Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
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Minnesota Gopher sophomore-to-be Dan Welch, who was just drafted by the LA Kings as the 245th pick, will not return to the school next season. In 36 games last year for the Gophers, Welch scored 6 goals and added 8 assists. Welch has been ruled academically ineligible. Welch will attend a junior college in Omaha, Nebraska and will play for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL this season. Welch was suspended last season by head coach Don Lucia because he missed several classes. Welch was also suspended for two games by the school because he failed to turn in his class schedule at the start of the second semester. Welch most recently played in two out of four games with the USA Hockey Under-20 team in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Lucia said that if Welch gets eligible after this year, the team would welcome him back.
Day three of the Canadiens’ prospects camp was slightly more intense than the previous two. The drills were a little more complicated, and the players were asked to perform at a noticeably higher tempo. At the same time there were a few more smiles and laughs on the ice, as the players begin to get to know each other.
Defenseman Gennady Razin was the best player on the ice. He not only showed good puck control, he also demonstrated strong skating skills for a player of his size. Razin has a presence on the ice, the other Russian-born players seem to look to him for leadership. Especially Markov, who relies on Razin for translation.
Matt Carkner also showed good skating ability today. He moves well for a big man, and seemed very comfortable on the ice. He especially excels during the 1 on 1 drills, where he shows good lateral movement, and a strong backward to forward cross-over.
Marc-André Thinel continues to show great skills and creativity. As the camp moves along, he seems increasingly comfortable handling the puck. Ben Guité, who was chosen in the 97 Entry Draft out of the University of Maine has shown an excellent work ethic. He never stops fighting for the puck, and even uses the down-time during practice to work on his skating and puck-control. Read more »
The Canadiens’ prospects were on the ice for the second time Wednesday morning as André Savard led them through their morning workout. The mood during warm-up was low-key, but that quickly changed as Savard, along with Michel Therrien, Roland Melanson , and Éric Lavigne began the real on-ice workout.
The practice began with a 6-man neutral zone drill. Six players were given pucks and made to skate at medium/high intensity between the two bluelines. The object of the drill was to force the players to handle the puck while keeping their heads up at all times. Marc-André Thinel really excelled during this drill. It allowed him to showcase his speed and puck-handling ability.
Due to the language barrier, Andrei Markov was given some special attention. Markov showed good speed, and a quick first step. His mobility was excellent. He paid especially close attention to the on-ice direction, and seemed to respond well to suggestions.
Mike Ribeiro was definitely the best puck-handler on the ice. He was able to have his way with opposing defensemen during drills. Until they got a hand on him. This tactic would invariably result in Ribeiro being pushed off the puck. The extra 20 pounds of muscle that Ribeiro was reported to have put on during the summer didn’t seem to help in this regard. Read more »
When the Kootenay ICE finished their 1999-2000
Memorial Cup finalist season, they lost a good percentage of their offensive output when Captain Mike Green (Florida) and line-mate Jaroslav
Svoboda (Carolina) graduated to the professional ranks. For any club, even as one as deep as the ICE, it is a dent on the stats sheet that would
be a heady task to replace.
Well, if forecasts are accurate, consider it replaced.
The Kootenay ICE announced this past week that Marek Svatos, Kootenay’s 47th overall CHL import draft pick and NCAA Michigan Wolverine
star Mike Comrie, an Edmonton Oiler 1999 NHL Draft pick (91st overall) will both be joining the club for the 2000-01 season. For Svatos, a Kosice,
Slovakia native the move to North America a full two weeks ahead of the beginning of training camp will only benefit him in making the transition
to his new Canadian surroundings. For Comrie however, making the jump to junior from the NCAA is more of a strategic move. The fact that
Comrie will no doubt enhance his professional aspirations by making the transfer if only for the fact that the WHL plays almost double the
amount of regular season games (72 as opposed to 40) and the increased ice time will only be to his benefit in trying to make the jump to the
NHL. Mike Comrie’s arrival to the Kootenays also enhances his contract position with the Edmonton Oilers due to a path carved out by Comrie’s
former Michigan Wolverine teammate Mike Van Ryn.
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This is the first in a two part series providing a detailed look at players who will determine Toronto’s destiny in 2000 / 2001. For the purposes of this discussion, superstars (Sundin, Joseph) and dependable veterans (Thomas, Yushkevich, Domi, Perreault etc.) have been excluded. These articles will focus on players whose contributions have yet to be established over the long term. If a majority of the players listed herein can rise to new levels this season, the Leafs will do battle with perennial powerhouses in Detroit, Dallas, Denver, St. Louis, Philadelphia and New Jersey for league dominance. Conversely, if they fail to step forward sufficiently, the team may once again fall short of its Stanley Cup aspirations.
This week we’ll examine a group of returning players and next week the spotlight will swing over to several key newcomers.
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Former Minnesota Gopher Nate Miller signed a contract with the LA Kings last week. Miller, who had his most prolific season during his senior year with the Gophers, joins fellow former Wisconsin Badger Steve Reinprecht in joining the Kings since the season ended. According to former pro coach and current Minnsota Wild scout Glen Sonmor, the Kings, “got themselves an outstanding player. He is steady, shows good leadership and it’s great for him to get a chance. He makes contributions all the time, and I don’t see that changing at the pro level.” Terms of the contract were not released.
With all of the press about the Sedin’s coming to Vancouver no one has
been thinking too much about some of the other talent in the Canucks
overfilled pool. Josh Holden, who was at one time Vancouver’s golden
boy, showed us he does have a solid future in the NHL, averaging a point
game in limited action. There also has not been too much mention about
Brent Sopel. Sopel was a late season call up who played like a seasoned
veteran. Sopel had a goal and two assists in the final game of last
season in the Canucks 5-2 upset of the playoff bound San Jose Sharks.
We also may see Bryan Allen show of the tools he is so blessed with.
Steve Kariya also showed promise. Somehow Marc Crawford did recognize
his excellent play, so he spent time in Syracuse where he had a
game and was named rookie of the month.
Harold Druken showed promise in
limited action for Vancouver and was also named to the AHL All-Rookie
team. With the need of a veteran defenseman to add to the Canucks, we
may be seeing some of the young guns moving on to other cities but if
not the Canucks have a lot more weapons waiting in the wing than just
Daniel and Henrik Sedin. This will also help the Sedin’s out. It is a
lot easier for high caliber players to learn the game with top talent
around them. This is apparent in Peter Schaeffer, who obviously
benefited from the presence of the recently departed Mark Messier. There Read more »
I know that most of you are saying – Jared who?style=”mso-spacerun: yes”> Unless you follow the Western Hockey League,
you probably don’t know much about him.
Jared Hope was the Leafs final draft choice (230th overall)
in the 1996 Draft. Jared had played
that season with the Spokane Chiefs and suffered two serious head injuries.
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On September 27, 1995 in a game versus the Kelowna Rockets,
Hope was knocked unconscious, taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a
concussion. Twenty-four days later,
Hope played again for the Rockets after recovering from the injury.style=”mso-spacerun: yes”> In that game versus the Tri-City Americans,
Hope suffered another blow to the head that would put his playing career in
jeopardy. Hope did play briefly the
next year (1996-97) with the Edmonton Ice but his career was essentially over.
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Hope was once considered one of the brightest of WHL
prospects. He was drafted 3rd
overall in the 1993 WHL Draft. Jared Read more »
If you know the basic facts regarding the structure of Swedish clubs – stop
reading now. If you don´t, you might learn something new.
Most teams started as non-profit organizations as a way to get people living
in the area interested and active in sports. The only thing one had to do to
become a member of the club was to pay a small fee to enter. The active
members elected a board that should run the club. This structure is still
common in Sweden, although the importance of money in hockey has grown. The
structure of most major clubs are similar to the structure of most
companies, although hockey is not a profit oriented business designed to
please an owner or a group of owners. Teams can not be sold or moved.
Some clubs are even introducing themselves at the stock exchange, turning
themselves into a profit-oriented business. The thinking behind the
metamorphosis is that teams have to have a sound economy if they want to be
successful in the Elitserien, although this sounds pretty ironic considering
the vast amount of Swedish clubs that are in debt.
One key source of revenue is local businesses as they supply sponsoring and
advertise on boards and jerseys. Teams whose Elitserien status can be
attributed to having a large company in the town include MoDo, who has even
assumed the name of the company, and Luleå, who is heavily sponsored by
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