The 2001 ECHL All-Star Game will take place this Tuesday, February 13th in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is the third straight year that the game will be showcased on a national television broadcast as ESPN2 is picking up the coverage. Once again, the Northern Conference all-stars are pitted against their counterparts from the south.
In terms of the starting line-up for the Northern Conference, the attack is led by Kevin Hilton. The Charlotte forward has tallied 66 points in 51 games thus far. Also up front are Scott Bertoli and Cail Maclean of Trenton. Both these Titans players have been consistent all season, notching 39 and 32 points, respectively. On defence are Calvin Elfring of Roanoke and Tom Nemeth of Dayton. Elfring has contributed 35 points and 48 penalty minutes in 50 games while Nemeth has been stellar on the offence, with 43 points in 48 games. And, in goal is Scott Stirling, who is having a sensational campaign for Trenton, with 20 wins, a 2.10 GAA and a 0.924 save percentage in 30 games.
The Southern Conference has a powerful offensive attack with Dany Bousquet of Pee Dee, Brent Cullaton of Tallahassee and Matt Demarski of Florida leading the charge. Bousquet has 32 goals in 43 games, Cullaton has dominated with 68 points in 44 games and Demarski is on a point-a-game clip with 47 in 46 games. On defence are Trevor Demmans of Pee Dee and Chris Valicevic of Louisiana. Both these defenders have been steady at both ends of the ice and have recorded 36 and 40 points, respectively. In net for the south is Kirk Daubenspeck of Sou Read more »
It was a big surprise, the Bruins ninth round selection at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. After
taking Zdenek Kutlak in the eighth round the Bruins grabbed Kolarik with their first pick
in the ninth round at the 268th place, a 27-year old defenseman of HC Slavia Praha of the
Czech Extraleague. Born 10-24-1972 Pavel was drafted 9 years after his draft year, 1991.
That was awesome. Only Czech Extraleague fans knew that this 6’0”, 185 lbs. blueliner, who
never played for the National team, exists. It looked like he’ll spend the rest of his
career as an average Extraleague player, with hope to play some games in the National Team,
maybe. Harry Sinden drastically changed this vision of the future. The Bruins, who missed
the playoffs in 1999-2000, were looking for some players who could provide immediate help.
They took forward Sergei Zinoviev and defensemen Jarno Kultanen, Zdenek Kutlak and finally
Pavel Kolarik to fight for a spot in the Bruins team. Not even Pavel believed in such a big
turnover in his career…
Born in Vyskov, Czech Republic, Pavel Kolarik broke into the Extraleague in the 1996-1997
season with HC Slavia Praha. He acquired the jersey with the number 16 after Petr Macek,
a defenseman who left Slavia before the 1996-97 season and started playing. He appeared in
half of the regular season schedule games, playing 27 of 52 games. Pavel notched 3 points
(1 goal + 2 assists) and was a +3 along with 10 PIMs in his inaugural season. He was
scoreless during 3 playoff games, in which was Slavia swept 0:3 by the future champion
of Vset Read more »
During the Rob Blake talks, one of the expenses the Kings listed was buying their own farm team. The fact of the matter is that no young player is developing at Lowell. Lowell is great for fringe NHL players like Marko Tuomained and Brad Chartrand, but the players the Kings needed to develop this season (Joe Rullier, Kip Brennan, Alexey Volkov)have floundered and even failed. If you look at other teams, the AHL is providing them with NHL talent with younger players. The Kings need to be able to do this soon.
Is Yanick Lehoux the real deal? You can’t blame Kings fans for being a little gunshy. Names like Rosa, Papineau, Perrault and Shevalier show that good numbers at that stage of development do not necessarily translate into NHL success. However, most people who have seen Lehoux think he is the genuine item.
What do the Kings need if they trade Rob Blake? Besides some new season seat holders, they need some size on wing and some ace prospect in net. Volkov’s struggles have the Kings moderately concerned, and while their is talent in net in the system, that seems an area that can never be too strong. The Kings also need a stud. There is no potential goal scorer within three years of having an impact on the NHL level. With Belanger, Reinprecht and Visnovsky, the Kings have some young point scorers, but they are badly in need of a finisher, and no one besides the young Lehoux has shown they can do that.
The sixth annual CHL Top Prospects game took place this past week and it didn’t fail to live up to it’s accrued billing of the showcase of top major junior players on the continent. Trouble is, it’s only one game. Take it or leave it, this game can have a major impact on where and when a player is taken in the NHL Draft come June in Sunrise, Fla. That’s of course not to say that NHL scouts haven’t done their homework and seen each and every player a couple dozen times but in a nationally televised game against your brethren who are fighting for the betterment of their own draft status, the game does take on new meaning in the eyes of scouts and players alike.
Forty 2001 draft eligible players, two teams, celebrity Coaches Don Cherry and Bobby Orr patrolling behind the bench, this game isn’t any All-Star extravaganza, it’s a stage in which to showcase your skills as a player. Think one game can’t make a difference? Think again. Last year’s prospect game is a clear example. Calgary Hitmen goaltender Brent Krahn going into the game in the draft rankings was ranked highest among goalies, save for number one pick overall Rick DiPietro who didn’t declare his eligibility until after the final rankings were released. But in the overall scheme of the things it wasn’t expected that Krahn would be picked until well into the first round, if at all. An outstanding performance at the 2000 edition of the Top Prospects game in Toronto changed all that. Krahn ended up being taken ninth overall by his hometown Calgary Flames. A surprise to some but to others not surprising at Read more »
He might remind you of an Olie Kolzig or a Byron Dafoe and he’s having
one heck of a season in goal for the NAHL’s Soo Indians.
His name is Cam Ellsworth. Remember his name. He’s big (6′ 1″ 200
lbs., to be exact), strong and handles the puck with the finesse of a
fine-tuned NHL goaltender.
Soo Indians’ head coach Joe Shawhan, a former goalie himself, knew he
would have a solid netminder coming into this season and had very few
“He had a good year last year and he came in ready to play this year,”
says Shawhan. “He has played very consistently and that’s carried over
from what he did last year.”
This season, the all-star goalie has a 1.94 GAA with a .921 save
A RELIABLE PRESENCE
percentage, a 26-5 record and 5 shutouts at the halfway point.
Shawhan says Ellsworth has excellent work habits, that will carry him
far in the future.
“When we came into this season he quickly picked up on what he did the
year before,” says Shawhan. “He did the work that was necessary to do
and it wasn’t all that much. We knew he was going to be reliable coming
Shawhan says Ellsworth merely had to work on his stance and his
compactness in the net.
Ellsworth himself also knew what he had to do coming into this season,
which basically involved standing tall in the net and staying tough.
The skills were there and still are…this season was a matter of carrying
over the consistency.
“I knew we had a good team coming into the season,” said Ellsworth. “I Read more »
Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
The Future: Though the situation on the ice seems somewhat muddled at times this season, the Maple Leafs have established some grand plans for the club’s business operations in the coming years … modeling itself after England’s storied Manchester United Football Club (a sports empire worth about $3 billion CDN) the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment conglomerate has more than tripled its assets during the past three years … the organization currently has plans to add 44 new employees to its staff (bringing the total close to 400) as it implements Phase II of the mid-term business plan … Phase I involved the merging of 2 operations (hockey and basketball) and the completion of the ACC on time and on budget … much effort was also spent in getting the hockey and basketball teams into perennial playoff contention and booking out the new playing facility during the past 2 years … at this time, the Air Canada Centre is the #2 concert venue in North America in terms of gross revenue, just behind the Staples Centre in Los Angeles … last year there were 230 separate events staged at the ACC … the prime sports tenants lead the way with the Maple Leafs being sold out for every game and the Raptors currently representing the NBA’s #3 draw for road and home games combined … satisfied that their initial goals had been met, the MLSE board of directo Read more »
Next up: Dieter Kochan
With the departure of netminder Dan Cloutier yesterday (sent to Vancouver for Adrian Aucoin and a 2nd round pick in 2001), Dieter Kochan may finally get his shot at the big time.
Kochan has spent his career bouncing around various leagues, but has never managed to get a big break. Now, at age 26, he may finally have the opportunity to solidify himself as an NHL goaltender.
There was an air of disbelief in late March last season when it was announced that the virtually unknown goaltender from the UHL would start in goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Just one day after being signed by the club, Kochan was left seeing stars, literally. He was pulled 15 minutes into the 1st period, after being shelled by the Stanley Cup Champion Dallas Stars and allowing 3 goals on 6 shots. Kochan was replaced by Cloutier 7 minutes into the 1st period, but re-entered the game at 2:00 of the second when Cloutier went down with a knee injury. He performed well in the second half of the game, only allowing one additional goal.
One week later, Kochan came back to redeem himself. He replaced Zac Bierk, and stopped 30 of 31 shots to help the Bolts to a 5-4 win over Boston.
So far this season, Kochan has appeared in 7 games with the Lightning, including two spectacular performances against the Colorado Avalanche. His 2.08 GAA and .933 save percentage is one of the best in the league.
Tampa Bay General Manager Rick Dudley told the Tampa Tribune after the Cloutier trade, “We’re going to give Dieter Koc Read more »
This article will be the first in a series devoted to mid-term progress reports of all the Buffalo Sabres’ prospects, with each article covering a different position.
There are many NHL GMs who stress the importance of being strong up the middle. While Buffalo has been able to draft or acquire some solid talent for the center position in recent years, they have had trouble landing a top-flight pivot who can create offensive opportunities for both himself and the players around him. This isn’t to say that Buffalo doesn’t have some help on the way in their prospect ranks, but it is definitely a position that will need to be addressed in the near future.
Topping Buffalo’s list of prospects at the center position is Kingston Frontenacs star Mike Zigomanis. Mike had an excellent 99-00 season, and he has so far followed up with an equally fine first half to the 00-01 campaign. Ziggy is currently the Frontenacs leading scorer with a total of 60 points (31G, 29A), a point total that places him in the OHL’s top 20 scorers. His goal total has him tied for 6th in the OHL in that category, with 6 of those goals coming on the power play, 2 in shorthanded situations, and 2 markers being game-winners. Mike has been honored as both Player of the Week and Month in the OHL (November), which was no doubt a factor in his being named to the OHL’s Eastern Conference All-Star squad. Zigomanis also was selected to play for Canada in the WJC, which was noted in a previous article.
Kingston is currently in the thick of the Read more »
Andrej Hebar is a 16-year old kid who dreams of playing in the NHL one
day. And, unlike most, he just might get his chance. Andrej is a
first-year forward with the Frolunda Indians of the Swedish Elite U-18
league, and he is one of the most spectacular players in the league. He
might not be the biggest guy there, but he plays like he is, wearing his
heart on his sleeve. He’s only 5’10” and 155 lbs, but is still growing.
His father, a former goalie and now a coach in Slovenia, is 6’1”, and
Andrej is expected to be just as big.
Hebar is a natural goal-scorer, with 12 in 12 games this season, and he
plays a gritty style for a guy his size. He doesn’t shy away from the
physical stuff, and puts his body on the line to make a good play. His
biggest asset thought, is his blistering shot. He is also a fast, smooth
skater, and a decent, if not spectacular, passer.
Andrej was the final cut at Slovenia’s WJC U-20 camp in December. Had he
made it, he would have been by far the youngest player on the team.
Instead, Andrej has already locked up a roster spot with Slovenia’s U-18
team, which will play at the U-18 WJC (div.II) in Lithuania in March.
His good play with the Frolunda U-18 team prompted his coaches to try
him on their U-20 team, and he got his first chance to play in late
January, before going down with the flu.
Unlike other Slovenian players who play at home, Andrej is under the
constant watchful eye of NHL scouts and is a lock to be selected in the
2002 NHL Entry Draft.
Name: Andrej Hebar
Born: S Read more »
Norfolks’Unsung Hero Marty Wilford
“He has been a great surprise this season. His +13 shows he can play well on offense and defense,” said reporter David Winkelsas, of ChicagoBlackhawks.com. So, has there been an unsung hero tucked beneath the wings of the blue and gold? Number 6 may not possess the title or popularity of an Aaron Downey. He doesn’t have the lightning speed of Steve McCarthy, Geoff Peters. But when it comes to tackling defense Marty Wilford has taken the quarterback plunge. What kind of numbers has the Alternate Captain put up thus far in his first season in the AHL? The left shooter in 48 game played, has 5 goals 28 assist and has a dressing of 32 points. The Cobourg, Ontario native has cashed in ten points in his last eight games (two goals, eight assists). He has set a team record with six consecutive game assists. In addition, on December 17, against the Philadelphia Phantoms, and he became the first Admiral record 3 assists in one game. Also, he tore the ice up in the junior league. He accumulated 19 goals 43 assists in his last year with Oshawa, in 1997. “Wilford personifies the typical defenseman. His aggressiveness, no-nonsense, go for broke attitude has inspired his teammates to play through adversity in light of recent call ups including blue line mates Steve Poapst and Steve McCarthy,” said Channel 13, (ABC) Pete Potchowski.
Here’s a brief history on Chicago’s 1995 sixth round (149th overall) draft pick. 1997-98, he enrolled to play 46 games in the ECHL (Columbus) G-8, A-27, PTS-35. Next stop? Indianapoli Read more »