The start of the 1999-2000 Ontario Hockey League season has to be considered a major disappointment for the London Knights as the team for The Forest City is currently mired in last place in the competitive Western Division with an unimpressive 2-6-4 record.
But fret not, Knights faithful. Head coach and general manager, for one, is not about to push the panic button, especially in light of last season’s magical ride to the OHL championship series, a titanic struggle the Knights lost in 7 games to the Belleville Bulls.
“The regular season was not exactly a great season for us last season. We started off slow, had a better second half and then enjoyed a great playoff run,” Agnew claimed. “It is better to do it that way because everyone remembers what happened in the playoffs.
“It was a great experience for the entire organization,” Agnew continued. “We had a great group of kids, and they achieved what they did because they worked hard.”
After getting by the Sarnia Sting in the opening round of the post season last spring, the Knights shocked the junior hockey world by eliminating the mighty Plymouth Whalers in seven games.
In fact, the Knights did more than just eliminate the Whalers – they destroyed the boys from Plymouth 10-3 in their own back yard.
“That was a very exciting game, the boys were very tight in the dressing room before the first period, yet they were also very loose and confident,” Agnew recalled. “We felt that if we could get the puck to the net, that we would be just fine.”
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The Kootenay Ice now have a 5-4-3 (4-3-1-0 at home, 1-1-2-0 on the road and 0-0-3-0 in overtime) record after suffering two losses last week. The first loss was to Lethbridge on Wednesday, October 20 (in Lethbridge) with a final score of 6-3. The second loss came at home on Friday, October 23 when the Ice succumbed to a 5-2 final versus Prince Albert Raiders. This now places the Ice fourth in the Central Division and in a three-way-tie for 7th overall in the WHL.
In The Line-Up:
The Ice welcomed back Steve McCarthy in Friday’s game after he returned from his 5-game stint with the Chicago Blackhawks in which he had 1 goal and 1 assist. Kudos to Steve for his excellent performance in his NHL debut. Although Steve wasn’t on the opening line, the crowd showed its appreciation when Steve took to the ice about 1 minute into the game. With many standing, and everyone cheering, he must have known how proud we are. I can actually say that I have a genuine autographed NHL jersey now as I waited in line behind a ton of kids (all with their own hockey stories to tell the players) at the mall on Sunday when the Ice autographed calendars and jerseys and the like. I had my Ice jersey signed by all and then pulled out my Chicago Blackhawks jersey and asked Steve to sign the crest. He was very flattered and said “great jersey” with a huge smile on his face. Thanks Steve… Read more »
The Los Angeles Kings are playing their best hockey in years, but one glaring weakness is their lack of a true enforcer. With Matt Johnson being swiped by Atlanta in the expansion draft and Steve McKenna being rendered useless with a bad eye, the Kings need to find someone who can protect their new superstars. After seeing teams like Washington, Boston and San Jose take runs at the Robitaille, Stumpel, Palffy line, the Kings will likely find a stopgap until the nest “Matt Johnson” comes around.
While Matt Johnson is not the best enforcer in the league, he was liked by his teammates and did a great job patrolling the ice. He was just 20 years old when he broke in and seemed poised to protect the Kings for years to come, but as many publications pointed out, he was the slowest player in the NHL. He made tremendous strides, but the next Kings’ enforcer will need the now necessary blend of size, skill and muscle. Here are the two most likely contenders to be the Kings’ enforcer of the future:
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What is going on in Kingston? A municipal strike has caused the postponement of 4 games this season. The union allowed the Frontenacs to play four games in the month of October as a concession in contract talks with the union. On Friday night, the fourth of those games, the Memorial Center received a bomb threat during the second intermission of the game that saw the visiting Erie Otters in town. The police cleared out the building and conducted a search for the bomb. The search lasted 45 minutes and then they allowed play to continue and allowed the fans to re-enter the building. The Otters, however, decided not to take the chance and forfeited the game after a discussion with the league office. My only question is why would the visiting team have to forfeit? Returning risked the well being of the players. The league should be looking into the problem with the Frontenacs much more closely.
Surprise, surprise. Who would have thought that after a dozen games and one month into the season that Windsor and Brampton would be leading their respective divisions? Props go out to both teams for providing the OHL with a little bit of added excitement. It just goes to show that junior hockey is “predictably unpredictable.” The Battalion are being lead by the outstanding play of goalie David Chant. He currently leads the league with a miniscule 1.79 goals against average. Windsor is being lead offensively by their three outstanding rookies, Steve Ott(17points), player of the week in week three Shawn Mather(15 points), and Craig Kennedy (11 points).
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-Michael Ryder had a good week with 5 points in 3 games.
-Marc-Andre Thinel had a good week with 4 points in 2 games.
-Eric Chouinard had a decent week with 3 goals in 3 games.
Awards -Michael Ryder was named the QMJHL’s offensive player of the month for September.
Hab You Heard?
-Andrei Markov, the Habs’ sixth round pick during the 98 Entry Draft is leading all Russian League defensemen in points. He has 5 goals and 6 assists in 14 games for Moscow Dynamo.
-Vadim Tarasov, the Habs’ seventh round pick during the 99 Entry Draft is having a strong season with Metalburg (HK) of the Russian League. In 13 games played he is 9-3-1, with a 2.20 goals against average, and a .904 save percentage.
-Evan Lindsay, the Habs’ fourth round pick during the 99 Entry Draft was temporarily promoted to the Habs’ AHL affiliate in Quebec. Lindsay’s call-up was the result of Garon’s call-up, which was due to Hackett’s injury. Lindsay should be returned to Talahasee of the ECHL in the next few days. Lindsay has yet to play a regular season game for any team, in any league this season.
POS HT/WT AGE DRAFTED
Eric Chouinard (c) 6’4″/192 Lbs. 18 D-Mtl98(1/16)
GP G A PTS +- PIM PPG SHG
1999-00 Quebec 13 14 6 20 +3 20 3 1
#1 Strength- Scoring ability
#1 Weakness- Doesn’t use size Read more »
This is the first of a monthly report on the baby Leafs for Hockey’s Future. The chief focus of this report will be on the top prospects within the Leafs’ system who are currently playing with St. John’s.
To say that the St. John’s Maple Leafs, the AHL affiliate of the Toronto club, is off to a slow start is a bit of an understatement. As Chris Schwartz, St. John’s media director states, “We have lost 4 of our top 5 scorers from last year’s team and it will take a while for some of the current players to pick up the slack.” St. John’s is currently last in the Atlantic Division with 6 pts. with a 2-5-2 record.
Despite the slow start, there have definitely been some bright spots, starting with Ukrainian second year pro, Konstantin Kalmikov. The left-winger scored just 3 goals and 4 assists last season in 52 games and has already surpassed that total with 4 goals and 4 assists in his first 9 games. “It’s a night and day difference with Kalmikov this season. He has always had the skills, now he has the confidence,” states Schwartz. “He has clearly been our best forward,” he adds. Kalmikov has gone from only 2 or 3 shifts per game last season to a regular spot on the top scoring line this year. He has also seen a good amount of powerplay time as well.
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Djurgarden is using a new system this season, using only one defenseman and four attackers on
each line. Basically, the defenseman’s (called sweeper) job is too take defensive
responsibility. Instead of using two defenseman, Djurgarden has two centers and two forwards
called torpedos. In each formation there is one offensive center and one defensive center,
however both centers participate a lot in the play when the team has the puck. Both the
torpedos have only offensive tasks and quoting the coach Mats Waltin: “We do not want too see
the torpedos in our own zone”. Djurgarden has a very offensive approach and both torpedos on each formation forecheck extremely hard.
Of course, playing with this system also means defensive problems. Teams who specialize in
counter-attacks have so far had great success against Djurgarden and the team often has to
face 1 on 2 or 1 on 3 situations.
An example of a game where such a scenario happend is the
game between Djurgarden and Leksand on Oct.3. Djurgarden outshot Leksand 21-6 in the two first
periods, but were still down 1-3. The final score was 2-5 inspite of Djurgarden having 32
shots on goal and Leksand only 13. One of the keys to success for Djurgarden is that goalie
Tommy Soderstrom (formerly with the Flyers and Islanders) is at his best and ready to face
many odd-man attacks.
So far after 13 games, the result has been satisfying. Djurgarden has scored a league-leading Read more »
After a slow start, the Guelph Storm are only playing .500 hockey. Something they haven’t done for a while. They have played the fewest games at 6 and have a record of 3-3 (wins and losses). While Chris Madden has 3 wins and Craig Andersson has all three losses. It’s not that Andersson isn’t playing well, it’s just when he plays the defense thinks that they are defending for Madden, which leads to mistakes.
The other night in Owen Sound, Andersson faced 24 shots alone in the first period. And the Platers had only scored 1 goal. Over all in that game Andersson faced 43 shots turning away 40 of them. It was obvious to see that the Storm need a veteran defenseman with leadership qualities.
Ian Forbes, who has been playing great in the last few games has helped the team out incredibly on the power play as well on the penalty killing line. However, Forbes and Kevin Mitchell are the only 19 year-olds on the team that play defense.
Kevin Dallman also spent a lot of time on the penalty killing line, but he also spent quite a few minutes on the power play line.
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With the NHL season in Full Throttle the once dead Rangers are starting to head in the right direction. With Mike York adding two assists to his already impressive season the Rangers believe they have found their no.2 center. Swedish defenseman Kim Johnsson continues to play like a veteran with his smooth skating style and soft passes. Around the local media, Johnsson has been noted as New York`s Best Defenseman. Erstwhile Rangers first year goalie Milan Hnilicka did not fare well in his first game against Pittsburgh, getting beat through the “five hole”, Hnilicka stopped 4 of 6 shots but looked nervous between the pipes in MSG as the Rangers fell 5-2. With Mike Richter`s return against Atlanta in a 4-1 win, Hnilicka was returned to Hartford of the AHL.
Newly acquired Alexander Daigle garnered player of the week honors Daigle had two goals and three assists in two games for the Hartford Wolf Pack. He leads his team in scoring and ranks second in the AHL with 10 points with (3 goals and 7 assists) in five games.
The former top pick in the NHL draft has played for Ottawa, Edmonton, Philadelphia and Tampa before being acquired by the Rangers just two weeks ago. This may be Daigle`s last shot at reviving a once promising AHL career.
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After starting the season off on the wrong foot the Knights have made a couple key trades to boost the roster to a competitive team. Disgruntled defenceman Peter Reynolds was dealt to North Bay for Sniper Brett Gibson and big D-Man Brett Angel. Gibson has been nothing less than spectacular. As in the first three games he played he was in all on 7 goals the Knights scored. Brett Angel has also added some height to the Defence in the loss of Alex Henry to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. This trade has also seemed to spark Chris Kelly as he is on fire and is up to 15 points on the season.
Coach Agnew has also tried to spark talented rookie Matthew Albiani by placing him on the 1st line with Kelly and Gibson so far it has worked. In the four games they have tried him on the 1st line he has four points. The Knights then traded Mike Mazzuca to the Kitchener Rangers for a draft pick which will probably turn out to be nothing at the end of the road. A few days after the Mazzuca deal the Knights dealt 17 yr. Old Steven Rawski to the Windsor Spitfires for Over-Ager Max Linnik, In his first game as a Knight Max recorded 2 points. With the trading done for a while the Knights will finally be able to gel as a team and be back up in the standings where they belong.
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