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Avalanche Interview: Radim Vrbata

by Billy Gilliam
on

HF: How is your relationship with fellow Avalanche draft pick Vaclav Nedorost, and is there a rivalry going with him to see who will become the better player?

RV: I have to say that me and Vaclav are very good friends. We were roommates in Russia at the WJC. We keep in touch a lot during a season over the internet and we are also planning to go on vacation in the summer together. I don’t think there is any rivalry between me and him at all. How I said we are good friends and we hope that we will play for Colorado Avalanche together one day.

HF: What was the best moment when you won the gold medal in the World Junior Championships?

RV: The whole tournament in Russia was a special time for me. Even the training camp in Czech before. We had a lots of fun as a team and I was very happy to be on that team. But the best moment was probably right after the final game against Finland. After the final buzzer we realized that we achieved something what we come for so it was a big relief and lot of happiness. So winning the gold medal for my country was probably the best moment in my hockey career.

HF: How will playing for the best team in the QMJHL prepare you for playing for the Stanley Cup contending Colorado Avalanche?

Read more »

Defense Statistics

by Megan Sexton
on

Player

Team

League

GP

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Player

Team

League

GP

Read more »

MSU unstoppable behind Ryan Miller, wins 2nd straight CCHA title

by Derek Berry
on
The University of Michigan’s Andy Hilbert raced down the left side from
the opening face-off of the CCHA championship game, grabbed a loose puck
and tried to drive a shot from the left circle past eventual tournament
MVP Ryan Miller, sophomore goaltender for the Michigan State Spartans.

Miller stopped it and 19 shots later stopped everything else as MSU
glided to its second straight CCHA playoff championship, defeating the
Wolverines 2-0 in the CCHA title match at Joe Louis Arena.

It was a muscular defensive effort by the Spartans and their Hobey
Baker-nominated netminder, who in most hockey worlds could be referred
to as a human wall.

But, the promising goalie and cousin of three of MSU’s greatest
contingent of Millers says the defense in front of him should not be
discounted.

“The guys in front of me played outstanding,” said Miller, who became
the first-ever two-time tournament MVP. “They really limited the shots
and didn’t let them (U-M) stretch the ice out on us. They took away a
lot of the back-door plays.”

Miller was outstanding in getting his second straight tournament
championship shutout (last year the Spartans defeated Nebraska-Omaha in
the final 6-0) but those green and white defenders (Andrew Hutchinson,
Jon Insana, John-Michael Liles, Brad Fast, Joe Markusen and Kris Koski)
had a hand in it too, tying up potential maize and blue offenders at
every opportunity and forcing them into taking bad shots at times.

“That was Spartan hockey at its best tonight,” said head coach R Read more »

Springfield Blues’ Assenmacher leads in assists, toughness and heart

by Derek Berry
on
Ben Assenmacher doesn’t have to speak in the Springfield Jr. Blues
locker room to command respect from his teammates. He merely shows them
what he’s talking about by collecting points on the ice and making big
plays. He leads by example.

Springfield head coach Craig Heggs says his star can play in all zones
and all corners and is possibly the hardest worker on the team.

“There’s no stat category for hard work,” says coach Heggs. “Benny
logs a lot of ice time. You don’t have to worry about him away from the
ice.”

The Blues’ team captain is one of the top penalty killers on the team
and simply leads by example, much like his linemate Greg Rallo.

“He is a tough kid, a captain by example,” says Heggs. “We need to
bring more players like Benny into this program. He’s very coachable,
very committed.”

Assenmacher himself would be the first one to tell you that he’s a
hard-working guy and he knows what it takes. He works hard off the ice
and in the gym. He constantly tweaks his game, and knows he’s not
always going to be perfect. But, he expects to win. And he expects his
teammates to win.

Ben Assenmacher is from a highly competitive background and the
athletic trademark runs deep through his family roots.

Ben’s dad received a full-ride scholarship to play football at the
University of Detroit. His father is now a hard-working doctor. He has
five older brothers, one younger than he and a sister thrown in there
too.

Assenmacher says although his dad never forced Read more »

Czech NHL rookies – Petr Tenkrat

by Robert Neuhauser
on

We’re going to talk about a player, who has really shown that a recall from the affiliate
team can turn your career on. Petr, a Anaheim Mighty Ducks forward, seems to be a lock on the
Ducks roster for the future now. And that when he was a household name only for the hard-core
Ducks fans the season before. They knew that in the Finnish league there is a high scoring winger,
belonging to the Mighty Ducks. But this season they could see Petr on the Pond. And they’ve
really seen a player, who can put great numbers for the Ducks in the future!

Petr grew up in a small city of Kladno, not too far from the capital Prague. In fact, he played
hockey in one of the best known Czech cities for producing NHL-caliber players. You may know that
Jaromir Jagr also played in the system of Kladno before he started his star career for the
Pens. That’s a little of history, Petr, even if he was a decent prospect, was in no way
compared to the famous Number 68. He was born 1977 and that year Kladno produced a lot of
high quality players. Petr grew up playing with fellow ’77 born Jiri Burger, Marek Zidlicky
or Jiri Kuchler. These four players were the top on the junior team of Kladno and they played together
since they were kids. But only Petr Tenkrat was able to reach the NHL, even if center Jiri
Burger and defenseman Marek Zidlicky were regarded as better prospects. The last player, Jiri
Kuchler is almost forgotten also in the Czech Republic now. It is interesting, that Tenkrat,
Burger and Zidlicky all played in the Finnish SM-Liiga at some time of their care Read more »

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