Fredrik Sjostrom, Sweden – Fredrik has not been given a shot to show his talent at the World Junior Championships and his statistics have illustrated just that. Sjostrom has only 2 penalty minutes with no goals or assists in the five games he has played so far. Sjostrom has been limited to fourth line play and 13th forward duties with virtually no time on the power play and penalty kill. Fredrik will only improve and gain experience from being at the Championships when he goes back to the Calgary Hitmen.
5 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, 2 PIM, +2, 6 SOG
Ruslan Zainullan, Russia – Ruslan came over in the Nikolai Khabibulin trade from Tampa Bay and has been put in the same position that Fredrik Sjostrom has been in with Sweden. Ruslan through the quarterfinals does not have a registered shot on goal which is something he will need to address if he is to have success in his professional career. Zainullan has only one assist and 2 penalty minutes in the five games through the quarterfinals of the Championships so far. As with Sjostrom, Zainullan will gain nothing but positive experience from this.
5 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, 2 PIM, -1, 0 SOG
Martin Podelsak, Czech Republic – Martin started off the tournament playing on the 2nd line along side Frantisek Lukes and Miloslav Horava. Martin has really been a disappointment at the Championships. Podelsak hasn’t registered a point in the tournament and has really disappointed the hometown fans in the Czech Republic. Podelsak is a plus one and has four shots on goal. Podelsak had really high expectations going into this tou Read more»
WJC Mid Term Report
So we’ve seen the round robin games and some players have stood out, a few even for good reasons. But what about those drafted by Toronto? To date among the most impressive you’d have to rank Canada’s Brad Boyes. A few months ago, it was the opinion of this column that perhaps Boyes might be tried on the wing to bolster the outside scoring. Seeing him dominate in the faceoff dot as much as he has at this tourney though, it would be interesting to see what he can do against stiffer competition. He certainly has the puck smarts and defensive responsibility to play the middle. While he has so far been the clear cut #1 choice.
However after Boyes, a couple of Bud blueliners check in for a very close battle for 2nd spot in Canada’s Carlo Colaiacovo and Finland’s Markus Seikola. Both are mobile defensemen who can carry the puck up ice, both have hard shots from the point, and both like to hit. Seikola looked to be the slightly heavier hitter and shooter, but Colaiacvovo looked to be a touch more mobile. Call them 2 and 2A.
On the downside, Jay Harrison, has looked very out of place on this squad. He has been beaten to the outside repeatedly, and he has blindly fired the puck anywhere but here numerous times throughout the preliminary rounds. While it’s true, he’s not here to provide offensive fireworks, in light of his defensive play, the absence of a contribution at this end leaves little positive to talk about.
Filip Novak, Defenseman, Czech Republic: Novak, registering 2 assists and an Even +/- rating through the 4 games of the preliminary round, and the Czech Republic squared off against Finland in hopes of continuing their pursuit of a Gold Medal. Finland, coming off a 4-1 beating of Team Canada, finished as the top team in the preliminary round, while the Czech Republic finished an extremely disappointing fourth in Group B with a 1-3-0 record. The game was a close one from start to finish. New Jersey Devils’ prospect Tuomas Pihlman put the Finns on the board first with 1:11 remaining in the opening period. Forward Petr Prucha notched a power play goal to tie the game for the Czechs, 7:48 seconds into the second period. The game remained tied only for about ten minutes when Finnish forward Jarkko Immonen converted a pass from defenseman Joni Pitkanen, considered one of the top 2002 eligible prospects. The game stay that way until Tomi Maki, a 4th rounder by the Calgary Flames in 2001, finished it off with an empty net goal with only nine seconds remaining. The Czech Republic outshot Finland 18 to 15, but the Finns got strong goaltending yet again from Kari Lehtonen, arguably the top goaltender available for 2002, and won the game 3-1. After winning back-to-back Gold Medals, the Czechs disappointed this time around in their own country, and now are out of contention for a medal. The highest they can finish in this tournament now would be 5th. As for Filip Novak, the swift-skating defenseman registered no points in the contest and was a -1. The Czechs face Team USA tomorro Read more»
There is a new set of faces in the mid-west in the form of the players and personnel of the Continental Elite Hockey League, otherwise known as the CEHL.
The CEHL is based out of Fraser, MI, about a six-mile drive from the city limits of Detroit. The teams are located in the Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana areas. The league made its debut this year with six teams, the Tri-City Hurricanes, Toledo Junior Storm, Detroit Lightning, Traverse City Enforcers, Jackson Prowlers and Downriver Bombers. The Downriver Bombers changed their names to the Lumberjacks and the Tri-City Hurricanes changed ownership and became the Bay County Blizzard.
Kevin Shanahan, the league commissioner, has a strong hockey background. Shanahan played hockey through juniors and has spent the last 15 years coaching and managing youth hockey teams.
Barry Soskin, the league president and owner of the Traverse City Enforcers, is the former owner of the Toledo Storm of the ECHL, the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL, and the Pelham Prowlers of the SEHL. Soskin also currently owns a minor league baseball team.
The mission and objective of this league you ask?
Let me share with you some quotes from the CEHL’s mission statement.
“The CEHL’s objective is to provide an excellent opportunity for our players to play hockey while providing a thriving and profitable business opportunity for our owners. “
“The CEHL will be a developmental ground for the 4 Division I NCAA collegiate leagues, as well as the National Hockey League and the numerous minor professional leagues. The Read more»
Josef Melichar VS Michal Rozsival
Both were paired last year at Wilkes-Barre and at the beginning of the season this year. They were actually doing well, but Kehoe tried to shake the things up and has separated them lately.
Overall Offensive Game:
At the very beginning of the season, Rozsival was more confident and was taking more chances then his Czech partner. Melichar was the perfect example of the stay-at-home defensemen. But now, he his getting more confident and showed his offensive assets (He made Scott Stevens looks like a rookie for example). We saw Rozsi jumping on the play more then often and now, Melichar is copying him a few times. But still, Rozsival is pinching really smartly and he creates more scoring chance then his countryman.
Rozsival has also seen some ice time on the powerplay and didn’t do too bad. He is not Nicklas Lidstrom or the quarterback the Pens desperately need on the PP, but he can do his part on a second unit. As for Melichar, why did the coaching staff never gave him a chance on the powerplay? Michal Rozsival also showed more offensive number so far. 3 goals, 8 assists and 43 shots compare to the 0 goal, 3 assists and 30 shots of Melichar. Even in the WHL, Rozsival has more success offensively.
Grade: Rozsival : B, Melichar : C
Overall Defensive Game:
Try to count the mistakes made by Rozsival and/or Melichar. Both played like veteran defensemen. Melichar is rarely caught out of position and play is simple and aggressive game every night. Rozsival on the other hand is doi Read more»