Imagine, as many of us have, that you are playing your very first NHL game. Stomach tied in knots, palms, very sweaty indeed. Then imagine that game is game #3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and you are 20 years old. Frightening!!!
Well as all Maple Leafs’ fans know, there was Adam Mair in last season’s NHL playoffs, bowling over Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltender, Tom Barrasso, as he goes to the net to followup on a Tie Domi shot. Not only does he bowl-over the Penguins’ netminder, but he has the presence to flip a rebound, backhanded, into the net for his first NHL goal in that first NHL game. A workman-like goal, from a workman-like, young man.
Many had Adam pegged for a role on the Toronto Maple Leafs when the 99-00 season started, but management felt more seasoning was necessary. To St. John’s he went, and after a bit of a slow start, he scored 10 pts. in his last 10 games for a struggling team. Then, opportunity came knocking.
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim are off to one of their best starts of their young history. The same can be said for their AHL affiliate, the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. The baby Ducks have been helped thanks to depth and their new partial affiliation with the Detroit Red Wings.
The addition of the Wings has turned around the AHL team and has certainly helped the baby Duck players. They are now getting a chance to play with more skilled players. A welcomed change for a team that has never had much depth in their AHL system.
With the first quarter of the season already done, its time to get out the report cards and start grading.
Vitaly Vishnevski – Defense; Grade: B+ (Cincy)
Vitaly has been pretty good in his first AHL season. Nothing real fancy, and he has been doing some good work. A disappointment has been in the offensive department. Although he is not considered an offensive player, he should be contributing more. Fortunately, he is improving at that making him a much more solid player. He has racked up 35 penalty minutes in 17 games and had a tremendous pre-season delivering his trademark big checks. Vitaly will have to be more offensive when he joins the high flying NHL Ducks.
Niclas Havelid – Defense; Grade: A- (Anaheim) Read more»
Team leads OHL Midwest Division as halfway point nears
After struggling through their maiden season with only 8 wins in 68 games, the Brampton
Battalion have emerged in their sophomore season as one of the surprise teams, not only in the OHL but also in the entire
Canadian Hockey League.
Stan Butler’s squad currently stands atop the OHL Midwest Division with a 13-8-5-2 record (33 points) through 28 games. Their closest divisional pursuers are the Erie Otters, who have racked up 26 points in 24 games.
The season started on a positive note with home ice wins over the highly-regarded Barrie Colts and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and a 2-1 road victory over their rivals from Mississauga. Brampton and Erie battled to a scoreless draw on October 3, which gave goaltender David Chant the distinction of being the first Battalion netminder to record a shutout. Read more»
General Manager Neil Smith announced the recall of Wolf Pack tough-guy Dale Purinton and the demotion of P.J. Stock and Terry Virtue.
Purinton, 23, has tallied one goal and one assist in 20 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) this season. He ranks second in the AHL and leads the club with 128 penalty minutes. The 6-3, 214-pound defenseman has registered five goals and nine assists for 14 points, along with 715 penalty minutes in 116 career professional matches with Hartford and Charlotte (East Coast Hockey League).
Pavel Rosa is considered one of the top prospects in the Kings organization. He is 11th in the IHL in scoring and has had success on the NHL level. Rosa’s promise is undeniable. The bad news is that his considerable potential will likely never be in a Los Angeles Kings’ sweater.
Pavel Rosa started the season in Long Beach for the second year in a row. Rosa has shown his skills there, posting 23 points in 25 games (8 goals, 15 assists), but has yet to crack the big club’s lineup. The reason? Pavel Rosa may be the key to keeping Storr and Fiset.
Pavel Rosa is coveted by many teams and may well be packaged with one of the goalies for a big name star. The reason he cannot stick with the Kings? Size. Size in terms of height and heart. Rosa is notorious for taking shifts off- something that you can get away with in the minors but not in the NHL when you are 5’10″ and 188lbs. His size is even more glaring if you look down the pipeline. If Rosa were to stick, he would likely be on a top line that the Kings are hoping would include Justin Papineau. That lack of size would spell doomsday for the Kings.
I personally like Rosa, but he has no real position. He is not a center, and is really too small to play forward in the evolving NHL. Sure there are a lot of smaller players prospering right now, but they all have the speed and skating ability that Rosa lacks. His lack of defensive awareness also figures to hamper him in Andy Murray’s system.