By Mike Buskus
One tie and one point on the week
One point in the standings is all that the Albany River Rats have to show for their efforts this past week. On Friday, they lost to the Hershey Bears, 3-1. On Saturday, after coming from behind late in the game to take the lead, they wound up with a 5-5 tie against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
On the other hand, the top brass with the New Jersey Devils got a look at goalie Scott Clemmensen, the rookie from Boston College who has had only limited playing time behind Martin Brodeur in New Jersey. With virtually the entire Devils’ management and scouting team in attendance, on Friday Clemmensen got his first professional start. He was in the pipes as the River Rats took on the Hershey Bears.
Although the Rats lost, 3-1, not one of the three goals allowed (on 28 Hershey shots) could be called a “soft” goal. Clemmensen was the victim of a porous defense in front, as the first goal (Matt Herr of the Bears) was a rebound in front which the defense was unable to clear. The second goal was even more obviously a defensive lapse, as a Bear slid across the hash marks from right, unmolested and picked his spot. Finally, the third Hershey marker was a classic 2-on-1, with the goaltender watching the puck-carrier. Only problem was that the lone defender back did not block the pass and Jeff Daw of Hershey had an easy “shovel-in” goal.
Of the 25 saves, most were routine, but several very nifty ones were included. To date, Clemmensen (who was returned to New Jersey the next day) has not st Read more»
PLayers like the Oshawa Generals Nathan Horton, don’t come around all the
time. It’s not everyday that a sixteen year old, who is 6’3″ – 195lbs, can
play both ends of the ice like the 2001 2nd overall selection can. Horton,
who at sixteen, is already showing signs of becoming a dominant center in
the league, can indeed do it all. He can skate, shoot, pass, hit, and drop
the gloves when needed.
Most importantly be boasts a skill that not many
sixteen year old rookies do. He knows his role at both ends of the ice.
Whether it be maturity, or simply the fact that he understands that to be
the best, you have to do everything, including the little things. It’s the
little things that make Horton extremely special. The things you notice
his strapping 6’3″ frame, his beautiful long skating stride, and fantastic
But there are also things that aren’t as visible to the casual
hockey fan. Horton is a penalty kill specialist, and he is rarely caught
of position. He is blessed with many intangibles, like kicking the puck
his skate to his stick while in full stride, or the hand eye coordination
that allows him to bat pucks out of the air.
In a hat trick that he scored
earlier in the year, it was said that his three goals didn’t even begin to
tell the story, and that he absolutely dominated the game in the opponents
end, and in his teams end as well. The best thing about Horton is that
he plays well in his own end, his point a game pace, shows that his
offensive ability is very well-rounded a Read more»
Over the past several seasons, to an extent since the 1993-94 season the Rangers organization has struggled to re-stock the system for a future run at the cup whilst struggling even more to keep a most competitive veteran club on the ice. The likes of Daniel Goneau have been spotted in Rangers blue as have Johan Holmqvist and even Jason Labarbera.
As former Ranger prospects Doug Weight, Todd Marchant, Aaron Miller and more find their niches in the NHL and have blossomed into stars or solid NHLers, the Rangers for one reason or another have had a great deal of trouble bringing these kinds of players up from their own system into the NHL as Rangers, long time Rangers.
During this offseason G.M. Glen Sather did a stellar job in loading the Rangers AHL affiliate in Hartford with young talent such as Matt Kinch, Layne Ulmer, Mikael Samuelsson(via San Jose trade) and so on… even some have found their way to New York with the likes of Dan Blackburn via the 2001 draft and former 1st rounder (BUF) Barrett Heisten. But the age old question remains…”why are the Rangers signing journeyman veterans or former stars well past their prime and not giving the prospects a shot?”
WHL’s OPEN ICE HIT-Hawks/Rockets Deal
In a deal that will probably leave a very bad taste in some Portland Winter Hawk fans’ mouths, the Hawks dealt popular defenseman Jesse Ferguson and Kevin Young to the Kelowna Rockets for defensive prospect Richie Regehr. Hello Portland fans (and I’m one of them), this is professional ice hockey. You did not lose your first born. You did not see Brenden Morrow traded for a bag of pucks and a used mouthpiece. What happened today was simply the constant motion of Western Hockey League.
Let us put this day of active trading into perspective. Portland General Manager Ken Hodge and Head Coach Mike Williamson made a decision to trade two talented men in exchange for a promising young, but not inexperienced, player. Of the three players, none have been drafted by a NHL team, exposing that their talents may be attractive to WHL teams, but not necessarily commanding high-level prospect status. On the other hand, each of the three have either been given a NHL free-agent tryout or have been in contact with a NHL team official regarding their future, thus warranting scouting respect. In the case of Kevin Young, you have an undersized rear-guard who has a tremendous knack for holding the puck in the offensive zone. Consequently, Young is also very injury prone and not always sound in his defensive end. Studying Jesse Ferguson, we find a high-scoring overage defenseman with tremendous puck-moving ability. However, Ferguson can be non-existen Read more»