USHL – The Heat is On

by Jason Shaner

It’s getting close. The end of the year is not far away and things are only getting better as the season goes along. The playoff races are starting to take shape.

In the Eastern Division the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders still are the leader of the pack with 61 points. But the RoughRiders have fallen on some rough times and their mettle is being tested. The problem for Cedar Rapids is their closest competitors; Des Moines and Green Bay have games in hand. Currently Cedar Rapids has a six-point lead over Des Moines (55 pts) and a ten-point lead against Green Bay (51 pts). What does this all mean? Maybe nothing but if Cedar Rapids should fall from the Division lead and go into the playoffs without the coveted Division Title and number two seed, problems are abound for the ‘Riders. Cedar Rapids then would likely face a grueling series against Omaha, Sioux City or Sioux Falls, and give them home ice on top of that. Cedar Rapids has not fared well against those three teams. Cedar Rapids is collectively 0-7 against Omaha, Sioux Falls and Sioux City. Five of their remaining 14 games are against those same teams. The Buccaneers have been hot but still have not proven they can win consistently on the road. If Des Moines is going to overtake Cedar Rapids for the Division lead and win in the playoffs, they’re going to have to win on the road. Green Bay is a lock for the playoffs but hasn’t been exceptionally impressive lately. The Chicago Steel appears well on their way to a playoff birth in their 2nd year of existence. Waterloo and Rochester will simply fig Read more»

No Longer Strangers to Success

by Jason Ahrens
The fans of the Kitchener Rangers have had a few trying years, but this year has been a ray of sunshine. The team is fighting for home ice advantage in the ultra-competitive Western Conference in the OHL and has laid a foundation for the years ahead. Behind the scenes, the Rangers hired Peter Deboer and Steve Spott to coach and run the team, plucking them from the Plymouth Whalers, where they had built a strong contending team that made it to the OHL finals two years in a row and had graduated several players to the NHL ranks. Good management and good coaching are two vital components of building a winner in the OHL and the Rangers now have that covered.

Another important component is filling the two import spots with quality players. This year the Rangers have had a pair of Czechs on the wings, 19 year old Petr Hemsky and 17 year old Petr Kanko who are on pace for close to 30 goals each and they give the Rangers two scoring lines. Kanko has been a solid addition, making the transition as a rookie through all the cultural barriers and the change in style of hockey. He is a great stickhandler, likes to play the off wing, and is willing to get his nose dirty in front of the net. Look for him to get his name called this June in the NHL draft, and will likely go in the second or third round. But it has been a long time since the Rangers have had this much contribution from their Europeans and it has resulted in a lot more wins this season.

The overage position can really make or break a team and this season the Rangers have 3 solid players. Capt Read more»

Update on Manitoba Moose players

by Kirk Pedersen

Review of the play of individual players for Manitoba, the head farm club of the Canucks, to this point.

Starting from the top, Tyler Bouck has been a good addition to the Moose roster since coming over with Todd Warriner and Trevor Letowski from Phoenix in exchange for Drake Berehowsky and Denis Pederson, who have both pretty much resumed their respective waking comas after good starts with Phoenix. Bouck, however, has added to the grit and tenacity that is already in high supply with the Moose. We’re already very aware that he won’t be an offensive producer at any level, but he will still provide third and fourth line grit and energy to any team he plays for. At this point, a stop in Vancouver appears unlikely.

When the Canucks went looking for a back-up goaltender in September’s Waiver Draft, GM Brian Burke figured he had found a diamond in the rough in Martin Brochu. Whilst thousands of Canuck fans across Canada scratched their collective heads about the decision; Brochu set out to show Canuck fans that he wasn’t another career minor-leaguer. Unfortunately, he failed. His lack of success as a back-up for the Canucks could be attributed to two things, which could or could not be directly related: a.) when he gets scored on, he becomes a victim of the ‘Uh-oh, here we go again..’ syndrome which effects the confidence of goaltenders young and old. b.) Dan Cloutier started out well, despite the team’s lack of success, and that relegated Brochu to being a bench-warmer for a good amount of the games. That said, he hasn’t earned much of the playing Read more»

Colorado Prospect Update (2/17/02)

by Brandon LeBourveau


Marek Svatos, Center, Kootenay (WHL)
Stats: (SVK-WJC) 7 GP, 7 G, 1 A, 8 P, 6 PIM, +5
Stats: 40 GP, 30 G, 30 A, 60 P, 48 PIM, +3

Kurt Sauer, Defenseman, Spokane (WHL)
Stats: 50 GP, 2 G, 14 A, 16 P, 59 PIM, +23

Blake Ward, Goaltender, Lethbridge (WHL)
Stats: 31 GP, 9-16-4, 3.54 GAA. .875 SV%

Charlie Stephens, Center, London (OHL)
Stats: 50 GP, 21 G, 27 A, 48 P, 47 PIM, -19

Danny Bois, Right Wing, London (OHL)
Stats: 55 GP, 15 G, 11 A, 26 P, 226 PIM, -13

Aaron Molnar, Goaltender, London (OHL)
Stats: 15 GP, 4-9-2, 3.98 GAA, .870 SV%

Agris Saviels, Defenseman, Owen Sound (OHL)
Stats: 53 GP 5 G, 26 A, 31 P, 31 PIM, +2

Colt King, Left Wing, North Bay (OHL)
Stats: 47 GP, 12 G, 9 A, 21 P, 102 PIM, -22

Cody McCormick, Right Wing, Belleville (OHL)
Stats: 53 GP, 10 G, 13 A, 23 P, 104 PIM, +6

Darryl Bootland, Right Wing, Toronto (OHL)
Stats: 47 GP, 32 G, 46 A, 78 P, 114 PIM, +43

Scott Horvath, Right Wing, Toronto (OHL)
Stats: (UMass-Amherst, HE) 15 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 P, 8 PIM, -2
Stats: (Toronto-OHL) 15 GP, 3 G, 4 A, 7 P, 19 PIM, +4

Peter Budaj, Goaltender, Toronto (OHL)
Stats: (SVK-WJC) 4 GP, 3.11 GAA, .919 SV%, 1 SHO
Stats: 34 GP, 20-9-4, 2.31 GAA, .919 SV%

Pierre-Luc Emond, Center, Cape Breton (QMJHL) Read more»

Jackets Farm Update

by Aaron Vickers


Forward David Ling was re-assigned to the Crunch after a brief stint with the Blue Jackets.

Syracuse has signed 24 year old defenseman Paul Traynor to a PTO. Traynor, a former 7th round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 1995, appeared in 45 games with South Carolina in the ECHL this season.

The Crunch have returned Preston Mizzi to Dayton of the ECHL. The Crunch have also released Matt Libby and Blaine McCauley from their PTO’s.

As of Friday, February 15th
Credit for statistics Read more»

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