W. P. Kinsella once wrote, “if you build it, they will come.” We built it and they came, in droves. In a scene reminiscent of an arena setting in Spokane or Calgary, the Kootenay ICE held their two inaugural home opening games this past weekend at Cranbrook’s brand new Recreational Complex and, to put it mildly, it was an unqualified success. Two consecutive sold-out crowds of 4301 were treated to two exciting and dramatic hockey games that seemed to play themselves out to an unofficial script that every hockey team opening a new home would be overjoyed to occur -wins. A 5-3 victory over the Regina Pats on Friday and a 4-3 nailbiter decision over the rival Calgary Hitmen on Saturday seemed to be icing on the cake for the many thousands of fans who took in the games over the weekend. “Incredible”, “fantastic” and “wow” were just some of the many superlatives mentioned by the visiting fans. “It doesn’t seem like were in Cranbrook” said visiting patron Tina White, “It feels like we’re in Calgary not Cranbrook, this place is really great”. For majority ICE owner Ed Chynoweth, the weekend was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people. “It was certainly a tremendous weekend. Personally the building is just total outstanding. Everything about it is major league and to start it off with a pair of wins is an added bonus,” said Chynoweth. For Chynoweth, the opening of the Rec/Plea was the payoff for a lot of people, most importantly the fans of the Kootenay ICE, “I couldn’t help but think when I was out at center ice for the openi Read more»
Last year’s Turner Cup finalists Grand Rapids Griffins and Chicago Wolves both aim to get back to the finals this season, and both have the firepower to do it.
The Wolves return many key players from last year’s championship team, and also have added players such as center Robert Petrovicky and the first overall pick in the NHL goalie Rick DiPietro. The Griffins also return many of their key players as well as receiving top players center Todd White and last year’s top IHL defenseman Mike Crowley from their parent >Ottawa Senators.
Not everyone is back however. The Wolves lost leading scorer Steve Maltais when he signed an NHL contract with the Expansion Columbus Bluejackets. Chicago will be counting center Steve Larouche and new comers Mark Lawrence, a New York Islanders prospect, Petrovicky, and left wing Mike Maneluk, assigned to the team by Columbus, to fill the scoring void left by Maltais’ departure. Right wing Brian Noonan will provide veteran leadership, and Paul Kruse will add muscle to the forward unit.
Glen Featherstone, Kevin Dahl, and Dallas Eakins anchor a corps of blueliners this year that also includes 22 year old Russian Evgeny Korolev who was assigned to the team by the Islanders. Veteran Wendal Young, who helped the Wolves to the Turner Cup last year, will share the goal with DiPietro.
The Griffins lost their all-time leading goal scorer, Michel Picard, goalie Jani Hurme, and forward Kevin Miller from last year’s squad, as well as IHL Coach of the Year Guy Charron, who took a job as an assistant for the M Read more»
It is common knowledge amongst Buffalo Sabres’ fans that Buffalo maintains their main minor league affiliate in Rochester, NY. A quick perusal of Buffalo’s training camp roster, however, might give one the impression that the Sabres have added a 2nd farm team in the Great Northwest Mecca of Seattle, WA.
The roster of the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL currently sports the names of six players who attended the 2000 training camp of the Buffalo Sabres. Four of the players- LW Barrett Heisten, RW Bret Dececco, LW Tim Preston and D Gerard Dicaire –are Sabre draftees, while defensemen Brennan Evans and Jeff Beatch attended camp as free agent invitees.
The most celebrated of the six players is, of course, ’99 1st round pick Barrett Heisten. Barrett joined the T-Birds following an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate a contract with Buffalo, a turn of events that no doubt made many Seattle fans quite happy. Barrett did not disappoint in his first game as a T-Bird, as he picked up four assists in a 6-5 victory over the Kelowna Rockets.
The Los Angeles Kings have has a pretty solid beginning to the new millennium. They have shown some flashed of brilliance, particularly on the offensive end. But with poor goaltending, a rookie on the top line, a top defensemen not getting playing time and a holdout, the season’s prospects are far from clear.
Aki Berg has already been scratched more than he has played this season. Granted, all the other defensemen are playing well, but aren’t the Kings better served to develop Aki and sit the older Modry? With Berg signing another one year contract, look for a trade soon.
The Kings are getting some solid play from their younger skaters like Lubomir Visnovsky. He is extremely slight in build, but skates like the wind and positions himself in a manner which allows him to play against bigger forwards. He is also a smart passer and seems to have a knack for knowing when to activate and when to stay back. Eric Belanger has shown some solid play. But he has not shaken the knock against him – he has an amazing game then disappears for the next couple games. If he can stay consistent, he may be a point-a-game player.
Down on the Farm—
Kip Brennan has adapted to the AHL – he has 29 PIM’s in 5 games.
Brian McGratten already has a two-goal game and a date with the AHL. He manhandled a linesman during a fight.
Alexey Volkov lost his first game in Lowell, allowing three goals in the defeat.
We’ve all managed to suffer through another painful summer without ice hockey, but finally it’s time to dust off the ol’ beer stein and armchair, kick back, and get ready for another (thankfully) long NHL season. As expected, this year’s Stars roster is burgeoning with new players – quite a few of them young prospects who could have an impact in the NHL this year. Summarized for your perusal, are some of these players we may see during the 2000-2001 season and some thoughts.
Richard Jackman: For Jackman, the most highly touted Dallas prospect of the last few years, this is a make or break year. Now an aging prospect, Jackman has been working the past few years on improving his spotty defense and his penchant for making mistakes, as well as trying to accelerate the wind-up on his impressive, yet oft telegraphed, slap shot from the point. Jackman will get lots of ice time this year in the 3rd defensive pairing and on the Stars power play, and he should have enough time to prove that his defensive responsibility is up to snuff and his offensive skills are truly NHL calibre.
Jackman had a fine preseason and his NHL start this year was marred with only a few mistakes (most of in the offensive zone that led to breakaways). But, he has shown alacrity and intelligence in clearing his own zone and his wind-up – though still telegraphed and easily blocked – has managed to take a few opposing players by surprise.