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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 »

WJC: The Awards

by pbadmin

Top 3 players

As selected by the tournament directorate:

GK: Kari Lehtonen (FIN)

D: Igor Knyazev (RUS)

F: Mike Cammalleri (CAN)

Media All-Star Team

Team 1

GK: Pascal Leclaire (CAN)

D: Jay Bouwmeester (CAN)

D: Igor Knyazev (RUS)

F: Mike Cammalleri (CAN)

F: Marek Svatos (SVK)

F: Stanislav Chistov (RUS)

Team 2

G: Kari Letonen (FIN)

D: Magnus Hedlund (SWE)

D: Anton Volchenkov (RUS)

F: Toni Koivisto (FIN)

F: Brad Boyes (CAN)

F: Aleksandr Frolov (RUS)

The three best players of each team

BLR: Andrei Kastsitsyn, Aleksandr Kulakov, Sergey Rachovsky

CAN: Mike Cammalleri, Brian Sutherby, Steve Ott

CZE: Lukas Hronek, Tomas Plekanec, Jiri Novotny

FIN: Kari Lehtonen, Olli Malmivaara, Jussi Jokinen

FRA: Landry Macrez, Wilfried Molmy, Aram Kevorkiam

RUS: Aleksandr Polishin, Aleksandr Frolov, Yuri Trubachev

SVK: Peter Budaj, Tomas Malec, Marek Svatos

SWE: Magnus Hedlund, Daniel Widing, Pär Bäcker

SWI: Beat Gerber, Thibaut Monnet, Andreas Camenzind

USA: Ben Eaves, Ryan Hollweg, Christopher Higgins

Sabres Report: Czech Mates

by Ken McKenna

The 2002 World Junior Championships have come and gone, with the Russian team taking home the gold medal as a result of their 5-4 victory over Canada in the WJC finale. While the Russians can bask in the fleeting feeling of glory days gone by, another former Eastern Bloc nation, the WJC host and defending champ Czech Republic, were left to ponder a disappointing 7th place finish.

As luck would have it, the Buffalo Sabres sported just 2 prospects participating in the WJC, with both of those players playing for the Czech squad. C Jiri Novotny and LW Michal Vondrka were both 2001 draft choices for Buffalo, with Novotny being the more high profile of the two due to his status as a 1st round pick. Both players also play for the same organization, Budejovice, with Novotny playing in the top Czech league and Vondrka splitting his time between the elite and junior squads.

If one were to judge strictly by statistics, it could be said that neither player had a particularly good showing at the WJC. Both players notched just 2 points in 7 games, with Novotny logging 2 assists, and Vondrka netting 1 while adding a helper. Both players were a minus for the tournament (Novotny –3, Vondrka –2), while also sporting nearly identical shots-on-goal numbers (Novotny 12, Vondrka 11).

In the case of Vondrka, at least, the statistics didn’t lie. As reported to me by Robert Neuhauser, the Czech Editor for Hockey’s Future, Michal’s performance was largely disappointing, mainly due to the fact that he didn’t see a Read more »

Wheeling Nailers Week in Review

by Ron Valerino


Monday, December 31 Roanoke 3 @ Wheeling 4

This was the second meeting of the season between the Express and the Nailers with the Express winning the first game 4-1 in Wheeling on October 27. In this game the Express opened up a 1-0 lead on a Mike Peron goal at 5:43 of the first period. Wheeling tied the score at 1-1 at 7:13 on a Mark Major goal with Dylan Gyori and Mike Hurley assisting. Roanoke would score two more times in the first period and lead 3-1 through the first 20 minutes. In the second period the Nailers would get back to within one on a Ken Tasker goal at 8:21. Derek Ernest and Doug Schmidt assisted of the goal. The Nailers tied the game 3-3 at 13:14 of the second period on Major’s second goal of the game with Hurley and Kurt Drummond assisting. The Nailers took their first lead of the game at 4-3 just :40 into the third period on a Hurley goal. Major and Gyori assisted on the game winning goal. Tyler MacKay made 32 saves on 35 shots for the win.

Friday, January 4 Peoria 1 @ Wheeling 3

In the season series with the Rivermen, the Nailers were 1-3-0 entering this contest. Jeremy Brown gave the Nailers a 1-0 lead in the first period with a power play goal at 11:31. Chris Wells and Mike Hurley picked up the assists on the only goal scored in the first period. Dmitri Doulebenets increased the Nailers lead to 2-0 at 2:45 of the second period with Bruce Watson and Arpad Mihaly assisting. Peoria scored their only goal of the game at 7:16 of the second period to make it a 2-1 game. B Read more »

Heatley and Kovalchuk Excel to the Half-Way Point

by Matt Gunning

Heading into the 2001-02 NHL season, Thrasher fans had two reasons to be both excited and concerned. Those two reasons were Dany Heatley (#2 in 2000 NHL draft) and Ilya Kovalchuk (#1 in 2001). Both were highly touted by scouts and management as potential superstar caliber players. For an offensively challenged team like Atlanta this was welcome news. On the other hand, fans had reasons to be concerned about each player’s development. The club’s other first round pick Patrick Stefan (#1 overall in 1999) had shown limited offensive flair in his first two injury plagued seasons. Some wondered whether the 18 year-old Kovalchuk might be better off returning to Spartak for another year before submitting himself to the rigors of a NHL season. In addition, Thrasher’s GM Don Waddell tried to keep expectations low by saying that each would need to work hard to score 20 goals in his rookie season.

Fast-forward forty-one NHL games later and it is clear that the club made the right decision to play both of these top prospects this year. Both players lead the NHL rookie scoring race and were named co-rookies of the month for December. Heatley (16-18-34) and Kovalchuk (17-16-33) also lead the team in scoring by a considerable margin, given the slow start of veterans Ferraro and Hrkac. The two rookies have produced have produced 34% of the team’s goals at the halfway point. Even more impressive is the fact that their numbers put them in the company of established star players such as Elias, Fedorov, Hossa, Nolan and Guerin. GM Waddell and Coach Fraser have repea Read more »

Hockey’s Future QA with Winterhawk’s Winger Matt Girling

by Glen Crichton

Matt is a skilled winger that isn’t afraid to go to the net and work the walls, taking the hit to make the play. Has an accurate shot and knows how to find open space in the offensive zone to make use of it. Solid two way play and ability to make things happen should open the eyes of NHL scouts. One NHL scout was heard to say, “this kid has the potential to score some goals and if he gets bigger and stronger, will be a solid prospect”.

Matt isn’t as pleased as he’d like to be with the start of this season, he’s been hampered with a groin and hip flexor injury, which he had treated over the Christmas break and with it feeling much better, hopes it will let him get back playing his gritty, offensive game.

Hockeys Future: Last season you had a pretty solid year with 24 points as a sixteen year old rookie, how do you think it went?

Matt Girling: It was okay, it could have been better.

HF: This being your draft year, what expectations did you have?

MG: I plan on having a strong season, showing consistency and not getting hurt or anything and just getting drafted.

HF: What were your goals for the year as far as points?

MG: Put up some great numbers, a lot more than last year, probably sixty points or so and just have a great year.

HF: How do you think its gone so far and what areas of your game do you think need to improve?

MG: The first half of the season I don’t think I was that consistent and I need to be, which will help my game. I’ve had a bit of a leg injury and it’s getting better, Read more »

Tampa Bay Prospect Ratings Updated

by Megan Sexton

Dimitry Afanasenkov (6.5) If Ramzi Abid can up his scoring in Springfield, why can’t

Nikita Alexeev (7.5) Proving to be more of a project than anticipated. Might have had a
semi-regular spot had it not been for Jimmie Olvestad.

Evgeni Artukhin (6) Size & speed will eventually get him in the line-up, lack of offensive
talent will relegate him to a checking line.

Henrik Bergfors (4.5) Mr. Irrelevant seems to be making very relevant steps in the right

Mathieu Biron (7) Getting decent time in the NHL due to injuries.

Josef Boumedienne (6.5) Stuck in a traffic jam, but has seen decent time because of

Anton But (7.5) Won fastest skater at a recent all-star exhibition and dominated in the

Read more »

The CHL Daily News

by League Press Release

Toronto – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Oshawa Generals
centre Jamie Johnson has been named to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team
that will compete in the first game of the 2002 Hershey Cup CHL All-Star
Series January 16, 2002 at the Ottawa Civic Centre. Johnson replaces injured
forward Cory Stillman of the Kingston Frontenacs.

Johnson, a 19-year-old native of Port Franks, ON, leads the Generals in
scoring this season with 12 goals and 39 assists for 51 points in 40 games.
He was a fifth round pick of the Ottawa 67’s in the 1999 OHL Priority


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 and the announcement timing was determined
Thursday morning.

“The quality of the four bids was without question outstanding,” Branch
said. “We are confident that no matter where the 2002 MasterCard Memorial
Cup winds up, the teams, fans and media involved will be treated to an
outstandi Read more »

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