For some hockey players, the postseason brings out the best in them. John Grahame is one of those guys.
The Providence Bruins, defending American Hockey League Champs, suffered their share of adversity this season and barely squeezed into the playoffs after injuries and call-ups took their toll forcing coach Peter Laviolette to play an AHL-record 70 players throughout the course of the year. But this is where the story gets interesting. Enter Grahame.
He is already the answer to several great trivia questions, but “JG” as he likes to be called, has been keeping the puck out of the net all year whether playing for the moribund Boston Bruins, or the in-over-their-heads P-Bruins of the AHL regular season. John has made no bones about the fact that he would rather play in the NHL than on the farm any day of the week and twice on Sunday. After all, who wouldn’t? But when the ’99-’00 Boston Bruins season ended without a postseason berth for the second time in four years
(at no fault of Grahame’s by the way,) the parent club sent him and a large portion of the cast that brought you the 1999 Calder Cup, back down to Rhode Island’s capital city.
You see, John Grahame is rapidly proving that he is one of those rare athletes who actually thrives when the competition is toughest. Last year, he went 15-4 with a 2.38 GAA and .912 save percentage. He out-performed other netminders who were supposedly much Read more »
In the latest installment of my look into the past, present and future of the Capitals’
prospects, I take on the daunting task of dissecting the defensemen.
Alexei Tezikov – Portland Pirates (AHL)
This was not the season that everyone expected for Alexei after showing so much promise at the
end of last year. He put up good numbers and proved that he can play in the big leagues, but was
blocked at the NHL level by a veteran defense corps. Making things worse was a broken foot that
caused him to miss the playoffs, which could have been a chance to showcase himself. Even though
he is still somewhat inexperienced, he is being counted on to play full time in Washington next
season. The Caps will make room for him as they badly want to establish another young defenseman
GP G A PTS PIM +/-
Portland (AHL) 53 6 9 15 65 12
Washington (NHL) 23 1 1 2 2 -2
Ross Lupaschuk – Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
This has been an eventful season for Ross, as he has moved around a bit. He was invited to try
out for Canada’s National Junior Team, but was a late cut. He started the season playing in
Prince Albert but was traded to Red Deer mid-season in a blockbuster deal, giving him a chance
to be a number one defenseman. He flourished on the Rebels, finishing third in scoring and Read more »
1. Maxime Ouellet:
1999 First rounder was the best goalie in the QMJHL this season and a
standout at the World Junior Championships. The expectations for Ouellet,
while not quite equal to the buzz that has surrounded Roberto Luongo, are
nevertheless quite lofty. Most expect him to be a good- and maybe elite-
NHL starter in the future. The Flyers plan to have him play one more
season at the junior level before promoting him.
2. Antero Niittymäki:
Finnish Elite League rookie of the year had an eye-opening rookie season
for TPS Turku, leading them to the Finnish championship. He had an up and
down World Junior Championship performance, however. Fast glove and quick
reflexes. He’d be the top goaltending prospect in many organizations, but
is stuck behind Boucher and Oullet in the Flyers organization. The Flyers
have said that he is ready for AHL play after just one SM-Liiga season.
3. Mikhail Chernov:
Seemed to take a step backward early in the season. Perhaps he was still
reeling from the tragic boating accident in Kelowna that took the life of
Dmitri Tertyshny. As the season wore on, Chernov bounced back very nicely
and had a strong second half. Can play aggressively but still sometimes
gets mesmerized by the puck. Still a bit turnover prone but improving. Good
all around abilities are starting to become refined. Also has a heavy shot Read more »
Another day, another group of players to be picked apart. This time we will look at the right
wingers in the Capitals organization as we try to determine what the future holds for the Caps.
Matthew Herr – Portland Pirates (AHL)
Matt spent the entire season in Portland after shuffling back and forth between the NHL and AHL
in his rookie year. He had a good offensive year -scoring 22 goals – but more importantly, he
had the time to work on rounding out his game. He will be given the opportunity to win a job in
training camp next year, and should be able to secure a third or fourth line winger spot. Matt
is an RFA this summer, but because of his limited NHL experience, he won’t get many significant
GP G A PTS PIM +/-
Portland (AHL) 77 22 21 43 51 12
AHL PLAYOFFS 4 1 1 2 4 -4
Roman Tvrdon – Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
Roman is quite possibly the biggest surprise of the season among the Capitals’ prospects. He
was a complete unknown on draft day and was assigned to Spokane to start the year. Not only did
he play outstanding two-way hockey, but he won the WHL rookie scoring race. His success is
carrying into the post-season as the Chiefs have made it to the WHL finals. Depending on the
direction the Capitals take in the off-season, Roman could get a chance to compete for a NHL job
in training camp.
Read more »
Expansion Protected List
With the expansion draft quickly approaching the Oilers are going to protect 9 forwards, 5 defenseman and Tommy Salo, which will give a few players in Hamilton a great chance at a permanent roster spot. This is the list most likely to happen due to players age and salaries and to allow space for younger players to showcase their abilities.
1. (C) Doug Weight
2. (C) Todd Marchant
3. (LW) Dan Cleary
4. (LW) Ryan Symth
5. (LW) Ethan Moreau
6. (LW) Boyd Devereaux
7. (RW) Bill Guerin
8. (RW) Mike Grier
9. (RW) Georges Laraque
1. Roman Hamrlik
2. Janni Niinimaa
3. Tom Poti
4. Jason Smith
5. Sean Brown
1. Tommy Salo
Left unprotected are forwards (RW) Alexander Selivanov, (LW) German Read more »
The Mighty Ducks thought this was the year they were gonna become
contenders rather than the standard pretenders. As usual, the team’s high
hopes were dashed by mid-season and the Ducks will have to look to the
future again to become contenders.
The year was full of disappointments. From Maxim Balmochnykh’s
suspension to the firing of Cincinnati coach Moe Mantha, 2000-01 is surely
to be a year of transition for the Mighty Ducks organization. The future
still looks bright as several of their younger players did step up to have
productive seasons but the lights have dimmed. For each player who had a
successful season, another was a disappointment. Just another year in
Jorgen Jonsson – Forward
Grade – Inc.
2000-01 Status – Back to Europe?
Jorgen Jonsson had a productive first year in the NHL only to see it fall
apart once he joined Anaheim. On Long Island, Jonsson was a force, and
often the top player for the lowly Isles. With Anaheim, he was invisible
and struggled to get the ice time he needed so badly. The year is an
incomplete from an Anaheim standpoint although an A is in order for his work
with the Isles.
Next year is where the questions pop up. Jonsson has been considering a
trip back to Europe. The Swedish born Jonsson didn’t enjoy Long Island and
had he stayed there, he proabably would be in Sweden next year for sure. Read more »
Today, I continue my analysis of the Capitals’ prospects with a look at the left wingers. Each
day this week I will bring you my take on the Caps depth chart position-by-position.
Miika Elomo – Portland Pirates (AHL)
Miika finally decided to stay in North America this season after moving back and forth to
Finland the past few years. The new dedication paid off, with a fast start to the season,
leading the AHL in goals for a while and getting the call for his first NHL game. Injuries
bothered him throughout the year and caused him to miss the All-Star Game – which he had been
selected to play in – and the playoffs. Miika made enough progress this season to be considered
for an NHL job next year.
GP G A PTS PIM +/-
Portland (AHL) 59 21 14 35 48 -9
Washington (NHL) 2 0 1 1 2 1
Jeff Toms – Portland Pirates (AHL)
Jeff continued his act of Jekyll & Hyde this season, showing flashes of brilliance, but
disappearing just when you thought he had turned it around. He bounced back and forth between
Portland and Washington, putting up big numbers in the AHL but struggling when called up to D.C.
With the Capitals starting to amass depth at the forward positions, Jeff is slipping further and
further away from a full-time NHL job. He will be a free agent in the off-season, and may get Read more »
Now that the Capitals have made their annual early exit from the playoffs, its time to look
back at the season that was. This week I will go in-depth on the Capitals’ prospects
position-by-position and see how the did this past season and what we can expect from them in
Kris Beech – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
A lot was expected from Kris – the Capitals’ first round pick in last year’s draft – this
season and he did not disappoint. He finished third in team scoring and was selected to play in
the WHL All-Star Game. The same criticisms remain however – he is too skinny and somewhat
injury-prone. That was reinforced during the playoffs when he broke his finger in the first
round, causing him to miss seven games. If the Caps go on a youth movement this off-season, Kris
will be one of the rookies counted on to make the jump to the NHL.
GP G A PTS PIM +/-
Calgary (WHL) 66 32 54 86 99 25
PLAYOFFS 5 3 5 8 16 0
Michal Sivek – Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
Michal was a bit of a wild card when this season began. He was entering his first season of
North American hockey and no one knew how he would hold up. But this year would have to be
considered a success for Michal. He finished tied for third in WHL rookie scoring, and helped
the Czech Republic to a Gold Medal at the WJC. His play is still a bit inconsistent and unless Read more »
The OHL finals are slated to open up Thursday night in Barrie at the Molson Centre as the Plymouth Whalers and the Barrie Colts fight for the right to be called OHL champs and a Memorial Cup berth.
Firstly, here is a look at the schedule for the series:
Game 1 Thurs., May 4 at Barrie 7:30 pm
Game 2 Sun., May 7 at Plymouth 7:00 pm
Game 3 Mon., May 8 at Plymouth 7:30 pm
Game 4 Wed., May 10 at Barrie 7:30 pm
*Game 5 Fri., May 12 at Plymouth 7:30 pm
*Game 6 Sun., May 14 at Barrie 6:00 pm
*Game 7 Tues., May 16 at Plymouth 7:30 pm
Now here is a look at the series breakdown:
Offense: The offense of both teams has been hot and cold at best throughout the playoffs. Just when you think they’re going to break out they hit a slump. With the likes of Sheldon Keefe and Michael Henrich the colts averaged just under 3 goals a game in 18 playoff games. The Whalers meanwhile, boast the likes of rookies Stephen Weiss and Tomas Kurka as well as Justin Williams. The Whalers boast a very potent offense that has looked pretty good throughout the playoffs averaging nearly 4 goals a game. Plymouth has faced some tough goaltending throughout the playoffs as well.
Read more »
St.Louis Blues prospect Tore Vikingstad of Norway scored the game winner midway through the third period on a pass from Trond Magnussen for Norway`s first major victory over Canada in the World Championships 4-3. Goalie Vidar Wold played superb hockey in shutting down the Canadians.
With it’s only remaining game against Japan, it is possible that Norway could capture first place in Group C thus changing face from past World Championships where they were playing to stay in Group A and in recent years in Group B.
Canada opened the first period with four minutes of solid forechecking, forcing the action in the Norwegian zone. Canada almost scored one minute in but was stopped by goalie Vidar Wold.
The game was extremely physical and usually this type of play frustrates the smaller Norwegian side. This time they survived as Canada piled up the penalty minutes. This proved costly in the end result.
Canada’s head coach, Tom Renney, said: “Our lack of discipline got the best of us tonight. We are the youngest team in the tournament and we played like it.”
When the referee wasn’t blowing the whistle, the players on both sides provided scoring chances throughout the match. Norway who scored first at 2:06 of the second, with Sjur Nilsen and Canada’s Ed Jovanovski chasing the puck towards the Canadian goal. Jovanovski bumped Nilsen in front of the net, with a one handed flick he was able to tap the puck past Freddie Braithwaite.
Read more »