While not nearly as successful as the weekend before, the Kootenay ICE accomplished what they needed to in their second three game in three nights weekend in a row. Coming off a 4-0 loss to Red Deer and a 2-1 overtime loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers on the road on Friday and Saturday, the ICE saved their best for last in front of the seventh sell-out of the regular season at home with a crucial 4-1 win over their Eastern Conference rivals, the Swift Current Broncos. In getting a leg up on the Broncos by two points, the ICE have the slight edge for maintaining home-ice advantage as the Broncos, as Eastern Division champions will have the second seed for the first round of the playoffs with the ICE settling into the third spot but in the subsequent playoff rounds, the home-ice advantage will go to the club with the better points total.
As the ICE enter into the 2001 edition of the WHL playoffs almost exactly where they started last season before going on their amazing Memorial Cup run, it is clear that where the leader of last season’s playoff run Mike Green left off, Jarret Stoll is ready to emerge as a leader in his own right as the club begins the playoff portion of their defense of the WHL Championship crown.
Starting the season it seemed that everything that Jarret Stoll touched turned to points. Playing on a line with Mike Comrie it was easy to see why. At the same time Stoll would have trouble establishing himself as a dominant player if only for the fact that he was on a line with Mike Comrie. When Comrie was here the perception was that Mike C Read more »
G.M.Glen Sather apparently did not give in to cravings for Keith Tkachuk, Eric Lindros and Andrei Nikolishin at trade day… While each opposing GM asked for most of the Rangers “future” puzzle Sather held fast. (end)
But to believe all is well in New York…is deadly wrong… look for Sather to try again to deal for the Big E, Eric Lindros, Jaromir Jagr and more in the offseason after he re-evaluates the “prospects”. It appears that Rangers management has soured so much on the “prospects” that they would have been dealt for a lot less than they could have brought. It also appears Mike York, the smallish gutty center, is about to be booked a summer flight to somewhere as well as Jan Hlavac, perhaps Buffalo. Mike Mottau has been treated like a yo-yo even after the swiss cheese like defense has needed re-enforcements. Management has identified the few players and prospects that have “tried” as the ones who have value and can be dealt while clinging to the big paycheck, no production “stars” in New York. (end)
I expect to see some big signings this summer and some moves that will clean house in Hartford(AHL). Look for Brad Smyth, Derek Armstrong, Todd Hall, Michal Grosek to be elsewhere… look for either Pavel Brendl and or Jamie Lundmark to be elsewhere and look for Mike Mottau to become Barry Richter and visit each NHL city as a member of the home team. While Pat Aufiero and Filip Novak may spell DEFENSE 2001-02 addition it is not likely… the management has made been run by the free spending Dolans and the team by the same. (end)
Goaltend Read more »
IHL Prospect Watch
The International Hockey League has proved to be a fertile training ground for many youngsters this year while others have struggled. Also, it is apparent that some organizations have bought into the youth movement more than others. Here is a look at the progress of many players that may earn permanent spots on NHL clubs in the near future.
Chicago is stocked with wily veterans. However, they did start off the season with the much ballyhooed Rick DiPietro. After struggling with the Wolves, earning 4 wins, a 3.39 GAA and a 0.880 save percentage in 14 starts, DiPietro has been equally ineffective with the Islanders, obtaining 2 wins, a 3.52 GAA and an 0.878 save percentage in only 13 games.
The Carolina Hurricanes have reason for optimism. In his professional rookie season, Jeff Heerema has contributed 15 goals and 25 points in 58 games. Jean-Marc Pelletier has a respectable 3.09 GAA and 0.906 save percentage in 24 starts. Nikos Tselios, the mammoth defenceman, has been solid on the blueline with 17 points and 64 pims in 64 games. And, although Jaroslav Svoboda has struggled, amassing only 14 points in 52 games, the big Czech winger is only twenty.
Like Chicago, Cleveland also ranks quite low for budding superstars. Peter Bartos has showed signs of promise this year with 4 goals and 6 points in 13 games with the Wild and 13 goals and 32 points in 42 games with the Lumberjacks.
Detroit continues to try to win with youth. They have numerous gems on the squad that should be mainstays with Read more »
Teams win, teams lose but if you are on a four-game skid and allowed 34 shots, 1 goals for the first time this season–its a tough lump to swallow. “All teams go through it; I don’t want to call it a slump, we were on the road and we just couldn’t get the wins, said Geoff Peters who had 2 lamplighters for the night.
How did the song end at the Scope? On a good note for Norfolk and for Center Geoff Peters. They dubbed their Quebec counterparts 4-2 in front of an announced crowd of 5,055. Geoff Peters has struggled all year due to injuries and lack of confidence on the ice. But recently, the Hamilton, Ontario native has begun to utilize more of his opportunities. “ I use to look at the big picture, now I am narrowing it down to the little things and taking it one shift at a time.”
The show opened with little action, little rubber, until Francois Fortier broke the stalemate with a slap shot right of the crease from a pass Mike Ribeir 18:55. No matter how the puck was turned goalie Eric Fichaud kept Norfolk at bay. His shutout lasted until the 19:09 mark until Admirals Marty Wilford wristed a shot on a pass from rookie Mark Bell that tied the game. In the third stanza, Geoff Peters had wrap around into the slot taken on a pass from Blair Atcheynun thus making it 2-1. “Tonight you’ve seen more of our style and get the puck in the net at all cost and we wanted it more,” said Peters
Comfort zone? Ajay Baines rebounded, and came up with an insurance g 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.
Scouting staff prepares for D-Day: While the Maple Leafs may have permanently suspended efforts to acquire Eric Lindros, the team’s scouting staff is in the field preparing data on other potential trade acquisitions as March 13th nears … led by personnel director Mike Penny, the club held its mid-season scouting meetings during the 3rd week of February … pro scouts Murray Oliver, Floyd Smith and Mark Yannetti have been particularly busy around the league as the deadline approaches … in recent days, Toronto’s bird dogs have been most prominent at games involving Anaheim, Calgary, Long Island and Phoenix … this also is an important time of year for Toronto’s amateur scouts, who are making final evaluations for the upcoming Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida … under the leadership of new amateur scouting director Mark Hillier, Toronto’s 5 North American-based scouts are now evaluating the players likely to be available when the Maple Leafs exercise 5 picks somewhere between numbers 15 and 55 … in Europe, where Thommie Bergman and Leonid Vaysfeld maintain the highly effective operation started by Anders Hedberg, Leafs’ scouts will be out in force at the European junior championships in April …
Rumours: There is much to talk about as we enter the final week of NHL trade speculation for the 2000/2001 season … whispers floating ba Read more »
Everyone around the NHL knew that the re-signing of goaltender Sean Burke to a 3 year contract officially meant that the Phoenix Coyotes decided to start taking offers on goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who hasn’t played a game in the NHL since the ’98-’99 season because of a contract dispute. Right from the get-go lots of teams were interested in acquiring the Russian netminder’s services, with the front-runners being the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Atlanta Thrashers. Coyotes’ General Manager Cliff Fletcher was offered a deal by the Tampa Bay Lightning that he couldn’t refuse.
Heading to the Tampa Bay Lightning is of course Nikolai Khabibulin, along with defenseman Stanislav Neckar. In return the Coyotes acquired an excellent group of young players in defenseman Paul Mara, forwards Mike Johnson and Ruslan Zainullin, and a 2nd round draft pick in the up-coming 2001 Entry Draft. In my opinion, this was a great deal for the Coyotes. They acquired some great young players for a guy that was sitting at home and wasn’t helping their team.
Paul Mara is a 6’4 205 pound, 21 year old steady two-way defenseman with a good offensive upside. He was drafted 7th overall in the 1997 Draft by the Lightning, and he was highly regarded in their organization until this season, when they grew tired of Mara’s lack of development. They felt he hasn’t been improving much over the last year or so and don’t envision him becoming the Brian Leetch/Chris Chelios type of defenseman he has been compared to. With the depth at defense in the Tampa Bay organization, they felt it wo Read more »
We’ll start off with the new question and then below that will be the stats update
Who would you most like to see the Rangers trade at the deadline and why?
Please send all responses to RangersWriterHF@aol.com.
~~~~~~~~~~~Results To Last Week’s Question~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I received 9 responses to last week’s question, which was “Should the Rangers deal Adam Graves for some youth?”
Here is the poll:
Yes – 8
No – 1
9 votes total
Week Of 3/03/01 to 3/09/01
Player Team League GP G A P PIM +/-
Pavel Brendl Calgary WHL 47 40 36 76 64 19
Czech WJC 7 4 6 10 8 8
This Week: 4 GP, 4 G, 1 A, 5 P, 4 PIM, -6
Player Team League GP G A P PIM +/-
Jamie Lundmark Seattle WHL 44 29 38 67 45 -6
Canada WJC 7 4 3 7 6 4
This Week: 3 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 0 PIM, -6
Player Team League GP G A P PIM +/-
Filip Novak Regina WHL 58 15 48 63 61 42
This Week: 1 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, 2 PIM, -1 Read more »
I am one of the many who did not like the Rob Blake trade. Rob Blake is a one-of-a-kind player who will never be replaced by another player. Even as the Kings prosper since his trade, that big force on the blue line is absent.
As time goes on and the trade is further dissected, it is becoming obvious that the Kings had two goals from this trade: 1- Make up for Blake with a solid defenseman and a forward who is defensively responsible. 2- Take a huge step towards resurrecting the farm system by adding as many as three top draft picks. All in all, it seems to be a good idea.
The Kings were faced with the fact that Blake would not resign. The blame may lie with both parties, but the fact was that Blake would not sign with the Kings. Most King fans thought that Taylor would use Blake to get a goaltender. When he didn’t, the Kings were left without their top defenseman and without a goalie who could keep them in games. The acquisition of the steady Aaron Miller and addition of an experienced goaltender in Felix Potvin has at worst put a band-aid on the problem. Potvin may not be as quick with the glove, but he is seldom out of position the way Fiset and Storr often are, and the Kings defensemen have made a commitment to protecting their zone. The result has been the best play by the Kings all season, and maybe even back to last season.
As for the system, it can really feel the effects of the Kings trade. If DT can select the right prospect and draft two more quality players in the first round, the Kings could add these picks to the ot Read more »
As I correctly predicted in my article yesterday, Vitali Yeremeyev was re-assigned to the minors today because of the pickup of veteran goaltender Guy Hebert. Hopefully Yeremeyev can continue his great success in the AHL and work on a few things in his game and improve while he is down there.
The move I didn’t see coming is that the Rangers sent down forward Jeff Ulmer, and called up Michal Grosek. Grosek was sent down in mid-February after the Rangers were unhappy with his lackluster play. Grosek has been on fire in the minors, registering 8 goals and 7 assists in 11 games for the Wolf Pack. I’m not sure whether the Rangers have plans to bring Ulmer back this season, but he sure did impress me in the 13 games that he played, tallying 3 goals. All his goals came from right in front of the net, a spot where the Rangers forwards have seemed to stay away from this season, aside from Adam Graves. I hope Ulmer gets re-called in a couple of games, but if he doesn’t, he’ll have a good opportunity to make the team full-time next season.
As for the Rangers also sending down defenseman Mike Mottau, this was expected. Mottau was called up because of some injuries on the blue-line, but he didn’t dress in any games. The Rangers want him to gain some experience in the AHL playoffs as the Wolf Pack try to win a second straight Calder cup.
These next few days will be interesting as the trade deadline approaches. I would like to see a couple of moves, but I’m gonna be one mad man if the Rangers deal any of their young gems for has-beens like Keith Tkachuk. Stay tuned..