Comparing the Habs’ Top 4 Defensive Prospects

by Chris Boucher
The Montréal Canadiens began each of the last two NHL Entry Drafts by choosing a defenseman with their first pick. Ron Hainsey was grabbed 13th overall in the 2000 draft, while Mike Komisarek was picked 7th overall in 2001. These picks, combined with 2 other players (Matt Shasby, Chris Dyment) mean the Habs’ top four defensive prospects (22 or under) are products of the NCAA.

One of the more interesting ways to judge prospects is to compare their statistics with an established NHLer who once played at the same level. Current Colorado Avalanche star Rob Blake is arguably the best defenseman to emerge from college hockey in the last 12 years. This analysis is not meant to prove whether or not these players will enjoy the same success as Blake; it is simply an interesting experiment, with equally interesting results.

Blake was the Los Angeles Kings’ fourth pick in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. He played four years for Bowling Green University before joining the Kings in time for the 1990 playoffs. His current 6’4″, 225-lbs frame compares favourably to that of Komisarek, while his mobility and puck skills resemble those of Hainsey.

Statistically, Blake averaged 0.30 points per game as a freshman during the 1987-88 season. Dyment, a senior at Boston University averaged 0.24 points per game during his freshman year, while Shasby was slightly better at 0.28 PPG. Hainsey however, with a 0.36 PPG average had slightly better numbers than even Blake, while Komisarek was the most productive of the five, as he ended his freshman year with a 0.38 PPG averag Read more»

13 WHL Players Named to Team Canada

by pbadmin

CALGARY, AB – The Western Hockey League is pleased to announce that 13 players from the WHL has been chosen to attend Canada’s National Junior Team’s Selection Camp from December 10-17 at the Beatrice Ice Gardens in North York, Ontario.

Three players from the WHL (Jay Bouwmeester, Dan Hamhuis, Jarret Stoll) are returning players, having captured bronze with Canada at the 2001 World Junior Hockey Championship.

A total of 36 players will compete at the 2002 selection camp with the goal of being chosen on the final roster of 22 that will participate for Canada at the 2002 World Junior Hockey Championship in Czech Republic, December 25-January 4, 2002.

Thirty-four of the thirty-six players are from the Canadian Hockey League, Canada’s premier junior hockey league. Including the 13 players from the Western Hockey League, there are 12 from the Ontario Hockey League, nine from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and two players who are currently playing in the U.S. College ranks.

Five of the WHL players previously represented Canada as members of the Canada’s National Under 18 team program (Jared Aulin, Nathan Paetsch, Jarret Stoll, Scottie Upshall, Jeff Woywitka).

There are also four members of the Personnel Staff representing Team Canada from the Western Hockey League. Marc Habscheid, Head Coach of the Kelowna Rockets and former member of Team Canada’s Gold Medal Team in 1982 is Team Canada’s Assistant Coach and Assistant Coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Mark Howell is the Video Coach. The Equipment Manager is the Vancouver Giants Tra Read more»

Seven Questions with Juraj Kolnik

by Joe Muccia

After finishing my interview with Raffi Torres on November 24th, I had a chance to sit down with the Islanders young sniper Juraj Kolnik. Drafted in the fourth round (101st overall), Kolnik is being brought along slowly by the Islanders. He has seen time on different lines (ranging from the second line to the fourth) and has gotten some power play minutes during his latest recall. Here’s what he had to say when I sat down with him before the Isles game with the Mighty Ducks.

Hockey’s Future: So what is different this time, you’re second time around with the Isles?

Juraj Kolnik: Everything is different. The speed is different; it gets a little faster from juniors to the American Hockey League and up to the NHL. The practices are different too. I’m just really excited to be here and practice with the guys and if I have a place to play with somebody I want to be ready all the time, whether its the second, third or fourth line, I just want to do my best.

HF: How does Bridgeport compare to the Isles? How is the system different?

JK: We play the same style, I mean the coach (SoundTigers Head Coach Steve Stirling) plays the same style, but there’s a big difference between the NHL and AHL.

HF: How was the switch last year, going from Lowell to Springfield?

JK: It was a great switch, I was coming from junior and wasn’t playing a lot in the AHL and I knew I could play in the AHL. I saw other guys that I had played with in the AHL, in the NHL, so I talked with my agent. I could have Read more»

Three’s Company in the SEL

by Peter Westermark

The Elitserien is at its halfway mark and three clubs have taken possession
of the top three spots, creating a gap to the fourth place in the league.
Perennial powerhouses Djurgården and Färjestad are hovering around the top
spot, as usual. They are joined by HV71, who made a splash in the transfer
market this past summer when they signed players like Finnnish forward Kalle
Sahlstedt and Johan Davidsson, who returns to the club after failing to
establish himself in the NHL.

Another big factor in HV71’s rise to the top has been young goaltender
Stefan Liv who is boasting a 2.17 goals against average and an impressive
92.1 save percentage. Liv, who is drafted by the Red Wings, has also starred
for the Swedish national team and could be named to the olympic team later
this month. He would suit up as the number three goalie in a ”see and
learn”-role behind Edmonton’s Tommy Salo and Pittsburgh’s Johan Hedberg.
Liv, who has grown up watching Dominik Hasek carry teams on his back, looks
like he has been influenced by the Czech star but plays a more conventional

Another revelation for the team has been norwegian forward Per-Åge Skröder
who was a fringe player in the Elitserien until he joined HV71. He is
leading the team with 21 points in 25 games.

Back-to-back champions Djurgården is again near the top of the league,
despite losing a dozen players over the summer, which usually means that the
new players with the team are doing quite well. Mikael Håkansson, who played
last year with the St.John’s Ma Read more»

Chat with Raffi Torres

by Joe Muccia

Raffi Torres and Jason Krog were recently called up to the Islanders from the Bridgeport SoundTigers, which allowed HF to interview one of the best prospects in the Islanders system in Raffi Torres.

Hockey’s Future: When did you get the word you had been called up?
Raffi Torres: I got the word on the bus, I was pretty excited, it was right after the game last night.

HF: Does it help to come here and see guys like Krog and Kolnik in the lockerroom?
RT: Definitely, it helps to have guys I’ve been playing with in Bridgeport here on the Island with me.

HF: What are you going to be thinking when you are standing there and the anthem’s playing?
RT: It’s going to be unbelievable and so exciting. I can’t wait.

HF: Do you have any idea who Peter Laviolette (Islanders Head Coach) might put you on the ice with? Maybe someone like Dave Scatchard who plays a style similar to yours?
RT: I have no clue really, I just want to be ready to play with whomever they put me out there with.

HF: How’s Bridgeport been treating you?
RT: Its great. The team and the city have been great.

HF: Do they (the Isles and SoundTigers) use a similar coaching style?
RT: I’m not really sure yet. I haven’t really been able to find out how Laviolette is, but I know he expects the best out of us and I just want to play well (for the Isles).

HF: Well Raffi, congratulations on your call-up and good luck. Read more»

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