Here is a look at a few OHLers who will be eligible for the 2001 draft,
and who should end up being ranked fairly high. Quite frankly this years draft does little
to excite me, but if the WHL, QMJHL, NCAA, and European leagues have players as talented as the OHL for 2001 it will be one heck of a draft.
Jason Spezza-Plays centre for the Mississauga IceDogs and has posted 40 points in 30 games this year. He has just made the National Junior team at the age of 16 (along with Jay Bouwmeester), the only other 16 year olds in Canadian history to do this were Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros. He is not just along for the ride. I expect him to be a key component on the team, and to average a point a game, if not lead the team in scoring.
At the last exhibition game in Kitchener vs the OUAA allstars, the only forwards who could have said that maybe they played better than Spezza were, Mike Riberio and Manny Malhotra, both of whom are on loan from the NHL. Spezza had 2 points and could have had 5 with a bit of luck.
I believe that he is the most talented player that Canada has produced since Paul Kariya. He is a lock to go first overall, barring serious injury.
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When the Boston Bruins signed free agent and former Michigan Tech standout Andre Savage on June 12, 1998, it generated little fanfare in Beantown. After all, the polite and unassuming hockey player had made a name for himself out in the WCHA and anybody who is from the New England area knows that when you talk about collegiate pucks, Hockey East is king. Savage did well in the 1998 Bruins Training Camp and was sent down to Providence where he quickly established himself as one of the AHL’s top rookies. Bruins fans who shrugged when he was originally signed, soon realized that Andre was a keeper and a pleasant surprise to boot.
Andre Savage, a native of Ottawa, Ontario spent four years with the Michigan Tech Huskies where he toiled in relative anonymity, despite the fact that he became only the second player in school history to lead the team in points in three consecutive seasons from 1995-1998. During the ’97-’98 season, Andre earned WCHA 1st All-Star and WCHA All-Academic Team honors. He finished his college career with 52 goals and 143 points in 149 games. When Savage showed up to Bruins Camp later that fall wearing the number 54, many folks said, “Andre who? “It didn’t take long for him to attract attention with his excellent skating ability and very accurate shot.
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The 1999-2000 OHL season has been blessed with many pleasant surprises.
Teams have been playing better than expected and some have played worse.
Looking back at the first half of the OHL season I think that one of those
pleasant surprises has been the play of the rookie players around the OHL.
Teams like the Windsor Spitfires have benefited greatly from the play
of their rookies. The Spitfires for example have a rookie line made up of
Steve Ott, Craig Kennedy and Shawn Mather. All three of them have been
playing great for the Spitfires.
Here is a look at some of the top rookies from around the OHL.
Stephen Weiss of Plymouth–Weiss was the Whalers first round pick in the
1999 OHL draft. He sits in second among OHL rookies in scoring. He has
helped the Whalers plant themselves in third spot in the OHL’s West
Derek Roy of Kitchener–Roy is the OHL’s leading rookie scorer and has also
been playing great hockey. Once he gets some more help around him the
Rangers will be a good hockey club and drafting Roy was a step in the right
Steve Ott, Craig Kennedy & Shawn Mather of Windsor–All three have been
scoring and playing really well. Kennedy and Ott are both among the top
scoring rookies. Windsor is lucky to have these three. If these three stick
with Windsor for a couple more seasons the Spitfires could be a team to beat Read more »
LOS ANGELES KINGS ORGANIZATIONAL ROSTER
“Tough to Play Against.”
As of December 14 1999
Owners: Philip F. Anschutz and Edward P. Roski Jr.
Governor: Bob Sanderman
President/Alternate Governor: Tim Leiweke
Senior Vice President/General Manager: Dave Taylor
Assistant to the General Manager: Kevin Gilmore
Assistant to the General Manager: John Wolf
Director of Player Personnel: Bill O’Flaherty
Director of Professional Scouting: Ace Bailey
Director of Amateur Scouting: Al Murray
Professional Scout: Rob Laird
Amateur Scouts: Serge Aubry, Greg Dreschel and John Stanton
European Scouts: Vaclav Nedomansky and Ari Vuori
TV Commentators: Bob Miller and Jim Fox
Radio Commentators: Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans
Head Coach: Andy Murray
Assistant Coaches: Ray Bennett Mark Hardy Dave Tippett
Video Coordinator: Bill Gurney
Trainer: Peter Demers
Fitness Consultant: Guy Lemasurier
Rehabilitation Trainer Strength/Conditioning Coach: Robert Zolg
Equipment Manager: Peter Millar
Captain: D Rob Blake
Alternates: D Garry Galley and LW Luc Robitaille
Arena: Staples Center
Affiliates Lowell AHL, Long Beach IHL and Mississippi ECHL
Flagship Station: KRLA-AM 111 [Los Angeles]
Radio Network: KBET 1220 AM Santa Clarita, CA, KGEO 1230 AM Bakersfield, CA,
KHJJ 1380 AM Palmdale/Lancaster, CA, KSHP 1400 AM Las Vegas, NV, KTRO 1400 AM Read more »
Jere Karalahti had his first taste of the NHL last Friday against Detroit, and after being returned to Long Beach, it appears that will be it for the time being. With that in mind, here is the lowdown on his debut.
Firstly, Jere is a big, rugged looking defenseman. As I watched his warm-up in his #8 Kings’ road jersey I thought of what he offered that the two players who most recently wore that number (Kristich and Bodger) didn’t- grit, physical play and toughness.
Karalahti’s first game was not all wine and roses. There were several instances where Jere left his zone and seemed to skate in his own game, often leaving Matty Norstrom alone on 2 on 1′s. The good news is that he often left his position to deliver a hit. In fact, he lead the team in hits for the game. On one of his first shifts there was a little mucking after the whistle. Jere was the first player on the scene which was good to see.
As the game pressed on, Jere seemed to time his hits better. The most obvious thing was the Karalahti can handle the puck. Just as fellow rookie Frankie Kaberle, Jere holds the puck a little longer to make sure the right pass is made. Towards the end of the game he did make a some bad decisions with the puck, but for the most part his blend of grit and puckhandling is unique.
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Not even one year ago, many considered goaltending as the one area where the Sharks seriously lacked prospects at. Now, several reports claim that the Sharks have the best depth of goaltending prospects in the NHL. While I believe that is exaggerated, the state of the Sharks goaltending has improved dramatically in the last year with the emergence of Johan Hedberg, Evgeni Nabokov, and Miikka Kiprusoff.
When it was announced that Nabokov would be moved to Cleveland of the IHL, many considered it as a sign they were unhappy with his play. I suggested that this was not the case at all, and that at the time, he remained the number one goalie in the Sharks system. I still contend that I was right then, whether he’s still the number one goalie now though, is in a little more question.
In terms of God given skill, Nabokov has plenty of it, in fact, he may have more than any goalie not in the NHL. That does not necessarily make him the best goalie though. Nabokov is a very athletic goalie, who often looks very much like Ed Belfour in net. He is capable of making any save that comes his way. There is one big difference though, Belfour is very good at knowing when to zig and when to zag, something Nabokov is still working on.
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Kevin Constantine is an incredible coach. Few would disagree. Unfortunately, even great coaches reach a point where their words no longer effect the team. Like any other job, doing the same drill day in and day out wears on the players. They grow tired of a particular system and cry out for change. That was the case in Pittsburgh. It’s not because KC was horrible. It was simply the right time for change. Herb Brooks is offering exactly that. Labeled the “Miracle Man” for his efforts in coaching the 1980 US Olympic Team and leading them to gold, Brooks is anxious to see what he can do with a potentially explosive Penguins squad. Whether it’s a long-term solution, or not, remains to be seen, but for now it’s nice to see the Pens having fun again. And by fun I don’t mean the practices … Brooks is determined to give these guys a good workout. He would like to see them cover 100% of the ice, with quicker, shorter shifts. What I am referring to is feeling confident and feeling inspired. Removing the harnesses from players such as Darius Kasparaitis and Mathew Barnaby , who are known for their aggressive style, is a good start. They won’t only turn up the intensity, but also make room a potent offense.
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Today the Chicago Blackhawk management announced that Mike Smith would take the job of attempting to resurrect a franchise that is considered the laughing stock of the original six. Many felt he would only take the job if he was given complete control. It is still uncertain as to whether he will actually be the outsider given true power over the powers that be.(Mr. Potter a.k.a. Mr. Wirtz)
“I don’t have any real detailed plan. I think the initial process is simply to sit down with the people who work here and find out what they’re doing and get a sense of how things operate. I know there’s a challenge ahead of us, but in sports there is a challenge every day. To win and have a winning franchise you need good people and you need good people who are good players. Through it all, the bottom line will be we’ll have good people who are good players and good people in all positions within the organization.” Pulford retains the title of GM, but he claims in name only.
“He is (the GM),” said the 63-year-old Pulford. “He has all those duties. He has the power to make all the hockey decisions, trades, scouting, everything.
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The platinum blonde hair is a dead giveaway. The hair may turn the
girl’s heads, but his speed down the wing is what’s turning the
scout’s heads. The white flash of uniform that flies around the ice,
wreaking havoc and bringing scoring chances with him, that’s the
Jozef Balej that has scouts looking.
Balej was found by the Winterhawks entirely by chance. GM Ken Hodge
was on a scouting trip in Minnesota, and needed to kill some time. He
took in a USHL game, and has been thankful ever since. Balej was
seeing limited ice time, but more than enough to catch Hodge’s eye.
As other European players on the Hawks draft list were selected by
other teams, Hodge remembered Balej, and took a chance.
Hodge’s chance is beginning to pay dividends. Balej came out hot in
preseason, but then most of the WHL’s older veteran players were at
NHL camps. When the regular season started, Balej had trouble finding
his scoring touch. But it was only a matter of time before his
talents took over. Through 12/11, Balej had yet to miss a game, and Read more »
Maxim Balmochnykh – Left Wing; Grade: B (Cincy)
Balmochnykh was off to a good start in the AHL only to see it come to a crashing halt when he was suspended for a slash to Louisville Panther Curtis Doell. The suspension lasted eight games and killed Balmo’s momentum. Once, he came back, he was rusty and just as he started to get going again, he goes down with both hand and shoulder injuries. When he has been on the lineup, he usually plays well but the suspension put everything on hold and now the injury will continue to slow his development. He has five points in ten games with 31 penalty minutes, mainly stemming from the Doell slash.
Ladislav Kohn – Center & Right Wing; Grade: A (Anaheim)
Kohn has turned into a steal for the Ducks, adding much needed energy to a team that too often lacks it. He isnt scoring as much as they had hoped but he is doing the little things. He has played tenaciously and has shown he doesnt mind battling in the corners. He also filled in admirably on the Ducks’ top line, filling in for Teemu Selanne after an injury. The injury bug has now hit Kohn and he missed a couple weeks of action but he has proven his worth early in the season and should have no problem sticking for the whole season.
Gregg Naumenko – Goalie; Grade: A+ (Cincy) Read more »