Kamloops Blazers Already Getting The Breaks In “Special K” Battle
While most pundits agreed that the Western Hockey League’s B.C. division shaped up as a great battle between the “Special K’s”, Kamloops, Kelowna and Kootenay, nobody would have predicted the early season fortunes of two of these teams, the Kelowna Rockets and Kootenay Ice would be so affected by both bad and good luck on behalf of their prospective players.
First the Kootenay Ice. While most agree that the Ice would have been battling for top spot in the division, this is where the good and bad luck come into play. Dan Blackburn, a standout goalkeeper from day one in the WHL goes to the New York Rangers camp and plays well enough to not only earn a contract, but an opening day roster spot behind incumbent Mike Richter as a nineteen year old. While not really a surprise, the Ice certainly were certainly hoping to have the stalwart back in net. Now the Ice will go with two unproven goaltenders, who though hold promise, aren’t the “sure thing” that Blackburn would have provided.
Then the bad luck strikes as nineteen year old offensive sparkplug Jarett Stoll cuts his hand badly while using a knife to separate frozen steaks. The early prognosis is that Stoll will miss eight weeks and the Ice losing his considerable offensive talents for that time.
With a two win and three loss start, the Ice won’t want to give up too much ground to the other “Special K’s” early or it could be a long road back to secure a home ice date in the first round of the playoffs. This could be crucial with Kootenay, Read more»
Chynoweth pulls trigger on overage trade
It is an annual occurrence. Not that a team wants to, not that a team needs to, it has to, just to satisfy the league rule of a maximum three twenty-yr-old, overage players on its roster and this year was no exception. Like Scott Roles, Dion Lassu, Brad Tutschek before him, Tyler Beechey had grown up with the Kootenay ICE and last Friday Beechey became part of the club’s most ardent rival, the Calgary Hitmen. The trade, for nineteen-yr-old winger Shaun Norrie as the ICE cut down to the three overage players in Jason Jaffray, Cole Fischer and Craig Weller, happened much earlier than most everyone had anticipated. A full two weeks before the league-mandated deadline of October 12.
Knowing that someone had to go, it still came as a shock to both the organization and the fans alike. For Jeff Chynoweth, his tenor as G.M. only weeks old, it was one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make. “It was very, very tough,” said Chynoweth. “Friday was probably the toughest day I’ve had as G.M. To trade a guy like Tyler Beechey, he’s a quality individual and a quality player and he’s been with us since we started in Edmonton as an original third round draft pick the year we drafted Steve McCarthy.
“But you’re only allowed three and we felt that we wanted to get done sooner rather than later for the player’s sake and for the sake of the dressing room as it gets everyone at ease if we get down the numbers.”
The ICE G.M. also mentioned that it’s not as if Beechey was singled out but rather it came down to what was coming the othe Read more»
Patrick Thoresen of Hamar who played a couple seasons for Storhamar of the Norwegian Elite League has been playing for the Wildcats of Moncton in the QMJHL. Thoresen has recorded (8gp 9g 3a 12tp 2+) and is their leading scorer. The 6-0 182lb forward has looked solid in his first full season in the rugged Canadian Junior system.
Meanwhile another Norwegian is playing on the other side of the continent. Peter Lorentzen of the Tri City Americans has appeared in 4 games while recording one goal and one assist and is -1 in those contests. Lorentzen has the protoypical build of a power forward and must learn to use his size and skill in the very rough WHL.
Other Norwegian notes are Espen Knutsen continues to play a solid playmaking game in Columbus with the Blue Jackets. Knutsen has flourished while playing on a line with ex Whaler Geoff Sanderson. Anders Myrvold who turned down offers from the Islanders, St.Louis and Montreal signed with the Rangers and spent 3 days in camp with the Rangers before being re-assigned to Hartford of AHL. Martin Sellgren ex Ferris State (CCHA)the 6-3 220 pounder played a solid d first role in the US and played super in the 2001 World Championships for Norway. He was last listed as looking to keep his American adventure alive. If any updates on him please feel free to contact me.
Until next time… Cheers!
Once the Sabres send their junior prospects back to their respective teams, the club then decides which players need more seasoning in the minor leagues. Some of these demoted players are career minor-leaguers, but there is usually a handful of prospects that possess definite NHL potential.
The first 14 players sent to Rochester’s camp from Buffalo included the following: goaltenders Tom Askey and Reg Bourcier; forwards Milan Bartovic, Alan Fyfe, Ales Kotalik, Jaroslav Kristek, Karel Mosovsky and Andrew Peters; and defensemen Doug Houda, Mike Hurlbut, Doug Janik, Mario Larocque, Luc Theoret and Brad Williamson. The Amerks later cut Fyfe and Williamson.
The players in this initial grouping that garnered the most notice from Buffalo’s coaches were Bourcier, Bartovic and Kristek. Goaltender Reg Bourcier is a free agent who last season played for Mobile of the ECHL (37 GP, 14-9-5, 3.53). Reg is a smaller goaltender who relies on his quickness and good positioning to stop the puck, skills that were in evidence during the camp scrimmages. Given the fact that Mika Noronen and Tom Askey will most likely be the Amerk’s goaltenders, Bourcier will probably provide further depth for the Buffalo organization as a backstop for the South Carolina Stingrays.
Bartovic and Kristek are two right wings that saw their first AHL action last season. Milan didn’t join the Amerks until shortly before the playoffs, but he impressed in his short audition by displaying his great speed and offensive skills. Kristek’s season ended early due to dual shoul Read more»
Well now that the final roster has been announced, lets get down to business. Making the Cut for opening night will be Kris Kolanos, Martin Grenier, Tyler Bouck, Daniel Briere, and Jean-Guy Trudel. Not making the cut and being reassigned to Springfield, the Coyotes top minor league affiliate of the AHL, were David Cullen and Goran Bezina. Also Martin Podelsak was reassigned to his junior team, the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL.
Goran Bezina was assigned to Springfield after an amazing camp that opened the eyes of not only Bob Francis, but also the whole front office of the Coyotes. When the Coyotes defensemen did a drill during the preseason they were told to shoot as many pucks from the point as they can. At the end of the drill, he was the only one standing and laughing. We should see either him or Kirill Safronov during the season as one of the call-ups.
Another shine at camp was Martin Grenier who looks he may be filling the role of unrestricted free agent, Louie DeBrusk and become the enforcer on this team. Look for him to be standing up for every one of the defensemen let alone the forwards. He led the NHL alone in PIM for the preseason and I assume he will be more disciplined going into the regular season.
Daniel Briere will finally get his shot in the NHL full-time (hopefully). He finished up the preseason tied for the most points in the league (12). He also led the league in assists and Bob Francis has said he will be one of the top centers come Thursday, the Coyotes first game. The Coyotes will look to him to put out the same effort and enth Read more»