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.
Pivotal season for Sundin: 2000 / 2001 will be a very important year for Maple Leafs’ team captain and perennial leading scorer, Mat Sundin … he will surely be determined to prove that he can take the club to greater play-off glory and has never had such a strong supporting cast during his time in Toronto … Sundin will also be playing for his next contract as his existing multi-year pact concludes at the end of this season … for what its worth, both sides have already indicated a strong desire to extend their association for the long haul … an appropriate annual stipend remains the only detail yet to be worked out … don’t be too surprised if the terms on Sundin’s next contract are dictated more by the team’s overall success this season rather than by his own personal accomplishments … although questions concerning Mats’ determination and leadership are constantly being raised by many “experts” covering the team, these same doubts stuck to Steve Yzerman and Mike Modano as well until they eventually became Stanley Cup champions …
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The Detroit Red Wings had their final practice this morning at 10:00
a.m. Steve Duchense suited up for the first time this week and
practiced with the team, although he wont be able to play any games for
2 more weeks.
Chris Chelios who didn’t practice yesterday due to a sore back was back
skating today and said that he was fine for tonight’s game.
An intrasquad scrimmage at 7:00 this evening at the Van Andel Arena in
Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Manny Legace was very relaxed this morning, as were most of the players,
Legace was standing by the boards waiting for his turn in net. He
decided that while he was waiting he’d “practice” throwing his stick
down in disgust. The more people laughed at his actions the more
animated he became. He had to stop though when it was his turn to
really practice, stopping the pucks. But when he let one in all his
“practice” had paid off and he threw his stick up in the air in disgust.
After practice was over management, volunteers, and about half the
players had a group photo on the ice. The other half of the players
were coming but got off the other rink too late.
Ken Wregget stopped and signed autographs as he was going to the locker
room, giving a young boy his stick. The young boy was elated and Ken
Wregget mad a new friend, and fan.
As the players got ready to go there were all the good-bye’s until next Read more »
The Buffalo Sabres 2000 training camp is now a week old, with the team wrapping up their “group hug” road trip in that well-known hockey hotbed, South Carolina. As usual, the annual embargo on training camp news is in place, but there have been some rumblings regarding the play of a couple prospects that are making a push to start the season in Buffalo.
One of those prospects, RW J.P. Dumont, is turning heads with his offensive play. Dumont was acquired in the seemingly one-sided trade with the Blackhawks that also brought Doug Gilmour to Buffalo. Rather than simply being a trade throw-in, however, J.P. has looked like the offensively gifted forward many scouts felt he would become, as he tore up the AHL last season in the late regular season and playoffs. Dumont has continued his strong play in training camp, displaying the nifty moves and quick release needed to become a scorer in the NHL. According to the Buffalo News, Dumont has been used on the LW due to the glut of veteran RWs on Buffalo’s roster, but this move has not affected J.P.’s game so far. Dumont has the coaching staff grinning from ear-to-ear, not just because of his offensive play, but also because he has shown the toughness and desire needed to be an impact player in the NHL.
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Remember this name: Kyle Wanvig. You may be very glad you did. Here’s a few reasons why: 1) at 6′ 2″, 200 lbs, he’s pretty big for a 19 year old. 2) he loves gritty, crash-and-bang hockey, but possesses a good deal of offensive skill. 3) he’ll drop the gloves in defense of himself or a teammate, and, most importantly, 4) he models himself after Cam Neely. ‘Nuff said, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, uncertainty has followed the young right wing’s career thus far. This year may be the deciding one for Wanvig- is he the heir to the great Neely or is he the next Landon Wilson?
A solid, well-balanced, but unspectacular skater, Kyle Wanvig is not a flashy player. In the mold of forwards like Bill Guerin and his childhood hero, Neely, Wanvig drives to the net using brute force. Many of his goals come off rebounds, as he uses his frame to clear the front of opposing nets. He also possesses a rocket of a shot- a trait that, combined with his love of the rough stuff, could make him a Beantown favorite in no time.
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Some of the top players in the CCHA have departed for the professional ranks over the summer, but there are still plenty of players to watch in 2000, including an exciting crop of recruits. Despite the departure of Mike Comrie to the WHL and the loss of seniors like Shawn Horcoff, Brian McCullough, Roger Trudeau and J.P. Vigier, there will be no shortage of talent in the CCHA this season. In this first installment of the CCHA Player Watch, we will focus on several players at the University of Michigan who will be worth following this season.
Among the returning players this season is standout Michigan defenseman Jeff Jillson. Jillson was drafted in the first round by the San Jose Sharks in 1999 and had a chance to leave school and sign with the Sharks this summer, but he chose to stay at Michigan for his junior year. He is 6-3 220 pounds and is perhaps the toughest and most intimidating defenseman in college hockey. But what separates him from other defensemen is his offensive ability. He led all CCHA defensemen in scoring last season and become one of the best two-way blueline prospects in all of hockey. Jillson might be good enough for the NHL already, but the Sharks are currently loaded with young talent on the blueline and there is no need to rush him. Jillson will be the leader of a Wolverine defense that should be much improved over last season, when the team was short on depth after the unexpected departure of Mike Van Ryn to the OHL.
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While there is still no guarantee as to who will be with the Detroit Vipers Come October 6, but all ready the Vipers coaching staff has an idea who will be at training camp as their parent club the Tampa Bay Lightning cut 17 players from their camp.
Familiar faces from last year’s team heading back to the motor city include defencemen Kyle Kos, Mikko Kuparinen, and Mark Thompson, right wingers Dale Rominski, Samuel St. Pierre, and Jan Sulc.
In his first season of professional play, Kos, split his time last season between the Vipers and the Utah Grizzlies playing a total of 66 IHL-games, netting four points (1G-3A) with 101 penalty minutes.
Kuparinen played the majority of last season (28 games) in Finland for the
HIFK Helsinki team during which he posted a pair of assists with 29 penalty minutes. Kuparinen played 9 ganes in the IHL with Detroit and Long Beach.
The four-year University of Michigan star Dale Rominski had a good breakout year playing in his first professional season. In 78 games with Detroit and 3 with the Lightning, Rominski recorded 14 goals and 16 assists while only being assessed 70 penalty minutes.
Samuel St. Pierre will look to get back on the scoring track as he enters his second professional season. In 47 games with Detroit in 1999-2000, the St. Pierre had 15 points (11G-4A) and 25 PIM.
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Yesterday, nine players were sent packing by the blues, these players were junior returnees, european players or released tryouts. These type of players were released based on the fact that they are nowhere close to the NHL level yet and it is better for them to start their respective years off on the right foot.
The Blues had a chance to get a serious look at all 70 players in camp with the exception of Barret Jackman who has yet to play because of finger surgery that he had this summer. Also Todd Reirden and Marc Bergevin will both be out well into the season, meaning that there are two more spots open for defensemen. Jackman is likely returning for one last season with Regina as his junior team will be hosting this year’s Memorial Cup and should also lead the Canadian world junior team.
There are battles for spots at mostly D and the backup goalie position behind Turek. In terms of the goalie position, Johnson and Rolson will battle throughout the preseason for the rights to that position. Stephen Wagner was assigned to Worcester and Reinhard Divis should return to the Swedish Elite league. That leaves Rudkowsky and tryout Curtis Sanford. Rudkowsky will likely play in Worcester again this season and Sanford could sign a contract, as he has been impressive in both the rookie tourney and the camp tourney as well.
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The Kings took on the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday for their first preseason game of the 2000 season. The lineup featured several youngsters. Here is a rundown of their performance.
Kevin Baker- Baker did not receive alot of ice time but showed some promise. Kevin’s stocky build and aggressive play showed when he got his shot on the power play. He drove to the net several times and was not afraide to crash the net. He appeared tough to move and got his stick on a couple rebounds. Baker also did not back down from veteran Brad May, even throwing a nice check on the Phoenix forward. Kevin may be a year away, but I definitely like his game.
Mike Pudlick- Pudlick started out strong. It is amazing watching him skate and pass because he moves like a left handed Rob Blake. His decisions with the puck were sound, although he made some mistakes in the third period. Mike was paired with Rob Blake and didn’t show much in the way of physical play, but he has a shot at the roster this season.
Andreas Lilja- Lilja is definitely big. His size gives him a shot at the roster this season, but other than that he didn’t do much. I thought he was sleepwalking through the first two periods. He had better show more of a physical presence if he wants to make the team.
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In the Florida Panthers intersquad scrimmage at Robert Guertin Arena this evening, Ray Whitney led the Blue Team to a
come-from-behind 6-3 victory. Whitney scored a pair of goals, and rookie Mike Green added a goal and two assists for the winners. After
giving up three goals in the first period, the Blue Team rallied to score the final six goals of the game. Goaltender Sean Gauthier, who played
the second half of the game for the winning squad did not allow a goal. Many of the veterans saw just limited action. Florida will take on Ottawa
in its first pre-season game of the year in Halifax, Nova Scotia tomorrow.
FIRST PERIOD: The Red Team exploded for three goals in a span of 1:14 as Len Barrie set up a pair of goals. Rookie Mike Cirillo
notched a goal and an assist, while Paul Laus and rookie Ryan Jardine each tallied once. Ray Whitney got the Blue Team on the
scoreboard on a pass from Mike Green.
SECOND PERIOD: Green, Paul Brousseau, and Morgan McCormick led the Blue Team, scoring three unanswered second period
goals. Goaltenders Trevor Kidd (16 shots, 13 saves) and Roberto Luongo (18 shots, 15 saves) both left the game at the midway
point. Each netminder allowed three goals.
THIRD PERIOD: Peter Ratchuk and Whitney secured the Blue Team’s victory by scoring third period goals. The Blue Team
outshot the Red Team in the game 33-25. The game ended prematurely when a pane of glass became dislodged with 4:15
remaining in the third period. Read more »
Florida Panthers Vice President and General Manager Bryan
Murray announced several roster moves following a preseason training
camp intersquad game today at Robert Guertin Arena. Three players were
returned to their junior teams for the 2000-01 season, while seven
players were reassigned to Louisville of the American Hockey League.
Rod Sarich, Chris Eade, and Morgan McCormick will return to their junior
teams. Mike Cirillo, Ryan Jardine, Paul Harvey, Eric Godard, Eric
Beaudoin, Mike Green, and Michel Periard will all report to the
Louisville Panthers’ training camp to compete for spots with Florida’s
top affiliate in the AHL.
The Florida Panthers will take on the Ottawa Senators on Friday evening
(6 p.m. EST) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The game will mark the first
preseason contest of the 2000-2001 season for both teams. Alexei Yashin
and Pavel Bure are both expected to play.
I must give many thanks go to the Panther Communications Dept for their full work on this game summary.
As always, feel free to write me with any comments or post on applicable team or general message boards