Last week we took a look at the future of the Brandon Wheat Kings, the rookies. This week let’s take a look at who is returning.
Friday night Moose Jaw rolled into town for Brandon’s second preseason game of the season. Moose Jaw dropped the sluggish Wheaties 4 to 2.
This wasn’t a great game to really evaluate the veterans from last year; reason being, coaches Bobby Lowes and Mark Johnston decided to play almost all their veteran rearguards as forwards. Therefore let’s extrapolate where each veteran left off last year, what is needed out of them this year and perhaps a guess as to what might happen to them in the scheme of things.
This would be an area of strength for Brandon if the fact that the yearly tradition of many injuries has struck again.
Jamie Hodson – 19, 6’2″, 196. Hodson through the balance of last years season established himself as Brandon’s number one puck stopper. Hodson made his status clear in spite of his coaches sticking to alternating between goalies. Going into the playoffs Hodson was deemed ‘the man’ between the pipes. Hodson aggravated an existing injury to his knee in March and after a brief rest played out the season with pain. In May he underwent re-constructive knee surgery to repair the damage. He is presently rehabbing well and is on schedule to return to the lineup in late November.
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Ok, so he played regularly in the NHL last season and is in no way a prospect, but he is only a little over one year removed from being the number one overall draft pick. Although he didn’t put up big numbers, mostly because he was handled very carefully by the team and he didnt exactly have a lot around him, he did show signs of why he is one of, if not the, most talented players drafted in the last several years. He has added another 15 pounds of solid muscle, taking him up to between 205 and 210. I will address that in the interview. After seeing him in the first two days of workouts, I’d have to say that the extra size has definitely helped him, without slowing him down a bit. Look for him to have a very good season. Well, enough of my blabber, let’s hear what Vinny has to say.
RH – What is your overall impression of the NHL after your first season?
VL – The speed and the size of the players. It’s a much tighter game up here. There’s not as much room so you have to learn how to get to where you want to be on the ice.
RH – Do you think you learned that?
VL – Yes. By the end of the season I was pretty comfortable with things. I got a lot of help from some teamates with that type of stuff.
RH – Who helped you learn the ropes so to speak? Read more »
Swiss Junior System
Age group (99/00) Name of the group
1980 and younger Juniors
1983 and younger Novices
1985 and younger Minis
1988 and younger Moskito
1989 and younger Piccolo
1990 and younger Bambini
The Juniors age group is splitted into “Elite Juniors” and just “Juniors”.
The Elite Jrs. play in two national wide leagues called Elite A and Elite
B. The worst A-League team gets relegated to Elite B and the best B-Team
replaces it in the Elite A. Further, the B-League is splitted into an Eastern
and Western division.
The Juniors are divided into Eastern Switzerland, Central Switzerland,
Suisse Romande. All of the three leagues are splitted into different divisions,
named Top, A1 (or A), A2 (or B).
Under these categories, there is a “Level B”.
Below I have tried to put all this together into an easy graph.
Elite B West Elite B East
Eastern Switzerland Read more »
An overview of the Swiss National League A (NLA). How strong are the teams? What about prospects? These are the main questions I asked myself.
The whole league will me much more balanced, than it was last season, but there are still teams who could dominate this season
Teams in alphabetic order:
Pauli Jaks, drafted by the Los Angeles Kings and the first ever Swiss player to play an NHL game, was the best goalie in last year’s regular season, but struggled in the playoffs. This year there will be a lot of pressure on him with the team not being strong up front. If the team is to succeed he will have to hold them in most games and if he does he will be one of the top goalies this season. Back-up Peter Martin is one of the best backup goaltenders in the league.
Last season Ambri had one of the best defenses in the league and they shouldn’t be much worse this season. The defense corps is strong, and the injuries that hurt them last year shouldn’t crop up this time with prospects Andreas Hänni and John Gobbi around. Swedish native, and one time Vancouver Canuck, Leif Rohlin was the best defensive defenseman in the league last season, but the team is relying on him to put up better offensive numbers this time around.
Offense: Read more »
What awaits the Ice House this year? Will it be a version of the 95-96 London Knights or the Knights of the last two seasons?
This Knights team can do some more damage if they get some keys guys returning. Teams like Barrie, Sarnia and Plymouth will be taking the brunt of a lot of games this year instead of giving them. Then again that all depends on how Finley plays for Barrie or if Sarnia gets back Sarno and if Plymouth can get back Legwand. As for the Knights, if the first exhibition game is any indication then the Knights are in good shape. They are coming off a birth in the OHL finals. Last year nobody thought they would make it out of the first round let alone make it to Game 7 of the finals.
WHO IS GONE:
Richard Pitirri – A excellent center. What can’t be said about this guy. He is a faceoff artist who was voted third in the league at faceoffs. Last season he decided to comeback to the London Knights as an overager. He turned down playing with Cincinnati of the IHL to play for them. Well it was probably his best choice as he finished the season with 76 points leaving him 4th on the team. Plus his 34 points in the playoffs was a great accomplishment. This season he will be playing with Portland of the AHL.
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The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) kicked off its thirty-first season this week with the league’s oldest team, the Shawinigan Cataractes, facing its newest, the Montreal Rocket. With sixteen teams, the league will be divided into the Lebel and Dilio conferences, each comprising two divisions of four teams. Here’s what to look for in the coming season.
Hull Olympiques (Coach: Claude Julien)—The Olympiques figure to be one of the teams to beat in the QMJHL this season and are the favourite to finish first in the Western division. Hull possesses a strong offensive team, which includes returning NHL draftees such as Michael Ryder, Ryan Lauzon, Paul Spadafora, Radim Vrbata and Brock Boucher. The Olympiques are also excited about Czech rookie Michael Pinc who could play in Hull this year if his release from his Czech team can be arranged. The key player on defense for Hull is 1998 Red Wings draft pick Jiri Fischer. However, he could remain at Detroit’s training camp for a while and may even graduate to the NHL this season. Should that occur it would be a big blow to the Olympiques.
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Thank you to our correspondent Sarah Lindenau, who is attending camp in Traverse City and continues to provide us with valuable prospect information.
Team B vs. Team D
Final Score: 7-1 for Team B
Team B Notes
Team B features regulars Kozlov, Holmstrom, Maltby and Dandenault.
Team B features prospects Jesse Wallin, Ryan Barnes, John Wikstrom and Jake McCracken.
Scoring: Kozlov (2g, 3a), Rodgers (1g, 3a), Avery (1g, 1a), Holmstrom, Maltby and Harkins.
The top line featured Harkins centering Maltby and Holmstrom.
Sean Avery centered Kozlov and Marc Rodgers.
Wikstrom was again paired with Dandenault on the blue line.
Manny Legace was tremendous, playing aggressively and displaying excellent flexibilty.
Golubovsky worked hard and played well. Despite the occasional lapse, he is definitely in contention with Fischer and Wallin for a regular spot in Detroit.
Avery displayed good skills, aggressiveness, heart, and desire.
Wallin was again impressive and appears to be locking up a roster spot in Detroit.
McCracken redeemed himself in goal somewhat, although he still requires further development.
Team D Notes
Team D features regulars Murphy, Duchesne, Wregget, Draper, Roest and Kocur.
Team D features prospects Philippe Audet, Aren Miller, Jeremy Goetzinger, and contract hopefuls Randy Burridge and Sandy Moger.
Scoring: J.J. Hunter (Duchesne, Murphy)
The top line was Draper centering Burridge and Kocur. Read more »
558 miles to Kimberley, BC, the training camp home of the Portland Winterhawks, from Portland, OR was every bit worth the effort. My travel woes aside, here’s the latest on the Portland Winterhawks and their new breed of NHL prospects.
Impact players for 1999-2000:
Blake Robson (Center, 6’0″, 185lbs) – Blake is playing with a confidence that I only saw a glimmer of last year. He is playing bigger and is definitely a step ahead of the rest of the camp. He’s going to be the offensive leader this year, and already has one tournament under his belt. Blake was selected to Team Canada’s World Under 18 Team and brought home the gold medal playing in a tournament featuring the best 17 year olds from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, USA and Canada. I asked Blake if he thought he would be expected to be a leader this year, “yes, but Kiesman and Walker will also be looked to for leadership.” When asked about some of the new guys, Robson responded, “I don’t know many of them yet, but there’s a big kid from California who everyone’s talking about.” (That big kid is Eric Bowen from Canoga Park, CA, he’s huge and is opening a lot of eyes at this training camp). I asked Blake about playing for second year coach Harold Snepts, “He’s definitely a lot more comfortable this year and with Willy as assistant it’s a great combo to play for. They know a lot about hockey.” Blake Robson will be a top performer in the WHL this year, and he has a bright future to look forward to. Read more »
1999 New York Rangers Training Camp Roster and Reserve Roster has been announced. This list is as of September 8,1999. Some changes have already been made and squads split into groups run by Coach John Muckler(NYR), Bob Crocker(NYR Scout) and John Paddock(Hartford-AHL). Rangers training camp roster/reserve list:
Milan Hnilicka-Sparta Praha (Czech)
Jean-Francois Labbe-Hartford (AHL)
Kirk McLean-Florida (NHL)
Mike Richter- N.Y. Rangers (NHL)
Alexander Korobolin-Mechel (Russia)
Johan Asplund- Gavle (Sweden)
NOTES: Jeff Heil and Jason Labarbera have been assigned to John Paddock and look to start the season in Hartford(AHL). Also it is expected that J.F.Labbe and Milan Hnilinka will join Paddock`s Hartford Wolf Pack.
Terry Virtue- Providence (AHL)
Brian Leetch- N.Y. Rangers (NHL)
Patrick Aufiero-Boston Univ. (HE)
Arto Laatikainen-Espoo (Finland)
Alexei Vasiliev- Hartford (AHL)
Mathieu Schneider- N.Y. Rangers (NHL)
Tomas Kloucek-Cape Breton (QMJHL)
Stephane Quintal-Montreal (NHL)
Mario Joly Hull- (QMJHL)
Rumun Ndur-NY.Rangers(NHL)**NOT IN CAMP**
Jeff Brown-Charlotte (ECHL)
Sylvain Lefebvre-Colorado (NHL)
Jason Doig-Springfield-Hartford (AHL) Read more »
It is Time for the Flyers to Produce from Within
A HF’s look at the prospects in Philadelphia by John A. D’Amico
Losing in the first round of the NHL playoffs in consecutive years is bad enough. But doing it while spending enough money to dwarf the gross national product of a small European country makes it that much worse. Flyers GM Bobby Clarke has tried to build a winner by buying the priciest free agents that the sport had to offer. Unfortunately for Clarke, a bloated price tag does not assure success. And unfortunately for the Flyers season ticketholders, (after taking the gaspipe in back to back playoff years), all they have to show for their ticket buying dollar is a rather substantial price hike for their seats.
A concerted effort to build from within is now a priority for Clarke and it looks as though he does have some nice talent on the way up. This crop of prospects could be the best group that the Flyers have had stabled since the early eighties when Hextall, Tocchet, Zezel and Smith danced their way on to Broad Street to carry the team to two NHL Finals later in the decade.
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