Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
The deal that never was: For a while, it certainly seemed as though I’d be writing about a very significant Leafs’ trade this week … while the Maple Leafs treated their fans to a wildly exciting 5-5 tie with Colorado on February 18th, most discussions in the pressbox down at the ACC concerned news that the Lindros trade was finally going to happen … long standing Philly compensation demands (any 2 of Kaberle, Antropov or Markov plus picks) had been met by the Leafs and only the completion of a contract with Eric’s representative remained outstanding … this was accomplished in very short order on the 20th … Quinn and Dryden then presented the trade and the contract to the MLSE Board … when approval was obtained for both, Quinn contacted Bob Clarke in an attempt to arrange a teleconference with the NHL’s Head Office in order to complete the deal … that’s when Clarke insisted that Tomas Kaberle be included in the deal rather than Danny Markov – he insisted that the Flyers were concerned by reports from the team’s medical staff (I didn’t realize that the Flyers had a medical staff) regarding Markov’s injured back … everyone in hockey knows that Pat Quinn considers Kaberle to be a pivotal building block in Toronto’s long-term plan … Quinn immediately reasoned that Philadelphia had never really intended to complete a trade wit Read more»
1) Matt Herr – C, Washington’s 4th choice in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, 2000-2001: NHL – 22 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, 17 PIM, +3; AHL – 32 games, 21 goals, 12 assists, 42 PIM, +3
Herr has always worked hard and steadily improved, but this is his year to shine. In the past, he floated from line to line, and played in every position but goaltender, but now he has settled into his role of center on the first or second line every night with the Pirates, and everything seems to have fallen in place. He has become a lot more physical on the ice, and plays a more defensive game. Right now he’s averaging a point a game, but if he stays with the Pirates another month without a call-up, that will increase and probably dramatically. Although he has always been well liked in Portland, his hard work was always overshadowed by players like Trent Whitfield, who are simply one in a million. Now every one, including Matt himself, is getting a good look at what he can do, and his time in the AHL is limited. Look for more stints with the Caps this season, and some time in the playoffs. Next year, full-time with the Caps is the goal.
2) Martin Hlinka – LW, Signed by Portland as a free agents on November 10, 2000, 2000-2001: AHL – 39 games, 11 goals, 16 assists, 30 PIM, +4
Hlinka is the team’s workhorse, and watching him is a real treat. He has the complete package, though he is not a flashy player. Due to getting a last-minute contract sorted out, injury, and being a healthy scratch for a while, the beginning of the season was Read more»
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»
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»
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»