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Four Blue Jacket Rookies See Opening Night

by Bill Drake
on

The most notable rookie to make the Blue Jackets is Rostislav Klesla, a Czech defensman drafted fourth overall last year. Klesla is an early Calder finalist. He could win the hardware but it must be noted that young defenseman take longer to mature than forwards, see Chris Pronger and Ed Jovonovski. Klesla played only 9 games for Columbus before returning to Brampton. In the Juniors, Klesla improved his game and point total, from 45 to 54, and really improved during the postseason, scoring two goals and adding 9 assists. Klesla might, and hopefully will, improve the team PP, something Petteri Nummelin could never do last year.

Another defenseman looking to improve the PP is Radim Bicanek, another Czech who was claimed from Chicago in the Expansion Draft. After floating around the minors for a few years, Radim scored 22 goals and lead AHL defensemen with 65 points.

Up front another two young players made the final team: Chris Nielsen and Jody Shelley. Both bring qualities that Columbus needs, but both are totally different players.

Nielsen is a hard working, two-way forward, who plays both center and left wing. He played in 29 NHL games last year and figures to increase his icetime from the 10 minuted he played last year. Nielsen has a shot to see time on the PK, although he was not used in that role last year.

Jody Shelley is a player who knows his role, a fighter. Last year, Shelley fought and battled his way to 357 PIM with Syracuse of the AHL. In his one NHL game last year he managed 10 PIM. Shelley brings Read more »

2001-2002 USHL Preview — Eastern Division

by Jason Shaner
on


USHL 2001-2002 Preview

It is time my friends, to begin another year of fast-paced, action-packed USHL hockey. Changes are aplenty this year with the additions of the Topeka Scarecrows and the Tulsa Crude. Topeka joins the league after being a minor league franchise. The fans have been a little skeptic about the quality of play they are paying for, but will soon find out it is well worth their money. Tulsa joins the league after many years being known as the Dubuque Fighting Saints. A handful of former Saints along with the entire staff made the move with the team in hopes of revamping what once was a proud franchise.

Topeka and Tulsa will move to the Western Division of the league and the Des Moines Buccaneers will then be bumped over to the Eastern Division, which better suits their location. The Cedar Rapids Roughriders look to improve upon their playoff appearance last season as their shelves are stocked this year. A lot of new faces will take the ice this year with many of the most recent stars moving on to the Collegiate or Pro ranks. This opens the door for new stars to be made. All told, it has the makings of another fantastic season of hockey in the Midwest.

Eastern Division

1. Des Moines Buccaneers

Des Moines joins the Eastern Division this season as mentioned, and although the East certainly is tough, it clearly has not had the balance of the Western Division that Des Moines has been accustomed to. With that being said, they are my pick to win the East. T Read more »

Sabres Report: 2001 Training Camp Wrap-Up, Part III

by Ken McKenna
on

The Buffalo Sabres have whittled down their 2001 training camp roster, and are now preparing for their October 4th home opener vs. the Atlanta Thrashers. While there has been a profound change in the team with the departure of Dominik Hasek, the fact of the matter is that the personnel has changed very little from last season to the new season.

From the prospect ranks, one player has managed to make the team, while another could stick once he recovers from an injury. Right wing Norm Milley, a ’98 2nd round pick, showed great hustle and grit in both the camp scrimmages and preseason games. His dogged style of play made it impossible for Buffalo’s coaching staff to send Norm to Rochester, but it remains to be seen how much ice time Milley will see once they start playing the games for keeps.

The injured prospect is ’97 2nd rounder Henrik Tallinder. The big Swede defenseman had a very promising start to his camp, but suffered a knee injury on the 3rd day of camp. In spite of Tallinder’s short span of time on the ice, he was singled out by coach Lindy Ruff as a player who is definitely going to push for a spot on the roster. Ruff liked Henrik’s size, as well as his steady play in the defensive zone, while also pointing to Tallinder’s ability to make a good breakout pass.

Tallinder’s injury will keep him on the shelf for at least another week, but it’s uncertain what will be done with Henrik when he returns to the ice. Henrik signed a contract that would allow him to return to TPS Read more »

Predators season preview

by Brian Roe
on

The Nashville Predators are entering the decisive “fourth” year of the three to
five year plan that GM David Poile set for the team. Expectations are
high and this should be the season the Preds finally break the top 8 in
the Western Conference.

This is the season for David Legwand. All the pieces are falling into
place, all the blurs are starting to become clear, and all of Nashville
is waiting on the 21-year old center to make his move. Legwand spent
the summer working with a personal hockey trainer, a man who has worked
with several high profile NHL players including Chris Progner, Martin
Lapointe, and others. Last season Legwand showed flashes of brilliance
with highlights including – the first overtime penalty shot goal in NHL
history, posted plus-or-even rating in 61 of the 81 games that he played
in, recorded another overtime game winning goal in March against
Phoenix, and posted 41 points (compared to the 28 from the season
before). Legwand is entering his third full season in the NHL and if
the Preds hope to make the playoffs this year, he is expected to carry a
large part of the load.

The 2001-02 Predators are a lot like the 2000-01 Predators, but
they are also a whole lot different as well. The Preds were fairly
quiet compared to other teams in the Western Conference, however, there
are some new faces on the Preds and there will be some different looks
from this team this year, as well.

The goaltenders: Mike Dunham had a career year last season posting
numbers such as – 2.28 GAA, 21 wins, 4 shutouts, and a . Read more »

Bridgeport Sound Tigers Wrap-up

by Steve Feldman
on


Bridgeport Sound Tigers Report

Tiger News

The 2001-02 season is starting this week this pre-season update will have the final assignment of Islanders to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The results from last week’s NHL waiver draft are also included. There is also some AHL news.

AHL To Remember Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis
The AHL is going to pay honor to Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis who both lost their lives in the tragic attacks on America on September 11. All AHL teams will wear a red, white, and blue decal ribbon on their helmets with the numbers 15 and 17.

Ace Bailey played for the 1969 Calder Cup winning Hershey Bears, and was entering his eighth season as Director of Pro Scouting for the Los Angeles Kings.

Mark Bavis played parts of two seasons for the Providence Bruins and Fredericton Canadians between 1993 through 1995. Bavis was am amateur scout for the Los Angeles Kings.

TRANSACTIONS

9/26/01 The New York Islanders have left the following players unprotected for Friday’s NHL Waiver Draft.

Defensemen;
Chris Armstrong, Ray Schultz, Ken Sutton.

Forwards;
Alexander Kharitonov, Jason Krog, Dave Roche, Jason Podollan, Marko Tuomainen

9/28/01 The New York Islanders with the first selection in the waiver draft selected Chris Osgood from the Detroit Red Wings. Read more »

German Update

by Oliver Janz
on





Müller

Here’s the first update for the seven German draft picks in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Three draftees suffered hand injuries in the last weeks. Check out what happened to all of the seven guys.

Robert Müller (Adler Mannheim/DEL) – Washington Capitals


Müller played in three of ten regular season games. His starts are in the following games: 4-3 against Moskitos Essen, 1-2 against Iserlohn Roosters (where he was named the best player of the game) and 0-2 against Hannover Scorpions. Mike Rosati is still the number one, but the race is closer as during the last season. His current stats are: Read more »

Kings 2001-2002 Preview

by Tony Calfo
on

It will be an interesting season for the Kings and their organization. On the NHL level, the Kings will face a pivotal season- they need to show L.A. that they are not penny pinching, but rather building a strong, defensive team. They will need to replace fan favorite Luc Robitaille and his on-ice and community presence. They will also have to hope Felix Potvin can go into his bag of tricks for another season and that the first full season without Rob Blake looks more like the end of last season than what many experts are predicting. Here is a rundown of best and worse case scenarios:

Best Case- The Kings play defense like last season, Potvin sparkles in net again and Bednar and Heinze pick up some of the scoring slack. Ken Belanger patrols the ice to keep the skill forwards healthy and Josef Stumpel and Ziggy Palffy are healthy all season and are effective with Adam Deadmarsh. Eric Belanger takes the next step that the Kings think he can and Modry, Boucher, Lilja and Karalahti can fill in the final defensive pairing.

Worst Case- Potvin returns to the form that had him ticketed to the IHL last season. The defense is ineffective and lacks the hammer on the power play. Bednar turns into Tomas Vlasak. Karalahti and Lilja prove to be too slow and Boucher and Modry realize they are bottom-tier NHL defensemen. Ken Belanger suffers an early concussion and is unable to deter opposing players from running Ziggy Palffy and Josef Stumpel, who spend the majority of the season injured. Eric Belanger returns to the funk that kept him from the NHL before last season Read more »

Penguins Prospects, Strengths and Weaknesses

by Erik Johnson
on


Strengths

1 Very strong group of prospects at forward and defense


Thanks to the trade of Jaromir Jagr and a recent upswing in the Penguins drafts, the team has assembled quite a collection of talent thoughout the organization. The Pens have first line talent in multiple positions, with some positions with having more than one player in that class. Even with the recent graduation of prospects Milan Kraft and Andy Ference, the Pens still had enough talent to be considered by Hockey’s Future as the top organization in terms of talent.


2 Wealth of talent at Center and Left Wing

The real strength of the Penguins prospect list is in it’s depth at both Center and Left Wing. Anchored by 1999 First Round pick, Kris Beech, the Pens’ collection of talent at Center is the top reason for their #1 ranking among all NHL teams. Michal Sivek is a first-rate talent that could be moved to wing because of his versatility. Shane Endicott took large strides last year in his development and showed his potential at training camp this year. Toby Peterson and Ben Eaves are 2 smallish sparkplugs with an eye for the net.

At left wing, the top name is Belorussian Konstantin Koltsov, who play one more season in Russia before making his North American debut. The speedy LW (possibly the fastest skater in the 1999 draft) is making strides to improve his scoring and defensive abilities. RPI forward Matt Murley could be one of the top goalscorers in the college ranks this season. Alexandre Zevahkin struggled early in his first season in the AHL, but pi Read more »

Kamloops Already Getting The Breaks In The Battle of “Special K’s”

by Glen Crichton
on

Kamloops Blazers Already Getting The Breaks In “Special K” Battle

While most pundits agreed that the Western Hockey League’s B.C. division shaped up as a great battle between the “Special K’s”, Kamloops, Kelowna and Kootenay, nobody would have predicted the early season fortunes of two of these teams, the Kelowna Rockets and Kootenay Ice would be so affected by both bad and good luck on behalf of their prospective players.

First the Kootenay Ice. While most agree that the Ice would have been battling for top spot in the division, this is where the good and bad luck come into play. Dan Blackburn, a standout goalkeeper from day one in the WHL goes to the New York Rangers camp and plays well enough to not only earn a contract, but an opening day roster spot behind incumbent Mike Richter as a nineteen year old. While not really a surprise, the Ice certainly were certainly hoping to have the stalwart back in net. Now the Ice will go with two unproven goaltenders, who though hold promise, aren’t the “sure thing” that Blackburn would have provided.

Then the bad luck strikes as nineteen year old offensive sparkplug Jarett Stoll cuts his hand badly while using a knife to separate frozen steaks. The early prognosis is that Stoll will miss eight weeks and the Ice losing his considerable offensive talents for that time.

With a two win and three loss start, the Ice won’t want to give up too much ground to the other “Special K’s” early or it could be a long road back to secure a home ice date in the first round of the playoffs. This could be crucial with Kootenay, Read more »

OHL Player of the Week: Eric Staal

by HF Staff
on

Toronto – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Peterborough Petes
centre Eric Staal is the OHL Player of the Week for the week ending Sunday
September 30, 2001.

Staal scored four goals and three assists for seven points in two games last
week. Staal scored two goals and an assist as the Petes defeated the
visiting Belleville Bulls 4-2 on September 27. The second year forward
followed up with a two goal, two assist effort as the Petes defeated the
Kingston Frontenacs 7-2 on September 28. Staal was named first star in both
games.

Staal, a 16-year-old native of Thunder Bay, was the Petes first round pick
in the 2000 OHL Priority Selection after leading the Thunder Bay Kings to
the 2000 OHL Cup Ontario Bantam Championship. He was named to the 2000-01
First OHL All-Rookie Team.

Eric Staal
Born: Thunder Bay, Ontario, October 29, 1984

Pos: Centre Shoots: Left

Height: 6.01 Weight: 160 lbs.

Peterborough’s 1st round choice, 13th overall, in the 2000 OHL Priority
Selection

Season Club GP G A PTS PIM

1999-00 Thunder Bay Bantam n/a

2000-01 Peterborough Petes 63 19 30 49 23

2001-02 Peterborough Petes 5 4 5 9 2

OHL Totals 68 23 35 58 25

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