As the regular season approaches, with only weeks remaining teams have made decisions on starting goalies, four lines, and starting defenceman. Almost every team knows their top two lines: every team, that is, but the Montreal Canadiens.
The Habs have five players not attending camp. Malakhov, Koivu, Rucinsky, and Savage are without contracts. Shayne Corson refuses to play unless his salary is raised another 1.5 million dollars. So, with that in mind, many would think the Habs were in major trouble: Their season is ruined. Well, you would think that if you haven’t heard of St. Theo.
St. Theo has a red, white, and blue mask. He wears the sacred C proudly on his chest, has a large glove, a blocker, two pads, and carries a big stick. Some say St. Theo was sent from heaven, some say that he was not. Many think he will crack under the pressure of the notorius Montreal media. Others say that he will thrive with the attention. St. Theo has a number on his back. It is 60. And with that number is sewn a name: Theodore.
He wears the jersey proudly, but not only that, he protects his home as he has learned from another saint, St. Brodeur. He is solid in front of his territory, but when it is needed, he will come out to block possible entries into his private space. He sacrifices his body for a full 60 minutes on some nights, and others he sits, watches, and learns from his mentor Jocelyn Thibault. This man’s full name is Jose Theodore.
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DES MOINES BUCCANEERS-PLAYERS LOST(10) Division I Scholarships- Jason
Basile Ferris State, Peter Cupouch Harvard, Chris Dube Wisconsin-Eau
Claire, Peter Fregoe Lake Superior State, Jason Nightingale Lake
Superior State, Nick Parillo Merrimack, Jake Searles Bemidji State, Erik
Strund Wisconsin-Eau Clarie, Jeremy Vokes Miami of Ohio Pro Hockey- Bob
PLAYERS RETURNING(9)(goals,assits,pionts, PIM) Mark Krueger F 5-8-13 30,
Erie Maksimenko F 27-23-50 8, Josh Flynn D 6-8-14 18, Pete Fregoe F
31-32-63 51, Noah Clarke F 19-30-49 29, Dan Donnette F 5-11-16 48, Erik
Jensen F 12-14-26 90, Bill Birrenkott D 1-3-4 95, Jim Jackson D 2-12-14
37, Garret Stafford D 6-17-23 89
NEW PLAYERS(14) (last years team, stats were available) Nick Stodgell D
Rochester Mustangs 3-4-7 31, Felipe Larranga D Soo Hawks AAA, Peter
Smerk D Martin Slovakia, Josh Roach F Soo Hawks AAA, KC Caudill D Soo
Indians 15-16-31 98, Rob Novak F Hayward HS, Peter Sejna F Liptovsky
Slovakia, Nick Field F Cleveland NAHL 34-28-62 38, Alex Sawruk F Soo
Indians 6-14-20 65, Kelly Miller F Chicago Freeze 24-18-42 132,
Michael Chin F USA Under 18 9-6-15 12, Jerrid Reinholz F Anoka HS,
Mathew Carney G U.N.H, Frank Berenguer G Long Beach Midgets
PREDICTIONS- The Bucs finished first overall last season with forty
wins, this years edition should win the Central Division. With the Read more »
Jose Theodore looked like it last night against the Boston Bruins in a 5-3 victory — even though it was a preseason game and the Bruins were without Jason Allison, Ted Donato, Anson Carter and Ray Bourque. He let in just one goal in his two periods of play. The goal came courtesy of a mental mistake from the Habs’ 1998 first round pick. Eric Chouinard tried an open ice hit on Ferraro and missed, Ulanov then figured this would be a good chance to teach the kid a lesson. He didn’t knock Ferraro off the puck either, just left prospect Stephane Robidas in a two on one situation. From inexperience, Robidas charged Ferraro, leaving Axelsson wide open for the goal.
Theodore saw the ice well, always knew where the puck was and had confidence. Jose is already a fan favourite here in Montreal. Thibault looks like he will have to fight for his number one job, once again.
Mathieu Garon took over for Thibault in the 3rd period and looked shaky from the get go. Considering he was in the QMJHL last season, that’s a large step. He let in two goals on the night. One by Joe Thornton who jammed it in on a rebound, which made the crowd get on edge. Garon did handle the pressure well after settling down later in the period, he stopped looking behind him on every shot that he was unsure of.
You have to give credit to both goalies — they made the defense look good. Three veterans paired with three rookies.
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BIG YEAR COMING UP FOR MANY TOP PROSPECTS
For many young players in the Swedish Leagues, the 98/99-season will be a crucial one. From Mikael Holmvkist and the Sedin-Twins to Leafs 1997 9th round pick Jonathan Hedström – all have one goal in common: Making it to the NHL, or at least getting closer to the league.
Among new interesting names this season in Swedish Hockey, former 1st round draftpicks Jesper Mattsson(Calgary) and Stefan Bergkvist(Pittsburgh) are included along with Norwegian defenseman Anders Myrvold who wasn’t given a Qualifying Offer by the Bruins earlier this summer.
For all of these three players, this season is all abnout strengthening their status as prospects and earn themselves another shot in the NHL. With Mattsson and Myrvold, it was the most common reason of all why they didn’t make it: Quite simply, they weren’t impressive enough in the AHL to be called-up permanently to the NHL. For Bergkvist, it was a tumour that sidelined him for a long time, but now he’s healthy again and back in Leksand to try and find his game once again.
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During the 1996 NHL Draft, the Vancouver Canucks were pleasantly surprised to find Regina Pat centre Josh Holden still available when they drafted in the 12th spot. Ranked fourth by the Central Scouting Bureau, Holden saw his stock plummet because of his size. The Canucks, however, were willing to take a chance on Holden because of his offensive potential.
During his first training camp two years ago, Holden showed some of the immaturity for which he was known in junior circles. He arrived at camp in less than peak physical condition and did not perform to the best of his abilities. His play for Regina during the first part of the season was not great. After he was relieved of some of his leadership responsibilities by Regina management, Holden’s play picked up.
Holden spent the summer of 1997 working out in Los Angeles with a personal trainer. The hard work paid off. Holden had a solid training camp and impressive pre-season. Alas, with the free agent signing of Mark Messier, there was no room for him, so he was returned to Regina again. This training camp is different. A centre position is his to lose.
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Adam Mair is on a fast-track to the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Oh, think he will be a Hart Trophy winner? No, he won’t. Oh, then, an Art Ross award winner? No, not likely. What, then? “He will bring everything he has to the table, every shift. Never taking a moment off” says Owen Plater Director of Hockey Operations, Ray McKelvie . “His work ethic, attitude and leadership is second to none. He may have been the most underrated player in the OHL last season”, he adds. Sounds like a winner, pure and simple. The kind of player and person who is reliable, dependable and will play his heart out night after night, season after season. Ray should know as Adam played for his team night in and night out the last two seasons. He is the kind of forward who, as Adam Mair himself stated in a Toronto Sun article, “My game is taking the body and showing responsibility in both ends of the rink.” A Selke award winner? Maybe, someday.
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For the first time in their history, the Calgary Flames held a rookie camp for the four days prior to the opening of the main camp. The media in Calgary found itself talking about the first round draft picks, Rico Fata and Daniel Tkaczuk, as well as CHL player of the year Sergei Varlamov. They also found great stories in the brothers of Flame captain Todd Simpson and tough guy Rocky Thompson. The brothers, Kent Simpson and Jeremy Thompson joined another relative. This relative was the son of the head coach Brian Sutter. Shaun Sutter, drafted in the fourth round, also made the headlines in the Calgary papers as training camp got under way.
When all was said and done on Monday at the conclusion of the rookie camp, eleven players were returned to their junior clubs, while another eleven players were released after thier tryouts. Sadly, three media stories did not make the main camp. Shaun Sutter returns to Lethbridge of the WHL, while the brothers Simpson and Thompson will have to find employment elsewhere during the upcoming season.
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Five swedish junior players – Christian Berglund, Jonas Elofsson and Mikael Holmkvist of Färjestad and the Sedin-twins of MoDo – are finding themselves caught in the middle of a controversy which has lost all proportions.
In mid-june, the five above-mentioned players were selected for a junior-torunament with Sweden’s National Junior Team in Lake Placid and all of them accepted. But, a couple of weeks ago they made a U-Turn and said that they wouldn’t play. Their decision was made after the coaches of their respective clubs had talked to them and said that they needed them for pre-season games which they would miss if they accepted the invitation to play for the national team.
When the coaches spoke to these five players they said something along the lines of “We want you to play all pre-season games, because we feel that you should get the chance to earn yourself a spot as a regular on the team this season”, which could be interpreted as “if you leave you’ll sit on the bench when you get home”. Since neither of these players had been regulars on their team last season, and crucial years of their development are coming up, they felt that they should stay in Sweden and play the pre-season games.
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The Lindros family is whining about Eric’s contract, while Dominik Hasek wrapped his sports car around an elm tree, so that can mean only one thing: NHL training camps will soon be opening!
The Buffalo Sabres will begin their formal training camp in Austria on 9/13, with select rookies and prospects travelling to Kitchener, ON for a rookie camp prior to the trip to Austria. With the opening of camp only days away, I thought it would be a good time to offer up my thoughts on the players I consider to be the top 10 prospects in the Sabre organization.
Before listing these 10 players, these are the criteria I used to decide what qualifies a player for prospect status (as opposed to veteran or has-been): · the player must have played in less than 82 NHL games, i.e. a full seasons’ worth of games · the player must be 23 or younger With regard to the game requirement, I came to the conclusion that the vast majority of drafted players that make it to the NHL complete 82 NHL games somewhere between 2-4 years after being drafted. This would put most prospects in the 22-23-age range, which is where my age criteria come into play. Basically, if a player hasn’t had much NHL experience by the time he reaches the age of 23, his chances of making it in the NHL are not very good. There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking the rule of 23 holds true in most cases.
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With Cam Neely possibly making a comeback, this could leave some Bruin prospects out in the cold.
Neely is not likely to make a comeback this season, but if he does it probably would be next season. This would leave a lot of prospects wondering about their futures. Names like Cameron Mann, Randy Robitaille, and Shawn Bates would have to make a huge impact this season if they hope to get a spot on the Boston roster. To fill Neely’s shoes, it would probably take all three of those players; but if he makes a return, likely only one will make the big club and the rest will either sign with other teams or play in Providence.
Cameron Mann looks to be the brightest light of those 3, but don’t leave out Bates, Robitaille, and Joel Prpic. Many scouts are wondering whether Prpic has NHL potential but others claim he has a lot. Bates, who starred at Boston University definitely has NHL potential and Robitaille appears to be close as well. Robitaille was injured in his first game with Boston back in March 1997; he was out for the remainder of the season. He played the 1997-98 campaign in Providence where he was one of the bright spots in what was a dim season.
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