| | After the World Hockey Challenge tourney the Czech Under-17 team had another tournament
scheduled in mid-February. It took place in the town of Valkeakoski in Finland and the teams
really showed a highly skilled play, leaving no doubts that some of the future NHL players
participated here. Concerning the Czech team those players could be Marian Havel, who played
in three different leagues this season (elite midget, elite junior and Div I), sized winger
Robin Kovar or defenseman Ondrej Nemec, both from HC Slovnaft Vsetin junior team. Martin
Vagner, a defenseman from Pardubice, gained some attention with his smart and also hard play
and we can only guess who from this team will be playing for the Under-18 team next season
and who will be a CHL player.The Czechs took on the home Finns in the opening game. The Finns were led by prospects
Jarkko Immonen and Valteri Filppula and this game was played like a playoff game. Lots of
defense, almost no mistakes and some checking. Tight defenses and both goaltenders shone
in this event. But it was the Czech goalie who was beaten after Viljanen scored the lonely
goal who turned out to be the game winner. It was at the end of the first period and the
Finns were awarded with a two-man advantage. Viljanen made immediately use of it and scored
the game winning goal. A depressive loss, 1-0.The next game on the schedule was against Sweden. Litvinov forward Kamil Kreps scored the
opening goal very soon into the game and proved that he is a serious 2003 prospect.
Kamil, born in late 1984, isn’t very bi Read more »
Between February 9th and February 11th, 2001, there was in Munkfors, Sweden, a tournament of the
Under-18 teams held. The Under-18 WJC will take place in the Finnish cities Lahti and
Heinola in two months and this was the last chance to play against the top European teams.The teams showed the rosters they will use at the WJC with all NHL prospects included, with
the exception of Russia, they left blue chip prospect Ilya Kovalchuk at home, he plays a lot
of games and they don’t want him to be tired coming the WJC. But the Czech team showed the
team that will play in Finland, with all stars. The roster included the likes of captain Jiri
Novotny, who now plays regularly for HC Ceske Budejovice of the Czech Elite league, sized
Martin Kasik of HC Sparta Praha along with his teammate, creative Daniel Volrab, also from
Sparta is 2002 top forward prospect Petr Kanko. Jiri Hudler, a possible 2002 top 10 pick, now
scoring almost a point pro game for HC Havirov Panthers of the Czech Elite league, played in
Sweden, too, along with 2003 forward prospect Milan Michalek. The elite of the Czech hockey
youth was in Sweden, testing and preparing for the WJC. NHL scouts could see the players
together, how they behave in practice or different game situations and the guys had absolutely
no problem with motivation when they play for their future.But so do the young Finns, the team which the Czechs faced first. 2002 top goalie prospect
Kari Lehtonen was resting on the bench and the Finnish coaches have let their backup goalie
Myllyniemi play. The Finns too Read more »
Colorado fans have to be exited with the arrival of Rob Blake, one of the
best defensemen in the world and also promising young center Steve
Reinprecht. Just like in years past, Pierre Lacroix was able to use the
great depth of his organization to pull off another deadline deal. This
time, unlike in years past, it came at a hefty price. Trading Adam Deadmarsh
and Aaron Miller could prove to be costly since they are proven playoff
performers. The Avs fixed one hole, but possibly created another. Even
before the trade Avs fans have bickered that they had no grit up front. No
marquee power forward. Well, besides Deadmarsh, no power forward. Losing
Miller doesn’t hurt as bad since Blake will take his place. Also going to
the Kings was a 1st round pick in 2001, a prospect to be named (Nedorost?, Aulin?), and a conditional draft pick (depending on Blake re-signing). Who actually won the
trade? Steve Reinprecht is a 24-year-old speedy center from the University
of Wisconsin. He finished second in the Hobey Baker award voting in college
and has put up good numbers (29 points in 59 games, +11) as a rookie, so
we’ll say the 1st rounder (probably the last pick in the first round) and
Reinprecht is a wash. That leaves hopefully four months of Rob Blake for
Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, and a prospect to be named. Seems fair for a
defenseman of Blake’s caliber, but it could backfire if just like in years
past if the Avs are out-muscled up front in the playoffs. If you can’t tell,
I was very disappointed to see Deadmarsh included in the deal. Another t Read more »
The day after brawler Jody Sheller was sent back to Syracuse and Mathieu Darche was given his big shot at impressing coach Dave King.
Darche’s first shift at 18:36 of the first period. He took a face-off at the dot above his blueline and lost the draw. The play then moved into his zone and he did not impress defensively.
By the second period Darche was looking more comfortable with his line mates and managed to sustain good pressure against Sean Burke, centering a nice feed to Kevin Dineen. Dineen could not get a shot off but that was not Darche’s fault.
The third period found Darche sniffing around the Phoenix net, but with no results.
Darche impressed enough to warrant another shot the LA Kings, and the Mighty Ducks as the BlueJackets wind down their West Coast Road trip.
The player Darche replaced, Shelley, made more of a physical impression, fighting twice in just eigth seconds of play. Darche could use a more physical approach to the game, muking around in the corners would give him an edge on other players in Syracuse. Darche has the size and the potential it will just take time to see if he can stick with the big club. If not this year then next year he would look very good playing along side David Vyborny.
NEWS & NOTES:
Deron Quint has seen more regular playing time since the beginning of the year. He plays well one night and then makes mistakes the next. Last night cleared a puck right through the center of his zone. Fortunately
for Quint the Coyotes were on a change or he Read more »
It was simply shocking to see Mike Richter laying on the ice in extreme pain after jamming his right leg into the goal post while trying to slide across the crease to make a save on Monday afternoon. This is the second consecutive year that Richter will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL. Last year it was a similar play that tore up his left knee, while this year it’s his right knee. There have only been a couple of cases in the NHL where a player has been able to come back from 2 serious knee injuries, but Richter sounded optimistic to the media after the game on Monday, saying that he knows the routine and he will be ready for camp in September. What makes this injury even worse is it happens at a bad time. The Rangers are in the midst of a 5 game unbeaten streak which leaves them currently only 6 points behind 8th place Boston for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With a goalie spot available on the Rangers roster, they have opted to recall 25 year old Vitali Yeremeyev from Hartford.
Yeremeyev has played solid hockey for the Wolf Pack this season, posting an 11-11-1 record with a 2.53 GAA and a .919 Save%, along with 3 shutouts in 24 games this season. He was selected to play for the PlanetUSA team in the AHL all-star game, surrendering only 1 goal, however that goal turned out to be the game-winner for the Canadian team in the 3rd period. In 2 appearances this season with the Rangers, Yeremeyev has suffered 2 losses. He relieved Kirk McLean in a game earlier in the year in Carolina, giving up only 1 goal on 14 shots during the game, ho Read more »
After a very disappointing season, this summer the Islanders will have to
address many problems that have affected the team throughout the season. A
major question was answered a few weeks ago at a conference when Co-Owner
Charles Wang told Islander fans that Mike Milbury would be the Islanders
General Manager next season. At the same conference Wang stated that plans
have not yet been made on the return of Islanders coach Butch Goring. Wang
also noted that the situation was in Milbury’s hands and the he would make
the decision on the coach’s future. Another problem that the Islanders have faced for the past few seasons is
goal scoring. The Islanders currently have the second lowest amount of goals
scored, only behind the expansion Minnesota Wild. With the free agent market
being one of the strongest in years, there has been much speculation that the
Islanders will make a push at Joe Sakic who, at press time, leads the league
with 80 points. Another player that the Islanders have been said to be
interested in is gritty forward Martin Lapointe. One of the only positives about being a bad team is the fact that you
receive a high draft pick. With the Islanders almost assured to have a top
five pick, there is another chance for the Islanders to draft an impact
player. If the Islanders are lucky enough to draft 1st overall for the
second year in as many years, Mike Milbury has been quoted as saying that he
will take Junior star Jason Spezza. The 6’3 center has had scouts drooling
over his talent f Read more »
While Buffalo’s prospect depth at the center position is somewhat weak, they are slightly more blessed with talent on the right side. While there is only one virtual lock to play in the NHL (Norm Milley), there are at least 2 (and maybe 3) other prospects who, should they play to their potential, will have a shot at making the Buffalo roster in the future.
Buffalo’s top prospect at right wing, Norm Milley, is currently in his first pro campaign as a member of the Rochester Americans. Although Norm has not exhibited the goal-scoring prowess that he displayed in the OHL, he has nonetheless been an effective player for Rochester. Norm is currently 5th in scoring for the Amerks, but, more importantly, his +/- ranking is currently a +2. First-year players often sport minus figures, so this is no small accomplishment for Norm.
Norm has proven to be a versatile player for Rochester, as he has spent time on both the power play and penalty killing units. Milley is an excellent skater, an asset that allows him to be solid on both the forecheck and backcheck. And, while Norm may be smaller in stature, he has nonetheless played with some feistiness. As far as Buffalo is concerned, Norm’s best asset might be his right-handed shot, a trait shared by exactly none of the Sabres’ current group of right wings.
Milley had an impressive training camp, and has progressed enough this year that he could land a spot on Buffalo’s roster next season. Given Buffalo’s Read more »
The end may be in sight for overager Nick Greenough.It was nearly three weeks ago when the Halifax Mooseheads announced the
release of their spirited left-winger. A questionable decision at best but
certainly a chance for the feisty forward to shine elsewhere.Should no other QMJHL team claim the 20-year-old, Greenough will be free to
sign with any OHL or WHL team.
Mooseheads GM Marcel Patenaude avoided comment as to the performance-related
reasons, if any, that may have influenced his decision on Greenough before
putting him on waivers.
“This [was] a difficult decision,” Patenaude said. “Nick has been a valuable
member of the Mooseheads and has always given 100 percent since he arrived
in Halifax last season.”
“It has always been the Mooseheads’ policy to make every effort to allow our
players to continue their hockey careers. We are making this move today to
give Nick every possible chance to complete the season in major junior.”
Greenough stunned the Mooseheads front office this past September when he
touted himself as a glowing asset to the team during training camp. Many
Moosehead fans expected him to fill the hole created by fan-favourite Ryan
Flinn after his release due to a questionable back.
“I’m going to try to step up offensively this year,” said Greenough at the
end of last summer. “If I get the chance in front of the net to bury it, I’m
going to bury it. I also feel, as a 20-year-old, I have to bring leadership
and the stuff that comes along with that, which I know I can do because I
was an assist Read more »