Another Brother-In-Law for Tucker?
Ask Sherbrooke Castors Coach Jos Canale about Nicolas Corbeil and the one thing that becomes readily apparent is that despite his 5’11” 172 pound size he is not in the mold of what many believe to be the ‘typical’ Q forward: All speed and finesse, little gumption when it comes to the rough stuff. His coach readily admits that his pivot “likes taking runs at guys (and) will take the odd slashing or charging call.” A belligerent player who “can let (his) emotions detract from his play”, this very quality serves him well along the boards. Canale points out that Corbeil is “very good at (this aspect of the game). (He is) persistent, tough, and quick.” In front of the net the Leaf pick, is more of a “darter who slides into empty spots well and who has to keep his feet moving” which serves him well. While his shot from the top of the circle could improve he is “very handy close in.”
That being said his coach observes that “the things that got Nicolas drafted were his skating and passing ability. Skating is definitely a strength in his game. He has a good burst to the outside which he likes to use and also has a crossover move to the inside which he uses as well.” He ability with the puck similarly draws rave reviews from Canale. “Nicolas sees the ice well and puts the puck in good places where a teammate can use it immediately.” And while his charge can go after the home run occasionally the coach states unequivocally “I feel safe that if something bad happens with one of Nick’s passes it’s not going to be a scoring c Read more»
After sparkling in his first ever NHL action against the Detroit Red Wings last Monday, stopping 25 of 27 shots in about 30 minutes of action to earn a 3-2 win, Dan Blackburn followed that up with another excellent performance, this time against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.
The game was a significant one to begin with, considering that it was the first major sporting event played in New York since the terrorists attacks took place a week before. With all the pre-game ceremonies finished, it was time to drop the puck. Eric Lindros was making his first appearance as a New York Ranger, and Brian Leetch also saw action for the first time this pre-season. For New Jersey, their lineup consisted of a lot of rookies and hopefuls, as Patrik Elias, Petr Sykora, Jason Arnott, Martin Brodeur and Scott Stevens were some of the players who did not suit up for the contest.
Blackburn had a solid game, stopping 15 of 16 shots before being relieved in the middle of the second period by Johan Holmqvist. Blackburn played a poised, focused game and showed flashes of what to expect in the future. He robbed one of the Devils on a point blank shot with his glove, flashing it in the air kinda like Patrick Roy. He did a good keeping the Rangers in the game early, as the Devils put on a lot of pressure in the offensive zone and were awarded for their efforts as the Rangers took two penalties, leading to a 5 on 3 advantage for New Jersey. Blackburn turned away everything that was thrown at him, and wasn’t beaten until the 2nd period when Read more»
AHL Southern Division Report
By Al Alven
Covering the Hershey Bears, Norfolk Admirals,
Philadelphia Phantoms and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
With 13 days to go until the start of the 66th season
of AHL hockey, things are beginning to take shape.
This past week, in the Southern Division alone, a
number of developments went down. From rookie/prospect
games to Mario Lemieux demoting himself to the minors
(huh?), it’s been an interesting week.
Let’s take a closer look…
O.K., so that thing about Lemieux sending himself
to the minors was a little misleading. Still, it’s
something I never thought I’d be typing. “Lemieux” and
“minors” just do not belong in the same sentence.
Anyway, for those who haven’t heard, Mario Lemieux
will be playing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
in an exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Penguins
on Saturday night at the First Union Arena in
Lemieux will wear three different jerseys (one
for each period), each of which will be auctioned off
after the game. Proceeds will be donated to various
charitable causes, including the Twin Towers Fund.
You may recall Wayne Gretzky doing a similar
thing a few years back. During his time with the Los
Angeles Kings, the “Great One” suited up for the IHL’s
Phoenix Roadrunners in an exhibition game versus L.A.
For the record, Lemieux has never appeared in a
minor league game. He jumped straight from the junior
ranks (QMJHL) to the NHL after being selected with the
Just a year ago, it would be complex to speculate about the future of certain young blueliners. In fact, young defensemen have it the worst; it is, arguably, the hardest position to learn and, more often than not, it requires physical prowess as well as skill to master. Ask any hockey enthusiast, and he or she will probably tell you that defensemen take longer to develop, unlike forwards. Very seldom does one see a 19-year old OHL star quarterback an NHL team the very next year. More often that not, it takes a blueliner several years in the big leagues to truly achieve expected potential. Take Chris Pronger, for example; he stumbled at first, and was losing confidence. After several years of development, Chris found his niche as a tough, big-hitting, physical force and eventually built up a further offensive flavour to his game.
Keeping that in mind, it is never easy to foresee success of young hockey players, especially blueliners. This season’s crop of young defensemen, features a pack of hopefuls of different ages, styles and expectations. However, it might seem shocking just how much NHL teams will rely on talented defensively-capable youngsters today. This year, it seems like the story of “out with the old, and in with the new”, as younger, gifted players will be given the chance to take on major roles with their respective teams.
Last year, a group of young blueliners had undergone breakthrough years. Notably, Ed Jovanovski achieved all-star status with a 47 Read more»
The Kings are moving along in their preseason schedule, and there have been some surprises – both good and bad. With two cuts already having been made, here is where the Kings are.
First, the development, or lack thereof, of Jaroslav Bednar has to be the primary concern. No matter what anyone says now, the Kings planned on having Bednar on one of their top two lines. After spending the summer saying that he was not like Tomas Vlasak, Bednar has spent the last two weeks proving that he might be exactly like him.
The play of some young forwards has been encouraging. Even though they will likely not make the team, Yannick Lehoux and Jared Aulin have shown that they have NHL-caliber stuff and will be here soon enough. Add to that the surprise play of Chris Schmidt and Derek Bekar along with solid play by Adam Mair and the Kings have the chance to have a young prospect crack the everyday lineup. It will likely be Mair or even Bekar, but the once written-off Schmidt has shown some signs of life and he may finish the season with the big club. Young tough guy Ryan Flinn is battling the likely enforcer Ken Belanger for the muscle spot and if nothing else, he has a steel dome and fears no one on the ice which has been a successful formula for more than one tough guy in the league.
Young defensemen Joe Rullier, Richard Seeley, Tomas Zizka and even Andreas Lilja have shown some spark. Lilja appears to be too slow to be the player they once thought, but he could be a player in the mold of Sean O’Donnell, and those kind of defensemen are valuable. Zizka looks Read more»