Czech goaltender Tomas Duba is certainly well known by the scouts these days but it is not that long ago when most of you would have said “Tomas who?“ Due to his excellent performance in the 2001 Junior World Championship his name is fast becoming a house-hold word – well at least a hockey-household word. The Czech team had been expected to perform well and most of the people saw only one question mark and it was above the position of the goaltender at the Championship. There were many excellent goaltenders: Ahonen or DiPietro. In the Czech goal there was ‘only’ “ Tomas who?” But Tomas Duba showed his class right in the first match and crowned his performance by winning a trophy for the best goaltender of the championship as well as the gold medal for the Czech team.
He was born on 2nd July 1981 so he could have been drafted 2 years ago. It was a disappointment for him when none of the teams picked him in the 1999 draft. This year he sees the draft as a chance not as a major goal. He does not want to look forward to it because it may simply fuel another disappointment. But there is difference between Tomas Duba 2 years ago and Tomas Duba now. Today he has more experience and an extra 2 gold medals from the Junior World Championships. He has gained more confidence and he has learned how to cope with failures. There is no reason to rush so he still keeps all the options open. Now he is rated the number 1 European goaltender for the oncoming draft.
And the history of this star? When he first came to the stadium of HC Read more »
The New York Islanders had a bad bad year. The least they could hope for
was the number one overall selection in June’s NHL Draft. Well there not
going to win that battle either. Earlier today the NHL conducted it’s annual
“Draft Lottery”. Due to the fact the Islanders had the worst record they were
most likely to win the lottery and acquire the first pick. The Islanders
ended up with the second overall pick. Isles GM Mike Milbury said if he had
the 1st pick he was going for Windsor Spitfires Center Jason Spezza. Well now
that the Atlanta Thrashers have the first pick, chances are Milbury will
either take Spezza or Ilya Kovalchuk, depending on who is taken first.
Spezza seems to be the likely choice, but Kovalchuk is flying up draft
boards while playing over in Russia. Either way all this proves is that
nothing goes right for the Islanders. Last Year they won the draft lottery
and in my opinion blew the pick on Rick DiPietro. Instead of Roberto Luongo
and maybe Marian Gaborik or Dany Heatley, the Isles ended up with DiPietro
and Mark Parrish, after a draft day deal with Florida. That is a loss at
both ends of the ice. So the logical pick for Milbury seems to be either
Spezza or Kovalchuk, but has Mike Milbury ever done anything logical in his
tenure as general manager of the Islanders?
Atlanta’s winning of the draft lottery solidified the draft slotting for the 2001 draft in Sunrise, Florida on June 23 and 24th.
I would like to be the first to attempt to project the players to teams presently in the spots #1-8 leading up to the possible Hawk pick at #9. There is always the possibility that GM Mike Smith trades out of the #9 slot (though a questionable move in a draft with third tier up to pick #12) or out of the #29 pick which the Hawks obtained from the Detroit Red Wings in the Chris Chelios deal.
The Hawks will be picking around or lower than the slots listed below depending upon any additional draft picks added as supplementals to teams for loss of their free agents signed by other clubs:
1 – Hawks – 9th
1 – from Detroit – 29th
2 – from Stars – 61st
3 – Hawks – 75th
3 – from Flyers – 90th
4 – Hawks – 105th
4 – from Leafs – 113th
5 – Hawks – 141st
6 – Hawks – 176th
7 – Hawks – 206th
9 – Hawks – 270th
But who will be the player chosen from the 2001 crop to lead the 2004 Hawks out of the depths into playoff contention?
We can make a pretty good prediction based on that if we try and predict the players who will go first.
Atlanta, by way of their lottery win, move up two slots and have to decide between three top players in LW Ilya Kovalchuk,C Jason Spezza,and C/W Stanislav Tchistov. All have their strengths, but Kovalchuk destined to be the first Russian chosen #1 overall.
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For what it’s worth, Game One of the WHL’s Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Kootenay ICE and the Swift Current Broncos was probably one of the most technically perfect games the ICE have played this season which showed on the scoreboard as a 7-1 shellacking by the ICE. That of course was only one win of a best of seven series and last time I looked, it took four wins to dispose of an opponent. The Kootenay ICE might have lost track of that theory for game two of the series the following evening at the Rec./Plex and it showed in a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Broncos that evened the series at a game a piece.
If the 7-1 ICE victory in Game one of the series was an exhibition of everything that can go right for a hockey club, game two was its Bizzarro equivalent on the effort scale and Kootenay ICE Head Coach Ryan McGill was none too happy about it. “From a Coach’s standpoint and I’ll know that the players will agree, we didn’t show up tonight,” said a visibly annoyed Ryan McGill. “We had a lack of respect for B.J. Boxma and the Swift Current Broncos and they played a patient hockey game and it showed in the third period.”
Whereas in Friday night’s contest the ICE seemingly had everything going their way from the bounces to the spectacular goal-tending provided by Dan Blackburn and a hat-trick by Marek Svatos. Saturday’s return bill contained nothing of the night before, with the notable exception of Dan Blackburn doing his best contortionist imitation to foil the Bronco’s attack until the 13:39 mark of the third period when Speedy Creek agit Read more »
Coming April, there is the final series of the Czech midget Extraleague on the schedule. The
playing scheme is the same as in the junior Extraleague and the playoff games in both leagues
are played the same day. Like in juniors, the regular season consists of 38 games. The 20 teams
are divided into two Groups, called A and B. Group A is for the teams from the western cities
of the Czech Republic and Group B for the eastern ones. During the regular season every team
meets opponents only from their own group. The top 6 teams in every group create then two
Final groups. During the Final group teams meet opponenets only from the other Final group
and play them twice – home and away. Once the Final group games are finished, the top four
teams from every Final group create four quartefinal pairs and from then now it is a regular
playoff, with quarterfinal and semifinal series and the championship series.
In the midget league players with birthyear 1984 or younger are eligible to play this season
and the teams consist mostly of 1984 and 1985 born players. Top 1986 prospects play in the
league too, even if they still can play for Grade 9. But it is only a few of them, most of the
1986 born split this season between the midgets and Grade 9.
This year HC Ocelari Trinec and HC Slavia Praha fought their way into the finals. Trinec captain
Rostislav Sabela acquired presents from the general sponsor Nutella for the regular season’s
best team and so Trinec was said to be a slightly better team than Slavia. But the players on
the roster of Slavia won the chmpio Read more »
The most prestigious Bantam Hockey tournament in North America
gets underway in beautiful Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada,
starting on Wednesday, April 11/2001 and running through until
Monday, April 16/2001. Defending tourney champs Detroit Honeybaked
Hams return to defend their title and after a one year absence the
1999 tourney champs, the St.Louis Amateur Blues return and will
likely be one of the favorites if not one of the most watched teams
as they boast the son of former NHL’er Peter Stastny.
This tournament which started in 1967, has been a fixture for
bantam teams from all over North America and Europe, however while
it’s been a few years since any European entries have come to the
tournament, the United States is well represented again with four
teams including the St.Louis Amateur Blues, Detroit Honeybaked,
Detroit Compuware and the Michigan Ice Dogs. St.Louis, Honeybaked and
Compuware have all won titles here in the past and should be strong
while the ice Dogs make their first appearance.
A long list of National Hockey League talent has played on the
ice in Kamloops during this tourney including Mario Lemieux, Vincent
Lecavalier, David Legwand, Scott Hannan, Andrew Ference, Dimitri
Nabakov, Darcy Tucker, Mark Recchi, Brendan Morrison, Tyson Nash,
Mike Peca, Adam Foote, Keith Primeau, Daryl Sydor, Rod Brind’Amour,
Mike Modano, Joe Sakic, Jimmy Carson, Tony Twist, Murray Baron, Cliff
Ronning and many others, the list is overwhelming as is the quality
of hockey played during the six Read more »
The first round of the USHL playoffs is done. One team left behind is the Defending Clark Cup Champion, Green Bay Gamblers, who were eliminated by the Tri-City Storm in 4 games. Top seeded Lincoln swept their best of 5 series with the Sioux City Musketeers. The 4th seeded Omaha Lancers also swept their series taking 3 in a row over the 5th seeded Des Moines Buccaneers. Finally, the 3rd seed, Sioux Falls Stampede disposed of the 6th seeded Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in 4 games. That leaves 4 teams left standing, all from the rough and tumble Western Division. In the semifinal round the 2 matchups are very exciting. Anderson Cup champion Lincoln will take on the Defending National Junior “A” Champion Tri-City Storm. In the other series the smoking hot Omaha Lancers will face off against the Sioux Falls Stampede. Sioux Falls finished somewhat weak in the regular season but seemed to rise back to form against Cedar Rapids. Here is a preview of the semi-final series.
Lincoln Stars vs. Tri-City Storm
Power against skill is what this matchup boils down to. Lincoln is hands down the top team in the league and wants nothing less than the Clark Cup title. Tri-City, who is in their first year of existence after moving from the Twin Cities where they finished 2nd overall in the playoffs last year and won the Junior “A” National Championship want to continue their surprising run. They knocked off the Eastern Division Champion Green Bay Gamblers and would like to take out the Western Division Champion as well. One thing stands in the way….Li Read more »
The IHL could have a different look next year. Maybe fewer teams, maybe one conference, and maybe NHL affilation. Minor pro hockey is changing and Doug Moss the IHL commisioner knows that.
Moss is so ready for change, he believes that in two short years minor pro hockey in North America could be so different — yet so amazingly sensible — that hockey fans will wonder why it didn’t happen sooner.
“I think it would be very safe to say that minor pro hockey is going through an adjustment,” said Moss.
“In the early ’90s, people believed in the theory, ‘Build it and they will come.’ We expanded all over North America, we moved into new or different buildings, we opened the doors and expected people to show up. I remember, when I worked in Buffalo, (former Sabres owner) Seymour Knox said to me, ‘Doug, there was a time when we could hang out a shingle that read, Hockey Game Tonight, and people would come. It’s not like that anymore.’ Mr. Knox was right and it’s something we all have to accept. The way we do business in professional sport at every level is changing dramatically, and I now believe we have people at the minor pro hockey level who are of the mindset that it’s time for change.”
Perhaps the saddest reality in hockey is that Gary Bettman is the commissioner of the NHL while Doug Moss is the commissioner of the IHL. Bettman doesn’t get it. Although he has a complete and total appreciation for money and what it can do, Bettman still doesn’t understand that hockey is a regional game and that hockey fans are raised, not coerced.
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