Our look at the top players to watch in the CCHA continues with an analysis of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Under head coach Dave Poulin, the Irish have improved considerably, but this season may be a true breakthrough year for the team. Notre Dame has 17 letterwinners returning from its CCHA semi-finals squad of last season, including several players who are finally coming into their own. The Irish have 10 players on their roster who have played either with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program or the U.S. World Junior squad. Notre Dame has more players from the NTDP on its roster than any other school in college hockey. A good recruiting class helped bolster that impressive number over the summer and should keep the Irish strong in the years to come.
Seniors Dan Carlson and Ryan Dolder will be the clear leaders on this young team and should also be among the team’s top scorers. Carlson led the Irish in scoring with 17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points in 42 games. Carlson is undersized at 5-9 and 190 pounds, but he is very strong for his stature. He plays in all situations and shows some of his best work for the power play, where he is an excellent playmaker and is often the Notre Dame point man.
Dobler is a former walk-on who is now the team captain. He is a 6-0 195-pound left wing and while his offensive production is limited, his leadership and work ethic are critical to the team’s success. Dobler scored 10 goals and added 14 assists for 24 points last season.
Some more moves have been made by the Rangers, as this has been a very
exciting week in New York. With the trade of Quintal to Chicago for Grosek
and Brown yesterday, the Rangers roster got a little bigger and they needed
to make some moves.
Defensemen Mike Mottau and Dale Purinton were both assigned to Hartford
of the AHL yesterday, with Purinton being sent there on a 2 week conditioning
stint. Purinton can’t be sent to Hartford without passing through waivers, so
the Rangers just sent him there for 2 weeks while they possibly try and trade
another defenseman to make room for him on the pro club. I really thought
Mottau played well in the 6 games he played. He will definitely get called up
and play in New York this season, but for now the Rangers’ roster is loaded
and he’ll get some time to develop in Hartford. He should get loads of ice
time, and the Rangers management will be keeping a close eye on him. Purinton
should be on the Rangers as well, but there’s a log jam at defense. Either
the Rangers will have to trade another defenseman to make room for Purinton,
or, they’ll have to trade Purinton. But it’s most likely they won’t trade the
In other news, Jamie Lundmark has stated publicly that he will not report
to Moose Jaw of the WHL. He wants to be traded from Moose Jaw to a contender,
and he’s sitting at home while he’s waiting for a trade. This is the wrong Read more»
Two weeks into the OHL season and a disturbing message has already been sent from the Plymouth
Whalers to the rest of the league: We are back.
The Plymouth Whalers franchise seems to never do wrong. As their website once read, “A Decade of
Excellence,” Plymouth seems to stand by the statement, and looks to continue into a new
millennium. Off to a quick 4-0 start, with wins over teams such as Erie and Ottawa, the Whalers
return many of the same faces which brought success last year, and reveal a few new more, ready
to make their mark in the league. 1st round selection James Wisniewski looks to be a bright gem
in the Whalers system. As a defenceman, he leads the team with 4 goals and looks to be the next
person to carry the Whalers blazing torch. As a Windsor supporter, I will be quick to state that
I have never seen an average Plymouth Whalers performance. Year in and year out the Whalers
continue to mold their team around hard work and perseverance. Take last year’s squad for
example. Not expected to make it into the playoffs, the Whalers shocked everyone around the
league and won 17 straight games en route to the best record overall in the league, and an
upsetting loss in the OHL Final to Barrie. Experience might have been the ultimate decider in
their fate, but there is no need to feel down for Whalers fans and players because every
key player from last year’s ‘miracle’ season returns. Led by former 1st rounder Kris Vernarsky Read more»
On the night when Daniel and Henrik Sedin made their long-anticipated NHL debut, two less-heralded Philadelphia Flyers rookies, Justin Williams (the Flyers 2000 first round pick) and Petr Hubacek (a 1998 9th rounder) grabbed the spotlight. Both Philadelphia players scored a goal in their first NHL game and Williams, the game’s first star, also added two powerplay assists.
Williams, playing on the first line with Keith Primeau and John LeClair, had the type of night that every young player grows up dreaming about. Everything he touched turned to gold.
At the 3:14 mark of the first period, Williams found a free lane to the net and scored the first goal of the game.
Said Williams, “We had a little separation out there and Johnny just chipped the puck in the middle. I got a shot off but it was blocked. It kicked around a little bit and found my stick. I just kind of whacked it in.”
Today Terry Murray ended all the speculation about who would be starting in the nets on opening night. Both goalies are coming off years that could be considered their announcement for the rest of the league to stand up and take notice.
In Florida’s pipes last year, Trevor Kidd started out the season with a bang. Trevor was playing with all-star form, sometimes single-handedly keeping the Panthers in games. His numbers were also All-star numbers before he dislocated his shoulder on Dec. 13th. Kidd ranked first in the NHL in save percentage (.930) and was tied for fourth in goals-against (2.08) and wins (13). Trevor rehabbed his shoulder and came back by the end of the year, but was a shadow of his former self and struggled mightily.
In previous years with Carolina, Trevor got into zones where he did appear unbeatable for games on end, but the nagging question was there….how long would that last?
In the pre-season, Trevor looked very sharp and seemed to have no mental worries about his shoulder. He went 1-2 in the pre-season with 2.80 GAA, 11 GA and a 92.6 SP%, but the poor numbers can be attributed to playing with a pre-season roster of defenseman.
Roberto Luongo came to the Panthers in a much publicized off-season trade and promptly showed some skeptical fans the reason he is perhaps the most touted goalie prospect ever.