The Canadian Hockey League, which consists of the Ontario, Western and Quebec leagues, is still the predominate supplier of
talent to the NHL. The Buffalo Sabres have in recent seasons taken full advantage of the talent supply available in the CHL by
drafting players such as Curtis Brown, Jay McKee, Brian Campbell and Martin Biron, to name a few.
While some of Buffalo’s best junior talent has graduated to the pros, it does not mean that the talent pool has gone dry. The
Sabres, in fact, have a handful of average-to-above-average prospects currently playing in the three leagues, with the WHL
housing some of the more promising youngsters.
With the CHL now in full swing, this article represents the first of periodic (“periodic” being defined as when I feel like writing
them) articles updating the play of Buffalo’s junior contingent. I’ll highlight the hot Buffalo prospect in each league, as well as
point out the player(s) not living up to expectations, however low those expectations might be. In addition, I’ll make brief
mentions of some of the other junior prospects whose performances fall in between the “hot” and “not” categories.
Western Hockey League
HOT! Barrett Heisten of the Seattle Thunderbirds, who is so far succeeding in his quest to land a fat free agent contract. Heisten
has picked up 15 points (3G, 12A) in just 8 games, a pace that, were he to keep it up throughout the season, would put him
amongst the top scorers in t Read more»
The Kootenay ICE pulled off a blockbuster trade this past week that continues to raise eyebrows around the WHL. In complying with WHL
rules that oblige all league teams to pare down their respective rosters to the three twenty-yr-old per team limit by November 1, ICE Director of
Hockey Operations Bob Tory traded ICE overage stalwarts Dion Lassu and Brad Tutschek along with future considerations to the Seattle
Thunderbirds in exchange for twenty-yr-old Right-winger Bret DeCecco and eighteen-yr-old defenseman Brennan Evans.
Let the analyzing begin.
First, what do the ICE lose? In a word, lots, but in different departments, and in other ways they gain in departments some, save for ICE G.M.
Bob Tory, might never have considered. In Lassu and Tutschek, the ICE lose two players that have been with the club for almost the better part
of four seasons. Lassu’s steady play on the blueline, his stature within his own end and a key ingredient, his toughness will be missed. In
Tutschek you have a player who gives it his all every night without ever taking a shift off, a player whose name is synonymous with heart, grit,
determination, leadership and some clutch scoring.
Realistically, due to the overage rule, the ICE were guaranteed to lose one of them although I think that most everyone was surprised that Tory
made the decision to trade two overage players off their roster, especially two that were such an integral part in the club’s Memorial Cup run last
So who was coming back? You can bet that jaws were dropping all over t Read more»
One of the bright surprises in this young IHL season thus far has been
the play of the Kansas City Blades. They have burst out of the gate
with a 7-1-1 record and have captured 4 of the 8 weekly awards thus far
with Harold Druken and Artem Chubarov earning Player of the Week honours
and Corey Schwab garnering the Goaltender of the Week award twice
The Blades can attribute much of their success thus far to the play of
Schwab and Alfie Michaud in goal. The former has won 6 of his 7 starts
and has posted a 1.76 goals-against-average and 0.930 save percentage in
the process. Michaud has carried his weight as well with 1 win, a 2.36
GAA and 0.926 SP. These two veterans, at the “ripe” ages of 30 and 24,
respectively have definitely shown how their experience can be a great
On the blueline, the Blades have a solid, defensive-minded group that
can also chip in some offence when needed. Zenith Komarniski and Steve
Lingren have contributed 6 and 5 points in 9 games each, respectively.
Ryan Bonni and Regan Darby have combined for 48 penalty minutes. And,
Bryan Allen has tallied 4 points and 8 penalty minutes in 8 games. His
game continues to round into form and we should see him in the NHL very
soon, possibly even this year.
Up front, the forwards provide a well-rounded attack. Mike Brown has
popped in 2 goals and racked up 19 penalty minutes while Dody Wood has 3
points and 40 pim’s in only 6 games. Harold Druken, Josh Holden, Brad
Leeb, Jarkko Ruutu and Vadim Sharifijanov all contribute about a point a
Mike Mottau not too long ago was leading the Boston College Eagles Hockey
Team to the NCAA tournament. He has been the center of attention for a
long time. It isn’t any different now, as he is on the world’s biggest
stage, New York. With an injury in the first game of the year to Vladimir
Malakhov, GM Glen Sather sent the call to the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack to call
up the former Hobey Baker Winner. So far in just a handful of games, Mottau
has looked amazingly solid. Playing so well he has forced Rangers head coach
Ron Low to give him power play time. Give the credit though to ex-Rangers GM
Neil Smith, who a few years ago stole Mottau in the seventh round of the entry
draft. That is the same man who took Kim Johnsson with the last pick overall
in an entry draft. Johnsson is going to be a top defender in the NHL and Mike
Mottau is well on his way to joining that group.
The time has come for the Czech Zepter hockey cup semifinals. The Zepter Cup is a summer event, where teams form all Czech senior leagues take part. In the first rounds meet the clubs from the minor leagues and the weakest teams are eliminated. It’s simply just one game played and the winner continues to the next round, while the loser is eliminated. After that the 16 remaining teams build four divisions, where every team meets the three others in the division twice, home and away. The division champions are the semi-finals rivals. After the semifinals there is only the game for the championship left. It’s a completely new event in the Czech republic and the semifinal pairings were Vsetin-Pardubice (Pardubice won 3:1) and Ceske Budejovice-Litvinov. This second game featured three future Czech hockey stars. Possible 2001 first round pick Jiri Novotny hit the ice with the white-red jersey of Ceske Budejovice, along with 2003 eligible star Milan Michalek. Also 2003 eligible forward Kamil Kreps wore the gold-black jersey of Litvinov, where he centered the 4th line in this game. Both Michalek and Kreps are 1984 born, but due to their birth dates (Michalek 12-07-1984, Kreps 11-18-1984) they are 2003 eligible.
Big skilled center Jiri Novotny centered the 4th line, with Michalek and mature veteran Vaclav Kral on the wings. Since the puck was dropped, Novotny showed why he is a 2001 top prospect. He played very aggressive along the boards, always using his size to fight for the puck. Jiri also showed good forechecking and tried to hit the opponents and after that make Read more»