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Gillard adjusting to life in the AJHL

by Marc Ciampa
on

Rookie St. Albert Saints netminder Tom Gillard is starting to come of age in
the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Before training camp even started, Gillard was the odds-on favourite to win
the open goaltending spot on the roster. It was vacated by the departing
Scott Kabotoff, who accepted a scholarship to join the University of
Wisconsin following last season.

Gillard spent last season with the Maple Leaf Athletic Club (Midget AAA). He
backstopped the MLAC to a solid fourth-place finish, with 11 wins, 9 losses,
a 4.40 GAA and a .885 save percentage.

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Whalers & Spits Report

by pbadmin
on

WHALERS REPORT

After losing a number of quality players, the Plymouth Whalers were expected to struggle this Ontario
Hockey League season.
And struggle they have. The Whalers sit in fourth place in the OHL’s Western Division at about the
one-third mark of the campaign.
However, there are some encouraging signs.
In goal, 18-year old Rob Zepp has been steady behind a largely inexperienced defense. The Atlanta
Thrashers draftee has a goals against average of 2.42 in 17 appearances.
First round draft pick Stephen Weiss leads the team in scoring with 25 points, and fellow rookie Tomas
Kurka has 18.
Weiss has speed and good puck sense. The puck seems to follow him around, and all things considered,
those 25 points are no fluke.He’s been named to Ontario’s Under-17 team at the World Hockey Challenge.
Kurka, from the Czech Republic, brings with him the reputation of a sniper. His 15 points are fifth on the
team.
In between are second year wingers Justin Williams and Damien Surma, along with overage defenceman
Shaun Fisher.
A pleasant surprise has been the play of another Czech import. Defender Libor Urstrnul stands 6’5″ and
weighs 230 lbs., but has a fair amount of mobility, which is surprising for a big man. The soon-to-be
19-year-old also likes to mix it up, and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves.
Indeed, a Urstrnul fight is quite a sight. It starts with the fact that he DOES fight, a trait not often seen in
European players. Read more »

Kootenay Ice: ICE CHIPS

by pbadmin
on

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END:

The Kootenay Ice saw their 7 game undefeated and 6 game winning streak come to an end this past weekend when the Kelowna Rockets, Calgary Hitmen, and Regina Pats came to town. The Ice played three games in three nights and were defeated 3-2 by both the Rockets and the Hitmen before taking an 8-5 victory over the Regina Pats. The Ice are now 13-7-4-0 (8-5-1-0 at home and 5-2-3-0 on the road.) The Ice are still holding on to second place in the Central Division. The Ice take to the road this week for a 6-game road trip and are hoping to break the franchise record of five consecutive wins on the road, with which they are currently tied.

WHO’S DOING WHAT:

Mike Green is now only 7 points away from breaking the franchise record for career points.

Brad Tutschek has scored points in six of his last seven games (4-4-8).

Steve McCarthy recorded his 100th career WHL point on Wednesday, November 17th when he scored the first goal of the game (which turned out to be the game winner) versus Lethbridge.

Dan Blackburn bettered his average even after taking two losses this past weekend. Blackburn is now 7-3-0-0 in his last ten appearances with a 2.16 GAA and .920 save percentage with 12 shutout periods. Dan became the first 16 year old goaltender in the last 10 years to record a shut-out (vs. Lethbridge.) Kudos, Dan!

Graham Belak recorded his 700th career penalty minute in the Lethbridge game.

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Swiss National Team Week – U18 National Team

by Martin Locher
on

This team has only one aim: The 2000 U-18 WJC! Playing at home will be
great motivation for these kids.

Due to preparation they travelled to the United States for a training
camp and exhibition games against the USA.

Playing without Sven Helfenstein, who is already a member of the U-20
team, they still had enough players to play some pretty good hockey.

“We have between 28 and 35 players on the extended roster. Only 20 of
them will play the World Champs”, coach Beat Lautenschlager said. “We
are very deep up front. A little lack in defense, that’s why we have
two 83 born in there. But they are very good.”

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Detroit Red Wings’ Prospect Update

by pbadmin
on

The Detroit Red Wings have been the NHL’s most successful team both during the regular season and in the playoffs during the 1990′s. However, that success has come with a price. The Red Wings have consistently drafted very low in the entry drafts and traded away numerous draft picks in order to continue to win and remain a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup.

While this strategy has worked, the number and quality of young prospects in the Detroit system is at an all time low. The Red Wings are at the bottom of the organization rankings and there is little light at the end of the tunnel. The future may be bleak to say the least in HockeyTown.

Though the Red Wings may be behind, a few rookies have already made an impact on Detroit’s NHL roster. Nineteen year old Jiri Fischer and twenty year old Yuri Butsayev both made the Red Wing’s opening day roster and have stuck with the team beyond the league ten game limit. Each will likely remain in Detroit for the balance of the year.

As for Detroit’s other prospects, while there are few blue-chippers left after the above mentioned, here is where they are and what they are doing this season.

1. Jiri Fischer, D

Detroit NHL 10 0 0 0 +1 10
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Swiss National Team Week – U17 National Team

by Martin Locher
on

The U17 National Team headed to Slovakia to play three games against a
top class opponent.

“We didn’t perform the best.”, headcoach Charly Oppliger said. “But the
opponent was very good. We did join in well in these games, that’s
what I wanted.”

Defense seemed to be the big problem for nearly all players.
Coach Oppliger explained: “In the Swiss leagues the good players can
shine offensively, other take over the defensive part for them. With
the games the players adjusted well.”

The main goal was to “gain experience” and that was reached in this test series against
Slovakia. The coach didn’t want to talk about the certain players. He
only mentioned: “All players are good. They wouldn’t be in the national
team otherwise.”

Read more »

Young Rangers Updates

by pbadmin
on

As the axe over Coach John Muckler`s head continues to move downward, the baby Rangers most promising picks continue on their journey to the National Hockey League. Their prospect listing is bright and here is a taste of what may come…..

PATRICK AUFIERO: Has tallied two goals and four assists for six points in eight games with the Boston University Terriers .. Leads the team with two game-winning goals . Is tied for first on the team with four points (two goals, two assists) in three conference games. Can he be like Jay Pandolfo? or Euro Pro… Dave Emma?

GARRETT BEMBRIDGE: Has skated in 17 contests with the Saskatoon Blades (WHL), collecting four goals and six assists for 10 points . Places seventh on the club with 10 points and ranks second on the team with a plus five rating . Is tied for first on the team and tied for fourth in the league with three game winning tallies.
Read more »

Richards a Diamond in the Rough

by Brad Coccimiglio
on

Player: Jeff Richards

Born: September 17, 1981

Hometown: Kenora, Ontario

Position: Left Wing

Number: 7

Height: 5’11″

Weight: 175 lbs

Shoots: Left

When the Soo Greyhounds drafted centre Jeff Richards in the 7th
round (148th overall) of the 1999 OHL draft I don’t think they expected him
to have much of an impact on the team this season.

Well, after his first 16 games Richards is becoming one of the top
rookies in the OHL. After 16 games Richards has posted 4 goals and 14
points. That puts him in 6th in team scoring behind Josef Vasicek (28
points), Cory Pecker (25 points), Ryan Jardine (24 points), Chad Spurr (19
points) and rookie sensation Trevor Daley (19 points).

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Alyn McCauley: Battling All The Way Back

by pbadmin
on

The most significant early season play for young Alyn McCauley was not one where he blistered a wrist-shot past a stunned goaltender, or when he slipped a beautiful, blind pass to an open teammate for a goal. It was a play which caused the young, Leafs’ centerman to be shoved hard from behind as he was charging the net and run headlong into Blues’ netminder, Roman Turek. Alyn bounced off the crossbar and was sent sprawling between the pipes himself. As we all held our collective breath, Alyn got back up on his skates and came away in one piece. Despite his injury history, here was Alyn, in just his fourth game back on the ice, driving to the net leaving caution to the wind. The timing may still be off a bit, but the heart and soul of the player is still there.

To see what makes McCauley tick, one gets a glimpse into that heart and soul when you watch the Maple Leafs go through their rounds of a pregame skate. The last one off the ice is always Alyn McCauley. “When your best player is also your hardest worker, it makes it easier for the other players to follow his lead”, states Ottawa 67′s coach, Brian Killrea. “Alyn meant everything to us”. He should know, as he coached Alyn on the 67′s for four years.
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LW –Sedin, C – Sedin, RW – ?

by pbadmin
on

They are the most talked about players in Swedish hockey at the moment, Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Together with another 19-yearold, Mattias Weinhandl (a 3rd round, 78th overall pick by the Islanders in the ’99 draft), they have formed the very succesful ”Line 19”. So far this season they have combined for a total of 54 points in 19 games in the Swedish Elite League. Daniel has 8 goals and 11 assist for 19 points and a +/- of +21, Henrik has 6-11–17, +18 and Weinhandl 10-8–18, +17. But the end of this season will mean the end of this succesful line for now. Next season two thirds of this line will be heading west, to Vancouver. Leaving buddy Weinhandl at home means the twins will be needing a new linemate. Because they will be playing together, otherwise all the pre-draft trades from GM Brian Burke would have been worth nothing.

Up until today they have been dominating the Swedish Elite League but they will not be able to dominate the game nearly as much next season. Not only because they will be rookies in the toughest league of them all, but also because the game in the NHL is so much different from the game in the Swedish Elite League. This brings out the question who Vancouver should play along side them. Should they try to convert ”Line 19” into ”Line 20” playing the Sedins with another young guy or should they let them play with a veteran? Should they play with a power-forward or a defensive-first forward?
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