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World Junior Cup: Czech Republic-Russia game recap

by Robert Neuhauser
The Czech Republic-Russia game of the World Junior Cup promised to be a very exciting battle.
The Czech Republic has a very strong 1984 birthyear concerning hockey players and they met the
always strong Russians. It was obvious that the game won’t be a hard-hitting contest but a
game full of speed and skill. The Czech lineup boasted lots of players with NHL potential, like
goaltenders Lukas Mensator, who was the starter of the game and Lukas Musil, defensemen Ondrej
Nemec, Martin Cizek or Marek Chvatal. But the brightest gems were on the offense. Jakub
Langhammer, Jakub Klepis and Jakub Koreis are serious 2002 prospects, while captain Milan
Michalek is 2003 and youngster Rostislav Olesz 2004 eligible.

The Russians build every year a very strong competitive squad with some great individuals.
In the 1984 birthyear those are the likes of defenseman Anton Babchuk, who already played at
the 2001 Under-18 WJC, Kirill Stepanov and some really great offensive prospects. Those involve
top prospects Vladislav Evseev, Dmitri Kazionov, Evgeni Isakov, Dmitri Korneev, Igor Ignatouchkin,
and of course 2003 star prospect Nikolai Zherdev. Simply a very tough opponent for the
Czechs to beat.

Immediately after the begginning of the game the Czech line had a strong first shift, as Milan
Michalek passed a nice pass on the tape of Jakub Koreis, but Kirill Stepanov blocked his wrist
shot. In the first minutes of the game the Czechs tried to put the Czechs under some pressure
and eventually score the leading goal. Rostislav Olesz, even if a late 1985 birthyear, show Read more »

The Poni Express

by Stephen J. Holodinsky

There were more than a couple of candidates for promotion on the Baby Buds last season as injury call-ups when one of the big boys went down at the ACC. Adam Mair (since traded to the Los Angeles Kings), Donald Maclean, Jeff Farkas, Mikael Hakansson (since returned to Djurgarten in the SEL), even Alyn McCauley (who actually did make the playoff roster) all had more experience than Alexei Ponikarovsky at the pro level. Nonetheless when the dust cleared it was the big Ukranian who played more NHL games with Toronto than any of them by the campaign’s end with 22. While it is true his stats didn’t overwhelm anyone, it can also be said that playing in the bottom half of the forward rotation, mostly on the fourth line, didn’t help matters any. However, there is much more to any hockey player than statistics and #39 showed in his limited trial that he could be at least Adam Mair’s equal in a checking role (thus opening the door for that transaction).

Ponikarovsky’s game starts with his size 6’4″ 210 pounds and mobility which is above average for his measurements. He uses his big frame not so much to bang and crash the way, say, a Darcy Tucker would, but more in a shielding manner ala Mats Sundin. On more than a few occasions the Leaf farmhand demonstrated he could make himself an imposing obstacle in the corners when others went fishing for the puck. He was simply to big to splatter and too quick to get an angle on. He also showed a willingness to hustle back and take a man after a turnover deep in the offensive zone which is imperative in the Leafs transition offense. Wha Read more »

Which young Ducks are close to the pond?

by Jamie Randolph

Let’s take a look and see which ducks prospects have a chance at sticking with the big club this year.

Maxim Balmochnykh: LW-Cincinnati(AHL)- 65GP -6G -9A -15Pts

Maxim is a player that would have already been in the NHL if he had a proper work ethic. Maxim is at crossroads, two years ago he was being compared to Pavel Bure, now he can’t even score in the AHL. This is Maxim’s last chance and i’m betting he makes the most of it but I could be wrong. Flip a coin.
Prediction: AHL-NHL

Ilja Bryzgalov: G-Togliatti(Rus)34GP – 0.912 SP% -1.87GAA

Ilja has all the tools to be an impact rookie this year, the only problem is that the the ducks are set in goal with Steve Shields and J.s Giguere. Unless Shields or Giguere are injured for a long period of time Bryzgalov will probably play in the AHL this year.

Stanislav Chistov:RW Avangard Omsk (RUS) 24GP – 4G -7A – 11Pts

Chistov could produce in the NHL this season but it would be a wise move to give the 18 year old another year of development. I think Chistov would profit most playing in the AHL but he will most likely end up staying in Russia for another season.
Prediction: Russia

Jonathan Hedstrom:RW Lulea (SWE) 46GP – 9G – 19A -28Pts

Jonathan needs to come to north america and make the transition to our style of play, although it shouldn’t be difficult because he plays a physical style of hockey. Will probably stay in Sweden for another season. Read more »

Tarasov a hybrid goalie

by Chris Boucher
Nine days of intense workouts are beginning to pay off for the players here at the Canadiens’ prospect development camp. Drills are being run with much more precision. Passes are moving from tape to tape, scorers are starting to score, and playmakers are making the plays that are only made after successive intense on-ice workouts.

Tarasov / Belanger

Vadim Tarasov (7th round, 1999) is working hard to stop every shot he faces. He’s eager to impress, and his work ethic has been second to none. He and Luc Belanger (recently signed by the Citadelles) are far and above the best goalies in camp. While both have been effective, their styles of play represent what some people consider competing styles.

Tarasov is more of a hybrid goalie. Utilizing whatever style he deems necessary depending on the situation. He’s a reaction goalie; relying on reflexes to stop to the puck, and solid skating to remain square to the shooter. This style of play often contributes to inconsistency. It forces the goalie to rely too often on his reflexes. This puts pressure on the goalie’s ability to remain focused. Any drop in focus usually results in bad goals. Tarasov’s style of play is the likely reason for his past inconsistencies. He has a reputation of being a goalie who plays great when he’s on, but plays terrible when he’s not. In fact, there was a period last season when his somewhat erratic play was enough for him to fall out of favour with his coach. Between October 26th and November 11th Tarasov played in only two of his team’s nine games. His save percent Read more »

2001-02 Season Previews: From Smith to Bell.

by Kirk Pedersen

Hello, and welcome to my third installment in a four-part series of season previews for the Vancouver Canucks and their youngsters. This week I will take a look at the possibilities this season for: 2000 First-rounder Nathan Smith, 1996 First-rounder Josh Holden, 1996 Third-rounder Zenith Komarniski, and 2000 Third-rounder Thatcher Bell.

I’m not completely finished updating all of the site’s profiles, so please bear with me while I do so, as my previous ones are very poor in quality, and will be fixed in the very near future. (I just thought I’d add that in, for those of you who are growing frustrated with my profiles of players.)

I’m ready to start exploring, join me, won’t you?

The first player I will be talking about this week is a former Sherwood Park (Alberta) Midget player by the name of Nathan Smith. Nathan Smith was the Canucks first selection in the 2000 Draft. (23rd Overall) The pick was obtained from the Florida Panthers in the now-infamous Pavel Bure deal/fiasco of 1998-99. He put up some good numbers for Swift Current last season, scoring 90 points, (28g, 62a) in 67 games. However, he is not thought to be much of a scorer at the NHL-level.

A former first-round draft pick in junior by the Swift Current Broncos, when he was first drafted, I’ll admit that I had little knowledge of the Strathcona, Alberta native. I had known that he wasn’t too much of a scorer, and that he’d throw his hat in to the now-impressive group of young centres we had, which included the likes of Artem Chubarov, Mike Brown, and Josh Holden, not to mention Henri Read more »

HF’s interview with Oliver Jonas

by Oliver Janz

One of the candidates for the goalie position at the Olympic games in Germany’s national team, Oliver Jonas, the ECAC Goalie of the Year 2001, taking the time to answer questions from Hockey’s Future. Germany’s HF Editor OJ (Oliver Janz) talked with Goalie OJ (Oliver Jonas) about his first steps, the time in north america, the olympic games 2002 and many many more. To learn to know more about Jonas

click here for his profile, to read more about his chances to be named to the Olympic roster click here.

Picture: Oliver Jonas, the number one with the #1 on his Harvard jersey.

HF: Hello Oliver Jonas, how do you feel and what are you doing in Germany right now?

OJ: Thanks, i’m feeling excell Read more »

The New Finn in the Island Waters: Marko Tuomainen

by Joe Muccia

Beginning in 1989, Marko played 2 years with his hometown team, KalPa Kuopio of the Finnish Elite League. Originally a 9th round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 1992, Marko then moved to North America to attend Clarkson University. In four years at Clarkson, Marko accumulated 190 points in 135 games. In 1994-95, Marko was summoned to
Edmonton for a four game cup of coffee. Although he went pointless, he did show excellent defensive awareness, finishing the stint with an even plus/minus. Later in 1995, he reported to the Oilers farm team, the Cape-Breton Oilers and the year after to the Hamilton Bulldogs, all the
while posting solid numbers.

Expecting more scoring from him, the Oilers chose not to renew Marko’s entry-level contract after the 1997 season. Marko chose to return to Finland and HIFK Helsinki of the Finnish Elite League. Impressed with his defensive skills, Helsinki assigned Marko to a
checking role in which he excelled. Even though he was used in a
defensive role, he still managed to tally 50 points in 94 games over a
two-year period. Not bad for a guy that was supposed to shadow the
oppositions top players.

Early in 1999 the Los Angeles Kings, impressed with Marko’s
well-rounded game, signed him to a free agent contract through the 2001
season. Marko ended up playing right wing on the Kings third and fourth
lines. He played 63 games, logging quality minutes on the top PK unit
in addition to his regular shifts (he finished with 17 points, scoring
both on the PP and PK). In 2000, due to the Kings depth at forward
( Read more »

Jillson on cusp of making it big

by Jake Dole
It’s time to make something clear: Jeff Jillson is a legitimate Calder candidate this year. After signing a contract with the San Jose Sharks in May, 2001, Jillson skipped the senior college year in Michigan to officially turn pro. However, joining a blueline that includes Marcus Ragnarsson, Mike Rathje, Brad Stuart, Bryan Marchment, Scott Hannan and Gary Suter will not be an easy assignment. Jeff will have to show a lot of determination at camp to earn serious playing time come regular season.
But if you ask Jeff Jillson, he’ll tell you that he will not despair. Throughout his career, he has played through numerous obstacles and difficulties. Although the NHL is not at all like college, Jillson will demonstrate as much effort and endurance as he does on any ice surface. At the age of 21, he still has weaknesses and will be expected to show more consistency than in the past, but Jeff’s decision to remain in college for a sophomore year turned out to be crucial. Despite a disappointing showing for the United States at the U-20 World Junior Championships, many would agree that Jillson took a major step ahead in his development.
Jillson was first noticed as a high schooler, playing for Mount Saint Charles in Woonsocket, Main; the same team that had won 21 consecutive state titles, which contributed to the pressure already on Jeff’s shoulders. Needless to say, Jillson did not disappoint; he dominated at the high school level, and was a three-time all-state honoree. In addition, he earned the Sports Illustrated/Old Spice Athlete of the Month h Read more »

Three up, three down for Canadian U-18 team

by Jeff Arnim

Team Canada exploded for five goals, including three in the first period, in their 5-1 victory over the Swedish contingent at the 2001 Six Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic on Thursday. With the win, Canada moves to a perfect 3-0 in the event.

Rick Nash (London, OHL) opened the scoring just 35 seconds into period one, and added an assist on the next goal by Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Chicoutimi, QMJHL); Bouchard posted his second tally of the frame in its final two minutes. Maxime Talbot (Hull, QMJHL) posted a power play goal half way through the second period, and Tim Brent (Toronto, OHL) closed out the scoring early in the third.

Nash, Bouchard, Talbot and Brent all tallied two points on the day.

Maxime Daigneault was once again strong in net, stopping 24 of 25 Sweden shots on goal. His gawdy numbers for the tournament include a perfect 3-0-0 record, a 0.67 goals-against average, and a .973 save percetnage. Daigneault has stopped 72 of 74 shots faced.

From the Western Hockey League side of things, defensemen Andy Thompson and Ian White each added an assist in the game.

Read more »

Chad Alban signs with Stars

by Scott McFarlane

The Dallas Stars signed free agent goalie Chad Alban to a 1 year contract, financial terms were not released.

The 25 year old Alban split time with the Utah Grizzlies, Grand Rapids Griffins and the Idaho Steelheads who were all apart of the IHL last season.

While with the Utah Grizzlies and Grand Rapids Griffins last season, Alban posted a 4-5-4 record with a low 2.09 gaa in 13 games.

With the Idaho Steelheads, Alban posted a 14-5-1 record with a 3.00 gaa in 20 appearances.

With the acquisition of Chad Alban, the Dallas stars have more depth at the goalie position. With Ed Belfour, Marty Turco, Jason Bacashihua and now Chad Alban the Stars should be set in goal for many years to come.

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