Greg Watson, a front-line power forward for the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League, is on a roll.
After a slow start to his Western Hockey League season, Watson has exploded to produce 18 goals and 15 assists for 29 points in 27 games.
The slow start wasn’t a problem to his team because he was still playing with heart and determination, said head coach Wade Klippenstein.
“Offensively his numbers weren’t what he wanted them to be but I still thought he was playing hard and reasonably well.”
With a hat trick on Nov. 20 against the Swift Current Broncos and then another on Nov. 28 against the Medicine Hat Tigers, Watson took his point tally to 26 points in 26 games.
After counting two goals and one assist for a three-point game Nov. 30 in Calgary against the Hitmen (a 5-4 overtime loss), the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Watson said he might have found his groove.
“I’m starting to get the feel,” the Calgary native said. “I finally found a pattern of sticks I like and things are just bouncing my way right now.”
The WHL also recognized the streak of points and Watson was awarded Player of the Week after recording eight points in four games in the week ending Dec. 2.
After going 0-11-1-2 on the road at the start of this season, Watson guided the Raiders to their first road victory of the campaign.
Despite his Raiders being out shot 32-31, Watson had a five-point night with a trio of goals and two assists to lead his team to a 6-2 win over the Tigers.
Klippenstein can see Watson warming up and Read more »
The World Junior Hockey Championships is always extremely interesting to watch. It’s fun to observe many of the players that will be tomorrow’s stars in the NHL before the big bucks change their love for the game. This year’s tournament has been a roller coaster ride with plenty of upsets and lots of sidebars that have made the action extremely entertaining. Team Canada has found itself in the thick of things and has found an old rivalry against the Russian bear boil over. The players have made this something to remember, in more ways that one.
There have been some excellent performances, and some that make you scratch your head. Some players make you sit straight up when they make a play, and others make you hide your eyes before they play the puck. Because many of these young men have been drafted, or scrutinized to death, certain expectations are placed on these players, sometimes unfairly. Consider that when reading the reviews. They are one person’s opinion of what has been observed in a short tournament, one that is really not long enough to properly gauge a player except to flag him for further scouting, against the best competition possible for the age group of the players in question.
Jay Bouwmeester – The un-drafted Bouwmeester has been in the public spotlight for several years now. He has been touted as the number one pick for the 2002 NHL Entry Draft for three years. If there was a player that had unfair expectations to live up to, it is Jay Bouwmeester. Funny thing is that this kid lives up to them, Read more »
With the progression of the calendar comes the glimmer of new hopes and new dreams for a new year. For the Kootenay ICE, the new year still holds that promise. It just didn’t show itself on the year’s first day with a 5-3 loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers and when it will show up is anyone’s guess.
In what could very well turn out to be the one of the more crucial home stands’ of the year, the ICE have struck out the first two out of three and have two formidable opponents in the on-deck circle. In the past week Kootenay has offered up a Christmas turkey in the form of last Friday’s 3-0 drubbing by the Moose Jaw Warrior, the first time in recent memory that the club has been shutout at home. They’ve been a force in more than just the goals column of the score-sheet with the six-goal, six-fight outburst as the Lethbridge Hurricanes were doubled 6-3 the very next night. Completing the up again, down again cycle, the aforementioned drubbing by the Tigers to start off 2002 with a whiff.
Coach Ryan McGill knew why his depleted club didn’t succeed against the Tigers after an all-around team effort in the win over Lethbridge just three nights earlier. He just didn’t know why his players didn’t. “It’s a concern everyday,” said McGill of what seems like the two different clubs that don the ICE jerseys on any given night. “Our biggest thing tonight is that every mental mistake we made they put in the back of the net and consequently at the other end, we couldn’t score.
“That was the bottom line. We had no mental intensity in any area tonight.”
McGill also fin Read more »
HF: Tonight you were defeated for the first time by a very strong Finland team, what can you say about the game?
Aulin: Finland has a very good team. Tonight they were simply better then us.
HF: In the quarter finals you will face Sweden. What do you know about them?
Aulin: I don’t know much about them really. But we will do our best to make it to the semi’s, it won’t be easy though cause all 8 teams in the quarter finals are very strong.
HF: Because of the loss tonight Finland ended up first in the group and Canada now doesn’t play the Czech Republic who surprisingly finished 4th in their group. Are you happy you avoid playing the Czechs this early in the tournament since they do have home advantage?
Aulin: It doesn’t matter, if we want to win gold we will have to beat everyone, also the Czechs.
HF: Are you satisfied with your own performance so far at this WJC?
Aulin: Yes, very much. I think my performance opened a lot of eyes for many people. I am playing very strong so far.
HF: How would you describe your game. What are your strengths and what areas of the game you need to improve?
Aulin: I’m an offensive type of player, a playmaker, in those areas are my strengths. I need to add some weight though to get more physical.
HF: What about your future? When you feel you can skate in the NHL?
Aulin: I’m hoping to claim a spot on the Kings roster next season. That would be good.
Read more »
Q: Do you agree with the opinion that the Canadians played a very dirty hockey today, e.g. when Steve Ott and Mark Popovic tried (and succeeded) to beat Alexander Svitov several times?
Volchenkov: Yes, I agree. But when playing against Canada, that´s pretty normal and one always should consider that before.
Q: Right before the first goal for Canada, Russian defender Fyodor Tyutin did not go to attack forward Jarrett Stoll, who had the puck, but went to the players bench, immediately before Stoll scored his goal. What do you think of that?
Volchenkov: Yes, that was a bad mistake, of course. Both defenders, Tyutin and Knyazev, made bad mistakes in that scene.
Q: You were drafted by the Ottawa Senators. Have you already planned when to go to North America?
Volchenkov: No, I haven´t yet thought about that.
Q: Could you also imagine to play in another European country, Germany for example, or Switzerland?
Volchenkov: No. At the moment, I play for Krlylia Sovietov (“Soviet Wings”) Moscow, and I´m quite happy there. I guess it wouldn´t give much to me to play in a Western European league. I´ll either play in Russia or in North America.
Q: What, do you think, will be better tomorrow in the game against Switzerland?
Volchenkov: Our biggest problem today were the time penalties, of which we just received too much. We´ll have to change that tomorrow, and then we can
Lukas Krajicek, a Florida Panthers 2001 first round pick, is currently performing for the Czech team at the WJC. The Peterborough
Petes defenseman answered some questions after the game against Belarus.
When did you start playing hockey?
I was about four years old when my dad brought me to the rink.
Where was it?
In Prostejov, my hometown.
Who had a bigger influence on the begin of your career – dad or older brother, also playing hockey?
Definitely both of them, the fact that my older brother Jan played hockey was essential in my decision which sport to choose, but it was
my dad who directed my first hockey steps and gave me tips.
Who is your hockey role model?
Brian Leetch, New York Rangers defenseman.
Your favorite European team?
That wouldn´t be a Czech team, I´m a fan of the Finnish Jokerit Helsinki team.
And a favorite NHL team?
Definitely the Florida Panthers.
Do you have a special number you like to wear on your jersey? Read more »
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 »
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.