Over the past few seasons there have been a lot of people
questioning what direction Canadian hocky was heading in. With an eighth
place finish at the 1998 World Junior Championships, and fourth at the
Nagano Olympics, many people in hockey crazed Canada were left with reasons
That’s when Canadian hockey decided that something needed to be done to get back on track, so to speak. Canada is still the number one player producer for the NHL as 60%-70% of NHL players call the “Great White North” their home. The problem lays in that
European players are becoming more dominant, and Canada is not producing talented players at a rate comparable to smaller countries like Sweden and the Czech Republic.
To try and figure out how to get back on
top, Canadian Hockey held the Open Ice Summit, the first of its kind, from
August 25-27. Some of the best hockey minds in the country like Toronto Maple Leafs president Ken Dryden, Canadian Hockey Association president Bob Nicholson and Canadian Hockey League president David Branch were in attendance.
Talk about a roller coaster ride. This team went from terrible to excellent and then squeaked in a period and a half of decent hockey before the wheels came completely off. They reached a new low in this game against Ottawa. Outplayed, outshot and outscored, they came out in the third period looking extremely tired, then all but gave up with about ten minutes to go. With the score 7-2 and only a few minutes remaining, I can’t recall ever watching a team wanting to playout the clock the way these guys did. They iced the puck at every opportunity, and stayed almost completely out of Ottawa’s zone. I guess you could blame it on exhaustion as the team played with a short bench most of the game. Gordie Dwyer didn’t play due to an injury, Alexander Buturlin left the game mid way through the second with a knee injury and Aaron Asham didn’t play in the third after he had two fights in the second period. Konstantin Sidulov was inserted in the lineup in place of Dan Watson on defense and Sebastien Thinel played for the injured Dwyer. Once again, Jason Lehoux and Olivier Morin did not dress for the game nor did goaltender Dan Murphy. Three games in three days with practices every morning is tough, but I didn’t notice the Ottawa team slowing down.
One might wonder if the ice was that bad, or if there was that little talent. After
a hard fought match between Florida and Montreal, where the brawn outshone the talent,
the Ottawa Senators prospects took on the Tampa Bay Lightning prospects in what seemed
to be a slip and slide matchup due to a sheet of water covering the ice. These were the
final two games of a four-day tournament which featured two games per day, with
each team playing in one of those daily two games.
In the Panthers’ four games, they deteriorated from giving the impression of being
a fairly strong, experienced and mature team to revealing themslves as an
undisciplined, immature and flat out joke of a squad. Their top player, Novoseltsev
was injured for all games aside from Game 2 versus Montreal in which he notched the
only two Panther goals. The pressure was then placed on Florida’s number one draft
pick, Denis Shvidki, to lead the way offensively for the talent-challenged Panthers.
But after a respectable opening game against the Senators, Shvidki trailed off and
disappeared for the rest of the tournament. Receiving some PK time, and tons of
powerplay time, Shvidki remained unsuccessful and mainly a liability defensively.
Perhaps too much was expected from the supposed feisty young player. It may
be that not only his numbers but his stock was blown out of proportion while Read more»
New York Rangers camp opened yesterday in Burlington, Vermont. Noticeably less than 100% was top prospect and Rangers projected star of the next
decade Pavel Brendl. Brendl awoke Sunday morning with the same stomach flu
that has bothered him for nearly three days but he decided to lace èm up to
show Rangers Management what he could do….. which was with the flu not
much other than fall down during off ice training and go no where near the
net during on ice drills. Even with the excuse of flu many are a little
more concerned that Brendl may have not locked up that guaranteed roster spot that was handed to him on draft day.
General Manager Neil Smith was quoted at camp saying
“I have to admit that for a moment I thought, ‘Oh, my God, what if he’s not
sick? But the fact is, he is sick and, actually, I was surprised that he
even was out there”. Veteran Adam Graves has been assigned as Brendl`s
roommate, a move that they hope will help motivate him away from the puck
As the Detroit Red Wings’ training camp continues in Traverse City, Michigan, competition for open roster positions is expected to be fierce. With Darren McCarty holding out, Brent Gilchrist on the injured reserve, and Uwe Krupp suspended, the Wings’ have only 20 NHL regulars. Four open positions are up for grabs in order to fill out the NHL regulation 24-man roster.
Up front, twelve Red Wing regulars are expected to begin the season with Detroit. Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan, Slava Kozlov, Martin Lapointe, Tomas Holmstrom, Igor Larionov, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper, Doug Brown, Stacy Roest and Joe Kocur have all reported to camp under contract and in good health.
On the blue line, there are only five returning regulars from last seasons brief playoff run. Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Larry Murphy, Mathieu Dandenault and Aaron Ward have all reported to Traverse City and will begin the season in Detroit. Recently signed unrestricted free agent Steve Duchesne rounds out the blue line’s top six.
In the crease, there is little doubt that Chris Osgood will be the starter with Ken Wregget as his backup. The Wings’ are unlikely to carry three goalies, and for that reason Manny Legace is expected to be sent to a minor league franchise to begin the season.