As always there have been many recent development among Islanders’ prospects. The Islanders had seven players representing four countries at the recent World Junior Championship. Mathieu Biron led the way as an assistant captain on the Bronze medal Canadian team. Biron logged almost 30 minutes a game, seeing time in all situations. Mathieu’s all around play was stellar and he was honored as a member of the All-Tournament Team. Fellow Canadian Chris Nielsen was also played a key role. He was extremely versatile, was excellent defensively and scored huge goals including the game tying goal in the bronze medal game that forced a shoot-out. Nielsen was among Canada’s leaders in plus minus at plus 4.
The Isles had three players on the Slovakian team, Juraj Kolnik, Kristian Kudroc, and Branislav Mezei. Kolnik has a quiet tournament until erupting in the final game with two goals and three points to finish second in team scoring. Kolnik and Kudroc led the Slovak squad with plus 4 ratings. Kudroc was a dominant physical force while playing solid in both ends. Mezei scored a rare goal for the Slovaks and was their top defenseman.
Rounding out the Islanders representatives were Swede Bjorn Melin and American Brett Henning. Melin started off strong with three points in his first two games then did not register another point. Henning performed well in a checking role for the US squad, but failed to get on the scoring sheet.
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Finally the flagship Rangers appear to be heading in the right direction
with new blood inserted into the line-up in Radek Dvorak and back to back
wins over the East leading Maple Leafs, the Rangers fall to lowly Carolina
before a sparse crowd of 12,000.
With so much attention being paid to how much the Rangers spending spree has
actually netted, many bright performers have been overlooked. I have added a
little fun by using a “stats pack” projection based on how I think these
players will do per season over the next 8 years or so. I welcome your
opinions and stats pack guesstimate.
Johnsson has been up and down of late but still remains a talented offensive
danger. After a super start he has cooled but with his great skating stride
and offensive flare, Johnsson may just yet develop into a perennial all-star.
FUTURE NHL STATS PACK PROJECTIONS: 76gp 11g 36a 47tp 63pim
York has continued to play well, no matter who his linemates are, this mite
shows the soft hands and great work ethic to stay in the NHL for a long
time. A bit feistier than Neal Broten, but with the same hands and work
ethic. York has cemented his position as number 2 center.
FUTURE NHL STATS PACK PROJECTIONS: 74gp 22g 39a 61tp 54pim
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The Mid Season CSB’s just came out yesterday and we have just received the COMPLETE LIST!!!
Here are just some random thoughts on CSB’s list. Gaborik behind Nedorost?? Not gonna happen come draft day. CSB tends to do things like
this to simply let the world know that when he gets drafted high, that they called it. I noticed this same pattern with quite a few other guys listed as well.
Hamerlik #1 Euro netminder is no surprise, but I think they missed out big time by not ranking Martin Samuelson(#32???), Teemu Laine(#16???) nor Tomas Kopecky(#11???) in their Top 10 for Euro skaters.
They have 8 Russians in there top 10. The draft is still a few months away and
the rankings will no doubt change come the final rankings. Till the final rankings come out, here is a look at the CSB’s midseason rankings….
North American Forwards and Defensemen
Rank Player Name Team Birthdate Ht. Wt. Pos Sh
1 Heatley, Dany U Of Wisconsin 21 Jan 81 6'1 200 LW L
2 Klesla, Rostislav Brampton 21 Mar 82 6'2 198 D L
3 Hartnell, Scott Prince Albert 18 Apr 82 6'2 192 C L
4 Alexeev, Nikita Erie 27 Dec 81 6'5 215 RW L
5 Orpik, Brooks Boston Coll 26 Sep 80 6'2½ 221 D L Read more »
As we approach the halfway mark of the season, here are the highs and lows of the system.
The best story so far is Joe Rullier. He is quickly emerging as the top defensive prospect in the Kings system. He has shown the grit the Kings like at the blue line and has added some solid offense. Rullier was the only Kings’ representative on Canada’s WJC team and has put up solid numbers for Rimouski of the QMJHL.
The most concerning story is Scott Barney. The Kings have been so hush-hush about this that one can only wonder what the problem is. To the best of my knowledge, Barney is still nursing a back injury and is not even skating right now. This is the big centerman the Kings have longed for. An unfavorable diagnosis would make a thin pipeline even thinner.
What to watch out for is firstly, Barney. Will he play this season? Secondly is how Pavel Rosa emerges. He has been decent in Long Beach, but where is the goal scoring? Is he moping in Long Beach or is this what the guy is? The Kings seem like they would have to at least give him a cup of coffee this season, even if it is to show him for trade.
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IHL RECAP FROM THURSDAY JANUARY 6, 2000
Kansas City Blades 2
Orlanado Solar Bears 7
Kansas City Blades lead the IHL with 57 major penalties.
Utah Grizzlies lead the IHL with 9 shorthanded goals which have been scored by 7 different players.
Mike Crowley of the Long Beach Ice Dogs is 2nd among IHL defenceman with 4 goals and 21 assists for 25 points.
THE IHL LOCKEROOM: THROUGH THE EYES OF A PLAYER
For some the dressing room is just another room to get changed into your hockey gear and go out on the ice and play hockey. For the players its more
than just a place to change. “Its kinda like going to the office everday only thing is you wear hockey gear instead of a three piece suit.” said Moose
defenceman Brett Hauer on describing the dressing room. Going to the office and play hockey all day. How many of you can say that? For most
players its a way to relax and get away from everday life. ” I love coming here and just relaxing on the huge couch and watching the tv and talking with
the guys.” said Moose winger Jimmy Roy. For Moose goalie Jason Elliot just coming to the rink everyday is exciting enough. ” I love coming to the
rink everday and playing hockey, hanging out with my teammates, being in the dressing room is like a getaway from everyday life.” All players regard
it as a home away from home. For some players it just holds a special something. Read more »
This week we take a look at Cincinnati’s speedy rookie center, Torrey DiRoberto.
He has spent the last four years playing junior hockey for Seattle in the WHL. Last year Torrey was fourth on the Seattle team in scoring with 25 goals and 42 assists for 67 points to go with 100 penalty minutes. DiRoberto was drafted Buffalo’s 6th choice (128th overall) in the 1998 Entry Draft. On July 1,1999, he was signed as a free agent by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
In Torrey’s first season in the AHL he is already making an impact with the Mighty Ducks. So far this year he is leading the rookies on his team in scoring with 9 goals and 9 assists for a total of 18 points.
When asked to assess Torrey so far this year, head coach, Moe Mantha said, “Torrey’s got some great speed. At this level he can drive a lot of defenseman crazy just because of the speed that he has. It’s a matter for us to teach him how to use it to his advantage. But overall, he’s starting to understand about playing his position a lot better, starting to compete better on the one on ones.”
“It’s a tough adjustment for a kid to come in here and learn to become a pro hockey player. He’s doing it. He’s like a sponge and he wants to learn. So, he’s going to have a bright future ahead of him. The fact that he wants to learn and work hard at his game.”
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In a tourney that answered the question "What would happen if a hockey tournament was held in Skelleftea, Sweden and no one showed up?", the Buffalo Sabres had ample representation amongst several teams taking part in the 2000 World Junior Championships. In total, five Buffalo Sabre prospects- LW Barrett Heisten and D Doug Janik (USA), RW Jaroslav Kristek (Czech Republic), D Matt Kinch (Canada) and LW Milan Bartovic (Slovakia)- took part in this year’s WJC. Unlike last year’s stellar showing by Sabre rookie Maxim Afinogenov, there were no spectacular performances put forth by these prospects, although a couple of the players played solidly enough to merit some mention.
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“He’s our secret weapon. He’s played outstanding. Robert always gives a second effort.
If he does get beat, you know he’s going to the net and he finds a way to get a glove or stick or something on the puck and I think that he is underrated. He’s a big part of why we are where we are today”, Head Coach Roy Sommer
Kentucky’s 23 year old defenseman played his hockey in his hometown, Plzen, in the Czech League and for Beroun, Czech in Division 1. In 1996 Robert played for the Czech World Junior team at the World Jr. Championships in Boston, Massachusetts. Robert recalls, “It was a big challenge. This was the first big tournament for me, and the whole team, to represent our nation and show off our skills to impress the scouts. We won our group and then 8 or 9 players got the flu, including me. We lost the semi finals. It was bad luck.”
Jim Wiley, Director of Hockey Operations for Kentucky, said, “I think that Robert has had some opportunity to mature since his draft year of ’95. The Sharks’ have done a very, very good job in waiting until they felt it was the right time to get him over here. He’s played on top-notch teams in Czechoslovakia, which has given him a lot of years of good hockey experience.”
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Darryl Laplante, 58th overall selection in 1995 by Detroit, posted the NHL’s fastest time in the skating portion of the skills competition. He edged out Red Wing forward Sergei Fedorov (13.670 ) and Carolina’s Sami Kapanen (13.716 ) with a time of 13.597. Laplante was one of the last Red Wings to skate and wowed the crowds by edging out 1994 champion Sergei Fedorov who jokingly claimed a clock error and challenged Laplante to a rematch.
The youngster from Calgary gave credit to his mother who forced him to take figure skating lesson from ages 5-12, something that Laplante was a bit shy about admitting. Laplante also turned in a great showing in the agility competition but was finally edged out by Detroit captain Steve Yzerman who gave the rookie a hug following the closely contested skate through the cones.
Laplante was Detroit’s final cut following training camp this fall and was assigned Cincinnati of the AHL. There, Darryl lead the team in goal scoring and following a plethora Detroit injuries, was recalled by the Red Wings in November.
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Here are the standings for the Western Hockey Leagues West Division just past
the half way point on the schedule.
GP W L T RT GF GA Pts
Spokane Chiefs 37 25 10 2 1 139 101 53
Prince George Cougars 39 18 17 4 4 141 132 44
Seattle Thunderbirds 36 16 16 4 2 125 112 38
Kamloops Blazers 37 17 16 4 0 125 119 38
Kelowna Rockets 39 17 21 1 2 109 114 37
Tri-City Americans 39 14 20 5 1 135 156 34
Portland Winterhawks 39 9 25 5 0 94 147 23
The Spokane Chiefs are a surprise to me and many others to be leading the division with a nine point bulge, however, they are starting to make
believers out of many as they’ve maintained their strong start and continue to make progress and pull away from the pack. A solid trade to pick up
twenty year old offensive defenceman Scott Roles from the Kootenay Ice along with the addition of another overager, sparkplug Brent McDonald who
was picked up after he became a casualty of the twenty year old numbers crunch in Prince George, have added offence and experience to a solid young
nucleus of players. Eighteen year old Tim Smith has led the charge offensively for the Chiefs, amassing 48 points in thirty-six games, thirty four of Read more »