| | 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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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.
Side Note: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 »
Despite the Capitals’ mediocre record of 2-6-2 through the past ten games, the rookies have been putting on a show, particularly Richard Zednik. After a few years of being shuttled back and forth between Washington and Portland of the AHL, the young Slovak has earned a regular spot with the Caps alongside fellow rookie Jan Bulis. A sparkplug catalyst, Zednik provides the Caps with a jump start when they’re behind and his refreshing enthusiasm reinstates the meaning of the word ‘game’.The Capitals are know as a gritty club that is strong defensively and high in character. All signs point to Richard Zednik being a prototypical Cap. The left winger reminds some of a bigger(though not much at 5-10, 176) Theo Fleury in the feisty way he scraps and instigates his fair share of penalties. Zednik is small by NHL standards but strong as an ox and extremely well-conditioned. He spends much of his time digging for the puck in the corners and trenches, as well as setting up a screen for loose rebounds in the slot. Richard seems to be made of rubber in that every time he’s checked, he bounces right back up. He also has no qualms in taking on the biggest, baddest boys in the NHL, throwing his smallish frame around much the way Sabres’ Mike Peca does.
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Jeff Zehr, who was selected in the second round with the Islanders third choice 31st overall in the 1997 Entry Draft, is currently in hockey limbo. Zehr’s junior team, Windsor (OHL) has decided to punish him for missing curfew. This punishment has been so severe that Zehr was told he will no longer play for Windsor. In fact, if a trade can not be made between Windsor and another junior team, Zehr will be forced to sit out the entire season. His only other foreseeable option would be a callup by the New York Islanders. Every game that Zehr misses in his stay at junior jockey only hinders his development. It is a situation that should be resolved.
Zehr 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 defenceman because of the selection of such a highly touted power forward. Most scouts feel that he has the talent to play on top lines, but he has to harness his talent. If he is unable to complete that feat, he might only be a third line checking forward.
Why has it taken the Sabres so long to attempt to build a winner thru player development. Buffalo always seemed to have this win now attitude, the problem was they never did ‘win now’. From 1983 to 1993 Buffalo advanced past the first round of the playoff once. Yet year after year Sabres brass committed the same mistakes, trading young talent for seasoned veterans. Much of that young talent ended up developing nicely for other clubs. From 1980 to 1994, Buffalo drafted an amazing 27 defensemen who seriously contributed at the NHL level. However in 1995, only one, yes one, was actually playing for the then blue and gold, Richard Smehlik. The rest had all been given away: John Carney, Kevin Haller, Phil Housley, Calle Johnansson, Joe Reekie, Bill Houlder, the list goes on an on. Now, none of those names are superstars but please, that would have made a nice NHL blue line.
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Several reports from around the NHL say that the New York Islanders have been
shopping former first round selection of the 1996 NHL ENTRY DRAFT (3rd
overall) as trade bait. The 19 year old forward of Val d’ Or in the QMJHL is
playing only so-so after his first 12 games with 18 points. His junior team
has experimented with him by using him as a center due to a lack of centers on
their roster. His stats suggest that he has not made the transition very
well. An interesting side note, Dumont is the only top ten pick from the 1996
draft whom is still unsigned. If not signed by June, he will reenter the 1998
draft. He is asking for similar money to that of what 1996 3rd round
selection Zdeno Chara is receiving. Rumors that are currently circulating
involve Dumont going to the Hurricanes in a package deal for Geoff Sandersson,
whom some hockey writer feel is the best LW in the game. It will certainly be
interesting to see how this thing unfolds. Other hot trade rumors concern the
Vancouver Canucks. “One site out of Vancouver claimed that an area sports
radio station had Canucks GM Pat Quinn on as a guest, and that he confirmed
that he was indeed talking trade with Islanders GM Mike Milbury. When asked to
divulge who was involved, obviously Quinn
declined, but did offer this response “It’s a big deal”. If there’s one team
that is the ultimate match (as trading partners) with the Isles, it’s the Read more »
With the future of the Oilers staying in Edmonton in doubt, the once bright future is looking pretty gloomy. Oiler fans are faced with the thought that the talent pool of fresh, young prospects that they watched mature might come into their own in front of hockey ignorant Houstonians. But they do have at least three more years to watch their beloved Oilers and the incoming Bulldog grads during those years should give fans something to look forward to. The Oilers continued to sport a roster with more young guns than any other team in the NHL, this year suiting up a 4 pack of rookies: Boyd Devereaux, Steve Kelly, Joe Hulbig and Dennis Bonvie. While some might question Sather’s rationale, not to mention sanity when you consider that the team also has quite a few sophomores, they’re earning their jobs after excellent training camps and look to be here to stay.
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