When Bruins prospect Matt Zultek left St. Thomas University on November 30, trade rumors involving the Philadelphia Flyers began to flare up. Zultek, a second round draft pick of the Bruins, re-entered the 1999 draft after failing to agree to terms with the Los Angeles Kings. For those who don’t remember, Zultek was unable to attend training that fall because of a severe knee injury. He spent most of 1999-00 in rehab to strengthen the knee, and was fortunate to play the last 28 games of the season with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s.
Primed and ready for his 1st Bruins training camp last fall, Zultek had been going back and forth to Boston to do routine fitness tests. At the time Zultek was excited, he felt his knee was strong and was enthusiastic about agreeing on a contract.
Training camp came and went and Zultek was still without a contract.
“I thought I had a great camp,” said Zultek from his Ontario home. “I did all of things they asked me to. I was really upset with the way they handled things, they wanted me to play for Greenville of the ECHL. I didn’t have a problem with playing in the ECHL, I just looked at the $150,000 contract offer, which didn’t include any bonuses, and decided it would be better for me to further my education.”
“St. Thomas University is a great school, and the coach gave me a lot of ice time and an opportunity to play. But because of my contract situation, I had to leave school. If I stayed at school past November 30th, the Bruins would retain my rights for an additional 180 days.”
Waiting till December 28 Read more»
World Junior Championships
- Jamie Lundmark and team Canada were defeated by team Finland, 5-2 today in the Semifinals. Finland now moves on to the Finals, while Canada’s best finish now could be another bronze medal. Lundmark was held off the scoresheets in this game, as was most of the Canadians thanks to superb goaltending by Ari Ahonen of Finland, a Devils prospect. Lundmark currenlty has 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) and 6 penalty minutes in 6 games so far. Canada goes up against team Sweden for the Bronze medal. I’m hoping Henrik Lundqvist has a stellar game in goal for the Swedes, but I’m still rooting for Canada, although I’m a US Citizen. I hope Canadians win 1-0, with Lundmark getting the only goal
- As you could probably figure out from my above comments, Pavel Brendl and the Czech Republic were victorious against Sweden in the semi-finals. The Czech’s won 1-0, but Brendl didn’t get any points, just a 2 minute penalty for slashing in the 1st period. Brendl currently has 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists) and 6 penalty minutes in 6 games so far. The Czech Republic, last year’s gold-medal winner, is still currently undefeated in the 6 games they have played. Brendl and the Czech Republic will face talented Oilers prospect Jani Rita and the Finland team to determine who gets the Gold, and Silver..
World Junior Championships
- Jamie Lundmark and team Canada faced off against team USA today in the Quarter Finals. Lundmark scored the game winning goal to defeat the USA 2-1 and advance to the Semi-finals. While on the Power Play, Lundmark took a cross-ice feed from Dany Heatley, and then roofed the puck into the net to eventually win the game for Canada and eliminate the USA’s chances at winning a medal. Jamie also played aggressive throughout the game, as he picked up 4 penalty minutes (2 for an unsportsmanlike conduct and 2 for slashing). Lundmark currenlty has 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) and 6 penalty minutes in 5 games so far. He is tied for 1st on the team in points with forward Mike Cammalleri and also leads everyone in the tournament in face-offs, with a 70.13 winning percentage. Canada faces off against team Finland in the semi-finals in their next game. The Canadians and Finns tied 2-2 earlier in the tournament.
There’s some good news and some bad news for the Sharks. The good news is that the Sharks have one of the best young defensive corps in the league, a position that will take the Sharks as far as talent on the blue line can take them. The bad news is that the Sharks also have one of the youngest defenses in the league, which not unlike raising children, results in a lot of excitement, and a lot of frustration as well.
With the Sharks’ system of defense first, it is essential that they get defensive production not only from the blue line, but also from the forward positions while on the transition. The Sharks have reason to be happy with the defensive play of Brad Stuart, Scott Hannan and Shawn Heins back on the blue line, however, it has often been from the forwards where the Sharks have lacked defensive production.
As Shawn Heins finishes his unusual road to the NHL, he has found himself in various roles for the Sharks, and has done quite well. Not only has he stepped in on defense as the team’s seventh defenseman, but he has also stepped in nicely as a fourth line wing when necessary.
Heins’ best weapon has always been his shot, which has been clocked as the hardest shot in professional hockey. In the past however, he has always struggled in reading defenses, reacting accordingly, and getting his shot unleashed at the right times.
This year, while his reaction times still leave something to be desired, he is reading plays much better, and thus has learned to use his shot to his advantage better. He has improved his accur Read more»