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USHL Season Update

by Jason Shaner
on

The 2001-2002 USHL season is already heading into December and getting towards the Christmas break. Most teams have played about a third of their games and position in the league standings is still undetermined at this point. Currently in the Eastern division the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders stand at the top of the mountain. A 14-6-1 records gives them 29 points to lead the way. However, the Des Moines Buccaneers are not far behind with 26. Des Moines has not played up to preseason expectations but remain in the hunt for the time being. The Green Bay Gamblers who year in and year out are tops in the Eastern division until this season, are tied with Des Moines for second place. Cedar Rapids has been rather impressive to start off the season. Cedar Rapids has posted a league high 10 wins on the road. What that means is that the RoughRiders are getting many of their road games out of the way early this season and they will have a favorable schedule the second half. If the Eastern division hopefuls do not get moving, Cedar Rapids may end up running away with the Division title.

In the Western division the Sioux City Musketeers have been magnificent. The Musketeers have experienced unprecedented success at home posting a 13-0 record so far en route to a Western division and league leading 37 points. Their rink is very small and their big forwards and defensemen use that to their advantage to make it quite difficult for a visiting team to come in and win a game. That advantage will be monumental heading into the playoffs should they end up with home ice adva Read more »

Game Misconduct: The Vincent Sweepstakes

by Tony Bryson
on

Lightning Hope for a Princely Return on Investment

It’s not much fun working for the Tampa Bay Lightning right now. The boss isn’t in a very good mood. Rick Dudley is a little steamed right now and no one is sure what has put his mood in such a bad state. It could be the fact that his shopping of Vincent Lecavalier has gone public, or maybe just Vince’s (le) cavalier approach to the game since signing a fat new deal at the start of the season. What ever it is, Rick is not a happy camper.

Then again, who could really blame a guy for being in a surly mood when he’s contemplating dealing away a guy that was called, “the Michael Jordan of hockey” by previous team owner Art Williams? Especially when he’s completely unsure of what he can, or should, expect back in return. There have been a number of high profile players change teams in the past nine months, and Dudley wants to be sure he makes a good deal. So what is a good deal for Tampa? Should they go after one guy, or try and scramble for as many guys as they can get? It’s an interesting conundrum, one worth examining and picking apart.

There are those that look at the player movement in the past year to point to a trend of players not returning what they traditionally have in trade. Jaromir Jagr going to Washington for three unproven prospects is usually the first example that is trotted out to defend this stance. If one of the best players in the world were to garner such a poor return, why would an unproven pup like Lecavalier return more? Well, those that use that a Read more »

Lecavalier on his way out?

by Chad Schnarr
on

For many Lightning fans, the unthinkable is becoming expected. The future “Michael Jordan of Hockey,” and Lightning franchise player could be dealt within the coming days or weeks.

There was a time when both the Jordan comparison and trade idea was looked at as absurd.

Vincent Lecavalier has struggled with confidence and injuries the last two years, and after some over-publicized spats with coach John Tortorella, Tampa Bay GM Rick Dudley is no longer hanging up the phone when Vinny’s name is mentioned in trade talks. This is due in part to the rumors of Lecavalier’s camp demanding a trade, not the Lightning’s unhappiness with the young star, nor its siding with the unproven coach over the player.

This potential trade has armchair GM’s from Mexico to the North Pole (we think Santa has a separate list of picks and prospects he thinks are fair value for Lecavalier) working out deals.

A lot of thought has gone into thinking up what could be given up (or held onto) for the 1998 #1 overall pick.

What is the Lightning looking for?

Well, that’s the question most seem to ignore.

There are two sides to every deal, and you can bet whomever gets Lecavalier is going to have to give. Core players are no longer safe.

The Lightning is currently among the league leaders in save percentage and goals against. The goaltending is fine. If you’re thinking about dealing a ready for prime-time ‘tender to Tampa as the deal’s centerpiece, forget it. The top-four, no-name defense, has also played well, at least by the nu Read more »

OHL Announces Performers of the Month

by HF Staff
on

Toronto – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the performers of the
month for November 2001.

Molson OHL Player of the Month – Darryl Bootland, Toronto St. Michael’s
Majors

The Molson OHL Player of the Month for November is Toronto St. Michael’s
Majors right winger Darryl Bootland, who scored 12 goals and 11 assists for
23 points in 13 games to help the Majors to a 7-2-4-0 record last month.

Bootland, who turned 20 on November 2, led all OHL scorers with 12 goals and
23 points during the month of November, and is tied with Frantisek Lukes for
the team scoring lead.

Bootland recorded points in 11 of 13 Toronto games last month, including
multiple point games on eight occasions. He posted a four point game (one
goal, three assists) on November 25 against Peterborough. The Toronto native
was a 12th round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

OHL Rookie of the Month – Fedor Tjutin, Guelph Storm

The OHL Rookie of the Month for November is Guelph Storm defenceman Fedor
Tjutin, who scored three goals and 10 assists for 13 points in nine games.

Tjutin, an 18-year-old native of Izhevsk, Russia, recorded points in seven
of the nine November games he played, including seven points in a three game
stretch from November 11 – 16.

Tjutin, the Storm’s first pick in the 2001 CHL Import Draft, was a second
round pick of the New York Rangers in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He is second
in scoring among OHL defenceman behind teammate Kevin Dallman with 31 points
in 26 games.

OHL Read more »

Canadiens’ Weekly Prospects Update (AHL edition)

by Chris Boucher
on

Ron Hainsey -D (Drafted-00(1/13))

Hainsey returned to action Monday night against Manitoba. He was shutout during the contest, and finished the game with a -1 rating. Overall, the 6’3″, 200-lbs defenseman has played 8 games. He has 6 points (3-3-6), and is +2 with 6 minutes in penalties. All 3 of his goals were scored on the powerplay.

Mike Ribeiro -C (Drafted-98(2/45))

Ribeiro was recalled by the Canadiens on December 2nd. He registered 2 assists in his first game back with the big club. Overall, the shifty center has played 14 AHL games. He has 14 points (6-8-14), and is +9 with 20 minutes in penalties. One of his goals was scored on the powerplay, while 2 others were scored shorthanded.

Eric Chouinard -F (Drafted-98(1/16))

Chouinard was shutout through 3 games this week. He’s currently on a season-high 7 game scoreless streak. Overall, the 6’3″, 207-lbs forward has played 21 games. He has 18 points (7-11-18) with 2 minutes in penalties. His plus/minus is currently even, despite a onetime +8 rating. He also has 59 shots on goal.

Francois Beauchemin -D (Drafted-98(3/75))

Beauchemin was shutout through 3 games this week. Overall, the 6’0″, 201-lbs defenseman has played 10 games. He has 4 points (2-2-4), and is -3 with 10 minutes in penalties. Beauchemin has also played 7 ECHL games with Mississippi. He has 4 points (1-3-4), and is -1 with 2 minutes in penalties. He’s directed 13 shots on goal.

Marc-Andre Thinel -F (Drafted-99(5/145))

Thinel was shutout through 3 games since our l Read more »

Stone and Harding are WHL Players of the Month

by HF Staff
on

Calgary – The Western Hockey League today announced the Players of the Month
for November in both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference.

In the Eastern Conference, which includes the East and Central Divisions,
the Player of the Month is rookie goaltender Josh Harding of the Regina
Pats.

The 17 year old from Regina, Saskatchewan, recorded a 1.70 goals against
average and a 0.934 save percentage in eight games during the Month of
November. He recorded seven wins and one loss.

Harding was also named Player of the Week for the week of November 4th,
2001. He is eligible for the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Josh Harding is a deserving choice as the Eastern Conference Player of the
Month for November.

In the Western Conference, which includes the B.C. and U.S. Divisions, the
Player of the Month is goaltender Jason Stone of the Kelowna Rockets.

Stone, a 19-year-old from Duncan, British Columbia recorded a 1.70 goals
against average and a 0.928 save percentage in ten games including two
shutouts during the Month of November. He recorded seven wins, one loss and
a tie. Stone is a free agent.

Jason Stone is also a deserving choice as the Western Conference Player of
the Month for November.

Canadiens’ weekly prospects update

by Chris Boucher
on

Michael Ryder -W (Drafted-98(8/216))

Ryder was assigned to Mississippi of the ECHL on November 27th. In 3 games since his demotion the Newfoundlander has 4 points (2-2-4), and is -3 with one powerplay goal. Most impressive are his 18 shots, which translate to an average of 6 shots per game. Overall, the 6’1″, 195-lbs winger has played 13 AHL games. He has 4 points (2-2-4), and is +2 with 2 minutes in penalties. He’s also managed 13 shots on goal.

Vadim Tarasov -G (Drafted-99(7/196))

Tarasov continues to suffer from a groin injury, and remains in Montréal undergoing treatment for the injury. Overall, the 5’11”, 187-lbs goalie has played 3 AHL games. He is 2-0-1 with a 2.28 GAA, and a .926 save percentage.

Jerome Marois -LW (Drafted-99(9/253))

Mississippi’s Jerome Marois is just beginning to feel comfortable since returning from a one month layoff with a leg injury. Overall, the 6’0″, 192-lbs winger has played 9 ECHL games. He has 6 points (4-2-6), and is minus-4 with 20 shots on goal.

Olivier Michaud -G (Free Agent-2001(3-y contract))

Michaud was invited to attend Canada’s 2002 World Junior Championship selection camp. The 18-year-old goaltender has come a long way since last year’s NHL Entry Draft, when NHL scouts didn’t think enough of his game to draft the Shawinigan goaltender. The Beloil native won his only start since our last update. He stopped 16 shots to earn a shutout during a 6-0 win over Rimouski. Overall the 5’11, 163-lbs goalie is 18-3-1 with a QMJHL leading 2.11 GAA, and a .901 sav Read more »

Will Year Five Be The Charm?

by Michael Karlstrom
on

Will Year Five Be The Charm?

The game of hockey and the NHL is full of many logic beliefs and theory systems. Some of the most widely held ideas are actually contradictory to one-another. It isn’t a nice cookie-cutter world where you can input A and automatically assume that you will get an output of B, but in the midst of these sometimes unexpectantly generated results against the ‘rules’ we hold dearest, there still are some factors that do seem to play true time and again. One such passage that has historically played a very significant impact upon those who have played the game is the ‘magic’ of the fifth year and/or age 22/23 season.

Simply put, there is some pretty suggestive evidence to indicate that a very large segment of players don’t actually arrive at their highest levels until they have either played a full four seasons and are in their fifth campaign, or are in the season where they turn 23 years of age. I use these two qualifiers because not everyone gets to the NHL at age 18 and thus some have their 23rd birthday before their fifth season.

The timing for this article is inspired by the arrival of two youngsters from the Boston Bruins reaching this juncture.

If you look at the current point leader board at the beginning of December for the NHL, it might be surprising to see that both Sergei Samsonov and Joe Thornton are firmly entrenched among the top 20 producers in the league.

Sergei Samsonov is actually 8th in league scoring after games as of Sunday, December 2nd. He does have games in hand to play on four of Read more »

Boston Bruins: Barbs Wired

by Shane Walsh
on

Like most youthful hockey players growing up in Western Canada, University of Denver sniper Greg Barber has always dreamt of someday playing in the NHL. Emulating his hockey heroes on the streets of Kelowna, British Columbia, Barber has always been a standout wherever he’s played. If sheer determination was worth its weight in Black & Gold, then tip the scales in his favor for a longstanding future with the Bruins organization.

A standout for the Victoria Salsa of the BCHL, Barber’s superb play in 1998-99 earned him a BCHL all-star appearance and the Boston Bruins 207th overall selection at the 1999 NHL entry draft. Playing alongside Martin Kariya, Barber notched 41 goals and 82 points in 60 games for Victoria that year. When reached at his home on draft day, Barber was both shocked and surprised that his life long dream had taken a positive step forward.

“I wasn’t expecting a call or anything like that,” said Barber in an interview with hockeysfuture. “I was hanging with friends at my house and was not paying any attention to the draft. I was pretty happy. It was unexpected, so I was kind of shocked.”

His play struggled somewhat the following year as a freshman for the University of Denver. Known for being a big goal scorer, his adjustment from the BCHL to the WCHA was tougher on him than anyone had expected. He finished second in rookie scoring for Denver netting 7 goals and 15 points in 40 games. As a sophomore, he had a knack for late-minute heroics as he tallied two third-period game-tying markers. He equaled his freshman totals of 7goa Read more »

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