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 »
(Note: Since this article was written, David Tanabe has announced that he will forgo his final three years of NCAA eligibility, and may be joining Kootenay of the WHL next season)
Eight of the Carolina Hurricanes prospects have chosen to remain in college. Four centers, three left wingers, and one defenseman are hitting the books and the ice this year. Here is an overview of future Canes who are going to school.
1. Erik Cole. A third round pick in 1998, this sophomore left winger was Clarkson’s leading scorer. A dominating player, whose physical play makes him excellent along the boards. Erik led the nation in 98-99 with six shorthanded goals. At 6’0″ and 185 pounds, he scored 21 goals and 18 assists during the regular season. His junior year holds a legitimate shot at the Hobey Baker Award.
2. David Tanabe. Carolina’s first round pick in 1999, this Wisconsin freshman was named to the WCHA All-rookie Team. He was the Badgers third leading scorer with 10 goals and 12 assists. An excellent skater and passer, the 6’1″, 195 pound Tanabe could have a bright future filling in Carolina’s need for offensive defensemen.
3. Ryan Murphy. A fourth round pick by the Hurricanes in the 1999 draft netted them Bowling Green’s third leading scorer. Murphy had 9 goals and 22 assists for the Falcons. Five of his goals came on the powerplay. This left wing is 6’1″ and 185 pounds, and could develop into a real scoring threat for the Canes.
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In the 1999 draft, the Sharks made further inroads towards building their defensive unit, which was already one of the envies of the league. By drafting Jeff Jillson with the 14th pick of the draft, the Sharks added a third prospect, all of whom could possibly pass as #1 dmen someday in the NHL. The other two players being Brad Stuart and Scott Hannan.
Jillson was the second defenseman taken in the 1999 draft, in addition to being the first player chosen out of college. The general opinion on Jillson is that he was pretty high on a lot of lists, but the teams that were picking ahead of the Sharks simply had their own players in mind. The fact that the Islanders had so many picks in the top 10, and that Jillson simply did not fit into their plans, probably was a factor in him being chosen as late as he was. A perfect example of how a trade between two teams can effect a third, who’s not even involved in any way, quite drastically.
Playing for the University of Michigan, Jillson earned a spot on the World Junior squad for Team USA and was selected to the CCHA All-Rookie Team. Ever since, his stock has only risen. In the preliminary Central Scouting Bureau rankings, he was ranked 6th among all collegiate hockey players. By mid season, he was ranked 15th among North American skaters. By the time the CSB finished, he was ranked 11th. The Hockey News accurately ranked him to go 14th, but named him as a candidate to crack the top 10 picks.
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