For Andrew Raycroft, this is a season to remember. Raycroft for the first time in his 3 year OHL career was the starting goaltender in the OHL all star game. In a game of the best of the best, Andrew lived up to his current outstanding level of play stealing every scoring chance but one in the first period. All season long for the Kingston Frontenacs, Raycroft is showing he was a sleeper draft pick in the 1998 entry draft. Selected by the Boston Bruins 135th overall, Raycroft currently has a won-lost-tied record of 26-12-5 and a 2.93 goals against average. In 45 appearances this season the native of Belleville, Ontario has faced a total of 1786 shots, putting him in the lead as the OHL’s busiest goaltender. Raycroft has only allowed 125 goals this season and has an OHL and CHL leading save percentage of .930. Raycroft was selected as the OHL’s Goaltender of the Month for November. In 13 appearances in November Raycroft posted a 2.77 goals against average and a .939 save percentage. On December 9 Raycroft made 47 saves in a 4-1 win in Peterborough and on December 10 he turned aside 43 shots in a 4-1 win over the visiting Oshawa Generals. A highlight of Raycroft’s week was a 59 save performance in a 4-3 win in Oshawa on December 12. Raycroft’s play had helped the Frontenacs extend their undefeated streak to 11 games, and he received honors as the OHL player of the week for December 12.
Dave Taylor is a legend to Kings fans. Everything he has done in his professional career has been done with a drive and work ethic that have made him a successful forward in the NHL for 17 seasons and now the General Manager of his beloved Kings. How has he done? It’s hard to day. You would have to compare him to his predecessor, Sam “the Disaster” McMaster.
The Disaster was forced out in 1997. Kings fans everywhere, including yours truly, called for his head and wanted our fair-haired boy DT to take over after his three year apprenticeship under the Disaster. DT was the most appealing choice to succeed the Disaster because of his lifelong dedication to the Kings. Kings fans were elated- not only to have DT as the GM, but to have the Disaster out of the organization. Well Kings fans, I have some bad news. We would not be enjoying the limited success we have if Sam was not the previous GM.
Hello and welcome to my latest Capitals Prospect Update. I will give you all the latest news and up-to-date statistics on all of the players on the top 50 list.
At the AHL All-Star game, the Capitals had three players involved. Forward Mike Peluso was a last minute substitution, while goaltender Martin Brochu and forward Alexandre Volchkov also participated. During the skills competition, Volchkov won the accuracy contest, hitting all four targets in only seven shots. Brochu was outstanding during the whole weekend, stopping all ten shots in the ambush competition, and winning the MVP for the game itself. Forward Miika Elomo, who had been previously invited, was unable to play because of injury.
The major junior leagues also held their All-Star games recently. Forward Krys Barch (London) was selected to the OHL game, and collected one assist. Forwards Kris Beech (Calgary), Blake Evans (Tri-City) and Michal Sivek (Prince Albert) were invited to participate for the WHL. During the game, Beech scored two goals and one assist, while Sivek picked up an assist. In the skills competition, Sivek finished second in the fastest skater event – completing the lap in 14.72 seconds.
With a mere 32 games left in the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins (21-25-4) find themselves struggling to hang on to a playoff spot. The bright side rests with the Penguins of tomorrow.
The “Jr. Pens” left winger Robert Dome has found his scoring touch again. He had 4 goals in three games, then 2 assists in a 5-3 loss against Hartford. Another bright spot on the “Jr. Pens” roster is Alexei Kolkunov, who has four goals in his last five games after a 14-game drought. Then there is rookie defenseman Andrew Ference who has 2 goals and 6 assists in a span of 9 games.
The brightest spot in the organization however, is not a “Jr. Pen,” he is a “Raider.” Besides putting on a brilliant show on the world stage in Sweden, Milan Kraft has 44 points (18-26) in 34 games with the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL).
Perhaps the best thing the Penguins can do right now is hold on to the hope of the future. If they cannot find heroes, and cannot find defenseman who truly can play a European style game, making necessary passes to those in motion, then stick to tomorrow. Try to imagine the havoc Kraft and Jagr will create playing side by side. It may take another year for this to happen, but it is a realistic goal and one to keep the Penguins optimistic.
Kings’ Norris Winning Defenseman Rob Blake has emerged as one of the top players in the NHL ever since he came to the club. Blake as able to step in and contribute right away because he had played and excelled on the collegiate level and his experience paid immediate dividends. The Kings have a few players in the college ranks right now that may give the Kings a boost down the line. Here is a quick rundown:
The most intriguing college prospect is Noah Clarke. The Kings made the diminutive Clarke their ninth round draft pick in 1999. Noah currently plays for Colorado College of the WCHA. Clarke is the highest scoring college prospect for the Kings with 20 points in 23 games (9 goals and 11 assists). Despite being a freshman, Clarke is third on his team in scoring. The reason I am personally pulling for Clarke is that he is a California native, hailing from LaVerne and attending Claremont High School. Clarke is small in stature- he is 5’9: and 175 pounds but has shown some promise. If Jason Blake can play on the NHL level then there is hope for Clarke.