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CCHA Player Watch – Part 1 – Michigan Wolverines

by Greg Andrade
on
Some of the top players in the CCHA have departed for the professional ranks over the summer, but there are still plenty of players to watch in 2000, including an exciting crop of recruits. Despite the departure of Mike Comrie to the WHL and the loss of seniors like Shawn Horcoff, Brian McCullough, Roger Trudeau and J.P. Vigier, there will be no shortage of talent in the CCHA this season. In this first installment of the CCHA Player Watch, we will focus on several players at the University of Michigan who will be worth following this season.

Among the returning players this season is standout Michigan defenseman Jeff Jillson. Jillson was drafted in the first round by the San Jose Sharks in 1999 and had a chance to leave school and sign with the Sharks this summer, but he chose to stay at Michigan for his junior year. He is 6-3 220 pounds and is perhaps the toughest and most intimidating defenseman in college hockey. But what separates him from other defensemen is his offensive ability. He led all CCHA defensemen in scoring last season and become one of the best two-way blueline prospects in all of hockey. Jillson might be good enough for the NHL already, but the Sharks are currently loaded with young talent on the blueline and there is no need to rush him. Jillson will be the leader of a Wolverine defense that should be much improved over last season, when the team was short on depth after the unexpected departure of Mike Van Ryn to the OHL.

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Bolts Send players to the Motor City as Vipers Prepare

by Andrew Bourgeois
on
While there is still no guarantee as to who will be with the Detroit Vipers Come October 6, but all ready the Vipers coaching staff has an idea who will be at training camp as their parent club the Tampa Bay Lightning cut 17 players from their camp.

Familiar faces from last year’s team heading back to the motor city include defencemen Kyle Kos, Mikko Kuparinen, and Mark Thompson, right wingers Dale Rominski, Samuel St. Pierre, and Jan Sulc.

In his first season of professional play, Kos, split his time last season between the Vipers and the Utah Grizzlies playing a total of 66 IHL-games, netting four points (1G-3A) with 101 penalty minutes.

Kuparinen played the majority of last season (28 games) in Finland for the
HIFK Helsinki team during which he posted a pair of assists with 29 penalty minutes. Kuparinen played 9 ganes in the IHL with Detroit and Long Beach.

The four-year University of Michigan star Dale Rominski had a good breakout year playing in his first professional season. In 78 games with Detroit and 3 with the Lightning, Rominski recorded 14 goals and 16 assists while only being assessed 70 penalty minutes.

Samuel St. Pierre will look to get back on the scoring track as he enters his second professional season. In 47 games with Detroit in 1999-2000, the St. Pierre had 15 points (11G-4A) and 25 PIM.

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Blues Preseason about to begin

by Chris Irvine
on
Yesterday, nine players were sent packing by the blues, these players were junior returnees, european players or released tryouts. These type of players were released based on the fact that they are nowhere close to the NHL level yet and it is better for them to start their respective years off on the right foot.

The Blues had a chance to get a serious look at all 70 players in camp with the exception of Barret Jackman who has yet to play because of finger surgery that he had this summer. Also Todd Reirden and Marc Bergevin will both be out well into the season, meaning that there are two more spots open for defensemen. Jackman is likely returning for one last season with Regina as his junior team will be hosting this year’s Memorial Cup and should also lead the Canadian world junior team.

There are battles for spots at mostly D and the backup goalie position behind Turek. In terms of the goalie position, Johnson and Rolson will battle throughout the preseason for the rights to that position. Stephen Wagner was assigned to Worcester and Reinhard Divis should return to the Swedish Elite league. That leaves Rudkowsky and tryout Curtis Sanford. Rudkowsky will likely play in Worcester again this season and Sanford could sign a contract, as he has been impressive in both the rookie tourney and the camp tourney as well.
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Camp Breeds Hope for Anaheim

by Martin Dittman
on
If first impressions mean anything, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim have a very bright future. Then again, the Ducks are traditional optimists who often over analyze the future. Going into this season’s training camp, that tradition continued. Maxim Balmochnykh, J-S Giguere and Marc Chouinard were just a few of the several young guns the Ducks were counting on for this season. As the Ducks had hoped, the first week of camp has been a step up for the young guns, causing the usual euphoria over the future.

The early scrimmages have shown the usual. The Ducks are a fast team which we already knew. This off season was extremely quiet which left many with questions about the Ducks. Will they finally have a true second line? Are Balmo and Alexei major league busts? Are the Ducks still pretenders? So far, some of these questions have been answered while others are still left up in the air.

Answering the question of the second line, Jonas Ronnqvist has been extremly feisty in the first week of camp and may have supplanted Matt Cullen as a second line player. Ronnqvist has been largely paired with German Titov and Mike Leclerc, a group of hard working speedy forwards. Titov brings most of the skill although neither Leclerc nor Ronnqvist has looked out of place. They are very skillful on their own. The bad news is Leclerc and Ronnqvist are unproven as second liners thus leaving Anaheim in the same predicament as in the past.
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ICE Sightings at NHL Camps

by Jeff Bromley
on

It is only now that we are seeing the full
effect of the NHL expansion agenda is
having on the junior hockey scene. With
this year’s addition of two member
clubs, the Minnesota Wild and
Columbus Blue Jackets, along with their
expansion cousins in Nashville and
Atlanta over the past two seasons, the
trickle down effect is starting to take
shape. Some examples, Kootenay ICE
regular’s Steve McCarthy and Zdenek
Blatny, in Chicago and Atlanta’s camp
respectively.

In McCarthy’s case, some
accounts actually suggest that the Trail
native is having a good camp, but not as
good as last year, which earned him a
five regular season game look with the
Hawks last year. Reports also state that
McCarthy has fully recovered from the
season-ending shoulder injury that he
suffered last winter and that he is all but
penciled into the Hawks line-up being
paired with Chicago’s number one
rearguard Boris Mironov on the number
one power-play unit. The odds on
McCarthy coming back to the ICE this
season? The smart money says no. Even
if there are some questions on
McCarthy’s statues in Chicago at some
time early on in the season, I think that
the Hawks will give him every
opportunity to maintain a spot on the
roster. The only chance that I see
McCarthy coming back is that if it
becomes blatantly obvious that he’s not
developing at that level, thus earning a Read more »

Detroit Red Wings Training Camp Day 4

by Jessica Haskin
on
With most of the games being high scoring at Training Camp so far, this
mornings first game between Team A and Team D seemed almost a little
slow with only 2 goals and very few penalties.

The first chance of the game was when BJ Adams got caught tripping Steve
Brule. Brule came crashing down on the net but JF Perras poke-checked
the puck away just as Brule was about to release his shot.

Later Tomas Kopecky was alone at center ice and was able to knock the
puck out of the air. Jiri Fischer and Nicklas Lidstrom fairly deep into
the offensive zone realized they had to get back, and get back quick as
they saw Kopecky’s 6’4″ frame racing down towards their net, with the
puck. Fischer was able to get enough of a hook on Kopecky to keep him
from scoring.

Perras and Ron Vogel both had shut outs in their first period of play
and were replaced with Jason Elliot and Manny Legace for the second
period of play.

Brendan Shanahan scored on Legace, firing the puck just inside the post
on Legace’s glove side. Boutin received a penalty shot and looked as if
he was just going to skate straight in and fire a shot with no dekes,
but at the last minute he turned and fired it in under Legace’s glove.

BJ Young was awarded a penalty shot against Legace shortly afterwards.
Young tried to do the exact same move Boutin had scored on, and Legace
thought he had been beat again. But he hadn’t. Legace laid there on Read more »

Wings Team D, the ‘Come Back Kids’

by Jessica Haskin
on
Team D were the “Come Back Kids” scoring 5 goals in the third period of
a 7 to 4 game. Although it didn’t look too bright for them at the
beginning of the game Team D won the bronze.

The first goal of this high scoring game came on a four on four when
Jesse Wallin and Ryan Barnes were sent to the box for roughing. Their
was a small dispute between them and they had a little WWF going on for
those fans that are both hockey and wrestling fans. Shawn McNeil found
the back of the net for Team D with an assist from Dustin Kuk.

The next goal came from Boyd Devereaux who put the puck past Manny
Legace after he had gotten it from Tomas Holmstrom, 2-0 Team D.

Less than a minute later Team C scored yet again. Lee Jinman, standing
on the left side of the net, received a pass from Marc Rodgers, spotting
Anton Borodkin standing wide open on the right side with plenty of
shooting room. Jinman made a beautiful pass to Borodkin who slammed it
home behind Legace who didn’t have a chance of getting over in time for
it.

Legace had a nice glove save on Darren McCarty with less than 4 minutes
left. Then it was Chris Osgood’s turn to show Legace that he could make
nice glove saves too when he stoned Alexandre Jacques.

Less than a minute into the second period Osgood had to play spectacular
when Pat Verbeek took a shot, hitting Osgood’s pads. Doug Brown was Read more »

Aeros Increase Goal Scoring Punch

by Andrew Bourgeois
on
The Houston Aeros have increased their goal-scoring punch, as right wing Greg Pankewicz has re-signed with the Houston Aeros.

Last season, Pankewicz led the Aeros with 22 goals, including a team-high 13 power play goals. He added 19 assists for at total of 41 points in 62 games, fourth on the team in total points. His 134 penalty minutes ranked second only to left wing Greg Walters, who led the team with 192.

Entering his 10th pro season, Pankewicz has played in the National, American, East Coast and International Hockey Leagues. In 1998-99, Pankewicz played in 18 NHL contests with the Calgary Flames, collecting three assists.

That season he also split time between Kentucky and Saint John of the American Hockey League. The Drayton Valley, Alberta native had one of his best seasons as a pro in 1997-98 with the Manitoba Moose, when he scored a career-high 42 goals. For the season, he added 34 assists for 76 points in 76 contests and racked up another career high with 246 penalty minutes.

Pankewicz is the ninth forward to sign with the Houston Aeros for the 2000-01 season. Already on the flight deck are centermen Shawn Carter, Terry Marchant and Brett Harkins, right wingers Alex Vasilevski, Lane Lambert, and Sandy Moger and left wings Bobby Reynolds and Walters. The Aeros have signed two defensemen so far, Barry Dreger and Grant Richison, and have obtained the IHL rights to goaltender Jason Elliott, who is under contract with the Detroit Red Wings (NHL).

AEROS PLAYERS SIGNED

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Devils Training Camp in Full Swing

by pbadmin
on
The New Jersey Devils opened training camp on September 8th fresh from a summer of Stanley Cup celebrations. Many Devils’ prospects missed out on those celebrations but are pressing to be a part of future ones.

The departure of Claude Lemieux, Vladimir Malakhov and Brad Bombardir ensures there will be some new blood in the New Jersey locker room. Backup goaltender Chris Terreri turns 36 in November and the Devils plan on taking a long look at their goaltending future. In addition, for now a couple of slots remain open due to the contract holdouts of Scott Niedermayer and Jason Arnott.

In goal there is no doubt that the tandem of Martin Brodeur and Terreri will remain in place at least for this season barring any injury. Although none of the team’s other goaltenders appear ready for the NHL, the Devils were impressed with the play of Ari Ahonen, the former number one pick from Finland.

Ahonen at age 19 showed promise in his limited time in camp before returning to Finland. New Jersey is hopeful the young goaltender will return the U.S. later in the season and play some games for Albany of the AHL. The fact that Ahonen appears to be the goaltender of the future does not bode well for Jean-Francois Damphousse and Frederic Henry who will once again split time in Albany.
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Canucks not impressive in 5-2 win in Sweden

by Peter Westermark
on
Powered by a three-point effort from Daniel Sedin, the Canucks kicked off their exhibition season with a 5-2 win against MoDo.
MoDo started the game showing little respect for their more well-known opponents, and they were rewarded with a powerplay after former MoDo-hero Markus Näslund was called for a high stick. The Canucks did not have much trouble killing off the penalty and were rewarded with a powerplay of their own after a dubious holding-call on Jan-Axel Alavaara.
Vancouver wasted little time on their first powerplay of the game before scoring when Trent Klatt one-timed a shot from close range after a pass from Daniel Sedin.
Daniel Sedin was the main story of the first period. Minutes after being called for kneeing, he sent Vadim Sharifijanov on a breakaway after a turnover on the offensive blue-line. Sharifijanov displayed a sniper’s instinct shooting through MoDo goalie Tobias Lundström´s five-hole.
After a second Canuck powerplay, the Sedin´s created havoc in their former team´s defensive system and Daniel Sedin put the Canucks up 3-0 heading into the second period.
Just like in the first period, MoDo started the period well but it was the Canucks that added to their lead after four minutes. Carrying the puck on a 2-no-1, Todd Bertuzzi made an excellent pass right on the tape of Harold Druken´s stick who put in into the gaping left side of the net.

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