Plymouth Whalers knockout Windsor Spitfires in second round OHL series

by Derek Berry
on

PLYMOUTH, MI-Do you want some more? That’s what the Plymouth Whalers were asking the wounded Windsor Spitfires as they left Compuware Arena in Plymouth in their recent four-games-to-one playoff series victory. It’s not that the Spitfires played poorly or did not compete, it’s just that Plymouth seemed to have more when it mattered.
Take Game Five of the series for instance. The Whalers started off with two big, very deflating goals in the first ten minutes, setting the tone for the rest of the game and putting a dagger in Windsor’s hearts.
It was the Whalers top scorers rising to the occasion when they had to-Damian Surma and Justin Williams, who had the big early goals for Plymouth off of Windsor goaltender Mike Leighton. But, shortly after this point, Windsor had their moment to get back into it and change the direction of the series.
Three straight Plymouth penalties, one of which was a ten minute misconduct assessed to Libor Ustrnul for boarding, and a hooking call to Jared Newman, was just what Windsor needed. And they made it interesting.
Vince Grant worked hard in front of the net to get the power play tally off of Plymouth goalie Rob Zepp and it made the score 2-1 at the end of the first period.
“We had it in the back of our minds that if we worked hard, kept plugging away and got scoring chances, that we could win,” said Zepp, a 1999 fourth round draft choice of the Atlanta Thrashers. “We learned from last year’s mistakes.” Read more»

Gibson Developing into a Fine Defensemen

by Brad Coccimiglio
on

Name: Jake Gibson
Team: Soo Greyhounds
Birthdate: July 25, 1980
Hometown: New Liskeard, Ontario
Position: Defense
Number: 8
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 208 lbs
Shoots: Left

Jake Gibson came to the Soo Greyhounds as a 6th round (94th overall) draft pick in the 1997
OHL draft. Since then Gib, as he is known by many of the Greyhounds faithful, has developed into
a very strong defensive defenseman.
Gibson, 19, should be a strong candidate for an overage spot on next years Greyhounds
roster. Gibson will likely be brought back for experience on the blueline. He is the only
Greyhound defenseman eligible for an overage spot, although Dan Passero is the only Greyhounds
defenseman who is not eligible to come back (centre Chad Spurr and goaltender Jason Flick are
also not eligible to come back next season).
Gibson has never been known as a strong offensive defenseman. He does chip in offensively by
pinching in at the right times and he rarely ever gets caught doing so. He also provides the
Greyhounds blueline with a physical presence.
Gibson has spent most of the season as rookie Trevor Daley’s defense partner. Gibson has
been sort of an insurance policy or a policeman as he protects Daley quite often. Also his
defensive style allows Daley to jump into the play a little bit more often. Read more»

Spits On The Right Track

by pbadmin
on

The 1999-2000 OHL season is over for the Windsor Spitfires after losing their Western Conference semi-final series in five games to the
Plymouth Whalers. But as they get ready to head home for the summer, they should have reason to be proud.
When Mike Kelly and Tom Webster were hired as GM and coach, respectively, last summer, people all over the league realized it wouldn’t be
long before the Spits would be contending. And the team improved its regular season by 21 points over 1988-99. However, the way they
accomplished it was a bit odd. Normally, a team wants to improve gradually over the course of the season, peaking in time for the palyoffs. But the Spits did it in reverse. They
burst out of the starting gate at a terrific pace, even seeing themselves in the CHL Top Ten list a few times.
But a couple of big losses at home just after Christmas led to a terrible second half. It didn’t help that a number of players, including top draft
choice, D Tim Gleason (NHL eligible 2001) and overage C Jeff Martin missed a number of games due to injuries. Martin, in particular, had a
season to forget, with a number of injuries, concluding with a concussion suffered in game four of the Plymouth series.
Also, goalie Michael Leighton (Chicago ’99) needed all season to recover form a groin injury, and only in the playoffs did he play the way people
knew he could. In fact, his play kept the Spits in a number of contests in the post-season. Read more»

Rangers Prospect Ranking Update

by Michael Theodore
on

1. Pavel Brendl

Right Wing/Left Wing
Ht: 6’2
Wt. 200
Shoots: Right

Decent skater who knows the offensive flow. Not as bad defensively as some
would have you believe. Needs to work hard everynight. Amazing talent but
will either be the next Mike Bossy or the next Alex Kovalev. Good size, not
overly physical but has shown signs of a nasty streak. Rangers will work him
hard this summer, he will be in shape or else. Rangers invested a lot in
him and expect big payoff. The potential to be a first line superstar winger.

2. Jamie Lundmark

Center/Right Wing
Ht: 6’0
Wt: 185
Shoots: Right

Speed demon with several gears. Does everything well, even the little things
and does it all at top speeds. Didn’t have the offensive season that Rangers
expected but it should be noted he played on a young team that was quite
honestly horrible. He also was away from the team to spend time with the
Rangers, the Canadian Junior team and the WHL all-star game. After slow start
really poured it on and was actually on roughly a 94 point pace {over 72
games). Don’t worry about the numbers, Jamie works hard and has a ton of
talent. Is and always will be a better all around player than Brendl. Figures
to be a first line center in the crosshairs of a Steve Yzerman / Jeremy
Roenick mold.

3. Tomas Kloucek

Read more»

Tim Connolly: Rising Star

by pbadmin
on
At last year’s draft Islanders GM Mike Milbury claimed that highly touted centerman Tim Connolly breaking his leg and missing half of his OHL season was a blessing. Connolly was on pace to score better than 50 goals and 100 points, which would have likely moved him up the draft charts. The skilled pivot was touted as the best stick handler in the draft and drew comparisons to the likes of Steve Yzerman. The Islanders brass were thrilled to take Tim with the 5th overall pick, the first of four first rounders.

Tim’s leg healed completely and he was in great shape for training camp. He had a strong camp, and though only 18, it was apparent that he was the most skilled player in the organization. Still, the Islanders were cautious about Connolly. They had made the mistake of rushing players into the NHL only to see their careers take a down turn before (see Dave Chyzowski, Eric Fichaud, and the jury is still out on Eric Brewer after a massive sophomore slump) and Tim had played only 46 games the year before. Hockey common place would be to let the phenom return to juniors, challenge for a scoring title, make a playoff run, and build up his confidence. However, the recent trade of super star Ziggy Palffy left the Islanders in dire need of a big time talent and fan draw in the lineup.
Read more»