Oilers youngsters fill in

by Steve Morrow

When the Oilers traded both Tom Poti and Sean Brown at the deadline, the blueline had an opening, so the Oilers called up Sven Butenschon and Ales Pisa to fill the void.

Butenschon has been very steady in the three games, playing about eight minutes a night in the sixth defence spot. Pisa saw his first action against San Jose and definitely had his struggles. With the return of Steve Staios to the line-up, Pisa was pushed to the press box. This is a great time to be an Oiler prospect on defence, although Ferguson and Butenschon have laid claim for now.

The Bulldogs have won 3 in a row; they have a very similar record to the Oilers. Jason Chimera has scored 1g 5a 6pts during the streak. Ales Hemsky has scored 3 goals for Hull but they trail 2-1 to Montreal in the first round of QMJHL playoffs.

Haydar shines at UNH

by Brian Roe

The bigger prospects in the Nashville Predators system, Adam Hall (6’3″), Dan Hamhuis (6’1″), Brian Finley (6’4″) and Andrew Hutchinson (6’2″) are all prominent names in the Preds future. There is, however, a saying that good things come in small packages, an adage that is personified in the form of another Nashville prospect, and University of New Hampshire star, Darren Haydar.

The hockey gods have certainly smiled on the University of New Hampshire Wildcats this season. The #1 team in NCAA Division I hockey boasted an often times unstoppable offense, as well as two senior goaltenders that have played very well. Next week, UNH will make an appearance as one of the finalists in the NCAA’s Frozen Four hockey tournament, where they will open against the Maine Black Bears in a rematch of the Hockey East championship game. UNH won that previous confrontation, 3-1.

Perhaps the main reason for New Hampshire’s success this season is their leading scorer, vocal leader and captain, Darren Haydar. Haydar (22, 5’9″, 165 lbs.), who wears #20 for the Wildcats, is the leading scorer in the nation. In 39 games so far this season, the Milton, ON native has 31 goals and 43 assists for 74 points, an offensive explosion that comes on the heels of back-to-back 41-point seasons. His breakout season has not gone unnoticed, as he is a finalist (and favorite) for the Hobey Baker Award, t Read more»

Simon Gamache after one year pro

by Holly Gunning

Gamache was a star in the QMJHL. He finished as the top scorer of the in 2000-01 with 184 points in 72 games. He was named the 2001 Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year, as well as the 2000-01 QMJHL MVP and MVP of the 2001 QMJHL playoffs. He led his team to the Memorial Cup finals. And most impressively, he beat Mario Lemieux QMJHL’s playoff point record with an amazing 57 points.

Despite these very impressive numbers, Gamache was drafted in the 9th round in the 2000 Entry Draft. Thrashers GM Don Waddell said after the draft that the only reason he fell so far was because of his size, but it is hard to tell if this is the real reason, since Waddell speaks well of all his prospects, even the ones who are longshots. Even if Waddell saw something lacking in his game, he is unlikely to state that publicly.

The question on everyone’s mind is: will Simon Gamache make it to the NHL?

Gamache has good hands, vision, and passing skills. He’s high energy, and exciting to watch. His greatest gift is his ability to put the puck in the net. On the other hand, he’s small, listed at 5’10”, 180 pounds, which does not automatically preclude him from succeeding in the NHL, but unlike some other small players like Paul Kariya or Steve Sullivan, Gamache may lack the speed to compensate for his size.

First Pro Season
Like many players before him, Gamache’s success in juniors has not translated into immediate success in pro hockey.
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Is this the end for Kootenay?

by Jeff Bromley

It’s the end of March and playoff fever taken hold around the Kootenay’s. Unfortunately, it’s become more of an illness rather than a euphoria to both the players and their fans.

Left untreated, this condition will prove fatal.

The Prince George Cougars shocked the Kootenay Ice, their fans and just about anybody but themselves after walking away from the Cranbrook Rec/Plex this past weekend with 4-1 and 3-1 wins respectively, and a 2-0 lead in their WHL Western Conference quarter-final. Facing the prospect of returning to the Prince George Multiplex for three consecutive games, the Cougars will be looking to wrap the series on home ice. Cougar head coach Ed Dempsey, who’s charges failed to win in either of the two occasions at the Rec/Plex during the regular season, including a lopsided 10-4 drubbing the last time the club visited the Key City, was more than satisfied at the two wins.

“We were looking for two solid efforts on the road and that’s what we got,” said Dempsey. “It was nice to win the first one and it gave us an opportunity for another strong effort in the second game.” Dempsey was guarded against overconfidence against the suddenly sputtering ICE and was quick to warn about complacency in the playoffs. “Let’s give some credit to our opponent, these guys have the most goals of any team in the WHL (second to the Medicine Hat tigers actually), you don’t do that without talent and they have some absolutely gifted forwards led by Jarrett Stoll. If we’re going to have any hope at all we better be able to look after our own end or you’re going to Read more»