After a disappointing training camp, 20-year-old Craig Millar was sent back down to the AHL to work on his consistency and NHL game. But after the Oilers less than mediocre start, he was called back up for a six-game road trip, as management attempted to fire up the team by mixing up the roster. Smart move by ole Slats. The former Sabres draft pick has finally gotten his chance to shine after years of hard work and bumps in the road.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba native first caught the eyes of scouts as a 16-year-old playing in the WHL for the Swift Current Broncos. Millar was drafted 225th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 1994, causing a future in the NHL to look doubtful. However, Millar was not discouraged and his strong character came into play as he became determined to go on to the next level. Craig put together an All-Star season in ‘95/96 when he was second in scoring for Swift Current at 72-31-46-77-151, remarkable considering that he’s a defenseman. He then moved one step closer to the big time when he was called up to Rochester of the AHL for the ‘96/97 season.
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Today the New York Islanders have decided to promote 4 of their biggest prospects, Jason Holland (d), Steve Webb (rw), Vladamir Orszagh (lw) , and Zdeno Chara (d). They will replace the injured Dennis Vaske, Ken Bellanger, Bryan Berard, and Rich Pilon. Holland and Webb were called up Friday for Saturday’s game against the Panthers. Holland played, Webb was a healthy scratch. After a strong game by Holland, the team demoted him and Webb back to Kentucky (AHL). They played for Kentucky against the Phantoms and then were recalled today along with raw rookies Zdeno Chara also from Kentucky and Vladamir Orszagh from Utah (IHL). Chara will become the leagues tallest player at 6’9″ with an appearance tonight.
Poise, if you look in the dictionary you’ll find a picture of the Barrie Colts captain, Daniel Tkaczuk. Poise is the word scouts use when describing the 18-year-old centre. His poise was one of the reasons that why Calgary choose him 6th overall in the NHL Entry Draft. He was also the first player choosen in the OHL draft three years ago ahead of players such as Joe Thornton, Boyd Devereaux, and Nick Boynton. At 6’0″ and 190lbs, he poses as a dangerous two-way threat who is as composed and confident off the ice as he is on. Tkaczuk has a great offensive ability with 45 goals and 93 points in 62 games last season.
“He has great leadership and character,” said on scout. Barrie coach, Bert Templeton feels that Tkaczuk is his best defensive forward and top penalty killer.
Along with the C, Tkaczuk also wears the number 10. In the his family June 10th is a lucky day. Andy Tkaczuk, his father immigrated to Canada from Poland on that date. In 1979, Tkacuk was born and in 1996 he was drafted. Calgary was looking for an offence. In Tkaczuk they found an outstanding character player who didn’t know the word quit. He was assertive and not afraid to speak his mind. when teammate Alexander Volchkov developed an attitude he publically voiced his opinions and criticisizms.
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Note: I want to open this report by correcting a mistake a made during my
Sabres prospect writeup. I confused two Sabres draft picks. I identified
Martin Menard using Marian Menhart bio line. As you can tell the two have
very similar names and if you look too quickly you can confuse the two, which
I did. Martin is actually 5-8 165lb LW, not a 6-3 220lb D as I identified.
Marian Menhart (Prince Albert) was never offered a contract but he was at
the Sabres training camp as a special invite.
I appoligize for the confusion. The mistake was completely unacceptable.
As of Mid-November 1997, here is my current feeling as to the Sabres top
Note: I still am not ranking the Sabres European based players as I do not
have enough specific information about them. I will wait until after the
World Junior Championships to rank them.
Rank Player size age team (league) Oct. rank
1. Cory Sarich 6-3 182 19 Saskatoon (WHL) 1
2. Maxim Afinogenov 5-11 176 18 Moscow Dynamo (Russia) 2
3. Alexei Tezikov 6-1 198 19 Moncton (QMJHL) 4
4. Martin Biron 6-1 160 20 Rochester (AHL) 6
5. Vaclav Varada 6-0 200 21 Rochester (AHL) 7
6. Darren Van Oene 6-3 207 19 Brandon (WHL) 3
7. J-L. Grand-Pierre 6-3 207 20 Rochester (AHL) 9 Read more »
After a strong showing in last night’s 1-0 loss to the Florida Panthers, the New York Islanders have decided to return Jason Holland and teammate Steve Webb to Kentucky (AHL). The team’s next game is a road game against the Philadelphia Phantoms.
Holland looked like a seasoned veteran on the ice. He took numerous shots. He even had a semi breakaway in which he almost became the hero of the game. Unfortunately for Holland, Florida’s game winner bounce off Holland and was redirected to the stick of Ray Whitney who scored the sole goal of the game.
Holland has been rumored in many trades. Most fans agree that he is one of the logical candidates to be traded as he has a load of talent. Since the team has such an over abundance of young defensemen, somebody will be departing soon bring in offense. J.P. Dumont is also still popping up in trade rumors around the league. Another scenario which would bring Holland back to Long Island is the trading of Dennis Vaske, the most likely defenseman on the roster to be traded. Vaske has also been plenty of rumors. One thing for sure, Holland will be back in the NHL this season.
The latest stats on our draft picks:
QMJHL – Val d’Or
J.P. Dumont (17 GP) 9 goals/11 assists/20 points, 39 penalty minutes
Roberto Luongo (18) 2.82 GAA, 91.2 save percentage, win/loss 4-11-2
Jarrett Smith, Prince George (9) 2/5/7, 2 PIM, -3
Eric Brewer, Prince George (15) 3/16/19, 20 PIM, +8
Robert Schnabel, Red Deer (17) 1/12/13, 39 PIM, +2
Kris Knoblauch, Edmonton (19) 3/6/9, 38 PIM, -4
Mike Muzechka, Portland (19) 1/0/1, 30 PIM, +11
Petr Mika, Ottawa (19) 6/3/9, 10 PIM, +5
Jeff Zehr (9) 3/8/11, 34 PIM, -4
Evgeny Korolev, Peterborough (19) 4/10/14, 31 PIM, -4
Todd Miller, North Bay (19) 5/12/17, 8 PIM, -9
AHL – Kentucky
Sean Haggerty (8) 4/3/7, 10 PIM
Jason Holland (13) 3/4/7, 2 PIM
Tony Tuzzolino (12) 2/4/6, 12 PIM
Warren Luhning (4) 1/0/1, 4 PIM
Zdeno Chara (13) 0/1/1, 39 PIM
Ray Schultz (7) 1/0/1, 25 PIM
Jason Strudwick (12) 0/0/0, 20 PIM
AHL – Rochester
Dane Jackson (5) 3/2/5, 9 PIM
IHL – Utah
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Major Junior Hockey is back in Toronto. With this season’s return of the St. Mike’s Majors to the OHL, St. Michael’s College restores the heritage and the history that goes along with junior hockey in Toronto. The club has done well so far with a 6-10-5 record. They are currenlty 5th in their division.
St. Micheal’s College was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1852. It has since been a institution with a repuations for academic as well as athletic excellence. At the beginnning of this century Father Henry Carr began to make many changes to the Catholic school. His goal was to get the school to be more like the high schools around it and to become more involved with sports. Father Carr believed that athletics halped boys develop into men. He also saw sports as a way to attract publicity.
He formed a league with other private catholic schools and success came quickly. St. Michael’s College, won the league title in 1907. The Majors continued it’s success through the decade winning title after title. This success was noticed by the NHL. Conn Smyth, the man who brought the Toronto Maple Leafs (then known as the Toronto St. Patricks), through the 1920′s began the association with St. Mike’s. In 1928 Joe Primeau was the first St. Michael’s aluminus to go onto the big leagues.
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As the result of a miserable 3-14 start for the Windsor Spitfires (OHL), the Spitfires have fired their head coach. How does this effect Jeff Zehr, who was indefinitely suspended by the team you may ask? The new coach wants to play his best available players which means that Zehr is back in the picture. He was suspended because of disobeying team curfew rules. Interim GM, Dave Pripick on Zehr “perceived character flaws” said, “I had Jeff play for me for two years, and I never had a problem with him.” His first move was to summon Zehr back to the starting lineup. Through 9 games played this season, Zehr has compiled 3 goals, eight assists and 38 penalty minutes.
Jeff Zehr , who was selected in the second round with the Islanders third choice 31st overall in the 1997 Entry Draft, improved at the midpoint of last season just enough for Central Scouting to rank him to go in the middle of the first round. By fortune for the Islanders, this future power forward, who has been compared to Brenden Shanahan, was available early in the second round. Last season he played 57 games, 27 goals, 32 assists, totaling 59 points and 196 penalty minutes. He is a big guy at 6’3″, 195 lbs. Some observers have justified the Islanders decision to select a goaltender and a defenseman because of the selection of such a highly touted power forward. Most scouts feel that he has the talent to become a first line superstar, but he has to harness his talent. If he is unable to complete that feat, he might only be a third line checking forward.
The Islanders have finally decided to give Jason Holland a chance in the
1997-1998 NHL season. He has played with Kentucky (AHL) until his recall.
In 13 games played, Holland has totaled 3 goals, 4 assists, and 2 penalty
minutes. Holland played four games last season with the big club where he
received minimal icetime. Holland scored his first NHL goal on his initial
call up. He was selected to the AHL All Rookie Team last season along with
being named the Thoroughblade’s top rookie by players and coaches.
The Islanders management believed that this offensively gifted defensemen was
not ready to begin the season with the Islanders out of training camp. He
was unable to establish himself during the camp. He was also in competition
with another highly regarded defensemen, Zdeno Chara for a roster spot. The
result was, both men were sent to Kentucky to work on their game’s.
Steve Webb was also recalled from Kentucky to make his season debut. Webb
suffered from an injury during training camp and was unable to make the
Islanders because of his injury. Webb played 41 games last season for the
Isles. He fought some of the best enforcers from around the NHL. He tallied
144 penalty minutes last season. This season with Kentucky, he has 1 goal, 4
assists and 52 penalty minutes this season.
Following is an early-season look at the Top 50 players available for the
1998 NHL Draft. The draft is scheduled for Saturday, June 27, 1998 at
Buffalo’s Marine Midland Arena.
1. Vincent Lecavalier-C-Rimouski-6-3/177–With a blend of speed, quickness,
great puck skills and excellent on-ice vision, Lecavalier is a dynamic
offensive force. While earlier comparisons to Mario Lemieux may be
unwarranted, Lecavalier could be a superstar. He needs to get stronger,
improve his playa way from the puck and raise his intensity level.
2. Manny Malhotra-C-Guelph-6-2/205–A strong two-way pivot who knows how to
create offense. Malhotra is strong on his skates and a fine playmaker who is
willing to battle along the boards. He is also a team leader who thrives
3. Brad Stuart-D-Regina-6-1/200–A solid, steady blueliner, Stuart is a
prototypical defenseman. He has good size and strength, moves the puck out
of danger effectively, and is a smart one-on-one defender. He also has an
excellent shot and recovery speed.
4. Rico Fata-C-London-5-11/200–One of the most talented players in the
draft, Fata remains a bit of a mystery. With all his talent, why hasn’t he
put it all together yet? The physical tools are there, but it’s the
intangibles that has teams concerned. His status as a high-end pick could be Read more »