The New York Rangers made available their list of available players for today`s Waiver Draft. General Manager Neil Smith expects not to sign or lose anyone. However the most intriquing player is Swedish Import, Johan Witehall. Witehall may go the way Maxim Galanov and Vladimir Vorobiev did….via the waiver wire. Witehall has the skills to compete at the NHL level but is mired behind too many NHL level wingers in NY. Derek Armstrong and Brad Smyth are interesting players that could fill roles elsewhere in the NHL. J.F.Labbe had a strong camp and is also interesting but will likely remain in Hartford(AHL).
Camp news, Tim Taylor played with tight legs in his first game as a Ranger, yesterday at the Hartford Civic Center before 9108 and a Rangers 1-0 win over Boston on a goal by Kevin Stevens early in the first. The game was less than a sellout but drew nearly three times as many as the former Whalers now Hurricanes drew and double as many as season tickets as the `Canes have sold for their innaugral season in Raleigh. With chants of Let`s go Rangers, chants from the ghosts of Let`s go nobody and Let`s go Whalers filled the arena as the fine people of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts expressed their displeasure with the NHL`s handling of the Hartford Whalers in 1996-97. Hartford is now home to the rival New York Rangers AHL club, the Hartford Wolfpack whom have also outdrawn the Hurricanes on a nightly basis.
In a day and time when athletes will frequently jump at their earliest chance for the big money, it is refreshing when a young man decides to finish out his program, to complete his degree before moving on to the big-time. Boston College senior centerman, Jeff Farkas, has decided to finish his senior season this year, rather than try to make that big jump into the pool, prematurely.
One could argue, how much more does he have to prove? His team has been to the NCAA finals in his sophomore season and to the Frozen Four again last year. His 32 goal junior season tied him for second in the country in goals-scored. He has scored big goals in big games on numerous occasions. “Scoring the game-winning goal in the Beanpot tournament in Boston as a freshman was one of my biggest thrills in college hockey”, says Jeff.
Jeff has led Team USA and tied for the tournament lead in goals-scored, with current NHL player Olli Jokinen, in the 1998 World Juniors Championship. He has scored 56 goals in 118 NCAA games with one of the nation’s top collegiate teams. What is left to do?
“I’m committed to help to lead our squad this season. As a senior, I want to lead by example and help the younger players on the team. I want to contribute to the success of our team and have a shot to play for the national championship again”, Jeff states. Couple that with the fact that coach, Jerry York, emphasizes that his players get their degree and you see that Boston College is the right place for Jeff, for one more go-around.
What a difference a day makes. As of Monday morning, standout prospect Brian Finley had a legitimate chance to beat out Corey Hirsch for the backup goaltending job in Nashville and defenseman Richard Lintner was just settling in for another season with the Milwaukee Admirals of the IHL. By the end of the day, Finley was facing a certain trip back to the junior ranks, while Lintner had a return ticket to the Predators and a roster spot for the coming season.
Finley can only blame himself for the sudden turnaround in his status. It may have been his outstanding performance during the preseason that pressured veteran goaltender Mike Dunham into finally signing a new contract and thus eliminating the need for a backup goaltender behind would-be starter Tomas Vokoun. At the very least, Finley’s strong showing gave the Predators more leverage in negotiations. He capped the preseason by shutting out the Florida Panthers on 18 shots during a half-game outing in the final exhibition game. The impressive effort improved his preseason goals against average to 1.62 and his save percentage to .929. Despite those numbers, Finley will now be returned to the Barrie Colts of the OHL, where Nashville hopes he can continue to elevate his game.
1999-2000 season opens
The 1999-2000 Ontario Hockey League season opened Wednesday with two games featuring each of the 1999 OHL finalists. The Belleville Bulls, who defeated the London Knights in seven games to win the 1999 OHL Championship Series, hosted the Peterborough Petes, while the Knights traveled to Owen Sound for a rematch of the 1999 Western Conference final. The Petes spoiled Belleville’s home opener by defeating the Bulls 6-4 on the strength of three goals late in the third period, while the Platers defeated London 6-2. Greg Jacina, Owen Sound’s first pick in the 1999 OHL Priority Selection, scored the first goal of the year for the Platers, beating Bill Ruggiero 11:22 into the first period. The 1999-2000 season sees the introduction of the four on four overtime format that was introduced in the National Hockey League this season(see accompanying story). Each team will now receive a point for a tie in regulation time, with an additional point up for grabs during the overtime period. Read more»
With less than a week to go before NHL teams must submit protected lists for the annual NHL Waiver Draft, Toronto’s training camp roster has been pared down to 34 players. And except for a few mild surprises, this current batch of players bears a striking resemblance to the group that took Pat Quinn to the Eastern Conference Finals in his first year as coach of the Maple Leafs.
In goal, Curtis Joseph had the starting job locked up before camp even started, and Glenn Healy was all but guaranteed the job as backup to the man they call Cujo. Joseph has seen limited action, but has looked strong, stopping 30 shots from his former Edmonton teammates for a 4-2 victory on September 14th.
During the off-season, Healy underwent a rigorous training program and in his most recent pre-season game on September 17th, he dazzled by stopping three breakaways and was by all accounts the difference in the game.
Off-season acquisition Jim Waite has been solid in camp, but will start the season in St. John’s of the AHL, the Leafs top farm team, where he is expected to receive the brunt of the work. Waite signed a two-year deal with Toronto in the off-season, a two-way deal for this season and a one-way deal for next season. With Healy expected to retire next summer, Waite is the early favourite to back up Curtis Joseph for the 2000-2001 season.