As the Detroit Red Wings’ training camp continues in Traverse City, Michigan, competition for open roster positions is expected to be fierce. With Darren McCarty holding out, Brent Gilchrist on the injured reserve, and Uwe Krupp suspended, the Wings’ have only 20 NHL regulars. Four open positions are up for grabs in order to fill out the NHL regulation 24-man roster.
Up front, twelve Red Wing regulars are expected to begin the season with Detroit. Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan, Slava Kozlov, Martin Lapointe, Tomas Holmstrom, Igor Larionov, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, Doug Brown, Stacy Roest and Joe Kocur have all reported to camp under contract and in good health.
On the blue line, there are only five returning regulars from last seasons brief playoff run. Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Larry Murphy, Mathieu Dandenault and Aaron Ward have all reported to Traverse City and will begin the season in Detroit. Recently signed unrestricted free agent Steve Duchesne rounds out the blue line’s top six.
In the crease, there is little doubt that Chris Osgood will be the starter with Ken Wregget as his backup. The Wings’ are unlikely to carry three goalies, and for that reason Manny Legace is expected to be sent to a minor league franchise to begin the season.
Read more »
New York Rangers camp opened yesterday in Burlington, Vermont. Noticeably less than 100% was top prospect and Rangers projected star of the next
decade Pavel Brendl. Brendl awoke Sunday morning with the same stomach flu
that has bothered him for nearly three days but he decided to lace èm up to
show Rangers Management what he could do….. which was with the flu not
much other than fall down during off ice training and go no where near the
net during on ice drills. Even with the excuse of flu many are a little
more concerned that Brendl may have not locked up that guaranteed roster spot that was handed to him on draft day.
General Manager Neil Smith was quoted at camp saying
“I have to admit that for a moment I thought, ‘Oh, my God, what if he’s not
sick? But the fact is, he is sick and, actually, I was surprised that he
even was out there”. Veteran Adam Graves has been assigned as Brendl`s
roommate, a move that they hope will help motivate him away from the puck
Read more »
One might wonder if the ice was that bad, or if there was that little talent. After
a hard fought match between Florida and Montreal, where the brawn outshone the talent,
the Ottawa Senators prospects took on the Tampa Bay Lightning prospects in what seemed
to be a slip and slide matchup due to a sheet of water covering the ice. These were the
final two games of a four-day tournament which featured two games per day, with
each team playing in one of those daily two games.
In the Panthers’ four games, they deteriorated from giving the impression of being
a fairly strong, experienced and mature team to revealing themslves as an
undisciplined, immature and flat out joke of a squad. Their top player, Novoseltsev
was injured for all games aside from Game 2 versus Montreal in which he notched the
only two Panther goals. The pressure was then placed on Florida’s number one draft
pick, Denis Shvidki, to lead the way offensively for the talent-challenged Panthers.
But after a respectable opening game against the Senators, Shvidki trailed off and
disappeared for the rest of the tournament. Receiving some PK time, and tons of
powerplay time, Shvidki remained unsuccessful and mainly a liability defensively.
Perhaps too much was expected from the supposed feisty young player. It may
be that not only his numbers but his stock was blown out of proportion while Read more »
Talk about a roller coaster ride. This team went from terrible to excellent and then squeaked in a period and a half of decent hockey before the wheels came completely off. They reached a new low in this game against Ottawa. Outplayed, outshot and outscored, they came out in the third period looking extremely tired, then all but gave up with about ten minutes to go. With the score 7-2 and only a few minutes remaining, I can’t recall ever watching a team wanting to playout the clock the way these guys did. They iced the puck at every opportunity, and stayed almost completely out of Ottawa’s zone. I guess you could blame it on exhaustion as the team played with a short bench most of the game. Gordie Dwyer didn’t play due to an injury, Alexander Buturlin left the game mid way through the second with a knee injury and Aaron Asham didn’t play in the third after he had two fights in the second period. Konstantin Sidulov was inserted in the lineup in place of Dan Watson on defense and Sebastien Thinel played for the injured Dwyer. Once again, Jason Lehoux and Olivier Morin did not dress for the game nor did goaltender Dan Murphy. Three games in three days with practices every morning is tough, but I didn’t notice the Ottawa team slowing down.
Read more »
Over the past few seasons there have been a lot of people
questioning what direction Canadian hocky was heading in. With an eighth
place finish at the 1998 World Junior Championships, and fourth at the
Nagano Olympics, many people in hockey crazed Canada were left with reasons
That’s when Canadian hockey decided that something needed to be done to get back on track, so to speak. Canada is still the number one player producer for the NHL as 60%-70% of NHL players call the “Great White North” their home. The problem lays in that
European players are becoming more dominant, and Canada is not producing talented players at a rate comparable to smaller countries like Sweden and the Czech Republic.
To try and figure out how to get back on
top, Canadian Hockey held the Open Ice Summit, the first of its kind, from
August 25-27. Some of the best hockey minds in the country like Toronto Maple Leafs president Ken Dryden, Canadian Hockey Association president Bob Nicholson and Canadian Hockey League president David Branch were in attendance.
Read more »
In what was a hard fought game from start to finish, the Blues youngsters avenged last years loss to the Pred’s with a 2-1 victory. St. Louis went undefeated in the round robin tournament with a strong team effort. All but three players contributed to the scoring, and goaltenders Alex Westlund and Kenrick Exner played solid in goal. The Blues got on the scoreboard first with a goal by James Desmarais at 9:56 of period one. Ladislav Nagy and Barret Jackman assisted on the play. Nashville then tied the score with an early second period goal at 3:49. Jeremy Reich put the Blues on top with his first goal of the tournament at 9:19 of the second period. Dean Stock and Brad Twordik assisted on what stood to be the game winner. The third period was scoreless as the Blues held on for the 2-1 win.
This win, no matter how small it may seem, is a huge step for an organization with a history of not producing prospects. The Blues, having concentrated on building from within, have more depth at the minor pro level than ever before. With each draft year comes a list of capable young players that are groomed for the NHL. Instead of rushing a player through the organization or trading away top picks for quick fix, the Blues have held the hard-line and eventually will be rewarded for that. This victory for the Blues rookies gives us just a glimpse at what will filter down in the coming years. No more big free agent signings, no more headline stealing trades, and no more “sell the farm” tactics. Yes, the Blues prospects are good; very good! Maybe even under rated. Read more »
The Islanders fresh new start has finally arrived as training camp opened in Lake Placid. This camp figures to be especially spirited as many young players look to impress new coach Butch Goring and earn spots. For several Isles prospects this iwill be a make or break season. This is the best and quite possibly last chance for players like Dmitri Nabokov, Vladimir Chebaturkin, Ray Schultz, and Sean Haggerty to win a regular role in the NHL. If some of these older prospects fail to impress don’t expect them to stay in the ISles system much longer. Another floudering prospect continues to be Mike Rupp. Publicly, management has continued to bachk the 9th overall pick but unless he has a break out year he will not be signed and would re-enter the draft. As of now the lumbering winger is not worth the minimum salary for a first round pick which is just under $1 million per season.
Read more »
It was truly hockey’s future this past week in Kitchener as prospects from
the Leafs, Hurricanes, Rangers and Sabres met in a round-robin tournament.
Before the festivities began for this reporter, a blast from the Leafs’
past, Hall-of-Famer, George (The Chief) Armstrong, greeted me as I arrived.
I then knew this was to be a special weekend spent with the Maple Leafs’
past as well as their future.
The Maple Leafs squared off with the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night Read more »
The Utah Grizzlies begin their 5th season in the IHL this up coming season and though the
franchise has been around 6 years (1 year was spent in Denver), there is alot of history
surounding the team. The Grizzlies first year of existence was in Denver, Colorado which is no
stranger to professional hockey. The International Hockey League granted Denver their first IHL
franchise in 1959-60 as the Denver Mavericks, but due to unseen circumstances the Mavericks
ended up moving to Minneapolis to complete the season as the Minneapolis Millers. The NHL moved
into Denver with the Colorado Rockies until moving to New Jersey.
The IHL moved back into Denver as the Colorado Rangers in 1987-88 in which the Rangers lasted
two seasons. In 1987-88 the Rangers finished 5th with a 44-35-3 record for 91 points in 82
games. Todd Elik lead the Rangers in scoring with 44 goals, 56 assists for 100 points and had 81
PIM in 81 games. Also Simon Wheeldon finished the season with 99 points on 45 goals, 54 assists
with 80 PIM in 69 games. Mike Ritcher lead the Rangers goalies posting a 3.14 GAA, with 1
shutout, 68 goals against and 1298 minutes played in 22 games. In the playoffs the Rangers
defeated Kalamazoo 4 games to 3 games, but were outsted by Salt Lake in the quarterfinals 4
games to 2 games. In 1988-89 the Rangers became known as the Denver Rangers instead of the
Colorado Rangers and posted a 33-42-7 record for 73 points in 82 games. In the Playoffs the Read more »
Last night the Brandon Wheat Kings faithful had a good look at the future of the Wheat Kings as Brandon faced off against the Regina Pats in the first pre-season tilt of the year.
This is definitely a whole new year for the Wheaties as many high profile players have graduated to the pro ranks this past year. Gone are Burke Henry, Andrei Lupandin, Ryan Robson, Jason Chimera and Brett McLean. I fully expect Brad Twordik to hang on in the St. Louis organization, so count him out too.
Hold overs, not including the 20 year olds are: Goaltenders, Jomar Cruz and Jamie Hodson (injury list until December). Defensemen, Brett Thurston, Corey Unser and Wade Skolney Fowards, Richard Mueller, Jan Fadrny, Brett Girard, Petr Kudrna, Aaron Goldade, J.D. Kehler, Mike Wirll, Ryan Craig and Randy Ponte.
Twenty year olds is where it is extra interesting for Brandon. Not including Brad Twordik, the Wheat Kings have four high quality 20 year olds. They are Daniel Tetrault, Les Borsheim, Scott McCallum and Alex Argyriou. I count for sure one too many, three if maybe Twordik comes back.
With a plethora of hold-overs coming back and extra 20 year olds, trades are imminent. Who goes? Who stays?
A look at the future might hold the keys to what Brandon does.
Let’s look at the prospects, those not on the roster last year.
Read more »