Numerous factors must go into a young person’s decision to make a change in his or her life. Is it best to stay close to home? Where will I have the best chance to succeed? How do I find out all that I need to know? When is it the best time to make the big changes?
Confusing questions to anyone, but imagine then having to make a change which requires you to move halfway around the world to a foreign country when you are just 17 years old. Konstantin Kalmikov, who hails from the Ukraine, made such a decision when he came over to North America to play in the Colonial Hockey League in the 1995-96 season.
“The hockey system is not very well organized in the Ukraine. I felt that to best develop my game, a move to North America would be helpful”, states the soft-spoken Kalmikov.
Following a 4-goal, 13-assist season split between Flint and Detroit in the CHL in the 1995-96 season, the Maple Leafs drafted Konstantin in the 3rd round of the 1996 NHL entry draft with the 68th overall selection. He moved to Sudbury of the OHL for the 1996-97 season, scoring 22 goals and adding 34 assists in 66 games. His second year with Sudbury saw a rise in his production to 32 goals and 32 assists during the 1997-98 season.
“While in Europe, we constantly worked on our skating, so I felt pretty good about that part of my game. My last two years I have worked more on my shot, trying to quicken my release and increase the power. That part of my game has improved a lot, but I have a ways to go”, states Kalmikov.
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim have had a wonderful off sesaon. They have made some new acquistions, watched prospects mature and for once, they had a relatively quiet off season unlike the past which was full of contract squabbles, ego trips, coaching changes and the occassional front office swap. The only problems this year stem from the possible sale of the Ducks by Disney to the billionaires Henry, other wise known as Henry Nicholas and Henry Samueli. The Ducks dont seem to care about what happens up top, instead they are focusing on the future and getting ready for the season.
The Ducks’ training camp motto is “Take the Next Step”. Apparently the fans are ready. A capacity crowd showed up at Disney ICE when camp opened bringing plenty of energy to camp. Heres a look at those trying to take the next step and make the big club and those who are on the verge of being there this time around. And a note for those wondering the “borderline” monikers, etc, it is only meant as their chances of making the team out of camp this year, not in the future or their future as an NHLer.
Niclas Havelid, D
It’s September 12, 1999, many young faces to the world of professional hockey are tying up their skates for the first time. They are preparing to step on the ice carrying an NHL crest on their jersey and knowing that they have a chance to become a professional hockey player one day.
Coach Crawford is telling his players to go out there and have fun and that’s all the game is about. The team races out with new faces in Steve Kariya and Jarkko Ruutu. However, Crawford and Burke, who have seen Kariya playing with intensity all week in Kamloops, have been caught saying some good words on the 5-foot-7 speedy gonzalez on ice.
By far Kariya has been the most productive player at camp this season and it is no doubt he will crack the lineup with the Canucks this season.
The Canucks have the Sedin twins wrapped up, now what if they were able to land Paul Kariya with Steve? Of course it probably won’t ever happen, what’s wrong with bringing more family love onto the Canucks? Other notable players at camp all week include Artem Chubarov, Lubomir Vaic and even Matt Cooke is stepping up for a job. Of course Cooke has stated several times to media he never wants to go back to Syracuse. If Josh Holden wants to ever see the dawn of day for more then a few games with the Canucks then he better pull out of the bag what he is projected to do or else players like Matt Cooke may rub 1st round pick all over Josh’s face in the next year.
The first three roster cuts are complete and the remaining Nashville Predators prospects are entering the most important weekend of their careers. Nashville plays three games in as many nights and the trio of contests will offer the final chance for most prospects to earn roster spots. Here is the second of two reports that will provide updates on all the notable prospects who have participated in the Predators rookie camp and NHL training camp …
Ed Hill (6)
During the Nashville rookie camp, Ed Hill showed that he has the basic tools to be a successful NHL defenseman. He has a solid all-around game and is a smooth skater with good passing ability. He does not have any glaring weaknesses, but he will need to step up his game in the near future. He will return to the Barrie Colts of the OHL this season, where he is a teammate of fellow Predators prospect Brian Finley. If Hill can raise the level of his game over the next couple of years, he could develop into a very good prospect.
Karlis Skrastins (6)
I authored an earlier article dealing with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s drafting of Sheldon Keefe in this summers draft. In that article I mentioned that there were a few rumors swirling around Sheldon that had affected his draft position. I also pointed out that most, if not all, of those rumors had been deemed by the Lightning’s management as either false or not worthy of worrying about. They decided to take a chance on the young Mr. Keefe and have not been disappointed so far. Here is a short interview I had with Sheldon during the first week of training camp.
RH – Sheldon, I have to ask you about the draft and some of the things that were said about you before it. I know that it’s now been proven the rumors surrounding you and Mr.Frost were inaccurate and you would rather put that whole fiasco behind you, so I won’t ask you about him. I would like to know though what was your reaction to dropping so far in the draft.