The Calder Corner
Dan Blackburn: 1st NHL win, 23 shots, 22 saves, 1-1-0
As a general rule, I will always list goals and assists and other noteworthy stats. If there is more to be noted, HF encourages our readers to talk about them below!
Fortunes freezing up for the ICE
What’s wrong with the Kootenay ICE? For the first time the club’s four-year history in Cranbrook, that’s the question being asked with more and more frequency among the ICE faithful. And with two important home dates this week against the defending Memorial Cup champion Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday and a Prince George Cougar club that is finishing a long road swing into Alberta and Southeastern B.C. on Saturday, the Key City club has a limited amount of time to find the solution to their woes and prohibit themselves from falling to a 4-9 record on the young season.
After a 4-1 loss to the Kamloops Blazers at home last Friday and a disappointing 4-3 road loss to Medicine Hat the next evening, calls of a familiar ring around the Kootenay ICE this season reared its ugly head once again – sub-par goaltending. It’s a cause that after Friday’s loss to the Blazers, Coach McGill vehemently begs to differ. “It’s unfortunate that our goaltender played very well tonight and our other guys didn’t show up and help him out,” said McGill of rookie Bryan Bridges performance against the Blazers. “(It’s) very uncharacteristic of the way we’ve played lately as far as our defensive game and not allowing many shots . . . We’ve got a long ways to go.”
Against the Blazers it was a defensive unit prided on its depth and experience that had trouble containing the speedy and physical Kamloops forwards and allowed an un-Kootenay like 38 shots on the rookie Bridges while a stymied offence only generated a paltry 21 shots on the Blazers’ Steve Belang Read more»
Three Strikes, Now What?
Let’s play a round of Front Page Challenge. It is sometime in early June 2002, the phone in your office rings, your receptionist tells you it’s Toronto Maple Leaf GM/Coach Pat Quinn and covering your eyes with one hand, you pick up the receiver with the other? Who are you? Kudos if you answered Ottawa 67’s GM/Coach Brian Kilrea who has got to be wondering what to do now that Leaf 6th rounder Jaroslav Sklenar has decided to return home to the Czech Republic only a few games into the season. This marks the third year in a row where ‘Killer’ has taken a Leaf product in the import draft and come away less than satisfied. First there was Luca Cereda in 1999. He had a great rookie camp in 2000/2001 once he came over to North America and was touted as a possible OHL Player of the Year candidate. Heart surgery cost him the year and he was assigned to St. John’s this time out. Vadim Sozinov was selected in 2000, and although he got off to a slow start, by the end of the year he was an integral part of the 67’s offense. Alas, he returned to Russia in the off-season. Some say it was his idea, others say it was Kilrea’s, still others mutual agreement. Bottom line: No European player. Enter Jaroslav Sklenar. Whereas both Cereda and Sozinov were both 1st round selections in the Import Draft, Kilrea waited until the 2nd round this time out before grabbing the Czech. And as stated, again, the dice have come up craps. How much longer is Kilrea going to keep answering that phone when Quinn calls? Who knows. As far as the Leafs GM is concerned tho Read more»
“Now I know how Custer felt”, said University of Ottawa’s head coach and UNH alumni Mickey Goulet after being routed 9-1 by the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team Friday night in Durham, NH. Coach Goulet went on to say, in no particular order, “UNH looks incredible”, they put on one hell of a clinic tonight”, and “UNH showed experience and composure”. Not exactly comments used to describe the play of UNH in the last 12 months.
UNH wasted little time in their rejection of last season. In a display as rare as a snow free New England winter, all five UNH players rushed the net to stuff a rebound. The goal was awarded to the rejuvenated Patrick Foley, who returned this season after surgery on both knees last year. UNH went on to score three more goals in the period, produced by the usual suspects, Jim Abbott, Colin Hemingway and Lanny Gare. UNH displayed excellent puck control, tape-to-tape passing, hustle, good decision-making and the one thing curiously absent from last season, the ability to finish.
Goaltending, probably the biggest question mark this season was rarely tested, with Matt Carney stopping both shots on goal. Carney did however handle the puck several times and was rock solid with decision-making and skill. At times, had he not played like a professional, Carney ran the risk of falling asleep due to inactivity. Michael Ayers, the second UNH goalie, played the second and third periods. He did give up one goal, but like Carney was dangerously close to losing consciousness at times due to inactivity. Ayers provided a Hasek-esque mom Read more»
At the beginning of the season that was the question. After ten games, it still is a question to be answered.
The “boat”, as some fans here call the team, has begun the season with a team-record six wins in a row, including one at the home of the team’s harsh rival Rimouski Oceanic. For most of those wins, were missing six players: rc Yannick Lehoux (2000 3rd pick of L.A.Kings) g Ghislain Rousseau (2000 4th pick of Buffalo Sabres ) rc Joël Perrault (2001 5th pick of Anaheim Mighty Ducks) rw Robin Leblanc ( 2001 3rd pick of New Jersey) ld Daniel Bergeron (invited by the NY Islanders) and lc Pascal Pelletier (invited by the Edmonton Oilers)
Undrafted and uninvited to a pro camp veteran player Charles Linglet, matched with an undraftabled sixteen years old rookie Benoit Mondou (son of former Montreal Canadiens Pierre Mondou), were carrying the team on their shoulders. Linglet had a swell start with a hat-trick in each of the first 3 games of the year and is still the league’s points leader with 28.
After this record start, things begin to look worse with 3 losses. It seems that the team has suddenly learned to lose in team. Nothing seems to work, sloppy goaltending, bad defensive mistakes, lack of transition game, lost of momentum, bad chemistry etc. Everybody wanted to put it in the net but no one seems to be able to score the key goal.
In the tenth game, things settled a little bit with a 6-3 win. In it. the star team captain Lehoux scored 4 goals, 2 of those goals shorthanded. In 5 games, Lehoux (who scored 5 of his 8 goals Read more»