become a future captain. Adam Oates, the current captain, has requested a trade. It’s not known whether he will show up at camp or not.

While Halpern’s contract and Oates’s discontent are certainly of paramount i Read more »

The “Big List Week” is Coming Soon!

by Mark Fischel
on

Hockey’s Future is proud to announce the publishing dates for one of the most anticipated features we do here!!! For the past few years, these lists have been met with anticipation, delight, anger, criticisms, shock, disbelief, and congratulations. We fully anticipate those feelings to continue.

The hard work of a collection of our editors have yielded what will be to this day, the most debated and comprehensive Top 50 list we have ever published.

What will make these lists so different from the past ones are some new features to look for this time. We will breaking down the top prospects by 3 different on-ice positions, and this will include some players who won’t make the top 50 but still are quality players in their respective positions. Another new feature will be profiles for each player, the player rankings from the last published Top 50 list, and the “Top Risers & Fallers”.

The lists will be published on the site at approximately 6:00 EST, and so without further ado, here is the schedule for the publishing of the HF Top Prospect lists!

Mon, Sept 10th : Top 10 goalies

Wed, Sept 12th : Top 25 defenseman

Fri, Sept 14th : Top 25 Forwards

After these three lists are posted, we encourage everyone to discuss the rankings on the message boards under the provided headings. Please no fistfights, foul language, general hooliganism, or wagering please when civilly debating your opinions in anticipation of the big list that will be published on….

Monday, September 17th : Top 50 prospects

And here at H Read more »

The Later Rounds

by Jake Dole
on
Each and every year, the NHL season offers it’s own surprises. It can be a blockbuster trade, a player holding out, a head coach getting fired, or an overachieving team. It is equally important to note that ever so often, a player makes an impact whose name previously seemed unfamiliar. Players like Andreas Dackell, Brian Smolinski, Tomas Holmstrom, Steve Rucchin and Todd Marchant all have something in common. At one point of their careers, their NHL futures were in question. However, at this moment, all of them have successful (although by no means perfect) careers.
Some players get overlooked, whether at the NHL draft, or as a free agent. How many times do we see a career rejuvenated through a trade, or expansion draft? Certain players make their respective teams as grinders and fourth-liners, and eventually make their way up into larger and more serious roles.
Hockey critics like to rank prospects differently. Some like to divide them in half; there are the prospects that are likely to make the NHL, and there are those who probably won’t get a sniff. Using the Rangers as an example, we are likely to see Jamie Lundmark in the big show sometime soon, maybe as early as next year. Where does Layne Ulmer fit in? He’s got the numbers, the finishing ability, but his skating is getting in the way of his pro career. Scouts say he is too slow, pros are harder than juniors, he is too soft… When you hear all the experts pile on these prospects, it almost seems like a youngster cannot shake off that price tag.
Plodding, not skilled e Read more »

Islanders Training Camp Review

by Bill Bennett
on
Lot’s of things changed with the New York Islanders over the summer, one of
the things that did not change was the amount of games the team will play in the
preseason. The team will play only six games, with the difference
being these games will be played over nine days. (Sept 20-29) Colorado is
the only other team to play as few as six games.

Not a lot of days to give the veterans who will be on the team a chance to
get some time playing together and even less to determine who will fill the few
openings on the roster. Some quick judgements will have to be made by rookie coach Peter Laviolette and his staff. (Greg Cronin, Jacques LaPerriere new goaltending coach Billy Smith)

Like last years training camp (Lake Placid Sept 11th-18th) practices and team scrimages will play a big part in who is going to get the best look in those early exhibiton games. At this time there is no word of the Isles sharing a rookie camp with another organization. Training camp for the Isles will last one week. Many teams will have started their exhibiton schedule while this is going on and have camps that will last only three or four days in some cases.

What will be different is that the Islanders staff after several years of shared affiliates will have the Read more »

Blues goaltending pipeline

by Brian Weidler
on

The Last Line Of Defense Is A Good One For The Blues

On the eve of the first training camp of the 21st Century, a number of Blues’ fans have questions about the most important position on the team — the goaltenders.

Almost everyone will agree that the time had come to send the beleaguered Roman Turek packing. And yet, despite acquiring a reliable starter (Fred Brathwaite) in return, there is a large faction of Bluenote backers who remain convinced that, without a world-class goalie, the Blues will play second fiddle to the traditional Western powerhouses yet again. The Doubting Thomases point to the inexperience of Brathwaite and Brent Johnson, and predict doom for the Blues in 2001-02.

While Blues fans may have legitimate concerns about goaltending in the short term, the long-term outlook in goal for the Blues has never looked brighter. Of the eight goaltenders who will wear the ‘Note in various camps this fall, six of them were either drafted or developed as professionals by the Blues. And it all starts with the man they call “Big” Johnson.

Originally drafted 129th overall by Colorado in 1995, Brent Johnson became Blues’ property just prior to the 1997 Entry Draft, when interim GM Ron Caron swung a deal for the big young netminder. A few months later, Johnson began his first season as a pro in Worcester, and split the duty with Frederic Cassivi. Johnson’s numbers in his first season were respectable for a 20-year-old rookie — 42 games played, 14 wins, a 3.19 goals-against average and a save percentage of 89.9%.

The next year, t Read more »

Recent Hab happenings

by Chris Boucher
on
Mike Komisarek (1st round, 2001) played for the US National Junior Team during the 2001 Summer Challenge in Lake Placid, NY. Komisarek recorded 1 assist, as the US split the four-game series against Finland. Scouting reports indicate that the 6’4″, 230 lbs. defenseman demonstrated his usual physically punishing style of play.

Alexander Buturlin (2nd round, 1999) played 2 games for Salavat Yuleyev of the Russian League. The right winger scored 1 goal during those 2 games while racking up 4 minutes in penalties. Contract negotiations in Russia are presumably still ongoing, as there has yet to be an official announcement regarding Buturlin’s future place of employment.

Alex Perezhogin (1st round, 2001) has played 2 preseason games with Omsk of the Russian League. The talented left winger was held off the score sheet. The 5’11”, 185 lbs. winger played 41 games with Omsk’s division-2 team last season, where he scored an incredible 47 goals to go along with 24 assists, and 40 penalty minutes.

Joni Puurula (8th round, 2000) has played 4 preseason games with HPK of the Finnish Elite League. Through those 4 games the 5’10”, 165 lbs. goalie has a 3-1 record, with a 2.00 goals against average, and an impressive .927 save percentage. Puurula will battle Czech native Zdenek Smid for playing time this season. Zdenek, who was drafted by Atlanta in the 6th round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft played last season with Karlovy Vary of the Czech Extraliga.

Leksand IF’s Johan Eneqvist (4th round, 2000) has played 3 preseason games. The 6’1″, 185 Read more »

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