The one area that the Kootenay ICE have been so solid in this season. The one area that has bailed the club out from at times, indifferent play this season. The one area fans could point to in proof that the club indeed belonged in the upper echelon of the WHL – special teams. It is an area that has become a frozen wasteland of late and is a telltale sign of the club’s downward trend that has seen them lose two in a row and the last four of five at the Cranbrook Rec/Plex.
When you lose, you look for excuses. The first place the ICE could look is their special teams, with a rider attached to the word ‘special’, as in, not very.
In the last five games at the ‘Plex, the ICE are running a paltry pace of a 10% efficiency rate with the man-advantage, just about a full 20% off the 29.7% clip the club was enjoying before the home site slide of the last five games. On the other side of the sheet the kill rate while disadvantaged has plunged from a healthy 90.9% success rate to a questionable percentage of just over 79%.
If you consider the trend of games hovering around the one third mark with either a man up or a man down, the numbers begin to speak volumes. It’s a sound Coach Ryan McGill doesn’t like listening to. “Power-plays are a reflection of how hard your best players work, number one,” offered McGill in an attempt to explain his club’s demise in the specialty team department. “But it’s a double-edged sword. If they work hard but they’re not using all their talents as far as seeing lanes, seeing where guys are, basically losing the tunnel vision, then the Read more»
Goaltenders get their due
Goaltenders finally got some recognition this week for the Albany River Rats. Not that they have not played well to date, but the team’s record (one win in the first 17 games going into this week) overshadowed the performance between the pipes.
This past week, though, Devils’ prospects Ari Ahonen and Jean-Francois Damphousse both got some notice in the press. Ahonen got his first professional victory in the American Hockey League, as he stopped 38 of 39 shots on Saturday, November 24, 2001 as the River Rats beat the Rochester Americans, 3-1. It was only the second victory in the campaign through 20 games. Ahonen earned “third star” for his efforts.
J.F. Damphousse got his first start in the NHL. Though he took a loss, as the Devils were unable to score against Tampa Bay’s Khabibulin, Damphousse made 20 saves on 22 shots. One of the goals was a power play marker; the other was a rebound shot. Media reports gave Damphousse favorable grades for his NHL debut. He was credited with showing “poise”, a term that certainly reflected his AHL performance the past several seasons as he played in front of a weak Albany defense (judged historically).
Damphousse, the Devils’ 1st choice (24th overall) in the 1997 entry draft, hopes for a few more starts with the Devils, sandwiched in between Martin Brodeur’s assignments. If he does not get another start soon, he will probably be sent back to Albany, where he has split time with Ari Ahonen and Scott Clemmensen. All three are promising prospects, though Read more»
Wheeling center Chris Wells is the InGlasCo Player of the Week.
The 6-6 and 230-pound Wells scored three goals and five points while helping Wheeling score five points in three games and even its record at 8-8-1. The 26-year-old Wells scored the game-winning goal in Wheeling’s 3-2 win against Northern Conference leader Trenton on Thursday. He came back the following night and scored a pair of goals, including the game winner, and had an assist as the Nailers won 5-3 at Johnstown. He closed out the week with an assist in Wheeling’s 3-2 shootout loss against Cincinnati on Saturday. On behalf of Chris Wells, a case of pucks will be donated to a Wheeling area youth hockey organization by InGlasco, the official puck supplier of the ECHL.
Augusta’s Gregg Naumenko is the ECHL Goalie of the Week
Naumenko, who was assigned to the Lynx by Anaheim of the National Hockey League on Friday, was 3-0-0 with a 1.93 goals against average and a .935 save percentage while starting three games in three days.
The 24-year-old Naumenko made 31 saves in a 4-3 win against South Carolina on Friday and came back the following night to make 27 saves in a 3-1 win at Greenville. The Chicago native closed out his weekend with 29 saves in a 3-2 win against Southern Conference leader Pee Dee, ending the Pride’s win streak at eight games.
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Patrick Roy’s Olympic Meddle
The Canadian Olympic men’s hockey team was dealt a blow when Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche announced that he would not be participating in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, choosing instead to focus on the NHL season and the playoffs in the spring. The announcement came as a bit of a shock to the hockey world, but upon further examination it is not really much of a surprise when you consider the sum of the parts that make up the most successful goaltender in NHL history.
There are a few things you quickly notice about Patrick Roy as you watch him. First is his immense talent. The guy really knows how to stop a puck. He has combined lightning quick reflexes with an uncanny ability to out think a shooter to become a wall in goal. He has taken advantage of every technology change possible to keep his game at a level that few have ever managed to attain. He uses his over-sized equipment to cover as much of the net as humanly possible and makes the shooter fire at targets that aren’t there. It’s hard to believe that his six foot, one hundred and ninety pound frame, can be so intimidating to NHL snipers, but when you add on the largest pads in the game it becomes clear as to a portion of where his success stems. When you combine these features together you have a package that is the most successful goaltender that has played the game.
The second thing you notice about Patrick Roy is his competitive spirit. He hates to lose. You don’t put together the numbers he has without having the desire to go ou Read more»