Kitchener Rangers- A Postmortem

by Jason Ahrens
on
The Rangers had a wild and crazy 1999-2000 season, there were plenty of changes,
on the ice and off. After numerous personnel changes and a coaching change, the
Rangers made a run at the Midwestern Division title, only to fizzle down the stretch, finishing 2nd in the division and 6th overall. This 66 point performance was a 14 point improvement from last year, when they finished tied for 8th and lost a one game showdown with Windsor for the right to be pummeled by the Plymouth Whalers.

This season the Rangers faced the Sault Greyhounds and bowed out in five games. Three of the four losses were close, two were decided by one goal, and the other, by two.

The Rangers scored 229 goals, an improvement of 24 goals, but they gave up 256, which was actually one better than last year. This is obviously an area of concern, as the team had trouble breaking out of their zone all year. But, there is a lot to be positive about on this team, as they have 13 players born in 1982 or later. So for the Rangers, 2001-2002 may be their year, but they should be better next year too.

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Mike Van Ryn Interview

by Brad Coccimiglio
on

Defenseman Mike Van Ryn of the Sarnia Sting came to the OHL after playing 2
years with the Michigan Wolverines in the CCHA. Van Ryn has made a very
smooth transition from the NCAA to the OHL. I had the opportunity to sit down
with Mike and ask him a few questions.

HF: What were the differences between the OHL and the NCAA?

Van Ryn: “There are a lot of differences. Mostly it’s just how the game is
played. It’s tough to say anything about the talent or anything like that
because the game is played so differently. The college game is a quick game,
it’s more of a speed type or a finesse type game. In the OHL there’s quite a
bit of fighting and in college you don’t have to worry about that. I never
saw a fight in my two years there. Guys tend to play bigger than they are for
the most part. The fact that there is no red line it’s faster and you gotta
be aware of guys sneaking behind you. In the OHL game it’s more of a
pro-style game, with the number of games you play. In college, because I
played in the World Juniors I only played in the high 30′s in terms of games.
I’ve only played about 38 games a season. In two seasons there I played just
over 70 games there. This year alone, with playoffs, I’ll end up playing over
70 games I’m hoping. It’s more of a pro game with the number of games.
There’s always the intimidation factor and just the way the game is played. A Read more»

Brampton Battalion: NHL Entry Draft 2000

by pbadmin
on

It has been a good year for the Brampton Battalion. After a frustrating, but promising inaugural season in 1998/1999, Brampton has improved significantly in their 2nd OHL campaign.

It hasn’t been easy … some would argue that the team’s success was not predictable by any means. In the off season, Brampton lost its leading scorer during the 1998/1999 season (rookie phenomenon Jason Spezza) to the Mississauga Ice Dogs in the OHL priority selection. Spezza was only 15 while playing for Brampton.

Lack of support at home games can have a negative impact on a team. This is also where Brampton has been suffering. Even though Brampton is a city with a population of well over 200,000 people, the Battalion are having trouble filling the stands, owning one of the worst attendance records in the league.

Still, the Battalion overcame the odds and have made the OHL playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The change in the team from its 1st to 2nd year is obvious. The players have matured, improving not only individually, but as a team as well. The rookies on the squad have also played a big part in the Battalions 2nd year success. Brampton’s turn around has not gone unnoticed. The Battalion have 8 players mid season ranked for the NHL entry draft in June, two of which are ranked in the top 10.

Here’s a look at Bramptons top 5 prospects for the 2000 NHL entry draft:

Rostislav Klesla
(mid season ranked 2nd / North America Defensemen and Forwards)
Position: Defense Read more»

OHL Western Conference Recap

by Jason Ahrens
on
The regular season has ended and the playoffs begin on Sunday. Eight teams still have
a chance to play hockey, while the London Knights and Owen Sound Platers have been
relegated to the sidelines, after being the in the conference finals the year before. Such is life in the OHL, where the cycles can be wicked if proper steps are not taken. The Platers tried to make a move up when they grabbed Kenny Coroupe at the trading deadline, but they never got a sniff of the playoffs. They have no drafted players and their top prospect for being drafted this June is Latvian defender Agris Saviels. Their offseason could be turmuoltuos as they may be moving to Cornwall. This is a team that I wouldn’t expect to be very strong next year, based on their current roster.

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OHL Prospect’s Game Report

by Bob Chery
on

Although just one game, the 2000 Prospect’s Game at the Air Canada Center
served as a microcosm for the scouting fraternity’s lukewarm response to this
year’s crop of CHL draft-eligibles. Complete packages are few and far between,
as players strong in one or more elements of the game leave you wanting for
more in other areas.

Trying to watch a game where everyone on the ice is a prospect can indeed be
a challenge. Sitting high behind the net in the first row of the upper deck, the
game has to be broken down into it’s most basic components. For starters,
who among the forwards can take the puck to the net on a consistent basis?
An ability to do so implies some combination of skating ability, acceleration,
stick-handling, and strength to fight off checks.

Mississauga’s LOU DICKENSON was the only player who was a consistent
threat throughout the game, utilizing his speed and acceleration to penetrate
the opposition net on several occasions. Unfortunately for Lou he came up
empty on each foray. Off this game, it would come as no surprise to anyone
that Lou showed well in the Prospect’s Skills Competition where he placed
in the top three for puck-control, the 60-foot dash, and the full lap.

Several more prospects gave a good account of themselves when the home-run
threat was dropped from the equation and other attributes were looked at.

TEAM CHERRY

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