Leaf Prospect Rankings Redux (Part I)
Half a hockey season is a long time when it comes to developing players between the ages of 18 and 23. As such it only makes sense to take another look at the Leaf prospect ladder now and see how the yung’uns are shaping up. Are they picking up the skills they’ll need to compete in the big show according to plan? Are some lagging behind? Are some leapfrogging others? Here’s the latest:
1. Mikael Tellqvist-G: Though Mike Minard has played the majority of minutes on The Rock this year, there are just too many positives in Tellqvist’s game to say that he will be anything but a starting goaltender in the NHL once he adjusts to the North American game. Will he be in the ACC by the end of the year? Will he be there to start the next one? Will he be there in 2003-2004? Who knows. When he does arrive though, it will be as more than someone to play one game in four.
2. Brad Boyes-C: His recent WJC performance on the heels of a bout of mononucleosis has only solidified his spot at the second rung and maybe even moved him closer to the top one. He showed the ability to lead the charge to the net in the tournament which was something that hadn’t been part of his game until then. Definitely has the mean streak needed to make up for his lack of size in the pros. Demonstrated some unbelievable hand-eye co-ordination and was equally comfortable as a playmaker and a finisher. Great in the faceoff dot.
3. Carlo Colaiacovo-D: One of the big leapers, the Erie blueliner was one of the best d Read more»
Calgary – The Western Hockey League today announced the Players of the Month
for December in both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference.
In the Eastern Conference, which includes the East and Central Divisions,
the Player of the Month is forward Jordin Tootoo of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
The 18 year-old from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut recorded ten goals and 18 points
in ten games during the Month of December including three power-play goals
and two game-winning goals. He helped lead his team to an impressive 8
wins, one loss and a tie for the month.
Tootoo was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.
In the Western Conference, which includes the B.C. and U.S. Divisions, the
Player of the Month is forward Joe Balej of the Portland Winter Hawks.
Balej, a 19-year-old from Myjava, Slovakia recorded 14 goals and 23 points
in 14 games during the Month of December, including ten power-play goals, a
short-handed goal and one game-winning goal. Balej was drafted by the
Montreal Canadiens in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
Joe Balej is also a deserving choice as the Western Conference Player of the
Month for December.
HF: Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 yesterday, what are your impressions of that game?
Bäcker: We had most of the play but once again our biggest problem this tournament turned up again: scoring. That almost got us in trouble.
HF: How about the performance of team Sweden at the WJC so far?
Bäcker: We are still undefeated so……
HF: In the quarter finals you will meet Canada, who are favourites for gold.
Bäcker: Canada will be a very hard and tough game for us, but so would probably have been all of the other opponents we could have drawn. We will give our best and see what comes from it.
HF: What about your own performance so far at this WJC?
Bäcker: I’m playing an ok tournament so far. I’m satisfied with my own performance.
HF: What are your strengths and weaknesses in your game?
Bäcker: My strengths are my puckhandling and the ability to stay calm on the ice when needed. A thing I need to improve though is my shooting.
HF: You play for Färjestad, currently by far the best team in the Swedish league. What’s it like to be part of that team?
Bäcker: It’s great. Really fantastic. It’s a great club and I’m proud to be part of them at the moment.
HF: Jörgen Jönsson and Mathias Johansson have been selected in the Olympic squad for Sweden. Both are teammates of yours. What do you have to say about it?
Bäcker: That is really great for them and for the club as well of course. Both players are very good players. Johansson and Jönsson are Read more»