News & Features
Kristian Huselius Nabs Rookie of the Month
Highly touted Calder Candidate Kristian Huselius wraps up an exciting month of October by being named the Rookie of the Month. In getting this award, Huselius beat out Mark Bell, and Atlanta’s Kovalchuk and Heatley, and Jeff Jillson
Huselius ranks fourth among NHL goal scorers (9), leads all rookies in goals (9), tied with Mark Bell for rookie points leader (11), tied with Kovalchuk with Power-play goals (3), tied with Jeff Jillson for Power Play Points (5), and leads rookies with Short Handed points (1 goal)
Huselius’s season started with scoring his first NHL goal against Philadelphia on a 2 on 1 effort, where he was able to beat Cechmanek with a shot that trickled over his right pad. The goal-scoring was absent for the next 4 games, as he was getting plenty of chances but was unable to put the puck in the net, most notably in a rematch against Philly on Oct 13th. In his 6th game vs Vancouver on Oct 16th, Huselius notched his 1st power-play goal of the season. But it wouldn’t be till after the Panthers Western road trip that Huselius finally caught on fire.
At home against Washington, Huselius notched his first multi-point game in the 4-3 OT loss against Washington, which also saw his first PP assist on a Bure crashing of the net goal. Against the Los Angeles Kings, Huselius scored his second PP goal on a blast from the left circle which beat Potvin left on the short side. Highlighting what is Huselius’s play-making ability less than 2 minutes later, he added an assist on the PP with a b Read more »
Rats are re-stocked with veterans
The New Jersey Devils have bolstered the Albany River Rats with the signing of three veteran players in the past week. Forwards Bruce Gardiner and Steve Guolla and defenseman Joel Bouchard joined the club and played this past weekend.
While the mission of the minor league club continues to be developing “prospects” for the NHL, in a nod to the more competitive nature of the American Hockey League in recent years (a trend accelerated by the merger or acquisition of former International Hockey League teams), the Devils for the first time in recent memory will have a roster that will allow the team to field a maximum of six “veterans”.
The incoming players join Richard Rochefort, Sylvain Cloutier (out with a knee injury) and Ted Drury. These players, as well as Gardiner, Guolla and Bouchard have played more than 260 combined NHL and AHL games.
The Devils and Rats have not gone overboard, and will not face the situation of being forced to sit a veteran every game to avoid the veteran player ceiling. Indeed, as of the moment, with Captain Sylvain Cloutier still out with a knee injury, the Rats have only five “veterans” on the roster.
The transactions which bolstered the River Rats started on October 21, when the Devils signed Gardiner and Guolla. They were placed on waivers, and after getting no takers from NHL clubs, were assigned to Albany. Both were in the starting lineup on Friday as the River Rats visited Rochester. Bouchard was signed on October 25 and cleared waivers the next day Read more »
The season has started and the early season marks are already starting to come in. There are a few surprises and a few things that, well, aren’t such surprises. In the Eastern Division the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders are in 1st place by percentage points. Going off of total points, they are tied for first with the Des Moines Buccaneers and the Rochester Mustangs. The Mustangs are the biggest surprise of the season to date. Last season the Mustangs mustered only 11 victories and they are off to a 6-4 start. In the Western Division the Sioux Falls Stampede lead the way with a 9-2 record for 18 points but the Sioux City Musketeers are right on their heels with a 8-2 record for 16 points.
Superstar Thomas Vanek of the Sioux Falls Stampede is currently leading the league in scoring with 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points. Vanek has already registered two hat tricks, against Tulsa and Sioux City. Not far behind are three Sioux City Musketeers, Brad Zancanaro (7-16-23), Brandon Schwartz (8-13-21) and Matt Ciancio (7-10-17).
Just as it was last season Art Femenella of the Sioux City Musketeers and Tim Conboy are fighting for the penalty minutes lead. In 9 games Femenella already has 52.
As always, this league is full of fantastic goaltenders and this year is no different. So far, the top goaltender in the league statistically wise is Kris Mayotte of Sioux City. In 5 games he is 5-0 with a 1.40 GAA and .942 saves percentage. Bobby Goepfert, considered by most, including myself, the top minder in the league, is currently 6-2 with a 2.32 GAA Read more »
The Kamloops Blazers returned from a six game road trip to the eastern division of the WHL and returned with a 2-2-1-1 record, while overall they sit 9-3-1-1, with twenty points and a slim one point advantage over the Kootenay Ice. The Blazers do hold four games in hand over the Ice, however you need to win those games for it to make any difference. The Blazers were missing some key players in Jarrett Lukin, Conlan Seder, Colton Orr, Jared Aulin and Paul Brown for either all or some of the games, but Seder was the only defenseman missing, which doesn’t help explain why the Blazers were out shot on average, forty to twenty six on the six game trip. Kamloops will need to improve in this area as they face U.S. Division leading Spokane, the tough Prince George Cougars and intense rivals the Kelowna Rockets this week.
The Kootenay Ice are nipping at the Blazers heels with an 8-7-3 record, good for nineteen points and second place, albeit having played four more games then the Blazers. The record is still pretty impressive for the Ice however, as they have played without super playmaker Jarrett Stoll and standout goaltender Dan Blackburn. Stoll is out with a serious hand injury and Blackburn continues to play for the New York Rangers. The Ice also lost the services of import sniper Marek Svatos in an October 17 game against the Red Deer Rebels, but have gone an impressive four wins and two times in the six games since he went down. Import rookie Tomas Plihal has picked up the slack, scoring seven goals and picking up four helpers in the six games while Colin Sinclair (8 Read more »
Ice hot: First-time pro Tyler Arnason has jump-started his first gig in the AHL. The twenty-three year-old center, has recorded (3)goals (5)assists with (8) points in his first twelve games. Also, the Oklahoma City native has spent the last three seasons with ST. Cloud ST. (WCHL) and recorded (28) goals (28) assists (56) points in the 2000-2001 season. Chicago’s seventh round draft pick (183rd overall) recorded a career high in assists (45) with the Winnipeg Blues (MJHL) in 1996-97.
A veteran takes center stage: When it comes to bravery on the ice Veteran Peter White has shown that within the city of “Brotherly Love” for last seven seasons. But the Philadelphia Flyers were reluctant to resign the free agent this fall. And in turn, Chicago’s GM, Mike Smith, signed him to the Admirals in September. The center is currently ranked third in the AHL in assists (8) and enjoyed his 400th AHL assist on the road against Lowell last week.
Russell hustles: (RW) Bobby Russell has not recorded an AHL goal in his first seven games this season, but last weekend the former ECHLer fired two shots that helped speed his team towards victory. Russell, a former Hampton Roads Admirals (ECHL), was under the former direction of the legendary John Brophy (now with the Wheeling Nailers) through 1998-00 season. Known for his speed, he posted over goals (30) assists(65). Also, the six-foot winger skated with Jackson Bandits last season and accumulated goals (38) assists (30) points (68). Trent Yawney (head coach) was impressed with the speed of the Canadian native at training cam Read more »
In front of the largest crowd the team has attracted this year, the Brampton Battalion skated to a 3-3 tie with Rick Nash and the London Knights. The tie was Brampton’s second in as many afternoons, and extended their unbeaten streak to 4 games.
The game started with great scoring opportunities for both teams. Brad Topping was called on to make a tough stop on a Nash slapper from the faceoff circle at the ten-second mark. On the very next shift, Knights goalie Glen Ridler made a spectacular glove save on Chris Rowan from fifteen feet out.
But as they have been doing more often in recent games, Brampton potted the first goal, as the white-hot Kurt MacSweyn corralled the puck in the slot, turned, and fired a low shot that beat Knights goalie Glen Ridler to the glove side. The goal was MacSweyn’s eighth of the year, and his fifth in the last three games. Of particular note on that goal is that it featured left winger Tyler Harrison’s first OHL point. Harrison saw more ice time today than he has seen in recent contests as he was inserted into MacSweyn’s line for the injured Adam Henrich. Skatin’ Clayton drew the other assist.
The lead was short-lived, however, as London tied the game soon after when Patrick Barbieri took a pass in the slot and fired a low shot that Topping stopped, but allowed a rebound right back to Barbieri who popped the puck between Topping’s legs as he moved to his left.
The Knights took the lead on the power play with Patrick Turcotte in the box for interference (a questionable call, in Sea Bass’ opinion). Knights c Read more »