Lubos Velebny progressing

by Stephen J. Holodinsky
on


A Knight in Shining Feathers?

Lubos Velebny was selected by the Leafs in the seventh round of the 2000 Entry Draft as a little known blueliner from Slovakia and remained so through last season as the focus of most fans attention turned to Mikael Tellqvist, Brad Boyes, Petr Svoboda and Jeff Farkas. However, one person who didn’t lose sight of the rearguard was the coach of the USHL’s Waterloo Blackhawks, Scott Koberinski. The reason being of course, was that Velebny came over to North America and spent the season learning the finer points of hockey on this side of the pond under the aforementioned bench boss. Now that he has been nabbed by the London Knights in the CHL’s Import Draft, his progress will be more easily followed by Leaf fans in Southwestern Ontario. That said, in a recent conversation with Koberinski, who compares him to a young Lubomir Sekeras (Minnesota Wild) in style, he described a player that while a work in progress, is further ahead in that progress than most defensemen his age.

Offensively minded, Velebny’s main weapon is a devastating slapshot from the point which he doesn’t hesitate to use, especially on the powerplay. Koberinski goes on to say that had he stayed in the USHL this season “he would have easily been the best powerplay quarterback in the league”. In addition to that his first pass out of the zone is almost always flawless and he has adapted to the rougher game over here faster than one would have expected. However, like all wild young horses, there is a downside and that downside is in his decisio Read more»

Tampa Bay Lightning sign Three Prospects

by pbadmin
on

Goaltenders Michal Lanicek and Alexander Polukeyev, and defenseman Marek Priechodsky all signed standard three-year rookie contracts today.

Lanicek spent the season with HC Berounsti Medvedi of the Czech 1st league. In 17 regular season games, he recorded a 2.44 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. He appeared in 7 playoff games and had a 2.28 GAA and .877 save percentage.

Lanicek Profile

Polukeyev played five games in the Russian Super League with SKA St. Petersburg. He had a 4.55 GAA and .852 save percentage. He spent the rest of the season with St. Petersburg’s junior club.

Polukeyev Profile

Priechodsky played 43 games with HC Slovan Bratislava of the Slovakian Extraleague. He had five assists and a plus-18 rating.

Priechodsky Profile

Yashin traded for Spezza

by Jake Dole
on
After two years of controversy, the Ottawa Senators finally shipped the disgruntled Russian center Alexei Yashin to the New York Islanders on draft day, in return for a package including Jason Spezza. The trade put an end to Yashin’s troubled nine-year stay in the nation’s capital. As soon as the news came out, the fans gave out a sigh of relief, uttering “good riddance” about his departure.
It is interesting to point out that both teams received intriguing packages in return. Ottawa, unable to afford Yashin’s estimated $8-10 million a year, received a top prospect, a third-line winger and a physical defenseman. The Islanders now have the services of a proven 40-goal 90-point center, which could foreshadow the franchises first playoff birth in years.
Ottawa, Canada – A lot of excitement has spread over the capital’s hockey community. The trade of Alexei Yashin was a win-win situation for the team, as well as for the fans. Jason Spezza, thus far, seems to be a perfect fit in the community. He’s made appearances on radio, televison; gave interviews and completed practices in front of excited crowds of fans. Spezza’s poster boy style has already won over the city, bringing back memories of the younger Yashin being treated like a king in his early days in Ottawa. He is a great interview; he talks to the media with great confidence and ease. Comparisons to players like Mario Lemieux and, to a lesser extent, Jason Allison have only added to the excitement.
Although it might be too early to predict Spezza’s future in the NH Read more»

Devils Defense Gets Younger

by Andrew Clark
on
With Sean O’Donnell signing with the Boston Bruins and Ken Sutton making the jump to play for Mike Milbury on the Island, the Devils defense will have a good mix of seasoned veterans with younger talent, with a bright future ahead.

Yes, yes, I know, …you are already laughing about how ridiculous this sounds and are about to go back to the Devils main page never to read another one of my articles. But before you head over to the message boards and start posting, continue reading and think about what I have to say for a while. Now, I have read several posts on various Devils message boards saying how the Devils defense is too old and there isn’t much left in the tank. I have also read other things like, Devils should have kept O’Donnell or tried to sign Erin Weinrich. I was particularly fond of the more sarcastic posts like maybe we should see what Paul Coffey is doing in the fall or maybe Robinson will get nostalgic and strap on the skates and throw on a sweater for old times’ sake.

Before you actually start ripping on the Devils’ Defense, lets look at the personnel who make up the core of blueliners. First, Scott Stevens, who turned 37 in April is the captain of the team and the unchallenged leader of the squad on and off the ice. He is and will be a presence in the NHL this coming year and years to follow. He played 81 games last year and expect him to play another 80 this year. Ken Daneyko is also 37 years young, but is in the prime of his career. He is skating better (but not faster), more confident with the puck and is very important on the p Read more»

Deadline to Sign Euro Draftees is Approaching

by Brandon LeBourveau
on
The deadline to sign players drafted from Europe is Sunday night, July 15th, at midnight. If you do not come to terms with a European draftee by then, he will remain in Europe for the upcoming 2001/2002 season and play hockey over there.

The Rangers have a couple of players that fit this category, most notably this year’s 6th round pick in defenseman Marek Zidlicky. Zidlicky is a 6’0 180 pound defenseman from the Czech Republic, who put up great numbers this season for HIFK of the Finnish Elite League. Zidlicky is 24 years old, and if he comes over to North America this season he could possibly make the team right out of training camp. His team in Finland, HIFK, is one of the only teams in Europe to play on an NHL sized rink. Having played a few seasons on an NHL sized rink, it shouldn’t take too long for Zidlicky to adapt to the NHL. Compared to his former teammate Brian Rafalski, Zidlicky is a physical force in the defensive end while also able to control a game offensively. He has great offensive abilities and a laser of a shot. A Finnish newspaper has been reporting that Marek is close to signing and the deal should be announced soon, so let’s hope that this is true.

Other European draftees such as Stefan Lundqvist, Sven Helfenstein, Tomi Kallarsson, Arto Laatikainen, Ilja Gorokhov and Henrik Lundqvist are unlikely candidates to be signed. Fedor Tyutin, Leonid Zhvachin and Juris Stals, who were all drafted this year, will come over to North America but they will all play in the OHL. Tyutin, drafted in the Read more»

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