On the night when Daniel and Henrik Sedin made their long-anticipated NHL debut, two less-heralded Philadelphia Flyers rookies, Justin Williams (the Flyers 2000 first round pick) and Petr Hubacek (a 1998 9th rounder) grabbed the spotlight. Both Philadelphia players scored a goal in their first NHL game and Williams, the game’s first star, also added two powerplay assists.
Williams, playing on the first line with Keith Primeau and John LeClair, had the type of night that every young player grows up dreaming about. Everything he touched turned to gold.
At the 3:14 mark of the first period, Williams found a free lane to the net and scored the first goal of the game.
Said Williams, “We had a little separation out there and Johnny just chipped the puck in the middle. I got a shot off but it was blocked. It kicked around a little bit and found my stick. I just kind of whacked it in.”
Today Terry Murray ended all the speculation about who would be starting in the nets on opening night. Both goalies are coming off years that could be considered their announcement for the rest of the league to stand up and take notice.
In Florida’s pipes last year, Trevor Kidd started out the season with a bang. Trevor was playing with all-star form, sometimes single-handedly keeping the Panthers in games. His numbers were also All-star numbers before he dislocated his shoulder on Dec. 13th. Kidd ranked first in the NHL in save percentage (.930) and was tied for fourth in goals-against (2.08) and wins (13). Trevor rehabbed his shoulder and came back by the end of the year, but was a shadow of his former self and struggled mightily.
In previous years with Carolina, Trevor got into zones where he did appear unbeatable for games on end, but the nagging question was there….how long would that last?
In the pre-season, Trevor looked very sharp and seemed to have no mental worries about his shoulder. He went 1-2 in the pre-season with 2.80 GAA, 11 GA and a 92.6 SP%, but the poor numbers can be attributed to playing with a pre-season roster of defenseman.
Roberto Luongo came to the Panthers in a much publicized off-season trade and promptly showed some skeptical fans the reason he is perhaps the most touted goalie prospect ever.
Finally today all the Stephane Quintal rumors to Chicago came true as the
Rangers and ‘Hawks found a loophole in the rules and pulled off a very
interesting trade. Stephane Quintal has a clause in his contract that if he
is traded, another year automatically gets added on. So to avoid trading him
and getting his contract extended, the Rangers and ‘Hawks worked out a side
deal. The Rangers placed Quintal on waivers so that the ‘Hawks could claim
him. As soon as Quintal was claimed, Chicago would send compensation to the
Rangers for “future considerations.” Today the deal was finalized, as the
Rangers received 25 year old Left Winger Michal Grosek and 24 year old
defenseman Brad Brown from Chicago for “future considerations”, which in
reality is Stephane Quintal. Some people have been saying that the future
considerations in this deal will turn out to be something very good in favor
of Chicago, but I think at best the ‘Hawks will get someone like Eric
Lacroix, John MacLean, a mid-round draft pick or a mid-level prospect such as
Brandon Deitrich, Jeff Ulmer, David Inman, etc. It was reported in Newsday
today in New York that the Rangers would pay about 1 million of the 7+
million left on Quintal’s contract over the next 3 years.
I think Glen Sather and the Rangers came away with a huge steal in this
deal. Although it was very surprising to see the Blackhawks trade Grosek Read more»
After talking with last years coach in Hamilton Walt Kyle and watching these youngsters play together in the American Hockey League it was though they might reproduce thier chemistry in the National Hockey League.
Very few people have heard of Brian Swanson, Michel Riesen and Dan Cleary and as of yet, they are not house hold names but all can be changed this year.
With the training camp and preseason over the test is on the trio to come up with similar statistics against the big boys. All three had good statistics over the preseason while showing fine defensive play and a willingness to go in the corners and fight for the puck.
All three come from different hockey backgrounds and each has it’s own talents but they seem to mesh on the ice extreamly well. The centerman of the group is a product from U.S. college hockey at Colorado College where he became a Hobey Baker finalist. Possessed with good playmaking skills and a nack for finding teammates at oppertune times he brings some much needed offensive abilities at the second line center position.
Swiss born player Michel Riesen adjusted farely quickly
to the North American style of play and has found a niche on the line as the trigger man cruising around the net and in the slot finding seems in the defense to use his deadly accurate shot. Currently is the highest drafted Swiss player in history being taken by Edmonton 14th overall in 1997 one spot behind linemate Dan Cleary whom has taken by Chicago at lucky number 13.
The parent Calgary Flames have made their final cuts and the roster
for this season’s installment of Saint John Flames has taken shape.
The result is a team with 8 or 12 forwards with prior NHL experience and
a goaltending staff including last year’s AHL most valuable player.
The defence may need an extra name with Toni Lydman impressing in
Calgary, but all in all this is a team that has the potential
to go all the way this season.
Starting on left wing you have Jason Botterill, Miikka Elomo, Dave
Roche, and Benoit Gratton. Elomo and Gratton are solid AHL veterans
that have shown above average offencive capabilities in prior seasons.
Botterill and Roche add toughness on the third and fourth lines which
provides for a good mix.
The centre position features Daniel Tkaczuk, Marc Bureau, Steve Begin,
and rookie Blair Betts. Daniel Tkaczuk has impressed in exhibition
play and the future NHL star looks like he will be among the highest
scoring players in the AHL this season. Bureau was a surprise cut in
Calgary. His defencive capabilities and years of NHL experience will help
the young Flames progress. Steve Begin, in his third season in a baby Flames
uniform, will continue to be the go-to-man on the faceoffs and in penalty
kill situations. Among the only “frosh” in the Flames lineup the injury
plagued Blair Betts will be a welcome addition in the two-way department.