| | The long waiting is finally over. The whole Czech hockey nation is looking forward to see
another top bunch of junior-aged players fight for gold. The excitement is even increased
by the fact that the host Czech Republic won the last two WJC titles. People want to see
their players win gold again.
To fulfill the wish, head coach Jaroslav Holik, father of New Jersey Devils’ Bobby Holik,
selected 22 top 1982 and 1983 born players along with one 1984 born, tremendously talented
Jiri Hudler. Among those players are nine CHL players which is an unprecended number. CHL
additions showed to be a huge boost to the team both on and off the ice in the previous
seasons and so this number leaves most likely nobody to shake his head. This year’s team
is solid in goal with Lukas Hronek and Michal Fikrt, the defense corps boosted with five
CHLers look to be the biggest weapon of the team and the forward lines look balanced, too.
From skyscrapers like Martin Podlesak or Jiri Jakes to smallish speedsters like Jiri Hudler
or Frantisek Lukes. Read more »
Although the 2002 draft is still 6 months away, a lot of talk and news are going around about an NHL draft that could be the best ever. If you thought that the two-way race of Jason Spezza and Ilya Kovalchuk is exciting, you might be surprised to know that in the 2003 draft, there could be 5-10 potential candidates for the top spot overall.The 2002 draft looks to be an average one, in comparison to most, more comparable to the one taking place in 2000. A lot of the players are considering passing the draft as well, such as the Austrian Thomas Vanek and the American blueliner Mark Stuart. This would only forebode a potentially mind-boggling first round extravaganza in 2003.The European invasion will be the most noteworthy of that class. Excellent players will be eligible from Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic. The United States and Canada will offer solid depth of talent, but it will be overshadowed with the plethora of Europeans. Needless to say, this could be the first time Europeans outnumber North Americans in the first round in history of NHL drafts.Here is the sneak peak outlining some of the talent eligible for the 2003 draft:
Steve Bernier , Right Wing – A feisty, physical player is turning heads in the Quebec hockey league.
Dustin Brown , Right Wing — 32 goals in 35 OHL games this year.
Braydon Coburn , Defense – A Saskatchewan kid is a combination of size and skill with the Portland Winter Hawks of the WHL.
Denis Ezhov , Defense – A stay Read more »
What they said
Back in the first class
What a good year for the German Nationalteams. The first team played a sensational world championship, the U18 finished their championships on position five and the U20 won the division I world championships which where held in Austria. 7-1 in the final against Austria. Germany played on a higher level than the other countries during the whole tournament. Including Draft Picks Dimitri Pätzold, Christian Ehrhoff, Stefan Schauer, Christoph Schubert and Marcel Goc, this team was the best German Under-20 team since the squads with players like Jochen Hecht and Marco Sturm. And this year’s Under-20 should be good enough to play with the big boys. Against Canada, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden and so on.
The best from the best
Christian Ehrhoff, topscorer, captain and team leader. Ten points in five games, tremendous numbers for a defender. Ehrhoff was named the best defender of the tournament, the same award he garnered last year… His Power-Play-Partner was Christoph Schubert, who scored all his four (!) goals from the blue line. A dou for the german hockey future. Another star was Dimitri Pätzold who extended his excellent performances in international appereances. Others like Sebastian Jones, Adrian Grygiel, Marcel Goc or Sebastian Furchner showed good performances, too.
Read more »
The motto for the Carolina Hurricanes seems to have become ‘quality, not quantity,’ as can be demonstrated by the mere 13 members of their Top Prospect List. However, if you look at their track record over the past few seasons, it becomes clear that they are doing a good job of drafting and producing NHL-ready players at a fairly quick pace (please refer to David Tanabe, Josef Vasicek, Shane Willis and Niclas Wallin).
Therefore, here is a look at the top 13 in the organization right now:
(6’01 – 200 pounds)
(Born: 09/07/81 in Canada)
(After re-entering draft, was selected by Carolina in the 4th round, 110th overall in 2001)
The acquisition of Tom Barrasso forced the Hurricanes to send Tyler Moss to Lowell (AHL). Therefore, there was no room for Zepp and he landed in Florida, their ECHL affiliate. He has won 6 of the 13 games he has played and tied two others while notching a 3.33 goals-against-average and a 0.902 save percentage. Zepp had a stellar three-year career with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League. He is the goaltender of the future for Carolina.
(6’03 – 210 pounds)
(Born: 11/10/77 in the United States) Read more »
When trying to determine whether a player will develop NHL calibre skills, we tend to look at how that player is improving year to year. A prospect is just that; a prospect. Only by improving year to year will any player develop the skills necessary to produce at the NHL level. Skating, speed and strength are difficult attributes to measure on a year to year basis. They are far less tangible than raw stats, but in no way less important. The easiest way to measure a player’s improvement is by breaking down their production into a point per game basis, then comparing that number to the previous year’s total.When comparing The Montreal Canadiens’ prospects’ point per game totals from this season with those of a year ago, Chris Dyment shows the greatest improvement. The 22-year-old defenseman rebounded from a difficult 00-01 season to put up numbers similar to those from his 99-00 campaign. The 6’3″, 202-lbs. defenseman averaged 0.30 PPG last season. Sixteen games into this season he’s averaging a solid 0.75 PPG; an improvement of 0.45. Dyment is one of Boston University’s co-captains, and plays on the Terriers’ number-one defensive unit with highly touted prospect Ryan Whitney. Dyment was chosen in the fourth round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.An impressive second to Dyment is Michigan’s Mike Komisarek. The Habs’ chose Komisarek with their first pick during the 2001 draft. He has already registered more points this year than he did during the entire 00-01 season. The 6’4′, 228-lbs. defenseman averaged only 0.38 PPG last year. Through 18 g Read more »
An overview of drafted players and undrafted players with an NHL-career currently active in the Swiss league(s).
Apart from the traditional big 5 (Finland, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia) in Europe, Switzerland has made some siginificant progress the past few years and has established themselves as a genuine A-pool country. This upbeat is not only displayed on the national team level but as well in the Swiss Leagues (National Liga A and National Liga B). There are currently around 60 players which are either drafted or have had an NHL career playing in Switzerland, most of them being North-Americans. Where exactly are they playing now and what happened to them after they crossed the pond? An overview per NHL team
Drafted 1989, 2nd rnd, 34th overall
Current team: SC Bern
Juhlin enterred the NHL as a 25 year old after he was doing very well in the Swedish league. Owever 3 seasons later and 56 NHL games and 101 AHL games later he decided to return to Europe and went to Finland. After 2,5 good seasons with Jokerit Helsinki he moved to Switzerland in the 99-00 season. In Switzerland Juhlin is one of the top forwards in the league. In his first season he registerred 31 points in 37 games and that was followed by a 43 point saeson. This season Juhlin has already equalled that total and that after only 33 games.
Read more »
The Montreal Rocket pulled the trigger on a deal with the Quebec Remparts
last Tuesday that changed the direction of the team. Whether it was for
better or worse remains to be seen.
Montreal sent Chris Montgomery, Karl St-Pierre, and Pierre-Olivier Beaulieu
to Quebec for Cory Urquhart, Jeff MacAulay, Mike Bray, and Yan Turcotte.
The surprise of the deal was Montreal trading the franchises first ever
draft pick and hometown boy, Chris Montgomery. All the recent rumors around
the Molson Center had Columbus prospect Pascal Leclaire on his way out, but
the play of back-up Jonathan Cayer since Leclaire left for Team Canada’s
Junior camp has been less than stellar and those trade rumor have been
tucked away until later on this season.
The Rocket are a team that lacks offensive punch, so trading their second
leading scorer might raise an eyebrow or two. The truth is, Montgomery
didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just that Michael Lambert did everything
Lambert, a 5th overall pick in 2000, has stepped up his offensive game in
recent weeks and has shown that he can be a legitimate 1st line player.
Since Montgomery has left Lambert has been shuffled between the first and
second line picking up 2 goals and 4 points in two games.
In moving Montgomery and company, it seems the Rocket are looking towards
the future. They didn’t really have a choice. If you take a look at who
Montreal had on defense before the trade you would see that they were
extremely thin with nothing promising for the future. In Jeff MacAulay,
Montreal gets a roo Read more »
AROUND THE WHL
With the Western Hockey League trade deadline of January 15th lurking just around the corner, it appears some teams are trying to get the jump. Last week, on December 13, the Kamloops Blazers sent centerman Derek Krestanovich (’83) to the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for right winger Ben Knopp (’82), a third round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blazers gain a legitimate scoring threat in Knopp (19goals, 14 assists in 31 games) who adds depth in scoring to an already potent line up with the likes of Canadian World Junior Team players Jared Aulin and Scottie Upshall, as well as 2002 draft eligible Eric Christensen, Ryan Annesley, Mark Rooneem, Scott Henkelman and Paul Brown.
Moose Jaw gives up some scoring, but gain an excellent checking center in Krestanovich who should help the Warriors cut down on the their 15th worst goals against total in the 19-team league. Krestanovich (7 goals, 13 assists) is effective in the face off circle and a premier penalty killer who can also chip in offensively. as his twenty points shows.
The Kelowna Rockets then entered the fray on December 18/01, dealing a pair of 19-year-olds, winger/center Carsen Germyn (10 goals, 19 assists, 21 games) and goaltender Jason Stone (2.99 GAA, .890 SV%, 12-9-2 record in 27 games) to the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for last seasons WHL Playoff MVP and the goaltender that backstopped the Rebels on their way to winning the 2001 Memorial Cup, 19-year-old Shane Bendera.
Kelowna obtains Read more »
It has become something of a Christmastime tradition for the rookie 16-yr-olds of the Kootenay ICE. Adam Taylor and Andy Thompson played last year, and Dan Blackburn and Duncan Milroy played the year prior and Jarrett Stoll the year before that. This season isn’t any different as a record three members of the ICE first-year player club have been selected to represent their respective regions at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge held this year in Selkirk and Stonewall, Manitoba. Nigel Dawes (Team Western), Dale Mahovsky and Bryan Bridges (Team Pacific) will all be competing for the gold medal signifying the best 16-yr-old players on the planet the week of Dec. 29 – Jan 4.
The tournament is one of the most heavily scouted by NHL talent finders – a fact made more clear because the players at the World Junior Hockey Tournament have all, for the most part been drafted. A prospect that now makes the tournament that much more important for the NHL possibilities of the three players.
For first year goaltender Bryan Bridges, it’s a pressure that he tries not to focus on. “Yeah, but you know there’s going to be some pressure with all the media, TV and scouts,” said Bridges before the Christmas break. “I don’t know, I guess all I can do is play my best and hope the scouts like what they see.”
Dawes sees it somewhat different. For him he’ll play it almost identical to what it looks like when he’s playing at the Cranbrook Rec/Plex, that is, just have some fun. “Not really,” said Dawes of being under a microscope. “I’m sure when I get out there I’ll be a little ne Read more »
Contrary to popular opinion, Kootenay ICE forward Jarrett Stoll making the 2001-02 edition of the Canadian World Junior Hockey team wasn’t an automatic. Although one would be hard pressed to find the last junior national team veteran who was cut from the following year’s squad, a fait accompli it wasn’t. Still, Stoll wasn’t making any assumptions that he would be a lock whatsoever and would accept any spot available for him. “I’m excited to go and play any role,” said Stoll before the Yorkton native left for the Jr. Nat’s training camp in North York, Ontario. “There’s not very many guys that get a chance to do this so, I’ll take any role they give me, I’ll pack the bags if they want me to.”
It is sufficed to say that Kootenay’s leading point-getter last season won’t have to do any bag packing over the holidays. For the second time in as many seasons, a member of the Kootenay ICE (present or former) will wear the ‘C’ above the red Maple Leaf as captain of the National Junior team. Head Coach Stan Butler designated Stoll for the job at the Canadian Olympic team announcement on the 15th of December.
Of course as with anything to do with hockey in this country, wearing the Maple Leaf ensign on your chest, never mind the captaincy, carries with it responsibility and pressure. Responsibility to represent your country admirably and the accompanying pressures that goes along with it in the chase for gold. It’s an urgency that seems to be mounting after four years without the shiny yellow medal around their necks.
Undaunted, Stoll takes up the challenge. “I don’ Read more »