The WJC’s are just two days away. The tournament is set to start in
Skellefteå and Umeå, Sweden, on Christmas Day. This year there isn’t one
team everyone agrees being the clear favourites to win it all, which makes
for a more interesting tournament. The Swedes should nevertheless go into
the tournament as favourites, closely followed by the Russians, Canadians
and Finns, in that order.
Sweden, knowing that it was high time to make a serious bid to win the
gold this year as hosts, has adopted a new strategy this year to help the
players considered for the JWC squad. The main idea is to make sure that no
player warms the bench all season before going to the JWC’s to have a
significant role. So, in coalition with Elitserien club teams the Swedish Ice
Hockey Federation created a rule which allows the players considered for the
JWC’s to leave their Elitserien team on loan if they are not getting into
the lineup there to play for teams in the Allsvenskan instead, which is the
level of senior hockey competition one notch below Elitserien. A significant
number of the players on Team Sweden are players who have benefited from Read more »
Ten years from now, when we look back at this years World Junior Championships, we
will be amazed how many big stars that were present. Sure, a few of the biggest
names are missing because they have not been released by their NHL-clubs, but
many of the players who will battle for the gold-medal will become big stars in NHL sometime down the road.
This years tournament will be held in Skellefteå and Umeå, Sweden. The first game will be played on December 25th and the final will take place on January 4th. The ten teams are divided into two groups with Canada, USA, Slovakia, Finland and Czech Republic in Group A and Sweden, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Switzerland in Group B. A difference from last years tournament is that the group-winner will not be automatically qualified for the semi-final. This year the winner in Group A will play the fourth-placed team from Group B, the second-placed team in Group A will play the third-placed team from Group B and so on.
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Pavel Brendl continues to impress the New York Rangers at the Junior Level. Brendl was named WHL player of the week after his 4-3-7 in 3 games performance and is currently leading the WHL in scoring with 33-31-64, one pt ahead of teammate Brad Moran(33-30-63).
The upcoming World Junior A Championships begin Christmas Day and several New York Rangers prospects are to be donning their national team jersey. A preliminary listing includes: Pat Aufiero and Dave Inman (TEAM USA), Manny Malhorta and Jamie Lundmark (TEAM CANADA), Johan Asplund (SWEDEN), Arto Laatikainen (FINLAND). Of this group, many eyes will be on TEAM CANADA captain and seldom used New York Rangers center Manny Malhotra (6-3 218). Malhotra fell out of favor in New York with the emergence of Mike York and the resurgence of Alexander Daigle. Malhotra may be packaged to acquire a Keith Primeau or Bill Guerin type player. The World`s will provide him with the opportunity to showcase his talents and possible gain more ice time in New York. But Team Canada struggled early in a training match , falling 7-1 to SWEDEN. The USA fell to RUSSIA 3-1 as well.
The baby Rangers continue to play well in Hartford (16-8-5-1) and one point behind Division Leader Portland. Derek Armstrong (11-20-31), Brad Smyth (17-13-30), Mike Harder (12-11-23) and Ken Gernander (8-13-21) are the leading scorers in Hartford and will represent Canada and Planet USA in the upcoming AHL all-star game. Tomas Kloucek has also been named to the Planet USA Team.
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The year 2000 is quickly approaching. By any definition, a new millennium symbolizes abundant change. What does the future hold? Some predict it will bring the end of the world, while others, more optimistic in outlook, believe 2000 will herald the beginning of a technological golden age, the beginning of a glorious new era. For sports fans it is a chance to fondly reflect on the past, dynasties and heroes alike, and move towards a brighter tomorrow. If the legends of yesterday have been surpassed in terms of skill, imagine the significance and impact of those yet to come. Who will they be?
Michael Jordan will forever be remembered as one of the finest and fiercest competitors in basketball history. The symbol of pure brilliance and centerpiece of 6 NBA crowns, his legend will live on for an eternity. Sadly however, interest in basketball has plummeted since Jordan announced his retirement. Superstar talent still exists, but it is hard to determine who exactly caught the torch.
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Here is a look at a few OHLers who will be eligible for the 2001 draft,
and who should end up being ranked fairly high. Quite frankly this years draft does little
to excite me, but if the WHL, QMJHL, NCAA, and European leagues have players as talented as the OHL for 2001 it will be one heck of a draft.
Jason Spezza-Plays centre for the Mississauga IceDogs and has posted 40 points in 30 games this year. He has just made the National Junior team at the age of 16 (along with Jay Bouwmeester), the only other 16 year olds in Canadian history to do this were Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros. He is not just along for the ride. I expect him to be a key component on the team, and to average a point a game, if not lead the team in scoring.
At the last exhibition game in Kitchener vs the OUAA allstars, the only forwards who could have said that maybe they played better than Spezza were, Mike Riberio and Manny Malhotra, both of whom are on loan from the NHL. Spezza had 2 points and could have had 5 with a bit of luck.
I believe that he is the most talented player that Canada has produced since Paul Kariya. He is a lock to go first overall, barring serious injury.
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When the Boston Bruins signed free agent and former Michigan Tech standout Andre Savage on June 12, 1998, it generated little fanfare in Beantown. After all, the polite and unassuming hockey player had made a name for himself out in the WCHA and anybody who is from the New England area knows that when you talk about collegiate pucks, Hockey East is king. Savage did well in the 1998 Bruins Training Camp and was sent down to Providence where he quickly established himself as one of the AHL’s top rookies. Bruins fans who shrugged when he was originally signed, soon realized that Andre was a keeper and a pleasant surprise to boot.
Andre Savage, a native of Ottawa, Ontario spent four years with the Michigan Tech Huskies where he toiled in relative anonymity, despite the fact that he became only the second player in school history to lead the team in points in three consecutive seasons from 1995-1998. During the ’97-’98 season, Andre earned WCHA 1st All-Star and WCHA All-Academic Team honors. He finished his college career with 52 goals and 143 points in 149 games. When Savage showed up to Bruins Camp later that fall wearing the number 54, many folks said, “Andre who? “It didn’t take long for him to attract attention with his excellent skating ability and very accurate shot.
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The 1999-2000 OHL season has been blessed with many pleasant surprises.
Teams have been playing better than expected and some have played worse.
Looking back at the first half of the OHL season I think that one of those
pleasant surprises has been the play of the rookie players around the OHL.
Teams like the Windsor Spitfires have benefited greatly from the play
of their rookies. The Spitfires for example have a rookie line made up of
Steve Ott, Craig Kennedy and Shawn Mather. All three of them have been
playing great for the Spitfires.
Here is a look at some of the top rookies from around the OHL.
Stephen Weiss of Plymouth–Weiss was the Whalers first round pick in the
1999 OHL draft. He sits in second among OHL rookies in scoring. He has
helped the Whalers plant themselves in third spot in the OHL’s West
Derek Roy of Kitchener–Roy is the OHL’s leading rookie scorer and has also
been playing great hockey. Once he gets some more help around him the
Rangers will be a good hockey club and drafting Roy was a step in the right
Steve Ott, Craig Kennedy & Shawn Mather of Windsor–All three have been
scoring and playing really well. Kennedy and Ott are both among the top
scoring rookies. Windsor is lucky to have these three. If these three stick
with Windsor for a couple more seasons the Spitfires could be a team to beat Read more »
LOS ANGELES KINGS ORGANIZATIONAL ROSTER
“Tough to Play Against.”
As of December 14 1999
Owners: Philip F. Anschutz and Edward P. Roski Jr.
Governor: Bob Sanderman
President/Alternate Governor: Tim Leiweke
Senior Vice President/General Manager: Dave Taylor
Assistant to the General Manager: Kevin Gilmore
Assistant to the General Manager: John Wolf
Director of Player Personnel: Bill O’Flaherty
Director of Professional Scouting: Ace Bailey
Director of Amateur Scouting: Al Murray
Professional Scout: Rob Laird
Amateur Scouts: Serge Aubry, Greg Dreschel and John Stanton
European Scouts: Vaclav Nedomansky and Ari Vuori
TV Commentators: Bob Miller and Jim Fox
Radio Commentators: Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans
Head Coach: Andy Murray
Assistant Coaches: Ray Bennett Mark Hardy Dave Tippett
Video Coordinator: Bill Gurney
Trainer: Peter Demers
Fitness Consultant: Guy Lemasurier
Rehabilitation Trainer Strength/Conditioning Coach: Robert Zolg
Equipment Manager: Peter Millar
Captain: D Rob Blake
Alternates: D Garry Galley and LW Luc Robitaille
Arena: Staples Center
Affiliates Lowell AHL, Long Beach IHL and Mississippi ECHL
Flagship Station: KRLA-AM 111 [Los Angeles]
Radio Network: KBET 1220 AM Santa Clarita, CA, KGEO 1230 AM Bakersfield, CA,
KHJJ 1380 AM Palmdale/Lancaster, CA, KSHP 1400 AM Las Vegas, NV, KTRO 1400 AM Read more »
Jere Karalahti had his first taste of the NHL last Friday against Detroit, and after being returned to Long Beach, it appears that will be it for the time being. With that in mind, here is the lowdown on his debut.
Firstly, Jere is a big, rugged looking defenseman. As I watched his warm-up in his #8 Kings’ road jersey I thought of what he offered that the two players who most recently wore that number (Kristich and Bodger) didn’t- grit, physical play and toughness.
Karalahti’s first game was not all wine and roses. There were several instances where Jere left his zone and seemed to skate in his own game, often leaving Matty Norstrom alone on 2 on 1’s. The good news is that he often left his position to deliver a hit. In fact, he lead the team in hits for the game. On one of his first shifts there was a little mucking after the whistle. Jere was the first player on the scene which was good to see.
As the game pressed on, Jere seemed to time his hits better. The most obvious thing was the Karalahti can handle the puck. Just as fellow rookie Frankie Kaberle, Jere holds the puck a little longer to make sure the right pass is made. Towards the end of the game he did make a some bad decisions with the puck, but for the most part his blend of grit and puckhandling is unique.
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Not even one year ago, many considered goaltending as the one area where the Sharks seriously lacked prospects at. Now, several reports claim that the Sharks have the best depth of goaltending prospects in the NHL. While I believe that is exaggerated, the state of the Sharks goaltending has improved dramatically in the last year with the emergence of Johan Hedberg, Evgeni Nabokov, and Miikka Kiprusoff.
When it was announced that Nabokov would be moved to Cleveland of the IHL, many considered it as a sign they were unhappy with his play. I suggested that this was not the case at all, and that at the time, he remained the number one goalie in the Sharks system. I still contend that I was right then, whether he’s still the number one goalie now though, is in a little more question.
In terms of God given skill, Nabokov has plenty of it, in fact, he may have more than any goalie not in the NHL. That does not necessarily make him the best goalie though. Nabokov is a very athletic goalie, who often looks very much like Ed Belfour in net. He is capable of making any save that comes his way. There is one big difference though, Belfour is very good at knowing when to zig and when to zag, something Nabokov is still working on.
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