Notebook — 01/02/2002
After a somnolent ’00-01 season, the Stars minor league affiliate (the Utah Grizzlies) retooled, swapped coaching
components, and relocated to the AHL. Somehow, all of these changes (and, of course, player development) have precipitated
an unexpectantly exciting season for the hiterto yawn-inducing franchise. Midway through the season the Grizzlies find
themselves in first place with 45 points and 20 wins (and third league-wide by a deuce). Finally, something exciting’s going
on in Salt Lake City (although I’ve heard snippets that something else is going to transpire there as well).
Newly appointed coach Don Hay is getting much of the credit for the swift reversal of fortune. The former NHL coach,
Memorial Cup winner, and “greatest” coach in WHL history has taken a team with a remarkably similar make-up to last year’s
suck-squad and molded an AHL machine. And, of course, you have to dish out ample credit to Assistant Coach Bob Bassen.
Maybe. Ok, I don’t know. But I do like mentioning former Stars in my column.
Read more »
Written by Ivana Paulova and Robert Neuhauser
Czech Republic – Sweden 1:2
14:43 CZE Hemsky (Hudler, Ustrnul) 1:0
24:38 SWE Hedlund (Eriksson) 1:1
59:37 SWE Jamtin (Lundqvist, Jonsson) 1:2
Czech team really wanted to win this game and they played well. It was a physical game with a
lot of skating on both sides. The first one to score was Ales Hemsky. He was given an accurate
pass by Jiri Hudler. Czech team had the goal not to play against Canada and after the tying goal by Hedlund Czechs
tried extremely hard. In the final power play Czechs failed to score and Jamtin had no problems
to score in the open net. Even though Czechs were last in the Group A they will face Finland in
Slovakia – USA 4:4
01:19 SVK Svatos (Kopecky, Hudec) 1:0
05:11 USA Slater (Globke, Umberger) 1:1 PP
13:00 USA Lebda (Eaves, Brown) 1:2 PP
13:30 SVK Svatos (Kopecky) 2:2
19:59 USA Whitney (Hollweg, Eaves) 2:3 PP
24:18 SVK Fruhauf (Svatos, Kristin) 3:3 pp
46:00 SVK Kolozvary (Stehlik) 4:3 Read more »
Everything was going well for Alexander Svitov, a 6-3 199 lbs. center from Russia, as the feisty forward was selected 3rd Overall in 2001 by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Desperate for a center that could eventually shut down the other team’s top line each and every night, the Lightning and GM Rick Dudley were quick to almost guarantee Svitov a roster spot shortly after being drafted. However, the high spirits centered on the young Russian on that day, June 23rd 2001, now seemed to have dwindled at the very least.It all started when the Tampa Bay Lightning and Alexander Svitov thought they were doing the right thing. The two agreed on a three year, entry-level contract before the deadline to sign European players passed. However, afraid that Svitov’s former team in Russia, Avangard Omsk, would get extremely upset with the player’s decision and possibly take some sort of action, the two sides figured it was best to wait a short while before announcing the deal. Out of the blue, Omsk announced that Svitov could not jump ship to the NHL and must serve time in the military. At first the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t worry too much about Omsk’s decision, since they already had Svitov under contract. What they didn’t know, and they found this out eventually, was that Svitov was inducted into the Russian military back in December 2000. Unfortunately for both parties, Tampa Bay fans won’t be seeing Svitov in the NHL until December 2002 as he needs to serve his two year military obligation.Fast forward to this year’s World Junior Championships in the Czech Republi Read more »
Josef Melichar VS Michal Rozsival
Both were paired last year at Wilkes-Barre and at the beginning of the season this year. They were actually doing well, but Kehoe tried to shake the things up and has separated them lately.
Overall Offensive Game:
At the very beginning of the season, Rozsival was more confident and was taking more chances then his Czech partner. Melichar was the perfect example of the stay-at-home defensemen. But now, he his getting more confident and showed his offensive assets (He made Scott Stevens looks like a rookie for example). We saw Rozsi jumping on the play more then often and now, Melichar is copying him a few times. But still, Rozsival is pinching really smartly and he creates more scoring chance then his countryman.
Rozsival has also seen some ice time on the powerplay and didn’t do too bad. He is not Nicklas Lidstrom or the quarterback the Pens desperately need on the PP, but he can do his part on a second unit. As for Melichar, why did the coaching staff never gave him a chance on the powerplay? Michal Rozsival also showed more offensive number so far. 3 goals, 8 assists and 43 shots compare to the 0 goal, 3 assists and 30 shots of Melichar. Even in the WHL, Rozsival has more success offensively.
Grade: Rozsival : B, Melichar : C
Overall Defensive Game:
Try to count the mistakes made by Rozsival and/or Melichar. Both played like veteran defensemen. Melichar is rarely caught out of position and play is simple and aggressive game every night. Rozsival on the other hand is doi Read more »
There is a new set of faces in the mid-west in the form of the players and personnel of the Continental Elite Hockey League, otherwise known as the CEHL.
The CEHL is based out of Fraser, MI, about a six-mile drive from the city limits of Detroit. The teams are located in the Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana areas. The league made its debut this year with six teams, the Tri-City Hurricanes, Toledo Junior Storm, Detroit Lightning, Traverse City Enforcers, Jackson Prowlers and Downriver Bombers. The Downriver Bombers changed their names to the Lumberjacks and the Tri-City Hurricanes changed ownership and became the Bay County Blizzard.
Kevin Shanahan, the league commissioner, has a strong hockey background. Shanahan played hockey through juniors and has spent the last 15 years coaching and managing youth hockey teams.
Barry Soskin, the league president and owner of the Traverse City Enforcers, is the former owner of the Toledo Storm of the ECHL, the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL, and the Pelham Prowlers of the SEHL. Soskin also currently owns a minor league baseball team.
The mission and objective of this league you ask?
Let me share with you some quotes from the CEHL’s mission statement.
“The CEHL’s objective is to provide an excellent opportunity for our players to play hockey while providing a thriving and profitable business opportunity for our owners. “
“The CEHL will be a developmental ground for the 4 Division I NCAA collegiate leagues, as well as the National Hockey League and the numerous minor professional leagues. The Read more »
Filip Novak, Defenseman, Czech Republic: Novak, registering 2 assists and an Even +/- rating through the 4 games of the preliminary round, and the Czech Republic squared off against Finland in hopes of continuing their pursuit of a Gold Medal. Finland, coming off a 4-1 beating of Team Canada, finished as the top team in the preliminary round, while the Czech Republic finished an extremely disappointing fourth in Group B with a 1-3-0 record. The game was a close one from start to finish. New Jersey Devils’ prospect Tuomas Pihlman put the Finns on the board first with 1:11 remaining in the opening period. Forward Petr Prucha notched a power play goal to tie the game for the Czechs, 7:48 seconds into the second period. The game remained tied only for about ten minutes when Finnish forward Jarkko Immonen converted a pass from defenseman Joni Pitkanen, considered one of the top 2002 eligible prospects. The game stay that way until Tomi Maki, a 4th rounder by the Calgary Flames in 2001, finished it off with an empty net goal with only nine seconds remaining. The Czech Republic outshot Finland 18 to 15, but the Finns got strong goaltending yet again from Kari Lehtonen, arguably the top goaltender available for 2002, and won the game 3-1. After winning back-to-back Gold Medals, the Czechs disappointed this time around in their own country, and now are out of contention for a medal. The highest they can finish in this tournament now would be 5th. As for Filip Novak, the swift-skating defenseman registered no points in the contest and was a -1. The Czechs face Team USA tomorro Read more »
WJC Mid Term Report
So we’ve seen the round robin games and some players have stood out, a few even for good reasons. But what about those drafted by Toronto? To date among the most impressive you’d have to rank Canada’s Brad Boyes. A few months ago, it was the opinion of this column that perhaps Boyes might be tried on the wing to bolster the outside scoring. Seeing him dominate in the faceoff dot as much as he has at this tourney though, it would be interesting to see what he can do against stiffer competition. He certainly has the puck smarts and defensive responsibility to play the middle. While he has so far been the clear cut #1 choice.
However after Boyes, a couple of Bud blueliners check in for a very close battle for 2nd spot in Canada’s Carlo Colaiacovo and Finland’s Markus Seikola. Both are mobile defensemen who can carry the puck up ice, both have hard shots from the point, and both like to hit. Seikola looked to be the slightly heavier hitter and shooter, but Colaiacvovo looked to be a touch more mobile. Call them 2 and 2A.
On the downside, Jay Harrison, has looked very out of place on this squad. He has been beaten to the outside repeatedly, and he has blindly fired the puck anywhere but here numerous times throughout the preliminary rounds. While it’s true, he’s not here to provide offensive fireworks, in light of his defensive play, the absence of a contribution at this end leaves little positive to talk about.
Fredrik Sjostrom, Sweden – Fredrik has not been given a shot to show his talent at the World Junior Championships and his statistics have illustrated just that. Sjostrom has only 2 penalty minutes with no goals or assists in the five games he has played so far. Sjostrom has been limited to fourth line play and 13th forward duties with virtually no time on the power play and penalty kill. Fredrik will only improve and gain experience from being at the Championships when he goes back to the Calgary Hitmen.
5 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, 2 PIM, +2, 6 SOG
Ruslan Zainullan, Russia – Ruslan came over in the Nikolai Khabibulin trade from Tampa Bay and has been put in the same position that Fredrik Sjostrom has been in with Sweden. Ruslan through the quarterfinals does not have a registered shot on goal which is something he will need to address if he is to have success in his professional career. Zainullan has only one assist and 2 penalty minutes in the five games through the quarterfinals of the Championships so far. As with Sjostrom, Zainullan will gain nothing but positive experience from this.
5 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 2 PIM, -1, 0 SOG
Martin Podelsak, Czech Republic – Martin started off the tournament playing on the 2nd line along side Frantisek Lukes and Miloslav Horava. Martin has really been a disappointment at the Championships. Podelsak hasn’t registered a point in the tournament and has really disappointed the hometown fans in the Czech Republic. Podelsak is a plus one and has four shots on goal. Podelsak had really high expectations going into this tou Read more »
Halfway home. The 2001-2002 USHL season is at the midway mark of the season and so far USHL fans have been treated to some fantastic exhibitions of hockey. The race for the division titles has already begun with teams jockeying for playoff position and the coveted Division title for the 1st and 2nd seeds in the Clark Cup USHL playoffs. In the Eastern Division the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders have held the top spot for quite awhile with 38 points (18-10-2). Up until recently there was very little competition for the spot but the Green Bay Gamblers have stepped up their game a notch and are now within striking distance with 35 points (16-8-3). The Des Moines Buccaneers a preseason favorite by many, including myself to win the Eastern Division is not far behind with 33 points (15-10-3). The RoughRiders though hold the upper hand as they played a large number of their road games in the first half of the season en route to compiling a wonderful 12-7-2 road record.
With approximately 2/3 of their road schedule out of the way, Cedar Rapids will be in good shape to bring home their first ever division title while in Cedar Rapids. In the Western Division the Sioux City Musketeers broke out of the gate the fastest and still hold the top spot in the West as well as the top seed in the entire league with 46 points (22-5-2). Similarly to Cedar Rapids, the Musketeers have company at the top of the pole. The Sioux Falls Stampede have ridden a seven game winning streak back into 2nd place with 43 points (21-7-1) while the defending Clark and Gold Cup Champion Omaha Lancers a Read more »
The Calder Corner
Continued excellence is the game that the two fine rookies playing for the Thrash bring consistently every week. For that reason, the Calder Corner has its first shared HF Prospect of the Week by naming Ilya Kovalchuk and Dany Heatley as co-winners. The big question is, how do you choose just one for the Calder Trophy?
Tjarnqvist: 1 Assist
Kovalchuk: 2 Goals (15,16), 2 Assists
Heatley: 3 Goals (13,14,15), 1 Assist
| ||3 Games|
Boynton: 1 Goal (2), 1 Assist
| ||2 Games|
Noronen: 1 GM, 16 Shots, 15 Saves (2-1-1) Read more »