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Back to the Future 2: The Irritants lead the way

by Stephen J. Holodinsky
on
After a day of practices and a game day skate, the hopeful future Buds finally had an opportunity to strut their stuff against the rookie squad of the North Carolina Hurricanes. Sporting such luminaries as Josef Vasicek and Jaroslav Svoboda, the visiting side found itself ahead 2-0 just minutes into the second period. The first tally came about because of some bad clearing in the Leaf end and decided timidity in front of the net. Kevin Young sent a floater in from the blueline that handcuffed Toronto netminder Sebastien Centomo and ended up in the crease behind him. Erik Cole simply outhustled everyone to the disc and banged it home.

The second goal came as a result of Allan Rourke starting up ice before making sure the puck was doing the same. A turnover in the neutral zone caught him off guard and gave Brent Kelly two steps on him. Derek Fox fed him the puck and despite Petr Svoboda’s last ditch dive, Kelly was able to put the puck upstairs on Centomo.

That was short lived however. Jonathon Zion made as couple of brilliant “now you see it, now you don’t” moves on his man in keeping the puck in the Carolina zone. He then fired a perfect goalmouth feed to Jonathon Gagnon who onetimed it only to have Fredric Brind’Amour slide across and stone him. The rebound though popped out in front and training camp invitee Ben Ondrus made no mistake in firing it over the sprawling puckstopper.
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The Weekend Warrior

by Randy Nicholson
on

Berard news: The latest information regarding the status of injured Leafs star Bryan Berard is quite startling … at a meeting with his surgeon (Dr. Stanley Chang) this week, Berard was told that the damaged eye would neither improve nor deteriorate at this point and that no further surgical procedures were required … as a result, Bryan has been cleared to resume dryland workouts and will soon hit the ice in order to determine whether or not he can compensate for depth perception limitations … a full comeback is still considered a long shot as the NHL (rather than Berard or the Maple Leafs) will ultimately decide whether or not Bryan satisfies the league’s minimum sight requirements before he can be permitted to play … in any case, Berard’s single minded determination to get back into the Toronto line-up just might beat those long odds some day and should also provide a great deal of inspiration to his Leaf team mates …
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Moose add Grit and Toughness to Lineup

by Andrew Bourgeois
on
With the 2000-01 season rapidly approaching the Manitoba Moose have been busy signing players to bolster their lineup for the upcoming season, when the Moose aquired the rights to Scott Thomas, Manny Legace and Johan Hedberg, and tough guy Mel Angelstad.

With the signing of Scott Thomas who is making a return to Winnipeg, Moose coach Randy Carlyle is hoping that Thomas can find the net like he did when he was here 2 years ago. “Scott had a career year here (in 1998-99) and we were able to provide him with an environment he had success in,” said Carlyle.

Manitoba’s training camp is set to kick off in 2 weeks and with the signing of these 4 players the Moose brought their roster up to 16 players. All 4 of the new signees will hit NHL training camps that kick off next week but will return to Winnipeg if they are unable to secure a spot with their parent NHL club.

Thomas was missed dearly a year ago, especially on the Moose power play, when he suited up for the Long Beach Ice Dogs.

Although Thomas’s production dropped to 15 goals and 31 points in 52 games, Thomas still netted 10 power-play goals and had three game-winners last year.

The Los Angeles Kings farmhand presently holds Moose single-season records for goals with 45, 16 power-play goals and 8 game-winning goals, which were all set in 1998-99. “He’s one of those guys who knows how to get it done,” said Carlyle. “He’s a big man that goes to the front of the net.”

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Leafs’ Rookie Tournament – Game 1

by Randy Nicholson
on
The Maple Leafs’ Y2K prospect team and their counterparts representing the Carolina Hurricanes experienced great difficulty in creating any sustained flow at the tournament’s opening game in Kitchener last night. In fairness, it may just have been the hottest evening of the entire summer which made for a hot foggy building, soft ice and a puck that bounced wildly all night long. To make matters even worse, the practices planned earlier in the week were cancelled due to CBA provisions preventing team sponsored workouts prior to August 31st. The difficult physical conditions and obvious lack of team cohesion forced both clubs to dump and chase, to paste everything that moved and to wildly fire the puck at the net from all angles hoping that something good might happen.

Carolina’s prospects dominated early on and were able to build a 2-0 lead shortly after the 2nd period got underway. Only solid work by Leafs’ goalie Sebastien Centomo prevented the deficit from climbing even higher at that point in the match. The Maple Leafs’ prospects seemed to collectively discover their skating legs shortly thereafter when some nifty work by defender Jon Zion at the Carolina blueline led to Toronto’s first goal. Brad Boyes tied up the game early in the 3rd period with a somewhat lucky shot from long range. The comeback was capped with some nice work down low by Luca Cereda’s line resulting in a nifty wraparound effort by right winger Miguel Delisle.
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Norway`s Knutsen Received Raves From Blue Jackets King

by Evan Andriopoulos
on
“Espen Knutsen will be a very important player for us, and will do all for him to have success. He is an extremely fast, technical and intelligent player. These qualities compensate for his size (5-10)” said Head Coach Dave King to Norway`s Dagbladet Newspaper.

“Already 9 years ago I said that Espen Knutsen while in Norway would come to be very special” added Coach King. “I saw him in the winter 7-8 times, he had tremendous success on Sweden`s best team and he was the most exciting player in the entire Swedish Elite League. That told me a lot about him, we needed to get him signed” -Dave King to Dagbladet.

Espen is one of the first players signed for the expansion Blue Jackets. The Jackets had taken notice of Knutsen`s success at Swedish Champion Djurgården where Knutsen broke Peter Forsberg`s playoff points record in the 2000 playoffs.

Some of the questions asked to Dave King regarded Knutsen`s last journey to the NHL, 3 years back. In simple Knutsen has matured both talentwise and mentally since that debacle in Anaheim.

King also commented that Knutsen was never really given any real chance during his time. In Columbus he will receive a lot of ice time to do what he does best. It is important that he can play without the media on his back (other than the Norwegian press) and actually suffer through some down games which will allow him to mature.
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Czech CHL import draft, part 1

by Robert Neuhauser
on

Within the last hot days of the summer you can find a number of Czech-born prospects aboard the planes heading North America. They left their families, friends and Czech style of hockey to take the first step on their way to their dream, by playing in the CHL first.

Whether their decision was a good one or not is sometimes questionable. When they come to North America early, they learn the language and they get used to a smaller rink and a different style of play even before they hear their names selected at the NHL Entry Draft. There is no doubt that this is an advantage. But on the other hand there may be a chance to play in the Czech Elite league and the Czech junior national team. At the age of 17 Elite league games help your development more than the CHL games. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to the player which way he chooses. Most agents would like to see their players cross the sea and they have a big influence on the players and their parents. Leaving home helped future Czech NHL stars like Pavel Brendl, Martin Skoula or Rostislav Klesla to make a name for themselves in the Canadian junior ranks. Martin Havlat stayed at home, played for Trinec in the ELH and won both WJC and WHC championship titles. Now he comes to the Senators camp more mature than he would be if he spent that year in the CHL. Well, lets get through this years CHL Import Draft list with some comments about the players drafted.

1. Ivan Huml (CHL:Val d’Or, QMJHL; Czech:Kladno)
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Back to the Future 1: The Leafs’ Rookie Camp Preview

by Stephen J. Holodinsky
on

After years of believing it to be a contradiction in terms to mention the Toronto Maple Leafs and prospects in the same sentence things are beginning to change. Gone is the Harold “Draft ‘em, pay ‘em, play ‘em” Ballard era in which so many promising youngsters washed out after being thrown to the wolves. Gone as well is the Cliff “Draft, schmaft” Fletcher in which any chances of having youth to begin with was squandered on veteran role players. Now a new age is dawning. The Buds are finally getting their act together and spending serious time and resources on scouting and player development. Read more »

ICE Training Camp 2000 – Roster Spots hard to come by

by Jeff Bromley
on



Now that the bevies of rookies have
moved on to make room for returning
veterans and up and comers looking to
make their mark on the 2000 edition of
the Kootenay ICE, one thing has
become abundantly clear – there isn’t
much room at the Kootenay ICE inn.
About 50 players will hit the pond at
Cranbrook’s Memorial Arena over the
weekend, including five holdovers from
Rookie camp who earned a longer look
from ICE brass at the Main camp held
Sept 1-4. Joining the Main camp is local
products Alex Staudt (Cranbrook),
Brayden Snopek (Cranbrook), Ryan
Mcleod (Fernie) along with Travis
Featherstone (Calgary) and Zac Fisher
(Trail). Although all five of these
prospects are considered longshots to
make the club, the experience will no
doubt help their development for future
ICE training camps.

Rookies- The one enduring quality of a
club that could be returning possibly 18
- 20 WHL veterans is that with a 24-
man limit to the teams’ roster, it pares
down dramatically the decision making
process that must be made in assessing
the 2-3 rookies (16 yr old’s) that the
club will in all likelihood carry with them
this season. North Delta B.C. product
Andy Thompson (6’3″ – 205lbs) and
Courtenay, B.C. native Adam Taylor
(6’0″ – 180lbs) are two names that you
should probably familiarize yourself with
as the two highly touted 1st and 2nd (7th
and 25th overall) 1999 Bantam Draft Read more »

Soo Greyhounds Bantam Camp Wraps Up

by Brad Coccimiglio
on
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds held their first ever Bantam mini-camp on Monday August 28th and Tuesday August 29th. The camp was for all players selected in the 1999 OHL Bantam Draft or in the 2000 OHL Priority draft who were of Bantam age. In total 23 players attended the 2 day camp.
10 players from the Bantam camp are eligible to attend the Greyhounds main camp and compete for a spot on the Greyhounds roster when the team opens up the full camp on August 30th. Those 10 players include defensemen Chris Martin, Dustin Van Ballegooie, Tyler Campbell, and Jeremy Swanson, centres Brent Crawford, Cliff Miller and Craig Meredith as well as wingers Mike Melinko, Tyler Barath and Brett Trudell. Swanson and Trudell were the Greyhounds top 2 selections in the 2000 OHL draft. Swanson was selected in the 1st round (16th overall) while Trudell was selected in the 2nd round (36th overall). The other 8 players were selected in the 1999 OHL Bantam Draft.
By the looks of things the Greyhounds may be in for another successful season. Four players in particular, all defensemen, used this 2 day mini-camp to showcase themselves to Greyhounds management. They include Dustin Van Ballegooie, Jeremy Swanson, Chris Martin and Tyler Campbell. Read more »

Saint John Flames Opening Day Roster

by pbadmin
on
When I saw someone had written an opening day roster
prediction
for the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates I
just couldn’t
resist wondering what the Saint John Flames would look
like
on paper come early October. Now I work for the team,
I know
many of the players’ attitudes and work ethics, so
these are
all taken into account when I try to decide who will
and who
won’t make the big team. So here it goes…
The Flames will be coached this season by IHL veteran
head coach
Jim Playfair, formerly of the Michigan K-Wings.
Calgary Flames
GM Craig Button and Playfair are believed to have a
close
relationship having worked for the same organization
(Dallas
Stars) for many seasons. Mr. Playfair has already
been quoted
as saying Button is very understanding as to the needs
of what
a prospect needs to develop and that’s veterans to
learn from.
Therefore you can expect a few names that have kicked
around
the fringe of the NHL for quite awhile to play under
Playfair
and his assistant coach, former St.Louis Blue Ron
Wilson.
At forward, the Calgary Flames already have 10
sure-fire
starters and they all have one-way contacts; therefore
they
cannot be demoted without clearing waivers first.

They are:


Cory Stillman (LW)
Bill Lindsay (LW)
Dave Lowry (LW)
Andrei Nazarov (LW)
Jason Weimer (C/LW) Read more »