With the American Hockey League’s stretch run in full swing, many of the
Houston Aeros are fighting to keep their spot in the Minnesota Wild
According to The Houston Chronicle, one of the toughest decisions the Wild
will face involves newcomer Tony Virta, who leads the Aeros with 55 points.
Virta’s contract includes an option that will allow Minnesota the
opportunity to renew over the summer.
“I would not exercise the option unless I thought he could play at the NHL
level,” said Wild GM Doug Risebrough. “I’m trying to look at our lineup and
find a way to say, ‘This guy deserves a chance,’ because he has been
arguably the best player (in Houston).”
Aeros goaltender Jamie McLennan is an unrestricted free agent this summer,
and has spent the entire season in Houston while Manny Fernandez and Dwayne
Roloson have been strong between the pipes for the parent club. If he isn’t
moved before the March 19th trade deadline, he will have the opportunity to
sign with another NHL club this off-season.
Approximately 50 percent of the Wild’s 50-man roster is under contract for
next season. That leaves some very important decisions ahead for the
National Hockey League club, as they will have to decide who is staying, who
is leaving, and who will be arriving.
Crucial time of year
Nine of the Aeros’ 13 remaining games will be played against West Division
rivals Chicago, Milwaukee, Utah and Grand Rapids, including a crucial two
game homestand on Thursday and Friday against Utah, a team they lost 6-2 on
If this year’s Windsor Spitfires hockey club is going to pull off a first round “upset”, or any subsequent round “upsets”, everyone knows that three players will be key: goaltender Cory Campbell, defenceman Tim Gleason, and forward/superpest Steve Ott.
Accepting this as fact is not difficult, it’s obvious. But what if….Campbell slumps, Gleason gets injured, or Ott finds himself more in the penalty box than on the ice? Would this automatically spell the end of Windsor’s chances?
No, and here are three reasons why:
1) Goaltender, Ryan Aschaber.
Ryan is now in his third year with the Spitfires. He’s played in more than 75 games over this time and sports a very decent 3.51 career goals against average. Not your everyday, average, backup goaltender. Furthermore, having had to take a back seat — first to Michael Leighton, and now to Cory Campbell — Aschie would have plenty to prove. Now throw in the fact he’s well rested and voila, the Spits have got themselves a goaltender who could take them just as far as Campbell — if need be.
2) Defenceman, David Bowman.
David is in only his second year with the Spitfires; but with confidence way beyond his two years of major junior experience, Bowman patrols the blueline both swiftly and aggressively. As in swiftly he races to the dump-ins, aggressively he fires the puck off the glass and out. Or swiftly he races to the front of the net, aggressively he tries to move his opponent. Now throw in the fact that a good playoff run might just be the determining factor on whether or not he gets drafted thi Read more»
LEAFS DRAFT RECORD ABYSMAL
What do the Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils have in common? First, they have split all of the last seven Stanley Cups amongst themselves. What possible reason is there that these four teams have been dominant over the last seven years? The answer lies within their other commonality, their franchise superstar and base of surrounding stars were built from there own great draft selections.
Colorado drafted Joe Sakic, their franchise superstar, and also drafted star players Adam Foote, Milan Hejduk, Alex Tanguay, Martin Skoula and Chris Drury to compliment Joe. Dallas’ Mike Modano is their franchise superstar and a former first round selection. Dallas used draft picks to add Derian Hatcher, Jere Lehtinen and Jarome Iginla (who they used to acquire Joe Nieuwendyk) and this was the star base that took them to their Cup win. New Jersey’s franchise player, Martin Brodeur, was a Devils draft pick. They reinforced their lineup with superstar skill from the draft in the form of Scott Neidermayer, Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora. Finally, Detroit’s star player Steve Yzerman was a product of their amateur draft selections. They also added superstars Niklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Keith Primeau, Martin Lapointe and Chris Osgood from the draft.
If you look at the Leafs past decade of drafts, their top selections have never developed into anything more than role players. The only star they drafted, Kenny Jonsson, is far from a franchise player. Grant Marshall is a fourth line winger on Read more»
A Chat with NHL Referee Kerry Fraser
by: Frank Porcelli – BlackhawkZone Read more»
WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE
There are four games in the WHL on Wednesday night. Calgary plays at
Kelowna, Prince George travels to Portland, Brandon (7) is at Regina and
Seattle visits Spokane.
There were four games on the WHL schedule for Tuesday night. Kootenay
defeated Vancouver 6-3, Red Deer (1) got by Medicine Hat 5-3, Calgary beat
Kamloops 7-4 and Brandon (7) got past Moose Jaw 5-1.
At Kootenay, Tomas Plihal had one goal and two assists to lead the Ice,
while Darren Lynch had one goal and one assist for Vancouver. Curtis Fransoo
‘s first goal of the season turned out to be the game-winner in the third
At Medicine Hat, Andrew Bergen scored two goals and added two assists for
the Rebels while Bryce Thoma had one goal and two assists for the winners.
Joffrey Lupul scored his 55th goal of the season for Medicine Hat.
At Kamloops, Frederik Sjostrom scored two goals and added one assist for the
Hitmen, while Brandon Segal added a pair of goals to the winners’ attack.
Owen Fussey had one goal and two assists for Calgary, while Lance Morrison
added four assists. Scott Upshall had three assists for Kamloops while
Shaone Morrisonn had one goal and one assist.
At Moose Jaw, Caine Pearpoint scored a pair of goals to lead Brandon, while
Eric Fehr added a pair of assists. Kyle Brodzik scored the lone goal for the
Warriors, who were out-shot 43-14. Kyle Kettles made 38 saves in the Moose
ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE
There are four games on the Wednesday night OHL schedule. Ottawa is at
Belleville, Br Read more»