Now that the Canucks have acquired another ‘top-six’ forward, and with Andrew Cassels due back in two weeks or so, our biggest weakness is clearly on defense.
What do we have in our organization in the way of defensemen? Not too much, almost all of our NHL-calibre Defensemen are already in the NHL, and we have a lot of wild-cards. (See Komarniski, Zenith; Vydareny, Rene.) Here is the Canucks’ depth on defense, with seasonal reviews to this point for the defensive prospects.
Bryan Allen was supposed to arrive this year. He began the season with the Canucks, going scoreless, and being victimized on several plays early in the season. Marc Crawford and his assistants decided that it’d probably be best for Bryan to go back down to Winnipeg, and play for the Moose until the Canucks need him again. He’s still a top-drawer defensive prospect, and he’s on pace for a better offensive season than last year in Manitoba, but he’s not much more than a sixth or seventh defenseman on the Canucks now, even in our poor state of affairs on the blueline. More was expected out of him this season, but there’s still time to recover. But it’s better to play 20-25 minutes per game in Winnipeg, than 5-10 minutes in the NHL.
Grades Thus Far:
AHL: B+ Read more »
Jason Ulmer continues to give 100 percent. He definitely has talent and ended the weekend with a goal, an assist, and more time with the Pirates’ special unit teams. Definitely one to watch as he gets better and better with every game.
After a disappointing second half of last season for Brad Church, he has really learned from previous mistakes. His biggest improvement of all is he seems to have learned patience, and it has increased the level of his game tenfold. He is another player who knows how to utilize his size and strength and he is playing at a personal best right now.
Todd Rohloff was out and about at the Civic Center this weekend and all reports are that his physical therapy is going well. He is expected to be back on the ice sometime before Christmas.
Peter Ferraro continues to play well and work hard. However, he is spending too much time in the penalty box on unnecessary penalties and is just a tad sloppy. Peter is a good player; he just needs to clean it up a little to be a great player.
Whilst Chris Ferraro is technically still called-up with the Capitals, he will be indefinitely on ‘day to day’ status. My thoughts and prayers go out to both him and his wife.
Kyle Clark may need to be sent back to Richmond to try and develop some more and give his spot to one of our ECHL prospects – Garret Prosofsky immediately comes to mind. The fact is, Clark is the only forward to have played with the team this season thus far that has no points, and he has accumulated a negative p Read more »
There has been a lot of action in the hockey world as of late. The trades are starting to happen in the NHL, certain OHL teams such as Sudbury have been trading like mad and the preliminary rankings for the 2002 NHL draft are out from NHL Central Scouting. With the hockey world usually looking elsewhere, the Belleville Bulls manage to keep a low profile amongst the hockey action.
The Bulls have had a very active season so far, starting with trading OHL star defenseman Michael Jacobsen to the Sudbury Wolves at the start of the season for Adam Sturgeon. Many Bulls fans were upset at this deal, but it was a necessary one in order to keep the 2 superstar forwards Mike Renzi and Nate Robinson and the much-improved Matt Coughlin who was selected as the Bulls captain this year; all of those players were overagers so one had to go. This looked to be a good deal as Sturgeon was a highly touted d-man that just didn’t get along with the Wolves management and Jacobsen is a wuss who doesn’t like to hit or get hit, but unfortunately none of the Bulls defensemen have stepped up to fill the offensive role Jacobsen had. Also going to Sudbury were defenseman Rob Dmytruk and forward Brad Efthimiou who have both been released. Jacobsen was subsequently traded to Owen Sound.
The Bulls started off the season well debuting at #4 on the CHL’s first set of weekly rankings. But it has been up and down since then. With a record of 15-12-0-0 the Bulls are not the tying type. It’s all or nothing, with most of the nothing co Read more »
Here’s a look at the progress of twelve prospects in the Philadelphia Flyers system through the first quarter of the season. A full system report with more in-depth reviews will be forthcoming at the midpoint of the season.
Bruno St. Jacques : The rookie is making a strong case for a full-time job in the NHL. After an eye-opening training camp with the Flyers and a solid beginning to the American Hockey League season, Bruno has gotten a pair of callups to the big team. He has made the most of his time with the Flyers. St. Jacques’ combination of poise, physical play, and mobility has translated well to the NHL game. With Luke Richardson out for an extended period of time with a broken foot, St. Jacques will have time to further solidify his NHL roster spot.
Colin Shields : If the Scottish winger was adversely affected by being disqualified from playing last season by the NCAA, he hasn’t shown it. The Maine forward has emerged as one of the top snipers in Hockey East. In 12 games to date, he has 11 goals. He also has a 3 assist game to his credit this season.
Antero Niittymäki : The 1999-2000 Finnish league rookie of the year has put his uneven sophomore season behind him and re-established himself as one of the top young goaltenders in Europe. Ranking at or near the top of several key SM-Liiga goaltending categories, Niittymäki has a dazzling .952 save percentage and a 1.49 goals against average in 11 games. Of late, veteran TPS goalie Fredrik Norrena has been hot and has gotten four Read more »
The early portion of the 2001-02 schedule has seen the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and their AHL farm team, the Rochester Americans, leading parallel lives. Both teams have been flirting with the .500 level all season, seemingly stuck in an endless "win one, lose one" loop.
The reasons both teams are struggling are similar, as well, with both Buffalo and Rochester faring from mediocre to poor on special teams and in goal. The Sabres and Amerks, in fact, may well have the worst power play organization-wide, as both teams are at or near the bottom their of respective league rankings in that category. The end result is that both teams are currently wallowing in last place in their respective divisions, with tough road schedules looming just around the corner.
Focusing on the Amerks, a quick look at the team statistics tells this tale of mediocrity. Rochester currently sits in last place in the Central Division of the AHL’s Western Conference. Their record is currently 6-8-4-1, with their record over the past 10 games being 4-5-1- truly consistently inconsistent. The Amerks have netted 47 goals, while giving up 58 markers. They have a losing record both at home and on the road, with the aforementioned league-worst power play being a major factor in Rochester’s struggles. The penalty-killing unit has struggled, as well, hovering around the middle of the pack, with their current AHL ranking being 19th overall.
Rochester’s struggles are not a complete surprise, as coach Randy Cunneyworth has had to use many 1stRead more »
What ever happened to ice hockey being a full-contact sport? Whether in the NHL or elsewhere, physical play is down from its hey-day in the 1970s. Fundamental ‘Canadian hockey’ skills like playing the man and finishing the checks have been replaced with the stick sweep, angling the man to the boards (but not ‘into’ them), and finesse play – which is often accompanied with a general apprehension to be the first player into the corner to retrieve the puck.
Since I have been covering the Vancouver Giants — and these comments are not exclusive to the Giants but address hockey in the WHL — clearly there is void of skill and basic knowledge within our junior ranks about playing physical hockey, aka ‘Canadian hockey’.
It seems to have started with the historic Summit Series in September 1972. On one side, a gang of out-of-shape NHL All Stars was thrown together late in the summer to defend Canada’s honour and supremacy in the game of ice hockey. On the other side, a tight-knit group of superbly conditioned Russian athletes with exemplary skating and puck handling skills was assembled behind a hard-nosed coaching regime. Aside from the hockey tournament itself, the Summit Series was enveloped in political controversy from the get-go. It stood for the struggle between two distinctly different ways-of-life, with the winner bringing home the bragging rights.
But the Summit Series provided more than political bragging rights — it rocked international hockey to its core. It gave both sides a rude awakening about how the game could be played so differ Read more »
After a long time without a Penguins ticket and no article, I’m finally back with a new report. The Penguins have now lost 2 in a row and their record is 8-9-3-2. The Black-And-Gold lost against Vancouver last Wednesday and got beat 5-0 by the Nashville Predators yesterday. The Pens definitely need to shake the team up and score some goals. The powerplay simply has no success, with all the offensive players in Pittsburgh an 8.2 PP% for the last place in the NHL is such a dissapointment. Let’s see what’s happen game by game:
Wednesday, November 21, 2001
Vancouver Canucks VS Pittsburgh Penguins:
A known face was in goal for this game, Peter Skudra who just signed a contract with the Vancouver Canucks played 3 years in the Steel city. Skudra won two games against his old team last year and was searching to repeat his success. At the opposite end, Johan Hedberg was between the pipes.
Led by the good work of Ed Jovanovski, the Canucks played a really good defensive game and made only a few mistakes in this game. That’s the key of the game, they shut down most of the opportunities and their captain led the team for the offense. This captain is an ex-Pen, Marcus Naslund (one of the only bad trade by Craig Patrick). Instead of the 2 goals by Naslund we have to notice the two-points game for Justin Kurtz and the 3 assists for Trevor Linden who is a new player for the British Colombia team. Vancouver 4 – Pittsburgh 1
Friday, November 23, 2001 Read more »
The Under-16 team is the youngest junior national team in international junior competition.
Every year players who after some years turn into NHL players – some into stars, some into
solid players, some into role players, begin there their international career. The season
in which they play for the 9th grade teams or some even for the midget teams, is highly
important for them. During this season the players who are eligible to play for the
youngest junior nats are under the watchful eye from the coaches of the future Under-16
team. The 9th grade teams stats, good words from their respective coaches and of course
showings at the selection tournaments decide about who will wear the jersey of his native
country the following season. The top players from 8 regions in the Czech Republic build
those regional teams and the teams meet each other at the selection tournaments. Either
in March or in April then there is the most important tournament, the coaches have already
a vision of the future of the Under-16 in head but there is the right place to make an impact
and be selected to the bunch of 45 lucky players who then build the preliminary Under-16 team roster.
In June the players meet again to practice together for the first time and to build the
correct team mix. Underage players also participate, the top players eligible to play for
the 8th grade have a chance to make a team, too, if they prove that they’re better than the
one year older player. Usually two or three underagers appear on the Under-16 team. Let’s
have a look who are the core players of thi Read more »
Saskatchewan Hockey Association and Manitoba Hockey announced the roster for Team Western which will compete in the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge in Selkirk and Stonewall, Manitoba from December 29, 2001 to January 4, 2002. The roster includes 20 players that are either currently playing in the Western Hockey League or are on a WHL Club’s 50 Player List. The roster includes 11 players from Saskatchewan and 11 players from Manitoba.
Team Western departs for Winnipeg on December 26th. Team Western will see its first action in an exhibition game against Russia on Friday, December 28th. Tournament play begins Saturday, December 29th versus Germany.
Rejean Beauchemin, Winnipeg Warriors AAA midget, Listed by Prince Albert Raiders
Josh Lepp, Kelowna Rockets – WHL
Paul Albers, Calgary Hitmen – WHL
Braydon Coburn, Portland Winter Hawks – WHL
Dustin DeGagne, Winnipeg South Blues,MJHL.
Josh Pokol, Kamloops Blazers – WHL
Derek Poplawski, St. James Canadiens – MJHL, Listed by Swift Current Broncos
Stewart Thiessen, Pembina Valley AAA midget, Listed by Lethbridge Hurricanes
Kyle Annesley, Calgary Hitmen – WHL
Mitch Carefoot, Dauphin Kings – MJHL, Listed by Brandon Wheat Kings
Nigel Dawes, Kootenay Ice – WHL
Eric Fehr, Brandon Wheat Kings – WHL
Jesse Fischer, Saskatoon Contacts AAA midget, Listed by Spokane Chiefs
Josh Froese, Pembina Valley Hawks AAA midget Read more »
The St. John’s Maple Leafs are a quarter through their season and despite high expectations, especially with the additions of Nikolai Antropov and Bob Wren from Toronto, the Leafs are struggling two games below .500.
The Leafs haven’t been fully comfortable in their new home of Mile One Stadium, unable to sweep any team at home this season, including the struggling Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Manchester Monarchs. The Leafs ended their homestand with a gutsy 4-2 win over Saint John, after a horrid previous game that had fans booing the team off the ice but when they played their first game of the roadtrip, it ended up another loss, a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Hartford Wolfpack.
So the question has to be asked, What’s the problem here? Here is my thoughts on the Leafs’ recent struggles.
1) Goaltending has been inconsistent. A preseason strength has become mediocre with inconsistent play from both Mike Minard and Mikael Tellqvist. Tellqvist is prone to give up a soft goal early in the game and Minard hasn’t shown the form that won him team MVP honours last year. And they haven’t been helped by shoddy defensive play.
2) Defence has been a problem. Nathan Dempsey has continued to do what he does best, create offense, leading the AHL in assists and is second in team scoring with 21 points and was nominated by the Leafs for AHL player of the Week. Rearguards Karel Pilar, DJ Smith, Petr Svoboda and Allan Rourke are all minuses in the plus/minus department and some media are wondering why the Leafs let go defensive stalwart Tyler Harlton. Mar Read more »