With the departure of Sean O’Donnell and Steve McKenna in the expansion draft, the Kings had a glaring need for some muscle. Enter 35-year-old Stu Grimson, who signed a one-year contract last week to patrol the ice for the Kings in 2000. While this is a great PR move and gives the Kings a season with one of the toughest forwards to ever lace them up, how much of a difference can Stu make? After all, enforcers have moved a lot this offseason and a low draft pick could have given the Kings players like Oliwa, Cote or any number of young thugs. Why Grimson? The reason is twofold- Kip Brennan and potentially Brian McGratten.
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When HF originally contacted the Long Beach Ice Dogs for this interview, John Van Boxmeer was the coach/GM of that IHL franchise. What a difference a week made. By the time we were able to confirm the interview with him personally, the Ice Dogs has jumped to the WCHL and Van Boxmeer had been promoted to Vice-President of Hockey Operations for the team. In a chat that might be better called ‘Behind the Desk’ rather than ‘Behind the Bench’ the former bench boss talked with HF about the moving and shaking going on in Southern California.
Hockey’s Future: It been a very tumultuous past couple of weeks for both you and the Long Beach Ice Dogs. Let’s start with the team’s transition first. What was the reasoning behind the team switching from the IHL to the WCHL?
John Van Boxmeer: There were two reasons really one being the fact that we were isolated out here on the West Coast. Our nearest competition was 2 and a ½ hours away and our travels costs were very high. Secondly the operating budget (Players’ salaries, social benefits etc) in the WCHL were half of what they were in the IHL.
HF: How could you compare the two leagues in terms of competitiveness, philosophy, and organization?
JVB: WCHL is a step below the IHL, the former being a feeder league to the latter. As for philosophy, while we aren’t there yet, the goal in the WCHL is to be the AHL of the west coast. The organization of the WCHL is of the same quality as the IHL right now.
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There is a prospect camp being held in the southern suburbs of the capital this week. Mike Fisher will be there continuing his path to recovery, but most interesting will be the appearance of Martin Havlat and Mathieu Chouinard. Last week both players signed contracts with the Senators. Havlat was a first round pick in ’99, while Chouinard was a Senators first round pick in ’98 and a second round pick in ’00.
The President and The Convict
As you most likely know arbitrator Lawrence Holden ruled in favour of the NHL and the Ottawa Senators over Alexi Yashin. Citing a verbal agreement between the former president of the NHL John Ziegler and the disgraced founder of the NHLPA Alan Eagleson, the ruling surprised many. There are murmurs the NHL had been very unhappy with the recent string arbitrator decisions. It should be noted Holden is the same man who ruled Mike Van Ryn a free agent.
Bryden Wants Yashin Back
Rod Bryden owner of the team has invited holdout center Alexi Yashin to return the Senators. Saying the disagreement was never anything but professional, Bryden wont okay the player and still expects Yashin to fulfill his contractual obligations. The educated guess is that Bryden is merely enjoying the moment. When you make it known you are trying to move an asset, it is important not to devaluate it. Public opinion in the city seems to be strongly behind a trade as opposed to a rapprochement.
Senators 2000-2001 Budget
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The 2000 NHL entry draft saw the Boston Bruins select a Swedish-born player with their top pick for the first time in franchise history. They didn’t stop there. Using a second first-rounder acquired from the Colorado Avalanche, they drafted another Swedish player. The selections of Lars Jonsson and Martin Samuelsson were merely the tip of the iceberg, as the Bruins took a total of nine Europeans of twelve skaters drafted. Of those nine, five hailed from the countries of Finland and Sweden. Boston’s strategy marks a new direction for the team, as it clearly demonstrates an attempt to stock the organization with skill players rather than the traditional method of going after North American character types with less finesse.
For Boston, the Euro invasion didn’t really begin in earnest until the 1992 draft, when Boston chose a multitude of Russian players, beginning with its first-ever draft pick from the former Soviet Union, Dmitri Kvartalnov. Since that year, the Bruins have chosen a total of 34 Europeans. By contrast, between 1983 and 1991, covering the same amount of draft years, the total count of European players selected by Boston numbers just seven. The full integration of skaters across the Atlantic into the NHL has dictated a necessity for teams to capitalize on that premier talent, or be swept aside in the standings. The Bruins seem to have taken an active interest in recruiting players from Europe, but in particular those competing in the Swedish and Finnish Elite and Junior Leagues.
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Here is Part 2 of the Sharks draft review. If you missed Part 1, read it here: http://hockeysfuture.com/sharks91-95draftreview1.html
Again, this is an in-depth look back at every player the San Jose Sharks drafted during 1991-1995. This article will look back at the 94 and 95 drafts. At the end, there is a small recap of recent San Jose Sharks news. Enjoy!
The 1994 draft is probably the strongest the Sharks had from 91-95. It will probably go down as one of the better drafts of all-time for the Sharks (so far up there with 1997 and 1998). The Sharks were able to get a stud with the 11th pick (Jeff Friesen who could turn out to be the best player of the 94 class). The impressive part of this draft was the talent the Sharks got in the later rounds. Varada has turned into a key player in Buffalo, Korolyuk is awesome young forward who figures into the Sharks future, Nabokov is a solid goalie prospect, and Landry has NHL potential.
1994 Entry Draft
11th Jeff Friesen
37th Angel Nikolov
66th Alexei Yegorov
89th Vaclav Varada
115th Brian Swanson
141st Alexander Korolyuk
167th Sergei Gorbachev
193rd Eric Landry
219th Evegni Nabokov
240th Tomas Pisa
245th Aniket Dhadphale
271st David Beauregard
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by Derek Cheng
Despite having an all-star future Hall of Fame defenseman and a Vezina Trophy finalist, the Bruins still
had a very tough time keeping the puck out of their own net last season. They really need to improve their
defense if they want to start winning hockey games.
The promise of a free agent spending spree this summer has brought in limited help on defense with regards to some
of the higher-profile names available on the open market. The only signing thus far has been 33 year old Peter Popovic.
The Bruins did manage to re-sign Don Sweeney, which was deemed vital, since he is the most experienced Bruin and one of the few who played well last season.
But, with Popovic aboard and Sweeney back in the fold, there is only one difference between the 00-01 blueline and the 99-00 blueline.
Four defenseman remain from last year (Kyle McLaren,Darren Van Impe,Hal Gill, Sweeney) and the new face, Popovic,
replaces the legendary face of Ray Bourque. Popovic doesn’t even come close to comparing with Bourque offensively,
but he may be able to give Boston a steady stay-at-home defenseman the Bruins were sorely lacking last season.
Although the defense unit may prove to be adequate, if McLaren stays healthy and consistent and Gill learns to use his size,
there is still one more hole that needs to be plugged. The Bruins need another regular to fill out the top 6 on defense. Read more »
Ever since the NHL has held Entry Drafts, drafting has largely determined how a team’s success, or there lack of. As you all have heard, the 2000 NHL just occurred. It’s now time to take a blast to the past! So here’s a look back at the Sharks drafts from 1991-1995, along with analyses, in-depth reports on prominent players, and “Where Are They Now?” of former Sharks prospects. Part 1 will deal with the drafts from 1991-1993. I hope you enjoy this update (just to warn you, it’s A LOT to read)!
Well, that was the inaugural draft for the Sharks. Pat Falloon (taken right behind Eric Lindros) never panned out the way the Sharks expected, but they were able to find two gems in the second round (Whitney and Ozolinsh). None of the other draft picks have made a significant impact in the NHL. With the 2nd pick overall in any draft, you would like to get a franchise-type player, whom the organization can greatly benefit from. Pat could not fulfill that role, and has bounced around in the NHL as mainly a role player. With the emphasis on scouting not as great as today, the late picks did not pan out for the Sharks in 91. Here’s a further look.
1991 Entry Draft
2nd Pat Falloon
23rd Ray Whitney
30th Sandis Ozolinsh
45th Dody Wood
67th Kerry Toporowski
89th Dan Ryder
111th Fredrik Nilsson
133rd Jaroslav Otevrel
155th Dean Grillo
177th Corwin Saurdiff
199th Dale Craigwell
221st Aaron Kriss
243rd Mikhail Kravets
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Welcome to another installment of Future Watch. This feature is on
Dame recruit Neil Komadoski. Komadoski is a big, strong, physical
defenseman fresh from the National Development Program. “If I wouldn’t
gone to the NTDP I wouldn’t be where I am as a player today,” Komadoski
said. He gives a lot of credit to the great coaching, especially
strength and conditioning coach, John Hynes. Having great bloodlines
doesn’t hurt as well. Komadoski’s father spent 10 seasons playing in
NHL. Neil likes to play a style similar to Al MacInnis and Chris
Komadoski chose Notre Dame because he felt that it was the place for him
his first visit there. The coaching staff of Dave Poulin, Andy
and John Micholetto will be very beneficial to his hockey development.
feels that it is one of the best coaching staff’s in the country and a
on the rise. “I will get a great education at Notre Dame and that’s
important to me,” exclaimed Komadoski. The other schools on his mind
Michigan and Michigan State. Watch out for the Fightin’ Irish and Neil
Komadoski in college hockey next season.
This Spring, the Dallas Stars organization severed its 13-year
relationship with longstanding minor league affiliate, the Michigan
K-Wings, and began a 2 (optionally up to 4 year) deal with the Utah Grizzlies —
another IHL team from Salt Lake City. The next day Stars fans everywhere
read the headline, shrugged, told themselves “one IHL team is as good as
another”, and immediately turned over to the box scores. Few fans considered
how an interleague affiliation change could have much ramification on the development
of Stars future talent. But, though at first the
wisdom of this new relationship with the Grizzlies was not apparent in
most circles, it is definitely an improvement and a step in the right
direction for the Stars future. Here are a couple of reasons Stars fans
can look positively forward to this new affiliate:
# 1) Cold, Hard Cash
Yes, columnists have been speculating for the last 2 years that the Michigan
K-Wings no longer had the funds to support an NHL affiliate team. The IHL
began largely as a “bus league” for the Midwestern United States. In the league’s
infancy, IHL teams popped up in smaller towns and players were bussed from location to
location. As time went on, IHL began moving to bigger cities (i.e.
Chicago, Detroit) and profits began skyrocketing.
The K-Wings, however, were somewhat outpaced by the growth of the IHL. They Read more »
Bobby Smith is in deep trouble. With the imminent arrival of Wayne Gretzky as President of Hockey Operations, Smith is expected to be replaced by Gretzky’s agent Mike Barnett. In the meantime, Smith is beset by numerous personnel problems. His defense corps is in dire need of some physical presence. He’s in a two-year contract dispute with their number one netminder and second line center. To top this off, he has just lost several key free agents and a top line winger. The dam is about to burst for the Coyotes and Smith has attempted to cover up the damage with several short-term solutions.
In the last month, GM Bobby Smith has lost forwards Dallas Drake (expansion draft), Mikael Renberg (back to Sweden for personal reasons) and replaced them with Joe Juneau (trade for prospect Richard Wallin with the Minnesota Wild), and Brad May (trade with the Vancouver Canucks for a late pick in next years entry draft – most likely an 8th round pick). Juneau will be a welcome edition as a quarterback for the pathetic Coyotes power play. However, he is at best a Band-Aid replacement for Renberg. Renberg was a valued contributor for the Coyotes on their first line. Juneau has proved throughout his NHL career that he is at best a second line player.
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