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Dan’s BLACKmagic BURNing Opponents

by Dustin Nielson
on
The Kootenay Ice were known as a threat around the
WHL two seasons ago but were ousted by the Hitmen in first round
7 game thriller. A year later they returned the favor to the Hitmen
in the WHL semi-finals by brushing them aside in 5 games.

What was the difference?

Was it the “Money Line” who made the biggest impact. Sure
Mike Green, Jaroslav Svoboda and Zdenek Blatny made a difference
but they were not the answer.

Possibly the emergence of a group of d-men that complemented
each others game better then no other team in the Dub. Once again
the defense were a piece to the puzzle but not the most important.

The answer is a kid from Canmore, Alberta who was turning heads when
he hit the ice in rookie camp.

Dan Blackburn was the Ice’s first round pick in the 1998 Bantam Draft.
He was the highest goaltender ever selected in the WHL Draft when Kootenay
snagged him with the 3rd overall choice. Little did Ice management know but just
2 short years later that baby faced 15 year old would carry them to the WHL title
and a birth in the Mem Cup.

Blackburn made many jaws drop and heads turn as he started to perform brilliantly
in the early games at the Memorial Arena (a.k.a Silver Dome) in Cranbrook
B.C.

He plays a a cross between a Patrick Roy butterfly and Martin Brodeur paddle
on the ice style that seems to be very effective. Blackburn is always in position Read more »

The Big Four only get one

by Brian Schultz
on
This title may not make sense at first glance, but the “bubble teams” love
it. The NCAA Ice Hockey committee has voted to
award an automatic bid to the MAAC conference. The committee also stripped
one automatic bid from each of the “big four”
conferences…WCHA, Hockey East, CCHA, ECAC. The committee has been trying
to push a plan through that would have
expanded the number of teams in the national tournament to 16 team (12
currently) but that proposal has failed each of the last
two years. While the regular season champion and the post season champion
were awarded bids in the past, only one team in
each conference will receive the automatic bid now. Each conference can
decide if they want that bid to go to the regular
season champ or the tournament champ.

While it may not seem like this will make that big of an effect, the
tournament selection committee may shy away from giving a
bid to a team that wins the regular season title, then, say, losses in the
first round of their tournament. Or, they may not give a
bid to a team that finishes in the middle of the pack in the regular season,
then wins a couple of upsets and wins the
tournament. The decision of the individual conference as to which team will
get the automatic bid will be a tough one…and one
that has huge implications.

In 1999 Denver beat North Dakota in the WCHA “Final Five” and received an
automatic bid. Even though they won their last Read more »

Capitals name new ECHL affiliate

by Jeff Charlesworth
on
The Washington Capitals announced their new East Coast Hockey League affiliate today – the Richmond Renegades. This move was necessary after the Caps’ former ECHL team, the Hampton Roads Admirals, moved to the AHL and signed a developmental agreement with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Renegades were recently sold to a group called the Richmond Sports Partners, that included local investors as well as the Capitals and San Jose Sharks. Richmond was without an affiliation last season, but previously worked with San Jose, Carolina and the Islanders.

The Capitals organization will send up to five players to Richmond during the season for additional development. Some of the players that may spend time there are Goaltender Rastislav Stana and Defensemen Gerad Adams, Nathan Forster and Mike Siklenka.

This move also allows the Capitals management to keep a closer watch on their prospects, as Richmond is only 98 miles away from DC – 45 miles closer than the Admirals were. The Renegades will be led by Head Coach Mark Kaufman and his assistant – former Capital Rod Langway.

Also announced was an exhibition game to be played at the 11,088 seat Richmond Coliseum. The Capitals will be at the Freezer on Saturday September 23rd to take on the New York Islanders.

Rangers Ink 3: Part II

by Evan Andriopoulos
on
As the summer heats up the Rangers are looking for the right pieces to fix the problem now and for the future. The signing of Mark Messier was one move that was welcomed by all in Rangerland but the signing of enigmatic Vlad.Malakhov is one that caused the good shipmate Schneider too look elsewhere for employment and so continues the questions of which direction the Rangers are headed.

RANGERS INK 3:

Read more »

Chouinard Looks to Anaheim

by Martin Dittman
on
The Mighty Ducks re-signed Marc Chouinard to their roster on Tuesday night and barely anybody talked about it. The message boards and mailing lists were silent. Nobody seemed to care in California as the papers barely mentioned the signing – instead focusing on Marty McInnis. But perhaps they should start paying more attention.

Chouinard is not a top prospect nor is he the answer to Anaheim’s problems at scoring depth but he is very intriguing. A center with a great frame (6’5 – 200) he’s still young and at the ripe age of 23, and he brings about curiosities. Over the last several seasons Chouinard has battled injuries. In juniors, he struggled with shoulder problems. In his rookie pro year, he suffered a lacerated achilles tendon which set him back the entire year but it has been all uphill since then.

Marc is coming off a career season with Cincinnati where he played an aggressive checking game while showing capable offensive skills. He scored 17 goals and added 16 assists in 70 games. While that might not sound like much, for Chouinard it’s extremely impressive.

MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF

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Grizzlies team up with Steelheads

by Andrew Bourgeois
on
Boise’s West Coast Hockey League franchise the Idaho Steelheads announced that it had signed an affiliation agreement with the International Hockey League’s Utah Grizzlies on Tuesday.
The Grizzlies are the top minor league affiliate of the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League.
The Steelheads announced that Utah’s training camp for the 2000-2001 season will open in Boise on Sept. 20 and that the Grizzlies will practice through Sept. 26. Most of the Steelheads players will be included in the Grizzlies’ camp.
The Grizzlies and Steelheads will play a pair of exhibition games at the Bank of America Centre in September.
Grizzlies coach Bob Bourne said he intends to take full advantage of the agreement, sending younger players to Boise to get more skating time and giving other players “a wake-up call.”
Bourne said he will also benefit from having a true affiliate nearby.
Steelheads coach John Olver said that he expected four to six players to be signed to two-way contracts and that those players would move back and forth between the Grizzlies and Steelheads.
He added that there is also the possibility for some three-way contracts, where a player could potentially play for the Steelheads, Grizzlies and Stars in the same season.
Olver thinks the new deal will have an immediate impact in bringing better players to Boise.
Read more »

Prospect Profile: Alexei Tezikov

by Jeff Charlesworth
on
Although Washington seems intent on icing a veteran lineup in 2000-01, there is a possibility that some rookies will be given the chance to earn a spot on the roster. Some of the names mentioned include: 1999 first-rounder Kris Beech, newly-acquired defensemen Stephen Peat and Remi Royer and 28-year old Swedish blueliner Bjorn Nord. However, the prospect with the best shot at sticking with the Capitals is Alexei Tezikov.

Tezikov was acquired at the trading deadline in March 1999 from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Joe Juneau and a switch of draft picks. The Sabres were looking to bolster their team for a run at the Stanley Cup, and figured Juneau was the missing piece. The Caps insisted on including Tezikov in the deal, as Chief Scout Ross Mahoney remembered Alexei from his days on the Buffalo scouting staff. The story of Alexei’s journey from talented nobody to the next big thing for the Capitals involves a lot of moves in a very short time.

Even though Alexei had been named the Russian Junior League’s best defenseman twice, he was not rated by Central Scouting Bureau in his draft year of 1996. The Sabres were impressed enough to select him in the 5th round (115th overall). The following season, he decided to stay in Russia and played for both Nizhny Novgorod and his hometown team of Lada Togliatti.
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