The Los Angeles Kings have two enforcers currently patrolling the ice at AHL Manchester. King draft pick Kip Brennan, who just returned from his first stint in the NHL, and the recently signed free agent Ryan Flinn. Both are big, both are young and 21, and both can handle themselves and protect their teammates. It would appear than neither will win any scoring titles, so it would be difficult for both play for the Kings at the same time (although fans would love it). So the question is, who will be the future enforcer?
Kip Brennan (6’4, listed at 222 but closer to 200) was chosen in the fourth round of the 1998 draft by the Kings and has emerged as the top fighter in the system. Brennan went to Lowell last season but was clearly not ready for the AHL and was returned to Sudbury for the balance of the season. This seaso, that appears to have helped because Brennan has taken on all comers in the AHL and more than held his own. Brennan has an enforcer’s demeanor and is learning to pick his spots effectively. Brennan’s recent stint is the NHL was effective if not impressive. He fought two of the most difficult players to fight in the NHL- the awkward Steve McKenna, who he struggled to stand up with, and Andre Nazarov who grabbed the rear numbers of his jersey and held on until the officials came in. He also tried and failed to get Steve Webb to go on the island and drew his first NHL penalty. He used this as a lesson (that was in his NHL debut) and he seemed to learn from that. As he became more comfortable, he was more effective in the low cycle with his lin Read more»
‘Bulldozer’ Belak Clears His Spot
He was the butt of many anagram jokes when picked up on waivers last year but it’s halfway through the 2001-2002 season and Wade Belak is not only still with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he’s taking a regular shift on the fourth line. To be sure, he was advertised as being able to play both forward and defense when GM/Coach Pat Quinn brought him in last spring, but it was widely assumed that he would be the eventual replacement for Cory Cross.
However, a strange thing happened on the way to the rink. Gary Valk ran into a linesman and separated his shoulder thus creating a hole in the lineup at forward. Quinn called on the former Flame to fill the void and so far, he’s done an admirable job. He hustles every shift, he’s impossible to move from in front of the net, the more he cycles with the puck down low, the better he gets at it, and he’s even starting to make plays with the puck.
That said, the thing that is going to keep him skating a regular shift this year and beyond is going to be his hitting and his ability to stick up for his teammates. His hitting ability was never in question. In limited icetime in only 32 games he already has 51 of those. His pugilistic skills though, needed some honing on his arrival from western Canada. Always a willing warrior, his footwork too often found him at the bottom of the pile when the linesmen jumped in to break up the bout.
Tie Domi worked with the youngster on keeping his balance during such occasions and #2 has improved to such an extent that he overtook h Read more»
PITTSBURGH FORGE NAHL JUNIOR A …… NEWS :
Find all the info you need on Pittsburgh’s new Junior A team at:
http://www.pittsburghforge.com/ Read more»
Calgary – The Canadian Hockey League and Western Hockey League today
announced the players that will represent the WHL’s Western Conference for
The Hershey Cup CHL All – Star Series. The WHL Western Conference All-Stars
will play against the QMJHL Dilio Conference All-Stars. The game will be
played on February 6, 2002 at the Colisee in Rimouski, Quebec.
The WHL Western Conference All-Star team was selected by a panel of three
WHL General Managers from teams which had the best record at the 30 game
mark in the 2001-02 WHL schedule. The selection committee consisted of Ken
Hodge of the Portland Winter Hawks, Mike Moore of the Kamloops Blazers and
Tim Speltz of the Spokane Chiefs.
Mike Williamson of the Portland Winter Hawks will be the Head Coach of the
team while Dean Evason of the Kamloops Blazers is the Assistant Coach.
“We have selected a good mix of highly competitive players that take a lot
of pride in what they do and Dean Evason and I are very excited to work with
this great group of talented hockey players. I know the players will do an
excellent job in representing the Western Conference and the Western Hockey
League,” stated Mike Williamson, Head Coach of the WHL’s Western Conference
The team includes five members of Canada’s Silver Medal National Junior Team
(Jared Aulin, Kamloops Blazers; Dan Hamhuis, Prince George Cougars, Chuck
Kobasew, Kelowna Rockets; Jarret Stoll, Kootenay Ice and Scottie Upshall,
“We are looking forward to our top players in the WHL’s We Read more»