The Youngins are the Talk of the League

by Chapin Landvogt

Ahhh, no matter what league we’re referring to, whether it be the NHL, AHL, CHL, NCAA, the leagues throughout Europe, and all those many leagues in between, there’s always a curiosity for every true fan as to what new faces will establish themselves into household names through the course of the season. Let me get more specific considering that *new faces* can also include older, experienced players that are just new to that respective league. What I’m focusing on are the kids…the rookies…the first year players. Every year there are high expectations for kids who often crumble under the pressure. Then again, every year sees its share of kids that seem to come out of nowhere to become shooting stars. In the international realm, these types of kids often become the targets of NHL scouts who are looking to bolster the depth, and hopefully, the successfulness of their franchise by taking a flyer. This type of exuberance and the joy of discovering talent is something that, for the most part, takes place all over the hockey world, but I’d like to inform y’all about a league where this exuberance and the joy of discovering talent is all the rage at this very moment. Yep folks, there’s the DEL in Germany – a league that has pretty much become a second home for many IHL, AHL and even NHL veterans who have gotten up there in age and are looking for a last hurrah (and a few extra pennies along the way). However, this trend has been changing recently and young German born talent has been getting the chance to prove themselves as good and as profitable as the many Nor Read more»

Velebny a Work in Progress

by Stephen J. Holodinsky

Summing up Lubos Velebny’s play to date, Hockey’s Future’s Analyst for the London Knights Jason Ahrens does not hesitate to say he is “disappointed with his performance so far.” While it is true, the Slovak is in the top pairing and plays heavy minutes with the club in all situations, the Knights are presently in last place in the OHL’s West Division so one might wonder where he might fit into a rotation such as Plymouth’s who are currently in first. Something that stands out to Ahrens are the lack of results offensively. “I thought he would have far more points at this stage of the season, as he plays on every power play and usually starts it. He no doubt leads the Knights and maybe the OHL in shots that are blocked, so his decision making hasn’t improved much from last year.”

Ahrens goes on to say that the rearguard “reminds me a bit of Igor Ulanov, a guy who gets too cute in his own end sometimes and gets burned as Oiler fans saw last year in playoffs several times. But has some good abilities like Ulanov and has the ability to make the big hit too. (He) definitely has big league tools, size, shot, skating are (they are all) there, (but he) needs to work on (the) tool box.”

As the Knights have been playing with only five defensemen in a few contests lately this naturally means more icetime for all of the blueliners. As with the Waterloo Blackhawks last year, Velebny looks to be struggling somewhat with the mental aspect of the game at this point and perhaps moving him up to the CHL might have been a bit too much too soon. That said, there is still over half Read more»

Cellar-dwelling in Seattle

by Jeff Arnim

Seattle Thunderbirds

2001-02 record: 6-21-1-0
4th place U.S. Division, 9th place Western Conference
This week: 0-2-1-0

With a weekly schedule that included the Tri-City Americans and Vancouver Giants, the Thunderbirds had a good chance to gain ground on two important Western Conference rivals, but ultimately ended the week in the conference cellar, and the worst record in the WHL. Also this week the team saw two of its players ranked for the 2002 NHL Draft by NHL Central Scouting, and loaned no-show import Andrei Mukhin to the East Division’s Saskatoon Blades.

November 21 – Tri-City 4, Seattle 2
A four-goal explosion staked the Americans to a hefty lead after two periods of play. However the Thunderbirds responded with two goals within the first two minutes of period three, one each from Greg Black and defenseman Tomas Mojzis. Yet despite the quick offensive output, Seattle posted only five shots on goal in the final frame, failing to close the gap. Nick Pannoni made 26 saves in the loss.

November 23 – Vancouver 5, Seattle 5 Read more»

Too Deep on D?

by Megan Sexton

That’s a foreign concept to the Tampa Bay Lightning and their fans. The Bolts are just grasping the need for depth and beginning to acquire it. Now, to tell them their blueline is too deep is likely to daze and confuse them.

The notion of excessive prospects in the Tampa Bay organization is a rare one, but it is a challenge that the team is currently experiencing and one that could case a major traffic jam in the system. A shared affiliation, enough veterans to fill the big club and a few too many defensive prospects has gotten the Bolts in quite a predicament that will have to be rectified–soon.

Due to the dual affiliation between Phoenix and Tampa Bay, the Lightning can only place ten prospects with their AHL affiliate in Springfield. The rest will have to go down to the ECHL and even the UHL. Last season, this situation would have been ideal for the baby Bolts, who played much of the season with virtually half a team. As GM Rick Dudley trudges on with Tampa Bay’s rebuilding process, he continues to add quality prospects to the system, hence our dilemma.

For the first time in the Davidson era, the Lightning are able to fill their blueline with–get this–NHL-quality players. Of course they don’t have a Stevens or a Pronger or even a Hamrlik, but they are not playing with three and four rookies either, as they were forced to do in past years. Off-season additions have pushed the rookies down the depth chart to the minor leagues, where they belong.

The season began with relative ease: Mike Jones arrived to camp with heel fractures, s Read more»

Jackets AHL Player Update

by Aaron Vickers

First, transactions that have taken place between the Blue Jackets and their AHL affiliate the Syracuse Crunch. The Jackets have reassigned goaltender Karl Goehring to Syracuse(from Dayton). Goehring, finished up his NCAA career last season, posting an 80-20-13 record in the NCAA ranks, setting a new record. Goehring replaces Gardner, who is reassigned to Dayton.

Columbus has returned forward Mathieu Darche to Syracuse of the AHL after being called up on November 1st. Darche tallied for one goal (1-0-1) in 7 games with the Jackets.

Defenseman Darrel Scoville is still expected to miss 4-6 weeks after suffering a 3rd Degree shoulder separation a few weeks ago.

Stats as of Thursday, November 22nd

Mathieu Darche(LW) – Darche was just recently relocated to Syracuse after an unsuccessful stint with the Jackets. Darche had 7 points (6-1-7) in 9 games before being recalled. What has he done since being returned? About as much as I have in Syracuse…nothing. He’s only played 2 games since his return, but has yet to put up any points.
Read more»

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