Back in the early days of the Sabres franchise, former Buffalo GM Punch Imlach used his top pick in both the ’70 and ’71 drafts to select offensive stars from the Quebec League. Those two selections, C Gilbert Perreault and LW Rick Martin, went on to form 2/3 of the high-flying French Connection line that terrorized NHL goaltenders throughout most of the 70s.
Recent incarnations of the Sabres have been about as offensive as a Disney animated feature, so it is no surprise that current GM Darcy Regier placed an emphasis on offense during the 2001 draft. One of those ’01 selections, RW Jason Pominville of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes, is bringing back memories of those early draft successes, perhaps signaling an end to the Sabres’ long search for a sniper.
Jason is off to a blazing start this season, as his 34 points in 15 games will attest. Pominville has scored 15 goals and added 19 assists, which is good enough to make him the Cataractes’ leading scorer, while leaving him second in scoring in the QMJHL. 7 of Jason’s goals have come on the power play, while 4 goals have been game-winners, both totals being an indication that Pominville has a knack for scoring important goals. In one early season contest, Jason racked up 7 points (4G, 3A) in a Shawinigan victory.
Shawinigan is currently tied for first overall in the "Q" with Rimouski, although the Oceanic are the higher-ranked team in the CHL rankings. The Cataractes are currently ranked 9th in the CHL.
Jason’s fast start is most Read more»
Currently ranked number 4 on the CHL Top 10 list the Belleville Bulls, with a record of 11-5, are showing that they will once again be a top contender for the OHL title. The name of the game so far this year has been explosive offense. The Bulls can currently boast 3 of the top 5 scorers in the OHL, #1 Mike Renzi (32), #2 Nathan Robinson (31) and #5 Kyle Wellwood (25).
The Bulls however have had trouble controlling opposing forwards in their own end mainly due to the lack of size on the blue-line. Captain Matt Coughlin is the biggest Bulls defenseman at 6’3” 200lbs and he is the only one over 200lbs. This has made the transition game more difficult resulting in more work for goalies Jan Chovan and Paulo Colaiacovo who have been up to the task in most games. The defense are talented and above average skaters but have seemed reluctant to jump into the offense with the exception of Malcolm Hutt who is having an excellent season so far with 2 goals and 9 assists. Coughlin has vastly improved his skating from last season but has not been utilizing his newfound skills as of yet.
The Bulls just came off of a shootout win against the Mississauga Ice Dogs (9-6) and a hard luck loss to the Erie Otters (3-2) where all 3 of Erie’s goals were weak. The Otters defense was very impressive, led by Maple Leaf draft pick Carlo Colaiacovo who had a very strong game. The Erie – Belleville game boasted 4 Maple Leaf Draft picks: Colaiacovo, Brad Boyes, Kyle Wellwood and Jan Chovan. Chovan however did not play in f Read more»
A funny thing happened to Jussi Markkanen when he went to Hamilton for a tune up. While it was intended to be a one game “warm-up” demotion, it has turned into a two week coming out party for Ty Conklin. All Conklin has done is win both of his starts and compile a 1.63 GAA. If he had enough minutes played to qualify, he would be third overall in GAA. While Conklin is the closest thing the Oilers have to a prospect in their line up, it is way too early to tell if he is the real deal, but his early heroics have earned him another start, and the players trust.
“In the development stages”
Kevin Brown and Marc Lamothe are providing the Hamilton Bulldogs exactly what the Oilers had hoped for, veteran leadership and strong performances. Leading the way from the prospects are Jason Chimera, Brian Swanson, and Jani Rita. Michael Henrich has also followed up his impressive training camp by posting 4 points in his first 7 games. Not huge numbers, but when you consider that he only had 15 points all of last year, it is a marked improvement.