2001-02 Season Previews, From Vydareny to Reid.

by Kirk Pedersen

The Canucks have been a team in the past who have gotten quite a bit of high-quality talent from the NHL Draft. The past few seasons have been no exception. Since Brian Burke and his band of merry men took over in 1998, the Canucks have seen players such as Artem Chubarov and the Sedins take roles in the future of this franchise. With players such as Bryan Allen, Rene Vydareny and Brandon Reid set to undertake spots in the hopefully not-too-distant future.

Here are prospects #3-6, a preview and forecast of the upcoming seasons for Rene Vydareny, Alexander Auld, R.J. Umberger, and speedster Brandon Reid.

Rene Vydareny was drafted in 1999, in the third round, from Bratislava, in the Slovakian Junior league. He was the #12 European skater for the ’99 draft, ahead of such players as Luca Cereda, Kristian Kudroc, Andrei Shefer, and Mattias Weinhandl. He came over to North America for the 1999-2000 season, picking up thirty points (7g, 23a) in 51 games with the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL.

He missed a good chunk of this season due to a contract dispute with his Slovakian Club team, which blew up into him not being able to play in Kansas City, or with the Canucks, as stipulated in his contract. The Canucks spent the better part of a few weeks trying to wrestle the rights to Rene away from Bratislava, and eventually succeeded, although they paid an undisclosed sum to the Slovakian team for Rene’s services. He finally arrived in Kansas City, around the midpoint of the final season for the IHL. He didn’t score at all; (0g,1a in 39 games) but he showed flas Read more»

The Flyers can fly high with Jiri Dopita

by Robert Neuhauser
We’ll probably not exactly find out which reason forced Jiri Dopita, arguably the best forward
outside the NHL, to try his luck on the other side of the pond. But one thing is for sure.
After refusing offers from the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and lastly the Florida
Panthers, Jiri joins former Vsetin teammate Roman Cechmanek in Philadelphia. Jiri Dopita,
nicknamed Dopi (read Dopey) will celebrate his 33rd birthday in December and this native
from Sumperk, Czech Republic can’t be labelled as one who is entering his prime. But he can
provide immediate help and boost the Flyers offense for the next 4-5 years.

Jiri started to play hockey and handball in his native Sumperk in mid-70’s. It was soon clear
that this guy has a very good hockey sense and talent and Jiri stayed in Sumperk only till
he was ready to play in the elite junior league. HC Olomouc has brought him into the system, but
he didn’t make his Czechoslovakian 1. liga (elite league at that time) debut in Olomouc jersey. He
had to enter the army for two years and he played in his debut among the seniors for the army
team HC Dukla Jihlava. That was in the 1989-90 season. Jiri split the two army years between
HC Dukla Jihlava and VTJ Tabor and returned to Olomouc as the 1992-93 seeason passed the
halfway mark.

Jiri Dopita was originally a Boston Bruins’ draft choice back in 1992, 132nd overall. At one time
it seemed that Jiri will accept their offer and fight for a roster spot with the Bruins, but
finally Jiri refused the Bruins offer and chose to play for Eisbaren Berlin (Berlin Ic Read more»

Habs’ development camp (day 3)

by Chris Boucher
Day three of the Canadiens Prospect Development Camp came and went with the same level of intensity as the previous two practices. Drills were up-tempo, players worked hard, and Clement Jodoin (AKA: King of the X’s and O’s) put together another masterfully, well organized practice.

Russian goaltender, Vadim Tarasov continues to wade through visa problems. But might be in Montreal by the weekend. He, along with Mike Komisarek (US Junior camp), and Duncan Milroy (Canadian Junior camp) continue to be the only notable absentees.

The Habs’ brain trust is well represented on site. With André Savard, Martin Madden, Michel Therrien, Guy Carbonneau, and Pierre Boivin all present and accounted for. Their main focus appears to be on Ron Hainsey (1st round, 2000) who continually demonstrates strong puck-handling skill to go along with his mobility, and positive attitude. Hainsey leads by example. He’s always smiling, and obviously enjoys the game with a contagious passion.

Non-property invitee Francois Fortier, a 21 year-old forward who split last season between Hartford and Quebec has shown a strong skating stride, as well as good puck-skills. Most surprising however, has been the 5’11”, 194 lbs. forward’s intensity level.

Alexandre Tremblay, another non-property invitee has continued to impress with his skill level. He has an NHL-calibre release, and shot. However, his lack of size may be the deciding factor in his potential future with Montreal.

Jerome Marois (9th round, 1999), who will likely begin the season in Quebec, or Miss Read more»

Team Toughness not a problem in Flyers system

by Mike Castor

The Flyers have a long history of playing tough and having the top enforcers in the game. Although the game has changed much since the Broad Street Bullies era, hockey still needs policemen. The Flyers in recent drafts have drafted players that can play and are willing to drop the gloves to add a spark. This article will look at the current Flyer players that will lead the way in the toughness area. Also it will take a look at the players trying to make their mark with the orange and black. The Flyers enter this season with a team that is highly skilled but also feisty. The addition of Roenick will only add to the overall toughness of Richardson, Primeau, McGillis, and Tocchet. The Broad Street Bullies they are not, but they are not a team that can be pushed around.

Todd Fedoruk – Todd has progress through the Flyers system rather rapidly. He played some games for the Phantoms 1999 – 2000 and also saw action with the Trenton Titians. The Flyers have always been impressed with his skating ability for such a large man (6’2 235 lbs). Todd’s nickname is the “ Fridge “ because of his wide stocky build. He also has his last name tattooed on his back so the fans will know who he is when he gets his jersey torn off he once said jokingly. Fedoruk has average skill that will allow him to take regular shifts and not hurt the team. Last preseason he knocked Sandy McCarthy out with the nasty left that he likes to throw in tight. He also can switch up hands during a fight to throw off the opponent. Todd had several fights his rookie year in which he won most of t Read more»

A “Goal”den Group of Prospects

by Brandon LeBourveau

The New York Rangers have one of the deepest group of talented goaltending prospects, rivaling only a few teams, including the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks. The Rangers have put a lot of time and effort into developing potential NHL goalies. Although the current goaltending for the Rangers in the NHL is questionable, with Mike Richter rehabbing a second torn ACL and no current back, their are not many doubts about the prospects playing all over the world between the pipes for the Rangers.

When the Rangers selected goaltender Dan Blackburn from the Kootenay Ice of the WHL 10th Overall this past draft, it left many Rangers’ fans shaking their heads. “Why another goaltender?” was a common phrase that was being used. But, in today’s NHL, you can never have enough goaltending. Goaltending wins championships, and if you don’t have an excellent goalie between the pipes, don’t expect your team to go far. The selection of Blackburn reminded me of the situation with the New Jersey Devils two years ago. With Martin Brodeur in his prime and the fact the team just drafted goaltender JF Damphousse in the 1st Round of the 1997 Entry Draft, the Devils selected goaltender Ari Ahonen from Finland in the 1st round of the 1999 Draft. This move puzzled many fans as well.

Now a little more than two years later, the selection is looking like a great one for the Devils. Martin Brodeur’s play has clearly been slipping over the last year and a half, and Ahonen is arguably one of the top goalt Read more»

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