The New Jersey Devils opened training camp on September 8th fresh from a summer of Stanley Cup celebrations. Many Devils’ prospects missed out on those celebrations but are pressing to be a part of future ones.
The departure of Claude Lemieux, Vladimir Malakhov and Brad Bombardir ensures there will be some new blood in the New Jersey locker room. Backup goaltender Chris Terreri turns 36 in November and the Devils plan on taking a long look at their goaltending future. In addition, for now a couple of slots remain open due to the contract holdouts of Scott Niedermayer and Jason Arnott.
In goal there is no doubt that the tandem of Martin Brodeur and Terreri will remain in place at least for this season barring any injury. Although none of the team’s other goaltenders appear ready for the NHL, the Devils were impressed with the play of Ari Ahonen, the former number one pick from Finland.
Ahonen at age 19 showed promise in his limited time in camp before returning to Finland. New Jersey is hopeful the young goaltender will return the U.S. later in the season and play some games for Albany of the AHL. The fact that Ahonen appears to be the goaltender of the future does not bode well for Jean-Francois Damphousse and Frederic Henry who will once again split time in Albany.
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Powered by a three-point effort from Daniel Sedin, the Canucks kicked off their exhibition season with a 5-2 win against MoDo.
MoDo started the game showing little respect for their more well-known opponents, and they were rewarded with a powerplay after former MoDo-hero Markus Näslund was called for a high stick. The Canucks did not have much trouble killing off the penalty and were rewarded with a powerplay of their own after a dubious holding-call on Jan-Axel Alavaara.
Vancouver wasted little time on their first powerplay of the game before scoring when Trent Klatt one-timed a shot from close range after a pass from Daniel Sedin.
Daniel Sedin was the main story of the first period. Minutes after being called for kneeing, he sent Vadim Sharifijanov on a breakaway after a turnover on the offensive blue-line. Sharifijanov displayed a sniper’s instinct shooting through MoDo goalie Tobias Lundström´s five-hole.
After a second Canuck powerplay, the Sedin´s created havoc in their former team´s defensive system and Daniel Sedin put the Canucks up 3-0 heading into the second period.
Just like in the first period, MoDo started the period well but it was the Canucks that added to their lead after four minutes. Carrying the puck on a 2-no-1, Todd Bertuzzi made an excellent pass right on the tape of Harold Druken´s stick who put in into the gaping left side of the net.
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Training camp is less than a week old, and there has already been enough turmoil to last an entire season. It is difficult to keep track of all the storylines, and depending on how some of those scenarios play out – the opening day lineup could end up looking very different than the one we anticipate right now.
The most surprising move came after the first practice of camp. Free Agent acquisition Stephane Richer decided he didn’t have it in him to compete in another season, and announced his retirement. He had been brought in from St. Louis to boost our mediocre power play. The move came as a shock to players and fans alike; partly because of the unexpected nature of it, but mostly due to the timing.
Around the same time as the Richer announcement, defenseman Brendan Witt stated that he too was considering retirement. He is unhappy about the contract he received as a result of his arbitration loss during the off-season. Although he seems quite serious about this stance, it is hoped that he will eventually return to the lineup. It is also believed that George McPhee has no interset in renegotiating the pact, and expects Brendan to be in the lineup opening day.
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It was very quiet in the Olympic Arena at Lake Placid, New York on
Friday morning, the first official day of the New York Islanders’
training camp. One skater took the ice then another and so on until the
ice was full of players passing, shooting and getting their ice legs
back in order. I came all the way from Durham, New Hampshire late the
previous evening to see the number one draft pick take the ice to pass
or fail. As the players were filing in so too were the coaches, scouts
and various staff members from the Islanders organization presumably to
see the same player I had come to see. I recognized John Vanbiesbrouck,
Jason Krog and several others but no DiPietro. He was in the second
group so the anticipation had some time to mount. Soon the first group
was finished with their work out and off to the side ice sheet for a
scrimmage. About an hour later the second group began to file in. They
all looked the same, big and focused, distinguished only by different
colored sweaters, except for the goalies. Three or four goalies took
the ice and DiPietro stood out like a sore thumb. Brand spankin’ new
pads, glove, blocker, helmet, everything absolutely pristine. The other
goalies had marked up pads from several games of use. That was the only
difference though, Ricky DiPietro was the consummate professional. He
didn’t look nervous or excited, he just followed instructions,
participated and above all stopped pucks.
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Please keep this in mind:
Butch Goring will not hesitate to bench any player on this team who is not giving every bit of effort at all times when they are playing.
That used to be the definition of Islander hockey when Goring played here under Al Arbour and anyone who does not play that way will not be here very long.
Islanders by the numbers entering training camp:
Played on last years team-*
1. Rick DiPietro
30. Wade Flaherty*
34. John Vanbiesbrouck
35. Stephen Valiquette*
40. Mike D’Alessandro
55. David St. Germain
Comments: It’s Beezer’s job to lose and Di Pietro’s job to win. Di Pietro is a star in the making with fantastic quickness, great recovery, a sharp glove and ability to handle the puck.
Beezer will get the start in the teams preseason opener against Philadelphia and based on early reports in camp, is looking like the number one goaltender and is thrilled with being a mentor for Di Pietro. All the goaltenders have looked solid in camp so far, and St Germain has stood out in scrimmages.
Questions: Beezer is not going to be able to hold up this team on his own, and if Di Pietro does not make the team in some capacity Wade Flaherty or Steven Valiquette have to give this team 25-30 games. One goalie who’s season ended with a shoulder injury and is a journeyman and another who had some standout performances in a late season call up.
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The summer turns to his end and by that time young hockey players often move to Canada or USA for a chance to play in the junior leagues. It’s decision time, especially when you were drafted by a CHL team. In the first part I covered the top five Czech players selected and now there are the next six players. So who is it?
6. Martin Podlesak (CHL:Tri-city, WHL Czech:HC Sparta Praha)
The huge framed winger Martin Podlesak (6’5”, 200 lbs.) should follow the way to the WHL. Regarded as one of the top 1982 born Czech prospects, Martin isn’t elegible until the 2001 draft (born 09-26-1982, one day after Frantisek Lukes coverd in Part 1). He plays for the juniors of a very strong HC Sparta Praha team and there isn’t a sign of Martin coming to the last league champion’s team. Martin has prototypical North American size, that will help him in the WHL a lot. The decision shouldn’t be so hard for him, just get aboard a plane. The WHL will help him develop his hard-nosed playing style and a style of play played at a smaller rink will suit him very good. The sooner he gets used to that, the better for him. He plays in his draft year, so the motivation shouldn’t be a problem. In Tri-city Martin can blossom into a power forward and make a bigger impress on the NHL scouts than a Sparta Praha junior player.
7. Jan Platil (CHL: Barrie, OHL
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With Captain Kirk’s ship on the ground, Jean-Francois Labbe is the leading candidate to at worst start the season as the backup goaltender for the New York Rangers on opening night. Labbe, a veteran AHLer who helped Milan Hnilinka (Signed by Atlanta Thrashers) backstop the baby Rangers to the AHL Championship, is 2-0-1 in the intrasquad srimmages, having allowed only 3 goals in those games. He is currently battling European signees Vitali Yeremeyev(Moscow Dynamo) and Johan Holmqvist (Brynås), as well as North Americans Bryce Wandler and Jason Labarbera, not only for the shot at MSG ice but AHL ice. Rumors have it that if Labbe does not make the parent Rangers he will be sent to Houston of the IHL, even though Houston will receive a Columbus Blue Jackets top minor league goalie to be named later.
No one seems to be more deserving of a true shot than Labbe. With the Wolfpack last season, Labbe posted a 27-13-7 record with a 2.52 goals against average. In his one appearance with the Rangers, in front of a porous defense, Labbe yielded 3 goals in a loss. He has posted 55 wins in two AHL seasons with the Rangers organization and 3 shutouts to take note of. His best season was with Hershey (AHL) when he notched 34 wins and 6 shutouts leading way to a Hershey Championship and his touting as the AHL’s top goalie.
Hopefully, Labbe will get the shot he so deserves and the eyes of the NHL will be given the opportunity to see this minor league veteran guard the pipes.
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Teams B and C filed out onto the ice, the fans cheering when their
favorite NHL stars came out.
Tim Verbeek came out onto the ice and got quite the reception for a
rookie. Must be nice having the same last name as a Detroit star, eh
Sean Avery was back and skating, and showing everyone that he was ready
for the NHL players. Before the scrimmage both teams were warming up on
their respective sides when Avery skated by the blue line getting a
slash in on Chris Chelios on the way by.
Chris Osgood allowed 4 goals in his 30 minute tenure, while Ken Wregget
allowed 2. Darren McCarty got the puck and went to fire it at the net
but Martin Lapointe dropped down and took one for the team. As Lapointe
got up McCarty grabbed the puck that was laying by Lapointe still and
fired it under Lapointe and through Wregget’s five hole.
Dmitri Leonov and Avery got into a bit of a discussion and started a
stare down while starting to go slowly in the circle getting ready to do
the dance. But the refs noticed and blew the whistle for play to stop
and got between them before they went at it. When it appeared the Ref’s
had ruined the show, Mark Rodgers stepped up and made it happen, whaling
Leonov. Rodgers and Leonov had their dance for a few seconds before the
ref’s ended the show, for good this time.
With the first half ending 4-2, Team B, Team C had to get going if they Read more »
The Detroit Red Wings Training Camp opened in Traverse City, Michigan at
9:40 a.m. Saturday. They were split into four different teams, their
rosters are as follows:
82 Adams, BJ
59 Barkman, John
74 Boutin, JF
11 Dandenault, Mathieu
28 Duschesne, Steve
38 Elliot, Jason
62 Gaucher, Ryan
44 Golubovsky, Yan
72 Kopecky, Tomas
57 Nilsson, Magnus
60 Perras, JF
68 Richardson, Bruce
14 Shanahan, Brendan
51 Van Leusen, Aaron
54 Wedderburn, Tim
36 Young, BJ
19 Yzerman, Steve
45 Zinger, Dwayne
52 Ballantyne, Paul
81 Bogas, Chris
77 Brand, Aaron
22 Butsayev, Yuri
24 Chelios, Chris
47 Davis, Ken
48 Deleeuw, Adam
91 Fedorov, Sergei
13 Kozlov, Slava*
20 Lapointe, Martin
58 Leonov, Dmitri
35 Miller, Aren
85 Seyferth, Sean
70 Suursoo, Toivo
43 Verbeek, Tim
27 Ward, Aaron
76 Wiksstrom, John
73 Williams, Jason
31 Wregget, Ken
42 Avery, Sean
78 Barnes, Ryan
63 Borodkin, Anton
65 Davison, Kori
21 Devereaux, Boyd
23 Gill, Todd
96 Holmstrom, Tomas
71 Jinman, Lee
46 Kuk, Dustin
32 Kuznetsov, Maxim
25 McCarty, Darren
75 McNeil, Shawn
55 Murphy, Larry
30 Osgood, Chris
61 Peach, Sean
37 Rodgers, Mark
56 Villeneuve, Marc
50 Villeneuve, Martin
17 Brown, Doug
39 Brule, Steve
53 Chambers, Josh Read more »
In just the first inter-squad scrimmage of the season Johan Witehall netted a pair of goals in a 2-1 win. Witehall who has been so close to making this club for the past two seasons opened up some eyes with his “smarts” and knack for the net. Erstwhile Mark Messier skated on a line with Adam Graves and Theo Fleury in hopes of adding some grit to the Rangers four line unit and resurrecting Theo Fleury from the “Graveyard” called 1999-2000.
Messier commented to the New York Post and Hartford Courant on former “hate target” Petr Nedved. Messier one time “no fan” of the “heart transplant” candidate Petr Nedved, noticed how Petr had matured over the past seasons and played with heart and pain last year. Nedved in 99-00 was on the one unit with countrymen Jan Hlavac and Radek Dvorak that showed excitement last season. Nedved was constantly the target of opposition`s hit and run tactics as were many of the Rangers. Hopefully the addition of Sandy McCarthy and the eventual and needed promotion of Dale Purinton from Hartford of the AHL will provide a line of defense to the backs of the forwards like Nedved and Mike York.
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