Kamloops was expected to be strong this season two seasons, but such is the nature of major junior hockey. The patience shown by management during those seasons, allowing the young guns to gain experience, sees it paying off early this season as the Kamloops Blazers currently hold the top spot in the division with a 7-1 record good for fourteen points. While the Prince George Cougars, who have played two more games, are only two points in arrears with twelve points from a 5-3-1-1 record (the extra “1” coming from an overtime loss for those not familiar with the WHL’s points format). The Blazers have compiled there record against all sub five hundred hockey clubs, except for their lone loss, which came at the hands of a Lethbridge Hurricanes hockey club that invaded Kamloops with a six game win streak and left with the streak at seven.
The Blazers are about to test their mettle however, as starting Friday night in Saskatoon against the hometown Blades, the Blazers will play six games in nine nights on their longest road trip of the season. While most of the eastern clubs are sub-five hundred, the six game in nine nights will take it’s toll, with the biggest test likely to come at the end of the trip against the high flying Swift Current Broncos. The Blazers leave with some positive signs emerging from the last three games played however, as they cut down their shots allowed by an average of about ten per game, going from just over thirty five shots a night to about twenty five. Kamloops has the ability to come at teams in waves with the offensive fire power they b Read more »
The Spokane Chiefs have bolted from the starting blocks and it looks like they’ll be a tough lot to handle. With a rock solid defence, a skilled and gritty group up front as well as a pleasant surprise in the play of Barry Brust between the pipes. Many a hockey forum saw Spokane fans calling for management to bolster the goaltending, however Chief management appears to have known what they were doing as Brust has been solid. They’ll need for him to be continue his solid play as the Chiefs are currently holding onto a slim one point edge with fourteen points from a 7-1 start over the Portland WinterHawks thirteen points from a 6-2-0-1 record.
Led up front by a group of skilled and hardworking forwards, the Chiefs bring their lunch buckets to every game. Skilled forwards Jeff Lucky, Tim Krymusa, seventeen year old Brad Schell, Mason Wallin and Matt Keith all share in the Chiefs scoring depth, however none take a night off when it comes to their defensive duties either. Brandon Cote is a rock solid defensive forward who brings a lot of leadership and heart to the chiefs line up while others like Joff Kohler, Jevon Desautels and Justin Keller play solid two way hockey. The Chiefs have a waft of young forwards on the roster as well, which bodes well for the future. Also, the Chiefs should be getting second year winger/centre Barry Horman, who should add some more depth to the Chiefs current crop of forwards. Ganchar has the entire group playing solid two way hockey and all I can say is, “it must be fun to play up front on a team as strong on the back end as the Chi Read more »
The Swift Current Broncos just continue to churn out competitive teams year after year and the 2001/2002 season appears to be no different, except that this team seems to be more than competitive, they have a legitimate shot to make a Memorial Cup run. Led by a strong group of creative scorers and playmakers, the Broncos also have a number of players that play with “sandpaper”, making a solid mix that winning teams always need.
Up front the Broncos are led by a very creative duo in Duncan Milroy and twenty year old Tim Smith. Both are solid playmakers who can finish as well, while Smith also brings a knack for irritating the opposition to the point of distraction. Nathan Smith, a Vancouver Canuck first round draft pick is a solid goal scorer who can play at both ends of the rink and is also a lot tougher than most give him credit for. Brent Twordik, James Hiebert, Ben Ondrus and John Dahl are all gritty while contributing at both ends of the ice. Matt Sommerfeld is a big tough forward who has improved enough to garner more ice time, thus his role on a speedy, skilled hockey team becomes even more important. A strong group of young guys fill out the front end, however the top two lines will carry most of the load offensively for the Broncos and this is the one area the Broncos may want to add some depth and experience. Come playoff time, some of the other teams may be a little deeper up front, which is where a long playoff run can be won or lost.
On the back end the Broncos have a mixed bag, but are spearheaded by the immensely talented seventeen year Read more »
The QMJHL respectively named Jason King and Dany Dallaire (both from the Halifax Mooseheads) Offensive Player and Defensive Player of the Week spreading from October 9th to October 15th.
Halifax Mooseheads’ right-winger Jason King (20-yrs old, 6-0, 205 lbs) scored 6 goals and added an assist in 3 games. King was drafted in the 7th round (212th overall) by the Vancouver Canucks at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.
Halifax Mooseheads’ goaltender Danny Dallaire (20-yrs old, 5-11, 180 lbs) appeared in 3 games over the last week, winning 2 games and tying another, with a 2,59 goals-against average. Dallaire is an undrafted player.
In sports, the schedule is often your best friend one week and your nemesis the next.For the Ottawa 67’s, they’ve already experienced the friendly aspect with a well-spaced schedule of games while the team tried to gel as a unit. The real test in just on the horizon though, with a total of four games this week and three of those on consecutive days.“We’ve had a pretty light schedule, as far as workload is concerned,” says defenceman Carter Trevisani. “This is really kicking our season off and it’s going to be tough.”The 67’s will travel to Kingston to face the Frontenacs on Tuesday and then have a short break until the busy weekend. Friday is a home game against the Sarnia Sting, and then the 67’s will hit the road again to play the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors on Saturday and Don Cherry’s Mississauga Ice Dogs on Sunday.Though the Sarnia Sting are the only opponent playing above .500 hockey this season, 67’s coach Brian Kilrea warns against taking any of the teams lightly.“You don’t look at a team as being weak or good or bad… if you don’t come ready to play, it’s not going to matter,” says Kilrea. “You have to play well to get your points.”Though the Frontenacs are the team the 67’s will be preparing for first, captain Zenon Konopka says the busy weekend is in the back of everyone’s mind.“All the guys have been working out hard at the gym and this is why we do it,” he says. “These three game weekends really push your body, but we’re Read more »
·Rookie forward Mike Jefferson refused an assignment to Albany last week after preseason, and was immediately suspended.
·In a shocker, former Boston College goalie Scott Clemmensen beat out Albany River Rats netminders J.F. Damphousse and Frederic Henry to win the backup role for New Jersey. Clemmensen was terrific during the preseason, stopping a Petr Nedved penalty shot and just simply outplaying Damphousse and Henry, who looked very vulnerable in their starts and relief appearances. Clemmensen and Brodeur should be a nice tandem between the pipes.
·Anyone else notice how much better Sascha Goc looks on the ice this year? He seems much more poised, and his confidence is high. Amazing what a taste of the NHL can do for you.
·Kudos to Josef Boumedienne for scoring his first NHL goal over the weekend. Although he’s not going to make the roster on a permanent basis as long as Scott Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski are healthy, Boumedienne filled in very admirably and looks promising.
Game one: It was a combination of fierce forechecking and speed that elevated the Manchester Monarchs to its throne. But despite the lack of aggression on the ice–the Admirals dethroned its opponent earning a 3-3 tie Friday night.
Fans sighed through the first period with exasperation. But were resuscitated when Tyler Arnason and Mike Peluso scored second-period goals and Matt Henderson tipped a goal with only four minutes left in the contest. “They are a quick team and we did a lot of standing around and watching. Also, instead of initiating, we were retaliating, said coach Trent Yawney whose team swept the first two games of the season.
Manchester controlled the puck from the face off with a pair of goals from Randy Robitalle and Joe Corvo. The Admirals released damage control with a pair of goals from rookie Tyler Arnason at 3:52 and Mike Peluso making it 3-2 Manchester. LA Kings goalie, Stephane Fiest, who is rehabilitation turned aside 19 of Norfolk shots 22 shots. Admiral’s Matt Henderson from Chebaturkin left point to tied it 3-3 in regulation.
Game two: Admirals lose first game of the season 6-3
The Admirals who rebounded in the first game against Manchester took a nosedive on Saturday night. Manchester out witted Norfolk with tough goaltending and blistering offence and served Norfolk its first loss of the season. Rookie goalie Craig Anderson struggled between the pipes for Norfolk allowing 5 goals before getting pulled in the third.
Norfolk opened with the f Read more »
At the beginning of the season that was the question. After ten games, it still is a question to be answered.
The “boat”, as some fans here call the team, has begun the season with a team-record six wins in a row, including one at the home of the team’s harsh rival Rimouski Oceanic. For most of those wins, were missing six players: rc Yannick Lehoux (2000 3rd pick of L.A.Kings) g Ghislain Rousseau (2000 4th pick of Buffalo Sabres ) rc Joël Perrault (2001 5th pick of Anaheim Mighty Ducks) rw Robin Leblanc ( 2001 3rd pick of New Jersey) ld Daniel Bergeron (invited by the NY Islanders) and lc Pascal Pelletier (invited by the Edmonton Oilers)
Undrafted and uninvited to a pro camp veteran player Charles Linglet, matched with an undraftabled sixteen years old rookie Benoit Mondou (son of former Montreal Canadiens Pierre Mondou), were carrying the team on their shoulders. Linglet had a swell start with a hat-trick in each of the first 3 games of the year and is still the league’s points leader with 28.
After this record start, things begin to look worse with 3 losses. It seems that the team has suddenly learned to lose in team. Nothing seems to work, sloppy goaltending, bad defensive mistakes, lack of transition game, lost of momentum, bad chemistry etc. Everybody wanted to put it in the net but no one seems to be able to score the key goal.
In the tenth game, things settled a little bit with a 6-3 win. In it. the star team captain Lehoux scored 4 goals, 2 of those goals shorthanded. In 5 games, Lehoux (who scored 5 of his 8 goals Read more »
“Now I know how Custer felt”, said University of Ottawa’s head coach and UNH alumni Mickey Goulet after being routed 9-1 by the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team Friday night in Durham, NH. Coach Goulet went on to say, in no particular order, “UNH looks incredible”, they put on one hell of a clinic tonight”, and “UNH showed experience and composure”. Not exactly comments used to describe the play of UNH in the last 12 months.
UNH wasted little time in their rejection of last season. In a display as rare as a snow free New England winter, all five UNH players rushed the net to stuff a rebound. The goal was awarded to the rejuvenated Patrick Foley, who returned this season after surgery on both knees last year. UNH went on to score three more goals in the period, produced by the usual suspects, Jim Abbott, Colin Hemingway and Lanny Gare. UNH displayed excellent puck control, tape-to-tape passing, hustle, good decision-making and the one thing curiously absent from last season, the ability to finish.Goaltending, probably the biggest question mark this season was rarely tested, with Matt Carney stopping both shots on goal. Carney did however handle the puck several times and was rock solid with decision-making and skill. At times, had he not played like a professional, Carney ran the risk of falling asleep due to inactivity. Michael Ayers, the second UNH goalie, played the second and third periods. He did give up one goal, but like Carney was dangerously close to losing consciousness at times due to inactivity. Ayers provided a Hasek-esque mom Read more »
Three Strikes, Now What?
Let’s play a round of Front Page Challenge. It is sometime in early June 2002, the phone in your office rings, your receptionist tells you it’s Toronto Maple Leaf GM/Coach Pat Quinn and covering your eyes with one hand, you pick up the receiver with the other? Who are you? Kudos if you answered Ottawa 67’s GM/Coach Brian Kilrea who has got to be wondering what to do now that Leaf 6th rounder Jaroslav Sklenar has decided to return home to the Czech Republic only a few games into the season. This marks the third year in a row where ‘Killer’ has taken a Leaf product in the import draft and come away less than satisfied. First there was Luca Cereda in 1999. He had a great rookie camp in 2000/2001 once he came over to North America and was touted as a possible OHL Player of the Year candidate. Heart surgery cost him the year and he was assigned to St. John’s this time out. Vadim Sozinov was selected in 2000, and although he got off to a slow start, by the end of the year he was an integral part of the 67’s offense. Alas, he returned to Russia in the off-season. Some say it was his idea, others say it was Kilrea’s, still others mutual agreement. Bottom line: No European player. Enter Jaroslav Sklenar. Whereas both Cereda and Sozinov were both 1st round selections in the Import Draft, Kilrea waited until the 2nd round this time out before grabbing the Czech. And as stated, again, the dice have come up craps. How much longer is Kilrea going to keep answering that phone when Quinn calls? Who knows. As far as the Leafs GM is concerned tho Read more »