It is hard to believe that the opening of Boston Bruins Training Camp ’99 is less than 10 days away, but the summer has indeed flown by and this year’s annual camp and pre-season promises to be an interesting one for head coach Pat Burns, as the Bruins have added a lot of new faces to their system, to complement the talented nucleus of youngsters that led the Providence Bruins to the AHL’s 1999 Calder Cup Championship. Here is a look at what prospects are in and out, and which players you’ll probably see wearing the spoked B during the season.
Who’s In(New to organization):
Jeff Zehr LW(FA), Nick Boynton D(1-99), Matt Zultek LW(2-99), Mikko Eloranta C/LW(9-99), Joe Hulbig LW(FA), Vratislav Cech D(FA), Sean Pronger C(FA), Kay Whitmore G(FA)
Randy Robitaille(Nashville), Jim Baxter(Carolina), Bob Prier(Ottawa), Paxton Schafer, Matt Alvey, Terry Virtue(Rangers), Chris Taylor(Buffalo)
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With OHL training camps set to open up this week now would be the perfect time to take a closer look at the upcoming OHL season. Let’s start by taking a look at the Western Conference and, more specifically, the West Division.
Go-to-guys: Josef Vasicek had a fairly good rookie season and will likely improve on his totals from last season. Cory Pecker, after missing most of the 1997-98 season with Chron’s Disease, had a breakthrough season last year and will be looked to for more of the same. He will be a key in the Greyhounds success.
Key Departures: Chad Cavanagh scored 40 goals last season despite going into a scoring slump late in the year. Adam Nittel’s 18 goals and 336 penalty minutes will also be missed.
Breaking Through: After scoring just three goals and 10 points in his rookie season Tim Zafiris is starting to realize his offensive potential and could hit the 20 goal mark this season.
Newcomers To Watch: First-round draft pick Trevor Daley will be playing on a very experienced Greyhound blueline, but will get every chance to prove that he can play at the OHL level. Veteran winger Brent Theobald, acquired from the Mississauga IceDogs, will provide the Greyhounds with veteran leadership.
Go-to-guys: Rico Fata will be looked to for offense if he doesn’t crack the Calgary Flames lineup. Jay Legault and Tom Kostopoulos will also be looked to if they are brought back as overage players. Read more »
If you close your eyes, you can almost hear the legendary Foster Hewitt’s call now. The Maple Leafs trail the Detroit Redwings, 3 games to none in the 1942 Stanley Cup finals. Coach Hap Day has juggled the lineup to give the team a spark. With the Leafs down in game 4, Charles Joseph Sylvanus (Syl) Apps scores the game-tying goal, then sets up the game-winner as the Toronto team takes game 4. This “spark” leads his squad down the comeback path. Apps scores 3 goals in the last 4 games of that series making Toronto the only team to erase a 3 games to none deficit and win the Stanley Cup. In Michael Ulmer’s book, Captains, Apps states that the comeback victory to win the Cup that year was his most satisfying moment in hockey.
Wisk your way back to the future to March, 1998. It is the ECAC tournament finals pitting Princeton University against Clarkson College. This hockey match goes into double-overtime. Nerves are on edge. Sylvanus (Syl) Cameron Apps, Princeton’s co-captain, goes in alone on a breakaway against Clarkson’ goaltender, Dan Murphy. Apps puts the puck past Murphy for arguably, the biggest goal in Princeton hockey history. The game-winner gives Princeton its first-ever ECAC title and its first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament.
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Local draftee Jordan Fox aims for a spot on the Battalion blueline
Like most endeavours, playing major junior hockey in your hometown has its advantages and disadvantages.
On the plus side, a player can live at home, possibly attend their regular high school and play their home games in front of an appreciative crowd of family and friends. On the other hand, all the distractions that come with playing in front of all those family and friends can undermine a player’s performance and the benefits of playing and living in another city are not always fully realized.
Brampton native Jordan Fox is looking forward to earning the opportunity to play in front of his hometown supporters. The 17-year-old, 6’1″, 205-pound defenseman was a 12th round draft choice (236th overall) of the Brampton Battalion in June’s OHL Draft. Fox, who spent part of last season patrolling the blueline for the Junior A Brampton Capitals, will be heading next week to the Battalion training camp, which is being held from September 1-5 at the Brampton Centre. Fox is the fourth local player selected by the Battalion. Last year the team picked local products Ryan Leard and Chris Garnham and this year, in addition to Fox, also selected Brampton midget winger Justin Myler in the 14th round.
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The St. Louis Blues have been busy on and off the ice as of late. Some of the news has been gloomy to say the least. By now everyone knows that Tony Twist was involved in a motorcycle accident that has ended his season before it could begin. Hours after being told by GM Larry Pleau that he was not in the Blues plans this year, a car pulled out in front of Tony while he was riding his Harley in a suburb of St. Louis. Among his injuries, ligament damage to his knee will prevent him from playing much, if at all, this season. Blues fans are relieved, however, that his injuries weren’t life threatening. Tony Twist is a prominent figure in the community and is known for his charity work. Even after his accident he followed through on a commitment to attend one of his many charitable events. It has been suggested that the Blues make a compassionate gesture and make Tony an official representative of the St. Louis Blues. Hopefully this negative can be turned into a positive for Blues fans and Twist fans as well.
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Well, in nine days the Devils will start training camp and there will be a few no shows. As usual the holdouts that take place in New Jersey is no surprise, but what is a surprise is that NJ’s top pick this past draft Ari Ahonen will bypass his opportunity to make an impression on the Devils top brass.
Ari Ahonen, chosen 27th overall, will skip this camp and work on becoming the No. 1 goalie in the first-division Finnish Elite League. Although the 6-2, 172-pound Ahonen is highly regarded, he is only 18.
“He won’t be here,” Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said. “He’s going to be a No. 1 goalie at 18. It’s good, but you like to see your young kids brought along slowly.” Ahonen played for Jyvasklya in the Finnish Junior League last season. Lou feels Ari will be a starting goalie in the NHL in the future. With the progress of JF Damphousse developing a lot slower then the Devils hoped, it only made sense to go out and draft another netminder. A lot of heads turned when Lou Lamoriello choose Ahonen, but NJ who has one of the best scouting system in the league was sold on him from the beginning. It’s rumored that when NJ was scouting slick skating defensman Brian Rafalski they found Ahonen also. “I always take into account what Dave says” (Devils head scout David Conte) “And he came to me and told me that Ahonen was very talented and polished even at 17, we could not take a chance on passing him up.” said Lamoriello
David Tanabe, defenseman for the University of Wisconsin Badgers, and their third leading scorer during the 1998-1999 season, has elected to turn pro with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes chose Tanabe in the first round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He was the sixteenth overall pick. The 6’1′ 195 pound nineteen year old, was a true freshman this past season for the Badgers, thus foregoing three years of eligibility. This is the first time the school has lost a true freshman to the pros. Curtis Joseph also left the University of Wisconsin program after only one year.
Tanabe was named to the 1999 WCHA All-rookie team. An excellent skater and passer, he has a hard, accurate shot. The CSB had ranked him twenty-seventh this year. Tanabe will fill the need of an offensive defenseman in the Canes system. It is expected that he will see time with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and the Cincinnati Cyclones of the IHL this season.
The lack of depth in the Los Angeles Kings system is perhaps most visible in their lack of wings in their system. While the Kings finally acquired their long coveted scorer in Ziggy Palffy, it came at a serious cost to their system, particularly on the wings. Josh Green showed some signs of greatness, and was one of former coach Larry Robinson’s favorite players. In the Kings’ home opener last season, Green broke to the net and scored on a rebound, showing signs of the power forward many had hoped he’d become. The bad news was that was the last time he went to the net. Green had potential, but was slow and hesitant, which makes him the next Kevin Stevens, which is not what the Kings needed at wing. The number four pick that also went to New York would likely have been forward Taylor Pyatt. The Kings also passed on signing left wing Matt Zhultek, allowing him to return to the draft where Boston took him. So without those forwards, here is the extent of the Kings young forwards, both at the NHL level and in the pipeline.
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(Written by Bryan Kumiga)
The upcoming season should be very interesting for the Islanders organization. It is well known throughout the hockey community that the Isles posses one of the best assortments of prospects in the league and this season will be a critical one in the development of all this young talent. With training camp nearing there is always high expectations on prospects to make the big club, however it very unlikely that any Islanders elite prospects will make the NHL this year. The team is already the youngest in the league and has a host of unproven forwards who will finally get some quality playing time. Luongo, often regarded as the best player outside the NHL, will also most likely spend his season in the AHL. The player from this year’s draft with the best possibility of making the team would be Branislav Mezei. His is large, mobile, intelligent, plays within himself, and is already well adjusted to North American life. He is still expected to return to juniors while a young defense corps featuring Eric Brewer, Zdeno Chara, Kenny Jonsson, and Vladimir Chebaturkin continue to mature.
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40 chosen players took their first step towards making Canada’s National Junior team between August 3-10, 1999 in North York , Ontario at the Beatrice Ice Gardens. Between Dec 12-17, 1999, 30 players will again meet for the final selection camp. Though other players may be invited to the camp if they show a strong showing during the 1999-2000 regular season. This years World Junior Championships are held in Skelleftea and Umea, Sweden between December 25, 1999 – January 4, 2000.
GROUP A GROUP B
Czech Republic Sweden
TEAM CANADA WORLD JUNIOR EVALUATION CAMP ROSTER
PLAYER POSITION TEAM LGE DRAFT
Cory Campbell Goalie Belleville OHL LA 1999
Mathieu Chouinard Goalie Shawinigan QMJHL OTT 1998
Brian Finley Goalie Barrie OHL NAS 1999
Maxime Ouellet Goalie Quebec QMJHL PHA 1999
Brian Allen Defence Oshawa OHL VAN 1998
Jason Beckett Defence Seattle WHL PHI 1998
Mathieu Biron Defence Shawinigan QMJHL LA 1998
Paul Elliot Defence Medicine Hat WHL EDM 1998
John Erskine Defence London OHL DAL 1998 Read more »