In its policy towards the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, the National Hockey League is doing the same mistake as the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev when he tried to implement “perestroika” and “glasnost” some 15 years ago. Gorbachev thought he would reach his objectives by giving the people a little of everything, a little of communism, a little of capitalism and a little freedom. The result was a bit of a mess.
The debate in North American sports media since the hockey season started shows, when one can read between the lines, that the NHL has the same kind of ambivalent feelings towards what should be the biggest show in hockey history. The league wants to be a big part of the show, but not too much. It wants the Olympics to be perceived as something great, but not too great. At least not to the point where it overshadows the NHL All Star game.
The NHL has paid serious money in order to have its logotype integrated with the Salt Lake 2002 logo. Almost every official NHL publication it boasts the Olympic “Hockey Rules” slogan. But when Slovak, German and Latvian players beg to be released for the preliminary round of the Olympic tournament, instead of telling the team GM:s: “Let them go”, the league commissioner looks the other way.
The NHL loves to poach on Olympic ideals, but when a half-injured player declines All-Star game participation in order to be fully fit for the Olympics, a high ranked NHL-official threatens with a fine.
The NHL’s basic problem stems from the fact that North American team sports are not used to i Read more»
By Mike Buskus
Albany Week in Review #18
Trickle-down effect from Devils?
With the news, reported by Sports Network and AP on Monday afternoon, February 4, 2002, that the New Jersey Devils had agreed to terms with veteran goaltender, John Vanbiesbrouck, to return to the NHL club, the inevitable speculation “down on the farm” in Albany is this: who gets the boot in net?
To date, the Albany River Rats have followed a “rotation” system, in which Ari Ahonen and Scott Clemmensen have alternated starts. Though Ahonen is slightly ahead in statistical measures (2.97 goals-against; .913 save percentage, versus 3.11 GAA and .910 save percentage for Clemmensen), Clemmensen has, in the opinion of this writer, been sharper lately. The Boston College graduate did get pulled several weeks back in a “rematch” of the “Frozen Four” against Karl Goehring (late of North Dakota, now with the Syracuse Crunch). However, it was Clemmensen who weathered blizzards of shots in Hartford, facing 48 shots (with 46 saves) and 45 shots (with 40 saves) on successive Saturdays at the Hartford Veterans’ Memorial Civic Center. This past week, Clemmensen earned “first star” in Rochester with his 38-save effort backstopping a 1-1 tie against the Amerks.
While some teams have experimented with a three goaltender system, usually that is a temporary expedient while an out-placement is sought for one of the three. With J.F. Damphousse thus destined to be shipped out of East Rutherford, New Jersey, as soon as the “Beezer” is in game shape, the questi Read more»
Lowell remains in first in the AHL’s North Division with 63 points, 3 ahead of Manchester. The Lock Monsters pulled off an impressive 4-3 win over the Monarchs yesterday, then beat Providence 3-1 today while Manchester lost 5-0 to Portland.
Florida is in 5th place in the ECHL’s competitive Southeast Division with 54 points, 7 points behind Greenville.
Updates for all of the Hurricanes’ prospects are provided in the tables below. The statistics are for the games played since the last update (up to Feb. 1st).
As can be seen, Zigomanis, Svoboda, MacDonald and MacNeil continue to be solid contributors for Lowell while Heerema and Ritchie lead the team offensively each and every game. Moss and Pelletier continue to provide a stellar goaltending tandem for the Lock Monsters. Apparently, Ritchie was loaned back to Lowell after being traded to the Florida Panthers and spending some time with the big club.
In the collegiate ranks, Bayda and Fast are key pieces of the North Dakota and Michigan State offences while Malec, Newman and Surma are putting up some offensive numbers in junior. Due to his lack of play, it is unclear whether Daniel Boisclair is injured or was traded from Cape Breton to another QMJHL team.
Everblades goaltender Randy Petruk has the distinction of being called up directly from the ECHL to the NHL. This past week, with the Hurricanes playing in nearby Tampa Bay and Tom Barrasso out with an injury, Petruk got the call to backup Irbe. His solid season is apparently being noticed by the top brass.
Goaltender Corey Hirsch was in net on Sunday for the first time in nearly two months and walked away with the shutout as the Pirates crushed the Manchester Monarchs, 5-0. Last night, he had 30 saves on 32 shots. Prior to his injury, Hirsch had been having a somewhat disappointing start to the season and these back-to-back wins could mark a turnaround for him.
Veteran defenseman Patrick Boileau continues to have the best season he has ever had to date with the Pirates. He brings a lot to the team and among his most important contributions is his work on the power play. The Pirates are notoriously bad when they have the man advantage, but Boileau is among the few exceptions.
I have received an incredible amount of e-mails regarding the development of Jakub Cutta this season. Whilst he still has a long way to go, he truly has made consistent improvement all season long. He is much more mature he is on the ice. He was thrown out of a game very early on this season after a stupid and unnecessary spearing incident and know that now he would be a lot smarter about it. With plenty of structure, playing time and another year or two of experience, Cutta could be a great defenseman. Portland may not be the best place for him to be at this stage – some time with the Pirates’ ECHL affiliate the Richmond Renegades might do him a world of good.
Rob Skrlac recently joined the Pirates on loan from the Albany River Rats. He was sent here to fill the injured Mel Angelstad’s place and will be with the team through the end of Read more»