SUNRISE, FL – The South Florida chapter of the Professional Hockey
Writers’ Association (PHWA) announced today that center Serge Payer is
the Panthers’ nominee for the National Hockey League’s Bill Masterton
Trophy, given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities
of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Payer, 21, is in his rookie season with the Panthers, having been signed
as a free agent on Oct. 2, 1997. The 6-foot, 203-pound native of
Rockland, Ontario, has played in 40 games this year, scoring four goals
and adding an assist. On Nov. 29 vs. Carolina he became only the second
rookie in team history (Jaroslav Spacek) to score a shorthanded goal.
Payer was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome in 1998, while playing
junior hockey with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League.
The disorder is a rare acute type of nerve inflammation. The
inflammation damages portions of the nerve cell, resulting in muscle
weakness or paralysis. He lost more than 40 pounds while he battled the
illness during a lengthy hospital stay. Upon his release from the
hospital, he hadn’t strength enough to even climb a flight of stairs.
Shortly into his recovery from Guillain-Barre, Payer developed a severe
case of mononucleosis, which prevented him from participating in the
1999 Florida Panthers Rookie Camp. He was unable to skate until November
of 1999, when he rejoined his teammates in Kitchener and finished fifth
in team scoring with 36 points, despite playing in only the last 44
games of the season.
Pa Read more »
The Czech Under-16 team underwent its first major tournament at the european junior stage.
After they met teams Finland, Switzerland and Slovakia three times, they headed to Yaroslavl
to compete against Sweden, Finland and Russia. It’s evident that the Czech miracle still
works, this small country in the center of Europe still produces top hockey talent. Among
those born 1985 two guys are a bit ahead of the others. The first is Rostislav Olesz of HC
Vitkovice, not eligible until the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, but already 6’0” 170 lbs., who
played two games in the Czech Elite League this season! Olesz needed just three minutes to
score his first point, an assist, in his first Extraleague game. Then he appeared in one more
game, but most important he is a star for the juniors of Vitkovice. Besides, he is still
eligible to play in the midget league next season! Olesz is really a big talent, big, creative
forward with an excellent scoring touch and vision, great pair of hands and hockey sense. He
just has to learn how to play without the puck and how to be more responsible defensively. But definitely a top prospect.
The other guy is Vojtech Polak, a native of Decin, Czech Republic. Polak is nearly the same
rocket talent as Olesz, just like him he plays for the Under-16 team the second season,
played sparingly with the junior team of HC Becherovka Karlovy Vary last season and posted
great numbers in the midget and junior league this season. After the tournament he was
awarded with his biggest success till now, his first game in the Extraleague. Read more »
With the new management coming in and the captain, Mark Messier, coming back to the team, everyone in New York with a pint-sized brain, including me, figured this year would be an exciting season in which the Rangers could do something big, maybe even become legitimate contenders for hockey’s prized trophy, the Stanley Cup.
Well, so far it has not gone as planned.
After a good 2 months to start the season, the losing started to pile up and the Rangers never were able to recover. Mike Richter was lost for the season with a knee injury and Theoren Fleury just recently volunteered to enter the NHL’s Drug Abuse and Behavior program, likely meaning he will not return to the ice this season. This leaves the Rangers in 10th place in the East and a near impossible chance of being able to catch Boston or Carolina for the 8th and final playoff spot. Although there has not been many, a few of the bright spots for the Blue shirts this season has got to be the improved play of rookie defensemen Tomas Kloucek and Dale Purinton.
Both Kloucek and Purinton now have surpassed the 25 games played mark, meaning this year will indeed be their rookie seasons for Rangers defensemen Tomas Kloucek and Dale Purinton. There’s not one game where I can remember seeing Tomas Kloucek (31 games played) or Dale Purinton (26 games played) not giving it their all on the ice every shift, game in and game out. That has not been something we have seen from other players on the team, and that shows that we indeed need to get some more youngsters on this team. Kloucek and Purinton both play a v Read more »
Junior Player of the Year 2/5 – 2/11
Peter Hamerlik (Kingston)- 1-1, 2.00 GAA, .911 SvPct
Jeremy Van Hoof (Ottawa)- 2 games, 2 PIM
Darcy Robinson (Red Deer)- 2 games, 20 PIM
David Koci (Prince George)- 3 games, 2 PIM
Joel Scherban (London)- 2 games, 1 goal, 1 assist
Tomas Skvardilo (Kingston)- 2 games, 1 assist
Steve Crampton (Moose Jaw)- 3 games, 5 assists, 9 PIM
Shane Endicott (Seattle)- 3 games, 2 assists
Jan Fadrny (Kelowna)- 3 games, 2 goals, 6 assists, 2 PIM
Michel Ouellet (Rimouski)- 3 games, 2 goals, 2 assists
Player of the Week
Ouellet 41 (4)
Fadrny 33 (5)
Hamerlik 32 (3)
Endicott 27 (4)
Crampton 10 (1)
Scherban 9 (1)
Robinson 1 Read more »
Andy Hilbert has quickly emerged as one of the Bruins’ highest regarded prospects. The 5’11” , 190 lbs. center from Howell Michigan was selected 37th overall by the Boston Bruins in the 2000 entry draft.
“I had a little hunch that the Bruins were interested,” said Hilbert. “I had a meeting with them at the draft and thought it went really well. They’re an original six team, a great organization, and a really great city. I nearly committed to play college there (Boston University) I really liked it when I went out there for my visit.”
Success can really reflect nicely on the regard for a prospect and Hilbert has been enjoying a ton of it helping lead his strong Michigan Wolverine team to a really impressive run in the NCAA this year. After 34 games played, Hilbert has 23 goals and 34 assists this season for 57 points. He has been dominant on the ice with a +21 ranking in goal differential and has been gritty running up 64 minutes in the penalty box. All in all, one can certainly understand with numbers like these why many are starting to pencil him into the Bruins lineup at the conclusion of this season.
Before Hilbert can join the Bruins, a contract would need to be signed. While there have been some signs that this could be possible, current NCAA rules would prohibit Hilbert from signing while still maintaining his eligibility to play with the Wolverines. As to what would happen after that, the Bruins would hold Hilbert’s rights while he remained in University, but Andy is open to the thoughts that he might be willing to postpone the completion of Read more »
Ekman Fairing Well
In his latest stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nils Ekman appears to be doing something right. Not only has he stayed with the club since his call up in mid-January, but he has also seen time on the top line with Captain Vincent Lecavalier.
“When you are playing with players as good as I am right now, sooner or later I have to score,” Ekman, who has 6 goals so far this season, explained.
That theory hardly explains his 22 goals and 14 assists in 33 games with Detroit (IHL) this season though.
Questions arose last season, when Ekman, who was the IHL Rookie of the Year, couldn’t seem to carry his minor league success over to the NHL. That question mark is slowly fading. Ekman has 10 points in 24 games so far this season. His six goals, tie him for 9th place in scoring on the team.
Ekman has also seen time on the power play and penalty killing units. He has goals from each to show. He is one of only 5 Bolts to score shorthanded.
Ekman is not reading too much into his improved play. “I kept on working hard and obviously things are going better for me now.”
But he does admit there is a different feel this time around. “It’s easier to play here this time. I feel more confidant and self-confidence is a big part of the game.”
Ekman is the type of player that thrives on ice time. By the looks of things as long as he does what is asked of him, he will continue getting his. “He is getting a chance offensively,” explained Head Coach John Tortorella. “He is learning that if he is not playing the way we want hi Read more »
One of the many talents of Czech hockey. He is not a very well known player but in his age group (16, born 2-7-1984) it is not unusual. He is a potential 2002 draft pick. He already made an impression in the highest Czech league when he played 2 matches and scored one goal in the colours of the Extraleague Champion Sparta Praha. This creative right winger steadily plays in the junior team of Sparta Praha even though his age enables him to play in one category lower.
He was born in Pribram, a town not far from Prague. He started with hockey at the age of 7 in Pribram and as tradition his father was the main force that made Petr play the game hockey. Petr in fact never had an ambition to play anything other than hockey. He likes to play football and tennis, but not very much. At the age of 10 he started to play for Sparta where he plays at present.
It is obvious that hockey means everything to him. He is 16 and he does not go to school anymore; he has decided to devote everything to hockey. All his attention is centred around hockey. There are no other areas that are as important to him as hockey. He has no other hobbies or interests. He does not go out to clubs or discos with friends. Why? Because it is not fun for him. These are just things that do not attract him. He likes to be with his family, sometimes watch TV (usually sport) and be with his team mates. His life may seem boring to others but not for him. He does what he likes the most. He concentrates only on hockey which is very beneficial for his future career. He cannot be disturbed b Read more »