Toronto’s Bid For AHL Team Very Slim

by Andrew Bourgeois
on

AHL NEWS

The Toronto Roadrunners sound extremely hopeful of one day joining the AHL, but the chances of that happening appear to be very slim.

The Roadrunners were scheduled to join the International Hockey League in 2002, but the IHL folded,with six other teams from the now-defunct league absorbed by the AHL. The Roadrunners say they will apply for an AHL expansion franchise this summer, but there may not be any room.

The AHL will have 27 teams next season and league president and CEO Dave Andrews hopes to see that number increase to 30 for 2002-03 with the activation and relocation of three mothballed franchises – the Louisville Panthers, who recently suspended operations; the Adirondack Red Wings (owned by Detroit); and P.E.I. Senators (owned by Ottawa). That would provide one affiliate for every NHL team. And since Andrews says the AHL will not have more member clubs than the 30-team NHL (which has no plans for expansion), it’s unlikely any application from the Roadrunners would get much support.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have taken a more than cool attitude to the possible presence of the Roadrunners in their backyard. St. John’s general manager Bill Watters, who is also the assistant to Leafs’ president Ken Dryden, says the NHL team has no interest in the future of the Roadrunners.

“The only thing we’ve said to them is that we have absolutely no interest in being their affiliate,” said Watters. “St. John’s is where our farm team is located and we’ve made it clear we’re very happy with that arrangement.”
It may b Read more»

2001 Draft Profile: Mark Popovic

by Jonathan Litterine
on
There may not be any defenseman in the 2001 draft as solid in his own
zone as Mark Popovic. The St. Mike’s defenseman is amazingly steady. He’s
always in position taking care of his man. He also is a steady offensive
player. I mean he insn’t Brian Leetch or Nick Lidstrom but he is solid in
the offensive zone as well.

At 6’1 , 195 he isn’t the biggest defenseman in
the draft , but he plays a lot bigger. He is not a goon or a tough guy , but
he certainly will bang and take the body to help out his team in any
situation.

There seems to be a different set of opinions, as to where
Popovic will go in the draft. He will be a first round pick. Yet he might go
as high as about 10 or so, or he could drop closer to 20. All depends who’s
left and who has the current picks at the present time. Yet nobody doubt’s
Popovic’s ability to play in the NHL very soon. He might be the closer to
being NHL ready then any other defenseman in the field. Someone will get
Popovic and some franchise will be very happy. Expect his steady game to be
on the blueline of a NHL franchise for a long long time.

Pen’s Dome Another Bust

by Richard A. Plisco
on
The Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1997 NHL entry draft with their first
pick, 17th overall, selected Robert Dome. Dome was such an unknown
quantity at that point that even ESPN archives had little or no actual
game footage of the young Slovakian forward. The one fact that most
critics cited as a reason for Pittsburgh’s choice was that Dome had
spent time playing in the IHL, which was primarily stocked with men, as
opposed to toiling further in the junior ranks. This exposure to
“grown-up” hockey was supposed to be a key factor in his development and
speed his entry into the NHL.

Reality set in quickly however for the Penguins’ scouting staff as Dome
arrived for training camp out of shape. This would become habitual
behavior for the Slovak youngster. Although he produced respectable
numbers in the junior ranks for Dukla, he did not display that scoring
touch in the IHL. In fact, he never managed more than 30 points. The
Penguins, hoping to find another Jagr, or at least someone that could
blend well with the big cast of European talent on the team, put him on
the ice immediately.

In his first 30 NHL games in 1997, Dome tallied just 5 goals. The team
sent him to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse for conditioning. With the
Crunch, he was able to pocket 21 goals in 36 contests, just enough to
keep the Pens interested in his development. The following season saw
Dome remain in the minors, never to crack an NHL lineup. He squeaked out
20 goals in 68 games, hardly exhibiting the sniper like talent that the
team claimed he possessed. In fa Read more»

Tellqvist’s Season Ends Appropriately

by Randy Nicholson
on

Although the traditional media sources have recently begun to talk about Sweden’s Mikael Tellqvist with much greater regularity, Maple Leafs fans have been following this brilliant young netminder’s exploits all season long here at Hockey’s Future. We owe a great deal of credit to correspondent Jan Buben for supplying us with this information on a weekly basis. In order to ensure that no one out there is left hanging, here is the final chapter for Tellqvist’s remarkable season in the Swedish Elite League.

Down 2 games to 1 after three in the final series, Djurgarden found itself in a must-win situation. They responded accordingly in Game 4. Tellqvist made some key saves early on – especially during a stretch when his team was down two men. Djurgarden survived this shaky start and then began to show their best form. Niklas Falk, a key figure on Djurgarden´s power play unit, started things off by setting up the first goal and then scored the second one himself – both coming with the man advantage. Farjestad then managed to get one past Tellqvist, but Djurgarden continued to dominate as the first period came to a close.

In the second period, it was very quickly 3-1 and then, after another fine piece of stickhandling by Falk, 4-1 for Djurgarden. In the final period Farjestad attempted to rally, but Tellqvist would surrender only one more goal. Finally, Djurgarden scored its third power-play goal of the night to win this key game 5-2. Mikael stopped 25 of 27 shots and really gave his team a chance to succeed after a slow start.

In Game 5, Djurgard Read more»

Caps Claim to Open Roster Spot

by Rick Davis
on

Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee told the Washington Post on Tuesday as saying that the Capitals would “devote one opening-season roster spot to a rookie” (The Washington Post, 6/5/01).

The last two rookies to crack Washington’s lineup full-time were Jeff Halpern and Trent Whitfield. Both of these players showed some similar qualities that helped them each displace a veteran player. I’ll try to look at these qualities and attempt to examine what the current crop of Capitals prospects needs to do to make the big squad.
First (and what I believe to be of paramount importance) is both Halpern and Whitfield worked extremely hard at everything they did and did not complain when their roles were limited at times. Both came to camp in excellent shape, and neither were afraid to play the tight-checking game required for the NHL. Halpern scored consistently in the pre-season games in 1999, and Trent Whitfield was leading the AHL’s Portland Pirates in scoring at the time of his recall last year. They both earned their promotions.
Halpern and Whitfield do little things like backcheck on every shift, block shots, and dig along the boards for loose pucks. They are rarely out of position, not afraid to hit people, and have both dropped the gloves a couple of times.

They are both “team first” players.

I think that whoever makes the Capitals will have to show the same kind of commitment that these two players have shown in the last two years. While Whitfield and Halpern are more in the mold of defensive forwar Read more»

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