Fulfilling the league’s potential.

by Jake Dole
on
Since 1946, hockey has taken over as the sort of competition which, to this day, familiarizes other nations with Russia and its system of sporting procedure. Until the fall of the Soviet Union, the system was extremely successful(although somewhat inhumane), which was evident with the enjoyed success of the “Sbornaja” clubs for more than 3 decades. Although, the system had its flaws, the secret lay within the strict development of youth to ensure the country’s athletic prosperity and assure consequent triumphs.
With the upcoming winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, one can only wonder if the nation can realistically compete for gold. Whether or not the problem lies within the apparent shortage of hockey youth, an argument can be made that unlike in the late 80’s or early 90s, Russia can no longer exhibit a punch of youthful energy to its lineup. Ten years ago, the likes of Mogilny, Bure and Fedorov represented the core of the country’s hockey prosperity. However, in 2001 the country is faced with putting together a team either with the millionaire stars who don’t want to be there or with the unproven youngsters who…well, have yet to prove anything. The lackluster development of hockey posterity in the 90’s has resulted in numerous disappointing world championship results for Russia, a tournament which was supposed to showcase more of the country’s budding youth. Although there has been clear improvement with an increase, let alone, the proportion of talent, many problems still plague the junior hockey systems in Russia.
A key problem Read more»

Tim Branham

by Scott McFarlane
on

When the Vancouver Canucks selected Tim Branham with their 3rd pick (93rd overall) in the 2000 NHL entry draft, the Canucks knew that they were drafting a solid, talented defensemen.

Tim Branham

Position: D

Shoots: Left

Height: 6-2

Weight: 185 lbs

Birthdate: 1981-05-05

Hometown: Eagle River, Wisconsin

The 6’2, 185-pound Branham is known more as an offensive defenseman, rather than the typical defensive defensemen. Tim Branham’s skating is one of his more notable skills, along with his big shot. Branham will have more of a realistic chance to make the Canucks within the next 4 years.

The Canucks are deep on defence, with Bryan Allen, Zenith Komarniski and Rene Vydarney all ready to make the next step to the NHL. It leaves very little room for Tim Branham and other defensemen prospects like Bonni, Hay, and Ytfeld to make the team. There are hardly any open spots on the Vancouver Canucks for the next couple years. So many players are trying out for those few spots, only so many can earn those spots. It is going to be tough for the players, but fun for us writers and fans to watch.

Last year Branham played for the Barrie Colts of the OHL.

Tim Branham’s stats

1999-00 Barrie Colts OHL GP 38 G 3 A 16 P 19 PIM 46

2000-01 Barrie Colts OHL GP 68 G 7 A 25 P 32 PIM 77

Tim Branham posted very respectable numbers last season. A nice stat to see was the 77 penalty minutes in 68 games; this shows that he can throw his tall, skinny frame around and doesn’ Read more»

2001-02 Season Previews, From Vydareny to Reid.

by Kirk Pedersen
on

The Canucks have been a team in the past who have gotten quite a bit of high-quality talent from the NHL Draft. The past few seasons have been no exception. Since Brian Burke and his band of merry men took over in 1998, the Canucks have seen players such as Artem Chubarov and the Sedins take roles in the future of this franchise. With players such as Bryan Allen, Rene Vydareny and Brandon Reid set to undertake spots in the hopefully not-too-distant future.

Here are prospects #3-6, a preview and forecast of the upcoming seasons for Rene Vydareny, Alexander Auld, R.J. Umberger, and speedster Brandon Reid.

Rene Vydareny was drafted in 1999, in the third round, from Bratislava, in the Slovakian Junior league. He was the #12 European skater for the ’99 draft, ahead of such players as Luca Cereda, Kristian Kudroc, Andrei Shefer, and Mattias Weinhandl. He came over to North America for the 1999-2000 season, picking up thirty points (7g, 23a) in 51 games with the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL.

He missed a good chunk of this season due to a contract dispute with his Slovakian Club team, which blew up into him not being able to play in Kansas City, or with the Canucks, as stipulated in his contract. The Canucks spent the better part of a few weeks trying to wrestle the rights to Rene away from Bratislava, and eventually succeeded, although they paid an undisclosed sum to the Slovakian team for Rene’s services. He finally arrived in Kansas City, around the midpoint of the final season for the IHL. He didn’t score at all; (0g,1a in 39 games) but he showed flas Read more»

The Flyers can fly high with Jiri Dopita

by Robert Neuhauser
on
We’ll probably not exactly find out which reason forced Jiri Dopita, arguably the best forward
outside the NHL, to try his luck on the other side of the pond. But one thing is for sure.
After refusing offers from the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and lastly the Florida
Panthers, Jiri joins former Vsetin teammate Roman Cechmanek in Philadelphia. Jiri Dopita,
nicknamed Dopi (read Dopey) will celebrate his 33rd birthday in December and this native
from Sumperk, Czech Republic can’t be labelled as one who is entering his prime. But he can
provide immediate help and boost the Flyers offense for the next 4-5 years.

Jiri started to play hockey and handball in his native Sumperk in mid-70’s. It was soon clear
that this guy has a very good hockey sense and talent and Jiri stayed in Sumperk only till
he was ready to play in the elite junior league. HC Olomouc has brought him into the system, but
he didn’t make his Czechoslovakian 1. liga (elite league at that time) debut in Olomouc jersey. He
had to enter the army for two years and he played in his debut among the seniors for the army
team HC Dukla Jihlava. That was in the 1989-90 season. Jiri split the two army years between
HC Dukla Jihlava and VTJ Tabor and returned to Olomouc as the 1992-93 seeason passed the
halfway mark.

Jiri Dopita was originally a Boston Bruins’ draft choice back in 1992, 132nd overall. At one time
it seemed that Jiri will accept their offer and fight for a roster spot with the Bruins, but
finally Jiri refused the Bruins offer and chose to play for Eisbaren Berlin (Berlin Ic Read more»

Habs’ development camp (day 3)

by Chris Boucher
on
Day three of the Canadiens Prospect Development Camp came and went with the same level of intensity as the previous two practices. Drills were up-tempo, players worked hard, and Clement Jodoin (AKA: King of the X’s and O’s) put together another masterfully, well organized practice.

Russian goaltender, Vadim Tarasov continues to wade through visa problems. But might be in Montreal by the weekend. He, along with Mike Komisarek (US Junior camp), and Duncan Milroy (Canadian Junior camp) continue to be the only notable absentees.

The Habs’ brain trust is well represented on site. With André Savard, Martin Madden, Michel Therrien, Guy Carbonneau, and Pierre Boivin all present and accounted for. Their main focus appears to be on Ron Hainsey (1st round, 2000) who continually demonstrates strong puck-handling skill to go along with his mobility, and positive attitude. Hainsey leads by example. He’s always smiling, and obviously enjoys the game with a contagious passion.

Non-property invitee Francois Fortier, a 21 year-old forward who split last season between Hartford and Quebec has shown a strong skating stride, as well as good puck-skills. Most surprising however, has been the 5’11”, 194 lbs. forward’s intensity level.

Alexandre Tremblay, another non-property invitee has continued to impress with his skill level. He has an NHL-calibre release, and shot. However, his lack of size may be the deciding factor in his potential future with Montreal.

Jerome Marois (9th round, 1999), who will likely begin the season in Quebec, or Miss Read more»

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