It has become a yearly tradition for the marketing
wizards at the NHL offices. No, I’m not talking about
the introduction of another series of extremely horrid
third jerseys by several of the member clubs. I’m
talking the fall release of fan selection ballot for
the mid-season All Star game. Every year the league
releases the ballot, and every year there is some
controversy surrounding those names available for
selection. Why should this year’s game be any
different? Well maybe because the controversy
surrounding this year’s ballot is such an obvious
blunder that it really makes the league look bad.
Normally the NHL has a leg to stand on when it comes
to omissions in the All Star ballot. There is a
surprise player or two who come out of the gate hot
and lead the league in several categories, or the
unknown rookie who makes a big splash and comes out of
no-where, or the aging veteran who has a career year
while he winds down towards retirement. All of these
situations are ones where the league office can be
excused for its short sightedness. But this year the
league really left itself open for criticism by
leaving Calgary Flame poster-boy, and rising star
player, Jarome Iginla, off the ballot.
When you scan the list of leading scorers a few names
jump out at you. Mark Parrish and his twelve goals in
thirteen games is a surprise. Iginla’s team mate
Craig Conroy, and his sixteen points in fourteen games
is a surprise. And perched up at the top of the
scoring race is a surprising Jarome Iginla.
Surprising? To be sitting a Read more »
Art Shoots the Breeze
In case you haven’t heard, Art Breeze is at it again. Breeze, Nathan Dempsey’s agent, has communicated a ‘play me in the NHL or trade me’ request to Leaf management. He’s gone so far to say on the FAN 590, a local radio station in Toronto that if he isn’t traded “he will play (in the NHL) next year and well beyond and come back to haunt some people.”
Without a doubt, there are many who would support Dempsey’s promotion to the ACC among followers of the Blue and White. In limited duty, he has impressed. But let’s be clear here, we are talking about ‘limited duty’. Ripping apart the blueliner’s game it’s fairly easy to add up the pluses and minuses. He’s a puckmoving defenseman who makes a snappy first pass, knows when to shoot, and can fill the role of powerplay quarterback on the second unit. On the downside is an utter lack of size as he is whisper thin at 6’0″ and 170 pounds. Despite good effort, this leaves him vulnerable in the corners and in front of the net.
Compare him to Tomas Kaberle, who is an inch taller, 8 pounds heavier, and five years younger. Kaberle fits the bill almost to a ‘T’ with the exception of a reluctance to shoot at this point in his career. However, more importantly that that is the age difference. Whereas Dempsey is always going to be 170 pounds, the Czech is still young enough to pack on some pounds and get up towards 200 where he will be better able to handle the action near the blue ice in his own zone. And for Dempsey’s value within the Leaf organization, Read more »
The Calder Corner
Heatley: 4 Games, 2 Goals (3, 4) 1 Assist
Kovalchuk: 3 Games, 1 Goal (7), 1 Assist
Hamel: 3 Games, 1 Assist
Clark: 2 Games, 1 Goal
Bell: 4 Games, 1 Goal (3), 4 Assists
Willsie: 3 Games, 2 Goals (2,3)
Datsyuk: 4 Games, 1st NHL Goal, 1 Assist
Kuznetsov: 4 Games, 1 Assist
Huselius: 3 Games, 4 Goals (6,7,8,9)
Ference: 3 Games, 2 Assists
Bednar: 1 Game, 1 Assist
Schultz: 4 Games, 1 Assist Read more »
PLAYER OF THE WEEK : New Orleans left wing J.F. Houle
The 5-9 and 205-pound Houle set team records with five assists and seven points in the Brass’ 8-0 win over Pensacola on Thursday. The seven points are a season high for the ECHL while the five assists tied the ECHL season high. Houle added a goal and an assist in New Orleans’ 3-2 win at Jackson on Saturday. The Brass are 5-1-0 with Houle in the lineup. Houle leads New Orleans with nine assists and is second on the team with 13 points and four goals in six games. On behalf of J.F. Houle, a case of pucks will be donated to the New Orleans area youth hockey organization by InGlasco, the official puck supplier of the ECHL.
GOALIE OF THE WEEK : South Carolina’s Jody Lehman
Lehman was 2-0-0 with a 0.50 goals against average and a .980 save percentage in two games last week. He opened the week with 20 saves in a 2-0 win against Pee Dee and then made 29 saves in a 4-1 win over Augusta on Saturday, helping the Stingrays win their season-best fourth game in a row. Lehman is 3-0-1 with a 1.22 goals against average and a .958 save percentage in his last five games, and 5-2-2 with a 2.04 goals against average and a .930 save percentage in nine games.
NORTHERN CONFERENCE NOTES :
WHEELING : On Wednesday the Nailers traveled to Johnstown for their second road game of the season after opening the season in Atlantic City on October 12. Having lost in Atlantic City, the Nailers entered this game in search of their first road win of the season. Johnstown Read more »
Forge take 2 from Compuware in shootouts.
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 »
With a hot start, Alexander Frolov has jumped to the Hockey’s Future #1 Kings’ prospect position. While Lehoux and Aulin have both shot out of the gate with great starts, it appears that Frolov may be something special.
Other movement included returns to the top 10 for Jason Crain and Alexey Volkov, both of whom seem to be returning to top prospect form. Parros, Clarke and Olynick have also climbed.
Jaroslav Bendar has also moved into the “graduated” section.
Feel free to offer any feedback.
Following a tough 3-2 Spokane Chiefs loss to the Kamloops Blazers in WHL league action, Chiefs defenseman and Colorado Avalanche prospect Kurt Sauer was kind enough to do an interview with Hockeysfuture.
Born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on January 16, 1981, Kurt started playing hockey at six in used equipment and skates that were a couple sizes too big however, this hasn’t deterred the big defenseman from pursuing an NHL dream. Playing for North Iowa in the USHL during the 98-99 season, Kurt intended on attending college, but was listed by the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs. After a visit to Spokane, Kurt opted to join the Chiefs for the 99/00 season and it appears to have been a wise decision.
Kurts rookie season saw him finish eighth overall in the WHL with a +36, but it lead the western conference and all WHL rookies. Kurt was also voted as co-rookie of the year in Spokane. Following the season, Kurt entered the NHL Entry Draft and Colorado used it’s fifth pick, 88th overall to snare Kurt.
A punishing hitter and rock solid stay at home defenseman, Kurt is a top prospect in the Avalanche system and when asked about Kurt, Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz said, “he’s a quality kid both on and off the ice, just a great guy.” Players around the league praise Kurt’s punishing physical prowess by saying they avoid, “going along the wall on Kurts side of the ice if at all possible.”
When asked if he was surprised that Kurt, considered by most, along with Dan Hamhuis of Prince George, to be the elite defenseman in the WHL this season, Speltz replie Read more »
Dustin Brown has always been a sniper, but no one knew who he was until last
year. That’s when the then 15 year old broke into the OHL as a second round
pick of the Guelph Storm. But at the time of the 2000 OHL draft, Brown was
not very well known. He didn’t have the high profile of some of the other
2000 draftees like Patrick Jarrett, Rick Nash, Tim Brent, or Bryan Rodney.
In fact almost all of the OHL teams didn’t even have him ranked anywhere on
their draft lists. The story is well know now. At the 200 OHL priority
selection when Guelph GM Alan Millar called the Ithaca, New York native’s
name, everyone was stunned (much to the same effect as at the ’98 draft,
when Erie Otters GM Sherry Bassin called then little known Brad Boyes in the
1st round). Figuring it was a waste of a pick. Fast forward through last
season, and the 6’0″-193lbs right winger is an early concensus top five pick
for the 2003 NHL entry draft.
Brown combines speed and pillow soft hands to account for his almost
goal-a-game pace this season. Brown, who just turned 17 is also in
consideration for team USA, who will compete at the WJC. Although the US
team doesn’t usually take younger playerse, it would be hard to ignore Brown
is he keeps up the play he has been displaying this year.
Brown and linemate Marty St.Pierre have been ripping up the Ontario League
scoresheets this season, and the prospect of both of them being in Guelph
for another 2-3 years is great for Guelph fans and management. Brown could
stand to get a little more physical (0 fights i Read more »
Over the past several seasons, to an extent since the 1993-94 season the Rangers organization has struggled to re-stock the system for a future run at the cup whilst struggling even more to keep a most competitive veteran club on the ice. The likes of Daniel Goneau have been spotted in Rangers blue as have Johan Holmqvist and even Jason Labarbera.
As former Ranger prospects Doug Weight, Todd Marchant, Aaron Miller and more find their niches in the NHL and have blossomed into stars or solid NHLers, the Rangers for one reason or another have had a great deal of trouble bringing these kinds of players up from their own system into the NHL as Rangers, long time Rangers.
During this offseason G.M. Glen Sather did a stellar job in loading the Rangers AHL affiliate in Hartford with young talent such as Matt Kinch, Layne Ulmer, Mikael Samuelsson(via San Jose trade) and so on… even some have found their way to New York with the likes of Dan Blackburn via the 2001 draft and former 1st rounder (BUF) Barrett Heisten. But the age old question remains…”why are the Rangers signing journeyman veterans or former stars well past their prime and not giving the prospects a shot?”
Read more »