Jackets CHL PROSPECT UPDATE
Western Hockey League
Shane Bendera – G – Red Deer Rebels
Shane Bendera was one of two Columubs goaltending prospects to be named to Canada’s World Junior Tryout for the 2002 World Junior Championships. And why not? The tale of the tape shows that Bendera definitely deserves to take the trip to not only the camp, but to the Czech Republic as well. Bendera has posted an impressive 11-3-3 record, registering a 2.03 GAA and a .926 GAA. Bendera leads the WHL in both statistical categories, and is 4th in the league in wins, only 4 back of the leader, despite playing 8 fewer games.
Ben Knopp – RW – Moose Jaw Warriors
When I see the statistics on the season Ben Knopp is having, I get discouraged with his progress. He’s managed 17 goals in 29 games, adding 12 assists as well (17-12-29). However, a trip to the +/- column quickly shows that Knopp is still a one-dimension player. His –12 is second worst on the team, and is easily the most disgusting stat on the team considering Knopps offensive production. He’s been much more of a liability on the ice than he should be, and needs to desperately work on defensive zone play.
Kiel McLeod – C – Kelowna Rockets
McLeod has began to have the season the Blue Jackets organization has hoped he will. Although he sits fourth in team scoring with 9 goals and 22 points (9-13-22), he’s second on the team in Points Per Game with 1.22, behind only Calgary superprospect Chuck Kobasew. McLeod i Read more »
CALGARY, AB – The Western Hockey League is pleased to announce that 13 players from the WHL has been chosen to attend Canada’s National Junior Team’s Selection Camp from December 10-17 at the Beatrice Ice Gardens in North York, Ontario.
Three players from the WHL (Jay Bouwmeester, Dan Hamhuis, Jarret Stoll) are returning players, having captured bronze with Canada at the 2001 World Junior Hockey Championship.
A total of 36 players will compete at the 2002 selection camp with the goal of being chosen on the final roster of 22 that will participate for Canada at the 2002 World Junior Hockey Championship in Czech Republic, December 25-January 4, 2002.
Thirty-four of the thirty-six players are from the Canadian Hockey League, Canada’s premier junior hockey league. Including the 13 players from the Western Hockey League, there are 12 from the Ontario Hockey League, nine from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and two players who are currently playing in the U.S. College ranks.
Five of the WHL players previously represented Canada as members of the Canada’s National Under 18 team program (Jared Aulin, Nathan Paetsch, Jarret Stoll, Scottie Upshall, Jeff Woywitka).
There are also four members of the Personnel Staff representing Team Canada from the Western Hockey League. Marc Habscheid, Head Coach of the Kelowna Rockets and former member of Team Canada’s Gold Medal Team in 1982 is Team Canada’s Assistant Coach and Assistant Coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Mark Howell is the Video Coach. The Equipment Manager is the Vancouver Giants Tra Read more »
The Montréal Canadiens began each of the last two NHL Entry Drafts by choosing a defenseman with their first pick. Ron Hainsey was grabbed 13th overall in the 2000 draft, while Mike Komisarek was picked 7th overall in 2001. These picks, combined with 2 other players (Matt Shasby, Chris Dyment) mean the Habs’ top four defensive prospects (22 or under) are products of the NCAA.One of the more interesting ways to judge prospects is to compare their statistics with an established NHLer who once played at the same level. Current Colorado Avalanche star Rob Blake is arguably the best defenseman to emerge from college hockey in the last 12 years. This analysis is not meant to prove whether or not these players will enjoy the same success as Blake; it is simply an interesting experiment, with equally interesting results.Blake was the Los Angeles Kings’ fourth pick in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. He played four years for Bowling Green University before joining the Kings in time for the 1990 playoffs. His current 6’4″, 225-lbs frame compares favourably to that of Komisarek, while his mobility and puck skills resemble those of Hainsey.Statistically, Blake averaged 0.30 points per game as a freshman during the 1987-88 season. Dyment, a senior at Boston University averaged 0.24 points per game during his freshman year, while Shasby was slightly better at 0.28 PPG. Hainsey however, with a 0.36 PPG average had slightly better numbers than even Blake, while Komisarek was the most productive of the five, as he ended his freshman year with a 0.38 PPG averag Read more »
When the East Coast Hockey League subsided after a decade in Norfolk. The romance seemed to be over for the Hampton Roads fans and for the region. The golden years of ECHL hockey found a resting place in the pages of history. However, a new chapter with the American Hockey League sculpted a new beginning—not only for the local hockey connoisseurs but also for winger bruiser Aaron Downey.
Last season marked the first year of the AHL Norfolk Admirals and the return of former Hampton Roads Admiral (ECHL) (career total of 20 (G) 19 (A) 39 (PTS) 693 (P.I.M)) from a five-year absence. After his shift with the Hampton Roads Admirals, the Ontario native’s luggage spent a majority of time in Providence (Boston Bruins). Years later, Downey found himself back in Norfolk where it all began. Last season, the Norfolk Admirals opened its doors for the first time and needed an old fan favorite with a big presence on the ice. General Manager Al MacIsaac (Norfolk) insisted that Aaron have a homecoming and Chicago’s Mike Smith signed him as a free agent last August. The right wing recorded a career high in assists (15) and sealed last season with 6 (G) 15 (A) 21 (Pts) 234 (P.I M.). Yet, Chicago had other plans.
With Chicago’s anorexic start last season, morale needed to be fattened on the bench. Noted for his presence in the locker room, Norfolk’s former team captain caught the attention of Mike Smith. And in turn, Chicago sent Downey a ticket last season. Consequently, the ticket was a round trip, but his leadership already made an impression on the Hawks inner circl Read more »
The Calder Corner
Heatley: 1 Goal (7), 1 Assist
Tapper: 1 Goal (1), 1 Assist
Kovalchuk: 2 Goals (9, 10), 2 Assists
Pothier: 1 Assist
Tjarnqvist: 1st NHL Goal, 1 Assist
Nichol: 1 Goal (4), 1 Assist
Begin: 1 Goal (2), 1 Assist
Montador: 2 Assists
Cole: 1 Goal (2), 4 Assists
Bell: 1 Assist
Peluso: 1st NHL Goal
Vrbata: 1 Goal (1st NHL Goal), 5 Assists
Klesla: 1 Assist
Neilsen: 1 Assist
Ference: 1 Assist
Hagman: 1st NHL goal, 1 Assist
4 Games Read more »
Goaltenders get their due
Goaltenders finally got some recognition this week for the Albany River Rats. Not that they have not played well to date, but the team’s record (one win in the first 17 games going into this week) overshadowed the performance between the pipes.
This past week, though, Devils’ prospects Ari Ahonen and Jean-Francois Damphousse both got some notice in the press. Ahonen got his first professional victory in the American Hockey League, as he stopped 38 of 39 shots on Saturday, November 24, 2001 as the River Rats beat the Rochester Americans, 3-1. It was only the second victory in the campaign through 20 games. Ahonen earned “third star” for his efforts.
J.F. Damphousse got his first start in the NHL. Though he took a loss, as the Devils were unable to score against Tampa Bay’s Khabibulin, Damphousse made 20 saves on 22 shots. One of the goals was a power play marker; the other was a rebound shot. Media reports gave Damphousse favorable grades for his NHL debut. He was credited with showing “poise”, a term that certainly reflected his AHL performance the past several seasons as he played in front of a weak Albany defense (judged historically).
Damphousse, the Devils’ 1st choice (24th overall) in the 1997 entry draft, hopes for a few more starts with the Devils, sandwiched in between Martin Brodeur’s assignments. If he does not get another start soon, he will probably be sent back to Albany, where he has split time with Ari Ahonen and Scott Clemmensen. All three are promising prospects, though Read more »
The one area that the Kootenay ICE have been so solid in this season. The one area that has bailed the club out from at times, indifferent play this season. The one area fans could point to in proof that the club indeed belonged in the upper echelon of the WHL – special teams. It is an area that has become a frozen wasteland of late and is a telltale sign of the club’s downward trend that has seen them lose two in a row and the last four of five at the Cranbrook Rec/Plex.
When you lose, you look for excuses. The first place the ICE could look is their special teams, with a rider attached to the word ‘special’, as in, not very.
In the last five games at the ‘Plex, the ICE are running a paltry pace of a 10% efficiency rate with the man-advantage, just about a full 20% off the 29.7% clip the club was enjoying before the home site slide of the last five games. On the other side of the sheet the kill rate while disadvantaged has plunged from a healthy 90.9% success rate to a questionable percentage of just over 79%.
If you consider the trend of games hovering around the one third mark with either a man up or a man down, the numbers begin to speak volumes. It’s a sound Coach Ryan McGill doesn’t like listening to. “Power-plays are a reflection of how hard your best players work, number one,” offered McGill in an attempt to explain his club’s demise in the specialty team department. “But it’s a double-edged sword. If they work hard but they’re not using all their talents as far as seeing lanes, seeing where guys are, basically losing the tunnel vision, then the Read more »
Raffi Torres and Jason Krog were recently called up to the Islanders from the Bridgeport SoundTigers, which allowed HF to interview one of the best prospects in the Islanders system in Raffi Torres.
Hockey’s Future: When did you get the word you had been called up?
Raffi Torres: I got the word on the bus, I was pretty excited, it was right after the game last night.
HF: Does it help to come here and see guys like Krog and Kolnik in the lockerroom?
RT: Definitely, it helps to have guys I’ve been playing with in Bridgeport here on the Island with me.
HF: What are you going to be thinking when you are standing there and the anthem’s playing?
RT: It’s going to be unbelievable and so exciting. I can’t wait.
HF: Do you have any idea who Peter Laviolette (Islanders Head Coach) might put you on the ice with? Maybe someone like Dave Scatchard who plays a style similar to yours?
RT: I have no clue really, I just want to be ready to play with whomever they put me out there with.
HF: How’s Bridgeport been treating you?
RT: Its great. The team and the city have been great.
HF: Do they (the Isles and SoundTigers) use a similar coaching style?
RT: I’m not really sure yet. I haven’t really been able to find out how Laviolette is, but I know he expects the best out of us and I just want to play well (for the Isles).
HF: Well Raffi, congratulations on your call-up and good luck. Read more »
The Elitserien is at its halfway mark and three clubs have taken possession
of the top three spots, creating a gap to the fourth place in the league.
Perennial powerhouses Djurgården and Färjestad are hovering around the top
spot, as usual. They are joined by HV71, who made a splash in the transfer
market this past summer when they signed players like Finnnish forward Kalle
Sahlstedt and Johan Davidsson, who returns to the club after failing to
establish himself in the NHL.
Another big factor in HV71’s rise to the top has been young goaltender
Stefan Liv who is boasting a 2.17 goals against average and an impressive
92.1 save percentage. Liv, who is drafted by the Red Wings, has also starred
for the Swedish national team and could be named to the olympic team later
this month. He would suit up as the number three goalie in a ”see and
learn”-role behind Edmonton’s Tommy Salo and Pittsburgh’s Johan Hedberg.
Liv, who has grown up watching Dominik Hasek carry teams on his back, looks
like he has been influenced by the Czech star but plays a more conventional
Another revelation for the team has been norwegian forward Per-Åge Skröder
who was a fringe player in the Elitserien until he joined HV71. He is
leading the team with 21 points in 25 games.
Back-to-back champions Djurgården is again near the top of the league,
despite losing a dozen players over the summer, which usually means that the
new players with the team are doing quite well. Mikael Håkansson, who played
last year with the St.John’s Ma Read more »
After finishing my interview with Raffi Torres on November 24th, I had a chance to sit down with the Islanders young sniper Juraj Kolnik. Drafted in the fourth round (101st overall), Kolnik is being brought along slowly by the Islanders. He has seen time on different lines (ranging from the second line to the fourth) and has gotten some power play minutes during his latest recall. Here’s what he had to say when I sat down with him before the Isles game with the Mighty Ducks.
Hockey’s Future: So what is different this time, you’re second time around with the Isles?
Juraj Kolnik: Everything is different. The speed is different; it gets a little faster from juniors to the American Hockey League and up to the NHL. The practices are different too. I’m just really excited to be here and practice with the guys and if I have a place to play with somebody I want to be ready all the time, whether its the second, third or fourth line, I just want to do my best.
HF: How does Bridgeport compare to the Isles? How is the system different?
JK: We play the same style, I mean the coach (SoundTigers Head Coach Steve Stirling) plays the same style, but there’s a big difference between the NHL and AHL.
HF: How was the switch last year, going from Lowell to Springfield?
JK: It was a great switch, I was coming from junior and wasn’t playing a lot in the AHL and I knew I could play in the AHL. I saw other guys that I had played with in the AHL, in the NHL, so I talked with my agent. I could have Read more »