Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
Berard news: Media reports this week indicated that there may now be renewed hope for Maple Leafs’ defenseman Bryan Berard in his bid to resume a once promising NHL career … Berard recently consulted with Connecticut-based eye specialist Dr. Donald Teig who is said to be optimistic that surgery to replace the lens in Berard’s right eye could give him the necessary 20/400 vision needed to play in the NHL again … before this can happen, Bryan requires at least one more procedure to clean up scar tissue left over from the original injury … after this has been accomplished, a decision can be made on the eye’s ability to hold such an artificial lens in place … if it can be successfully implanted, the lens would essentially replace the iris that Berard has lost and he would have a legitimate chance to pass a qualifying sight test … the Maple Leafs have been completely unable to replace Berard’s sheer bravado on the blueline and would certainly welcome him back with open arms if he can play again …
Rumours: The ACC was abuzz when principal owner Steve Stavro visited with Pat Quinn in the Coach’s room following the loss to Washington on the 6th – speculation centered on a major player move that might require high level approval (to significantly alter the team’s payroll) – it is also widely believed that getting Eric Lindros i Read more»
Graduated Prospect Report: :
The best news in the Flyers development system this season has come from the NHL level. The team leads the NHL in goals scored by rookies. Additionally, 20 year old NHL sophomore Simon Gagne , coming off a strong rookie campaign, has taken the next step toward the stardom that seems inevitable if he stays healthy.
The NHL news is not all positive, however. Defenseman Andy Delmore has lacked consistency and goaltender Brian Boucher has fallen victim to a horrendous sophomore slump and has had the starting goaltending job snatched away from him by 29-year old Roman Cechmanek , a veteran Czech league and international star who finally decided to give the NHL a try after the Flyers drafted him in the 2000 entry draft and gave him the type of contractual flexibility he sought– enabling him to have the choice to return home if things didn’t work out here. Obviously that is no longer an issue. Cechmanek has more than proven that he belongs in the NHL. Indeed, Cechmanek has arguably been the Flyers most valuable player to date. However, since he does not qualify as an NHL rookie and was already a known quantity– at least in the international hockey community– Cechmanek will not be considered a “graduated” prospect.However, give Flyers head European scout Inge Hammarström full marks for recommending that the Flyers use a draft pick on the veteran.
Simon Gagne: Gagne started out slowly this season due to a nagging groin pull. Since then, he has gone on two goal scoring tears that Read more»
Johan Witehall, a 28 year old forward from Sweden, was picked up off waivers today by the Montreal Canadiens. I am not exactly sure why Witehall was put on waivers, but it was likely that the Rangers tried to send him to the minors, thus taking a chance of putting him on waivers. But now it looks like a bad move as Johan is headed to Montreal, which needs all the help they can get.
I am kind of upset by this move. I don’t feel Witehall was given a fair chance by the Rangers. It’s obvious he’s not a goal scorer, but if you give him a decent amount of playing time he’s good for 15 goals a season. He’s a speedy skater and a great penalty killer. He was with the Rangers for the past few weeks, but was scratched in most of the games, and when he was in the lineup he didn’t play much. He was playing extremely well in Hartford before he was called up.
There’s not much else to say except for it was a nice pickup by Montreal and I wish Johan the very best.
News and Notes: Derek Armstrong and Vitali Yeremeyev were recalled from Hartford yesterday. Armstrong will center the 3rd line tomorrow in Boston while it is unsure if Yeremeyev will play in any of the 2 games this weekend. Yeremeyev was on 48-hour recall, but he will likely stay with the team now as a roster spot is open because of Witehall’s departure.