MEANWHILE, DOWN AT THE FARM
The Forgotten Man
Remember this guy? Picked in the 6th round by the Leafs in 1992, he made his debut on ‘The Rock’ last year and proceeded to net himself 50 points in 64 games including 40 assists. It’s kind of hard to take someone like Mikael Hakansson seriously amidst all of the free agent signings, trades, and prospects vying to get some time with the big club. However, the fact of the matter is, the Swede could yet be a pivotal player on Toronto’s side this year. As most know, Jonas Hoglund is on his way out of the organization and when that happens a spot will be open on the roster for a responsible winger who can bring something to the offensive party. Many assume that winger will be Jeff Farkas, but the feeling here is that Farkas needs to rip it up in St. John’s once more before he is ready for the big show. Enter Mikael Hakansson. The 27 year old winger signed with the Leafs expecting to be able to crack the starting line-up at some point last season. But as fate would have it, the decision to come overseas was made late, the forward was out of condition and ended up in the AHL where injuries made his first year in North America somewhat of a wash. This campaign though is a different story. When healthy, Hakansson showed good tenacity and two way play and as his statistics attest more than a little flair for the passing game. If Hoglund does go before Farkas is ready, a smart bettor might put a farthing or two on this ex-Djurgartens product giving Travis Green, Shayne Corson, and Gary Valk a run f Read more »
AHL NEWSThe American Hockey League’s Board of Governors have approved a new Calder Cup playoff format to accommodate the league’s recent expansion to 27 teams.
The new playoff format allows for the top 10 teams in each Conference to qualify for the post-season.
In a significant move to speed up the pace of the game, the AHL has unanimously adopted the faceoff procedures currently employed by the International Ice Hockey Federation.This procedure will see line changes completed, and play resumed within 15 seconds of the previous stoppage of play. The league’s Board of Governors also approved a proposal to move to a fixed playing roster of 17 skaters and two goaltenders for the 2001-02 regular season.The American Hockey League is the top development league for the NHL. Each of the NHL’s 30 clubs will develop their top prospects in the AHL during the 2001-02 season.
During the 2000-01 season, 247 players competed in both the AHL and NHL, while 70% of all players to competed in the NHL last season spent time developing their skills in the AHL.
The American Hockey League will be divided into two (2) Conferences:
WEST Houston Utah Chicago Grand Rapids Milwaukee
CENTRAL Rochester Syracuse Cincinnati Cleveland
SOUTH Philadelphia Hershey Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Norfolk
EAST Albany Hartford Springfield Providence Bridgeport
NORTH Lowell Worcester Portland Manchester Manitoba Read more »
The Penguins have intentionally narrowed thier search for player personnel in an effort to solve two glaring dilemmas. One, to establish some immediate support for Mario and what may prove to be his final attempt at a Stanley Cup. Two, to lay the groundwork for the not-too-distant future as the Pens anticipate a new home.
The first issue is to give the club offensive and defensive options. Last season, when they needed to fill holes at the blueline due to injuries, they turned to Dollas and Kucera. Complete busts. When they needed role players to step in and score they pinned thier hopes on Corbet, Beranek, Primeau, and Laukkanen. No red lights were lit. The team got bigger and nastier with additions like Oliwa and Stevens. But they didn’t get faster and certainly not consistent. When one line opened it up, the others disappeared. Not enough players stepped up to change the outcome of the playoffs. Most critics cited depth. Why didn’t Hilinka utilze his other lines often? He didn’t trust that they would or could contribute, and often he was correct in his assumptions. Take Morozov. Please. Anyone.
Will Hrdina ever shoot enough to hit twenty goals, like so many people claim he has the ability to do? And anyone can tell you, when Slegr left so did what little blueline offense they had. Not that even that was much. Evidently the team needs to create offense on more levels. They need to bring speed and scoring to complement and somehow replace what was lost. They need wings that go into the corners and come out with the puck, that don’t shy away from the crease Read more »
The New York Rangers have announced today that the team has agreed to terms with their 2nd round pick from this past draft (2001) in Russian defenseman Fedor Tyutin. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is believed that Tyutin agreed to a three year entry-level contract.Fedor Tyutin, a 6-3 202 pound defenseman from Russia, was drafted by the Rangers in the 2nd round (40th Overall) of the 2001 Entry Draft. The Rangers scouts are extremely high on Tyutin, as they had him ranked 10th overall on their list heading into the draft and were ecstatic to see him still on the board in the 2nd round. A stay-at-home defenseman with some untapped offensive potential, Tyutin will likely play the 2001/2002 season with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Tyutin was selected by the Storm in the 1st round of the CHL Import draft a few weeks ago. Tyutin will be in camp, but most likely he will report to the Storm before training camp is over with.Since Tyutin was drafted from Europe, the rules barring junior players to play in the AHL before they are at least 20 years old or have completed three junior seasons do not apply to him. Tyutin can play in the AHL this season, but it will be better for his development to play a season in juniors so he can get used to the North American style of hockey, as well as the different culture and also the English language. Tyutin will likely follow the same path that Tomas Kloucek took, as Kloucek came over to North America and played a season in the QMJHL before being an outstanding rookie with the Hartfo Read more »
Thoughts and Recollections on a lost season in LouisvilleWhen the Florida Panthers limped to season’s end decimated by injuries all year round, it truly was an eye-opening realization that no team can compete when 367 man-games are missed and the roster is never set. The season truly affected the level of play in another team too, the AHL Louisville Panthers.With a rotating call-up list, 14 of Louisville’s regulars saw extended time filling in at the NHL level, which included Joey Tetarenko and Brad Ference. Combined with the rotating roster in the AHL, a merciless schedule that saw Louisville play 20 of its first 23 games on the road, and a shaky ownership group, the season closely matched the NHL season as a season to forget.Joey Tetarenko was called up for 29 games and was able to make an impact with his physical play and chipped in 3 goals as well. Brad Ference was aiming for a roster spot after a solid stint in 99-00, but had the misfortune of getting his jaw broken by Steve Smith in a game of shinny. He wasn’t able to rebound quickly enough and only got to see time in 14 games in South Florida, but is aiming for a roster spot for this upcoming season. Kyle Rossiter spent his whole season in Louisville, but his strong solid play and physical presence will make him one of the key components on the future Panther blue-line.These 3 players took the time out of their busy off-season to give Hockey’s Future an update of what they are looking forward to, what they want to improve on, and their Read more »
During each of the last two off-seasons the Canadiens have found themselves without enough experienced NHL players to fill their roster. Fortunately, André Savard has been able to solve this problem. The recent acquisitions of Juneau, Dackell, and Quintal have increased the number of players with tangible NHL-experience to twenty-five; not including goaltenders.This bolds well not only in regards to the team’s depth , but also in terms of intra-roster competition. The increase in the number of experienced players should force those players who find themselves on the bubble to work that much harder. Roster spots will have to be earned, rather than just acquired by default.Of these twenty-five players with NHL experience. Fifteen of them are forwards, and ten are defensemen. Joé Juneau is the most experienced forward (616 games), while Stephane Quintal is the most experienced defenseman (822 games).There is however a lack of balance as far as the forwards are concerned. They now find themselves with five natural centers (Perreault, Koivu, Bulis, Kilger, Darby). Although, three of them also have experience playing left wing. Seven of the remaining ten forwards are natural left wingers (Savage, Rucinsky, Zednik, Poulin, Juneau, Brunet, Odjick), fortunately five of these players have also played right wing. That said, there remains only three players who are natural right wingers (Dackell, Petrov, Asham); two of which are right handed.Confusion aside, the team should adjust well to their new roles. Recent injury-plagued seasons Read more » According to numerous sources, Wade Redden, Eric Brewer, Ed Jovanovski, Alex Tanguay and Ryan Smyth, among others, have been invited to a summer orientation camp, in preparation for the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City. There is a clear indication that Canada is making an attempt to add some speed and youthful enthusiasm to an all-new version of its Olympic hockey squad.It will be a while before the deciding reserves are announced, but so far there is a clearer sense of the attempt to construct a faster, more energetic team. The memories of the failure in Nagano still come to minds of Canadian hockey fans when the world winter Olympics are mentioned. The attempt to assemble a team based on experience, failed miserably. The 1998 squad looked tired and slow, showing little ability of putting the puck in the net. Although the gold medal game did not seem far away, Canada failed to score when it mattered most.The key for Canada, as well as for any other hockey nation participating, will be to build a team based centrally on speed. With the large Olympic ice surface, skating will dominate. The key is not to build a Stanley Cup contender (and the 1998 team seemed to be built according to that idea), but a gold medal contender; two distinct goals which cannot be achieved using the same mind set. Let’s think of some recent Stanley Cup winning teams: Dallas, New Jersey, Colorado. Main players involved being Scott Stevens, Joe Nieuwendyk, Bobby Holik, Ray Bourque to name a few. Recently it has been elementary to note that to succeed in the Read more »
Less than a month after being drafted by the Boston Bruins Jiri Jakes tells Peter Baptista of Hockey’s Future that he was surprised that he fell to the 5th round and would like a contract from Boston after this season.
PB: Were you surprised you slipped to the 5th round after being ranked 43rd among North American Skaters?
JJ: Quite surprised and nervous. I expected about 3rd, maybe 2nd but I was quite surprised but I can live with that.
PB:Had you spoken to the Bruins prior to the draft?
JJ: Not at all. No interview.
PB:Who did you have interviews with?
JJ: About 15, Columbus, Nashville, Chicago, Washington, Rangers. Can’t remember the rest.
PB:What is the biggest adjustment you had to make this year being your first year playing in North America?
JJ: Rink is smaller so have to play faster and be a little bit tougher. Have to move the puck a little bit quicker. Go to net a lot more.
PB:What is the strongest aspect of your game?
JJ: Make a good play. Make some good hits and score some goals
PB:What is the weakest aspect of your game?
JJ: I would think skating. I have to work on my skating.
PB:Will you be attending the Bruins training camp this year?
JJ: Yes I will.
PB:Describe your style. Read more »
The Pittsburgh Penguins will recieve $4.9 Million in cash from Washington in addition to three prospects for Jagr and Kucera.
Konstantin Kolstov, the 1999 18th pick, will decide if he will remain in Russia or accept an invitation to Penguin training camp. His decision will be forthcoming according to his agent.
Brooks Orpick, the 2000 18th pick, will also decide relatively soon if he will complete his senior year at Boston College or accept an offer from the Pens.
Eric Meloche, the 1996 186th pick, has come to terms with Pittsburgh for the 2001-02 season. The 5’11” 195lbs. forward posted 20 goals and 20 assists for Wilkes-Barre last season in 79 contests.
A Knight in Shining Feathers?
Lubos Velebny was selected by the Leafs in the seventh round of the 2000 Entry Draft as a little known blueliner from Slovakia and remained so through last season as the focus of most fans attention turned to Mikael Tellqvist, Brad Boyes, Petr Svoboda and Jeff Farkas. However, one person who didn’t lose sight of the rearguard was the coach of the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks, Scott Koberinski. The reason being of course, was that Velebny came over to North America and spent the season learning the finer points of hockey on this side of the pond under the aforementioned bench boss. Now that he has been nabbed by the London Knights in the CHL’s Import Draft, his progress will be more easily followed by Leaf fans in Southwestern Ontario. That said, in a recent conversation with Koberinski, who compares him to a young Lubomir Sekeras (Minnesota Wild) in style, he described a player that while a work in progress, is further ahead in that progress than most defensemen his age.
Offensively minded, Velebny’s main weapon is a devastating slapshot from the point which he doesn’t hesitate to use, especially on the powerplay. Koberinski goes on to say that had he stayed in the USHL this season “he would have easily been the best powerplay quarterback in the league”. In addition to that his first pass out of the zone is almost always flawless and he has adapted to the rougher game over here faster than one would have expected. However, like all wild young horses, there is a downside and that downside is in his decisio Read more »