Hawks prospects Wisniewski and Crawford honored

By Michael DeMeyer

Blackhawks prospects James Wisniewski and Corey Crawford were honored by<br />their respective junior leagues for their excellent p

Blackhawks prospects James Wisniewski and Corey
were honored by their respective junior leagues for their
excellent performance during the 2003-04 regular season. Wisniewski, 20, was
nominated by the Plymouth Whalers for three trophies, the Max Kaminsky trophy,
the Ron Tilson trophy, and the Bobby Smith Trophy. The Max Kaminsky trophy is
awarded to the OHL defenseman of the year, the Ron Tilson trophy to the OHL
player of the year, and the Bobby Smith Trophy for Scholastic Player of the
year.  The trophies have not yet been


Wisniewski was also selected for the first OHL All-Star
Team. Wisniewski was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the sixth round
(188th overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. 
In 50 games this season, Wisniewski had 17 goals and 53 assists for 70
points with 63 PIMs.  His Plymouth
Whalers will face the Guelph Storm in the semifinals of the OHL playoffs in a
best-of-seven. Wisniewski was signed by the Blackhawks on March 22nd, and will
probably play next season with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL.


Goalie Corey Crawford won the Ford Cup, the award for the
QMJHL defensive player of the year.  The
19-year-old was also selected for the second QMJHL All-Star Team. Crawford was
the Blackhawks second pick (52nd overall) in the 2003 Entry Draft.  In 54 games this season, he was 35-15-3 with
a 2.62 GAA and a .919 save percentage. Crawford and the Moncton Wildcats will
face the Prince Edward Island Rockets in the QMJHL quarterfinals. Crawford is
unsigned, and will probably return to juniors next year, as the Blackhawks
already have at several goalies already playing pro. 




Center Johan Andersson, a sixth round draft pick
(181st overall) by the Blackhawks in 2003, will be switching teams next year.
Although the 19-year-old played with Troja/Ljungby of the Swedish Second
Division this year, Andersson has signed with Linköpins HC for next year. 


Colin Fraser helped the Red Deer Rebels to win
Game 7 of their latest playoff series, with two assists in that game. Red Deer
will face Moose Jaw in the next series, starting Friday, against Hawks
goaltending prospect Mike Brodeur. Fraser, 19, was acquired with Jim Vandermeer
in the trade that saw Alexei Zhamnov traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. He was
originally drafted in the third round (69th overall) by the Flyers in 2003.
Fraser is being coached by the brother of Chicago Blackhawks coach Brian
Sutter, Brent Sutter.


Center Vladislav Luchkin, a seventh round pick (225th
overall) in 2000, went scoreless as his team Molot-Prikame Perm defeated
Dynamo-Energiya Ekaterinberg in game three of a five game quarterfinal. As a
result, Molot will move on to the next round. 
It seems unlikely that the 23-year-old will ever play in America.


Center Jari Viukhola, a sixth round selection (158th
overall) in 1998, also saw playoff action, going scoreless with 2 PIMs as
Karpat lost to HIFK 5-0. Viukhola was moved down from the first line to the
second line for that game.  HIFK leads
the best-of-five series 2-1.  The
25-year-old was one of the highest scoring players in the top Finnish League
for the regular season, and will be one of the players most watched during next
year’s Blackhawks training camp.


The AHL Norfolk Admirals have now been shutout for the two
consecutive games. Goalie Craig Anderson, 23, stopped 23 shots as
Norfolk lost 3-0.  Anderson, a third
round selection (73rd overall) of the Hawks in 1999, saw off and on time with
the Blackhawks this season before being sent back down to Norfolk.  On the Admirals’ radio broadcast, Norfolk
coach Trent Yawney said it was no longer a sure thing that Anderson would be
starting for Norfolk in the playoffs. He added that Anderson and Michael
would compete for the starting job, as Yawney did not expect
Leighton to be sent down from the Blackhawks earlier this week. Anderson and
Leighton continue to fight to claim a position backing up goaltender Jocelyn
Thibault. Norfolk is currently in fourth place with 75 points in the AHL
Eastern Division standings, only one point ahead of the fifth place Binghamton
Senators.  The top five teams from each
division make the AHL playoffs. The Admirals have five games left in the
regular season.