‘Bulldozer’ Belak Clears His Spot
He was the butt of many anagram jokes when picked up on waivers last year but it’s halfway through the 2001-2002 season and Wade Belak is not only still with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he’s taking a regular shift on the fourth line. To be sure, he was advertised as being able to play both forward and defense when GM/Coach Pat Quinn brought him in last spring, but it was widely assumed that he would be the eventual replacement for Cory Cross.
However, a strange thing happened on the way to the rink. Gary Valk ran into a linesman and separated his shoulder thus creating a hole in the lineup at forward. Quinn called on the former Flame to fill the void and so far, he’s done an admirable job. He hustles every shift, he’s impossible to move from in front of the net, the more he cycles with the puck down low, the better he gets at it, and he’s even starting to make plays with the puck.
That said, the thing that is going to keep him skating a regular shift this year and beyond is going to be his hitting and his ability to stick up for his teammates. His hitting ability was never in question. In limited icetime in only 32 games he already has 51 of those. His pugilistic skills though, needed some honing on his arrival from western Canada. Always a willing warrior, his footwork too often found him at the bottom of the pile when the linesmen jumped in to break up the bout.
Tie Domi worked with the youngster on keeping his balance during such occasions and #2 has improved to such an extent that he overtook h Read more »
The Los Angeles Kings have two enforcers currently patrolling the ice at AHL Manchester. King draft pick Kip Brennan, who just returned from his first stint in the NHL, and the recently signed free agent Ryan Flinn. Both are big, both are young and 21, and both can handle themselves and protect their teammates. It would appear than neither will win any scoring titles, so it would be difficult for both play for the Kings at the same time (although fans would love it). So the question is, who will be the future enforcer?
Kip Brennan (6’4, listed at 222 but closer to 200) was chosen in the fourth round of the 1998 draft by the Kings and has emerged as the top fighter in the system. Brennan went to Lowell last season but was clearly not ready for the AHL and was returned to Sudbury for the balance of the season. This seaso, that appears to have helped because Brennan has taken on all comers in the AHL and more than held his own. Brennan has an enforcer’s demeanor and is learning to pick his spots effectively. Brennan’s recent stint is the NHL was effective if not impressive. He fought two of the most difficult players to fight in the NHL- the awkward Steve McKenna, who he struggled to stand up with, and Andre Nazarov who grabbed the rear numbers of his jersey and held on until the officials came in. He also tried and failed to get Steve Webb to go on the island and drew his first NHL penalty. He used this as a lesson (that was in his NHL debut) and he seemed to learn from that. As he became more comfortable, he was more effective in the low cycle with his lin Read more »
Ron Hainsey -D (Drafted-00(1/13))Hainsey managed 4 points through 5 games since our last update. He’s currently on a 3-game point-scoring streak, and has 4 points over the same span. Overall, the 6’3″, 200-lbs defenseman has played 28 games. He has 17 points (6-11-17), and is +4 with 12 minutes in penalties. Four of his goals were scored on the powerplay, and he’s directed 56 shots on goal. The 20-year old rookie will play for Team PlanetUSA during the upcoming AHL all-star game.
Mathieu Garon -G (Drafted-96(2/44))Garon recorded a 2-1-2 record through 5 games since our last update. Wednesday’s game against Portland was Garon’s 16th straight start. Overall, the 6’2″, 192-lbs goalie has played 23 AHL games. He has an 11-4-7 record with 2.70 GAA, and a .918 save percentage.
Eric Chouinard -F (Drafted-98(1/16))Chouinard was shutout through 1 game since our last update. He returned to action on January 16th, after missing 9 straight games with a shoulder injury. Overall, the 6’3″, 207-lbs left winger has played 31 games. He has 26 points (11-15-26), and is -1 with 10 minutes in penalties. Surprisingly, he has only one powerplay goal; which actually speaks volumes for Chouinard’s 5-on-5 play this season. He’s also directed 94 shots on goal, and was leading the team in this category prior the shoulder injury.
Francois Beauchemin -D (Drafted-98(3/75))Beauchemin was shutout through 5 games since our last update. The natural defenseman has been forced to play up front during recent games due to a short Read more »
Anyone who has watched Islander games all season have seen Peter Laviolette ride his top four defenders to big minutes. With Roman Hamrlik sidelined until likely after the Olympics and Radek Martinek out for the season, it has now become a two-man show on defense with Kenny Jonsson and Adrian Aucoin seemingly never off the ice for long, even on nights the Isles dress seven defenders. How long can this continue ?
With that in mind the Islanders added three forwards this week and are signed for the remainder of the season. Kip Miller (brother of asst coach Kelly Miller) becomes an Islander for a record third time, Ted Donato begins his second stint and Jim Cummins makes his Islander debut.
The only price for this tri–fecta is Dave Roche, who was leading the SoundTigers in scoring and was assigned to the Mighty Ducks AHL affiliate in Cincinnati in the Cummins deal.
Kip Miller, 32, playing center for the Grand Rapid Griffiths of the Ahl. Was the leading scorer in the league with 21 goals and 56 points in 41 games. If Miller is sent down he must play in Grand Rapids because they maintain his AHL rights.
Ted Donato, 33, playing left wing for the Manchester Monarchs of the Ahl. Had 13 goals and 32 points in 25 games and was the teams leading scorer.
Jim Cummins, 31, playing right wing for the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the Ahl. Is a natural right wing who is being brought Read more »
The Detroit Red Wings had 5 prospects at this years World Junior Championships, Swedes, Pär Bäcker and Andreas Jämtin, WHL star Tomas Kopecky was playing for Slovakia, last years first pick 62nd overall, Igor Grigorenko played for Russia and the 19 year old defeseman Miroslav Blatak who was playing for the home team of Czech Republic.
Team: Lethbridge, WHL
Draft: 2000 draft, 2nd round, 38th overall
Ga - Go - Ass - Po - Pim
WJC: 7 - 3 - 5 - 8 - 22
Tomas made his third and final apperience at the WJC for Slovakia. After last years dissapointing tournament Kopecky returned to the team after a great start in the WHL with Lethbridge where he left of as the second leading scorer in the entire league with 49 points in 32 games.
Tomas was expected to lead the team at this years tournament, and so he did. He was the best and most consistant player on the team. He recorded points in all but one game. Tomas finished tied for 5th place overall in the scoring with 3 goals and 5 assists in 7 games, he also had 22 penalty minutes and was +6.
Kopecky was not only an offensive force, he was also great defensively. He played a great two-way game and used his size and strenght to his advantage. He stood up and helped his teammates in rough situations and gave backup to his defensemen.
Kopecky had a great showcase at this years “juniors” and proved that he is a very good and important prospect for Detroit. He has shown that he c Read more »
Calgary – The Canadian Hockey League and Western Hockey League today
announced the players that will represent the WHL’s Western Conference for
The Hershey Cup CHL All – Star Series. The WHL Western Conference All-Stars
will play against the QMJHL Dilio Conference All-Stars. The game will be
played on February 6, 2002 at the Colisee in Rimouski, Quebec.
The WHL Western Conference All-Star team was selected by a panel of three
WHL General Managers from teams which had the best record at the 30 game
mark in the 2001-02 WHL schedule. The selection committee consisted of Ken
Hodge of the Portland Winter Hawks, Mike Moore of the Kamloops Blazers and
Tim Speltz of the Spokane Chiefs.
Mike Williamson of the Portland Winter Hawks will be the Head Coach of the
team while Dean Evason of the Kamloops Blazers is the Assistant Coach.
“We have selected a good mix of highly competitive players that take a lot
of pride in what they do and Dean Evason and I are very excited to work with
this great group of talented hockey players. I know the players will do an
excellent job in representing the Western Conference and the Western Hockey
League,” stated Mike Williamson, Head Coach of the WHL’s Western Conference
The team includes five members of Canada’s Silver Medal National Junior Team
(Jared Aulin, Kamloops Blazers; Dan Hamhuis, Prince George Cougars, Chuck
Kobasew, Kelowna Rockets; Jarret Stoll, Kootenay Ice and Scottie Upshall,
“We are looking forward to our top players in the WHL’s We Read more »
PITTSBURGH FORGE NAHL JUNIOR A …… NEWS :
Find all the info you need on Pittsburgh’s new Junior A team at:
http://www.pittsburghforge.com/ Read more »
The Kootenay ICE made a case for the defense over a three-game road trip last weekend, unfortunately it just wasn’t a very good one. The Key City club managed a paltry one point out of a possible six with losses against Swift Current and Lethbridge and a tie against the Medicine Hat Tigers and it made their current hold on third place in the B.C. Division a precarious one with the Kelowna Rockets a scant two points back with three games in hand. Being so close to the January 14 trade deadline it no longer became a wonder whether or not a personnel change might happen but rather a matter of when. Just before the 3:00 PM M.S.T. deadline Monday, it did and again it would be a long-time familiar face that would be making his way out of town.
Fulfilling one of his trade deadline wishes of shoring up his club’s blueline, Kootenay ICE G.M. Jeff Chynoweth swapped nineteen-yr-old defenseman Trevor Johnson for nineteen-yr-old rearguard Gerard Dicaire of the Seattle Thunderbirds. It’s a change in venue and a deal that Coach Ryan McGill thinks it will be beneficial to the four-year veteran. “Trevor’s been here a long time,” said McGill the day after the deal was made. “Obviously he was a big part of our championship team and when Steve (McCarthy) went down Trevor took over and he took over at the age of seventeen and that’s pretty commendable on his part. He did a heck of a job.”
McGill was quick to commend his fiery blueliner but admitted that certain aspects of the Trail, B.C. product’s play had hit the wall of late. A fact made more glaringly obvious by the minus-22 Read more »
Former Rangers prospect/minor leaguer Anders Myrvold decided the AHL and Hartford was not for him. Myrvold signed a contract after agreeing to be released with Fribourg of the Swiss league for the remainder of their season. Myrvold said he hopes to return to the Rangers and Hartford for the playoffs. Myrvold decided that there was “no room at the inn” in New York with the big club so more ice time in Europe was more to his satisfaction.
Espen Knutsen continues to play more and more for the Columbus Blue Jackets logging nearly 27 minutes in the past 2 games. Knutsen of Oslo has struggled with the Jackets but looks to be improving.
Norwegian Patrik Thoresen is playing for Moncton of the QMJHL and is currently second in the entire Q-league in rookie scoring with 17goals and 41points in 33 games. Thoresen is fast moving up the central scouting boards ratings for the 2002 NHL entry draft. If his mind is in it… watch out for this kid.
St.Louis Blues prospect Tore Vikingstad has signed another deal with his German club Düsseldorf. Vikingstad has been a key player for his club and Blues fans will have to wait another year or so to see this talented player.
Jonas Norgren has been splitting time in the nets with Geir Østberg in Storhamar. Norgren locked up the starting job earlier this season but after struggles early in the season Norgren was named Co-no.1.
Read more »