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In the Spotlight: Filip Novak

by Brandon LeBourveau
In the Spotlight: Filip Novak

The Rangers’ second round selection, 38th overall, was acquired by the Detroit Red Wings in 2000. With ex-General Manager Neil Smith already dealing the Rangers’ first round selection, which would have been eighth overall, to the Tampa Bay Lightning the previous summer in the package to move up and select forward Pavel Brendl fourth overall, the Rangers kept moving down in the draft.

Rangers GM Glen Sather dealt the 38th overall selection to the Red Wings in return for Detroit’s 2nd and 3rd round selections, 64th and 95th overall. In what was labeled as a “weak” draft talent-wise by many scouts and publications, the Rangers were willing to take a chance on players later in the draft who probably would not have much of a chance in the NHL. The Red Wings selected Tomas Kopecky, a highly-skilled C/LW from Slovakia, 38th overall. The Rangers’ first selection of the draft, which was already 63 picks old. An unfamiliar name then appeared: Filip Novak, D, Regina Pats (WHL), a small, albeit highly skilled, defenseman.

Photo Courtesy of

Selected 12th overall in the 1999 Read more »

Hitmen above .500

by Aaron Dowding

On Jan. 9th the Hitmen played their 43rd game of the season and squeezed over .500 totaling their record to 21-20-2.
The Hitmen at home took an early 3-1 lead against the Saskatoon Blades after the first period.
The teams exchanged a goal a piece in the second and two each in the third for a final score of 6-4.
Calgary looked strong as they killed off a 5 on 3 power play in the first with goalie Sebastien LaPlante standing tall to be the team’s best penalty killer.
Tyler Beechey riding a point streak added to it with a hat trick and two assists for a five-point night and a goal total of 28. Brandon Segal riding a nine game point streak tied Tyler Beechey with his 28th of the year.
With this game Calgary has two wins at home vs. the Blades and are 4-0-0 against them this season.

There are many other things for Hitmen fans to look forward to as Johnny Boychuk heads to Saskatoon to represent Calgary in the CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game, which includes the top 40 draft prospects for the coming year.
Also Tyler Beechey will be the only player from the Hitmen to see ice time in Red Deer for the Hershey Cup on Jan. 23.

Winning again.

The Hitmen raided the Prince Albert Raiders of a win on Jan. 11 winning at home 6-4.
Beechey getting the hat trick on the 9th of January decided he would let Owen Fussey take over in front of 7136 fans at the Saddledome. Fussey claimed a hat trick of his own to push his total to 28 for the season.
It wasn’t the nicest looking win as the Hitmen received 31 shots on goal with Sebastien LaPlante minding t Read more »

Coyotes WJC Recap

by Russell Brooks

This year’s World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic were not impressive for the six Coyotes participants. The great thing about this tournament was that all six of the players are eligible to return to there respective teams next year in Canada along with new players who are signed, traded, or drafted up to next years Championships. Below is a look at each player in a summary of how they produced at the Championships this year. Enjoy!

Fredrik Sjostrom, Sweden – Fredrik ended the tournament up on a strong note with a couple strong games and sufficient playing time. Although Sjostrom didn’t register a point during the tournament, he was promoted to the second line during the 3-2 loss to team USA. Sjostrom showed strong play along the boards but didn’t receive much help from Daniel Widing or Par Backer, who had an exceptional tournament. The 6-foot, 195 lb., right wing from Sweden, finished the tournament with a plus two along with 11 shots on goal. Look for Sjostrom to have a great second half with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League.

7 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, 4 PIM, +2, 11 SOG

Ruslan Zainullan, Russia – Zainullan didn’t make a huge difference on a Russian team that beat Canada in the World Junior Championship finals. He remained on the 4th line the whole tournament with limited ice time in even strength and specialty teams. Ruslan will return to his team in Ak-Bars and hope to continue to make an impact their as he has so far this season. Don’t look at this is a bad tournament for Zainullan as he never had a chance to prove hi Read more »

Hurricanes Pick-Up Quarterback for PP

by Dustin Nielson

Well the Hurricanes had been missing one thing all year…. a quarterback for their powerplay. Numerous players had been given a shot at the job but the Canes just didn’t have a pure offensive defensemen, now they do.

With the trade deadline looming in the WHL the Hurricanes didn’t waste anytime and completed another deal with the Vancouver Giants. Yet again the Canes were looking to add more offense, in the last deal with the Giants the Hurricanes acquired Jeremy Jackson who was the Giants leading scorer at the time. David Selthun, 19, is headed to the Hurricanes along with 15 year-old Brandon Sadlowski. Going to the Giants are veteran Warren McCutcheon and tough youngster Triston Grant. Grant and McCutcheon will add grit and size to the Giants.

Selthun is just what the doctor ordered for the Canes. He is downright offensive and will see his share of P.P. time in Lethbridge. Selthun was leading the Giants in scoring at the time of the trade with 35 points in 38 games. He was acquired last fall by Vancouver in the expansion draft from the Kelowna Rockets which is where he played his first 3 WHL seasons. The 15-year-old Sadlowski currently plays for the Fort Saskatchewan AAA Rangers where he is the captain.

Hurricanes coach Bryan Maxwell says that to snag a guy like Selthun they had to give up quality in McCutcheon and Grant.

The Hurricanes biggest need at trade deadline time was a veteran offensive d-man but even though they got one don’t be surprised if another move is made. Maxwell said that every team is going to be trying to improv Read more »

Syracuse Crunch Update

by Aaron Vickers

Both Matt Davidson and David Ling have been returned to Syracuse after a brief stint with the Blue Jackets. Davidson played in 6 games with Columbus, registering one goal. Ling, who was called up on his 27th birthday, was held pointless.

In other re-assignment news, defenseman Dan Watson has been re-assigned to Dayton of the ECHL. Watson appeared in 28 games with the Crunch this season, saw limited ice time. He registered one assist and four penalty minutes in his time with Columbus.

Who Is Eero Somervuori?

by Pete Choquette

powered heavier-than-air aircraft that has fixed wings from which it derives
most of its lift? No, that would be an aeroplane.

The Finnish born late-modernist architect whose famous works included the TWA Terminal
at Kennedy Airport and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri? No, that would
be Eero Saarinen.

If you answered the Lightning’s 7th round draft pick from the 1997 draft and
one of the most unknown and underappreciated prospects in Tampa Bay’s system,
you are correct. Currently, Somervuori ranks amongst the league leaders in the
Finnish SM-Liga in the key statistical categories of goals, points, and
plus/minus. Playing on a team with former Lightning center Vladimir Vujtek and
current Lightning prospect Erikki Rajamaki, in 36 games, he has compiled 16
goals and 31 points with a +20 rating this season. His numbers are good for
12th in the SM-Liga in points, 6th in goals, and 6th in plus/minus, yet few
Lightning fans have heard of the native of Järvenpää, Finland.
Read more »

Comparing minutes played to points scored

by Chris Boucher
Statistics are interesting. They can be made to clarify aspects of the game, but they can also be used as a tool of misinformation.

One case in point is the point-per-game statistic. It is an incredibly telling piece of information when used properly, however the minutes-played per game statistic now allows us to break a player’s point-per-game average down even further. Thereby allowing us to adequately compare all skaters, regardless of ice time. For example, a player averaging nearly a point-per-game is almost exclusively a first or second line player. As a top-6 forward, he should be averaging somewhere between 16 and 21 minutes per game. Therefore, if we break that statistic down to its raw value we find that the player in question is contributing 1 point for every 17 to 21 minutes of ice-time.

Of course this statistic doesn’t take into account quality offensive minutes; quality minutes are normally classified as powerplay time. What it does allow though, is a clearer indication of the offensive contribution offered by players playing on teams’ third and fourth lines, thereby allowing us to compare the offensive contribution of all players; from the top line center to the fourth line right winger.

The calculation is performed by taking a player’s average ice-time-per-game and multiplying it by the number of games played. This result should give us an approximation of the player’s total minutes played this season. We then divide that amount by the individual’s point total. That gives us an indication of how many minutes a player needs Read more »

The CHL Daily News

by League Press Release

The latest edition of Inside the CHL will be available at the official
website of the Canadian Hockey League,, on Friday afternoon.

Inside the CHL is a look around the Canadian Hockey League, the largest
hockey league in the world. The show is posted at and is also
heard on junior hockey radio broadcasts across the country.

On Edition number 5, host Roger Lajoie previews the upcoming Hershey Cup CHL
All-Star Series of Games, along with the Home Hardware CHL Top Prospects
Game as well. CHL commissioner David Branch is among the guests on the show,
which CHL radio stations are invited to download and use during their

Inside the CHL is produced every two weeks, with the next edition after
Friday’s available Friday, Jan. 25.


The Ontario Hockey League will announce the site of the 2002 MasterCard
Memorial Cup the week of Monday, January 21, the league announced Thursday.

OHL Commissioner and CHL President David Branch also advised all four of the
franchises bidding for the tournament of the decision time frame Thursday.
The four teams bidding are the Barrie Colts, the Erie Otters, the Guelph
Storm and the Ottawa 67’s.

The OHL’s trading deadline is Thursday at 6 p.m. The league advised all
teams prior to the selection process that the winning bid would be announced
after the OHL’s trading deadline was passed and the announcement timing was
determined Thursday morning.

“The quality of the four bids w Read more »

Updated Pittsburgh Penguins Top 20 prospects

by Erik Johnson

Now that the World Junior Championships have completed and most leagues are at the halfway point of the season, it’s time to readjust the Top 20 prospect list for the Pens prospects. And because of a graduation prospect, we have a new #1. First off, because of time played in the NHL, this prospects have been moving off the list to graduated status:

Kris Beech, C Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

41 games, 5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points

Josef Melichar, D Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

41 games, 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points

Toby Peterson, C Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

41 games, 6 goals, 7 assists, 13 points

And now for the newly updated Pens prospect list:

1) Brooks Orpik, D Wilkes-Barre (AHL)
Season: 40 games, 1 goal, 11 assists, 12 points, -8, 50 PIM

Moves up to the first spot with the graduation of Kris Beech. Played well early in the season, was one of the only players on the team with a positive +/-. Play has slipped a bit lately, but still playing well for during his first professional season. Will be a candidate for a spot on the NHL team next season or a possible late season callup.

2) Michal Sivek, C Slava Praha (Czech)
Season: 25 games, 4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points, -12, 30 PIM (WBS)

Read more »

Wellwood’s New Start

by Stephen J. Holodinsky

There is little doubt that the Leaf 5th round selection in the 2001 draft Kyle Wellwood hasn’t been inking up the scoresheets this year like he did in 2000-2001 when he won the OHL scoring title with 118 points. A quick look at his points per game average, down .30 from a year ago, will tell you that much. To be sure, there was a shoulder injury to deal with earlier in the campaign and the timing to be found after coming back from it but there was also the criticism that without Branko Radivojevic and Randy Rowe putting the biscuit in the net he never would have piled up all of those assists.

Now comes a completely different challenge. Wellwood is going from a high octane ‘who cares about defense’ brand of hockey in Belleville that has them 4 points out of first place in the OHL’s East Division to distinctly regular ‘how do we light this thing anyway?’ team in Windsor pulling up the rear in the West Division two points south of London. Jason Spezza is gone and many have Dallas first rounder Steve Ott heading out on the next bus seeing as he may well end up playing at least AHL hockey next year. Should the Spits deal ‘The Rat’ for youth before the upcoming trade deadline, things will look very different indeed for Wellwood’s new team.

It’s possible they still could squeak into the playoffs on the back of goaltender Ryan Aschaber who has shown in the past that he is capable of carrying a team but what is really going to tell the tale is the new #97. The local kid, particularly if Ott is moved, is going to have to be the big wheel on offense down the stret Read more »

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