Stoll Back in the saddle with the ICE
The return of Jarrett Stoll back to the Kootenay ICE from the Calgary Flames training camp produces some obvious mixed emotions for both the player and his Kootenay fans. The ardent process of the junior game is to ready the player for the inevitable next step in hockey, the professional ranks. But at the same time from a fan’s standpoint it’s hard to see them go any earlier than the graduated age of twenty.
It appears as though ICE fans will get their wish and have last season’s leading point-getter in the Blue, White and Bronze for at least one more season.
Although returned from his second NHL training camp after being drafted in the second round (46th overall) in the 2000 NHL Draft by the Flames, disappointment wasn’t foremost on the mind of the Yorkton, Saskatchewan native. “There’s a little bit,” said Stoll of the disappointment of being sent back. “But going there I just wanted to have a better camp than I did last year and I think that I showed I had improved. I think I did that by playing really well, every part of my game improved and they (the Flames) were really happy so, coming back is a little bit disappointing but I don’t think it’s going to hurt me by any means.
“It’s also good to get back and not miss any games and get right into it and see the guys again.”
Going into Flames camp Stoll had no reservations even though the pro club had added to its depth at Stoll’s natural position, center. Not the least of which was Cranbrook native Rob Neider Read more »
Ready or not, the Kootenay ICE 2001-02 WHL season begins this week and if the pre-season is a good indicator of things to come, a 4-0 exhibition record is a nice way to start things off. Be that as it may, head coach Ryan McGill still isn’t satisfied that his charges are where he wants them to be come the home and regular season opener against the club’s newest conference rival, the Spokane Chiefs. “No, but that’s not a bad thing,” said McGill when asked if the club is where he wants them to be the week leading up to the start of the season.
“The good thing is that we’re going to have three good practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and that should get us close to where we want to be.”
In a pre-season that was shortened by one game due to the terrorist attack on the United States last week, the club featured in it’s exhibition a depth in the line-up that was somewhat unexpected with the club missing up to six of it’s veterans away a various NHL camps. Nowhere was that more evident than at the rookie level where 16-yr-old’s Nigel Dawes at center, who led the club in scoring with 10 points in four games and Brian Bridges, also sixteen, is surprising everyone by pushing veteran Jeff Harvey for the back-up goalie slot behind Dan Blackburn who is still at the New York Rangers training camp.
It is at that depth that Coach McGill let on will be a feature of his club this season. A factor that can somewhat be attributed to the ‘Rebel’ effect, after the success of the Memorial Cup champion Red Deer Rebels. Meaning a balance of four lines rather than two top Read more »
This Jay Wears a Hard Hat not a Helmet
“Very physical, very emotional, very competitive one on one.” That’s how Brampton Battalion Head Coach Stan Butler describes defender Jay Harrison, recently returned to him from the Toronto Maple Leafs Training Camp. You might think this could lead to a defender that plays out of control but while he admits that his charge will “stick up for his teammates” the coach also points out that the 6’3″ 198 pounder “doesn’t try to do it all himself and plays well within a scheme.” Being able to keep that edge but still maintain control naturally lends itself to leadership by example and Butler readily agrees that Harrison has “good potential” on this front.
But there is more to Jay Harrison than the mental makeup of the hockey player. There is talent there too. Specifically the Battalion blueliner possesses a “strong stride” straight ahead and “good” side to side movement that rarely lets him get beat on the crossover move. If there something he needs to work on though it is the speed of his pivot to the outside which his coach concedes “could use some improvement.” That said, he is as near to airtight defensively as one can get. The WJC bench boss credits the rearguard with being “very solid positionally (and) regularly matches him up against (the other team’s) top offensive threats.”
Offensively, Harrison prefers to play it safe letting his partner do the darting and weaving while he takes care of the backside on the rush. He has a “hard shot” from the blueline but needs to work on his timing a bit more as he ” Read more »
This season begins with a brand new arena, a boatload
of new players, but unfortunately very little opportunity for a youngster to crack the big club.
Still, Coach Hitchcock has stated that anyone can earn a spot, and quite a few prospects have shown promising signs in rookie camp, training camp, and preseason so far.
Read more »
Wolf Pack Have a New Radio Home
The Hartford Wolf Pack announced that the new radio home will be ESPN Radio 1410 WPOP AM. 1410 has an all sports format and carry New York Yankees baseball, New York Jets & Giants football, Central Connecticut State University men’s basketball.
9/15/01 37 Reassigned To Hartford
The following players have been reassigned to Hartford Read more »
Philadelphia Flyers – Top 5 Call-UP Prospects for the 2001 Season
The Philadelphia Flyers head into the 2001 – 2002 season with one of their deepest teams ever since the trade of their former franchise player to the Rangers. The landscape of their rookies has change drastically. In June there were thoughts that one or two young defenseman would make the roster on opening night, oh how one trade can change things. The Flyers are in a position to let their farm system grow and mature. All the prospects will not be rushed along to fill any holes on the Flyers. A big part of a team’s success is their call – ups during the season. Currently at training camp the youth is clearly shinning.All teams have injuries to deal with in a course of a season. The teams that have players that can step in and serve a role are the teams that are most often in first place. The players listed below are prospects fans might see at some point this season. Flyer fans will see plenty of the players listed in this preseason.
Francis Lessard – Francis was thought to be the front runner for either the 6th or 7th defenseman on the opening night roster. The trade that netted Kim Johnsson has changed that now. He still has a chance to be their 7th blue liner. The Flyers seem to be in the mood to carry an extra tough guy this season. Francis could serve that role well on the nights that the big club plays the tougher teams. Bill Barber loves the toughness he brings to the table. I expect Lessard this season to once again be on the farm, however he may be a call Read more »
Hats off to Hagman
Panther prospect Niklas Hagman just started his call-out to earn a spot on the 2001 version of the Panthers. Already considered one of the players to be counted on in the future to complete the roster of highly skilled forwards, Hagman brings the rare combination of skill and just enough power that makes GM’s drool.
Playing last night against the Hurricanes on the sleepy west coast of Florida, the Panthers kicked off their pre-season with a 3-1 win that showcased the young Finn, as well as a young Russian and young Swede. Carolina went with a veteran matchup, playing Irbe, Francis, Ozolinsh, Kapanen, O’Neill, and Ward among others. The Panthers relied mainly on their young veterans and rookies such as Worrell, Herr, Weiss, Payer, Shvikdi, Morisset, etc.
This young line-up was able to outpace and outlast the Hurricanes, and the scoring started on the power-play at 6:27. With Huselius running the PP from the point, where he was able to keep the puck away from any challenges, he passed the puck to Novoseltsev at the left circle. Novo had a lot of room to himself so he teed up a shot ear-marked for the top shelf when Hagman tipped the puck down to beat a hand-cuffed Irbe.
After this goal, the game got quite ugly with both teams going back and forth with no discernable cohesion. But at 16:00, Carolina was able to come back on a broken play to beat Flaherty on a two-on-one to even the game up.
The second period was highly an unremarkable period, highlighted by the strong physical play of Read more »
The Rangers kicked off the month of September with a three game rookie tournament held in Kitchener, Ontario. A team of Rangers’ prospects and hopefuls competed against rookies from three other teams, which included the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers had a roster consisting of 14 players who were there on a try-out basis, and two big guns in Jamie Lundmark and Barrett Heisten did not play. They easily had the weakest team in the tournament, although they finished with 1 win and 2 losses.
To open the tournament, the Rangers fell to the Boston Bruins by a score of 4-1. Ryan Hollweg, an 8th round selection by the Rangers in this past entry draft, scored the only goal. Undrafted free agent Scott Meyer split time between the pipes with Dan Blackburn, the Rangers 1st round pick this year. Both goalies gave up 2 goals each in the loss.
The next day the Rangers were back on the ice, this time to face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They were overpowered by a strong Leafs’ team that consisted of a few top young players, including Brad Boyes. The final score was 7-2 in favor of the Leafs, with defensemen Filip Novak and Jason Jaffray (playing on a try-out basis) netting the only two goals for New York.
The Rangers finished the tournament the following day with a 6-5 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, a game won in a shootout. Petr Preucil, drafted this past year from the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, scored the winning goal. Garth Murray, a 3rd round pick this year, chipped in a goal and Juris Stals, the Read more »
In today’s NHL, every team’s blueprint for success includes a puck-moving defenseman. It’s no different in fantasy hockey. A mobile, offensive defenseman can add a whole new dimension to your team, bringing offense from a traditionally unexpected source.
You will find a noticeable lack of young defensemen among my top 20. Defensemen usually take more time to develop, and the present guard is lasting longer than ever (see Bourque, Ray) and contributing regularly in the offensive zone. The only rookie to make the list is Columbus wonder kid Rusty Klesla, and he’s pretty far down the list. Most players who are top offensive defensemen have honed their craft for several seasons.
Since there are so many defensemen available, I expanded my list to include the top 40. Enjoy.
1. Niklas Lidstrom, Detroit
Bar none, the NHL’s premier offensive defensemen. He’s the cog that gets the Wings’ transition game going, and with Scotty Bowman planning to adopt the attacking Torpedo style offensive scheme, his point totals could increase. As if he needs any more motivation, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after this year.
2. Chris Pronger, St.Louis
His points per game have risen every year. An absolute workhorse who will log a ton of ice time again this season. Amazingly enough, he’s still one of the more underrated offensive defensemen in the game. The addition of Doug Weight, and Tkachuk’s PP ability will improve Prongers numbers even more. If he stays free of injury, he could lead all defensemen in scor Read more »