The European hockey leagues are anything but conservative. Many changes have
been made to the game over the last couple of years and several has panned
out very well. Granted, there has been ill-advised changes such as the
ridiculous helmet-rule, which states that a player must go for a line change
immediately after losing his helmet. If he doesn’t he will get a minor
penalty for delay of game.
Two changes that has helped to speed up the game has been the removal of the
red line offside and the new face-off rule which reduces the length of
breaks in play substantially. If the NHL are truly serious about opening up
and speeding up the game they should consider making these exact changes.
The traditionalists will probably be against the removal of the two line
offside, but it has done a lot to open up the game in Europe which has been
plagued by the trap even more than the National Hockey League. The trap
originated in Europe and has since been adopted by North American coaches as
it is a good way of giving a team with so called limited talent a chance to
win. But, it is boring to watch, and as much as those in love with the game
or employed by the game hate to admit it, the growth of hockey will be
determined by how entertaining it is to watch. Not many fans will turn away
from the game even if teams continue to practice the trap, but it will
certainly be harder to recruit new fans as long as the “chip it off the
glass”-mentality is a central part of a coach’s way of thinking.
At first, the ever defensive Swedish nation Read more »
Last season, the Devils came within one game of defending the Stanley Cup. This season, they will look to regain what was once theirs. The following article will summarize the goaltending, defence, and forward positions. That will be followed up with a team outlook for this season along with a prospect report.
Once again, workhorse netminder Martin Brodeur, coming off his 6th consecutive 30 win season, will be the main man between the pipes for New Jersey. All though he had a sub-par playoff by his standards, he still remains one of the NHL’s most elite netminders. With the upcoming Olympic Games, Martin may elevate his game even further to prove that he deserves to be Team Canada’s starting netminder. Even though it has not been officially announced yet, former Boston College standout Scott Clemmensen looks to be Brodeur’s backup for this season. Not given much of a chance at the beginning of training camp, he out performed fellow netminders JF Damphousse, who was considered the favorite, and Frederic Henry to earn the spot. However, don’t rule out a rotation between Damphousse and Clemmensen, because odds are, Brodeur will play 65-70 games, and the rookies will need to get some playing time, be it in New Jersey or down on the farm with the River Rats.
Despite the fact that this group is starting to show it’s age, it remains one of the strongest defence cores in the NHL. Even at the age of 37, team captain Scott Stevens still continues to be one of the games most feared open ice hitters. He may have Read more »
Well now that the final roster has been announced, lets get down to business. Making the Cut for opening night will be Kris Kolanos, Martin Grenier, Tyler Bouck, Daniel Briere, and Jean-Guy Trudel. Not making the cut and being reassigned to Springfield, the Coyotes top minor league affiliate of the AHL, were David Cullen and Goran Bezina. Also Martin Podelsak was reassigned to his junior team, the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL.
Goran Bezina was assigned to Springfield after an amazing camp that opened the eyes of not only Bob Francis, but also the whole front office of the Coyotes. When the Coyotes defensemen did a drill during the preseason they were told to shoot as many pucks from the point as they can. At the end of the drill, he was the only one standing and laughing. We should see either him or Kirill Safronov during the season as one of the call-ups.
Another shine at camp was Martin Grenier who looks he may be filling the role of unrestricted free agent, Louie DeBrusk and become the enforcer on this team. Look for him to be standing up for every one of the defensemen let alone the forwards. He led the NHL alone in PIM for the preseason and I assume he will be more disciplined going into the regular season.
Daniel Briere will finally get his shot in the NHL full-time (hopefully). He finished up the preseason tied for the most points in the league (12). He also led the league in assists and Bob Francis has said he will be one of the top centers come Thursday, the Coyotes first game. The Coyotes will look to him to put out the same effort and enth Read more »
Once the Sabres send their junior prospects back to their respective teams, the club then decides which players need more seasoning in the minor leagues. Some of these demoted players are career minor-leaguers, but there is usually a handful of prospects that possess definite NHL potential.
The first 14 players sent to Rochester’s camp from Buffalo included the following: goaltenders Tom Askey and Reg Bourcier; forwards Milan Bartovic, Alan Fyfe, Ales Kotalik, Jaroslav Kristek, Karel Mosovsky and Andrew Peters; and defensemen Doug Houda, Mike Hurlbut, Doug Janik, Mario Larocque, Luc Theoret and Brad Williamson. The Amerks later cut Fyfe and Williamson.
The players in this initial grouping that garnered the most notice from Buffalo’s coaches were Bourcier, Bartovic and Kristek. Goaltender Reg Bourcier is a free agent who last season played for Mobile of the ECHL (37 GP, 14-9-5, 3.53). Reg is a smaller goaltender who relies on his quickness and good positioning to stop the puck, skills that were in evidence during the camp scrimmages. Given the fact that Mika Noronen and Tom Askey will most likely be the Amerk’s goaltenders, Bourcier will probably provide further depth for the Buffalo organization as a backstop for the South Carolina Stingrays.
Bartovic and Kristek are two right wings that saw their first AHL action last season. Milan didn’t join the Amerks until shortly before the playoffs, but he impressed in his short audition by displaying his great speed and offensive skills. Kristek’s season ended early due to dual shoul Read more »
Patrick Thoresen of Hamar who played a couple seasons for Storhamar of the Norwegian Elite League has been playing for the Wildcats of Moncton in the QMJHL. Thoresen has recorded (8gp 9g 3a 12tp 2+) and is their leading scorer. The 6-0 182lb forward has looked solid in his first full season in the rugged Canadian Junior system.
Meanwhile another Norwegian is playing on the other side of the continent. Peter Lorentzen of the Tri City Americans has appeared in 4 games while recording one goal and one assist and is -1 in those contests. Lorentzen has the protoypical build of a power forward and must learn to use his size and skill in the very rough WHL.
Other Norwegian notes are Espen Knutsen continues to play a solid playmaking game in Columbus with the Blue Jackets. Knutsen has flourished while playing on a line with ex Whaler Geoff Sanderson. Anders Myrvold who turned down offers from the Islanders, St.Louis and Montreal signed with the Rangers and spent 3 days in camp with the Rangers before being re-assigned to Hartford of AHL. Martin Sellgren ex Ferris State (CCHA)the 6-3 220 pounder played a solid d first role in the US and played super in the 2001 World Championships for Norway. He was last listed as looking to keep his American adventure alive. If any updates on him please feel free to contact me.
Until next time… Cheers!
Chynoweth pulls trigger on overage trade
It is an annual occurrence. Not that a team wants to, not that a team needs to, it has to, just to satisfy the league rule of a maximum three twenty-yr-old, overage players on its roster and this year was no exception. Like Scott Roles, Dion Lassu, Brad Tutschek before him, Tyler Beechey had grown up with the Kootenay ICE and last Friday Beechey became part of the club’s most ardent rival, the Calgary Hitmen. The trade, for nineteen-yr-old winger Shaun Norrie as the ICE cut down to the three overage players in Jason Jaffray, Cole Fischer and Craig Weller, happened much earlier than most everyone had anticipated. A full two weeks before the league-mandated deadline of October 12.
Knowing that someone had to go, it still came as a shock to both the organization and the fans alike. For Jeff Chynoweth, his tenor as G.M. only weeks old, it was one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make. “It was very, very tough,” said Chynoweth. “Friday was probably the toughest day I’ve had as G.M. To trade a guy like Tyler Beechey, he’s a quality individual and a quality player and he’s been with us since we started in Edmonton as an original third round draft pick the year we drafted Steve McCarthy.
“But you’re only allowed three and we felt that we wanted to get done sooner rather than later for the player’s sake and for the sake of the dressing room as it gets everyone at ease if we get down the numbers.”
The ICE G.M. also mentioned that it’s not as if Beechey was singled out but rather it came down to what was coming the othe Read more »
Kamloops Blazers Already Getting The Breaks In “Special K” Battle
While most pundits agreed that the Western Hockey League’s B.C. division shaped up as a great battle between the “Special K’s”, Kamloops, Kelowna and Kootenay, nobody would have predicted the early season fortunes of two of these teams, the Kelowna Rockets and Kootenay Ice would be so affected by both bad and good luck on behalf of their prospective players.
First the Kootenay Ice. While most agree that the Ice would have been battling for top spot in the division, this is where the good and bad luck come into play. Dan Blackburn, a standout goalkeeper from day one in the WHL goes to the New York Rangers camp and plays well enough to not only earn a contract, but an opening day roster spot behind incumbent Mike Richter as a nineteen year old. While not really a surprise, the Ice certainly were certainly hoping to have the stalwart back in net. Now the Ice will go with two unproven goaltenders, who though hold promise, aren’t the “sure thing” that Blackburn would have provided.
Then the bad luck strikes as nineteen year old offensive sparkplug Jarett Stoll cuts his hand badly while using a knife to separate frozen steaks. The early prognosis is that Stoll will miss eight weeks and the Ice losing his considerable offensive talents for that time.
With a two win and three loss start, the Ice won’t want to give up too much ground to the other “Special K’s” early or it could be a long road back to secure a home ice date in the first round of the playoffs. This could be crucial with Kootenay, Read more »
Toronto – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Peterborough Petes
centre Eric Staal is the OHL Player of the Week for the week ending Sunday
September 30, 2001.
Staal scored four goals and three assists for seven points in two games last
week. Staal scored two goals and an assist as the Petes defeated the
visiting Belleville Bulls 4-2 on September 27. The second year forward
followed up with a two goal, two assist effort as the Petes defeated the
Kingston Frontenacs 7-2 on September 28. Staal was named first star in both
Staal, a 16-year-old native of Thunder Bay, was the Petes first round pick
in the 2000 OHL Priority Selection after leading the Thunder Bay Kings to
the 2000 OHL Cup Ontario Bantam Championship. He was named to the 2000-01
First OHL All-Rookie Team.
Born: Thunder Bay, Ontario, October 29, 1984
Pos: Centre Shoots: Left
Height: 6.01 Weight: 160 lbs.
Peterborough’s 1st round choice, 13th overall, in the 2000 OHL Priority
Season Club GP G A PTS PIM
1999-00 Thunder Bay Bantam n/a
2000-01 Peterborough Petes 63 19 30 49 23
2001-02 Peterborough Petes 5 4 5 9 2
OHL Totals 68 23 35 58 25
Wolves embark on new chapter
After ending a limited preseason schedule, (1-1-1), the Chicago Wolves prepare for their eight season on October 6th. It will, however, be their first season in the American Hockey League. The previous seven seasons were played in the, now defunct, International Hockey League which folded after 56 years where they won the Turner Cup championship twice (1998 and 2000). 5 other former IHL teams, (Utah, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Manitoba, and Houston), are joining Chicago in the AHL. All of the IHL teams will form 1 division, except for Manitoba which will play in the Canadian division, though the bulk of their schedule will be against their former IHL counterparts.
Even though the majority of the Wolves roster will be coming from their parent club the Atlanta Thrashers, they will be returning at least 5 Wolves mainstays from their IHL
days. Joining, longtime Wolves Captain, Steve Maltais are, (forwards) Dan Plante and Rob Brown, and (defensemen) Bob Nardella and Dallas Eakins.
The Wolves have tradition of excellent goaltending, and this year will be no exception. The Thrashers have assigned (last years Turner Cup MVP) Norm Maracle to patrol
Chicago crease. The remainder of the roster will be announced within the next few days. One player that will not be heading for Chicago is Ilya Kovalchuk, the 6’2″ 210 pound left winger from Tyer, Russia. Kovalchuk became the 1st Russian ever to be picked number one in the 2001 NHL entry draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. Kovalchuk is being
ta Read more »
Following the initial portion of the Buffalo Sabres’ 2001 training camp, the club began to whittle down the number of players on the camp roster. This process is no doubt excruciating for both players and coaches, alike, as it places players on the outside, away from their goal of being on the inside as a member of the Buffalo Sabres hockey club.
As is usually the case, the first players to be dropped from the camp roster are the players still possessing junior eligibility. The prospects returned to their respective junior teams from this year’s camp include Gerard Dicaire (Seattle-WHL), Paul Gaustad (Portland-WHL), Ryan Jorde (Tri-City-WHL), Sean McMorrow (London-OHL), Jason Pominville (Shawinigan-QMJHL), Ghyslain Rousseau (Baie-Comeau-QMJHL), Derek Roy (Kitchener-OHL) and Chris Thorburn (North Bay-OHL).
In addition to these players, Marek Dubec and Calle Aslund have apparently returned to Europe. Calle has returned to Sweden, and is playing for Huddinge of the Swedish junior league while he considers his options. Marek has most likely returned to the Czech Republic, but I have not found his name on any roster.
From these youngsters, the player that clearly stood out during training camp was RW Jason Pominville, a 2001 2nd round choice. Jason possesses good speed and strength, as well as a scorer’s touch and the knack for being around the puck. Pominville lined up with C Tim Connolly and LW Stu Barnes for most of the camp scrimmages, with Jason being on the receiving end of several deft passes from newcomer Connolly. Jas Read more »