Road woes continue
Nothing seems to work, as far as luck goes. On Friday night, the nuclear submarine USS Albany was in Norfolk harbor. On Sunday night, Hershey fans threw hundreds and hundreds of (stuffed) bears on the ice. Neither circumstance brought the slightest bit of luck for the Albany River Rats who, at 1-12-1 away from home, have sunk to the depths of the worst road team in the league. Quite a comedown for Rats’ fans who once boasted (just two years ago) that they had a winning record, lifetime, against every team in the American Hockey League and who were a solid road team.
In the week just past, the Rats dropped a 4-1 contest to the Norfolk Admirals and a 4-3 overtime loss to Hershey. In what was the last regular season game ever in HersheyPark Arena, the Rats had rolled up a 3-0 lead, then let in four unanswered goals, to see a road victory disappear, for a 4-3 loss. Lifetime, the River Rats are 11-7-0-2 on Hershey ice.
On Friday, in their second and final game this season against Norfolk, Albany mustered only one goal, a power play tally by Stephen Guolla, while giving up four, including two power play goals and an empty-netter. Ari Ahonen took the loss for Albany.
The road loss in Hershey should not have happened. The Rats scored the first three goals, all in the first 20 minutes. Joel Bouchard, a good puck-carrying defenseman, got his first goal of the season. Steve Guolla and Jiri Bicek combined on an odd-man rush for Bicek’s seventh goal on the campaign. Max Birbraer got his first on the season.
Th Read more »
Bendera Takes Off For Kelowna
Late yesterday afternoon Shane Bendera had his car packed, but it wasn’t to go join his new Rocket teammates for their game in Moose Jaw against the Warriors. In fact, Bendera wasn’t even aware that he was a member of the Kelowna Rockets at the time. Bendera had his car packed so he could go home for the holidays.
“I was getting ready to go home for Christmas. I had the car all packed and ready to go. Then (Rebel Coach Brent) Sutter calls me into his office told me I got traded to Kelowna,” said Bendera. “…They wanted me in Moose Jaw (right away). So I had to catch a quick flight. I didn’t have time to pack or say any goodbyes.”
The Rockets aquired Bendera in an attempt to stabilize their goaltending, which has struggled at the best of times this season. As a team, the Rockets are 14-18-2, but are almost a lock for a playoff spot after acquiring arguably the best goalie in the WHL. The acquisition of Bendera comes not a moment too soon for Rockets General Manager Bruce Hamilton. His Rockets have not been consistent in net, and as a team have a 3.36 GAA with an .879 SV%. Bendera enters the organization sporting an 11-6-3 record with a 2.28 GAA and .918 SV%.
But a team cannot aquire a goaltender of the caliber of Shane Bendera without losing a few keys to success as well. Lost by the Rockets was former starting goalie, and the man Bendera replaces, Jason Stone. Stone, in 27 games, had posted a respectable 12-9-2 record with a 2.99 GAA and .890 S Read more »
By taking a quick look at the old rankings, one thing was clearly obvious: These rankings haven’t been updated in a while. Well, the wait is finally over. Here are the new rankings for the Top 20 prospects, as well as a little bit of a scouting report for the guys who cracked the top 10. However, before you take a look at these rankings, I just want to make one thing clear. I made these rankings from my opinions and observations of each player. Producing a Top Prospect ranking is a very difficult thing to do. If I asked five people to rank these prospects, I know for a fact I would get five very different rankings. These rankings will likely not be 100% accurate 10 years from now, so do not think that if a prospect that is ranked low and you think they should be ranked higher, it’s not the end of the world. Please leave all comments, positive or negative, at the bottom of the article. Anyway, enough of the gibberish and on to the rankings!
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This past summer, the Buffalo Sabres signed defensive prospect Doug Janik to his first pro contract. Janik, a 2nd round pick of the Sabres in ’99, played in the U.S. national program before attending the University of Maine for 3 years. He is currently playing for the Rochester Americans of the AHL.
I had a chance to speak with Doug following Rochester’s 12/14 game vs. Cleveland. The following is a transcript of that conversation, with “HF” representing yours truly, and “DJ” being Mr. Janik.
: Tonight’s game- frustrating. For 2 periods, you guys played pretty well, but you’re down 4-1.
: Yeah, coming off last week, we hoped to have a little better effort and outcome than we had tonight, definitely. So, it’s a disappointing game for us.
: The whole season’s been like that, basically- getting some chances, but not burying the puck.
: We had a lot of chances tonight; we also had some defensive breakdowns, and it’s just been kind of up and down like that all year.
: Personally, how do you feel you’ve progressed so far this season?
: Not too bad. Just kind of learning as I go. The older guys and the coaches have been really good so far. I’m very appreciative of that, and I hope to just get better every day.
: You played at Maine the last 3 years, right?
: You left school early- do you think that was a good move? Was that something Buffalo wanted you to d Read more »
ICE caught looking ahead, now find themselves behind
Perhaps I was erroneous in last week’s column in the statement that the ICE had yet to find any consistency after the big trade. The ICE have indeed found consistency – of the losing kind.
Barring the excuse of having arguably their two best players off at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Jarrett Stoll and Marek Svatos, the ICE haven’t played well even with the two sharpshooters in the lineup in going 1-4 in their last five games. Coincidentally the Swift Current Broncos are 5-1-0-1 since the trade and Jason Jaffray has scored 11 pts (7g, 4a)good for seventh in the WHL scoring race and seems bent on sending a message of why the ICE shouldn’t have traded the gritty forward. Some other telling stats since the trade; the club’s leading scorer, Tomas Plihal has but one goal; the club’s power-play, once the best in the league, has gone 1/24 since the deal, good for a 4 percent success rate. Now, usually five to seven games are not nearly enough to judge a major deal such as this. But one can’t help but think that the deal will be the major turning point in the ICE season – one way or the other. Right now, it’s the other . . .
While you were sleeping – Here’s the good news – Shane Bendera doesn’t play for the Red Deer Rebels any longer. Now for the bad news – the 19-yr-old Columbus BlueJacket draft pick and most recent ICE-melting nemesis was just traded to Kelowna for 19-yr-old goalie Jason Stone and a 19-yr-old high-scoring forward for the Rockets, Carsen Germyn. Kelowna, in case you’ve forgotten, is t Read more »
The Calder Corner
One of the unheralded rookies this year, Erik Cole of the Hurricanes explodes for 6 points to take the Calder Corner Prospect of the week.
Heatley: 1 Goal (10), 2 Assists
Kovalchuk: 1 Goal (13), 4 Assists
Noronen: 45 Shots, 40 Saves (1-1-0)
Cole: 3 Goals (5,6,7), 3 Assists
Bell: 1 Goal (7)
Klesla: 1 Goal (3)
Nielsen: 1 Assist
Shelley: 1st NHL Goal and Point (1)
Gainey: 1st NHL Point
Hagman: 2 Goals (2,3)
Huselius: 1 Goal (14)
3 Games Read more »
Since we are always thinking here at Hockey’s Future on how to improve our site and make it more enjoyable for all of you to spend your time here, some new features are going to be coming soon to our pages.
Over the next few weeks, Hockey’s Future is going to expand our coverage of the jr. Leagues and Teams with the addition of several CHL Team pages similiar to the NHL Team Pages. As the Editors complete the pages, their link will appear on the right hand side under the “HF Country Pages”. Right now we currently have the Kamloops Blazers page up, and it will be fully completed within the next few days. Please do keep in mind that it is a work in progress and there are still some features that aren’t implemented yet. If you have any ideas of what you would like to see or any thoughts, you can always e-mail me or Shane Malloy.
Also coming near the New Year, will be “A look past” the 2002 NHL Entry Draft with our publishing of a list of the top prospects eligible for the 2003, 2004 and 2005 Drafts. Compiled by Jake Dole with the assistance of several of our editors from the various leagues and countries, this preview will surely be something to give you an idea of the top 20+ players to watch for down the road.
In addition, Hockey’s Future will be publishing the 2002 Draft Previews for each league after the Olympics. Look for complete profiles, stats, pictures, and interviews for the top players in each league, Country, and the NCAA Ranks. Our staff of over 20 contributors are currently working to put all of this together, which will culminate in the la Read more »
Josef Vavra didn’t have the opportunity like lots of fellow 2002 prospect had, for example Jiri
Hudler, Petr Taticek or Petr Jelinek. He wasn’t born in a family of a former active player
or even active coach. Josef’s dad enjoyed a basketball career but was a huge fan of hockey, though.
Because he didn’t play organised hockey, only when he had the opportunity to agree with
some friends on a match, then he laced up the skates and the puck began to fly on the ice. Read more »