Tonight’s exhibition pitted lines centered by two centres picked within two spots of each other in the first round of the 1998 Draft. In fact the Maple Leafs traded down, out of the #8 slot, where the Blackhawks took Mark Bell, because the Leafs management knew that Nikolai Antropov was a project and would be there at #10. .
They both won about the same amount of face-offs. Antropov was bigger but was less able to maneuver in the jammed spaces that occur during the game. In the open ice he moved easily and passed the puck quickly, always looking to set up scoring opportunities for his linemates. In the first period, Bell was behind the Leaf’s net moving out.. Antropov attempted to take control, but Bell maneuvered back and forth behind the net, gaining room on Antropov. But as he started out, Glen Healy poke checked the puck away in what looked to surprise Bell.
In the third period Bell came in on defenseman D.J. Smith and Jimmy Waite, and was able to let off a lightning quick snap shot which Jimmy waite stopped chest high. On the way back up the ice Smith checked Bell. Then att the end of the shift Bell lost it and cross-checked Smith, and continued after the whistle to let Smith know his displeasure. He saw an early dressing room.
Another Hawk prospect who obviously came to play was Geoff Peters. When Leaf centre Kevyn Adams tried to get the puck loose from Thibault, Peters followed him to the corner and dropped the gloves. Peters put him to the ice with a solid left hand.
Ok, so he played regularly in the NHL last season and is in no way a prospect, but he is only a little over one year removed from being the number one overall draft pick. Although he didn’t put up big numbers, mostly because he was handled very carefully by the team and he didnt exactly have a lot around him, he did show signs of why he is one of, if not the, most talented players drafted in the last several years. He has added another 15 pounds of solid muscle, taking him up to between 205 and 210. I will address that in the interview. After seeing him in the first two days of workouts, I’d have to say that the extra size has definitely helped him, without slowing him down a bit. Look for him to have a very good season. Well, enough of my blabber, let’s hear what Vinny has to say.
RH – What is your overall impression of the NHL after your first season?
VL – The speed and the size of the players. It’s a much tighter game up here. There’s not as much room so you have to learn how to get to where you want to be on the ice.
RH – Do you think you learned that?
VL – Yes. By the end of the season I was pretty comfortable with things. I got a lot of help from some teamates with that type of stuff.
RH – Who helped you learn the ropes so to speak? Read more»
Swiss Junior System
Age group (99/00) Name of the group
1980 and younger Juniors
1983 and younger Novices
1985 and younger Minis
1988 and younger Moskito
1989 and younger Piccolo
1990 and younger Bambini
The Juniors age group is splitted into “Elite Juniors” and just “Juniors”.
The Elite Jrs. play in two national wide leagues called Elite A and Elite
B. The worst A-League team gets relegated to Elite B and the best B-Team
replaces it in the Elite A. Further, the B-League is splitted into an Eastern
and Western division.
The Juniors are divided into Eastern Switzerland, Central Switzerland,
Suisse Romande. All of the three leagues are splitted into different divisions,
named Top, A1 (or A), A2 (or B).
Under these categories, there is a “Level B”.
Below I have tried to put all this together into an easy graph.
Elite B West Elite B East
Eastern Switzerland Read more»
What awaits the Ice House this year? Will it be a version of the 95-96 London Knights or the Knights of the last two seasons?
This Knights team can do some more damage if they get some keys guys returning. Teams like Barrie, Sarnia and Plymouth will be taking the brunt of a lot of games this year instead of giving them. Then again that all depends on how Finley plays for Barrie or if Sarnia gets back Sarno and if Plymouth can get back Legwand. As for the Knights, if the first exhibition game is any indication then the Knights are in good shape. They are coming off a birth in the OHL finals. Last year nobody thought they would make it out of the first round let alone make it to Game 7 of the finals.
WHO IS GONE:
Richard Pitirri – A excellent center. What can’t be said about this guy. He is a faceoff artist who was voted third in the league at faceoffs. Last season he decided to comeback to the London Knights as an overager. He turned down playing with Cincinnati of the IHL to play for them. Well it was probably his best choice as he finished the season with 76 points leaving him 4th on the team. Plus his 34 points in the playoffs was a great accomplishment. This season he will be playing with Portland of the AHL.