Canucks’ Defensemen

by Kirk Pedersen
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A look at the young blueliners who will shape the Canucks’ backline for the coming seasons.

The Big Kahuna of all Canuck prospects, not to mention defensemen, is undoubtedly Bryan Allen. The Giant has been slowed in his development by a slew of injuries, which is unfortunate, if it weren’t for injuries, he probably would have spent the majority of ’00-’01 in Vancouver.

Another of the newcomers this season unfortunately didn’t make the NHL. Rene Vydareny, a steal in the third round of the 1999 Entry Draft, spent a lot of this season walking around Vancouver, as he could not get out of a European contract agreement, which prevented him from playing minor pro. (i.e. the AHL, IHL, UHL, whichever other leagues) Once Rene got under contract, one thought he could just step right in and put up points, but it’s good that the Canucks didn’t rush him along in his development, as he has much to learn in the minor leagues before becoming a productive NHL’er. He only had one lonely point in thirty-nine games with the Blades of the IHL, and looked out of place when he was put on the ice by coach Smyl. He is, however, only one year removed from Junior hockey. He will definitely be worth the wait for the Canucks. ETA: 2004, or late 2003.

The next young defenseman is talented, young Zenith Komarniski. He has raw ability. He hasn’t shown the Canucks all that much thus far in his pro career, although he did earn an eighteen-game call-up with the big club last season, as injuries ravaged the Canucks’ blueline. He has as much potential as any d Read more»

Habs’ Prospects Improving

by Chris Boucher
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When trying to determine whether a player will develop NHL calibre skills, we tend to look at how that player is improving year to year. A prospect is just that; a prospect. Only by improving year to year will any player develop the skills necessary to produce at the NHL level. Skating, speed and strength are difficult attributes to measure on a year to year basis. They are far less tangible than raw stats, but in no way less important. The easiest way to measure a player’s improvement is by breaking down their production into a point per game basis. Then comparing that number to the previous year’s total.

When comparing The Montreal Canadiens’ prospects’ point per game totals from this season with those of 1999-2000, Johan Eneqvist shows the greatest improvement. The young Swede was chosen with one of the Canadiens’ 4th round picks, 109th overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’0″, 183 lbs. center averaged 0.64 PPG during the 99-00 season. Through 21 games this season he averaged an incredible 1.62 PPG; an improvement of 0.98. Canadiens’ fans will be keeping a close eye on Eneqvist’s progression next season.

A close second to Eneqvist is Chicoutimi’s Christian Larrivée. Chosen in the 4th round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, Larrivée scored more goals this year than he did points during the entire 99-00 season. The 6’3′, 195 Lbs. center averaged only 0.33 PPG in 99-00. Through 72 games this season He averaged 1.11 PPG; a solid improvement of 0.78 PPG. Larrivée must however, improve his defensive game. He finished 99-00 with an ugly Read more»

Lancers claim USHL’s Clark Cup

by Jason Shaner
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The 2000-2001 season is finally over with the Omaha Lancers grabbing the Clark Cup for being the playoff champion. The Lancers defeated the Lincoln Stars, quite possibly their biggest rivals, who won the regular season title and claimed the Anderson Cup. In getting to the final series Omaha ripped the Des Moines Buccaneers in a 3 game sweep of their best of 5 series. All series this season were 5 games. Omaha then handed the Sioux Falls Stampede their lumps beating them in 4 games. Lincoln also went through the playoffs with relative ease sweeping the Sioux City Musketeers and the Tri-City Storm en route to the Clark Cup finals. Then came the finals.

Omaha and Lincoln played a series that will be remembered for years as one of the best finals in USHL history. Lincoln, defending their home ice in game 1 won 6-1. In game 2 Omaha proved they could defend their turf too handing the Stars a 6-2 loss. Although the scores were pretty one sided, the games were not. Every game in this series was played with ferocity that could not be matched during the regular season. Game 3 saw the games get even tighter as Lincoln was victorious at home 4-3. With the Lancers season on the brink of ending they went home to Ak-Sar-Ben Arena and fought hard to win 4-3 to set the stage for the 5th and deciding game in the series. In Lincoln, most felt the Stars would take the Cup as they had only lost 1 game at home during both the Regular season and Playoffs. But as we know, when it is playoff hockey time, the home ice advantage really doesn’t make a difference. The L Read more»

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