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 »
Checking In On the New Czech
Over the weekend the Leafs 2nd round pick of the 2001 entry draft Karel Pilar saw his first NHL action first against Vancouver and the following day vs Edmonton. As the Buds were slapped around to the tune of 10-2 collectively in those two tilts there wasn’t a whole lot good to say about anything that happened. However, for those out there looking for an easy scapegoat, #29 wasn’t it. Yes, looking at the linescores will tell you that the 24 year old was -2 on the weekend with one hit and one blocked shot, but that presents an incomplete picture at best.
All told Pilar was on the ice for three even handed goals against and one even handed goal for. The first of those was the bad angle shot early in the Canuck game that Curtis Joseph simply whiffed on, deflecting it in his own net. On the second one Pilar can clearly be seen taking his man completely out of the play towards the far corner while Shayne Corson desperately tries to catch up to goalscorer Ed Jovanovski breaking in from the point. In the Edmonton game Pilar was on the ice when Bryan McCabe scored, hence his +1 for part of that contest. That, however, would be wiped out by shoddy coverage by Robert Reichel on Mike Comrie. Again Pilar has his man, but his former Litvinov teammate let the diminutive Edmonton pivot get away from him and the rook took the minus.
What could be seen but was not readily apparent by the linescores was Pilar’s low risk passing game. Outside of one feed across the middle of his own zone that Reichel had to bail him out on against Read more »
Some of the prospects in the organisation have progressed well, for example; Stefan Liv, Todd Jackson, Dmitri Bykov, Miroslav Blatak and so on, while others like Ryan Barnes, Alexander Seluyanov have gone the other way. It has been a good first half season for most of the prospects and it has been extremly exciting to watch last years draft picks, Igor Grigorenko, Drew Macintyre and others.
Here it is, take a look and feel free to leave comments at the bottom of the page.
1. Henrik Zetterberg
Team: Timrå, SWE
Draft: 1999 draft, 7th round, 210th overall
Previous rank: 1
Henrik is THE BEST prospect in the organisation. He has had a tough sophomore year in the Swedish Elite league, but still made the Olympics as a 21 year old thanks to his great performances at the international level. Could be in Detroit next year.
Plus: Skateing, sense, strength, passing, SKILLS, two-way game and leadership.
Potential: Top line pivot.
2. Stefan Liv
Team: HV 71, SWE
Draft: 2000 draft, 4th round, 102nd overall
Grade: 8 Read more »
The USA under 18 team came into Fairfield University and took on the Stags on Sunday night. If not for some great goaltending by the Stag’s Michael Wolfe the score would have been worse than the 2-1 final in favor of Team USA. Wolfe turned away 28 shots including all 17 in the second.
The First period saw Team USA score just fifty seven seconds into the game. It looked like it would be a long night for the Stags. Wolfe settled down and became stronger in net as the night went. Ryan Kesler scored the goal for USA with the assists going to Greg Moore.
In the second period Wolfe was unbeatable as was Team USA’s James Howard. Wolfe turned aside 17 shots and Howard didn’t have to much work and turned aside the only shot he faced in the period. Team USA was unable to score on both of their power play attempts.
Corey Potter added to the Team USA lead when he scored at the 14:24 mark of the third period, with help from Timmy Wallace. The Stags answered right back on a goal by Brian Payant only 14 seconds later. The Stags would pick up the pace and out shot USA 6 to 3.
Team USA was 0 of 4 on the power play, they had 3 penalties for six minutes, and Howard made 11 saves on 12 shots. The Fairfield Stags were 0 of 2 on the power play, they had 5 penalties for 10 minutes, and Wolfe made 28 saves on 30 shots.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Michael Wolfe – Goaltender – Fairfield University Stags – Strong in net, good side to side movement, well composed under pressure in the lack of defense, quick reflexes.
Stephan Gionta – Forward – Team USA – pl Read more »
The Kings called up Ryan Flinn and gave him his shot. The result has been a shot in the arm for the Kings.
21-year-old Ryan Flinn came to the Kings a week ago. After being scratched against the Ducks, he got his shot last Thursday in a game against Minnesota. His first scrap was with Brad Brown- a tough customer but no heavyweight. The results- a TKO and Brown has not returned to the ice yet. Flinn showed a vicious right as he disposed of Brown. The fight energized the team and the person who should benefit from Flinn’s arrival the most, Ziggy Palffy, scored a short handed goal just minutes later.
After an uneventful game in L.A. against Colorado, Flinn and the Kings took the ice in Denver Monday night and the fans got what they wanted- Scott Parker and Ryan Flinn squared off. Flinn stung Parker with a solid right that did major damage to Parker’s face. Parker kept his face away from Flinn for a few seconds and then threw a couple crushing rights, one that sent Flinn to a knee. A great fight with Parker getting a slight edge, despite the fact he did not skate again the rest of the evening.
Two fights and two impressive showings. Ryan Flinn has inflicted some damage on two NHL tough guys, and stood toe to toe with one of the toughest- Scott Parker. After watching the Kings get pushed around in the first half of the season, it is apparent that Ryan Flinn is the man right now.
If the choice comes down to the three enforcers who have skated for the Kings this season (Flinn, Brennan and Ken Belanger), Flinn has emerged as the clear leader. F Read more »
The CHL Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 27, 2002 is forward
Jason Spezza of the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League.
Spezza, selected second overall in last June’s NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa
Senators, had a seven-point game against the Sarnia Sting on Jan. 25. In
three road games this week, Spezza had five goals and five assists as he
figured in on 10 of Belleville’s 13 goals.
Against Sarnia, Spezza fired three goals and added four assists to lead the
Bulls to a 9-2 victory. The next night in Plymouth, during a 4-3 Belleville
loss, Spezza added one goal and one assist.
His week ended the next night in Windsor, where he scored the Bulls’ lone
goal in a 3-1 loss to the hometown Spitfires.
Spezza beat out the other league winners, including WHL Player of the Week,
forward Justin Kelly of the Saskatoon Blades, and the Quebec Major Junior
Hockey league Players of the Week, Michel Ouellet of the Rimouski Oceanic
(Offensive) and Eric Lafrance of the Hull Olympiques (Defensive).
The CHL Player of the Week is selected from among the three leagues’
nominees and announced in Tuesday’s editions of the CHL Daily News.
CHL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Jan. 29 – Jason Spezza, Belleville Bulls, OHL
Jan. 22 – Jarret Stoll, Kootenay Ice, WHL
Jan. 15 – Brad Boyes, Erie Otters, OHL
Jan. 8 – Ryley Layden, Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL
Dec. 17 – Andre Martineau, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, QMJHL
Dec. 10 – Shawn Roed, Portland Winter Hawks, WHL Read more »
Devils hire Constantine; Former Penguins coach leaves Forge, replaces fired
The Island Sports Center and the Pittsburgh Forge are in the market for a
new boss as Kevin Constantine left his roles as center CEO-president and
Pittsburgh Forge general manager to return to the NHL as the New Jersey
Devils’ new coach. He was beneficial in bringing a junior-A hockey team to
the area and building the franchise. Constantine came up with the idea to
join the North American Hockey League, stocking the expansion team with
nearly a dozen local players and establishing a winning system. He hired
coach Chris Imes and assistant John Becanic. Then he joined them and the
players on the ice in the season’s early months, helping to jump-start a
Forge team that currently stands second in the NAHL with a 26-11-2 record.
FORGE NOTCHES 5-3 TRIUMPH OVER PRIDE
NEVILLE ISLAND (Thursday, January 24, 2002) — 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 »