When Dan Blackburn’s name was called
by New York Rangers GM Glen
Sather last June, you couldn’t help to
feel anything but pride and joy for the
18-year-old goaltending phenom
who in two short years had captured the
hearts of Kootenay ICE fans by
backstopping the club to a WHL title
and Memorial Cup appearance only one
year prior. It is, after all, the natural
progression of Major Junior hockey.
Budding teenage hockey prodigies
arrive, take the local club to glorious
heights, get noticed by pro scouts, are
drafted and move to the bright lights and
big cities of the NHL. In a perfect world
that would happen after four years of
yeomen service in the junior ranks.
Unfortunately in the world of Junior
hockey its fans and its burgeoning stars,
it is far from perfect.
Upon further examination of the New
Rangers roster it is enough to make you
cheer for the Canmore, Alta. native’s
chances but it is also evidence enough to
make you quietly cringe at the
realization that the ‘tender affectionately
known as ‘Blackie’ could quite possibly
be sitting on the bench for the Broadway
BlueShirts this season. Crazy talk, you
say? One look at the Rangers sheer lack
of depth in goal might make any
naysayers change their tune.
Two significant developments out of
New York this past week shed some
light on the situation. First, All-Star
goalie Mike Richter announces that he
almost certainly will be ready to resume
his place as the Ranger’s number one
goalie after recovering from blowing out
his knee back in February. His second Read more»
Canada improved to 2-0 at the under-18 Six Nations Tournament on Tuesday, knocking off the host Czech Republic by a count of 3-1. After a Czech goal within the first 30 seconds of play in the first period, the red and white rebounded to post three unanswered goals and take the win.
Red Deer Rebels’ defenseman Derek Meech started the scoring for Canada with his first goal of the tournament, and Kamloops Blazer Jarret Lukin scored his third goal in two games to put the team on top by a pair. Rick Nash (London, OHL) scored the third marker of the contest, an empty netter, in the final minute of period three. Kootenay Ice defenseman Andy Thompson received an assist on the play.
After a day off tomorrow, Canada returns to action on Thursday to face off against Sweden.
Player vitals: Derek Meech
Hometown: Winnipeg, MB
Year Team League GP G A Pts PIM
1999-00 Winnipeg MMHL 36 15 40 55 24
2000-01 Red Deer WHL 60 2 7 9 40
2000-01* Red Deer WHL 22 0 0 0 9
* = playoffs
1. Jaromir Jagr- (Capitals) Jagr, who is one of the top players in the world, was traded to Washington during the off-season. Jagr, who struggled last year, played terrible in the playoffs, only notching two goals. The NHL’s highest paid player will once again challenge for the scoring title.
2. Mark Recchi- (Flyers) Recchi, who suffered from a concussion in the early part of the season, had an excellent second half. Playing along with the Flyers explosive offence, Recchi should regain his ’99-00 form, when he registered 91 points.
3. Patrik Elias- (Devils) Elias, who is only 25, has found his niche playing on a line with Petr Sykora and Jason Arnott. Elias had a career year last year, will probably float around the 90-point range this season.
4. Pavel Bure- (Panthers) Bure, who will be playing on the same team as his brother for the first time in the NHL, had a great second half last season. Bure is a sure bet to score over 50 goals, but will only have around 35 assists.
5. Paul Kariya- (Ducks) Kariya will be with out line mate Temmu Selanne for the first time in many years. If Kariya can overcome foot problems, there is no reason why the 26-year old winger will not score more than 85 points.
6. Alexi Kovalev- (Penguins) Kovalev, who finally played to his potential last season, benefited a lot from the play of Mario Lemieux. Kovalev scored 37 of his 95 points on the power play last season, and he will take the role of the team’s top winger this season. A slight point drop-off is expe Read more»