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2002 U18 Five
Nations Tournament – Tyumen, Russia
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The Olympic Games have begun. Team Sweden’s NHL stars are competing for their teams
in USA and Canada while 21-year old Henrik Zetterberg is still in Sweden. He is not a Mats Sundin
or a Peter Forsberg, not yet that is…
In order to remain in shape during the SEL-break Zetterberg is currently training with 2nd-tier league
team Sundsvall. In less than a week the Detroit draftee will enter the E Center in Salt Lake City and play his very
first Olympic Game. The opponents in Sweden’s opening game are perhaps the toughest possible, Canada.
The quite unexperienced Zetterberg will play against stars like Mario Lemieux, Joe Sakic, Chris Pronger etc…
It’s not like he hasn’t played good players before, but we’re talking about franchise players now.
So can this youngster really contribute with something? After all he is playing on a Swedish team full with
experienced stars, with plenty of seasons in the NHL. Zetterberg is currently playing his 2nd season in the Swedish Elitserien, and most
likely his last in 10 years or so.
Well, the answer is YES, he can contribute. For those who yet haven’t had the opportunity to see Zetterberg
in action, it’s a understatement to call him a great player. He is one of those players that can do the thing
you least expect. He reads the game so well, and sees openings that many other players aren’t capable of seeing.
Read more »
Jackets CHL PROSPECT UPDATE
Western Hockey League
Shane Bendera – G – Kelowna Rockets
Bendera has not been busy in the last week or so, only getting one start since the last update, currently sidelined with what is being described as a knee sprain(day-to-day). He won his start, and managed to drop his GAA to 2.27 from his previous 2.29. His SV% increased from a .919 last update to a .920 this time around. Needless to say, there isn’t much to report on in the life of Shane Bendera.
Ben Knopp – RW – Kamloops Blazers
Knopp has exploded, and Kamloops couldn’t be happier. Finally, Knopp has begun to produce as expected in his new surrounding. Last we left, Knopp had 47 pts. He’s tallied 5 goals and 7 assists since then, running his totals to 59 points(30-29-59) in 59 games. His plus/minus has also seen decent improvement, and now only sits at –8. Knopp owns second place in team scoring on Kamloops, being Jared Aulin and slightly ahead of Scottie Upshall, both of which have played at least 15 fewer games.
Kiel McLeod – C – Kelowna Rockets
Nothing new to report on Kiel McLeod, considering he hasn’t suited up for the Rockets since the last update. He was, however, slated to play for the WHL Western All-Stars in the Hershey Cup, before being replaced by Tim Krymusa of the Spokane Chiefs. His totals on the season still sit at 14 goals and 41 points(14-27-41) in 34 games. McLeod is said to be suffering from a groin pul Read more »
The Atlanta Thrashers have been one of the worst clubs in the NHL the
last couple of years, and the privilege of this is getting low draft
picks. GM Don Wandell certainly took advantage of this by selecting Dany
Heatley 2nd overall in 2000 and Ilya Kovalchuk in 2001. The future looks
extremely bright for the Thrashers with these two amazing rookies, but
they will certainly not be able to win alone. So here is a list of 7
prospects that should join them in the next couple of years:
Michael Garnett: With no other promising goaltenders in the future for
the Thrashers, Garnett is by far the best goaltending prospect in for
the club. The Saskatoon native, should be able to develop as a number
one goalie in the league one day.
Kamil Piros: This center was acquired for former Thrashers star Donald
Audette from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline in 2001. After
finishing his amazing season with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, he
should take Ray Ferraro’s place on the roster next year and will stay
there for a long time.
Luke Sellars: The former Ottawa 67’s defenceman has spent the season in
the AHL and has been far from great. Almost re-entered the 2001 entry
draft by signing with the Thrashers on the last possible day. Should
have a couple of more seasons left with the Wolves before graduating
with the big club. He was recently reassigned to the club’s ECHL
affiliate in Greenville.
Zdenek Blatny: Was considered a steal by the Thrashers when they
selected him in 68th overall in the first entry draft in 1 Read more »
Current team: EV Zug
Elik is one of those players that made more than a decent NHL career without getting drafted. After serving his junior time he played 2 seasons in the IHL and 2 in the AHL before starting his NHL spell with teams as the Kings, North Stars, Oilers, Sharks, Blues and the Bruins before heading over to Switzerland as a 32-year old in the 1997-98 season. His first season was immediately a hit with 77 points and 234 penalty minutes for HC Lugano. The following two seaosn he skated for SC Langnau Tigers but despite being on a weaker team he continued to put up great numbers. This year is his 2nd season as a member of EV Zug, coached by Doug Mason this year. Elik continues to score over a point per game although his point total descreased this season compared to last seaosn. Also he’s guaranteed taking over 100 penalty minutes in the season which shows this 6’3, 198 lbs forward isn’t afraid to use his body. Last season he developped a nice chemistry with Andre Rötheli, who left for HC Lugano this season though. One could say the tandem of the two was one of the best on the league. Elik’s arrival at EV Zug definitely helped the attendance figures rise but also caused the team not to reach the semi finals of the palyoffs for the first time in 7 years. Where a top performance in the playoffs is expected from players like Elik, he showed a lack of that in the playoffs taking bad penalties at important times. He was even scratched, in fav Read more »
Jackets Rumor Mill
Who’s In And Who’s Out?
There’s a lot of speculation going around the National Hockey League. As always, many try to pre-determine trade deadline activity. This year, there’s a lot of speculation over a couple of Blue Jackets. While I can see a number of players switching uniforms, I think that it will most likely be a strong possibility for Lyle Odelein and Ron Tugnutt.
Let’s start with Odelein, the senior of the Blue Jackets Blueline. It’s not impossible to concieve a number of places where Lyle could be dealt. Odelein is making $2.4 Million, which is payroll that GM Doug MacLean may want to clear out for offseason acquisitions. Odelein, the captain in Columbus, would immediately bring leadership into any dressing room, and a solid presence in his own end. His offensive numbers this season have been up slightly, registering 14 points(2-12-14) in 53 games this season, as compared to 17 points in 81 games in 2000-2001. However, Odelein is -20 thus far this season, the worst Odelein has been in his career. I do not think teams will be overly discouraged by this, though, considering the team which surrounds him.
Where are some possible locations that Odelein could be shipped? Pretty much any organization who wants to take over his salary, is a decent contender, and wouldn’t mind adding a rough and tumble blueliner for the stretch drive. Detroit seems like the most obvious fit, and I’m sure the Wings would give up a player like Maxim Kuznetsov to pick up Odelein. Th Read more »
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U20 WJC 2002 TEAM RUSSIA PLAYER REVIEW
PART I: Goalies and Defensemen
By: Eugene Belashchenko (Special thanks to Robert Neuhauser and a Finnish
observer for their assistance in preparing this article.)
Starting: Andrei Medv Read more »
the Saskatoon Blades who recently enjoyed a four game winning streak,
including 3 in a row at home slipped a notch recently this past weekend and
were in danger of falling into the east division basement. The Blades were
winless in a three game in three night Alberta road trip. On Friday, the
Blades fell behind early to the Medicine Hat Tigers by a score of 4-0 and
could never really get back into the game. The Blades got to within 2 goals
on a pair of tallies by WHL eastern conference player of the month Justin
Kelly but that would be as close as the Blades would come losing 5-3 to the
Saturday night the Blades were in Lethbridge to play a Canes team
who has really beaten up on the Blades so far this year outscoring them 20-8
in three previous meetings. This time the Blades were able to stay close
but not close enough losing 4-2. Jeremy Jackson salted the game away with
his 26th of the season with 1:13 remaining in the game. With a 2 game
losing streak going entering Red Deer, the Blades could have easily folded
with a pair of home games on the horizon but that wasn’t the case.
the Blades looked past the fact the Rebels had won 11 in row and looked past
the fact they are defending Memorial Cup champs. The Blades stayed close
all night long and forced OT but lost 3-2 in overtime. The trip wasn’t
exactly a success for the Blades but they faired pretty well on the road
against some very tough teams. The Blades still only have 1 win vs Central
Division teams this season.
Last nights game vs Read more »
This is the second part of the mid-season Top 20 prospects update.
12. Miroslav Blatak
Team: Zlin, CZE
Draft: 2001 draft, 4th round, 129th overall
Previous rank: 16
Miroslav is having a very good rookie year with one of the best teams in Czech Republic, Zlin. In the last 20 games of the season Miroslav has received increased ice-time, and that has led to increased offensive numbers. Blatak has 4 goals and 5 assists in 34 games in his rookie season in the Czech Extra League. He also had a great WJC and was the top scoring defenseman with 3 goals and 4 assists in 7 games.
Plus: Smart, skating, shot, passing, hard worker.
Minus: Size?, lack of physical presence.
Potential: Two-way top 6 defenseman
13. Drew MacIntyre
Team: Sherbrooke, QJMHL
Draft: 2001 draft, 4th round, 121st overall
Grade: 6.5 Read more »
With all the WHL Western Conference teams having twenty games or less on their schedules, heres some speculation on how the season will finish and playoffs will play out. These are solely the thoughts and ponderings of this writer and may not be accurate, however with the stretch run just underway, thought it would be fun to put my choices out to provoke some debate. Here goes!
While the Cougars will likely play better in the playoffs, I’m not sure Thompson or Stanton are handling the pressure of a stretch run very well. Thompson was great against Kamloops in the recent loss, but I’m not sold. Hamhuis really is the glue that holds the entire Cougar back end together and he at some point this year is going to start slowing down and having some off nights, which appears is beginning to happen. He was brilliant in the first game against Kamloops last weekend, but in the second game was average by his standards, coughing up the puck, not as effective moving the puck and not as physical. When caught out of position didn’t appear to have a lot of gas to get back either IMO. They need scoring and I’m not sure even the addition of Foster will remedy that problem. Likely to finish third in B.C. Division and could slide as low as fourth with a first round exit IMO.
Kelowna will go as far as Bendera can take them and his return to the line up this weekend will be a tonic for a lot the Rockets current ailments. When on his game, Bendera can win games on his own which might be what the Rockets need to gain some confidence. If Shane can backstop the Rockets to a couple wins Read more »