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AHL News

by Andrew Bourgeois
on

AHL NEWS

The American Hockey League announced today its Conference and Divisional Alignment for the 2001-2002 season.

The realignment features nine new American Hockey League cities, bringing the League’s membership to 27 teams in six divisions and two conferences.


Western Conference
West          Central        South
Houston       Rochester      Philadelphia
Utah          Syracuse       Hershey
Chicago       Cincinnati     Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Grand Rapids  Cleveland      Norfolk
Milwaukee


Eastern Conference
East         North       Canadian
Albany       Lowell      Hamilton
Hartford     Worcester   Saint John
Springfield  Portland    St. John's
Providence   Manchester  Quebec
Bridgeport               Manitoba

Each AHL club will play an unbalanced 80 game schedule featuring traditional and regional rivalries. The schedule format detailing the frequency of games between opponents will be announced Tuesday June 19 at noon est.


AHL FASTFACTS

The 1999 Providence Bruins set a League record as they tallied a combined regular season and playoff win tally of 71 games, including another League record of 10 playoff home wins, en route to the Calder Cup Championship.


TODAY IN HOCKEY

June 18, 1992 the Ottawa Senators make goaltender Peter Sidorkiewicz the first overall pick in the NHL expansion draft.

Canadiens’ Draft Preview

by Chris Boucher
on
André Savard will experience his greatest challenge on June 23rd. Seen by many fans as the man most responsible for the Ottawa Senators’ draft success, his talent-evaluation skills will be relied upon to return the Montreal Canadiens to their traditional place among the league’s elite teams.

The Habs’ GM has kept his draft intentions close to the vest. He has not spoken publicly on which player he covets, or what type of players he’ll be looking to grab with the team’s two first-round picks. However, he has said what he looks for in young players; he bases his initial opinion on skating, then skill. Hockey sense, and attitude are also important. Size, however, is rarely a deciding factor.

He has also stated that he will not draft any player that he has not seen play. This explains why he spent much of the past six months travelling the world scouting many, if not all, of the major tournaments involving draft-eligible players.

The 2001 Draft is seen by most experts as one of the top drafts in recent memory. Ilya Kovalchuk has undoubtedly emerged as the number one choice. However, with Jason Spezza’s playoff struggles, and Stanislav Chistov’s emergence as arguably the most talented player available, the second overall pick has become difficult to predict. Probable trades, and the possibility of a goalie being chosen with one of the top six picks, only adds to the difficulty in predicting which players will still be available when the seventh pick arrives.

Keeping this in mind, this preview will in Read more »

Draft preview – Czech players

by Robert Neuhauser
on
After the NHL awards have found their new owners, the eyes of all fans, scouts and people around
the National Hockey League focus on an event, which decides about the future of all teams and
also about the future of approximately 300 young players. No wonder that the NHL scouts get
ready for this event for the whole year. After hundreds of mock drafts were made, the time for
a decision is here. The players from Europe play under the careful eye of NHL scouts from
the time they’re about 15, players who regularly attend the tournaments of junior national teams
gain most attention of course. Now I would like to have a closer look at the Czech players,
who may be selected this year. It’s almost a wonder how a country with about 10 million
people still can produce top NHL prospects every year. Just look at the NHL drafts since 1998.
Every year there were at least two Czech players selected in the first round and also the
later rounds seem to hide some Czech gems. The overage selections like Philadelphia Flyer
Roman Cechmanek also seem to be good fits to their respective teams. With the Czech triumphs
at the Under-20 WJC, the World Championships and a solid performance at the Under-18 WJC there
is no sign that the trend of drafting Czech players should change. And now finally come to the
names!

First round prospects


Jiri Novotny
Position: center
Team: HC Ceske Budejovice
Born: August, 12th, 1983
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 195 lbs.
Shoots: R
CSB rank: 11th Euro
Jiri is a lock to be selected in the first round. Th Read more »

Hidden Gems of the 2001 NHL Draft

by Jonathan Litterine
on
Not all players get the same amount of publicity as others. Yet there are
quite a few players who haven’t been talked about a lot leading up to the
2001 NHL Draft. Below is a list and why you should know about each of them…

Carlo Colaiacovo (D , Erie Otters) …. Colaiacovo is certainly one of the
top three offensive defenseman in the draft. Which makes you wonder why
people haven’t talked about him a whole lot. He tallied 12 goals and 27
assists last year on a on a offensive Erie Otters team which featured Brad
Boyes and Nikita Alexeev. Carlo is certainly a good choice in the middle of
the first round. If he slides up the charts leading up to draft day don’t be
shocked. Many scouts and this writer feel he will be a good one.

Duncan Milroy (RW , Swift Current Broncos) …. There are a large amount of
factors that work against Duncan Milroy in the NHL game. On the top of the
list is size. Milroy is just 6 feet and 180 pounds. Which is espically tough
for a guy who goes through players to score goals. Yet don’t doubt the talent
of this kid. Last year for Swift Current of the WHL , Milroy had a 38 goals
and 54 assists for 92 points in just 68 games. Some team is going to take
Milroy and hope he can compensate with skill for his lack of size. Yet , if
anyone can find the way to get it done it is Milroy , who has a amazing
amount of offensive potential.

Martin Podlesak (C , Lethbridge Hurricanes) …. Your 6’6 and your 200
pounds. Who are you and why aren’t you in the top of the first round? Well
y Read more »

2001 Panthers Draft Preview

by Jes Golbez
on
After a disasterous season, the Florida Panthers find themselves in a very
enviable position: 4 picks in the Top 50, and the draft in their home court.
With the 2001 NHL Entry Draft considered to be the strongest in some time,
the Florida Panthers have the chance to stock their bare cupboards with some
blue-chip talent, and possibly bring in some older talent to help them compete
in the near future. As with any bottom-feeder squad, there are many gaping holes
to be filled. First, a look at the essentials.

Draft Tendencies:

The Panthers have had a love affair with the CHL, especially the OHL and WHL.
Of the 6 First Round picks the Panthers have had, 4 of them have been from the CHL.
26 of the past 36 Panthers picks have been from the CHL, with many of them being ‘safe’
‘character’ players that have amounted to absolutely nothing.
The Panthers have been deathly afraid of college players (DiPenta is the only
college pick of note), and have not ventured often into Europe, including just three picks
from the Czech Republic and ZERO picks from Slovakia.
This one-dimensional approach to drafting has led to predictable results, and it shows
in the standings, and on the farm. When the Panthers have ventured into uncharted waters
(Europe), they have had good success. Radek Dvorak, Filip Kuba, Oleg Kvasha, Kristian Huselius,
Jaro Spacek, Niklas Hagman, Marcus Nilson and Vladimir Saphozhnikov have all been very good
picks, and since the Panthers have only picked twelve European players since 1995, they have had
a Read more »

AHL Announces 2001-2002 Alignment

by Corine Gatti
on

The realignment includes three divisions in each of the two conferences. The
2001-2002 AHL alignment is as follows:

Western Conference

West Central South Chicago Cincinnati *Hershey Grand Rapids Cleveland Norfolk Houston Rochester *Philadelphia Milwaukee Syracuse *Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Utah

Eastern Conference

East North Canadian Albany Lowell Hamilton Bridgeport Manchester Manitoba Hartford Portland Quebec Providence Worcester Saint John Springfield St. John’s

“We are very excited about the new alignment,” stated Norfolk Admirals
owner Mark Garcea. “The Admirals played some of their most memorable games
against these teams last season, including the playoff series against
Hershey. Our fans should see big rivalries continue against the new division
foes all season long.”

Last season, all four teams in the new South Division were in the AHL’s
Western Conference. Norfolk was in the Southern Division, while Hershey,
Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton were all in the Mid-Atlantic
Division. The Admirals faced each of the three teams eight times during the
regular season, the most games against any teams outside of their division.
The new South Division teams are those closest to Norfolk geographically.

The realignment places five of the expansion teams from the former
International Hockey League (IHL) in the Western Conference’s West Division,
with the sixth former IHL club, Manitoba, joining the Eastern Confer Read more »

Pittsburgh Penguins Draft Preview

by Erik Johnson
on

It’s possible that the 2001 draft could be the start of a new era for the Pens (along with the continuation of an “old” era). It’s likely that the Pens will part with 4 time scoring camp and 2 time Cup winner Jaromir Jagr this summer and it’s possible that could come before (or during) the draft. In any event, the Pens will need to find that groups of prospect that will lead them to as successful of a decade as the one that just past. It won’t be easy for GM Craig Patrick, but he’s dealth with adversity well before and there is no reason to believe that he won’t make a successful post-Jagr transition.


Pens Draft Strategy

As with most teams, the Pens will draft the best player on the board in the first round, as their usual philosphy. The Pens draft table is a democracy, with GM Patrick and head scout Greg Malone at the head of that table. European scout Mark Kelly has a lot of influence in the decision making process and the Pens picks usually reflect that.


Recent Draft History

Last year was one of the few times in Patrick’s tenure that the Pens spent their first round pick on a North American born player. 4 of the 5 previous picks were used to select skilled European forwards. After the first round, the Pens generally select players to fill specific needs, all with a general theme. In 1997, the Pens spent 6 of their final 8 picks on defensemen. In 1998, 6 of 9 were forwards. 199 was a bit of a mix of players. They added depth to a number of positions. And finally last year, they spent most of their picks on tough gritt Read more »

Trader Rick

by Ron Hoover
on
The Rick Dudley era in Tampa has been an adventure when it comes to draft day. The Lightning G.M. has yet to make a selection in the teams correct slot, despite having two consecutive top three picks, electing instead to make deals for more immediate help.
Both of the previous draft day maneuvers resulted in the Bolts acquiring a young, talented “starting” goaltender. Or so they thought. Dan Cloutier was picked up from the N.Y. Rangers in 1999 along with Niklas Sundstrom and a couple of picks after Dudley had previously made a deal with Chicago for their pick. Sundstrom was subsequently dealt to the Sharks in a deal that brought four players to the team, of which only Andrei Zyuzin remains.

Cloutier struggled after having to take over prematurely for an injured Daren Puppa as the starter. The consensus was that Dan just wasn’t ready to carry that load and the team announced they would attempt to get a veteran netminder to lug the mail until Cloutier was ready.

Opting to ignore free agency, Dudley got another goalie with his second consecutive draft day deal. Instead of the veteran that he had earlier told season ticket holders they would go after, he chose to trade away the number one overall pick to the Islanders for another young backup Kevin Weekes.

Cloutier has since been traded and Weekes is apparently not the answer either despite playing strong at the end of last season. The Bolts made a deal for veteran Nikolai Khabibulin which should pretty much seal Weekes fate as a starter in Tampa

Needless to say, Lig Read more »

Lightning 2001 draft preview

by Chad Schnarr
on

In the ever-active mind of Lightning General Manager Rick Dudley, there is a certain make-up a player must posses if he is to join one of the up-and-coming teams of the NHL. Knowing the history of the Lightning, one could assume that would be “knew how to skate,” and left it there. Seeing how 1996 first rounder Mario Larocque turned out, even that wasn’t always followed.

That was then, this is now. Dudley is looking for a few key ingredients in prospects to set them apart from the others. Primarily, he wants size, he wants speed and he wants skill. Secondarily, he would prefer a nasty streak and a well-rounded, defensive game already in place. In other words, the prospect must be able to find their own zone without the use of a map or asking a linesman for directions.

Normally when drafting in the top end of the first round, the plan of attack is common sense; take the best player available and if he doesn’t work out or you’re loaded at that position – deal accordingly. As more attention is made to prospects’ strength and development, especially in Europe (Dudley has made known his admiration for the developmental programs overseas, specifically Russia. This evidenced by 5/10 picks last year from Russia, 2 North American.), the more prospects are becoming closer to NHL readiness. Because of that, the more “need” creeps into the equation. Such is the case for Tampa, considering their shallow forward lines and strong draft position.

The Lightning need help filling holes up front and Dudley thinks this draft can help. In other Read more »

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