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WJC column – Canada in search of Gold

by Jeff Bromley
on
Last time I checked, it had been three years since the teenage hockey phenoms that represent our country
every Christmas at the World Junior Hockey Championships had brought home the gold medal. A bronze
last year after falling to the dreaded Russians in the semifinal game, a silver in 1999 at Winnipeg in a
heartbreaking overtime loss, once again to the Russians. The 1998 edition was a forgetful eighth place
showing. So from failing hands the torch is passed to this years crop of teenage talent. Pressure? What
pressure?

There is a handful of pundits and prognosticators that predict that if this year’s edition of the Canadian
world junior entry doesn’t win the yellow hardware, it will only further signify that Canada has fallen further
of its perch of hockey supremacy. I beg to differ. If the boys don’t come home with gold around their necks,
I maintain that it is exactly the opposite. We haven’t fallen further off the perch, it’s just that the perch has
become much bigger and now hosts more than the just the one or two dominant countries that occupied it
in the past. Canada, Russia, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland are all dominant countries on the
international hockey scene. With the addition of up and comers such as Slovakia, Latvia and Belarus it only
promises to become even more crowded at the top. Suffice to say that the days of one country dominating
at the international level, such as the way Canada did from 1993 to ’97, five gold medals in a row at the
WJC’s, are over. Every year from now on will more than likely be a crap shoot w Read more »

Canucks top rookies

by pbadmin
on
Here are a few of the Canuck’s top prospects that are
currently in the NHL. I hope to provide some stats and updates on Canuck prospects at all levels every couple of weeks, as they play a major role in the future of
the Canucks’ organization.

Daniel Sedin, fourth in NHL rookie scoring (27–9-8-17) is making a big
impact on the Vancouver Canucks in his third line role. His ability to cycle
the puck in the offensive zone with twin brother Henrik, continues to
generate scoring chances. Recently Daniel missed four games due to a
shoulder injury. Coach Crawford babied him into returning to the lineup, to
many this raises questions about how Daniel has adapted to the rigours of
the NHL. Being held pointless in three games since his return, team and fans
alike hope that now that the league is getting to know the
Sedins’ style of play they won’t hit the wall a la Bill Muckalt or Steve
Kariya. Overall though,
Daniel is doing an excellent job in his first season, and is expected to
continue as a favorite in the Calder Cup run.

PROJECTION: Daniel looks like he’s going to be an excellent player in the
future. How good is hard to determine, but it seems as though he’s about as
close to being a sure-fire star as any first year prospect. He will very
likely be at least a consistent 25 goal, 60 point scorer in the NHL with the
ability to become a superstar perhaps scoring 50 goals and 100 points.
Through 27 games Sedin is on track to tally about 27 goals and 23 assists if
he were to play 80 games. To compare him to another player h Read more »

Rangers Prospect Update

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

Week Of 12/10 to 12/20

Player         Team    League  GP   G   A   P  PIM  +/-
Pavel Brendl  Calgary   WHL    26  29  23  52   24   21

This Week: No Games Played
Notes: Will represent the Czech Republic in the upcoming World Junior Championships.


Player           Team    League  GP   G   A   P  PIM  +/-
Jamie Lundmark  Seattle   WHL    20  17  17   34  19  +3

This Week: 1 GP, 2 G, 0 A, 2 P, 0 PIM, +2
Notes: Playing for team Canada at the WJC. Has been Seattle’s best player since the trade.


Player         Team    League  GP   G   A   P  PIM  +/-
Filip Novak   Regina    WHL    34  12  22  34   38   12

This Week: 3 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 P, 5 PIM, +1
Notes: Would be playing for the Czech Republic in the WJC, but because of past problems with his former Czech team, they refused to let him play in the tournament. He currently has 5 more goals this year through 34 games than he had all last year in 47 games. He also is only 5 points away from matching last seasons totals. His play has really improved from last season.


Player              Team    League  GP   G   A   P  PIM  +/-
Garret Bembridge  Saskatoon  WHL    35  24  20  44   12  -13

This Week: 3 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 2 P, 0 PIM, -6 Read more »

Jamie Lundmark Shines In Sweden

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

Jamie Lundmark was selected to the under-20 Canadian team for the upcoming World Junior Championships in Moscow, Russia, and he hasn’t disappointed so far. Team Canada left for Sweden a couple of days ago to play 2 exhibition games against the Sweden team before taking off for Moscow for the championships.

In the first exhibition game, Canada defeated Sweden 6-4. Lundmark had 2 goals and 3 assists and 2 PIM. One of his goals was an empty net goal at the end to close out the game. All 3 of Lundmark’s assists were primary assists and they also all occurred while Canada was on the power play.

Lundmark made a name for himself in last year’s WJC with a solid all-around performance and looks as though that will happen this year as well. Canada and Sweden face off tomorrow, so stay tuned to what Lundmark will do!

News and Notes: The only other 2 players in the Rangers organization that I know of that are participating in the WJC are Pavel Brendl and Sven Helfenstein. I will try and find out tomorrow if there is anyone else, and there probably is, so stay tuned.

Rebuilding the System

by Tony Calfo
on
When Dave Taylor took over as the Kings GM, the job ahead of him seemed daunting to say the least. He had a terrible product on the ice, nominal fan interest, and a struggling farm system that he would likely have to rebuild twice to make the Kings better. His first rebuilding project was easier- the Kings had some prospects from the Sam McMaster era and some top draft picks. These factors allowed the Kings to make the Ziggy Palffy deal, one that looks brilliant right now, but one that left the Kings with virtually nothing. Combine that with the Scott Barney back saga and the stagnant development of Pavel Rosa, and the Kings officially had nothing in the cupboard.

The Palffy trade has helped the Kings right the ship- they are now offensively potent, have some depth at forward, and finally have the power play that seemed to have left with the great one. The Kings seemed poised to go to the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. Perhaps the best news is that the Kings are starting to find some depth in their system and next season, they will have their own AHL team to develop them.

The Kings have NHL caliber talent on the AHL level. They have players they can call up in the event of injury and still not damage their development. They have what could be considered potential superstars who are still very young and have time to develop. They have quality goaltending depth (Volkov, Campbell, Yeats), potentially solid defensemen (Rullier, Seeley, Crain) and some players who know how to find the net (McGratten, Lehoux, Frolov, Shefer.

Read more »

Finnish Roster for WJC

by Mikko Vuori
on
Goaltenders
Player             C Ht.    Wt. Birthdate Hometown     2000/2001 Team        Drafted
Kari Lehtonen      L 6'02.5 178 11/16/83  Helsinki     Jokerit Helsinki      Eligible 02
Ari Ahonen         L 6'02   179 02/06/81  Jyväskylä    IFK Helsinki          NJ  99

Defensemen
Player             S Ht.    Wt. Birthdate Hometown     2000/2001 Team        Drafted
Markku Paukkunen   L 6'01   190 04/15/81  Kuopio       JYP Jyväskylä         Not drafted
Harri Tikkanen     L 5'09   163 06/02/81  Lappeenranta SaiPa Lappeenranta    Not drafted
Lasse Kukkonen     L 6'00   185 09/18/81  Oulu         Kärpät Oulu           Not drafted
Janne Niskala      L 6'00.5 190 09/22/81  Västerås     Lukko Rauma (jrs.)    Not drafted
Tuukka Mäntylä     L 5'09.5 172 05/25/81  Tampera      Tappara Tampera       Not drafted
Olli Malmivaara    L 6'04.5 205 03/13/82  Kajaani      Jokerit Helsinki      CHI 00
Tero Määttä        L 6'01.5 205 01/02/82  Vantaa       Blues Espoo           SJ  00

Forwards
Player             S Ht.    Wt. Birthdate Hometown     2000/2001 Team        Drafted
Mikko Koivu        L 6'02   176 03/12/83  Turku        TPS Turku             Eligible 01
Ville Hämäläinen   L 5'11.5 187 07/06/81  Lappeenranta SaiPa Lappeenranta    Not drafted
Sami Venäläinen    R 5'11.5 179 10/14/81  Kangasala    Tappara Tampera       PHX 00
Miro Laitinen      L 5'10.5 179 01/01/81  Pietarsaari  Tappara Tampera       Not drafted
Tomi Mustonen      R 5'11   176 04/29/82  Jokela       KJT Järvenpää (Div 1) Not drafted
Juha-Pekka Hyt Read more »

Tomas Kloucek recalled from Hartford

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

The Rangers finally have made a move to help their defense defensively, but it did not come in form of a trade as many thought it would. Tomas Kloucek, a 6-3 220 pound 20 yr old defenseman, was recalled from Hartford on Sunday to patch up the Rangers defense. Kloucek played in 4 games with the Rangers earlier in the season, and he played a very steady, solid game and did not make any mental errors at all, as most rookies do. He registered no points and 2 penalty minutes while with the Rangers.

The Rangers have decided to give Kloucek a huge chance to prove how good he is, as they have him penciled in to play about 15 minutes tonight against the Florida Panthers at the garden. Before possibly making a trade, the Rangers want to experiment with the defenseman they already have to see if they can fix the problem with the players in their organization. If the stay-at-home defenseman Kloucek can not make much of a difference, than we will likely see a trade happen soon. However, the Christmas trade freeze takes place tomorrow, so any immediate deal will have to happen tonight.

To make room for Kloucek, the Rangers sent forward Manny Malhotra to Hartford. I think this is only temporary while Kloucek gets his chance to impress the management. They originally wanted to send Bert Robertsson down to Hartford, until they found out he would have to clear waivers. So with that, Malhotra was an option that they had to take. He should be recalled soon if Kloucek can’t cut it with the big club, or if Kloucek impresses and the Rangers move some bodies to get Manny back on the t Read more »

Canadian Team Set for Action

by Brad Coccimiglio
on
After 4 days of practicing and scrimmaging the Canadian entry for the 2001 World Junior Hockey Championships is now set. On Monday morning the final cuts were made and the final roster was set.

In a surprise move the Canadian team management cut Kris Beech of the Calgary Hitmen and Pascal Leclaire of the Halifax Mooseheads on the final day. Also cut on Monday were Krys Kolanos and Luke Sellars. On Sunday, Rob Zepp, Garnet Exelby and Stephen Weiss were cut while Antoine Bergeron, Kurtis Foster, Jonathan Zion and Nathan Smith were cut on Saturday.

The goaltending on this team will be strong as Maxime Oullet and Alex Auld are going to backstop the Canadian team. From what’s been said by those who seen the camp, all four goaltenders (Oullet, Auld, Leclaire and Zepp) all played well.

The defensive corps on this team is somewhat young with just two 19-year-olds in Barret Jackman and Steve McCarthy. They should be solid nonetheless with three returnees in Jackman, McCarthy and Jay Bouwmeester. Four defensemen on this team are undrafted (Bouwmeester is draft eligible in 2002, while Dan Hamhuis, Jay Harrison and Mark Popovic are all eligible in 2001).

Offense should not be a problem for this team. Jamie Lundmark, Dany Heatley, Brandon Reid and Jason Spezza are all back from last year’s bronze-medal winning team. When you add Brad Boyes, Raffi Torres and Jason Jaspers to the mix you have an offence that should be capable of producing.

This year’s team seems to be more balanced than those of recent years where coaches tried to c Read more »

Czech NHL rookies – Roman Simicek

by Robert Neuhauser
on
Even if Roman Simicek would be the best NHL rookie, he has no chance of winning the Calder Trophy. He is already 29 and no player older than 26 years can win this trophy. Maybe Roman didn’t even believe in making it to the NHL. But the fortune wanted it so. Better to say, Ivan Hilnka wanted it so. After this Czech coaching phenom became the head coach of the Pittsburgh penguins, he felt the need of a big skilled center who could play on a line with Jaromir Jagr. The former GM of Litvinov knew all possible Czech players and at the second draft day he told GM Craig Patrick to spent the ninth-round pick on a big skilled Czech center Roman Simicek. This really overager went to the Pens with the 273rd overall selection. His way to the NHL was free.

Roman was born 11-04-1971 and so 1990 eligible. In the years 1971 and 1972 there were a lot of future stars born in Czechoslovakia, for example Bobby Holik, Robert Reichel, Jaromir Jagr, Petr Nedved or Jan Caloun and Roman wasn’t playing a lot in the junior national teams. He was also scratched from the roster for the European championship of the Under-18 teams in 1989. No doubt that he was overlooked at the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. There were other Czech stars which could be selected, Jaromir Jagr topped the list.I don’t believe he worried a lot about this fact in the communistic Czechoslovakia. He had to worry about becoming a regular in the Extraleague after his junior days were over. He broke in the Elite League with HC Vitkovice and used his talent well. The sized center created a lot of smart plays and used his body Read more »

Sharks Youngsters Stepping Up

by Mike Delfino
on
As the Sharks’ 2000/01 campaign passes its 1/3rd mark, one can not discount the impact of several Sharks youngsters such as Mark Smith, Patrick Marleau, Marco Sturm, and of course, the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November, Evgeni Nabokov. One thing is for certain, if not for the Sharks’ core of young players, they would not be in a position where many teams are beginning to key on the Sharks as one of the top teams.

“It’s a real eye-opener that top clubs are getting ready for us now. We’re not going to sneak up on people anymore,” said Jeff Friesen after a tie against the Western Conference Champion, Dallas Stars.

For the Sharks to continue their development they will have to continue playing well and beat teams like the Dallas Stars, and others who are perennial favorites to win their respective divisions. It is one thing to beat the teams you are supposed to beat, however, to make the next jump to the next level, the Sharks must begin beating the top teams in the league. To do that, they will need help from every source available.

To start the year, the Sharks began with two rookies at forward, Mark Smith and Matt Bradley. The return from injury by Owen Nolan, impressive play of Tony Granato, and inconsistent play has resulted in Bradley being assigned to the Kentucky Thoroughblades of the AHL after being a healthy scratch in several games. Not having Matt Bradley on the roster for the Sharks results in a slight loss of team speed, and an extra player who has the ability to pinch in offensively as well. If he can Read more »