On Beyond Cujo
As with the last three years, Curtis Joseph will be the main man between the pipes for the Maple Leafs but after that, the picture gets a bit fuzzy. Granted, with a new contract in his pocket, SEL All-Star Mikael Tellqvist is the odds on favourite to be the back-up, and barring a serious injury or a horrendous camp will probably get the job. However, how will the rest of the organization’s goaltending shake out? With Jimmy Waite now in Europe it looks like Mike Minard is pencilled in as the starter with an outside chance of swapping places with Tellqvist on the big team. But behind him, there are a few different choices.
, an undrafted backstop signed with Toronto a couple of years ago after impressing them in rookie camp. While he has made steady progress playing for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL, at this stage in his career he is still more of a suspect than a prospect having yet to post a save percentage above .900.
, 21 and three years removed from his selection in the third round by the Buds has had a difficult junior career. After a promising start he ran into major knee problems and really hasn’t been the same since. At this point it’s not so much a medical concern as it is a psychological one. Hodson’s confidence fell so low last season that he ended up splitting time with Robert McVicar and Geoff McIntosh.
, came, saw, and conquered in rookie camp after Toronto took a flyer on him in the eighth round of the 1999 Entry Draft, and th Read more»
For much of the early part of Philadelphia Flyers history, goaltending was a major strength of the organization. From Bernie Parent to the young Pete Peeters to Pelle Lindbergh to the young Ron Hextall, the Flyers rarely had reason for concern between the pipes. For much of the last decade plus, however, the Flyers have been suspect in goal, with draftees such as Dominic Roussel and Tommy Söderström failing to take the starting job and run with it and veterans such Hextall, Sean Burke, and John Vanbiesbrouck suffering letdowns at crucial moments.
In recent years, the organization has re-stocked its goaltending depth through the draft; nabbing 1999-2000 rookie sensation Brian Boucher in the first round of the 1995 draft; Jean-Marc Pelletier (now with the Carolina organization) in the second round of the 1997 draft; 1999-2000 Finnish Elite League Rookie of the year Antero Niittymäki in the sixth round of the 1998 draft; and Maxime Ouellet, who is considered a franchise-goalie caliber prospect in the first round of the 1999 draft.
Last season, the Flyers used a mid-round draft pick to take veteran Czech star Roman Cechmanek, hoping that Cechmanek could step in as Boucher’s backup. Instead, as Boucher struggled, Cechmanek (after a brief stint in the AHL early in the season) not only claimed the starting job, he ended up as the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy and 4th in the Hart Trophy balloting. The big netminder, who will turn 31 by the end of the 2001-02 season, enters the upcoming season firmly entrenched as the Flyers star Read more»
The Rangers’ defensive depth can not be overlooked. Although the Rangers’ defense was horrible last season (they gave up the most goals against in the NHL), the future blue line does look bright on Broadway. I fully expect at least one rookie defenseman to stick with the team this year for the entire season. Glen Sather added veteran defenseman Igor Ulanov and Dave Karpa to the club, therefore taking away the opportunity for more youngsters to make the team on defense. Last year’s rookie defensemen, Tomas Kloucek and Dale Purinton, were bright spots on a bad team, while others such as Mike Mottau and Peter Smrek impressed in a few games towards the end of the season. Tomas Kloucek will be out until around December, as he is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in a game late last season against the Atlanta Thrashers when his leg slammed awkwardly into the boards, but, it will take him longer than that to get back to the level where he was last season.
Unless a trade is made, there is a log jam at defense for the Rangers. Brian Leetch, a fully recovered Vladimir Malakhov, Kim Johnsson, Igor Ulanov and Dale Purinton appear to have spots locked up to start the season, while Dave Karpa will likely stay on as a 7th defenseman. Kloucek will still be recovering, as will Sylvain Lefebvre who had shoulder surgery this off-season. The 6th spot is up for grabs during training camp, and whoever plays the best will likely wind up being the one who stays with the big club. Mike Mottau and Peter Smrek s Read more»
Myrvold originally one of Norway`s brighter prospects said no thanks to an offer from Mike Milbury`s Islanders earlier this summer. His agent was working out a deal with the Montreal Canadiens when Myrvold decided the after tax salary of 175,000 USD was enough to make him say yes to Bern of the Swiss league.
In 2000-01 he recorded (69gp 5g 24a 29tp 129pim) with Springfield and in 13 games with the parent Islanders he notted 1 assist.
So for this Viking, the journey to the NHL now goes through Switzerland and SC Bern.
Other News and Notes: American Defender Matt Jarret ex. UConnecticut defender is back in the states after some tryouts in France and Norway. Jarret hopes to return to Norway for a tryout with VIF-Hockey and some other clubs later this summer.
Aker Hockey has signed up several new players for the Norwegian 4th division including American center Eirk Olsen (5-11 180) and Canadian winger Ryley MacKenzie(5-10 175). These players along with a new Swedish sniper should help Aker move back up to a higher division next season and they join American player-coach Evan Andriopoulos (def.6-2 220).