The Kootenay Ice were known as a threat around the
WHL two seasons ago but were ousted by the Hitmen in first round
7 game thriller. A year later they returned the favor to the Hitmen
in the WHL semi-finals by brushing them aside in 5 games.
What was the difference?
Was it the “Money Line” who made the biggest impact. Sure
Mike Green, Jaroslav Svoboda and Zdenek Blatny made a difference
but they were not the answer.
Possibly the emergence of a group of d-men that complemented
each others game better then no other team in the Dub. Once again
the defense were a piece to the puzzle but not the most important.
The answer is a kid from Canmore, Alberta who was turning heads when
he hit the ice in rookie camp.
Dan Blackburn was the Ice’s first round pick in the 1998 Bantam Draft.
He was the highest goaltender ever selected in the WHL Draft when Kootenay
snagged him with the 3rd overall choice. Little did Ice management know but just
2 short years later that baby faced 15 year old would carry them to the WHL title
and a birth in the Mem Cup.
Blackburn made many jaws drop and heads turn as he started to perform brilliantly
in the early games at the Memorial Arena (a.k.a Silver Dome) in Cranbrook
He plays a a cross between a Patrick Roy butterfly and Martin Brodeur paddle
on the ice style that seems to be very effective. Blackburn is always in position Read more»
The Mighty Ducks re-signed Marc Chouinard to their roster on Tuesday night and barely anybody talked about it. The message boards and mailing lists were silent. Nobody seemed to care in California as the papers barely mentioned the signing – instead focusing on Marty McInnis. But perhaps they should start paying more attention.
Chouinard is not a top prospect nor is he the answer to Anaheim’s problems at scoring depth but he is very intriguing. A center with a great frame (6’5 – 200) he’s still young and at the ripe age of 23, and he brings about curiosities. Over the last several seasons Chouinard has battled injuries. In juniors, he struggled with shoulder problems. In his rookie pro year, he suffered a lacerated achilles tendon which set him back the entire year but it has been all uphill since then.
Marc is coming off a career season with Cincinnati where he played an aggressive checking game while showing capable offensive skills. He scored 17 goals and added 16 assists in 70 games. While that might not sound like much, for Chouinard it’s extremely impressive.
MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF
As the summer heats up the Rangers are looking for the right pieces to fix the problem now and for the future. The signing of Mark Messier was one move that was welcomed by all in Rangerland but the signing of enigmatic Vlad.Malakhov is one that caused the good shipmate Schneider too look elsewhere for employment and so continues the questions of which direction the Rangers are headed.
RANGERS INK 3:
Boise’s West Coast Hockey League franchise the Idaho Steelheads announced that it had signed an affiliation agreement with the International Hockey League’s Utah Grizzlies on Tuesday.
The Grizzlies are the top minor league affiliate of the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League.
The Steelheads announced that Utah’s training camp for the 2000-2001 season will open in Boise on Sept. 20 and that the Grizzlies will practice through Sept. 26. Most of the Steelheads players will be included in the Grizzlies’ camp.
The Grizzlies and Steelheads will play a pair of exhibition games at the Bank of America Centre in September.
Grizzlies coach Bob Bourne said he intends to take full advantage of the agreement, sending younger players to Boise to get more skating time and giving other players “a wake-up call.”
Bourne said he will also benefit from having a true affiliate nearby.
Steelheads coach John Olver said that he expected four to six players to be signed to two-way contracts and that those players would move back and forth between the Grizzlies and Steelheads.
He added that there is also the possibility for some three-way contracts, where a player could potentially play for the Steelheads, Grizzlies and Stars in the same season.
Olver thinks the new deal will have an immediate impact in bringing better players to Boise.