The Rangers made a bid for the questionably healthy Pat Lafontaine
yesterday, offering Christian Dube plus a draft pick. Buffalo rejected
the offer, saying “Dube is just too small”.
It looks like Jason Muzatti could well be the backup goalie, leaving Dan
Cloutier and Robb Stauber for Binghamton or elsewhere. Marc Savard
continues to score and get assists, leading the Rangers in pre-season
scoring. He deserves that 2nd line center spot. Sorry, Christian Dube.
There is a litttle rumour that Ulf Samuelsson and Jeff Beukeboom could be
on the block, perhaps to Vancouver for Pavel Bure and Bret Hedican. Eric
Cairns would become a regular on D to fill the void. Vladimir Vorobiev
doesn’t look like he’ll be playing for now. Is he still in Russia with Visa
problems? It’s certainly been a long time.
This summer brought a lot of changes to the New York team who was able to
beat the Eastern Conference leaders, the New Jersey Devils, in the
playoffs. Mark Messier has left a big hole in New York that seems almost
irreplaceable. Mike Keane and Brian Skrudland were brought in to help
Gretzky and Leetch with the leadership and provide good checking. Geoff
Smith has resurfaced in the Big Apple to provide the Rangers with much
needed defensive depth. Glenn Healy was signed away by the Leafs, and Dan
Cloutier figures to be the backup. They decided to trade the underachieving Read more »
All dressed-up and nowhere to play. That’s the problem for all the
candidates for the Leafs’ 2nd line center job. Korolev, Sullivan, McCauley,
Adams, and Deyell were all fighting for the spot at one point. Despite
playing well, Deyell got sent down with defensemen DJ Smith and Daniil
Markov a couple days ago. (Markov was injured with sprained knee ligaments
and will be out for 2 weeks). McCauley and Adams are both playing well, but
could be in St. John’s by the Oct. 1 deadline. They would like McCauley to
get more seasoning in St. John’s. Adams has pro experience from the IHL,
but Sullivan and Korolev have NHL experience. Sullivan has been a little
disappointing, seeing as all his experience and skills should have him as
the clear choice for the job. It just might be Korolev, adding to the 7
other former Winnipeg Jet players/coaches/front-office members. Whoever
comes in 2nd place for the job could wind up centering the 3rd line,
although Sullivan seems too small to be a checking center. The fourth line
seems like it’s going to be centered by Darby Hendickson. Mike Kennedy
would seem valuable as a checker, but his spot isn’t guaranteed especially
if Kypreos returns in a couple weeks and Johnson and Prochazka both make
As for other players looking to make the team… Martin Prochazka has
excited people with his offensive plays, particularly against Detroit where Read more »
Joe Thornton is out for 6-8 weeks after getting slashed by Pittsburgh
forward Stu Barnes last night. At least Boston won the game.
After having seen Thornton and Samsonov in person on Sunday, I can now
assure everybody that Thornton looks like he could cut it after all. Before
the game against Montreal, however, Thornton was said to be disappointing
and lost on the ice — not NHL material. At least we now know he can cut
it. He made several “almost nice” passes — he was making the right passes,
he just couldn’t put it on the tape all the time. In fairness to Joe, the
Bruin forwards he was working with have hands of stone, but if you want to
compare him to Gretzky (who is his idol), Wayne feathers it right onto your
blade so all you have to do is hold your stick out. In the warmups, Joe
looked kinda out of place, being tentative while everyone else was firing
away on the goalie. It seemed like he never got the puck (when the Bruins
were taking turns firing shots on the goalie), and when he finally did, the
whole team would start skating around doing warmup laps, and the goalie
left the net. While skating in the 2 on 1 and 3 on 1 drills, Samsonov
showed lightining quick hands, stickhandling beautifully. In the game,
however, he had trouble handling a nice pass from Thornton. Sergei made up
for it on a 2 on 1 play later. He held the puck while the other Bruin Read more »
Jose Theodore has indeed been sent down to Fredricton, along with Matt
Higgins and Brad Brown. Jason Ward has been returned to his junior club,
the OHL Erie Otters.
Saku Koivu, Mark Recchi, Benoit Brunet, and Sebastien Bordeleau have all
been very impressive this pre-season. I gotta tell you, I love Benoit
Brunet. He leads the team in scoring while being a sparkplug for the
Canadiens every night. He is so good. He doesn’t get top billing like
Koivu, Recchi, or Damphousse, but he’s at least as important as they are to
the team. Kinda like Martin Gelinas in Vancouver, except he’s a little less
blue-collar and grinding. Too bad he always gets injured! (He’s played only
65 games the past two years) Sebastien Bordeleau has been very impressive
this pre-season. He played 28 games last year, scoring 11 points. He was
pretty good last year for a rookie, but this year he has really come into
his own. He really looks like he belongs in the NHL. He could be the 2nd
line center if the Habs didn’t have so many of them. If and when Damphousse
leaves, Bordeleau would fit in nicely on that 2nd line playing with Benoit
Brunet, his current linemate. If Bordeleau gets sent down to the “A”, there
will be outrage here in Montreal because the fans just love him!
As for prospects that don’t have a roster spot locked down… Darcy
Tucker was Mario Tremblay’s pet last year, but Alain Vigneault is behind Read more »
News from Whistler
Ask the players and they will tell you that there is a different
feeling around the Canuck camp this year. Sure, the same old issues are
rearing their ugly heads but this will be one exciting hockey team once
those issues resolve themselves.
Pat Quinn and Pavel
Bure speak it is difficult to sift through the bullshit. These
guys enjoy messing with the media and the media, in turn, enjoys making up
stories when none are offered. The fact is Bure has looked incredible in
camp. He will start the season in Vancouver and Quinn will decide whether
the team will be better off with him or with what they can get for him.
Despite what you may hear, Bure will be happy in Vancouver if Quinn can
work out a reasonable arrangement for payment of the $1.8 million he is
owed from the lockout.
We have not heard much lately about Alexander
Mogilny but word is he is in Malibu and the parties are still
about $1 million apart. Worse case scenario for the Canucks would be a
lengthy holdout. Watch for Quinn to attempt to get him playing before the
season starts. More on this later.
Bret Hedican is not enjoying his Read more »
The Oilers have some good up and coming prospects, so let me get on with it, and show you how each is doing in camp, and there chances of sticking with the Oilers this year:
Kelly looks like he’s earned a spot for sure. He’s been displaying the same great combination of speed, skill, and grittiness that got him into some playoff action last season with the big club.
It looks as though Mike Watt may start the season in Hamilton. He could stick, but will probably be one of the last players to be sent down to the AHL. He could be a call-up this season, however.
Boyd has been improving each day of camp and looks like he may win a spot. Devereaux really bulked up since being drafted 6th overall in the ’96 draft. He is now listed at 6’2″, 200 lbs. Look for him to be battling with Kelly between the 3rd and 4th line center positions.
Descoteax has been suprising a lot of people so far. He has really filled out (6’3, 220 lbs) and is steady both offensively and defensively. Although almost every defenseman can benefit from a season in the AHL first, Descoteaux could make the team right out of junior.
Read more »
Johnson has a strong campRyan Johnson the 36th overall pick in the 1994 draft has bulked up and is now ready to compete in the NHL. After playing with Carolina last year on the checking line, he is ready to step up and take over a role for the Panthers. There is only 1 problem. The Panthers already have a jam at the forward position with 15 veterans. Due to this fact, Johnson may see another year in Carolina. Coach MacLean is very high on the condition and play of this youngster. “Ryan Johnson has had a great training camp,” MacLean said Monday. “It was his first year in pro hockey,” MacLean said. “He had almost 20 goals as
a checking center in the American Hockey League. He’s in phenomenal shape and he has an asset that’s very valuable — tremendous speed.” With all these characteristics, Johnson has a shot at fighting for that 5th C spot. He is still young, and has everything it takes to one day strive in the NHL. He may not make it this year but watch out, Ryan Johnson is a name to remember for next year.
Weekes awaits his turn
Read more »
Keith Tkachuk. Tony Amonte. Scott Lachance. Wouldn’t the Edmonton Oilers love to have the next Boston University stand-out turned NHL star in Daniel LaCouture? Realistically, however, the Oil should be thinking more along the lines of Shawn McEachern, Mike Sullivan and Scott Young, also former Terriers but not as high-profiled as those previously mentioned. Either way, 20 year old LaCouture will have ample opportunities to prove he was worth giving up Polish speedster Mariusz Czerkawski to the Islanders.The Natick, Massachusetts native started his hockey career with the Detroit Junior Whalers, where he was first noticed by scouts. LaCouture joined Team East for the 1995 US Olympic Festival where he gave a stellar performance, impressing the hockey scene with his two goals and dominant presence. Dan saw his stock rise up to the paramount year, 1996, in which he was drafted 29th overall by the New York Islanders at the Entry Draft and then joined the powerhouse BU hockey team as a freshman. The Isles didn’t see the left wing fitting into their system, already laden with young talent, and dealt him to the Oilers for the unhappy Czerkawski. GM Glen Sather obviously saw some value in Dan when he immediately signed him to a multi-year contract.
Read more »
The Edmonton Oilers made history this past summer when they drafted
Swiss standout Michel Riesen. At 14th overall, Riesen is the highest
drafted player ever that was born and trained in Switzerland. He is,
arguably, the best Swiss player in recent hockey history and the Oil
may have gotten the steal of the draft. What sold Edmonton management on Michel was that they couldn’t find
anything about him that they didn’t love. One thing that Riesen has that
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau do not, is versatility, which he
exemplifies exceptionally well. While he is listed as a left wing,
Riesen can easily play any of the three forward positions. Extremely
talented offensively, he has a pure goal scoring ability and superior
hands that he uses around the net. He led all scorers at the recent
European Junior Championship and far outshined every other player there.
Riesen’s all-around game has no glaring flaws, though his defensive
skills could use some work which will come with time. Michel takes the
puck out well, protecting it much in the form of Jaromir Jagr. Also like
Jags, Riesen has incredible balance attributed to stellar strength. He
comes down very strong on the wing and releases a heavy, accurate shot
or a perfect pass across the slot. A unique European player in that he
shoots right coming from the left side. Riesen has the height will need to gain some weight, around 15 pounds, Read more »
The Los Angeles Kings opened camp, at least first stepped foot on the ice, on this past Wednesday, September 10th. About 75 Kings fans were in attendance. Included in that figure was another Hockey 2000 writer, Donna Sarasin. Donna and I had the opportunity to talk to many people from the Kings front office. It amazed me at how open and accessible they were. I want to focus this article in two areas, one my evaluation of what I observed, and, two, a twenty-minute conversation Donna and I had with Al Murray, Director of Scouting.
Read more »