You can probably call Kelly Miller an alumnus of the North American
Hockey League, even it was only a three month stay.
In December, the former Michigan State star and NHL standout (notably
with the Washington Capitals) received a phone call he did not think
would come for awhile.
He started as coach of the Lansing’s Capital Centre Pride in September,
as a first-time head coach in a brand new job with a sparkling,
promising new franchise-in an area he was very familiar with-Lansing,
Little did he know it when he started out, but he was a wanted man
behind the bench in the professional ranks. Around the same time in
December, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim fired head coach Craig Hartsburg
and replaced him with assistant coach Guy Charron.
Because of his success in the pros and his connections (and
aspirations to move up) Miller had an opportunity that many don’t always
get a shot at and he had some soul-searching to do.
“It really tore at me,” says Miller, now an assistant with Anaheim.
“It was a difficult decision. It was hard to leave the team in
midstream, but I knew they would be in capable hands.”
Indeed they were and have been. Assistant coach Jeff Blum took over
and made what could have been a terrible situation turn into a big
positive for the Lansing club.
The Capital Centre Pride’s Ron Gay, director of hockey operations says
Blum took over right away and got the team rolling. Immediately.
“Not to say Kelly wasn’t a good coach, but we went on a f Read more »
The Bulls finished off the Kingston Frontenacs last night with a 5-3 victory in Kingston. It was a hard fought series with 3 out of 4 games ending close, the only exception being the first game, a 10-2 Bulls win. The other games ended up: 3-2, 6-5 2OT and 5-3 for the sweep in 4 straight games. If all of the favorites win in the first round, it will be Belleville vs. Ottawa in the second round. These are always very entertaining series, but are also nerve racking for fans, players and coaches alike because of the way the series is played. It never seems to matter who has the better team, every game is played on pure emotion rather than skill and talent due to the long standing rivalry between the two cities. Other possible opponents are the Peterborough Petes and the Barrie Colts. The outcomes are not decided as of yet, but we will know in a few short days.
Nate Robinson scored the first goal of the series, which was just the beginning for him as he proceeded to dominate the rest of the way providing the spark for the Bulls in each game. He collected 4 points (1G, 3A) in the first game and played extremely well short-handed. The Bulls were a well-oiled machine in the first game with the top two lines providing the scoring punch and the third line banging and crashing. Banging and crashing might somehow be understating a bit, since the Bulls set a team record with 118 registered hits and Cody McCormick (CSB #93) recording 22 hits himself. It appeared it would be an even game after the first period with the score only 1 Read more »
On the Rangers roster right now, one will find several emerging talents who are all under the age of 25. Wingers Radek Dvorak and Jan Hlavac showed they could net 30 goals ands 60 points at the pro level, and they are only expected to improve. Mike York showed that he could play in situations other then offensively and may just be the most versatile member of the whole team. Tomas Kloucek jumped from AHL rookie team member and all-star to a solid NHL rookie who is logging close to 20 minutes a game and may earn a spot on the NHL’s All Rookie squad. Kim Johnsson battled slumps but improved upon his point totals and defensive play from his freshman campaign, while Dale Purinton made the seemingly impossible jump from the AHL to a semi-regular spot on the Rangers blue line. Mike Mottau learned the pro game and after a successful season in the minors finds himself playing the point with his idol Brian Leetch. Peter Smrek was acquired in a late season deal and looks like he may be a quality defenseman who isn’t always noticed but always gets the job done. Most importantly once forgotten first round pick Manny Malhotra returned to the NHL having learned a new position which lately has been put to excellent use. While not only chipping in with the odd point or so, Manny has added speed, energy and size to a line that appears to possibly stick as the first line next season. At the very least the combination has shown the Rangers brass what Malhotra and Dvorak are capable of with a little development.
Yet with all the developments at the NHL level, progress at the minor, Read more »
HF: How is your relationship with fellow Avalanche draft pick Vaclav Nedorost, and is there a rivalry going with him to see who will become the better player?
RV: I have to say that me and Vaclav are very good friends. We were roommates in Russia at the WJC. We keep in touch a lot during a season over the internet and we are also planning to go on vacation in the summer together. I don’t think there is any rivalry between me and him at all. How I said we are good friends and we hope that we will play for Colorado Avalanche together one day.
HF: What was the best moment when you won the gold medal in the World Junior Championships?
RV: The whole tournament in Russia was a special time for me. Even the training camp in Czech before. We had a lots of fun as a team and I was very happy to be on that team. But the best moment was probably right after the final game against Finland. After the final buzzer we realized that we achieved something what we come for so it was a big relief and lot of happiness. So winning the gold medal for my country was probably the best moment in my hockey career.
HF: How will playing for the best team in the QMJHL prepare you for playing for the Stanley Cup contending Colorado Avalanche?
Read more »