A harbinger of things to come?
Returning to the rinks from a rumored summer to begin mapping
the odysseys of this year’s NHL Draft hopefuls, it didn’t take
long for 17 year-old Mississauga Ice Dogs Captain Jason Spezza
to make an enormous impression.
One period to be exact.
When the dust had settled, the Ice Dogs found themselves leading
the Sudbury Wolves 5-2 after 20 minutes, and the challenge in
describing Spezza’s play is to not become too redundant with the
The Dogs were staked to an early two-goal lead thanks to a
dizzying array of skills put on display by Spezza as he set up
the first three Mississauga goals. His artistry with the puck
included undressing defencemen and putting himself into the
clear for a break-away, although he was stopped by goaltender
Jason Brown. With puck in tow, he was constantly finding and
creating open-ice for himself and for his teammates to whom he
would feed short, deft passes or medium-range passes that would
hit the tape, all the while displaying great vision,
anticipation, and hockey sense.
With the Dogs on a power-play and the face-off outside the
Sudbury blueline, Spezza eschewed the usual drawing back of the
puck and instead shot the puck forward into the corner of the
Sudbury zone. The Wolves defencemen had by this time shown an
alarming propensity for coughing up and turning over the puck in Read more »
When the Washington Capitals signed Sylvain Cote in July, they pencilled him into their already deep defensive depth chart. They expected that Alexei Tezikov would show improvement this year, and challenge for a roster spot. Brendan Witt and Ken Klee would both go through arbitration, or be signed by the time the season started. Veterans Calle Johansson and Joe Reekie would hold their roster spots, and the rather enigmatic Sergei Gonchar would sign sooner or later, rounding out the top seven.
Dmitri Mironov was put on the trading block and left exposed in the waiver draft, but there were no takers. His age, big contract, and lack of production over the last couple of years were the main reasons he was not taken. If they couldn’t find any teams that wanted Mironov, Washington would either play him as a seventh defenseman or send him to the minors. Washington would also have the option of buying his contract out, in a worst case scenario.
Now that training camp is almost over, things are looking very different for the Caps defensively. Mironov is still with the Capitals, who will probably send him down to the minor leagues or buy out his contract soon. Gonchar hasn’t signed yet, but is close. Two rookies are pushing hard to make the team, and neither one of them are Alexei Tezikov.
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Florida Panthers Vice President and General Manager
Bryan Murray announced this evening that goaltender Sean Gauthier, defensemen
Peter Ratchuk and Lance Ward and forwards Serge Payer, Dave Duerden, Rocky
Thompson and Ivan Novoseltsev have been assigned to the Louisville Panthers,
Florida’s top minor league affiliate.
The moves come following the Florida Panthers 4-3 loss at Freedom Hall to the
Columbus Blue Jackets. The game was the final preseason game for Florida.
Novoseltsev scored 35 points in 47 games for Louisville last season and was
third on the Florida squad with seven points in as many preseason games. His
five goals were just one shy of teammate Pavel Bure for the top spot in the NHL
during preseason games.
Thompson was tied for third on the Panthers with 34 penalty minutes, while
Ratchuk and Ward each had two points, Payer and Thompson one point apiece and
Duerden was scoreless.
Gauthier won both games he started for Florida during the preseason and
posted a solid 1.91 goals against average.
The seven players will join Louisville immediately and practice with the team
on Monday morning.
The Panthers open the season on October 6th in Hamilton against
the Bulldogs. The home opener for Louisville is on October 20th
against the Hershey Bears.
All credit for this article must go to the Panthers communication office
The European regular seasons start up to a month earlier than the North American leagues. Here are current updates on the performances of some Flyers prospects playing in Europe.
Antero Niittymäki- One of the frustrating aspects of European hockey is that young players typically have difficulty getting ice time over veterans unless the vet is injured or plays himself out of the job. By all rights, the TPS Turku starting goaltending job should have belonged to Antero Niittymäki at the start of this season. After winning the league rookie of the year honors and backstopping his team to the Finnish championship last season, there was scarcely more that Niittymäki could have done to prove his worthiness of being the full-time TPS starter. Instead, veteran Fredrik Norrena has once again resumed duties as the #1 goalie for TPS. Niittymäki only played one full game coming into this past week, looking poor in a TPS loss. However, Niittymäki finally got the nod for his second start of the season and put up a 20 save shutout. He has played 140 minutes so far on the season.
Marko Kauppinen- Kauppinen has started 7 of Jokerit’s 8 games so far. He scored a goal in the first week of the season, his only point to date. Kauppinen has been getting steadier ice time but still does not play heavy minutes. He has only been on the ice for one goal against so far.
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Those mysterious forces that have moved so many from Toronto to the Windy City during the past several months have now borne Alexander Karpovtsev away. In truth, Potsie’s fate was all but sealed when he announced to the assembled Leafs’ brass last spring that he intended to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2000/2001 season. Several reasonably generous multi-year offers from the club in the ensuing months failed to alter the big Russian’s mindset. Thus, it was certainly no surprise when the Maple Leafs dealt Karpovtsev to Chicago today, bringing to an end a very long and sometimes acrimonious impasse. It has been reported that the Black Hawks have already agreed on a new 4 year, 12 million dollar deal with their new blueliner.
With the regular season fast approaching and the team’s other defenders performing at something less than top form of late, Toronto clearly was not in a mood to wait much longer. That being the case, it is rather amazing that the Leafs were able to engineer such a useful trade. In exchange for a 30 year old, free agency bound, often injured, slow footed, stay-at-home defenseman Toronto receives a highly regarded 25 year-old replacement.
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The Nashville Predators finalized their regular season roster last night, as the final cuts were made and a pair of rookies got some very good news. Scott Hartnell, Nashville’s first round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, and Greg Classen, a free agent signee from Merrimack College, both made the team and will make the trip to Japan as the Predators begin the 2000-01 season with a pair of games against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hartnell made the team through hard work and determination. He came to camp intent on winning a roster spot and forcing the Predators to go against their usual policy of being patient and letting players develop in juniors or the minors. It helped that Hartnell finally got his first goal of the pre-season on Friday night against Chicago. Hartnell finished the pre-season with a goal and an assist in five games, but it was his steady performance in practice and scrimmages that convinced head coach Barry Trotz that he is ready for the NHL.
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Marc-Andre Thinel -F (Drafted-99(5/145))
The 5’11″, 170 Lbs. Thinel has played 6 games with the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL. He has 3 goals and 7 assists, including three consecutive 3-point games. He is +1, with 8 penalty minutes. Two of his goals were scored on the powerplay, while 1 was scored short-handed.
Jerome Marois -LW (Drafted-99(9/253))
An off-season trade brought the 6’0″, 190 Lbs. Marois from Cape Breton to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Marois must feel comfortable with his new team, as he has started the season well above his pace of a year ago. Through 7 games he has 5 goals and 7 assists, and he currently sits in 6th place among QMJHL scorers. He is +7, with 4 penalty minutes, and he has scored 2 short-handed goals.
Dusty Jamieson -LW (Drafted-99(5/136))
The 6’2″, 185 Lbs. Jamieson’s NHL training camp was cut short by a concussion he suffered during the Prospect Tournament in Hull. He did however, return to the ice in time for the Sarnia Sting’s season opener. Through 3 games Jamieson has 2 assists. He is +2, with no penalty minutes.
Alexander Buturlin -RW (Drafted-99(2/39))
The 6’0″, 187 Lbs. Buturlin is coming off his first season in North America. Look for him to have a break-out season. Through 3 games he has 2 goals and 1 assist. He is a strong +3, and both his goals were scored at even-strength.
Sean Dixon -D (Drafted-99(6/167)) Read more »
There are still a few players on the bubble. Drury, Harkins, Vyborny, Maltais, Maneluk, Spanhel and Nielsen up front, and Klesla, Robertsson, Nummelin, and Grand-Pierre on the blueline are all fighting for the remaining spots; or perhaps they’re not.
Doug MacLean has stated that he already has his opening-nigth roster in mind. Figure that Neilsen and Spanhel will be sent to Syracuse to see plenty of ice time since they don’t have to pass through waivers. Maneluk should be sent down, along with Harkins. Maltais has really played his way onto the Blue Jackets, providing timely scoring and decent defensive play. On defense expect to see Bert Robertsson sent down.
The rest of the defense is more closely debated. Nummelin has skill rarely seen on expansion bluelines and figures to stay in Columbus. Klesla, who is close to signing a contract will probably stay for a 10-game stint before being returned to Brampton to log lots of ice time. Grand-Pierre has seen some time on the wing during the preseason and could stick due to his versatility but will start the season in Syracuse.
This is what the opening day roster should look like:
Forwards Kron, Sanderson, Adams, Aubin, Dineen, Wright, Heinze, Oliwa, Knutsen, Vyborny, Gardner, Maltais.
Defense Odelein, Heward, Kucera, Bicanek, Nummelin, Quint, Timander, Klesla.
Goalies Tugnutt, Denis.
*Note this is from last weeks game*
After our first road trip in the USHL, I think the team has realized what we need to do in order to be successful. In a penalty filled weekend, our Power Play and Penalty Kill were both not up to par resulting in several missed power play chances and several PP Goals against. When we we’re playing even strength we were the dominant team on the ice in all three games. Once everyone starts producing and the team gets into a flow, we should be a very tough team to beat. We also showed some resiliency by striking a comeback against Cedar Rapids. After going down three goals in the first ten minutes of the game, we worked hard to come back and take the lead. Once again two PP goals tied the game at six and resulted in a shoot out loss for the NTDP. Hard work and training will pay off as we will only get better.
Going into this training camp, there were realistically 2-3 open spots for new blood to make their mark on a rapidly improving Panther team. With their last pre-season game in Louisville tonight, the Panthers headed back to Florida with what is essentially their final roster.
After a very competitive rookie camp at all positions, 3 of the 6 players in contention for the job will start the season in the NHL.
Denis Shvidki beat out Ivan Novoseltsev in a highly entertaining pre-season showdown. Both players were among the scoring leaders in the pre-season, and both impressed Bryan Murray enough that he is fairly confident that both of them will be stars in the NHL. Denis was slightly favored in this competition due to his all-around game, as opposed to Ivan’s emphasis toward being a one-dimensional goal scorer. Shvidki was able to play on all 4 lines and contribute offensively in scoring goals and setting them up, and he scored 8 points in 7 games. He shared 2 games playing with Bure and Larionov, and also played several games sharing his line with the grinders, such as Paul Laus and Marcus Nilson. Bottom line on Shvidki…he simply showed the Panthers that he can bring slightly more to the roster at this point that Ivan was able to. This battle was won by the slimmest of margins.
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