Pre-Mike Smith picks who may help.
Mark Bell is the flat out best prospect picked by anyone besides Mike Smith. The Hawks were able to trade up with Toronto since the leafs felt that no one suspected they would reach with Nicky Antropov, so the Leafs felt comfortable dropping down two slots.
Mark was pressured early to contribute two bad Hawk clubs and the speed of the NHL game and expectations viewing him a regular were factors Mark had trouble overcoming.
Although Kent Huskin’s Clarkson team did not survive the first round of the ECAC Tournament, he is another Ottawa born player who has the size and abilities that make the parent club take notice. He is not yet 21 and will probably be again selected to the ECAC All-Star team.
Another college player making noise in heard by the Hawk brass is Centre Tyler Arnason of St. Cloud. He has improved in his goal scoring with 14, 19, and 24 goals in the WCHA. His father scored 109 goals in the NHL from 1972-79, so his bloodlines are good. He is a good face-off man with scoring touch. His passing ability is why he has been asked to play the point on the power play i Read more»
Assignment to Norfolk has enabled him to develop and return to playing without thinking, something he said he was guilty of doing in his Blackhawk tryout. It would be no surprise to this writer if Bell eventually ends up as one of the Hawk four centres. The Blackhawk commitment to Zhamnov, Nylander, and the emergence of Chris Herperger, leaves Bell in a position where he must show he is better than other proven vets already established.
Not very much has gone right for the 2000-2001 New York Islanders. To to
their terrible play their coach has lost his job. Yet one of very few bright
spots, has been the play of Branislav Mezei. Mezei a 6’4 , 221 pound rookie
defenseman is a native of Nitra, Slovakia. He started the year in Lowell of
the American Hockey League. Yet do to injuries and poor play, he arrived in
the show probably earlier then the Islanders would have liked. Yet Mezei has
accepted the challenge and made the most of his chances. Mezei logs a lot of
ice time and is an extremely physical defenseman. He is not a goon. He very
rarely fights. Yet a few nights ago in Pittsburgh, he proved he can stand up
to the NHL’s tough guys. With a bunch of his teammates being bullied around
by Krzysztof Oliwa, Mezei jumped in a did very well in an all out brawl with
one of the best fighters in the league. Mezei is very very talented on the
offensive end, proving it time and time again with numerous great outlet
passes. There is no doubt the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League
greatly miss his presence in their lineup. Mezei played for Belleville for 3
years before getting his shot this year. There might be something in the
water over in Nitra, Slovakia. Juraj Kolnik, a Islander rookie forward was
also born in the Slovakian town. The two friends have been two of a list of
small success stories for the Islanders this year. Look for more from both
Mezei and Kolnik in the very near future.