The Calder Corner
Jukka Hentunen: Assist, +1, 2 Shots
Through the years, the Philadelphia Flyers have had a few homegrown players– including current Flyer Chris Therien and one-time rookie free agent Dave Poulin– who were U.S. college standouts before turning professional. However, the vast majority of Flyer-drafted and signed players originally honed their skills in the Canadian major junior ranks.
Times have changed. Today, the Flyers have only one affiliated prospect (2001 first round draft pick Jeff Woywitka) playing in the CHL, while five youngsters are playing for teams in the NCAA.
The Flyers current crop of collegiate players represents an intriguing collection of sleeper prospects. An update on their current progress.
Colin Shields : Shields had to sit out last season after he was declared ineligible by the NCAA. In order to retain his visa status, the Scottish forward signed up for classes that he never attended. When the University of Maine learned what had happened, they had no choice but to report the violation to the NCAA.
So far this season, Shields has been making up for lost time. He’s displayed the soft hands and offensive instincts that made him a standout at every level of hockey that he has played. He’s also a pretty good skater.
Shields has exploded out of the gates for Maine with 5 goals in his first 4 games, including 3 powerplay tallies. He has no reticence about shooting the puck; as his 13 shots on goal attest.
Bernd Bruckler : The Austrian goaltender was a highly sought recruit by many U.S. college programs. He finally opted for the Read more»
Ottawa (5-2-2) vs Sarnia (6-6-1)
The Ottawa 67’s, fresh off a 4-4 tie with the Kingston Frontenacs, faced off against the Sarnia Sting on Friday, October the 19th. The 67’s welcomed back captain Zenon Konopka, coming off a 2-game suspension, for being the instigator in a scuffle in the October 7th match against the Barrie Colts. Read more»
The Calder Corner
Ilya Kovalchuk: 3rd NHL Goal, +1, 4 Shots
As a general rule, I will always list goals and assists and other noteworthy stats.
Giant Growing Pains
Like most newborns, the Vancouver Giants are also susceptible to growing pains. These pains were most evident over the last three-game homestand, winding up Saturday, October 13th, in what will become a divisional rivalry with the Portland Winter Hawks. The Giants, hoping to push their record over the .500 mark and perhaps thinking they could take advantage of the Winter Hawks who have been struggling on the road, never did seem to get organized. From obvious communication problems on the bench, to teammates running into each other on the ice, the Giants never came close to finding the disciplined, hard-working and physical groove they displayed just one night earlier in the first period against the offensive Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Being a young team, this erratic display of hockey is not unusual. Coach Dragicevic was saying all the right things to the players between periods and after the game, emphasizing the need to play a rugged, grinding style of hockey, and to shy not from the body. Yet it seemed to land on deaf ears against the Winter Hawks. There really is no explanation for it other than the proverbial ‘growing pains’ of a young team coming together.
Players at both ends of the ice were turning away from what appeared to be sure checks, and the defence were often beat on the outside along the half-boards due to ill-timed turns to play the man. In short, they were getting caught flat-footed. They looked surprisingly tired — something a fan would not expect this early in the sea Read more»