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Zetterberg Enroute to Stardom

by Peter Westermark
on

Young Henrik Zetterberg led Timrå offensively last year when his newly
promoted team surprised and finished ninth in the Elitserien, a 12-team
league. This year, the points have been harder to come by both for
Zetterberg and his team. Timrå is currently last in the league with only
five wins after 33 games, and they are trailing 11th place Linköping by
eleven points. After coming off a point-a-game campaign last season, the Red
Wings prospect has a disappointing five goals and 14 assists in 32 games.
Still, Zetterberg was among the players named to the Swedish Olympic team,
and few hockey people are surprised.

First of all, observers refuse to put any blame on Zetterberg for his team’s
struggles. “He’s a loyal player and he has assumed a more defensive role
this year,” said coach Peo Larsson who resigned due to the team’s poor start
after four successful years at the helm. “The points will come for him. He
hasn’t performed badly.”

That Zetterberg, who plays centre for Timrå, has a ton of offensive ability
was evident in the last game of the Sweden Hockey Games where Zetterberg
suited up in a more offensive role. He scored four goals against the Finns –
one of them after a beautiful move that gave Swedish fans a déjà vu of Peter
Forsberg’s famous “stamp goal”. Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken
Holland was in attendance and praised his prospect in the Swedish press
right after the game, stating “I think he’s good enough to play in the
Olympics right now.”

Perhaps there’s a personal agenda reflected in those c Read more »

Sven Helfenstein interview

by Joeri Loonen
on

HF: First of all I would like to thank you for taking time to do this interview. It is very much appreciated. Like last year when Switzerland tied Russia 3-3 in the opening game, Switzerland started well this year again with a 3-0 victory over Finland. What are your impressions of that game?
H: Already early on in the game we noticed Finland was a very strong team and we should worry about playing solid defense first. We took full advantage of our chances which resulted in the 3-0 victory.


HF: What about the next game vs Canada?
H: It was the same sort of game. Again we played against a very strong opponent, but this time we got down 1-0 early on. Then we needed a equalier to get back in the game and we got it when Monnet scored short handed but then we gave up the 2-1 soon after that and that should not have happened. After that we gave away some bad goals due to some sloppy defensive plays.


HF: What is the goal of Team Switzerland at this year’s World Junior Championship?
H: A medal. Of course we are hoping for a gold medal but even getting the bronze medal would be a great performance for us. I have been ended up 4th several times with the national team already, that isn’t bad but it just out of the medals and I really would like to get one this year.


HF: What you personally feel is a realistic goal for this team at the WJC? Read more »

Interview with Mikko Koivu

by Robert Neuhauser
on

Mikko Koivu, a TPS Turku forward, is one of the brightest prospects
in the Minnesota Wild organization. Selected in the first round
of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Mikko now performs for Finland
at the WJC. Here are his answers at my questions, Mikko was kind
enough to answer them after the game against Russia.

When did you start playing hockey?

I was about five or six when I started playing.

Where was it?

In my hometown Turku, of course. I was born there, began my hockey
career in this city and I live there till now.

Who brought you to the game?

My brother Saku was one of the main forces, but besides him also
my friends influenced me a lot. We were playing hockey games in the
yard and it was a natural thing for me to play hockey.

Who is your hockey role model?

Saku teaches me a lot, he gave me many tips, but Peter Forsberg
is a great player, too. I watch him a lot.

Your favorite team in Europe?

I don´t have to take a long time to think about it. No doubt,
TPS Turku.

And in the NHL?

Another simply question, Minnesota Wild.

Were you happy that Wild has drafted you or would you prefer
to be selected by the Montreal Canadiens?

It would be great to have the opportunity to play with Saku, but
I´m extremly happy to be drafted by the Wild. It´s a great organization
and I think they can build a very strong squad quite soon. I have
my own play and it is good for me that I´m not always connected
with Saku.

When do you think you will be NHL Read more »

A Look Around the Farm Heading into the New Year

by Michael Theodore
on
With 2002 approaching fast, the Rangers farm system finds itself ranked in the top half of the NHL but not within the top ten. Even though 2001’s first rounder Dan Blackburn has made the jump, the Rags still have half a dozen or so prospects worth mentioning and a few others who are appearing on the horizon and turning some heads. With the exception of several players, many of these kids are still a few seasons away from making any kind of professional noise. It is however interesting to point out that many of them were later draft picks who have been pleasant surprises.

First off we have to start with perhaps the Rangers best player outside the NHL at the moment, Rico Fata. Yes, the same Rico Fata who was claimed on waivers a couple of months ago and yes the same Rico Fata who was taken sixth overall by Calgary in 1998. If people could just put their pre-’98 expectations out of their way for a second they’d notice that Rico Fata is making tremendous strides in his third professional season. Granted he will never be the 100 point center everyone suggested he’d be as a 15-year-old playing in the OHL, but he still has the talent to be an effective two way winger. Despite being two months away from even turning 22, Fata has already double the experience most players his age have. Away from lofty expectations in Calgary, Fata is quietly scoring at a hundred point pace for the Hartford Wolfpack. He’s played every situation, has been solid defensively and has taken the body regularly. He’s been Hartford’s most consistent forward and also one of the AHL’s best over t Read more »

WJC games recap – Day 4

by Ivana Paulova
on

Group A

Belarus – Czech Republic 1:9

1st Period

00:37 CZE Hudler (Hemsky, Krajicek) 0:1
04:26 CZE Vondrka (Blatak) 0:2 PP
16:35 CZE Skelnar (Bohac, Novak) 0:3
19:47 BLR Hlinkin (Maslenikov) 1:3 PP2

2nd Period

24:24 CZE Blatak (Hemsky, Krajicek) 1:4 PP

3rd Period

48:21 CZE Hemsky (Horava) 1:5
49:01 CZE Chvojka (Sklenar, Novak) 1:6
52:51 CZE Hanzlik (Plekanec) 1:7
53:27 CZE Horava (Hudler, Hemsky) 1:8 Read more »

Rastislav Stana Stands Tall for Renegades

by Seth Keggins
on

Richmond Renegades top goaltender Rastislav Stana was a bit of a chance, having been selected in the late rounds of the 1998 NHL entry draft. However, Stana has been strong thus far for the ECHL Richmond Renegades. The 6 foot 2, 180 pound goaltender is the owner of a .917 save percentage as of December 19th. His stellar play has recently been rewarded a brief call-up with the parent Portland Pirates (AHL) with the ankle injury of Olaf Kolzig.

However, Stana should return to the Renegades this week and await the possibility of being selected to the ECHL All-Star team. Rastislav continues to keep strong numbers again this season with the Renegades. Recently in a pair of games, he stopped a combined 84 shots to improve his record to 11-6. Despite apparently not being well liked by the Reading fans, where a fan threw a beer on him earlier this week…”Ratty” continues to ignore the critics and surprise the scouts.

STANA NAMED TO ECHL ALL-STAR GAME-12/20/01

Princeton,N.J. (Edited by Seth Keggins)… The East Coast Hockey League on Thursday announced the Northern Conference roster for the 2002 Sovereign Bank/ECHL All-Star Game to be played at 7:30 p.m. ET on January 22 at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, N.J.

The starting lineup and the roster for the Northern Conference All-Stars were determined in a vote of Northern Conference coaches. The Northern Conference roster features 17 players that are making their first appearance in an ECHL All-Star Game, including seven rookies.

Each Northern Conference coach was asked to select t Read more »

Interview with Beat Forster and Severin Blindenbacher

by Joeri Loonen
on

Switzerland is drawn into a group along with Canada, Finland, Russia and France. ´83-born Player Beat Forster plays on Switzerland´s top line which also holds New York Rangers´ prospect Sven Helfenstein. Severin Blindebacher is skating on the 2nd line and is paired up with 84-born Tim Ramholt of ZSC Lions. Both players were so kind to answer some questions right after the game vs Canada today.

HF: Switzerland had a big win over Finland on the first day. Did that surprise you?
B: In hockey everything is possible and we took our chances well and scored some important goals at the right time in the game. Our defense was also very solid which helped us getting this good result.
F: This was a big game for us so we were ready for it. Our solid defensive play helped us getting this result.

HF: What did you expect for today´s game vs Canada?
B: We tried to defend tightly and were hoping we could score some goals to get a good result from this game.
F: We hoped we could win this game so we would be top in our group, but we realized Canada is a very strong team, not only techincally but also physically.

HF: Switzerland lost 6-1 today, what you feel went wrong?
B: Our defense was not ready for this game and against a good team like Canada with top offensive players it will kill you. Read more »

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