Since 1946, hockey has taken over as the sort of competition which, to this day, familiarizes other nations with Russia and its system of sporting procedure. Until the fall of the Soviet Union, the system was extremely successful(although somewhat inhumane), which was evident with the enjoyed success of the “Sbornaja” clubs for more than 3 decades. Although, the system had its flaws, the secret lay within the strict development of youth to ensure the country’s athletic prosperity and assure consequent triumphs.
With the upcoming winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, one can only wonder if the nation can realistically compete for gold. Whether or not the problem lies within the apparent shortage of hockey youth, an argument can be made that unlike in the late 80’s or early 90s, Russia can no longer exhibit a punch of youthful energy to its lineup. Ten years ago, the likes of Mogilny, Bure and Fedorov represented the core of the country’s hockey prosperity. However, in 2001 the country is faced with putting together a team either with the millionaire stars who don’t want to be there or with the unproven youngsters who…well, have yet to prove anything. The lackluster development of hockey posterity in the 90’s has resulted in numerous disappointing world championship results for Russia, a tournament which was supposed to showcase more of the country’s budding youth. Although there has been clear improvement with an increase, let alone, the proportion of talent, many problems still plague the junior hockey systems in Russia.
A key problem Read more »
1. Peter Forsberg- (Avalanche) While missing around 10 games last year
due to injuries, Forsberg still managed to put up very good numbers (62
assists, 89 points). An injury-free year could mean a career year for
Forsberg, who could possibly win the scoring title.
2. Mario Lemieux- (Penguins) After coming out of retirement last season
to help the struggling Penguins, Lemieux jump started the Penguins and
led them to the playoffs. The talented Lemieux will put up points, but
he will take games off to rest and might miss the absence of one of the
world’s most talented players, Jaromir Jagr, more than he might think.
3. Joe Sakic- (Avalanche) The league’s Most Valuable Player last season
showed no signs of slowing down. If Sakic can stay healthy he
could once again challenge for the scoring title. With the help of the
high-powered Avalanche offence Sakic should have a 50 goal 50 assist
4. Doug Weight- (Blues) Weight, who was traded to the Blues during the
summer, will find joy in playing with Keith Tckchuk and Pavol Demitra.
A change of scenery was something that Weight needed, and he could have
a 90-point season, but only 25 of those points being goals.
5. Jason Allison- (Bruins) Allison, who had a career year last year,
will probably not be in Boston by season’s start. After a 95-point
season last year, there are not many reasons why he should not repeat
that total, besides the fact that he might be playing on a weak team or
holding-out. Allison could finish the season in th Read more »
Of all the players drafted this year, Stephen Weiss might have been the most complete and well-rounded of the top players. Blessed with natural offensive instincts and a solid scoring touch around the net, Stephen makes his teammates better due to his unselfish play and very good hockey sense. Former Whalers Asst. Coach Steve Spott on his star center “Stephen Competes very hard, He doesn’t put himself in awkward positions on the ice, he is very intelligent that way.” To go with the natural instincts, Weiss is an effortless skater with excellent speed, acceleration and can outskate and outplay his opponents in one-on-one situations.
Stephen’s smaller stature might have been the only thing keeping him back from going higher in the draft, but Stephen doesn’t let his average size hold him back in all ends of the ice “The offensive Stuff is god-given, and he (Stephen) can do that anyways, but he has made a conscious decision to play well defensively, and that is why he is such a complete player.” This effort to play in all zones and be considered a threat whenever he is on the ice, is what made Stephen stand out to the Panthers as well. Stephen is a good fore-checker and will put the team ahead of personal statistics.
While he excelled in the OHL in faceoffs, it becomes a different skill altogether in the NHL, According to Steve Spott “In junior hockey, sometimes, you get in a habit where the importance of faceoffs aren’t stressed enough. That is something he will have to continue to work on and technically he is very good, but along with his s Read more »
The New York Rangers have one of the deepest group of talented goaltending prospects, rivaling only a few teams, including the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks. The Rangers have put a lot of time and effort into developing potential NHL goalies. Although the current goaltending for the Rangers in the NHL is questionable, with Mike Richter rehabbing a second torn ACL and no current back, their are not many doubts about the prospects playing all over the world between the pipes for the Rangers.
When the Rangers selected goaltender Dan Blackburn from the Kootenay Ice of the WHL 10th Overall this past draft, it left many Rangers’ fans shaking their heads. “Why another goaltender?” was a common phrase that was being used. But, in today’s NHL, you can never have enough goaltending. Goaltending wins championships, and if you don’t have an excellent goalie between the pipes, don’t expect your team to go far. The selection of Blackburn reminded me of the situation with the New Jersey Devils two years ago. With Martin Brodeur in his prime and the fact the team just drafted goaltender JF Damphousse in the 1st Round of the 1997 Entry Draft, the Devils selected goaltender Ari Ahonen from Finland in the 1st round of the 1999 Draft. This move puzzled many fans as well.
Now a little more than two years later, the selection is looking like a great one for the Devils. Martin Brodeur’s play has clearly been slipping over the last year and a half, and Ahonen is arguably one of the top goalt Read more »
The Flyers have a long history of playing tough and having the top enforcers in the game. Although the game has changed much since the Broad Street Bullies era, hockey still needs policemen. The Flyers in recent drafts have drafted players that can play and are willing to drop the gloves to add a spark. This article will look at the current Flyer players that will lead the way in the toughness area. Also it will take a look at the players trying to make their mark with the orange and black. The Flyers enter this season with a team that is highly skilled but also feisty. The addition of Roenick will only add to the overall toughness of Richardson, Primeau, McGillis, and Tocchet. The Broad Street Bullies they are not, but they are not a team that can be pushed around.
Todd Fedoruk - Todd has progress through the Flyers system rather rapidly. He played some games for the Phantoms 1999 – 2000 and also saw action with the Trenton Titians. The Flyers have always been impressed with his skating ability for such a large man (6’2 235 lbs). Todd’s nickname is the “ Fridge “ because of his wide stocky build. He also has his last name tattooed on his back so the fans will know who he is when he gets his jersey torn off he once said jokingly. Fedoruk has average skill that will allow him to take regular shifts and not hurt the team. Last preseason he knocked Sandy McCarthy out with the nasty left that he likes to throw in tight. He also can switch up hands during a fight to throw off the opponent. Todd had several fights his rookie year in which he won most of t Read more »
Day three of the Canadiens Prospect Development Camp came and went with the same level of intensity as the previous two practices. Drills were up-tempo, players worked hard, and Clement Jodoin (AKA: King of the X’s and O’s) put together another masterfully, well organized practice.
Russian goaltender, Vadim Tarasov continues to wade through visa problems. But might be in Montreal by the weekend. He, along with Mike Komisarek (US Junior camp), and Duncan Milroy (Canadian Junior camp) continue to be the only notable absentees.
The Habs’ brain trust is well represented on site. With André Savard, Martin Madden, Michel Therrien, Guy Carbonneau, and Pierre Boivin all present and accounted for. Their main focus appears to be on Ron Hainsey (1st round, 2000) who continually demonstrates strong puck-handling skill to go along with his mobility, and positive attitude. Hainsey leads by example. He’s always smiling, and obviously enjoys the game with a contagious passion.
Non-property invitee Francois Fortier, a 21 year-old forward who split last season between Hartford and Quebec has shown a strong skating stride, as well as good puck-skills. Most surprising however, has been the 5’11”, 194 lbs. forward’s intensity level.
Alexandre Tremblay, another non-property invitee has continued to impress with his skill level. He has an NHL-calibre release, and shot. However, his lack of size may be the deciding factor in his potential future with Montreal.
Jerome Marois (9th round, 1999), who will likely begin the season in Quebec, or Miss Read more »
The Canadiens opened their annual rookie development camp on Monday. Unlike last year, when the team chose to invite mostly signed, or drafted prospects, the Habs chose instead to invite fifteen non-property invitees (16 if we include Dusty Jamieson) to go along with sixteen prospects who are already considered Montreal property.
Here’s a quick look at the three goalies, seven defensemen, and five forwards who the Habs hope to have a solid look at during the 11-day camp.
The top goaltender in the CIAU last season. He recorded a 1.91 GAA, and a .931 save percentage to go along with 5 shutouts in 18 games. He finished with a 15-0-2 record, and led UQTR to the CIAU Men’s Championship.
An 18 year-old QMJHL rookie who recorded a 3.25 GAA, and a .891 save percentage in 35 games with Acadie-Bathurst. Finished with a 15-13-2 record.
A 17 year-old QMJHL rookie who recorded a 2.96 GAA, and a .882 save percentage in 21 games with Shawinigan. Finished with a 12-4-4 record.
Jeff Beatch (6’5″, 188 lbs.)
The 20 year-old defenseman recorded 11 points (2-9-11) in 71 games with Seattle of the WHL. He finished the season +1, with 67 minutes in penalties.
Mike Colgan (6’3″, 204 lbs.)
The 21 year-old defenseman recorded 13 points (1-12-13) in 41 games during his senior season with Colorado College of the WCHA. He finished the season with 20 minutes in penalties.
Kevin Dallman (5’11”, Read more »
The Coyotes’ 1st Round pick in the 2000 Draft, center Krystofer Kolanos from Boston College, is telling the team he would like to sign a contract and leave school for the pro ranks. Although Kolanos has not hired an agent yet, he said with the transition period the Coyotes are going through and the influx of young players they are bringing in, the time is right to leave school. NCAA rules strictly state that while attending college, players can not hire agents nor participate in training camp with any teams. Kolanos is going to try and work out a contract with the Coyotes without the help of an agent, so if the deal falls through, he can still remain with BC.
If Kolanos is signed to a deal, he has the talent to make this team right out of training camp. He capped off an excellent season with Boston College, registering 25 goals and 25 assists in 41 games. Being cut from the Canadian team for the 2001 World Junior Championships was a huge disappointment for Krys, but he capped off his excellent season in dynamic fashion by scoring the game winning goal against North Dakota on a nifty deke in overtime to win the NCAA Championship for Boston College. A season in the minors would definitely help him get accustomed to the faster-paced NHL game, but coming out of college Kolanos has an advantage over players in junior hockey, as college players play against older competition in 24 and 25 year olds, while also playing responsibly defensively, since there is no red-line in college hockey, meaning teams can make two-line passes leading to lots of breakaways. It will b Read more »
For more information please vitit http://www.russianprospects.com
Andrei Taratukhin will not blow you away with his average and unimpressive 6’0 and 190lb size. He does, however, more then make up for it with his other qualities. Andrei is a type of player who will not stand out with his individual feats but is an irreplaceable component that makes his partners look like super stars. He possesses excellent hockey sense and uses it well as a team player. According to a Finnish observer at the 2001 U18 World Junior Championships, he “seems to be a good (smart) team player, makes those little screens (obstructions) and “holding opponents sticks”, so his teammates could take a good shot or make a move”. Andrei is also an excellent passer. His determination and great work ethic should also be added to his resume. He is a kind of a player who coach’s love to have – is not intimidated by a couple of hits and continues to work hard no matter what. According to the Finnish observer, “Taratuhin is a good, diligent puck digger, and he knows what to do with the puck when he gets it.” Hockey News also added that Andrei is “noticed for willingness to play in traffic…is good down low”. Andrei’s “average” nature in some categories is his main impediment. Andrei Taratukhin has an average shot and is only an average skater. If you consider this along with his average size, he could face possible problems in the more physical North American hockey.
Back In Russia:
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Below is the 1999 NHL Entry Draft 1st Round. It gives a overview of the selections two seasons later and what to expect from these prospects in the near future.
1. Atlanta Thrashers – Patrik Stefan (C)
It is way too early to say the Thrashers blew there first ever draft selection. Yet the production of the concussion prone Stefan is not where the Thrashers want it to be. He needs to have a much stronger season. In 2001-2002 he will be entering his 3rd NHL season.
2. Vancouver Canucks – Daniel Sedin (LW)
After spending 99-00 at home in Sweden playing for MoDo of the Swedish Elite League Daniel and brother Henrik made the trek to Vancouver. Tallied 20 goals and 34 points in 75 games. Also had 3 points in 3 playoff matches. Will be expected to put up bigger numbers this year for Vancouver.
3. Vancouver Canucks – Henrik Sedin (C)
Henrik took the same trip as brother Daniel and had a very similar season to his twin brother. Henrik had 29 points in his first NHL season and skated in all 82 games. He also added 4 points in 4 playoff games. Same thing goes here , Vancouver needs him to step up this season.
4. New York Rangers – Pavel Brendl (RW) Read more »