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.
With most of the attention these days focusing on which players will stick with the big club, several Islanders prospects have started off their seasons in various leagues on a tear. In the Quebec league sniper Juraj Kolnik opened up with a goal and 6 pts in his first two games then added a hatrick to raise his totals to 4 goals and 9 points in only 3 games. Meanwhile goaltender Frederik Brind’amour was named defensive player of the week posting a shutout along with a 1.33 GAA and a .944 save%. Skilled pivot Justin Mapletoft who won the praise of Butch Goring in camp opened his season with a two goal three point performance, carrying Red Deer to a 4-4 tie.
As reported by HF’s own Peter Westermark Mattias Weinhandl has been paired with the Sedin-twins in MoDo, and Weinhandl has 1 goals and 2 assists with a +4 after three games. That line, featuring perhaps the three most promising 1980-born Swedes, is one of the most interesting ones to watch for the Elitserien-crowds. As a rookie in the Eliteserien Weinhandl is sure to put up impressive numbers on that line, and may prove to be a huge steal in the third round.
This month’s article will look at the ongoing happenings surrounding the Dallas Stars training camp. The focus will be on the progress of the Dallas youngsters, with my observations being based on local newspaper reports, and on my own observances.
Has really reestablished himself throughout this years camp. Jamie has added seven pounds of muscle, and has increased his determination and focus. Also, his speed has seemed to fit into the Stars new puck possession attack as well. In one recent pre-season game I observed, Jamie was all over the ice. He was robbed twice from the slot, was throwing checks along the boards, fought for loose pucks, and was double shifted for much of the game. All of this is very encouraging, but at this point a roster spot is not at all guaranteed. He still must show a little more offensive touch in order to have a long term future with the club.
After coming over from the Czech Republic, Pavel has really found favor amongst the Stars coaching staff. This is due to the fact that his skating, vision, and passing are assets that the Dallas club has needed for sometime. Further more, the staff has elected to play Patera on the left side of Joe Nieuwendyk, a position that should become a rather nice fit for the rest of the season. If for some reason this pairing doesn’t work then look for Pavel to be the 3rd line center-man.
After all the personnel changes by the Lightning organization, I assumed the first couple of days of camp would be taken up with introductions. Between trades, signings, invitations, and every other conceivable means of acquiring players, the Tampa Bay training camp roster looked very little like last years. The Lightning had a horrible past two seasons, but they did have a core of good players. Injuries were also a problem for the Bolts. Rick Dudley, G.M. of the Lightning, did a good job of bringing in a lot of players. One of the biggest problems in the last couple of years in Tampa was depth. With having to hurry draftees into the lineup and no real minor league system to speak of, the team was not able to develop any depth within the organization.