In the press conference announcing Ivan Hlinka as the new Pens head
coach, Ivan talked about needing to get a little bigger at both the
forward and defensive positions. It didn’t take very long for the new
coach to have an impact on the draft as the Pens stocked up on tough,
gritty, hard hitting players.
For only the 3rd time in the 11 drafts that Craig Patrick has presided
over, the Pens took a non-European player in the first round (the others: Chris Wells 94 and Craig Hillier 96) when they drafted hard
hitting Boston College defenseman Brooks Orpik with the 18th overall
selection. The Pens were so sure that Orpik would be drafted before
their selection that they didn’t even conduct a pre-draft interview with
him. The Pens, however, were thrilled that he was around to select as
he was a unanimous selection at the draft table.
The Pens have needed a strong physical defenseman ever since Ulf
Samuelsson was traded to the Rangers in 1995 and they could have that in
Orpik. His hard-hitting style is likely to make him an immediate fan
favorite. The Pens were sold on his talent at the NCAA Western Regional
Final when he was paired against #2 pick Dany Heatley.
Orpik still has two years left at Boston College and the Pens aren’t known
as a team that pressures kids to leave school early. Orpik seems to
love the college atmosphere and it’s a good bet he’ll stay at BC for at
least another year.
CANUCKS MOVE FARM CLUB TO KANSAS CITY
The Vancouver Canucks have changed their farm team from the Syracuse Crunch
of the American Hockey League to the Kansas City Blades of the International
Kansas City’s proximity to Vancouver factored into the switch, Brian Burke,
general manager of the NHL Canucks, said Monday.
The Canucks have signed a two-year agreement, the second year being
Vancouver’s option, with the Blades. Under terms of the deal, Vancouver will
supply 18 players to the Blades, plus a coaching and training staff.
Stan Smyl, who guided the Crunch to a 35-36-9-1 record in his first season
as a head coach, will be the Blades coach.
On January 17, 1962 the Saint Paul Saints win the most lopsided game in IHL
history, a 20-3 drubbing of the Toledo Mercurys.
IHL TEAMS PLACE IN IHL HISTORY
Detroit Vipers: The Vipers had a league high 122 points in 1997 on their way
to capture the Turner Cup. That championship allowed the city of Detroit to
be the first city to capture two cups as the Detroit Red Wings won the
Stanley Cup the same year.
TODAY IN HOCKEY
June 28, 1985 the Detroit Red Wings sign undrafted free agent Adam Oates.
DID YOU KNOW
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