By Mike Buskus
Albany Week in Review #18
Trickle-down effect from Devils?
With the news, reported by Sports Network and AP on Monday afternoon, February 4, 2002, that the New Jersey Devils had agreed to terms with veteran goaltender, John Vanbiesbrouck, to return to the NHL club, the inevitable speculation “down on the farm” in Albany is this: who gets the boot in net?
To date, the Albany River Rats have followed a “rotation” system, in which Ari Ahonen and Scott Clemmensen have alternated starts. Though Ahonen is slightly ahead in statistical measures (2.97 goals-against; .913 save percentage, versus 3.11 GAA and .910 save percentage for Clemmensen), Clemmensen has, in the opinion of this writer, been sharper lately. The Boston College graduate did get pulled several weeks back in a “rematch” of the “Frozen Four” against Karl Goehring (late of North Dakota, now with the Syracuse Crunch). However, it was Clemmensen who weathered blizzards of shots in Hartford, facing 48 shots (with 46 saves) and 45 shots (with 40 saves) on successive Saturdays at the Hartford Veterans’ Memorial Civic Center. This past week, Clemmensen earned “first star” in Rochester with his 38-save effort backstopping a 1-1 tie against the Amerks.
While some teams have experimented with a three goaltender system, usually that is a temporary expedient while an out-placement is sought for one of the three. With J.F. Damphousse thus destined to be shipped out of East Rutherford, New Jersey, as soon as the “Beezer” is in game shape, the questi Read more »
The Viking Cup is a traditional tournament of the European Under-18 teams, who square off against
the Canadian university teams or Junior A leagues selection teams. Just like every year,
the Czech Under-18 team takes part in this tournament. The young Czech travelled overseas
already in mid-December, before the Viking Cup tournament they played five exhibition games.
All of them turned out to be wins of the Czech team and so they could feel ready for the
main tourney. That didn’t turn out to be a huge success, the Czechs recorded just one win
in the regular group games and in the quarterfinals they were beaten by the AJHL Junior A
Selects. Bright individualities on the Czech roster were on display again, mostly goalie
Lukas Mensator, defensemen Martin Cizek and Tomas Linhart and forwards Jakub Koreis, Jan
Kubista and Jakub Langhammer. All of them gave their best to the team and could be in the
spotlight also against those older opponents. So let’s have a look how the games were!
Czech Republic – Augustana Vikings 1:5
After the five relatively easy wins in the exhibition games the young
Czechs faced the first Viking Cup opponent. The Augustana University
Vikings team had lots of older players on the roster, some already
reaching their prime at 27. The Czechs had trouble with dealing with
the faster pace of game than in the exhibition games plus they had
two days off before this match. Near the halfway mark of the first
period Lonnie Granley gave the lead to the Augustana team. Read more »
In its policy towards the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the National Hockey League is doing the same mistake as the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev when he tried to implement “perestroika” and “glasnost” some 15 years ago. Gorbachev thought he would reach his objectives by giving the people a little of everything, a little of communism, a little of capitalism and a little freedom. The result was a bit of a mess.
The debate in North American sports media since the hockey season started shows, when one can read between the lines, that the NHL has the same kind of ambivalent feelings towards what should be the biggest show in hockey history. The league wants to be a big part of the show, but not too much. It wants the Olympics to be perceived as something great, but not too great. At least not to the point where it overshadows the NHL All Star game.
The NHL has paid serious money in order to have its logotype integrated with the Salt Lake 2002 logo. Almost every official NHL publication it boasts the Olympic “Hockey Rules” slogan. But when Slovak, German and Latvian players beg to be released for the preliminary round of the Olympic tournament, instead of telling the team GM:s: “Let them go”, the league commissioner looks the other way.
The NHL loves to poach on Olympic ideals, but when a half-injured player declines All-Star game participation in order to be fully fit for the Olympics, a high ranked NHL-official threatens with a fine.
The NHL’s basic problem stems from the fact that North American team sports are not used to i Read more »
QMJHL ALL-STARS LOOK TO WIN ANOTHER HERSHEY CUP
RIMOUSKI – The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League can win its second Hershey
Cup Wednesday night when the QMJHL Dilio Conference All-Stars take on the
Western Hockey League’s Western Conference All-Stars in the third and final
game of the 2002 Hershey Cup CHL All-Star Series.
Game time is 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on RDS in Quebec and
on Rogers Sportsnet.
The inaugural Hershey Cup was won last year by the QMJHL’s two all-star
teams and the league has a chance to make it two for two by winning
Wednesday night’s game, to be held at the Colisee de Rimouski, the beautiful
home arena of the l’Oceanic de Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey
The 2002 Hershey Cup CHL All-Star Series opened up in Ottawa on Jan. 16,
when the QMJHL Lebel Conference All-Stars defeated the OHL East Conference
All-Stars 4-2. Frederic Faucher of the Drummondville Voltigeurs sparked
Quebec with a pair of goals, while Jonathan Bellemare of the Shawinigan
Cataractes added three assists.
Matthew Lombardi of the Victoriaville Tigres and Jason Pominville of the
Cataractes scored the other goals for the winners. Olivier Michaud of
Shawinigan, Jean-Francois Racine of Drummondville and Pascal Leclaire of
Montreal all played very well in the victory before 5,439 fans in Ottawa.
Zenon Konopka of the Ottawa 67’s and Blaine Down of the Barrie Colts scored
for the OHL, while Peter Budaj and Andy Chiodo of the Toronto St. Michael’s
Majors and David Chant of the Barrie Colts played in Read more »
The Czech Under-17 team has left a very solid impression at the previous World Hockey
Challenge in Manitoba. The players are in their second year of international competiton
and some of them have already played their first games in the Czech senior Extraleague.
It is obvious that just like every year, Czech hockey will have representation among the
top prospects for the respective draft, this time 2003 or 2004. The top Czech 1985 born players
have already made their presence felt, especially the “great line”, consisting of forwards
Vojtech Polak – Petr Vrana – Ivo Kratena. Those three keep terrorising the opposition and
draw some comparisons to the line Jaromir Jagr – Robert Reichel – Robert Holik twelve years ago.
So let’s have a look at the brightest 1985 born Czech players (I included also players
who play regularly for the Under-18, but due to their birthdate are still eligible to play
for the Under-17 team)!
Jakub Cech – the Havirov goalie broke into the senior Extraleague this season and his start
made some people turn their heads. Cech plays with a suprising portion of maturity and poise
for a 16-year old goalie in the league, where most goalies are around thirty. He plays a mix
of butterfly and stand-up style which is highly effective. Cech has a very good control of
first shots and is also succesfull against rebounds. Uses his blocker and glove well and
is extremly tough to beat on the high side. He has a good size and covers the net and plays
the angles well. Cech plays with lots of confidence and can keep the t Read more »
As the American Hockey League gets set to play the 2002 American Hockey
League All Star game on February 14 in St. John’s Newfoundland, it also
seems like a good time to evaluate the play of its newest team the
Manchester Monarchs, the Los Angeles Kings’ affilate. It has been a
successful start to the franchise to say the least.
The Monarchs are currently in tied for fourth overall with 60 points. They
have played extremely well at home and have scored over 160 goals for, which
is comparable to many of the other strong teams in the league. Their goals
against is a little high but definitely not enough for concern, especially
considering goaltender Travis Scott, who may be somewhat of a suprise
since the Monarchs boast two other goalies with NHL experience in Stephane
Fiset and Marcel Cousineau. While Fiset has been injured most of the
season, Scott, who will suit up for the AHL Canadian All Stars, has won 14
games and recorded a GAA of 2.58.
The Monarchs have a strong mix of veteran talent and youth throughout their
line up. Their leading scorer thus far has been Ted Donato with 37 points
in 28 games. Donato has scored over 20 goals three times in the NHL and
probably could be used by a number of franchises in the league. He also will
play in the AHL All Star game but on the PlanetUSA team. Also on forward is
Jaroslav Bednar, who the Kings expected to make their roster after taking
him in the most recent edition of the NHL draft. He struggled early in
North America, but he has settled down as is just below a point-a-gam Read more »
After the bronze medal game Finland’s head coach Erkka Westerlund said that team had a good tournament and he was satisfied the way his team played. I can easily understand what he said because in my opinion Finland, Canada and Russia were clearly three best teams at this tournament.
Finland’s defence was just as good Russians or Canadians, but Finns forwards were too small and weak compared to Russia & Canada, especially at wing. Finns played very well as a team and they had the tournament’s best goalie (Kari Lehtonen), but that was not enough. After the tournament Westerlund said that talent-wise the gap between Finland and Russia is big and only four-five Finnish players are good enough to play for Team Russia. I’d like to say Finns have five to six players this good, but the truth is that talent difference between Finland and Canada/Russia is obvious.
Finland had in the tournament one or two average showings (first game against Switzerland, semi-final game against the Czech Republic), but in other games they played well to very well. Their best games were the round-robin matches against Russia (win 2-1) and Canada (win 4-1). Team Finland also played well against Russia in semifinals, but unfortunately Russia played maybe their best game in the tournament. The Russians didn’t take stupid penalties and played a very disciplined defensive game. And in that game the Russians skating was superior, they really flew on the ice the whole 61 minutes. The final game was alot easier for the Finns. The Swiss were tired and the Finns, especially Tuomo Ruutu, wanted to w Read more »
TRI-CITY’S ERIC JOHANSSON IS THE CHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The CHL Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 3, 2002 is forward Eric
Johansson of the Tri-City Americans.
Johansson, 20, picked up 11 points in four league games this week, including
four goals. His goals included one power play marker, one shorthanded goal
and one game-winning goal as Tri-City managed a 2-1-1 record for the week
Johansson beat out the two other CHL league winners for the week ending Feb.
3 to become the third WHL winner of the CHL award in five weeks. Greg
Chambers of the Peterborough Petes was the Ontario Hockey League Player of
the Week while Dominic Noel of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (Offensive)
and Marc-Andre Fleury (Defensive), also of Cape Breton, were the Quebec
Major Junior Hockey League winners.
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. The CHL
Player of the Month for January will be announced in Wednesday’s CHL Daily
CHL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Feb. 5 – Eric Johansson, Tri-City Americans, WHL
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
Dec. 3 – Andy Chiodo, Toronto St. Michael’s Majors, OHL Read more »
FORGE SPLITS WEEKEND WITH DANVILLE
Wings 4 Forge 1 :
NEVILLE ISLAND (Friday, February 1, 2002) — The Pittsburgh Forge Junior A
hockey club lost a 4-1 decision to the Danville Wings. After Danville scored
the only goal of the opening period, Pittsburgh tied the game 1-1 at the
14:16 mark of the second period on a goal by Mike Handza. It was Handza’s
18th goal of the season — which tied him with Pat Levendusky for the team
The Wings got a goal by Marek Hornak moments later at 17:38 and led
2-1 after two periods. Danville increased its advantage to 3-1 just 38
seconds into the final period when Jeremy Hall beat Pittsburgh goaltender
Tim Heneroty. The Wings closed out the scoring for the night on a
power-play goal by Bryan Marshall with a minute and 23 seconds left in the
Forge 3 Wings 1 : Read more »
While some San Jose Shark players like Gary Suter are nearing the end of their careers, the Sharks have plenty of prospects with the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League, NCAA DI college hockey, various European leagues, and major juniors in Canada. Many readers are likely familiar with many of these prospects, but some of them are not so well known to Shark fans, and perhaps they should be.
Summaries of Shark prospects with the Cleveland Barons will be available at a later date. Of some Cleveland news: Ryan Kraft, Mike Craig, and Jonathan Cheechoo have all been selected to play in the AHL All-Star Game. (Cheechoo as a starter) However, Cheechoo has missed the past 16 games due to injury.
Some prospects that are considered “graduated” are included within the report, and are among those that are probably the least known among the Sharks prospects. Some prospects who do not have their own profile at Hockey’s Future will also feature career stats along with their current season stats. As follows is a report by position of the 40+ San Jose Shark prospects.
All Stats as of February 2, 2002
5’10” 160 lb. Catches: Left
6/16/75 Stockholm, Sweden Read more »