Is it any wonder that Rick Dudley stockpiled the Tampa Bay Lightning with size and grit over the past few years? Drafting the big three, Svitov, Polushin and Artyukhin indicated a move to project a larger and meaner Lightning squad for years to come. In the present-day NHL, it seems clear that size does matter, bigger is better, and physical domination is key.
Dudley’s Lightning, already seem stocked on talent. Lecavalier-Richards-Modin line might thrive for years to come. Therefore, skill does not appear to be the problem with this squad as of now. However, there is a clear absence of grit and character. Tampa is a very young squad and the team looked mistake prone and inexperienced last year. Lightning’ defense was awful, mainly because of the apparent lack of physical presence and identity.
Dudley didn’t hide his fascination with big players before the 2001 draft. Even early in spring, he praised Alexander Svitov’s nasty on-ice tactics and the surprising bonus of unlimited offensive potential. One can only imagine his delight when the wildcard Polushin slipped all the way to the second round, right into Dudley’s grasps.
Judging by the abundance of sky scraping bodies on the Lighting’s respective farms, one can only picture the look of Tampa Bay’s depth chart in five years or so. Size, skill, grit galore. Suddenly, all those years of suffering endured by the Tampa fans might come to an end. However, don’t make the mistake of judging the giants of Tampa Bay solely on their size. There is plenty of creativity, talent and goa Read more»
The last game of the World Junior Cup, the Canada-Russia contest, had lots
of future NHL players on both sides. The Canadians and Russians, tied
for the tournament lead before the game were preparing for the contest
which should decide who is better and who will win the whole World
Also during the warmup you could see highly talented players. On the
Russian side Nikolai Zherdev wore the C on his jersey for the first
time because Maxim Sheviev wasn’t able to play due to injury. Other
Russian players, mostly forwards, showed glimpses of briliance even
during the warmup. They are alternate captain Vladislav Evseev, Igor
Ignatouchkin, Evegni Isakov or Dmitri Kazionov.
On the Canadian side, Rick Nash, Daniel Paille, Alex Leavitt, Pierre-
Marc Bouchard, Lance Monych and captain Tim Brent were the top
prospects at forward while alternate captain Ian White, Andy Thompson,
Adam Gibson and Kevin Klein were shining at defense. Maxime Daigneault
and Denis Khoudiakov were the starters in goal on their respective
Immediately after the game started it was evident that it’ll be a
high-paced contest with lots of determination and offense. The Canadian
players created the first scoring chance of the game as the Russian
goalie Khoudiakov didn’t make a sure save and Tim Brent could almost
rebound the loose puck. Soon after that Tim had to visit the penalty
box for tripping, but the Canadians didn’t allow any scoring chance
to the Russians.
Tim Brent had his fingers also in the first goal of the game. He received
a pass from Pierre- Read more»
Los Angeles Kings 2001-2002
1. Alexander Frolov -LW-
2001-2002 Team: Yaroslavl (Rus. Super League)
Alexander will make the jump from the Russian
Upper League to Russia’s top
professional league, the Russian Super League. Frolov,
will definitely go through a bit of
an adjustment from the Upper League to the Super
League, but NHL scouts and the
Kings love his consistent goal-scoring over the past
couple of seasons and believe he can
carry it over to the Super League. The two parties
could not agree on a contract before
the July deadline so Frolov will not be in camp and
will not have a chance to make the
team. Frolov just needs to stay consistent and show
that he can play with the best in
Russia. A solid season in the RSL and a solid
performance at the WJC’s for Frolov could
mean a nice contract and a good shot at making the
club in 2003.
2. Yannick Lehoux -C-
2000-2001 Team: Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) – 70GP- 67G-
68A- 135 Pts Read more»
In the 1999 Entry Draft, when the Isles took Tim Connolly, Taylor Pyatt, Branislav Mezei and Kristian Kudroc in the first round, nobody seemed to notice when the Isles called Juraj Kolnik’s name in the fourth round. That’s just fine because the Isles believe they drafted a diamond in the rough.
In 1997-1998, as a 17 year old, Juraj started playing for Nitra in the Czech Elite League. It was evident over a 28 game span that he was out of his element. After scoring only 4 points, Juraj went to the Nitra Junior team. He rampaged with 44 points in 26 games, 28 of those points being goals.
In 1998-1999, Juraj traveled to North America and joined the Quebec Remparts. He played only 12 games with them, scoring 11 points, before he was traded to Rimouski. Over the next 97 games (2 seasons) with the Oceanic, Juraj would terrorize the opposition to the tune of 179 points
(89 goals and 90 assists). He was second in scoring on Rimouski to 2001 NHL All-Rookie Team member and Calder Trophy Finalist, Tampa Bay Lightning center Brad Richards. The Isles knew they had landed a winner.
The Isles assigned Juraj to the Lowell Lock Monsters in 2000-2001. He played 25 games and scored 8 points. Dismayed with the lack of quality ice time for Juraj and the rest of the Isles prospects, Mike Milbury ended the Isles affiliation with the Lock Monsters. Kolnik and
the rest of the prospects moved to the Springfield Falcons. Finally given proper ice time on a top line and power play unit, Juraj again went on a tear, sco Read more»
Ray had the distinction of being drafted right out of high school. The Flyers took him with their 7th choice (202nd overall) in the 1994 Entry Draft. Due to his excellent scholastic and athletic ability, Ray attended Yale University. Over a four period at Yale, Ray scored 83 points in 124 games, including leading the ECAC in assists with 30 in 35 games in 1997-1998. He was also named to the ECAC All-Star First Team and NCAA East First All-American Team.
In August of 1998, the Islanders acquired Ray from the Flyers for their 6th round pick in 2000. He came to training camp in 1998 and was assigned to the Isles AHL affiliate in Lowell. He scored 32 points (13 goals and 19 assists) in 59 games for the Lock Monsters. He was named
to the AHL All-Star Team for his efforts.
Again assigned to the Lock Monsters in 1999-2000, Ray contributed well. He scored 33 points (12 goals and 21 assists) in 49 games. Late in the 1999-2000, due to the lengthy list of injured defensemen on Long Island, Ray was called up for 14 games. He acquitted himself well, playing his regular shift and on power plays. His passing skill was
quite evident as he collected 9 assists in the 14 games. He also finished with an even plus/minus. Due to his speed and puck skills, Butch Goring even used Ray at left wing for a short time.
Unable to come to terms with the Islanders on a new contract for the 2000-2001 season, Ray took his considerable skills to Finland. He ended up playing 22 games for HIFK Helsinki and 24 games for Jokerit. Read more»