It was supposed to be a battle of two heavyweights running elbow to elbow in the race for the WHL playoffs. It was supposed to be a possible prelude to a first round playoff match-up. Tuesday night’s game between the Kootenay ICE and the Prince George Cougars was supposed to be a lot of things.
What it wasn’t was your classic, late regular season division match-up.
In short, it was a massacre.
The Kootenay ICE extended their winning streak to four games after a 10-4 thrashing of their northern divisional rivals in a crucial game that saw the ICE go five points up on the Cougars for second place in the division and a scant four points back of the division-leading Kamloops Blazers. After surrendering the first goal to the Cougars, the ICE potted two in taking a 2-1 lead into the dressing after the first frame. It was a lead that would not be relinquished as Kootenay exploded for seven second period goals and set a new team record for goals scored in a period in the process.
For ICE forward Shaun Norrie, who notched four assists in the romp over the Cougars, the lopsided win was a little payback for Kootenay’s consecutive losses in Prince George a couple weeks back. “When they beat us up there, we weren’t very happy about it,” said Norrie whose been making the most of his time on the top line with Jarrett Stoll and Marek Svatos and chipped in six points (1g, 5a) in the last four games. “We came out tonight and took it to them.”
Norrie however doesn’t think that the game will have that much of an effect come playoff time if the two clubs meet. Read more»
How far is Portland away from Mannheim
How far away is Portland from Mannheim?
Washington Capitals’ draftee Robert Müller is going to leave Mannheim. The reason for this is his frustration at not getting to play many games this season. In 50 contests for his team, Müller only played 14 times, and did so as well as his goaltending partner Mike Rosati. However, Rosati has been the clear-cut number one netminder. He’s an (italo-)Canadian, has a lot of experience, has played in the NHL and is one of the best goalies in the German hockey league. If that’s an argument enough, Mannheim has won two championships with Rosati in goal. It’s not an easy situation for a backup goalie.
Müller is highly talented, for sure. The coach has the best goalie tandem in the whole league, except for maybe Nürnberg’s goalies Frederic Chabot (former LA Kings and Montreal goalie) and German Olympic sensation Marc Seliger. Chabot and Seliger share their job in Nürnberg’s goal. Various German hockey experts and fans have asked themselves why Mannheim’s coach hasn’t done that with Rosati and Müller. Müller needs the playing time for his development. Since Rosati signed a contract extension, Müller’s time in Mannheim will end after this season. It doesn’t look like he could get more ice time, so he’s figuring it’s better to change the team.
Where could Read more»
By Mike Buskus
Albany Week in Review
It was a tough week, by any standards. For the players (5 games in 7 nights) and for the fans (no wins; two overtime losses, one against Hartford, reported last week in AWIR).
Since Albany Week in Review last did a weekly recap, the River Rats have not won a game. They lost a home-and-home series with the Worcester IceCats, losing on the road in Worcester on Wednesday (2-1) and then in overtime at home (3-2). On the road in Lowell with a full bus-load of Booster Club supporters to cheer them on, the Rats lost a one-goal game (2-1) to the Lowell Lock Monsters.
Then came Sunday. With many of those holding tickets staying home to watch the Olympic gold-medal game between Team Canada and Team U.S.A., the Albany River Rats were pummeled, 5-0, at home in Pepsi Arena, for the seventh time this year the Rats have failed to score a goal.
With 22 games to go, the Rats are 19 points out of a playoff spot. However, with Springfield between the Rats and a playoff spot (not to mention Portland and Saint John), the prospects of play in April past tax day are dim at best.
Special teams were just awful this week. The River Rats were zero for 19 on the power play in four games. On the penalty kill, the Rats allowed three opponents’ goals on 16 opportunities.
Using the “last ten games” as a measure of current effectiveness, the River Rats are playing worse than all but one squad in this 27-team league: only the Cleveland Barons (1-8-1) are less effective lately than the River R Read more»
Roundtable: Has Nikita Alexeev proved himself worthy of the 8th overall draft selection?
No, he has not, but the jury’s still out and will probably be out for a couple more years.
A big, potential power-forward like Alexeev will need some time to adjust his game to the NHL level and get more consistent. The developmental track of Fredrik Modin comes to mind.
The fear is Dudley may have drafted a big, fast power defensive-forward, rather than a guy that’s going to pot 30 a year. Alexeev has improved each game he’s played for the Lightning and has taken advantage of increased ice time due to injuries to Modin and
Martin St. Louis. He’s good along the walls and his vision and passing are underrated. He will be a fine complimentary winger, but will never challenge for the Richard Trophy. Most complimentary wingers don’t get drafted top-8, also.
Considering the players with offensive upside taken with 15 picks after Alexeev (players such as Yakubov, and especially Frolov, Nedorost and Kolanos), Alexeev has a long way to go to make Rick Dudley, who perhaps was mesmerized by Alexeev’s physical attributes, look like a genius for taking him so high.
Let me preface this by saying that at the time he was selected, I hated the selection of Nikita Alexeev with a vitriolic passion. From what I had seen he was a player who played soft, and whose offensive production was solely measured in garbage goals or leaching off his linemates. His shot was laughable, with his slapper hitting only in Read more»