This year’s training camp ended with everyone viewing a different Mark Bell. The one we viewed this season was more relaxed, confident and a beneficiary of a year in the farm beside teaching coach Trent Yawney. Everybody saw the difference on the ice.
Updates on Flyers prospects playing in Europe.
Antero Niittymäki: Defending champion TPS Turku is off to their worst start in years. One of the bright spots, however, has been the early-season resurgence of goaltender Antero Niittymäki, who encountered a sophomore slump last season after a Rookie of the Year season in 1999-2000. Niittymäki has been splitting starts roughly in half with veteran Fredrik Norrena. In 8 starts to date, “Antsu” has a miniscule 1.69 goals against average and a .948 save percentage. However, those numbers have only been good enough for 4 wins (against 3 losses and a tie). Likewise, Norrena has played well (2.09 GAA, .926 save percentage) but has also suffered from lack of goal support, as his 2-5-2 record attests.
Marko Kauppinen : Defenseman Marko Kauppinen struggled terribly out of the gates for TPS, but has come on nicely over the last three weeks. In 17 games to date, he has 3 goals and 5 points. A few weeks ago, Kauppinen had a team-worst minus-five rating, but he now is the plus side of the ledger, with a plus-3.
Jussi Timonen : Playing for KalPa in Division One, Kimmo Timonen’s younger brother is playing his first season at the senior level. He has three points (all assists) in 12 games.
David Printz: Hulking defenseman David Printz was set to play college hockey for Northern Michigan this season, but opted instead to accept an offer to play for AIK in Elitserien. Printz, who was originally trained in the AIK junior developme Read more»
Goaltender plot thickens; ICE trade for Kolewaski
Ever since the New York Rangers decided that they were keeping standout goaltender Dan Blackburn on their NHL roster, the goaltending pendulum for the Kootenay ICE has been swinging back and forth between Jeff Harvey and rookie Bryan Bridges.
That pendulum just added another direction for it to swing.
The Kootenay ICE decided to add some depth to their goaltending department by acquiring Tony Kolewaski in a trade with the Saskatoon Blades on Thursday that saw the ever popular ‘future considerations’ go the other way. It was a move that Kootenay ICE G.M. Jeff Chynoweth says can be best construed as both a reflection on the current goaltending situation with the ICE and as an insurance policy. “I think it’s a little bit of both,” said Chynoweth. “You look at our record (6-7-2), we’re giving up less than 25 shots a game which is pretty impressive for Major Junior hockey.”
“Goaltending is such a key part and not to place all the blame on the goaltenders but at times this year it’s been a little weak.”
Weak, inconsistent, inexperienced call it what you want. The pleasant surprise of the play of rookie Bryan Bridges aside, the familiar rant throughout the corridors of the Rec/Plex all season long had a common ring to them – the goaltending, or lack thereof. After being treated to the stellar netminding of Dan Blackburn for the past two seasons, perhaps the ICE faithful were just spoiled. At any rate Chynoweth felt that something had to be done. “We felt this was an opportunity to get a look-see,” he sa Read more»
Here are some of my random notes and observations from the Avs season so far.
Unfortunately, I did not get to see as much of the rookies as I would have like to this year. The Avs spent most of their time in Sweden or Hershey and I mistakenly planned my vacation around a failed attempt to check out the USA Olympic practice in Colorado Springs. Little did I know that they would not let me in to watch. So I drove up Pike’s Peak to over look the World Arena and to get closer to the Hockey God’s. I ask them for good things to happen for team USA. Little did I know that less than a week later, patriotism would take on a whole new meaning. What I did see of the rookies were in their 3 preseason games:
Mikhail Kuleshov: By now everyone knows about the impression he made on Dallas Star goalie Ed Belfour. Kuleshov scored two spectacular “goal scores goals” in a short period of time. Both goals were unassisted goals in which he picked the pocket of a Dallas defender and whisked the puck past Belfour before he knew what had happened. After a very moving moment of silence and a great rendition of “ God Bless America” the crowd was ready and willing to show Eddie our love with a big round of BELLLLLLL-
Czech mates: It can’t really be call Read more»