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.
Catching up: December 16th – the Maple Leafs fall to Calgary in overtime 6-5 … December 19th – defenseman Nathan Dempsey was dispatched to St. John’s despite some very solid play in 8 games with the team … the move was made in order to maintain optimum roster flexibility as waivers would have been required in order to return Dempsey to the Rock following 10 NHL starts … rookie Petr Svoboda is recalled in order to fill Dempsey’s spot and produces decidedly mixed results in the ensuing games … December 20th – the Leafs are stoned by Mike Dunham and fall to Nashville at home 3-1 … December 21st – Boston shuts out Toronto 4-0 and only Tie Domi seems concerned … December 23rd – the Leafs provide their fans with the only gift of the Christmas season with a convincing 5-2 victory over the Habs in Montreal … December 26th – rookie goaler Milan Hnilicka backstops the Thrashers to a 5-3 win over Toronto in Atlanta … December 27th – the Maple Leafs send a belated Christmas gift to NHL headquarters at Mario Lemieux’s homecoming party by neglecting to defend against the superstar in any meaningful way as the Pens embarrass Toronto 5-0 … December 28th – Captain Sundin calls for a shake-up of his struggling (I would have used a much saltier word) team as many thousands of Maple Leafs Read more »
The New York Islanders are supposed to be better then they are
As everybody knows when things don’t go right roster moves are made. It
now Juraj Kolnik’s turn. The former Rimouski Oceanic Star is due to make
NHL Debut against the Atlanta Thrashers on December 29. Kolnik who just
turned 20 on November 13th is a childhood friend of Islanders defensemen
Branislav Mezei. Both grew up in Nitra,Slovakia. Kolnik is hoping to
duplicate the success of former Rimouski grads Vincent Lecavalier and
Richards, both are currently playing with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since
98-99 Kolnik has had 190 points in 109 QMJHL games. He has split time
year with Lowell and Springfield of the American Hockey League. Kolnik
amazing offensive player with great skills. His problem is defense. He
one track mind, offense and nothing else. The Islanders can’t score and they give up too many
Kolnik can help them in any form the Islanders will be thrilled. Yet
alone can’t put them in the playoffs. The Islanders need a lot of help.
General Manager Mike Milbury can get them help in some trades.
The young Czechs opened their schedule at the WJC on Tuesday, December, 26th with
the game against Sweden. The event took place in front of 1500 spectators at the CSKA Arena
in Moscow at 4:30 p.m. (Russian time). The Swedes presented much less hyped squad than last
year when their roster included the likes of Daniel and Henrik Sedin or Henrik Zetterberg, all
of whom are expected to be future NHL stars. But don’t judge the Swedes wrong, their players
have loads of talent and also this year’s team has NHL prospects on the roster, for example
Henrik Lundqvist, NY Rangers goaltending prospect, Lars Jonsson future Boston Bruins rearguard
and a lot of prospects at forward – Jonas Andersson and Daniel Widing (both Nashville), Jari Tolsa
and Per Backer (both Detroit), Jonas Nordqvist of Chicago or Tim Eriksson, a Los Angeles Kings
talent. Two huge talents contains also the Swedish roster, Boston Bruin Martin Samuelsson and a
2001 highly touted prospect Fredrik Sjostrom. So it’s for sure that the Swedes aren’t weak – they
are never weak at the WJC. And this team was the first opponent of the Czechs on their way to
defend the championship title.
As goalie Tomas Duba stated in an interview, the whole team was nervous before the puck dropped.
But after this happened, there was no sign of nervousness. The young Czechs played great defensively
and it was clear that this game won’t be a high-scoring contest. The Czechs were faster, more
aggresive and created some scoring chances. Tomas Duba in the net wasn’t very busy during
the first period. Henrik L Read more »
Just 18 hours after they celebrated the 2:1 win over Sweden, the Czechs were again
in the CSKA Arena in Moscow to play a WJC game. This time it was one of the weaker teams of the Group A,
team of Kazakhstan. The Kazakhs had the confidence down after their 1:9 loss in the opener
against Team USA. So the Czechs had a compulsary win on the schedule. They could score some goals
and mainly take care of themselves, nobody wants to get injured in a game against a weaker team.
Only forward Vadim Sozinov, a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick and an Ottawa 67’s player
is a more known player on this team. But about a half of this team are players born 1982 or younger
and they may have some chance at the NHL draft after they become more experienced. Because
this Kazakh team knows he is not going to win the WJC – they want to gain experience.But there may
be a little problem with the Czech hockey players at the international stage – when they’re going
to face an easy opponent, some of the players don’t give their maximal effort and say to themselves –
this are ONLY Kazakhs, we beat them anyway. So head coach Jaroslav Holik had to ensure that all of
the players are motivated. The teams went on the ice and it looked like he succeeded in this task.
Just after 2 minutes of the game Radim Vrbata stole the puck and went with Ladislav Vlcek on the net
of Kazakhstan. Vrbata passed the puck to Vlcek who deked the Kazakh goalie Kolyuzhny and scored the
first goal. But after three minutes Vadim Sozinov showed why is he a Maple Leafs draft choice and
why is he able t Read more »
The only thing falling faster than the Dow Jones Industrial Average is the attendance level at the Fleet Center; home of the Boston Bruins. Owner Jeremy Jacobs is not pleased that attendance has fallen over 10% since last season, and has submitted his approval for management to make necessary changes to put people back in the seats.
A top on the agenda is the search for a superstar to draw attention. While it’s impossible for Mario Lemieux to trade himself, there has been a rekindled rumor of a possible trade involving the Bruins and the Phoenix Coyotes. Allegedly, the Bruins would receive Massachusetts natives Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk, winger Shane Doan and hold out goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. In exchange, the Coyotes receive center Joe Thornton, winger Sergei Samsonov, goalie Byron Dafoe, and a conditional first round draft pick should Roenick and Tkachuk agree on contract extensions.
The Bruins are fighting for a playoff spot, something they have missed twice in the last four years. It’s evident to the organization that fans are not supporting the team in this rebuilding period, and changes are imminent. The primary focus is to bring in a mix of size, skill, and experience; key ingredients the Bruins are lacking.
“We have some areas of concern,” said Bruins GM Mike O’Connell. “It looks like we need to do something, we‘re looking for help. We have to be more consistent. I don’t know if we have that in our organization.”
This is not the first time Khabibulin and Roenick have been mentioned in trade rumors involving the Bruins thi Read more »
Well, it seems as though the Rangers currently find themselves in the midst of yet another 4 game losing streak this season as they head into Dallas for a game on New Year’s Eve. The Rangers should have won their last 3 games, all losses to Nashville, Carolina and Atlanta. The 2nd year Thrashers destroyed the Rangers last night in every category en route to a 4-1 victory. Mike Richter came back from injured reserve, but he didn’t look any better than what he did a week ago. However, as ironic as it may seem, there is some bright spots currently in Ranger Land and it comes from their prized young prospects, who are currently performing well at the World Junior Championships in Moscow, Russia. Here is some news on how they are doing, and some other transactions that have occured in the last few days.
World Junior Championships
- Jamie Lundmark and team Canada have played 2 games since I last updated. Lundmark scored a goal on a 2-on-1 in Canada’s 2-2 tie with Finland yesterday, and today Lundmark went scoreless in a 3-1 loss to highly touted prospect Ilya Kovalchuk and the mighty Russians. Lundmark currenlty has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) and 2 penalty minutes in 3 games so far. Canada is currently 1-1-1.
Read more »
Henrik and Daniel Sedin started off the season strong for the Canucks, but their play has really tailed off as of late. It has been said that some of the Canucks players are getting mad at the Sedins for missing checks, not picking up their man, etc. Some conditioning time down in the minors couldn’t hurt. Could it?
Harold Druken has been really playing well for the Canucks. He scored a hat trick earlier in the season in a 6-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. I hope the Canucks hold onto Druken as he could develop into a nice 25 goal, 50 point man in the NHL.
It’s about time that Bryan Allen starts turning his play up a notch. He has been nothing but a bust since being the 4th overall pick in the 1998 Entry Draft. Everyone tagged him as the next Chris Pronger/Derian Hatcher type player, but weird injuries have sidelined him a lot since being drafted. He needs to make a statement soon, or he could be headed out the door if Brian Burke decides to pull the trigger on some sort of blockbuster deal, probably moving Todd Bertuzzi.
Rene Vydareny recently signed a contract, and was assigned to Kansas City of the IHL to get some playing time. He is currently playing for his native land for the World Junior Championships, and there has been wispers that when he returns he will get his chance with the Canucks. If he performs well, he might cause Burke to make a deal and move out someone like Jason Strudwick or Bryan Helmer.
Nathan Smith was recently one of the 1st players cut for the World Junior Championship Canadian team. I’m not too impressed with his developme Read more »
The look at Senators prospects and how they are doing this year.
GM G A P +/- PIM
14 12 3 15 3 7
Volchenkov is Ottawa’s only first rounder not playing in the NHL (Daigle being the exception). He will need time to develop, so don’t expect him for another couple years. He is physically strong and solid on his skates. He has made the Russian squad for the World Junior Championships while playing for Krylia Sovetov of the Russian second division. Scouts said he was the best blueliner at a recent 1981-born tournament in Sweden.
Playing for Jokerit of the Finnish elite league, Teemu is getting limited ice time because of his age. He has been selected to play for Finland’s National Junior team for the WJC.
Leads Grand Rapids in scoring (27-19-15-25) and is a major reason for their early success.
Was invited to Canadian National Junior selection camp but was among first cuts. Among the leaders in QMJHL with 63 points in 38 games playing for the Hull Olymiques.
Having a bad year on a bad team sportng a 3.95 GAA to go with a 9-19-1 record.
Right behind Giroux in the scoring department with 62 points in 41 games for the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL.
Jan Bohac: Read more »
World Junior Championships
- Jamie Lundmark had a solid first game for team Canada, notching 2 assists in a 9-0 killing of Belarus. He skated on a line with Dany Heatley, who had 2 goals, and Mike Cammalleri, who was the star of the game as he netted 3 goals. Lundmark also picked up a minor penalty during the game and had 1 shot on goal. The next test for Lundmark and team Canada will be tomorrow against team Finland.
- Pavel Brendl has 1 goal in two games so far for the Czech Republic. His goal came in the second game, a 9-1 win over Kazakhstan, and happened to be shorthanded. Brendl is tied for first in the WJC tournament with Stanislav Chistov, a top 2001 prospect, and Pavel Duma, both whom are playing for Russia, with 1 shorthanded tally. Brendl also has 7 shots on goal, 2 penalty minutes and is a +2 in the 2 games so far. He is being counted on to score a lot of goals during the tournament.
- Sven Helfenstein has picked up where he left off at last year’s WJC, dominating the opposition. Helfenstein has 1 goal in 2 games, while getting 4 shots on goal. He missed a penalty shot against team Russia, which could have given team Switzerland a win instead of a 3-3 tie.
Read more »
When Kirk McLean was pulled after giving up 3 goals on 16 shots, Rangers coach Ron Low gave Vitali Yeremeyev the news that he would be taking over between the pipes.
Yeremeyev was solid in his debut, although he picked up the loss. When he entered the game it was currently 3-1 Carolina, and Yeremeyev made a flurry of saves within the first 30 seconds of action that made him feel more comfortable in the net. He did not have to be flashy, as Carolina’s play slowed down the rest of the game. The Rangers were able to tie the score at 3-3 on goals by Radek Dvorak and Theoren Fleury. But with 4:09 left in the 3rd, the ‘Canes were able to finally get one by the 25 year old goaltender.
You can’t really blame Yeremeyev on the goal. It was one of those across the crease tap-ins that not even the best goalies can make the save. Yeremeyev kept the Rangers in the game from the time he took the ice, and the Rangers did not capitalize on their chances, as Mike York hit the post on an open net and they failed to score on a 3rd period power play. With Mike Richter scheduled to come off injured reserve today, I wonder what will happen to Yeremeyev. I wouldn’t pass on the thought of trading Kirk McLean. He’s a UFA at season’s end and could be worth a mid-round draft pick to a team in need of a backup goalie. Time will tell, as they say..