AHL’s Southern Division Report
By Al Alven
(Special note: Due to logistics, the AHL South Report
will be published on a bi-weekly basis from this point
on. Thank you to everyone who has supported the report
in its first few weeks of existence!)
Last night, the South Division’s own
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins helped the AHL kick off
its 66th season as the team squared off against the
St. John’s Maple Leafs in the league opener. It was an
emotional night at the First Union Arena in
Wilkes-Barre, as the Penguins raised their Western
Conference championship banner and honored the victims
of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a moving
In the end, before a sell-out crowd of 8,143, the
Leafs wound up escaping with a 6-4 victory on the
road. The visitors displayed a very balanced team
effort, receiving goals from six different players:
Doug Doull, Petr Svoboda, Luca Cereda, Paul Healy,
Donald MacLean and Bobby House (empty net). The Pens
got a pair of goals from Billy Tibbetts and one each
from Alexander Zevakhin and Ross Lupaschuk.
Leafs goaltender Mike Minard was named the game’s
first star after stopping 28 of 32 shots, 14 of which
came in the third period. Veteran Robbie Tallas was
unspectacular for the Pens, allowing five goals on 29
Tonight, the Philadelphia Phantoms and Norfolk
Admirals will kick off their respective seasons as
well. The Hershey Bears are set to debut on Sunday
(see bottom of article for game listings). With this
is mind, the following is a brie Read more »
Hockey’s Future Daily Prospect Tracker
Possibly a new feature at Hockey’s Future, the Daily Prospect Tracker will give you updates of all prospects scoring exploits from the night before. No need searching through the papers squinting to see if a certain player scored! Just log on to HF every afternoon for all the information you need. In addition, please read below for more info……
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: DNP
Atlanta Thrashers: DNP
Boston Bruins: DNP
Buffalo Sabres: DNP
Calgary Flames: No Prospects with points
Carolina Hurricanes: DNP
Chicago Blackhawks: DNP
Colorado Avalanche: Vaclav Nedorost: 1 goal (PP), 1 assist, 2 shots
Columbus Bl Read more »
Hartford Wolf Pack Pre-season Wrap-up
The AHL will begin the 2001-02 season tonight; this is the final preseason wrap up for the Hartford Wolf Pack. All the transactions for Hartford are below, along with some news from the AHL.
AHL To Remember Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis
The AHL is going to pay honor to Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis who both lost their lives in the tragic attacks on America on September 11. All AHL teams will wear a red, white, and blue decal ribbon on their helmets with the numbers 15 and 17.
Ace Bailey played for the 1969 Calder Cup winning Hershey Bears, and was entering his eighth season as Director of Pro Scouting for the Los Angeles Kings.
Mark Bavis played parts of two seasons for the Providence Bruins and Fredericton Canadians between 1993 through 1995. Bavis was am amateur scout for the Los Angeles Kings.
9/26/01 The New York Rangers have left the following players unprotected for Friday’s NHL Waiver Draft.
Sean Gagnon, Christian Gosselin, Sylvain Lefebvre, Terry Virtue
Forwards; Read more »
As the Philadelphia Flyers prepare to enter their 35th season in the National Hockey League tonight, they do so with a great deal of optimism and promise. In terms of roster depth, many have argued that this is the best team the Flyers have iced in decades. With a hoard of quality players at every position, the team is expected to make a strong bid for the Stanley Cup this season.
Despite the Flyers’ great depth, however, the team will once again rely on its AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, when the need arises. After all, injuries are about as much a part of hockey as pucks and missing teeth are. For the record, 13 players saw action with both the Flyers and Phantoms last season.
The following is a by-position listing of the 14 current Phantoms who I believe have a chance to play for the Flyers this season. Keep in mind that many of these players are extreme long shots to see action in the NHL this year, especially the ones further down on the list. Still, given the right circumstances, each has at least an outside chance of donning an orange and black sweater in 2001-02.
1. Marty Murray
An elite point producer at the AHL level, Murray is a very good bet to see time with the Flyers as an injury fill-in this season. Speedy, versatile and mentally tough, the diminutive center is a savvy player who knows his limitations. In seven games with the Calgary Flames last year, Murray played well in a defensive role without trying to overcompensate offensively. According to general manager Bob Clarke, the Delorain Read more »
Highly skilled Chuck Kobasew, who left Boston College to join the Kelowna Rockets has continued to give fans and management of the Rockets more excitement than they can handle and he hasn’t even played a game yet. As was written in my article yesterday, Kobasew was slated for an opening day roster spot with the Calgary Flames, however the Flames and Kobasew’s agent were unable to come to contract terms and he was returned to junior yesterday afternoon.
After scoring five goals in six exhibition games for the offensively starved Flames, Kobasew looked like a lock to dress for Calgary’s opener against arch-rival Edmonton tonight, however, a deal couldn’t be consummated in order for Chuck to be in the line up, so he was sent to Kelowna. So for now, Rockets fans will be hoping Kobasew can give them as much excitement on the ice as he has off the ice so far.
Bruce Hamilton took a risk this past summer and sent forward Chris DiUbaldo plus futures to the Prince George Cougars for the rights to Kobasew who at the time was still a member of the Boston College Eagles. Hamilton gambled that he could talk the Osoyoos native into coming to Kelowna and play close to family and friends, but at first it appeared Chuck was going to stay at school. However, after a visit to Kelowna and some soul searching, Kobasew opted to forego his final three years of a full ride scholarship at Boston College and play for the Rockets. All seemed peachy in Ogopogo land.
Chuck was no longer in need of protecting his college eligibility so next up on his agenda was a spin at the Flam Read more »
In somewhat of a shocking story to many, Dan Blackburn has made the opening night roster for the New York Rangers as an 18 year old. This happens to be a very rare situation for a goaltender. Rarely are goalie playing in the NHL at 18 years old, but Blackburn has proved that he belongs here. For now at least.
Blackburn appeared in five pre-season games, posting a 2-1-1 record while notching a 3.49 GAA and a .913 Save percentage. The goals against average is nothing to get excited about, but you have to remember that the team playing in front of him was not the Rangers opening night squad. They were mostly a group of hopefuls and rookies trying to earn roster spots. Blackburn sparkled at times, and showed that he could handle being the back-up to Mike Richter. Blackburn has always played at a level or two above his age group, and now he is showing he can play in the NHL at 18. The Rangers have signed him to a contract, and it is believed to be a three year deal worth the rookie max of $3.525 million.
The interesting question is whether Blackburn sticks with the Rangers for the full season. He can not be assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack, as he still has junior eligibility remaining. The Rangers can send him to Hartford for a two-week conditioning stint, but after that he either has to stay with the Rangers or be sent back to his junior team, the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. Under NHL rules, Blackburn is allowed to play 10 games in the NHL before he loses a year of exemption from waiver draft. He can be sent back to juniors at any time d Read more »
Making the Cut: The Inaugural Edition
Welcome to the first ever feature of “Making the Cut” at Hockey’s Future! We hope this feature can help you track your favorite prospects and see if they made an NHL opening night squad. Hockey’s Future is also planning to get to have this list for the NHL playoff rosters and possibly expanding out to the junior and Minor League teams as well down the road. But in the meantime, please read on and enjoy!
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: G Ilya Bryzgalov, LW Timo Parssinen, D Antti Jussi Niemi.
Atlanta Thrashers: RW Ilya Kovalchuk, LW Dany Heatley, RW Brad Tapper, C Kamil Piros.
Boston Bruins: D Nick Boynton, D Pavel Kolarik, G Tim Thomas
Buffalo Sabres: None
Calgary Flames: C Steve Begin, C Chris Clark
Carolina Hurricanes: LW Erik Cole
Chicago Blackhawks: LW Mark Bell
Read more »
The most notable rookie to make the Blue Jackets is Rostislav Klesla, a Czech defensman drafted fourth overall last year. Klesla is an early Calder finalist. He could win the hardware but it must be noted that young defenseman take longer to mature than forwards, see Chris Pronger and Ed Jovonovski. Klesla played only 9 games for Columbus before returning to Brampton. In the Juniors, Klesla improved his game and point total, from 45 to 54, and really improved during the postseason, scoring two goals and adding 9 assists. Klesla might, and hopefully will, improve the team PP, something Petteri Nummelin could never do last year.
Another defenseman looking to improve the PP is Radim Bicanek, another Czech who was claimed from Chicago in the Expansion Draft. After floating around the minors for a few years, Radim scored 22 goals and lead AHL defensemen with 65 points.
Up front another two young players made the final team: Chris Nielsen and Jody Shelley. Both bring qualities that Columbus needs, but both are totally different players.
Nielsen is a hard working, two-way forward, who plays both center and left wing. He played in 29 NHL games last year and figures to increase his icetime from the 10 minuted he played last year. Nielsen has a shot to see time on the PK, although he was not used in that role last year.
Jody Shelley is a player who knows his role, a fighter. Last year, Shelley fought and battled his way to 357 PIM with Syracuse of the AHL. In his one NHL game last year he managed 10 PIM. Shelley brings Read more »
USHL 2001-2002 Preview
It is time my friends, to begin another year of fast-paced, action-packed USHL hockey. Changes are aplenty this year with the additions of the Topeka Scarecrows and the Tulsa Crude. Topeka joins the league after being a minor league franchise. The fans have been a little skeptic about the quality of play they are paying for, but will soon find out it is well worth their money. Tulsa joins the league after many years being known as the Dubuque Fighting Saints. A handful of former Saints along with the entire staff made the move with the team in hopes of revamping what once was a proud franchise.
Topeka and Tulsa will move to the Western Division of the league and the Des Moines Buccaneers will then be bumped over to the Eastern Division, which better suits their location. The Cedar Rapids Roughriders look to improve upon their playoff appearance last season as their shelves are stocked this year. A lot of new faces will take the ice this year with many of the most recent stars moving on to the Collegiate or Pro ranks. This opens the door for new stars to be made. All told, it has the makings of another fantastic season of hockey in the Midwest.
1. Des Moines Buccaneers
Des Moines joins the Eastern Division this season as mentioned, and although the East certainly is tough, it clearly has not had the balance of the Western Division that Des Moines has been accustomed to. With that being said, they are my pick to win the East. T Read more »
The Buffalo Sabres have whittled down their 2001 training camp roster, and are now preparing for their October 4th home opener vs. the Atlanta Thrashers. While there has been a profound change in the team with the departure of Dominik Hasek, the fact of the matter is that the personnel has changed very little from last season to the new season.
From the prospect ranks, one player has managed to make the team, while another could stick once he recovers from an injury. Right wing Norm Milley, a ’98 2nd round pick, showed great hustle and grit in both the camp scrimmages and preseason games. His dogged style of play made it impossible for Buffalo’s coaching staff to send Norm to Rochester, but it remains to be seen how much ice time Milley will see once they start playing the games for keeps.
The injured prospect is ’97 2nd rounder Henrik Tallinder. The big Swede defenseman had a very promising start to his camp, but suffered a knee injury on the 3rd day of camp. In spite of Tallinder’s short span of time on the ice, he was singled out by coach Lindy Ruff as a player who is definitely going to push for a spot on the roster. Ruff liked Henrik’s size, as well as his steady play in the defensive zone, while also pointing to Tallinder’s ability to make a good breakout pass.
Tallinder’s injury will keep him on the shelf for at least another week, but it’s uncertain what will be done with Henrik when he returns to the ice. Henrik signed a contract that would allow him to return to TPS Read more »