| | Michael Kolarz was born in the Czech city of Havirov, a city near Ostrava, where hockey is
represented by the Vitkovice team. But he didn’t think of a hockey career since the very
beginning of his life. Michael was born in a family of a soccer player and no wonder that
his dad brought him to the game of soccer as soon as the little Michael could walk. He bought
him a ball, but also didn’t forget the most popular Czech sport – hockey. Michael stood at
his skates for the first time when he was three. He liked the sport and no wonder that he
began to attend the practices of the local team’s smallest kids cathegory. Besides soccer,
There in Havirov his first coach was the respected expert Jan Danecek. Danecek is now an
assistant coach for the Trinec midgets and his son Jan is the youngest player ever to play
in the senior Extraleague. Coach Danecek gave Michael the first tips and taught him the
basics of hockey. As a tall kid, Michael was sent to the defenseman position soon and he
had no trouble there. He seemed to like the blueliner’s role and he soon began to make
use of his talent and dominate the play. The forwards had a very tough time against Michael,
who soon began to play with older kids. He was born with a great ability to read the plays
and a nice hockey sense. He is very mobile, thanks also to the soccer practices.
As Michael grew in age, Extraleague teams, looking for a boost in their pipeline of youngest
kids’ prospects, began to be interested in Michael. The most logical way for him was a
transition to the Vitkovice team. S Read more »
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have assigned defensemen Mikko Kuparinen
to Ilves Tampere of the Finnish Elite League, Senior Vice President & General
Manager Rick Dudley announced.
Kuparinen, 24, appeared in 32 games this season with Pensacola of the East
Coast Hockey League, recording 11 goals, 12 assists and 18 penalty minutes. A
native of Hameenlinna, Finland, Kuparinen was selected in the ninth round of the
1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Lightning. He was traded to Atlanta on October 29,
1999, and reacquired from the Thrashers on March 11, 2000.
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
GK: Pascal Leclaire (CAN)
D: Jay Bouwmeester (CAN)
D: Igor Knyazev (RUS)
F: Mike Cammalleri (CAN)
F: Marek Svatos (SVK)
F: Stanislav Chistov (RUS)
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
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
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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
2002 MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP ANNOUNCEMENT TO BE MADE WEEK OF JANUARY 21
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
“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 »