If you close your eyes, you can almost hear the legendary Foster Hewitt’s call now. The Maple Leafs trail the Detroit Redwings, 3 games to none in the 1942 Stanley Cup finals. Coach Hap Day has juggled the lineup to give the team a spark. With the Leafs down in game 4, Charles Joseph Sylvanus (Syl) Apps scores the game-tying goal, then sets up the game-winner as the Toronto team takes game 4. This “spark” leads his squad down the comeback path. Apps scores 3 goals in the last 4 games of that series making Toronto the only team to erase a 3 games to none deficit and win the Stanley Cup. In Michael Ulmer’s book, Captains, Apps states that the comeback victory to win the Cup that year was his most satisfying moment in hockey.
Wisk your way back to the future to March, 1998. It is the ECAC tournament finals pitting Princeton University against Clarkson College. This hockey match goes into double-overtime. Nerves are on edge. Sylvanus (Syl) Cameron Apps, Princeton’s co-captain, goes in alone on a breakaway against Clarkson’ goaltender, Dan Murphy. Apps puts the puck past Murphy for arguably, the biggest goal in Princeton hockey history. The game-winner gives Princeton its first-ever ECAC title and its first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament.
Well, in nine days the Devils will start training camp and there will be a few no shows. As usual the holdouts that take place in New Jersey is no surprise, but what is a surprise is that NJ’s top pick this past draft Ari Ahonen will bypass his opportunity to make an impression on the Devils top brass.
Ari Ahonen, chosen 27th overall, will skip this camp and work on becoming the No. 1 goalie in the first-division Finnish Elite League. Although the 6-2, 172-pound Ahonen is highly regarded, he is only 18.
“He won’t be here,” Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said. “He’s going to be a No. 1 goalie at 18. It’s good, but you like to see your young kids brought along slowly.” Ahonen played for Jyvasklya in the Finnish Junior League last season. Lou feels Ari will be a starting goalie in the NHL in the future. With the progress of JF Damphousse developing a lot slower then the Devils hoped, it only made sense to go out and draft another netminder. A lot of heads turned when Lou Lamoriello choose Ahonen, but NJ who has one of the best scouting system in the league was sold on him from the beginning. It’s rumored that when NJ was scouting slick skating defensman Brian Rafalski they found Ahonen also. “I always take into account what Dave says” (Devils head scout David Conte) “And he came to me and told me that Ahonen was very talented and polished even at 17, we could not take a chance on passing him up.” said Lamoriello
The St. Louis Blues have been busy on and off the ice as of late. Some of the news has been gloomy to say the least. By now everyone knows that Tony Twist was involved in a motorcycle accident that has ended his season before it could begin. Hours after being told by GM Larry Pleau that he was not in the Blues plans this year, a car pulled out in front of Tony while he was riding his Harley in a suburb of St. Louis. Among his injuries, ligament damage to his knee will prevent him from playing much, if at all, this season. Blues fans are relieved, however, that his injuries weren’t life threatening. Tony Twist is a prominent figure in the community and is known for his charity work. Even after his accident he followed through on a commitment to attend one of his many charitable events. It has been suggested that the Blues make a compassionate gesture and make Tony an official representative of the St. Louis Blues. Hopefully this negative can be turned into a positive for Blues fans and Twist fans as well.
David Tanabe, defenseman for the University of Wisconsin Badgers, and their third leading scorer during the 1998-1999 season, has elected to turn pro with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes chose Tanabe in the first round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He was the sixteenth overall pick. The 6’1′ 195 pound nineteen year old, was a true freshman this past season for the Badgers, thus foregoing three years of eligibility. This is the first time the school has lost a true freshman to the pros. Curtis Joseph also left the University of Wisconsin program after only one year.
Tanabe was named to the 1999 WCHA All-rookie team. An excellent skater and passer, he has a hard, accurate shot. The CSB had ranked him twenty-seventh this year. Tanabe will fill the need of an offensive defenseman in the Canes system. It is expected that he will see time with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and the Cincinnati Cyclones of the IHL this season.