The Western Hockey League is well represented in this week’s Top 10 Canadian Hockey League Teams ranking. Strong team play enabled the Red Deer Rebels to remain 1st overall for the fourth consecutive week.
#1 Rebel Notes: Individual leaders for the Rebels include stellar goaltending by Columbus Blue Jacket property Shane Bendera and play-making by highly touted Russian Center Mikhail Yakubov, the 2000 1st Round Draft Pick of the Chicago Blackhawks. Bendera is standing firm on a tiny 1.58 GAA and a SV% of .942!!! That is absolutely sick! Yakubov leads the team in scoring with a balanced 8 Goals and 11 Assists, but a puzzling 0+/-. Not exactly the type of two-way play you will need to survive in an NHL uniform. However, the 19 year old WHL rookie is adjusting smoothly to the punishment and grind of the tough Western Hockey League schedule.
#4 Bronco Notes: Individual leaders for the Broncos include yappy-mouthed Vancouver Canuck Draft Pick Tim Smith and goal-scoring talent Duncan Milroy, a 2001 Montreal Canadiens Draft Pick. Diminutive winger Tim Smith is putting his war of words with former-employer, the Spokane Chiefs, behind him and is concentrating on finding the open man. As a result, he leads the team in scoring with 9 goals and 17 assists in 17 games. Milroy is letting his goal-scoring ability do his talking as he has potted 12 goals in as many games and added four assists. Four of his goals have come on the man-advantage, while two have come while short-handed, leaving opposing coaches pulling their hair ou Read more »
Martin Erat is another from the young generation of Czech players, born in the early 80’s who
has made it to the NHL. Players like Erat, Milan Kraft, Josef Vasicek, Martin Havlat, Vaclav
Nedorost or Rostislav Klesla contibuted to at least one of the Czech back-to-back Under-20
WJC championship titles and now they have won regular spots in their respective NHL teams.
Let’s have a look at Martin Erat’s career!
Martin Erat was born on August, 29th, 1981 in the Czech city Trebic. Like most kids, he wanted to play some
sport and hockey is by far the top sport in the small city. Soccer team is far from being
the best and the hockey team is one of the better teams of the Div I league, so the Trebic
kids tend to play hockey and their role model is New Jersey Devils’ star winger Patrik Elias,
also born in Trebic. Patrik Elias wasn’t Martin Erat’s role model at first, though. Martin
was influenced mostly by his two years older brother Roman, who is now a regular in the
Div I team of Trebic. Roman played hockey and also Martin told his parents that he wants to
be like his brother and play hockey. That was when Martin was five. Their parents dedicated
lots of their free time to the “hockey education” of their kids and as usual their effort
was the first which directed Martin on the way to the NHL. The second then was his older
brother. Younger Martin competed with him in every hockey skill and because Roman was older,
Martin had to give 100 per cent at least to beat him. That’s a simillar situation to the
Nedorost brothers or Sivek brothers. Martin had the ad Read more »
The Calder Corner
Heatley: 1 Goal (2), 2 Assists
Kovalchuk: 3 Goals (4,5,6)
Pothier: 1 Assist
Hamel: 1 Assist
Cole: 1 Goal, 1 Assist
Bell: 1 Goal (2), 3 Assists
Larsen: 1 Assist
Spanhel: 1 Goal (1)
Datsyuk: 1 Assist
Conklin: 2 games: 37 Shots-35 Saves, .935 SV%, 2-0-0)
Huselius: 3 Goals (3,4,5), 2 Assists
Ference: 3 Assists
Novoseltsev: 2 Assists Read more »
The Manchester Monarchs can be thought of as a new, yet old team in the American Hockey League. Several of the players who make up the roster of one of the AHL’s expansion franchises could be found on the previous affiliate squad to the Los Angeles Kings, the Lowell Lock Monsters. Some of the familiar faces on the team this season are Richard Seeley, Joe Rullier, Greg Phillips, Mike Pudlick, and Chris Schmidt. The Kings moved out and into a brand-spanking new home about 25 miles north of its former abode, and the Carolina Hurricanes’ top minor league affiliate took up residence in the old place.
The Monarchs’ home opener is still three weeks away, but the folks who follow the team are still excited about having a New Hampshire-based team to cheer on. Fans got their first glimpse of the inside of the Verizon Wireless Arena on Tuesday, October 23, 2001, when they invaded the still-under-construction arena for the season ticket pick-up gathering. The Monarchs players were in attendance, giving fans the opportunity to meet the boys in purple, white and gold, get autographs and pictures, and chat.
Because their home rink won’t be available until mid-November, the Monarchs embarked on a 14-game road trip to start the season. Having played half of those games, things look a bit grim. They’ve played the currently undefeated Lowell Lock Monsters team twice, and have been handed defeat in both contests, losing 6-3 in the season opener (October 5th), then 4-3 last weekend (October 20th). They played back-to-back games against the Norfolk Admirals, the fi Read more »
There has certainly been some excitement in the prospect pool of the Western Hockey League this season. Out East, the Lethbridge Hurricanes are out of the gate and flying thanks to the crafty scoring talents of Nathan Barrett, Tomas Kopecky, and Ryley Layden, amassing 82 points combined through 15 games. The true “Windy City” is craving a long playoff run and the ‘Canes look to have the talent to produce. The Red Deer Rebels haven’t seem to falter a bit since spending their month of May conquering opponents to win the Memorial Cup. GM and Head Coach Brent Sutter watched junior-stars Kyle Wanvig (Minnesota), Martin Erat (Nashville), and Justin Mapletoft (Islanders) all start professional careers, yet packed enough ammo to sit atop the CHL rankings for the fourth consecutive week. Pittsburgh Penguin 1st Round Draft Pick Colby Armstong (10 points in 13 games played) now wears the Red Deer “C” while Columbus prospect Shane Bendera anchors the Rebels in net with a miniscule 1.58 GAA and a .942 SV%. In the West, the Kamloops Blazers are enjoying a hot streak while battling through some injury problems. Scottie Upshall is headlining their assault, demonstrating a balance of scoring touch and physical play with 21 Points and 38 PIM in 14 games played. The Seattle Thunderbirds are stuck in a rut that finds them with only four wins in the US Division, yet one more win than BC Division strugglers the Kelowna Rockets. Both teams have some impressive talent, such as T-Bird Read more »
Back in the early days of the Sabres franchise, former Buffalo GM Punch Imlach used his top pick in both the ’70 and ’71 drafts to select offensive stars from the Quebec League. Those two selections, C Gilbert Perreault and LW Rick Martin, went on to form 2/3 of the high-flying French Connection line that terrorized NHL goaltenders throughout most of the 70s.
Recent incarnations of the Sabres have been about as offensive as a Disney animated feature, so it is no surprise that current GM Darcy Regier placed an emphasis on offense during the 2001 draft. One of those ’01 selections, RW Jason Pominville of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes, is bringing back memories of those early draft successes, perhaps signaling an end to the Sabres’ long search for a sniper.
Jason is off to a blazing start this season, as his 34 points in 15 games will attest. Pominville has scored 15 goals and added 19 assists, which is good enough to make him the Cataractes’ leading scorer, while leaving him second in scoring in the QMJHL. 7 of Jason’s goals have come on the power play, while 4 goals have been game-winners, both totals being an indication that Pominville has a knack for scoring important goals. In one early season contest, Jason racked up 7 points (4G, 3A) in a Shawinigan victory.
Shawinigan is currently tied for first overall in the "Q" with Rimouski, although the Oceanic are the higher-ranked team in the CHL rankings. The Cataractes are currently ranked 9th in the CHL.
Jason’s fast start is most Read more »
A funny thing happened to Jussi Markkanen when he went to Hamilton for a tune up. While it was intended to be a one game “warm-up” demotion, it has turned into a two week coming out party for Ty Conklin. All Conklin has done is win both of his starts and compile a 1.63 GAA. If he had enough minutes played to qualify, he would be third overall in GAA. While Conklin is the closest thing the Oilers have to a prospect in their line up, it is way too early to tell if he is the real deal, but his early heroics have earned him another start, and the players trust.
“In the development stages”
Kevin Brown and Marc Lamothe are providing the Hamilton Bulldogs exactly what the Oilers had hoped for, veteran leadership and strong performances. Leading the way from the prospects are Jason Chimera, Brian Swanson, and Jani Rita. Michael Henrich has also followed up his impressive training camp by posting 4 points in his first 7 games. Not huge numbers, but when you consider that he only had 15 points all of last year, it is a marked improvement.
Currently ranked number 4 on the CHL Top 10 list the Belleville Bulls, with a record of 11-5, are showing that they will once again be a top contender for the OHL title. The name of the game so far this year has been explosive offense. The Bulls can currently boast 3 of the top 5 scorers in the OHL, #1 Mike Renzi (32), #2 Nathan Robinson (31) and #5 Kyle Wellwood (25).
The Bulls however have had trouble controlling opposing forwards in their own end mainly due to the lack of size on the blue-line. Captain Matt Coughlin is the biggest Bulls defenseman at 6’3” 200lbs and he is the only one over 200lbs. This has made the transition game more difficult resulting in more work for goalies Jan Chovan and Paulo Colaiacovo who have been up to the task in most games. The defense are talented and above average skaters but have seemed reluctant to jump into the offense with the exception of Malcolm Hutt who is having an excellent season so far with 2 goals and 9 assists. Coughlin has vastly improved his skating from last season but has not been utilizing his newfound skills as of yet.
The Bulls just came off of a shootout win against the Mississauga Ice Dogs (9-6) and a hard luck loss to the Erie Otters (3-2) where all 3 of Erie’s goals were weak. The Otters defense was very impressive, led by Maple Leaf draft pick Carlo Colaiacovo who had a very strong game. The Erie – Belleville game boasted 4 Maple Leaf Draft picks: Colaiacovo, Brad Boyes, Kyle Wellwood and Jan Chovan. Chovan however did not play in f Read more »