As many of the major developmental leagues reach their midway point in their seasons, the Sharks, like every other team, have prospects who have surprised and done well, and others who have struggled more than would be expected. This is a list of many of San Jose’s prospects, and their status. Next to their name is either a +, -, or = sign, signifying that they’ve either improved, declined or maintained their stock. Followed by vitals and statistical information. (stats as of 12-26-99 unless otherwise noted)
Eric Betournay = Center 4/30/81 6’1” 197lbs
Chicoutimi (QMJHL) 41GP 7G 18A 25PTS -13 32PIM
He may end out being a steal chosen in the 8th round, but still needs improvement. He simply doesn’t yet possess NHL skills, and needs to learn how to maintain control of the puck in traffic. He’s the type of player who needs strong players around him, or isn’t the most effective player. Playing on a weak Chicoutimi team is not helping.
Matt Bradley -/= Right Wing 6/13/78 6’2” 195lbs
Kentucky (AHL) 34GP 8G 9A 17PTS 44PIM +12
The second live game for me in this years WJC was the encounter between Slovakia and
Finland. Once again my hopes were high; Finland had surprised me in their game against Canada, and Marian Gaborik
was going to be on the ice for Slovakia. The two teams met last week in a exhibition game in Piteå, and Slovakia won the game by four goals to two. The game was very similar to last nights game between Finland and Canada. The first period didn’t provide any amusement, but the game took off in the second when Slovakia scored the prettiest goal so far in the tournament on a three-on-one, Branislav Mezei put the puck in the net, assisted wonderfully by Marian Gaborik. As in the game against Canada, the finns were forced to score in the final period, and this time they got it right, Arto Tukio scored the gametying goal in power-play. The game ended dramatically when Finlands Riku Hahl (one of their best players of the game) took a wrist shot from the blueline in the very last second that hit the bar! The game finally ended 1-1 (0-0 1-0 0-1).
The Czechs and the Americans skated to a 2-2 tie in the first game of the day, and the Finns and the Slovaks tied 1-1 after Finland almost won the game with a shot that hit the crossbar in the final second of the game.
Team USA looked good in exhibition against Sweden playing a disciplined game, and they did the same again today. They didn’t allow many good scoring chances for the Czechs and when they did goalie Rick DiPietro was there to make the save. The 1981-born DiPietro appears to have assumed the role of starting goaltender ahead of Colorado Avalanche draftpick Philippe Sauve, and DiPietro certainly deserves it. Goalies who like to handle the puck are plentiful, but goalies with the hockey sense to actually do something good with the puck and help his team out with his puckhandling are more scarce. DiPietro is in the latter group – he almost never handles the puck without purpose, which is refreshing to see. DiPietro also looks very solid making his saves, and it shows that he has earned the trust of his defense. He could well be a star of this tournament. Almost all of Team USA’s offense was generated by center Jeff Taffe and winger Barrett Heisten (Buffalo). Heisten scored the first goal of the game on a nice move in close on the power play, and the pair seemed to have good chemistry all game. Taffe is tall center with good puckhandling skills, and Heisten more of a shooter. For all of the third period they got a defenseman for a left winger as defenseman Pat Aufiero (Rangers) lined up besided them. The Americans also recieved good penalty-killing a che Read more»