Albany Week in Review #24
Trade deadline: Devils’ swaps; no Rats involved
Tuesday, March 19, 2002 was trade deadline, at 3:00 pm EST. The Devils swung a pair of deals by that time, neither involving River Rats. Stephane Richer, right winger who was part of the Devils’ 1995 Stanley Cup championship team, was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 7th round draft pick in next year’s (2003) entry draft.
The bigger deal involved the Dallas Stars. Pivot Jason Arnott and right winger Randy McKay were dealt in the final minutes before the trade deadline. In exchange, the Devils acquired centers Joe Nieuwednyk and Jamie Langenbrunner, both members of the Stars’ 1999 Stanley Cup championship team. The Devils also surrendered a first round draft pick to the Stars. No minor league players were involved in either deadline deal today.
Defenseman (now assistant coach) Kinnear honored
In the year after he retired due to injury, Geordie (“Champ”) Kinnear was honored by the Albany River Rats. An original member of the team, a member of the 1994-1995 Calder Cup championship team, a four-time selectee for the AHL All-Star Classic, and three-time captain, Geordie Kinner had his #4 jersey unfurled from the rafters at the Pepsi Arena on Saturday night.
It was ironic that the ceremony, in which his number was “honored” (displayed, but not “retired”), came against the Providence Bruins. Several years back, he broke a bone in his hand in a fight against the Bruins after a melee broke out in front of the Rats’ Read more»
There’s only one thing better than seeing two rivals battle it out in a game during the regular season…
Seeing two rivals battle it out in a playoff series.
The I-5 rivalry will heat up yet again when the Portland Winter Hawks play the Seattle Thunderbirds in game 1 of their WHL 1st round series on Friday. Portland has had a decisive edge in this series, winning nine games, losing once in regulation, losing once in overtime and getting one tie against them. Portland has outscored Seattle 55 goals to 35 goals in the 12 game series. With all this as evidence, it’s clear that Portland should have absolutely no trouble with the Thunderbirds, right?
Realistically, the Hawks should take this series as long as they come to play. But lets not forget, this is the playoffs. There are no definites in the playoffs. Just take a look at last year, and you’ll see how unpredictable the playoffs truly can be. Seattle was the sixth seed in last year’s Western Conference playoffs, back when they only had six teams in the West. They played the first seed Kelowna Rockets in the first round, and subsequently beat them. This gave the Hawks the bye in the second round, as they were the highest seeded team to make it past the first round. This year, however, there are no byes. With the addition of two teams to the Western Conference, there are 8 teams in this year’s playoffs, and no byes will be given to any team. Portland finished 3rd overall in the West, but they’ll play Seattle in the first round because the first round matchups are divisional.
These teams are not Read more»
Kris Beech : Right at the start the pressure was on for the young Kris
Beech. He made the team after a strong camp, was put on a line with “Le
Magnifique” and was THE story in Pittsburgh. There was some Calder hope at
that point, but now that the season is coming to an end, it’s time to ask if
hopes were unrealistic for Kris Beech. When you think about it, Beech was
fresh from the Junior where he played only 40 games due to injury, he had
only 4 NHL games to his resume and he was already on a must-produce
situation. Yes, Beech’s expectations were too high for this season, but it
was part of his development. He learned a lot, played some good games
and showed that he has his place in this league. Here are his main skills : puck control, skating abilities, shot and play along the boards. On the
mental aspect you look at hard-working kid with good hockey sense and vision
of the ice. However, the British Colombia native will need to be more
consistent offensively and he needs to keep working on his game. Hopefully
Beech will come up faster, quicker and stronger for next year’s training
camp. If he does so, look up for him next year and forget about the second
Below is a table which shows the stats of this year’s NHL Rookies
coming from the CHL. These poor stats are encouraging for Beech’s future,
but it’s not a good sign for the Canadian Hockey League to have only 4
graduated in the top 30 rookie leading scorers.
Name Age Rank DraftedJunior League/TeamLast Year Stats
This Read more»
Below is the transcript of my chat with 2001 Philadelphia Flyers draft pick , and Red Deer Rebels defenseman Jeff Woywitka.
Hockey’s Future : Red Deer finished the season as the top ranked junior team in Canada , what do you think contributed to you guys having such a great season?
Jeff Woywitka : Everyone on the team really stayed with the program during the course of the season. We had a goal at the begining of the season and that was to be number one at the end of the regular season , we accomplished that. Now it is time to focus on the playoffs.
HF : What were your feelings when you were drafted by the Flyers in the first round last summer? , Was there any one team you wanted to really be drafted by?
JW : I was happy to be picked by a first class team like the Flyers. They have a winning tradition , and I hope to be part of their plans in the near future. There wasn’t any one team I wanted to be drafted by , just to be selected was such an honor.
HF : Mikhail Yakubov , a rookie in the WHL was your leading goal scorer and point leader this season , how much did he contribute to your success’ this year?
JW : Mikhail was a huge part of our team and got better as the season wore on. His is a great leader in his own way.
HF : How is it playing in Red Deer? , So many NHL prospects come out of that program , does that really help your development playing up there?
JW : Red Deer is a terrific place to play. Brent Sutter , has taught me about what it takes to succeed on and off the ice. Playing here in Red Deer really does help Read more»
Regular season over, bring on the post season.
The Western Hockey League held a press conference on Wednesday morning to announce the awards for the regular season and to welcome the playoffs starting March 22nd.
The playoff matchups in the first round look great with many rivalries set to be stirred.
“One of the objectives we had in establishing four new divisions within the Western Hockey League was to create a greater level of rivalry and interest delivering what the fans are looking for. That is more intense games, more meaningful games with their closest rivals and I think when you look at the matchups in the playoffs this year these playoff rounds are going to be just outstanding,” said Western Hockey League commissioner Ron Robison.
The matchups in the B.C. divison are quite possibly the most heated with Kelowna taking on archrivals the Kamloops Blazers. Blazers have home ice advantage first.
Prince George is also on the road to face Kootenay in the B.C. division.
Brian Maxwell discussed next the Lethbridge Hurricanes series with Red Deer now that Calgary has taken over third in the division.
“Obviously taking on Red Deer again this year, we had real good success against them last year,” said Maxwell sarcastically. “We won the first one, all we did was delay it longer we had to play them five times.”
Head coach for the Hitmen, Richard Kromm, strictly stated at the conference he feels his team is ready for their matchup with Swift Current.
“Our guys have basically been in playoff mode for two to three months now, reall Read more»