The Nashville Predators are entering the decisive “fourth” year of the three to
five year plan that GM David Poile set for the team. Expectations are
high and this should be the season the Preds finally break the top 8 in
the Western Conference.
This is the season for David Legwand. All the pieces are falling into
place, all the blurs are starting to become clear, and all of Nashville
is waiting on the 21-year old center to make his move. Legwand spent
the summer working with a personal hockey trainer, a man who has worked
with several high profile NHL players including Chris Progner, Martin
Lapointe, and others. Last season Legwand showed flashes of brilliance
with highlights including – the first overtime penalty shot goal in NHL
history, posted plus-or-even rating in 61 of the 81 games that he played
in, recorded another overtime game winning goal in March against
Phoenix, and posted 41 points (compared to the 28 from the season
before). Legwand is entering his third full season in the NHL and if
the Preds hope to make the playoffs this year, he is expected to carry a
large part of the load.
The 2001-02 Predators are a lot like the 2000-01 Predators, but
they are also a whole lot different as well. The Preds were fairly
quiet compared to other teams in the Western Conference, however, there
are some new faces on the Preds and there will be some different looks
from this team this year, as well.
The goaltenders: Mike Dunham had a career year last season posting
numbers such as – 2.28 GAA, 21 wins, 4 shutouts, and a . Read more»
The Buffalo Sabres have whittled down their 2001 training camp roster, and are now preparing for their October 4th home opener vs. the Atlanta Thrashers. While there has been a profound change in the team with the departure of Dominik Hasek, the fact of the matter is that the personnel has changed very little from last season to the new season.
From the prospect ranks, one player has managed to make the team, while another could stick once he recovers from an injury. Right wing Norm Milley, a ’98 2nd round pick, showed great hustle and grit in both the camp scrimmages and preseason games. His dogged style of play made it impossible for Buffalo’s coaching staff to send Norm to Rochester, but it remains to be seen how much ice time Milley will see once they start playing the games for keeps.
The injured prospect is ’97 2nd rounder Henrik Tallinder. The big Swede defenseman had a very promising start to his camp, but suffered a knee injury on the 3rd day of camp. In spite of Tallinder’s short span of time on the ice, he was singled out by coach Lindy Ruff as a player who is definitely going to push for a spot on the roster. Ruff liked Henrik’s size, as well as his steady play in the defensive zone, while also pointing to Tallinder’s ability to make a good breakout pass.
Tallinder’s injury will keep him on the shelf for at least another week, but it’s uncertain what will be done with Henrik when he returns to the ice. Henrik signed a contract that would allow him to return to TPS Read more»
Last season, the Devils came within one game of defending the Stanley Cup. This season, they will look to regain what was once theirs. The following article will summarize the goaltending, defence, and forward positions. That will be followed up with a team outlook for this season along with a prospect report.
Once again, workhorse netminder Martin Brodeur, coming off his 6th consecutive 30 win season, will be the main man between the pipes for New Jersey. All though he had a sub-par playoff by his standards, he still remains one of the NHL’s most elite netminders. With the upcoming Olympic Games, Martin may elevate his game even further to prove that he deserves to be Team Canada’s starting netminder. Even though it has not been officially announced yet, former Boston College standout Scott Clemmensen looks to be Brodeur’s backup for this season. Not given much of a chance at the beginning of training camp, he out performed fellow netminders JF Damphousse, who was considered the favorite, and Frederic Henry to earn the spot. However, don’t rule out a rotation between Damphousse and Clemmensen, because odds are, Brodeur will play 65-70 games, and the rookies will need to get some playing time, be it in New Jersey or down on the farm with the River Rats.
Despite the fact that this group is starting to show it’s age, it remains one of the strongest defence cores in the NHL. Even at the age of 37, team captain Scott Stevens still continues to be one of the games most feared open ice hitters. He may have Read more»
The European hockey leagues are anything but conservative. Many changes have
been made to the game over the last couple of years and several has panned
out very well. Granted, there has been ill-advised changes such as the
ridiculous helmet-rule, which states that a player must go for a line change
immediately after losing his helmet. If he doesn’t he will get a minor
penalty for delay of game.
Two changes that has helped to speed up the game has been the removal of the
red line offside and the new face-off rule which reduces the length of
breaks in play substantially. If the NHL are truly serious about opening up
and speeding up the game they should consider making these exact changes.
The traditionalists will probably be against the removal of the two line
offside, but it has done a lot to open up the game in Europe which has been
plagued by the trap even more than the National Hockey League. The trap
originated in Europe and has since been adopted by North American coaches as
it is a good way of giving a team with so called limited talent a chance to
win. But, it is boring to watch, and as much as those in love with the game
or employed by the game hate to admit it, the growth of hockey will be
determined by how entertaining it is to watch. Not many fans will turn away
from the game even if teams continue to practice the trap, but it will
certainly be harder to recruit new fans as long as the “chip it off the
glass”-mentality is a central part of a coach’s way of thinking.
At first, the ever defensive Swedish nation Read more»
Leafs Trade for Another Hawk Blueliner
Boy oh boy, words like that get anyone leaning forward in their chair after what happened last year at this time. For those of you who have been on the planet Jupiter the Leafs dealt holdout Alexander Karpotsev to Chicago for Bryan McCabe who just kept getting better and better as the year progressed until he was arguably the best Leaf rearguard in the playoffs. However, this time, don’t expect the transaction to have the same amount of impact. Going to the Hawks was minor league tough guy Shawn Thornton while coming this way was Norfolk Admirals blueliner Marty Wilford. Thornton, despite numerous chances to overtake Tie Domi as the ACC’s resident tough guy, was never able to demonstrate enough skill to keep a job on the NHL level. Wilford, on the other hand, has a couple things going for him. Besides the fact that every organization should have at least one player with the name ‘Marty’, the ex-Hawk farmhand is quite adept at the transition game and is very good in the dressing room. He has been the best defensemen in the Chicago’s minor league pipeline whether it be with Norfolk or Indianapolis the last three years running and in his last campaign totalled 7 goals and 41 assists. If there is anything he does lack it is an NHL burst as far as separation is concerned. At 24 years old he looks to be another veteran hand to help the youngsters along on The Rock but if he proves himself efficient might leap ahead of Nathan Dempsey on the emergency call-up queue because of the extra 30 pounds he has on the long time Leaf. Co Read more»