Prospects Tournament Game 1
The first game of the Prospect Tournament took place in Hull, Quebec last night. Once again the Montreal Canadiens’ finest and brightest future stars were assembled to take on a talent stacked Tampa Bay Lightning prospect roster.
There were no notable standouts on the Canadiens’ roster. In his much anticipated debut, Andrei Markov scored a nice goal off the draw, he blasted a hard low shot past Konstantinov in the second period, however he failed to impress. Mike Rebeiro scored in the third to make it a closer game when he deflected a Markov shot into the low short side but Tampa ran away with this one 5-2. Montreal had only a very few good scoring opportunities throughout the game. Matt Carkner seemed to impress me the most with his physical play. In the first period he took on hulking Kristian Kudroc who was on the receiving end of a few good punches before he fell hard to the ice. In the second period Carkner fought another heavyweight in Brett Scheffleimier, the two went toe to toe exchanging numerous blows. Francois Beauchemin fought Greg Black in the second period. It was nice to see Beauchemin drop the gloves although the fight ended up a draw. The massive Mitch Fritz (6’7”) attempted to fight but couldn’t coax Aaron Gionet into swinging back so he ended up with a disappointing four minute roughing minor.
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It was a wild one alright, but when the dust finally cleared after an empty net goal credited to Jon Zion but actually scored by Vaclav Zavoral the Buds triumphed over the Baby Sabres 7-4 and became the only team to go undefeated, winning the Kitchener Rookie Tournament. The game had all the makings of a record setting rout in the early going as the Leafs’ goals came fast and furious. It all started with Alexei Ponikarovsky doing what he has become noted for here as he went into a corner draped all over a Buffalo player and came out of it with a perfect feed to Ben Ondrus who banged it home with 14:34 left in the first.
The floodgates really opened however some 6 minutes later when the Buds scored 4 times in approximately 6 minutes. A great looking rush/weave by Miguel Delisle going from wing to wing across the blueline started things off. After an exchange with JP Cote, the winger delivered a great goalmouth feed to Luca Cereda. The pivot, for his part, waited patiently for the Buffalo puckstopper to commit leaving Cereda the top half of the net and he took advantage at 11:50. Only two minutes later Kris Vernarsky played puck on a string doing a complete wraparound and starting on a second before sending a pass out to Vadim Sozinov who buried it low glove side. With 4:45 left it was time once again for the Ponikarovsky and Ondrus show. The former fired a pass beyond the reach of the Swift Current Bronco, but the rookie camp invitee out raced two defenders for the puck and backhanded it out front where Ponikarovsky, trailing the play, roofed it. Read more »
PANTHERS PROSPECTS FALL 4-2 IN TOURNEY OPENER
HULL, Quebec – The four-team 2000 NHL prospects tournament got underway with a pair of games today at Robert Guertin Arena. The Florida Panthers were defeated by the Ottawa Senators 4-2 in the late game. Michel Periard and Rod Sarich led the Panthers with a goal each, while Ryan Jardine recorded seven shots to lead all players. Florida’s Morgan McCormick posted 14 penalty minutes, which included a pair of fighting majors. The Panthers outshot Ottawa 33-24.
FIRST PERIOD: Sarich opened the scoring with a wrist shot just 3:21 into the contest. The 19-year-old defenseman was assisted on the play by Serge Payer and McCormick. Sarich, who was a 1999 draft pick of the Panthers (109th overall), played for Calgary (WHL) last season. The Panthers lead was short-lived as the Senators’ Chris Kelly connected on the power play at the 4:40 mark. Ottawa took a 2-1 advantage with an even-strength tally at 12:45 by Tim Wolfe. The Panthers out-shot the Senators 15-13 in the opening frame. Florida failed to score in its only power play chance in the first period. McCormick registered 9 penalty minutes, including a 5-minute major for fighting. Eric Godard also picked up a 5 minute major for fighting.
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I knew this game was going to be exciting when during the pre-game skate
Sean Avery was chirping to the Atlanta Thrashers every chance he got,
stretching over at the red line instead of at the face off circle with
the rest of his team, yapping continuously. Both teams came out
crashing and banging but didn’t take any penalties for the first three
minutes. Mike Sgroi took the first of the many penalties handed out
in the game drawing an interference call. Atlanta jumped at the
chance when Mike Weaver slammed the puck past JF Perras with 21 seconds
remaining on the power play. Detroit came back quickly scoring less
than a minute later. Ryan Barnes and Eric Bowen dropped the gloves for
the first fight of the night at 8:04, each receiving 5 minute majors.
30 seconds later Avery and Luke Sellars each received 5 minute majors
also after deciding to go for a whirl, which in turn immediately
inspired Kori Davison and David Kaczowka to give it a try.
Unfortunately for Davidson and Kaczowka they received game misconduct’s
along with their 5 minute majors. A few minutes later Adam Deleeuw and
Darcy Hordichuk got into a scuffle, each receiving 2 minutes for
roughing. Jason Williams also at the same time took a hooking penalty
putting Atlanta on the Power Play. Perras made a spectacular save on
Brad Tapper but Derek MacKenzie made the Red Wings pay when he put the
puck past Perras with just 18 seconds left on the power play. Jules-Edy Read more »
The Leafs had yet another long shot pay off in their second game of the Rookie Tournament. Against Carolina it was Ben Ondrus who shone and, while he didn’t let up at all, the New York Rangers have probably seen all they want to see of the team’s other free agent invitee, Lance Galbraith. Not only did he score back-to-back goals in the second to give the Leafs a 3-1 lead, he also served as the line’s constable on patrol, taking on Tommy Bolduc and then later Wes Jarvis. While he didn’t win either bout outright, he did hold his own and against Bolduc (who only uses icetime as a prelude to a fight) that’s really saying something.
But it wasn’t only Galbraith who was dropping the gloves. Jacques Lariviere, interrupted an uninteresting start of the match long enough to pummel Kris Mallette into the ground. This seemed to give a spark to the home side as shortly thereafter, the Baby Buds offense kicked into high gear, lead by blueliner Jon Zion who consistently forced the Rangers into decisions they didn’t want to make. However, overconfidence became a factor and when on near successive shifts Lariviere and Morgan Warren made brutal giveaways that forced Jean Francois Racine to come up big.
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The Maple Leafs’ rookies appeared to be far more ready to play from the outset of last night’s match versus the Young Rangers. Virtually everyone in the line-up demonstrated considerably more jump than they had against the Hurricanes on Friday evening. Toronto’s passing and team play were also considerably sharper throughout. As a result, the game was far more entertaining one to watch.
The Leafs dominated the first frame from a territorial perspective but neither team was able to open the scoring. Toronto’s forwards were going hard to the net at every opportunity and several found themselves on top of or behind the beleaguered Rangers’ keeper. There were two notable occurrences in the 1st period from a physical standpoint. Enforcers Lariviere and Mallette squared off in a way that made it seem as though they had already done so on many previous occasions. In this instance, the Leafs’ Lariviere scored a very decisive win by TKO. Later in the period, Mallette (having returned following minor repairs) attempted to freeze the puck along the wall, clearly frustrating Mihail Travnicek in his attempts to work it free. With no whistle forthcoming, the bouncing Czech continued to hack away at the disk held in the Ranger’s feet until the big defender suddenly collapsed and went down as if he had been shot. Travnicek sheepishly turned and skated away – I’ll leave the other details of the incident up to your imagination. Through for the evening, this was certainly not a night to remember for young Kris Mallette.
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I’m back with the 2nd part of this 3 part series, as we now look at the
Rangers defensive prospects. They have a good mix of grit, speed and offense
from their defense prospects, the type of players that Glen Sather and Ron
Low love. Now, let’s take a look at a couple of them.
Mottau recently won the Hobey Baker award, given to the best collegiate
Name: Mike Mottau
Weight: 200 lbs
Birthdate: March 19, 1978
Hometown: Quincy, Massachusetts
Acquired: Round 7 #182 overall 1997 NHL Entry Draft
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Boston College NCAA 42 6 37 43 57
1998-99 Boston College NCAA 43 3 39 42 44
1997-98 Boston College NCAA 40 13 36 49 50
1996-97 Boston College NCAA 38 5 18 23 77
player, last year in his senior season with Boston College. Mottau’s idol
growing up was fellow Ranger Brian Leetch, and their styles of play are very
similar. Although Mottau is not very big (6’0 200) he likes to throw his body
around and get involved in the physical play. He is also very good
offensively, and could be a 50-60 point scorer in the NHL. Mottau is coming
to the Rangers training camp in Burlington, Vermont without a contract, but
if he plays well in camp, you can bet your last dollar Sather will reward him Read more »
The best part about the Rangers future is that they are very deep in
solid goaltending prospects, possibly the deepest team in the league. The
Rangers have done some excellent scouting the past few seasons, pick up
goaltending gems such as Johan Holmqvist in the 7th Round of the ’97 Entry
Draft and Vitali Yeremeyev in the 11th Round of the ’94 Entry Draft. Let’s
take a look at some of the Rangers goalie prospects, where they should play
this upcoming season, and what type of future they have.
Name: Johan Holmqvist
Weight: 200 lbs
Birthdate: May 24, 1978
Hometown: Tolfta, Sweden
Acquired: Draft 1999, 7th Round
Holmqvist, 22, is the Rangers top goalie prospect in the organization. He
has been the best goaltender in Sweden, and possibly could be the best goalie
to ever come from Sweden, and that means he could be better than Edmonton
Oilers all-star Tommy Salo. Holmqvist recently signed a contract with the
Rangers, and will be at both the rookie camp in Kitchener and the big
training camp in Burlington, Vermont. Holmqvist has the potential to be the
best goaltender in the NHL in a few years. If he plays well enough in
training camp, he could beat Kirk McLean for the Rangers back-up position. If Read more »
If history is any indication, then Lance Galbraith and Ben Ondrus can look forward to a bright future. Last year, the Maple Leafs invited left winger Jacques Lariviere and goaltender Sebastien Centomo to their Rookie Camp as free agents. Lariviere had 22 PIMs in 3 Rookie Tournament games, while Centomo played very well as the #2 goaltender behind Vladimir Kulikov. Both youngsters were signed to contracts with the Leafs at the conclusion of the Rookie Tournament. The good fortune didn’t end there for either one of them.
Centomo began the year as Rouyn-Noranda’s backup goaltender, but by the end of the season he had nailed down the number one job. Centomo had 24 wins which ranked 6th in the QMJHL and a 3.48 GAA which was 10th in the league. Centomo’s last year of junior competition will be a treat for Leafs fans to monitor. Lariviere, who had already spent two seasons with Moncton, became the resident enforcer for Rimouski and wound up winning the Memorial Cup. Lariviere had a career year amassing 309 PIM with 12 goals and 24 assist in 61 games. Leafs fans will be able to follow Lariviere in St. John’s this year where he will be a key component in Lou Crawford’s security team assigned the task of protecting the Leafs top young prospects.
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Traverse City, Michigan
It might have taken a little while to score a goal but it was a fast
paced game with some battling along the boards. About four minutes into
the game Gene Chiarello dove for the puck, sliding out behind the goal
line to the right of his net, but missed the puck. The defense was able
to clear the puck off to the side just barely giving Chiarello time to
get back and make the next save, and get a much needed whistle. Two
seconds after they dropped the puck to resume play Graham Belak and
Trevor Ettinger dropped the gloves, Ettinger was on top when the Ref’s
pulled them apart. They both received 5 minute majors for fighting. A
few minutes later Chiarello stoned Hutchins. Finally 11 minutes into
the game Brad Moran put a figure on the scoreboard, giving Columbus the
first goal. Columbus took a penalty 2 minutes into the second period
and St. Louis capitalized on it. Shawn Chambers put the St. Louis Blues
on the board. At 9:06 of the second Brett Lutes was called for
cross-checking. A minute later Columbus made their mid-game goalie
change replacing Chiarello with Jomar Cruz. Less than 40 seconds later
St. Louis scored a shorthanded, Mamane getting his second of the night.
St. Louis scored once more at 9:10 of the third period, this time Dale
Clarke sending the puck past Cruz. Stephen Wagner made several great
saves protecting St. Louis’ lead. While Wagner and the St. Louis Blues Read more »