After talking with last years coach in Hamilton Walt Kyle and watching these youngsters play together in the American Hockey League it was though they might reproduce thier chemistry in the National Hockey League.
Very few people have heard of Brian Swanson, Michel Riesen and Dan Cleary and as of yet, they are not house hold names but all can be changed this year.
With the training camp and preseason over the test is on the trio to come up with similar statistics against the big boys. All three had good statistics over the preseason while showing fine defensive play and a willingness to go in the corners and fight for the puck.
All three come from different hockey backgrounds and each has it’s own talents but they seem to mesh on the ice extreamly well. The centerman of the group is a product from U.S. college hockey at Colorado College where he became a Hobey Baker finalist. Possessed with good playmaking skills and a nack for finding teammates at oppertune times he brings some much needed offensive abilities at the second line center position.
Swiss born player Michel Riesen adjusted farely quickly
to the North American style of play and has found a niche on the line as the trigger man cruising around the net and in the slot finding seems in the defense to use his deadly accurate shot. Currently is the highest drafted Swiss player in history being taken by Edmonton 14th overall in 1997 one spot behind linemate Dan Cleary whom has taken by Chicago at lucky number 13.
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Finally today all the Stephane Quintal rumors to Chicago came true as the
Rangers and ‘Hawks found a loophole in the rules and pulled off a very
interesting trade. Stephane Quintal has a clause in his contract that if he
is traded, another year automatically gets added on. So to avoid trading him
and getting his contract extended, the Rangers and ‘Hawks worked out a side
deal. The Rangers placed Quintal on waivers so that the ‘Hawks could claim
him. As soon as Quintal was claimed, Chicago would send compensation to the
Rangers for “future considerations.” Today the deal was finalized, as the
Rangers received 25 year old Left Winger Michal Grosek and 24 year old
defenseman Brad Brown from Chicago for “future considerations”, which in
reality is Stephane Quintal. Some people have been saying that the future
considerations in this deal will turn out to be something very good in favor
of Chicago, but I think at best the ‘Hawks will get someone like Eric
Lacroix, John MacLean, a mid-round draft pick or a mid-level prospect such as
Brandon Deitrich, Jeff Ulmer, David Inman, etc. It was reported in Newsday
today in New York that the Rangers would pay about 1 million of the 7+
million left on Quintal’s contract over the next 3 years.
I think Glen Sather and the Rangers came away with a huge steal in this
deal. Although it was very surprising to see the Blackhawks trade Grosek Read more »
Today Terry Murray ended all the speculation about who would be starting in the nets on opening night. Both goalies are coming off years that could be considered their announcement for the rest of the league to stand up and take notice.
In Florida’s pipes last year, Trevor Kidd started out the season with a bang. Trevor was playing with all-star form, sometimes single-handedly keeping the Panthers in games. His numbers were also All-star numbers before he dislocated his shoulder on Dec. 13th. Kidd ranked first in the NHL in save percentage (.930) and was tied for fourth in goals-against (2.08) and wins (13). Trevor rehabbed his shoulder and came back by the end of the year, but was a shadow of his former self and struggled mightily.
In previous years with Carolina, Trevor got into zones where he did appear unbeatable for games on end, but the nagging question was there….how long would that last?
In the pre-season, Trevor looked very sharp and seemed to have no mental worries about his shoulder. He went 1-2 in the pre-season with 2.80 GAA, 11 GA and a 92.6 SP%, but the poor numbers can be attributed to playing with a pre-season roster of defenseman.
Roberto Luongo came to the Panthers in a much publicized off-season trade and promptly showed some skeptical fans the reason he is perhaps the most touted goalie prospect ever.
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Who would have figured this? After struggling in early USHL action, no one figured the U18 NTDP team would actually have a shot at beating CCHA powerhouse Michigan State. Led by Barry Tallackson with 2 goals, the U18′s played a great game. Tallackson, who’s been on a tear with 5 goals in the last 2 games, is playing extremely well. Look for many recruiters to be calling and trying to sign him up before the early signing period ends. Bryan Miller, a Boston University recruit, took the puck off the draw and fired home the game winner. Brian McConnell assisted on the play. Other goal scorers include Eric Nystrom, Lee Falardeau, and Matt Gens. Dwight Helminen had 2 helpers. Travis Weber played stellar between the pipes making 39 saves. Weber, another top recruit still unsigned is looking better and better as the season progresses. Look for an annoucement from him in the near future as he has a few official visits lined up. Eric Nystrom had to say this about the game, “We had a great team effort and everyone played hard. This is a huge win for us and a huge confidence builder. As for Travis Weber, he played one heckuva game for us and made many tough saves.” Even though this is just an exhibition game it still was a huge win for NTDP as a whole. The U18′s continue with college competition as they face Western Michigan Saturday night.
After a disappointing 1999/2000 season, the Riverhawks begin another
season in the lower tier of Hockey East. The Hawks hope to end a two
year streak in which they haven’t made the Hockey East semifinals, after
having done it 7 years in a row. The young team is slowly starting to
age, as the large recruiting classes of the last three years head
further away from their rookie years. This is the first year in a while
that UML has a majority of players that are upperclassmen. Lowell
finished a Hockey East worst 5-16-3 in league play (9-22-3 overall) last
year, returns 20 lettermen after losing just 4 seniors last year. Gone
from a team that averaged less than 3 goals per game last year are
forwards Chris Bell (9 goals, 21 assists, 30 points), John Campbell
(4-13-17) and Craig Brown (4-5-9) along with defenseman Kevin Bertram
(10-8-18). Five other players left with eligibility still left,
including forwards Jeremy Kyte, Mark Fontas and Mike Sgroi (both of whom
left during the season last year), defenseman Andy Wozniewski and
goaltender Dan Weinreib. The Riverhawks bring in what for them is a small
class this year, including three forwards, a defenseman and one
goaltender. For a change, Lowell brings back a lot of experience, with
only 4 seniors, but 10 juniors and 6 sophomores as well. The best news
for the team was that sophomore blue liner Ron Hainsey would return to
the team this year, even though he was the first ever Lowell player Read more »
With the trimming of the roster yesterday, the 2000 Edition NY Rangers appear to be set as expected. With the exception of Swede Johan Witehall, enforcer Dale Purinton, Jason Doig, Mike Mottau, and new short term back up goalie Jason Labarbera, the Rangers team was set the day Mark Messier and Vladirmir Malakhov signed.
What the final lines will be is as good a guess as any chemist could levy. The center slot is filled with Mark Messier, Petr Nedved, Mike York and Tim Taylor. Messier will probably be side anchored by Theo Fleury and Adam Graves, Nedved with countrymen Jan Hlavac and Radek Dvorak, followed by the third line of Mike York, John MacLean and probably Valeri Kamensky. The fourth line will likely consist of oft-injured Tim Taylor – Sandy McCarthy/Johan Witehall and Eric Lacroix.
If the Messier line can produce 20-30 goals each, which they are capable of, they will be an effective line. The questions are the heart of Fleury, the back of Graves and the age of Messier. Simply asked, difficult to answer. Time will tell.
The Czechmates are a fast moving, puck control, prototypical European unit that has one issue to concern themselves with… their backs. Can Dale Purinton effectively scare off other teams hitmen? Will a fourth line wing in McCarthy be enough to keep these Czechmates safe? Questions all to be answered. Look for close to 30 goals from Nedved and Hlavac and Dvorak somewhat less as he has had some trouble in finding his “niche”.
Read more »
Many of you may ask “who?” when reading the article header. In two years, it’s almost certain you won’t ask any more. A new junior superstar began to shine in the Czech Republic, and this one is something special.
Jiri is really a rare talent who at the age of 16 makes an impression that can only be compared to “Number 68″ Jaromir Jagr when he was 16. Jiri plays regularly as a third-line center with the HC Slovnaft Vsetin of the Elite league and scored 4 points (1+3) in a single pre-season game! He was 0+2 after the first two games of the regular season schedule. And playing against men sometimes 20 years older than Jiri! It looks like it won’t take a lot of time before he’ll be nicknamed “Number 42″, the jersey he wears.
In the pregame skate he looks like a boy among men, he is just 5’9” and 155 lbs. That’s right now but the size may come as his body develops more. His parents aren’t smallish either so that bodes well.
Read more »
Well, one day after the Rangers announced their final cuts, they made
some more big news as well. Mike Mottau, Last year’s Hobey Baker winner,
finally came to terms on a contract with the Rangers according to ESPN. Terms
of the deal have not been disclosed. This is good news for the Rangers, as Mottau could have left as a
free agent if he stayed un-signed all season. He’ll stay with the Rangers
until Brian Leetch returns from his groin injury, and then he’ll be assigned
to Hartford of the AHL, unless he plays extremely well in the first few games
of the season.
According to the New York Times, Stephane Quintal
has been put on waivers. The Rangers needed to get rid of Quintal to make room
for Jason Doig, Dale Purinton and Mottau on the pro club. Reports indicate that Quintal will be picked up by the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Rangers will get two players to be named from Chicago as future considerations.
The Rangers open up the season this Saturday in Atlanta. The Rangers had
a perfect 4-0-0 record vs. the Thrashers last season, and they’ll try and run
that number to 5 straight wins. The Rangers need to get off to a good start
or they’ll be playing catch up in the standings like the past 3 years..
Today General Manager Glen Sather announced 6 more cuts for the 2000-01
New York Rangers. A couple of these are very surprising to me, as I really
thought most of these guys would make the team, but, I guess not. Well,
here’s the cuts and a few notes about each player.
Forwards Manny Malhotra, Jeff Ulmer and Derek Armstrong were sent to
Hartford of the AHL along with goaltender J-F Labbe. Forwards Pavel Brendl
and Jamie Lundmark were returned to their junior teams in the Western Hockey
Manny Malhotra: I thought he had a chance, but I guess the Rangers will keep
Taylor as their 4th line center for now. However, Sather may try and trade
Taylor so he can bring up Manny from the minors later in the season.
Jeff Ulmer: Him being cut doesn’t surprise me. He did play well, but from the
start of camp I knew he was going to be sent to the AHL.
Derek Armstrong: Same goes for Armstrong. A possible trade to another team
could be the best for Armstrong, as it doesn’t appear he will ever be an
NHLer as long as he’s Rangers property.
J-F Labbe: This is the biggest surprise to me. I can’t believe he was cut.
When Holmqvist was sent down I was almost 100% sure Labbe would be the
backup, but now it appears that Jason Labarbera has won the job. I’m very
excited to see Labarbera strut his stuff.
Pavel Brendl: Darn it, Darn it, DARN IT! I really wanted to see this kid on Read more »
A harbinger of things to come?
Returning to the rinks from a rumored summer to begin mapping
the odysseys of this year’s NHL Draft hopefuls, it didn’t take
long for 17 year-old Mississauga Ice Dogs Captain Jason Spezza
to make an enormous impression.
One period to be exact.
When the dust had settled, the Ice Dogs found themselves leading
the Sudbury Wolves 5-2 after 20 minutes, and the challenge in
describing Spezza’s play is to not become too redundant with the
The Dogs were staked to an early two-goal lead thanks to a
dizzying array of skills put on display by Spezza as he set up
the first three Mississauga goals. His artistry with the puck
included undressing defencemen and putting himself into the
clear for a break-away, although he was stopped by goaltender
Jason Brown. With puck in tow, he was constantly finding and
creating open-ice for himself and for his teammates to whom he
would feed short, deft passes or medium-range passes that would
hit the tape, all the while displaying great vision,
anticipation, and hockey sense.
With the Dogs on a power-play and the face-off outside the
Sudbury blueline, Spezza eschewed the usual drawing back of the
puck and instead shot the puck forward into the corner of the
Sudbury zone. The Wolves defencemen had by this time shown an
alarming propensity for coughing up and turning over the puck in Read more »