Speed, agility, intensity and courage, those words emulate the USHL player. The United States Hockey League is by far the premier Junior Hockey League and the players prove it every season. Only the top players are selected to participate in the All Star/Prospects game. Not everyone obviously gets a chance to be part of this major event, so the ones that do certainly take advantage of it. This year’s game will take place in Cedar Rapids, home of the RoughRiders. The Cedar Rapids Ice Arena welcomes the opportunity to let their city see the endless talent these players possess. Team USA consists of some of the best talent in the league in the eyes of the coaches. Team World is comprised of the best-imported talent as well as potential NHL draftees. Year in and year out some of the league’s top stars are drafted into the NHL and many more get their wish of a college scholarship and move on to the next level to continue to hone their skills with the dreams of making it to the big show one day. Below is a list of the players who made the rosters of Team USA and Team World.
Jure Penko Goaltender – Jure has been one of the top goaltenders in the league since his arrival a couple of seasons ago for the Green Bay Gamblers. His tall frame intimidates his opponents and his quick reflexes make him the goaltender he is. So far on the season Jure has compiled an 18-5-7 record with a 2.37 GAA and a .912 saves percentage.
Keith Ballard Def Read more»
– Czech defenseman Robert Schnabel was released by the Coyotes earlier this month at his request. Schnabel was struggling a lot this season and wanted a change of scenery. He will now be playing for Timra of the Swedish Elite League.
– The Future Considerations sent to Vancouver in return for Brad May this summer was announced a couple of days ago. The Coyotes will send a 3rd round pick in the 2001 Entry Draft to the Vancouver Canucks.
– The pending takeover of the team by an ownership group that includes Wayne Gretzky appears that the deal will get done before the February 15th deadline that current Coyotes owner Richard Burke and hopeful new owner Steve Ellman agreed upon in December.
– The Coyotes had 2 players participate in the 2001 World Junior Championships in Moscow, Russia earlier this month. Sami Venalainen had 1 goal and 1 assist in 7 games for Silver medal winning Finland and Jason Jaspers had 1 goal and 6 penalty minutes in 7 games for Bronze Medal winning Canada. Krys Kolanos was one of the last players cut for team Canada. Many believe that he should have definitely made the team.
Three Phoenix Coyotes’ rookies (Ossi Vaananen, Wyatt Smith and Robert Esche)
have played important roles this season and have all contributed greatly to
the Coyotes’ success.
Ossi Vaananen, a tough as nails defenseman from Finland, has likely made the
biggest impact of the three. Drafted in the 2nd round in 1998,
Vaananen currently has 4 goals, 8 assists and 56 penalty minutes in 50 games
this season. He has played great defensively, knocking his opponents down in
front of the net and clearing the crease well. He has also chipped in on the
offense too in some games.
Wyatt Smith, a late round pick in 97, has played well as a role player this
season. The 23 year old center has 3 goals, 7 assists and 13 penalty minutes
in 41 games this season. He has worked hard every night and is an effective
forechecker. He’s more of a defensive forward, so the Coyotes consider any
offense from him a plus.
Robert Esche, a 6th round pick in 1996, has played 13 games this
season and has played really well. He has posted a 5-5-2 record with 1
shutout. He has a 3.30 Goals-against-average and a save percentage of .887
while also chipping in with 2 assists. He has played solid when the Coyotes
decided all-star netminded Sean Burke needed a rest.
All 3 of these players appear to have bright NHL futures some day. I have
taken them all off the top prospects lists and have moved them to the
“Graduated” section of the page.
News and Notes: Sheesh, it’s been a while since I updated this page. I
apologize for this greatly, as I Read more»
With the current horrible play of the New York Rangers, President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has decided to call up center Jeff Ulmer from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL.
Ulmer, a 5’11 180 pound center, had 11 goals and 13 assists along with 30 penalty minutes in 41 games with the Wolf Pack. For those of you who don’t know, Jeff was signed as a free agent over the summer, after Ron Low convinced the Rangers management that Ulmer was worth a shot. Ulmer played for Ron Low’s Houston Aero’s last season, and Low liked what he saw. Prior to turning pro, Ulmer spent 4 years at the University of North Dakota, where he totaled 74 points and 132 penalty minutes in 135 games.
At 23 years old, Ulmer is hoping to make an impact in his first NHL game tomorrow night as the Rangers host the Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers are in the midst of a 4 game losing streak, this after a five game unbeaten streak that looked like it could turn our season around. Although some criticize Jeff’s play because he is “small”, there’s no denying his talent. He’s a hard worker, and earns everything that he gets. He never gives up on a play and gives it his all every night. He has good speed and strength, and a decent shot. He will likely see time on the 3rd or 4th line in tomorrow’s game.
In order to make room for Ulmer, the Rangers sent Brad Smyth back down to Hartford. Smyth, recalled a week ago, registered 1 goal and 4 penalty minutes in 4 games. He was a healthy scratch in last night’s 7-2 drubbing by the 2nd yea Read more»