This is the first in a two part series providing a detailed look at players who will determine Toronto’s destiny in 2000 / 2001. For the purposes of this discussion, superstars (Sundin, Joseph) and dependable veterans (Thomas, Yushkevich, Domi, Perreault etc.) have been excluded. These articles will focus on players whose contributions have yet to be established over the long term. If a majority of the players listed herein can rise to new levels this season, the Leafs will do battle with perennial powerhouses in Detroit, Dallas, Denver, St. Louis, Philadelphia and New Jersey for league dominance. Conversely, if they fail to step forward sufficiently, the team may once again fall short of its Stanley Cup aspirations.
This week we’ll examine a group of returning players and next week the spotlight will swing over to several key newcomers.
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With all of the press about the Sedin’s coming to Vancouver no one has
been thinking too much about some of the other talent in the Canucks
overfilled pool. Josh Holden, who was at one time Vancouver’s golden
boy, showed us he does have a solid future in the NHL, averaging a point
game in limited action. There also has not been too much mention about
Brent Sopel. Sopel was a late season call up who played like a seasoned
veteran. Sopel had a goal and two assists in the final game of last
season in the Canucks 5-2 upset of the playoff bound San Jose Sharks.
We also may see Bryan Allen show of the tools he is so blessed with.
Steve Kariya also showed promise. Somehow Marc Crawford did recognize
his excellent play, so he spent time in Syracuse where he had a
game and was named rookie of the month.
Harold Druken showed promise in
limited action for Vancouver and was also named to the AHL All-Rookie
team. With the need of a veteran defenseman to add to the Canucks, we
may be seeing some of the young guns moving on to other cities but if
not the Canucks have a lot more weapons waiting in the wing than just
Daniel and Henrik Sedin. This will also help the Sedin’s out. It is a
lot easier for high caliber players to learn the game with top talent
around them. This is apparent in Peter Schaeffer, who obviously
benefited from the presence of the recently departed Mark Messier. There Read more »
I know that most of you are saying – Jared who?style=”mso-spacerun: yes”> Unless you follow the Western Hockey League,
you probably don’t know much about him.
Jared Hope was the Leafs final draft choice (230th overall)
in the 1996 Draft. Jared had played
that season with the Spokane Chiefs and suffered two serious head injuries.
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On September 27, 1995 in a game versus the Kelowna Rockets,
Hope was knocked unconscious, taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a
concussion. Twenty-four days later,
Hope played again for the Rockets after recovering from the injury.style=”mso-spacerun: yes”> In that game versus the Tri-City Americans,
Hope suffered another blow to the head that would put his playing career in
jeopardy. Hope did play briefly the
next year (1996-97) with the Edmonton Ice but his career was essentially over.
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Hope was once considered one of the brightest of WHL
prospects. He was drafted 3rd
overall in the 1993 WHL Draft. Jared Read more »
If you know the basic facts regarding the structure of Swedish clubs – stop
reading now. If you don´t, you might learn something new.
Most teams started as non-profit organizations as a way to get people living
in the area interested and active in sports. The only thing one had to do to
become a member of the club was to pay a small fee to enter. The active
members elected a board that should run the club. This structure is still
common in Sweden, although the importance of money in hockey has grown. The
structure of most major clubs are similar to the structure of most
companies, although hockey is not a profit oriented business designed to
please an owner or a group of owners. Teams can not be sold or moved.
Some clubs are even introducing themselves at the stock exchange, turning
themselves into a profit-oriented business. The thinking behind the
metamorphosis is that teams have to have a sound economy if they want to be
successful in the Elitserien, although this sounds pretty ironic considering
the vast amount of Swedish clubs that are in debt.
One key source of revenue is local businesses as they supply sponsoring and
advertise on boards and jerseys. Teams whose Elitserien status can be
attributed to having a large company in the town include MoDo, who has even
assumed the name of the company, and Luleå, who is heavily sponsored by
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The Canadiens have recently made many moves to bolster the front office. Bringing in solid managerial and scouting talent in Andre Savard, and Martin Madden. Both men should help Houle make the necessary choices when it comes to player movement. But the fact still remains that the Habs are an organization lacking depth; especially at the three forward positions.
Many questions are being asked by Fans and Media alike, “Are the Habs going to grab any free-agents?” And if so who?” Names such as Alexander Daigle, Stephane Richer and Claude Lemieux have been mentioned.
The fact that all 3 of these players are right wingers is no accident. The Habs’ current roster holds only 3 players with tangible NHL experience who shoot right-handed. Which creates a problem among the team’s right wingers. Why is it important for a right winger to shoot right? For 2 reasons; First, it facilitates the transition game. Especially in the defensive zone, where the transition is essential. Not only in clearing your own zone, but in creating offensive rushes. Second, it reduces the likelihood of a turnover in the defensive zone.
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With training camp less than a month away, the Capitals’ roster is falling into place. It looks like Coach Ron Wilson is bringing back the same team as last season – with a couple of veteran additions. However, the opportunity is there for some rookies to gain a spot in the lineup, just as Jeff Halpern and Glen Metropolit did last year. So with that in mind, I present the five Caps rookies that could be playing in the NHL in 2000-01.
Kris Beech – centre (age 19) 98-99: Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
Kris is hoping to follow the lead set by Jeff Halpern a year ago. Last season, Halpern won the fourth-line centre position during training camp and was eased into full-time duties. Beech is being projected as the Caps star forward for the future, and he is ready to play now. Another season in junior would not help him at this stage, and the Capitals expect him to make the team. Kris is currently skating at the Canadian WJC team tryout camp and is a good bet to make the final roster. The Caps would most likely let him play in the tournament, as the big game experience would help his development. His vision and speed make him an excellent set-up man, but he would not be paired with linemates who have a lot of scoring ability at first.
Alexei Tezikov – defense (age 22) 98-99: Portland Pirates (AHL)
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Since the 1999-2000 season ended IHL clubs have been busy bolstering their lineups and getting ready for the 2000-01 season. Here is a breakdown on what each club has been up to:
CHICAGO WOLVES: After winning their 2nd Turner Cup in three seasons, the Chicago management tandem of GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and Head Coach John Anderson, along with first team IHL All Star Steve Maltais have all re-signed with the Wolves for another season. Maltais captured the IHL scoring title last season with 44 goals, 46 assists for 90 points. Dave Mackey has called it quits after 14 seasons of professional hockey.
CINCINNATI CYCLONES: Head Coach/GM Ron Smith has re-signed with the club for another season. Goaltender Randy Petruk underwent surgery July 17th to repair his left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). He injured himself in an off-season training exercise. Petruk is expected to resume light skating in November and return to the club in late December or early January 2001. Four Cyclones from last season have re-signed with the parent Carolina Hurricanes, including Brian Felsner, Byron Ritchie, Shane Willis and Greg Koeheler.
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Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
Elvis signs on: Danny (Elvis) Markov inked a multi-year contract with the Maple Leafs on Friday… the deal is rumored to be for 2 years with the team holding an option for a third… Markov made quite an impact in Toronto during his rookie campaign 2 seasons ago… fans quickly fell in love with his exuberant, physical and often reckless performances on the Maple Leafs’ blueline… for some reason, Danny’s overall level of play took a tiny step backward last season… on a more positive note, Markov provides the team with a needed tough guy in the rearguard and also possesses the skill to eventually become a bigger factor in the attacking zone… the new contract reflects management’s faith in Danny’s ability to get back on track this year…
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Ink and more Ink
The Senators have resigned defensemen John Gruden and Shane Hnidy. Expect Gruden to play a handful of games with the big league club. Forward John Emmons was also resigned.
In a move that has most Sens fans frustrated the Sens signed David Oliver to a multi-year deal. Oliver was released from the club in the 98-99 season after an abysmal start. Oliver soon found work with the Houston Aero’s of the IHL and late last year suited up 9 times for the Phoenix Coyotes.
NHL veteran Derek King is the newest Senator. Last year King played with the Maple Leafs and Blues before bouncing around IHL.
It’s That Time of the Year Again
Originally four players filed for arbitration; Philips, York, Arvedson and Bonk. A few days later both Philips and Arvedson signed one year deals. York, as well came to terms with the team only hours before his hearing. This leaves Bonk to await his hearing in the next few weeks.
The Ottawa Senators Vs. Alexi Yashin
The hockey club (Rod Bryden) has diminished the damages being sought from hold out center Alexi Yashin. Now $900,000, the original amount was 7 million. This move further rouses the growing insurgency amongst Ottawa Fans. Only a few months past, Bryden was the savoir of the team, but now most of the public look upon him as a petulant control freak.
Capitan Video to the Rescue
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The Leafs’ Rookie Camp Roster has been set – at least the preliminary roster has been set. Like last year, the Leafs’ rookies will be participating in a tournament against the prospects of the Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers. The Rookie Tournament is again taking place in Kitchener and will run from September 1st to September 4th . Here is an early look at Toronto’s probable roster.
Goaltenders: Sebastien Centomo, Jamie Hodson, and Jean-Francois Racine
Defensemen: Jean-Philippe Cote, Peter Reynolds, Allan Rourke, Petr Svoboda, Vaclav Zavoral, and Jonathan Zion.
Forwards: Brad Boyes, Luca Cereda, Miguel Delisle, Lance Galbraith, Jonathan Gagnon, Jacques Lariviere, Franticek Mrazek, Mirko Murovic, Alex Ponikarovsky, Vadim Sozinov, Michal Travnicek, Kris Vernarsky, Morgan Warren
Some of the bigger names in the Leafs’ system such as Jeff Farkas and Mikael Hakansson aren’t included above as they are going directly to the main training camp that opens at the conclusion of the Rookie Tournament. Other players may still be added to this roster at a later date.
With special thanks to Brendan McCarthy of the St. John’s Telegram and to Karlo Berkovich of the Kitchener-Waterloo Record.