Trader Rick

by Ron Hoover
The Rick Dudley era in Tampa has been an adventure when it comes to draft day. The Lightning G.M. has yet to make a selection in the teams correct slot, despite having two consecutive top three picks, electing instead to make deals for more immediate help.
Both of the previous draft day maneuvers resulted in the Bolts acquiring a young, talented “starting” goaltender. Or so they thought. Dan Cloutier was picked up from the N.Y. Rangers in 1999 along with Niklas Sundstrom and a couple of picks after Dudley had previously made a deal with Chicago for their pick. Sundstrom was subsequently dealt to the Sharks in a deal that brought four players to the team, of which only Andrei Zyuzin remains.

Cloutier struggled after having to take over prematurely for an injured Daren Puppa as the starter. The consensus was that Dan just wasn’t ready to carry that load and the team announced they would attempt to get a veteran netminder to lug the mail until Cloutier was ready.

Opting to ignore free agency, Dudley got another goalie with his second consecutive draft day deal. Instead of the veteran that he had earlier told season ticket holders they would go after, he chose to trade away the number one overall pick to the Islanders for another young backup Kevin Weekes.

Cloutier has since been traded and Weekes is apparently not the answer either despite playing strong at the end of last season. The Bolts made a deal for veteran Nikolai Khabibulin which should pretty much seal Weekes fate as a starter in Tampa

Needless to say, Lig Read more»

IHL Suing Ft. Wayne Komets

by Andrew Bourgeois


The IHL is suing the owners of the Fort Wayne Komets, which left the IHL two years ago for the United Hockey League, for $292,000 in dues and worker’s compensation. When the Komets left the IHL, the franchise was “suspended” which meant, said the lawsuit, it owes $143,456 in dues for the last two seasons and worker’s comp costs of $148,600.
“It’s money we feel is owed to us,” said IHL commissioner Doug Moss. “Unfortunately these things happen.”
Moss said Fort Wayne is the only former team that’s caused a problem because they’ve cleared up those issues with other teams that have left, such as Kalamazoo, Long Beach, Las Vegas and Indianapolis, in the last couple of years.
“It costs money to operate a team and a league. Other people pay their dues,” said Moss.
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported the IHL is also seeking an injunction against Fort Wayne’s use of the Komet name, logo and uniforms “claiming the team granted the league excusive rights to everything associated with the Komets’ identity.”

The Professional Hockey Players Association is also suing the Komets for more than $33,000 for its players’ insurance fund and $45,100 for a former defenceman Guy Dupuis.
The IHL has also filed a claim as a creditor against the Cincinnati Cyclones bankruptcy.
In AHL news and announcement is expeceted tomorrow on the new realignmnet of its divisions and conferences and Kansas City is exploring the possibilities of an AHL franchise coming to town for next year.


The 1972 Nova Scotia Voyageurs, the 1978 Read more»

The Islanders and the Virtue of Patience

by Drew Bennett

With almost a week before the 2001 National Hockey League Entry Draft,
rumors are heating up on Long Island about what “Mad” Mike Millbury will do
next. Last year Millbury traded the top prospect in hockey, Roberto Luongo,
to draft Rick Dipietro. Will Mike Millbury be up to his usual self again
this year? Only time will tell…

The Islanders have many options in this year’s draft. They have a solid
nucleus of young forwards (Tim Connolly, Taylor Pyatt, Brad Isbister, Juraj
Kolnik, and Justin Mapletoft), skilled and big defenseman (Branislav Mezei,
Mathieu Biron, and Roman Hamrlik), as well as talented net minders (Rick
DiPietro and Stephen Valiquette) in the fold. The speculation is that the
Islanders will either trade the pick or select Jason Spezza or Slanislav
Tchistov; both offensive weapons.

If the Islanders do trade the pick, it is expected that they will make a
deal for Boston’s Jason Allison or Ottawa’s Alexi Yashin. If they are to
make a trade for one of the two, it will cost the team more than the 2nd
overall pick in the entry draft. Most likely, a deal which would bring
Yashin or Allison to the Island would include the 2nd overall pick and two
of the Islanders young talents. That list would include Zdeno Chara, Mark
Parrish, Tim Connolly, and Brad Isbister. The question that I ask myself
about that kind of a deal is, “Is it worth giving up two of the NHL’s
up-and-coming talents and a top draft choice for a star player who might not
be able to single handedly push the Islanders into the play Read more»

Offseason notes

by Brian Roe

David Legwand is working with established trainer Charles Poloquin. Legwand will be spending a few days a week with Poloquin and then take the program back with him to Michigan until Training Camp opens.

”It seems like everyone who works with him has a breakout year afterward,” said Legwand’s agent, Pat Morris.

Charles Poloquin has worked with Chris Pronger, Al MacInnis, Gary Roberts and more recently Wade Redden, Martain LaPointe, and Eric Brewer. The Preds and Legwand are both hoping Poloquin continues his winning streak.

And last but not least, GM David Poile is back in contact with centerman Petr Sykora. The Preds are hoping Sykora can play in Nashville as early as next season. The highly touted 22-year old center scored 44 points in 47 games last season in the Czech Republic.

In the NHL Entry Draft next weekend, the Predators own the 12th overall pick in the first round and then own two picks in the second and third rounds. This year’s draft, the deepest draft since Nashville joined the NHL, is the most important one Nashville has ever been apart of.

Former IHL Teams to Compete in Same Division

by Andrew Bourgeois
The inclusion of the Manitoba Moose into the American Hockey League brings the league’s Canadian content to five teams, but don’t expect the Winnipeg-based team to join the Canadian Division.

The division which once included the Calder Cup champion Saint John Flames, St. John’s Maple Leafs, Quebec Citadelles and Hamilton Bulldogs might be scrapped entirely.
AHL president Dave Andrews had hoped to announce the divisional makeup and tentative schedule for next season, but last-minute differences over the proposed scheme has necessitated more talks.

It is expected, however, the former IHL teams will form their own division.

The Flames, Leafs and Citadelles are reportedly set to join a division with a number of New England teams, possibly Portland, Manchester, Worcester and Lowell, with the Bulldogs bound for another grouping. The Leafs’ schedule is dominated with 12 games each against the other Canadian-based teams, a trend that will continue next season. But while St. John’s won’t likely meet Utah, Chicago, Houston, Grand Rapids and Milwaukee, the Leafs will play the Moose at least four times.

Just as there was back in 1991 when St. John’s joined the AHL, some concern was expressed about travelling to far-off cities like Winnipeg, Houston and Salt Lake City.
However, the league has established a travel equalization fund, cost-shared equally among all clubs to the tune of about $15,000 each.

That’s good news for the Leafs, who had been paying about $65,000 per season in travel subsidies.

“If we find ourselves going to Read more»

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