Training Camp is about to start for the newly revamped New York Rangers.
News and Notes:
The Rangers finally cut ties with Scott Fraser. The organization had hoped
for another Adam Graves type player but he did not develop in New York or
Hartford as they hoped. His contract was bought out, but not before Neil
Smith offered him to Chicago for Doug Gilmour or anything. Fraser may try
out with Chicago but is also being sought out by many European teams. Fraser
had 28gp-2-4-6p totals in New York last season.
Now a look at Questions and Youth up front.
The No. 2 center slot as of now has been handed to Manny Malhotra by the
media. However John Muckler is a stickler for factoring in youth to such
high stress positions. Malhotra last year averaged 6 minutes per game
and mostly at the no. 4 spot. Although Malhotra showed many that he can play
at this level, he was instructed to add some
size to his already hulking 6-3 215 frame during the offseason. However Read more »
With twenty four days to go before the puck drops on the 1999/2000 Western Hockey League Season all teams in the West Division are well into training camp. Seattle seems like a sure fire pick to lead the division with all their offensive fire power but you can never count out a Don Hay coached team like the Tri-City Americans or perrenial powerhouse Kamloops Blazers. Kelowna returns a solid nucleus and finally have a solid netminder in Kevin Swanson and they could make some noise before all is said and done. Portland and Spokane appear to be two teams searching for a new identity after big runs for the Memorial Cup two years ago and appear headed for very long seasons near the basementof the division. Following are my pre-season picks from top to bottom and a brief synopsis of each team.
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The organizers of this tournament had to be unhappy after the first night
of action. A bench clearing brawl initiated by Ty Jones gave the tournament
a black eye and had to hope for better results during Tuesday night’s games.
Unfortuantly, it went from fight night to blowouts. The Detroit Red Wings
and Chicago Blackhawks were blown right out of the Grand Traverse Bay area
and ended up somewhere across Lake Michigan. Or at least it seemed that
way. If you liked watching teams self-destruct, this was your night.
GAME 3 – Detroit VS. Nashville
On paper, this game looks even. Both teams have a marquee prospect in
Brian Finley and Jiri Fischer. Each lack much depth at forward. But on the
ice it was a much a different story. While the Wings didnt play awful, the
defense rested in stretches. The Predators took the lead 10 seconds into
the game and never looked back, beating the Red Wings 6-3.
The Predators scored three goals in the first and again in the second
period and that was more than enough. The Predators had no real star on
this night but they did have a solid defensive game. Ed Hill, Brett Angel,
and Kent Sauer all had strong defensive efforts. Sauer also added two
assists. Martin Bartek added a goal and an assist leading the offense.
Konstantin Panov also had a strong night, scoring a goal and having several Read more »
After discontinuing their top minor league affiliate in Adirondack, the Detroit Red Wings recently announced a deal that will see approximately eight of their prospects placed in Cincinnati for the 1999-2000 season. The AHL’s Cincinnati Mighty Ducks are Anaheim’s top minor league affiliate. With Detroit’s new farm club not beginning play in Toledo until 2000-2001, the organization needed to find a home for their top prospects. How will the Cincinnati roster take shape this season?
Beginning in the crease, there is little room for Detroit’s top young net minders, Jason Elliott and Aren Miller. Last season’s starter, Tom Askey, is expected to return after a sparkling 1998-1999 season. Askey posted a 2.72 goals against average along with a .918 save percentage, and also saw NHL post-season minutes against Detroit when Guy Hebert was lost to injury. The backup position also appears to be set, with Gregg Naumenko recently signing a two-year pact with Anaheim. Naumenko, an undrafted free agent, was named to the WCHA first all star team and received the WCHA rookie of the year award. Detroit’s top prospect in the crease, Jason Elliott, will likely be loaned to an IHL franchise to earn a starting position. Elliott was the starter in Adirondack for much of last season, but after a spectacular first half he struggled down the stretch. Aren Miller could find himself anywhere this year – likely as a backup in the AHL or IHL, but without a strong training camp possibly the ECHL.
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The Long Beach Press Telegram is reporting that Aki Berg has agreed in principle to a one year contract with the Kings that could be signed as soon as today. Berg claims no hard feelings and says he is ready and eager to play for the Kings this season. This move is huge in easing the concerns of defensive depth. This also puts Berg back on track to the promising future he had two years ago.
Also, the Los Angeles Kings issued the following press release on the condition of prospect Eric Belanger. Belanger was diagnosed with a blood clot that could potentially keep him out for the season. As this article reads, the centerman’s season has been salvaged after all.
INGLEWOOD, CA. – Los Angeles Kings center Eric Belanger underwent successful surgery this morning for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that caused a blood clot to develop in his right arm, Kings Senior Vice President/General Manager Dave Taylor announced today.
Surgery was performed by Dr. Fred A. Weaver, chief of vascular surgery, USC University Hospital, to remove Belanger`s first rib on his right side. He will be followed over the next month by Dr. Weaver and Kings internist Dr. Michael Mellman. The timing for Belanger`s return to professional hockey will be determined by his response to surgery and rehabilitation over the next month.
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CLEVELAND LUMBERJACKS HISTORY
Lumberjack hockey has a unique history to it. First in Muskegon, then in Cleveland. The IHL entered Muskegon for the 1960-61 season. They were known as the Muskegon Zephyrs due to the fact that financial assitance came from the Zephyr Oil Company.
In their first IHL season the Zephyrs finished with a 25-41-4 record for 54 points in 70 games. Ken Hayden lead all Zephyr scorers that first year with 52 goals, and 34 assist, for 86 points and accumulated 78 penalty minutes in 69 games. Jim McLeod recorded a 4.34 GAA with 1 shutout and 269 goals against in 62 games. The Zephyrs made it to the Turner Cup finals but lost to St. Paul 4 games to 1 game.
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Growing up in Sweden, Detroit Red Wings’ defense prospect John Wikstrom always maintained the same goal.
“The dream has always been there and will always stay. To play in the NHL is of highest importance to me,” said Wikstrom recently.
As a youngster, his primary goal was to reach Sweden’s TV-Pucken, a countrywide tournament for junior hockey players. And as Wikstrom’s hockey career progressed, larger goals became realized.
Drafted in the fifth round by Detroit in 1997, Wikstrom spent several years toiling within the Lulea organization in Sweden. Wikstrom’s years with the club were frustrating, and he was never given the opportunity to become a regular in the Swedish Elite League. He saw most of his ice time with Lulea’s junior squad.
Wikstrom is a hulking defenseman, standing 6’4″ and weighing 205 lb. A decent skater for his size, he continues to improve. Wikstrom plays a tough and physical defensive game, and with his great size he is a force. However, in Sweden, his rugged type of game does not fit in, and the rules make it difficult for him to take full advantage of his size.
“I have more of a North American hockey style,” Wikstrom explains.
Following his draft year, Wikstrom ventured across the ocean to the Red Wings’ 1998 training camp in an attempt to make Adirondack of the AHL.
“The training camp I attended is the best hockey memory I have. Perhaps the best memory I’ll ever have,” said Wikstrom, fondly recalling his introduction to the Detroit Red Wing organization.
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GAME 1 – Detroit VS. Chicago
The rivalry between these two teams was renewed on Monday night. The game
ended up with 32 penalties and numerous brawls. Even with all the penalties,
the game still ended up deadlocked at a 3-3 tie. Jack McCracken steered away
33 shots while Jonathan Pelletier stopped 30. Chicago held a 3-1 lead in the
third only to see the lead go away when Brent Hobday scored and just over a
minute later, Anton Borodkin tied it. Detroit prospect Ryan Barnes got
plenty of shots in the form of physical play but also added an assist on the
scoresheet. Yuri Butsayev and Borodkin had a goal and an assist playing on
a line together for Detroit. Highly touted prospect Jiri Fischer played a
decent game and ended up a +1 for the night. Ryan Gaucher also played solid
for the Wings.
Chicago’s Mark Bell lived up to his billing by notching a goal in the
first. Rob Mara, coming back from injuries, had a strong game, with good
overall play and adding two assists. Kyle Calder also had an impressive
night as he notched a goal and an assist. As expected, Ty Jones also played
a physical game joining Barnes. Next up for Detroit will be Nashville,
while Chicago will take on St. Louis.
Det - Butsayev, 1 (Borodkin,Barnes) 9:00
Chi - Bell, 1 (Couture,Mara) 15:00
Chi - Griffin, 1 (Calder,Mara) 10:27
3rd Period- Read more »
In the Canadian hockey league, the most important asset that a team must first acquire is a positive reputation for developing young talent and maturing their skills both on and off the ice. If this asset is not met, the team will encounter many problems in acquiring their young draft picks and acquiring other players through trades and such. A team that has gone through this horrific ordeal? Why, the Windsor Spitfires practically define it.
The Spitfires have accomplished everything that any other team should not. This includes a vast array of different front office movements over the last 10 years resulting in numerous coaches and general managers. This results in a very unstable approach toward building a future in the league which is so important in the CHL. Also, a team that produces bad results year after year does not help a reputation. All future OHL’ers fear a few words come draft day, “The Windsor Spitfires select .” Take this past draft for example. Tim Gleason, a highly touted defenceman, previously stated that he would take a university approach or only play for the Plymouth Whalers if he was selected. The Spits took the risky road and selected him. Immediately after, he returned his jersey and hat through his agent back to the team and said he would not report. This is when the new era of the Windsor Spitfires organization takes place.
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June 30, 1999 Washington does not pick up the option on the following copntracts: Mike Rosati G, Kelly Miller RW, Brian Bellows RW.
July 7, 1999 Signed D/LW Mike Siklenka, the team’s fifth-round pick (118th overall) in 1998.
August 9, 1999 Signed D Jamie Huscroft, as a free agent.
August 18, 1999 Traded Beniot Gratton C to Calgary for D Steve Shirreffs.
August 19, 1999 Washington resigns G Martin Brochu.
Washington Capital Top 25 Prospects:
rank name (position) size age (DOB) 98-99 location
1. Kris Beach – C 6-2 178 18 (2/5/81) Calgary (WHL)
2. Alexei Tezikov – D 6-1 197 21 (3/2/78) Rochester (AHL) /
3. Scott Swanson – D 6-2 190 24 (2/22/75) Colorado College (WCHA)
4. Nolan Baumgartner – D 6-1 200 23 (3/23/76) Portland (AHL)
5. Matt Herr – LW 6-1 180 23 (5/26/99) Portland (AHL)
6. Michal Sivek – C 6-3 209 18 (1/28/81) Trenic (Czech Rep.)
7. Charlie Stephens – C/RW 6-3 229 18 (4/5/81) Guelph (OHL)
8. Mike Siklenka – D/LW 6-4 215 19 (12/18/79) Seattle (WHL)
9. Curtis Cruickshank – G 6-2 209 20 (3/21/79) Kingston / Sarina (OHL)
10. J-F Fortin – D 6-2 190 20 (3/15/79) Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
11. Ratislav Stana – G 6-1 161 19 (n/a) Moose Jaw (WHL)
12. Patrick Bolieau – D 6-0 190 23 (2/25/76) Indianapolis (IHL) Read more »