Interview with Mikko Koivu

by Robert Neuhauser
on

Mikko Koivu, a TPS Turku forward, is one of the brightest prospects
in the Minnesota Wild organization. Selected in the first round
of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Mikko now performs for Finland
at the WJC. Here are his answers at my questions, Mikko was kind
enough to answer them after the game against Russia.

When did you start playing hockey?

I was about five or six when I started playing.

Where was it?

In my hometown Turku, of course. I was born there, began my hockey
career in this city and I live there till now.

Who brought you to the game?

My brother Saku was one of the main forces, but besides him also
my friends influenced me a lot. We were playing hockey games in the
yard and it was a natural thing for me to play hockey.

Who is your hockey role model?

Saku teaches me a lot, he gave me many tips, but Peter Forsberg
is a great player, too. I watch him a lot.

Your favorite team in Europe?

I don´t have to take a long time to think about it. No doubt,
TPS Turku.

And in the NHL?

Another simply question, Minnesota Wild.

Were you happy that Wild has drafted you or would you prefer
to be selected by the Montreal Canadiens?

It would be great to have the opportunity to play with Saku, but
I´m extremly happy to be drafted by the Wild. It´s a great organization
and I think they can build a very strong squad quite soon. I have
my own play and it is good for me that I´m not always connected
with Saku.

When do you think you will be NHL Read more»

Sven Helfenstein interview

by Joeri Loonen
on

HF: First of all I would like to thank you for taking time to do this interview. It is very much appreciated. Like last year when Switzerland tied Russia 3-3 in the opening game, Switzerland started well this year again with a 3-0 victory over Finland. What are your impressions of that game?
H: Already early on in the game we noticed Finland was a very strong team and we should worry about playing solid defense first. We took full advantage of our chances which resulted in the 3-0 victory.


HF: What about the next game vs Canada?
H: It was the same sort of game. Again we played against a very strong opponent, but this time we got down 1-0 early on. Then we needed a equalier to get back in the game and we got it when Monnet scored short handed but then we gave up the 2-1 soon after that and that should not have happened. After that we gave away some bad goals due to some sloppy defensive plays.


HF: What is the goal of Team Switzerland at this year’s World Junior Championship?
H: A medal. Of course we are hoping for a gold medal but even getting the bronze medal would be a great performance for us. I have been ended up 4th several times with the national team already, that isn’t bad but it just out of the medals and I really would like to get one this year.


HF: What you personally feel is a realistic goal for this team at the WJC? Read more»

Zetterberg Enroute to Stardom

by Peter Westermark
on

Young Henrik Zetterberg led Timrå offensively last year when his newly
promoted team surprised and finished ninth in the Elitserien, a 12-team
league. This year, the points have been harder to come by both for
Zetterberg and his team. Timrå is currently last in the league with only
five wins after 33 games, and they are trailing 11th place Linköping by
eleven points. After coming off a point-a-game campaign last season, the Red
Wings prospect has a disappointing five goals and 14 assists in 32 games.
Still, Zetterberg was among the players named to the Swedish Olympic team,
and few hockey people are surprised.

First of all, observers refuse to put any blame on Zetterberg for his team’s
struggles. “He’s a loyal player and he has assumed a more defensive role
this year,” said coach Peo Larsson who resigned due to the team’s poor start
after four successful years at the helm. “The points will come for him. He
hasn’t performed badly.”

That Zetterberg, who plays centre for Timrå, has a ton of offensive ability
was evident in the last game of the Sweden Hockey Games where Zetterberg
suited up in a more offensive role. He scored four goals against the Finns –
one of them after a beautiful move that gave Swedish fans a déjà vu of Peter
Forsberg’s famous “stamp goal”. Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken
Holland was in attendance and praised his prospect in the Swedish press
right after the game, stating “I think he’s good enough to play in the
Olympics right now.”

Perhaps there’s a personal agenda reflected in those c Read more»

HF Chats with Hawks prospect Mikhail Yakubov

by Jonathan Litterine
on

Red Deer Rebels center Mikhail Yakubov was selected 10th overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. This is his first year in North America. He previously played for Lada Togiatti in Russia.

Hockey’s Future: What were your thoughts about being drafted by such a classic team like Chicago?

Mikhail Yakubov: I was just happy to be selected, it really didn’t matter which team.

HF: Many Russians stay at home in Russia and play before trying to crack an NHL roster, why did you come over to North America?

MY: I signed with Chicago and they sent me to Red Deer, they felt I would get more playing time.

HF: How so enjoy playing in Red Deer?

MY: It’s been a lot of fun, the team is good and I get to play a lot. The long road trips are tough though.

HF: Being that this is your first season in North America, how has the lifestyle adjustment affected you?

MY: It’s been a very easy transition. The lifestyle in Canada is a little different than Russia but not that much.

HF: What do you feel the strongest/weakest parts of your game are?

MY: I’m not really sure. I’m always trying to improve both offensively and defensively.

HF: The Blackhawks never even interviewed you prior yo the Draft because they didn’t think you would be there at Number 10, were you surprised they selected you?

MY: I didn’t try to guess who would take me. I just figured I would go in the first round and that’s what happened.

HF: You had Read more»

Centennials On The Move

by Brad Coccimiglio
on

After 20 years, the city of North Bay is losing their junior hockey franchise.

The announcement was made this morning at an 11 a.m. news conference. Centennials co-owner has sold the team to a Saginaw, Michigan group that is headed by Wren Blair and Richard J. Garber.

Garber is the owner and president of Garber Management Group, which operates Garber Buick as well as seven other car companies in Michigan, Illinois and Florida.

Through their first 15 home games this season the Centennials have reportedly lost around $5000 per game and over the past several seasons have lost more than $200,000 per season. The team was averaging 2,298 fans per home game through the end of November. Only the Kingston Frontenacs, Toronto St. Michael’s Majors and Brampton Battalio have averaged less fans per game.

The Centennials will play out of the 6,000 seat Saginaw County Event Center next fall. The arena underwent a $14 million American renovation project recently as well.

This isn’t the first time that the Centennial franchise has been sold or re-located. The franchise entered the OHL as the St. Catharines Blackhawks in 1973-74, then moved to Niagra Falls before the 1976-77 season before moving to North Bay in 1982-83.

New co-owner Wren Blair had initially attemted to bring an expansion OHL franchise to the city of Saginaw but was turned down. The city was reportedly on a list of possible sites for the OHL to expand to but when Blair attempted to bring a franchise to the city the OHL was not yet ready for another expansion.

Blair has been involved i Read more»

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