What awaits the Ice House this year? Will it be a version of the 95-96 London Knights or the Knights of the last two seasons?
This Knights team can do some more damage if they get some keys guys returning. Teams like Barrie, Sarnia and Plymouth will be taking the brunt of a lot of games this year instead of giving them. Then again that all depends on how Finley plays for Barrie or if Sarnia gets back Sarno and if Plymouth can get back Legwand. As for the Knights, if the first exhibition game is any indication then the Knights are in good shape. They are coming off a birth in the OHL finals. Last year nobody thought they would make it out of the first round let alone make it to Game 7 of the finals.
WHO IS GONE:
Richard Pitirri – A excellent center. What can’t be said about this guy. He is a faceoff artist who was voted third in the league at faceoffs. Last season he decided to comeback to the London Knights as an overager. He turned down playing with Cincinnati of the IHL to play for them. Well it was probably his best choice as he finished the season with 76 points leaving him 4th on the team. Plus his 34 points in the playoffs was a great accomplishment. This season he will be playing with Portland of the AHL.
Over the past few seasons there have been a lot of people
questioning what direction Canadian hocky was heading in. With an eighth
place finish at the 1998 World Junior Championships, and fourth at the
Nagano Olympics, many people in hockey crazed Canada were left with reasons
That’s when Canadian hockey decided that something needed to be done to get back on track, so to speak. Canada is still the number one player producer for the NHL as 60%-70% of NHL players call the “Great White North” their home. The problem lays in that
European players are becoming more dominant, and Canada is not producing talented players at a rate comparable to smaller countries like Sweden and the Czech Republic.
To try and figure out how to get back on
top, Canadian Hockey held the Open Ice Summit, the first of its kind, from
August 25-27. Some of the best hockey minds in the country like Toronto Maple Leafs president Ken Dryden, Canadian Hockey Association president Bob Nicholson and Canadian Hockey League president David Branch were in attendance.
With OHL training camps set to open up this week now would be the perfect time to take a closer look at the upcoming OHL season. Let’s start by taking a look at the Western Conference and, more specifically, the West Division.
Go-to-guys: Josef Vasicek had a fairly good rookie season and will likely improve on his totals from last season. Cory Pecker, after missing most of the 1997-98 season with Chron’s Disease, had a breakthrough season last year and will be looked to for more of the same. He will be a key in the Greyhounds success.
Key Departures: Chad Cavanagh scored 40 goals last season despite going into a scoring slump late in the year. Adam Nittel’s 18 goals and 336 penalty minutes will also be missed.
Breaking Through: After scoring just three goals and 10 points in his rookie season Tim Zafiris is starting to realize his offensive potential and could hit the 20 goal mark this season.
Newcomers To Watch: First-round draft pick Trevor Daley will be playing on a very experienced Greyhound blueline, but will get every chance to prove that he can play at the OHL level. Veteran winger Brent Theobald, acquired from the Mississauga IceDogs, will provide the Greyhounds with veteran leadership.
Go-to-guys: Rico Fata will be looked to for offense if he doesn’t crack the Calgary Flames lineup. Jay Legault and Tom Kostopoulos will also be looked to if they are brought back as overage players. Read more»