Month: June 2017 (page 1 of 3)

Satan Slovakia’s GM

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By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

The Slovak Ice Hockey Federation named Miroslav Satan as new General Manager of the national team and head of the national team program.

Satan was presented to the media in Bratislava on Friday. He signed a one-year contract with the federation with an option for another year. He replaces Robert Svehla and will also be looking for a new head coach. Most recently former player Zdeno Ciger has coached the team for the past two years.

“I’m glad that Miro has accepted our offer,” Slovak Ice Hockey Federation President Martin Kohut said. “We believe that this is the best solution for Slovak hockey.”

The man from Topolcany is one of the greatest legends of Slovak hockey in the modern era. He played in the top Czechoslovak and Slovak leagues for Dukla Trencin and for the Slovak men’s national team in its first editions after independence at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games and the 1994 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship C-Pool before moving to North America.

The 42-year-old spent 14 seasons in the NHL for the Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins. With the Pens he won the Stanley Cup in 2009. In 2010 he moved back to Europe, played for Dynamo Moscow in the KHL and for Slovan Bratislava that played first in the Slovak Extraliga and then two years with Satan in the Russian KHL.

He represented Slovakia in four Olympic Games and in 14 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships (12 in the top division where Slovakia has played since 1996), was part of the team that won the only world title for Slovakia in 2002 when he was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament and also won two silver medals (2000, 2012) and a bronze (2003). He was twice on the World Championship All-Star Team, in 2000 and 2002 when he led the tournament in points both times.

Now he returns to the national team in a new position and after tough years. Slovakia hasn’t reached the quarter-finals at the Worlds or Olympics since 2013 and finished the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in 14th position, lower than ever since moving up to the top level after the country’s independence. That’s something that Satan is here for to change.

“It’s quite a big job, it’s two positions combined, but it’s something that I’ll now try to do and help my own country, the team I used to play for a lot and care for a lot. It’s interesting new times and a big challenge to stabilize our hockey and hopefully improve it in a short time,” Satan said.

For Satan it’s the second experience managing a team in international ice hockey. The Slovak was the General Manager of Team Europe. The selection of European NHL players from other than the continent’s top-four countries (Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden) surprised the world by reaching the final of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto where it was eventually stopped by Canada.

The Slovak Ice Hockey Federation hopes to present the new head coach in the upcoming weeks. In the second half of August, two exhibition games are scheduled across the border with neighbouring country Czech Republic, on 23 August in Trinec and on 24 August at home in Zilina. In the November international break Slovakia will participate in the Deutschland Cup in Augsburg, Germany.

At the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea, Slovakia will face Russia, the United States and Slovenia in its group next February. At the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Denmark, Slovakia will play in the group in Copenhagen against Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belarus, France and Austria.

EVEL KNIEVEL and the BUTTE BOMBERS.

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By Hockey Old Time Logos

ROBERT CRAIG KNIEVEL. was born in 1938 in Butte, Montana. Him and his brother Nic were raised by their grandparents (fathers side) Emma and Ignatius who were second generation German-Americans.
Their parents divorced and left Montana straight after Nic was born.
Robert left school at 16 to work for Anaconda mining company, operating a diamond drill deep in the copper mines. Copper being the major industry in the Rocky mountain town of Butte. He was soon promoted to driving the huge earth moving vehicle but was soon fired when he did a `wheelie` with his monster truck after it had crashed into a main power line supplying electricity to the mining town, it knocked the electricity out of Butte for several hours.

WHAT`S IN A NAME?.
Robert was a bit of a rebel, and after a police chase that he led on a motorcycle resulted in a crash and landed him in jail. He was in a cell next to a man known as `Awful Knofel` immediately Knievel got his nickname `Evil Knievel` from his name rhyming night jailer.
After a few years he did not want to be known as `Evil` so he changed it to `Evel` a name that stuck for the rest of his life.

HOCKEY CAREER.
Robert played for the Charlotte Checkers a minor-pro team in the Eastern Hockey League before he decided to start up his own team the `Butte Bombers` in 1959 and even convinced the Czech Olympic team to play a warm up game prior to the 1960 Olympics.
As a player he was a real show-off and had to be the life of the party all of the time, former players rated him 7 out of 10 but would not trust him as far as they could throw him. Tubie Johnson another colleague said he was a good athlete but was always getting into scrapes and was the biggest bullshitter in the world.
In September 1958 at nineteen years old Knievel became the most important figure in Butte hockey. He started his own semi-pro team the `Butte Bombers`. He was owner, coach and of course starting centre, quite a remarkable string of titles for a 19 year old.

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-JzgyWyEhi40/WDVBZle6t5I/AAAAAAAAP18/WJofAfRgP8gQGZmjr20fdiNfKJum9z7pgCEw/s1600/evel%2Bknievel%2B2.jpgEvel Knievel Star Center.

Start-up money came from his father and grandfather Ignatius and a car dealership. The local sports goods dealer Phil Judd provided Knievel with uniforms and equipment on credit, something he would probably regret later. Knievel offered players $50 per game, he put together an ambitious schedule which included semi-pro teams from the US and Canada, a few minor league juggernauts and some big name colleges from Minnesota and Michigan. Knievel was not a bad player but if he had passed the puck a bit more and not shot every time he got it, his play but have been a whole lot better. He always set himself up to be the star, putting himself on the ice for power plays, penalty killing and all the big moments as centre for the 1st line. Little self placed stories appeared in the local newspaper mentioning interest of him by other minor league teams but they all ended with how happy he was playing with the Bombers.
Knievel was hard to pin down especially when money was involved, the players soon found out that that $50 per game was a mirage but they kept playing as it was the only team around. Without the help of Phil Judd for giving Knievel credit for sticks and equipment they would of faded into oblivion but they managed to scrape by. In 1960 Robert Knievel secured the biggest coup of all when he persuaded the Czech Olympic hockey team to play an exhibition game prior to the upcoming Olympics. The game was played at the Butte Civic Arena on Feb 7th 1960, two thousand fans packed the Civic Center. The game itself was a GOAL FEST the Czechs pulverized the Bombers 22-3, the game was a rout of routs, the Butte goalie saved 69 shots. Tubie Johnson said the Czechs were just messing with us they were being kind it could have been 105-0 if they wanted.

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Czechoslovakia National Team.

Knievel came out during periods and pleaded for financial help from a microphone as assorted buckets were passed around the arena he mentioned that the Czech delegation was larger than he had expected and their expenses were much larger than he first had imagined.
The money was collected but allegedly none of it ever reached the Czechs or creditors. One thing for sure was that this was the end of the road for the Butte Bombers and Evel Knievels hockey career.
He was 21 years old retired from hockey, off to other interests and other projects.

EVEL KNIEVEL” as we all knew him attempted more than 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps and even attempting a canyon jump across Snake River Canyon(which failed) in a steam powered rocket called the Skycycle X-2. He still holds the Guinness Record for `Most broken bones in a lifetime` which is 37. He went through 15 major operations and spent nearly 3 years of his life in a hospital bed. Robert Knievel died of pulmonary disease in 2007 aged 69. This blog is just a snippet of his fascinating story.

Selanne, Kariya, Andreychuk headline 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

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By Ian McLaren – The Score

Selanne was seen as the biggest lock of this class. He set the bar early by setting an NHL-record 76 goals as a rookie in Winnipeg, and finished his career with 684 goals and 773 assists for 1,457 points in 1,451 games. He also won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007.

It’s quite special that he’d enter the Hall alongside Paul Kariya, considering the pair were linked as linemates and friends during their stints in Anaheim and Colorado. Kariya, whose career was cut short due to concussion, recorded 989 points in 989 career games.

Dave Andreychuk and Mark Recchi have been patiently waiting to get the call from the Hall. Andreychuk captained Tampa Bay to a Stanley Cup in 2004, and finished his career with 640 goals and 698 assists in 1,639 games. Recchi is a three-time Cup winner, and sits 12th all time in NHL points with 1,533 (577 goals and 956 assists) in 1,652 games.

Goyette is one of the most successful women’s players the game has seen, putting up massive amounts of points on the international stage while winning two gold medals and one silver for Canada at the Winter Olympics.

For the builders, Jacobs has been the owner of the Boston Bruins since 1975, while Drake coached the University of Alberta’s Golden Bears for 28 years, winning six national championships.

This group of seven will be inducted in a ceremony Nov. 13 in Toronto.

2017 NHL Draft first-round results, analysis

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By NHL.com

On Friday, 31 young men each took another step toward fulfilling his dream of playing in the NHL. Get all the picks, analysis, sights and sounds from United Center. 

1. New Jersey Devils – Nico Hischier, C, Halifax (QMJHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 2
2016-17: 57 games, 38-48-86

Hischier (6-foot-1, 178 pounds) is the highest-drafted Switzerland-born player in NHL history. Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter had held that distinction since being chosen at No. 5 by the New York Islanders in 2010. Hischier has elite skill and hockey sense combined with competitiveness that allows him to be effective in any style of game. As a rookie in the QMJHL, he was awarded the Michael Bossy Trophy (best professional prospect) and Michel Bergeron Trophy (offensive rookie of the year) this season. Hischier is not on loan to Halifax from SC Bern of National League A in Switzerland, making him ineligible to play in the American Hockey League in 2017-18.

NHL.com analysis: In bit of a surprise, Devils get player they believe can develop into dynamic top-line center they’ve lacked.

2. Philadelphia Flyers – Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 1
2016-17: 33 games, 20-26-46

The son of former NHL forward Stephen Patrick and nephew of former NHL defenseman James Patrick, Nolan was the second-youngest captain in the Western Hockey League. A right-handed shot, Patrick missed 35 games because of an upper-body injury, but has 205 points (93 goals, 113 assists) in 163 career WHL games. Patrick (6-foot-2, 198 pounds) possesses the hockey sense, vision and skill to become a top-line center in the NHL. In 2015-16, he was tied for the WHL playoff scoring lead with 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 21 games and was named MVP of the WHL playoffs after helping Brandon win the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

NHL.com analysis: Flyers take most NHL-ready player in draft. He was only prospect to visit Philadelphia, and they clearly were satisfied his injury issues were behind him.

3. Dallas Stars – Miro Heiskanen, D, HIFK (FIN)

NHL Central Scouting final international ranking: 4
2016-17: 37 games, 5-5-10

Heiskanen (6-foot-1, 172) is a left-handed shot but also played the right point and earned top-pair minutes for HIFK as a 17-year-old, averaging more than 20 minutes in the Liiga playoffs. He was regarded as the best draft-eligible defenseman at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship for silver medal-winning Finland with 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in seven games. Heiskanen likes to join the rush and understands how to get the puck out of danger. He is by far the best international defenseman in the draft, according to Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting.

NHL.com analysis: Stars take defenseman w ho earned top-pair ice time in Liiga, the top professional league in Finland, at age 17. He joins John Klingberg, Julius Honka and Esa Lindell as defensemen with top-end puck-moving ability.

4. Colorado Avalanche – Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 9
2016-17: 54 games, 24-51-75

Makar (5-foot-11, 187 pounds) was named the Canadian Junior Hockey League defenseman of the year, and Alberta Junior Hockey League defenseman of the year and player of the year. A right-handed shot, he has great lateral movement with the puck on his stick, and is quick and elusive. He’s committed to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for next season, and his Canadian Hockey League rights are held by Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League. He had six points (two goals, four assists) in five games to help Brooks win a silver medal in the Royal Bank Cup, Canada’s National Junior A championship series. Makar had 135 points (35 goals, 100 assists) in 111 AJHL regular-season games.

NHL.com analysis: Makar fills Colorado’s need for a skilled defenseman. He’ll need time to develop his game next season at the University of Massachusetts, but he projects to be high-end offensive-minded defenseman.

5. Vancouver Canucks – Elias Pettersson, C, Timra (SWE-2)

NHL Central Scouting final international ranking: 2
2016-17: 43 games, 19-22-41

Pettersson (6-foot-2, 164 pounds) has great instincts and can create offense with good speed and quickness. He shows poise and patience, and his best attribute might be his initial burst of speed. His brother, Emil, who is also a center, was selected in the sixth round (No. 155) of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators.

NHL.com analysis: Canucks with minor surprise, but select skilled center who averaged nearly one point per game (41 points in 43 games) against older competition in Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second division. He can be part of the core of the post-Sedin era in Vancouver.

6. Vegas Golden Knights – Cody Glass, C, Portland (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 6
2016-17: 69 games, 32-62-94

The right-handed shot was primarily a top-line center who played in all situations. He’s versatile enough to play wing but is better suited to play in the middle because he’s in constant motion, has good hands and is opportunistic in the offensive zone. Glass (6-foot-2, 177 pounds) had 94 points (32 goals, 62 assists) in 69 regular-season games. He’s a skilled forward with great competitiveness and hockey sense.

NHL.com analysis: First pick of expansion Golden Knights is big (6-2, 177), rangy center who is strong in all three zones. When he adds muscle he projects as top-line center.

7. New York Rangers (from Arizona Coyotes) – Lias Andersson, C, HV71 (SWE)

NHL Central Scouting final international ranking: 3
2016-17: 42 games, 9-10-19

A rugged, two-way left-handed center who is effective on faceoffs and hard to knock off the puck. Andersson (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) was interviewed by 30 teams at the NHL Scouting Combine. He competes hard, is strong in 1-on-1 battles and plays a 200-foot game. He can play wing or center. Andersson recently signed a two-year contract with Frolunda in Sweden and will report in 2017-18.

NHL.com analysis: Offensive dynamo projects to be top-six forward as he gets older and stronger). Had impressive showing in Swedish Hockey League this season as 18-year-old.

8. Buffalo Sabres – Casey Mittelstadt, C, Eden Prairie (HIGH-MN)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 3
2016-17: 25 games, 21-43-64

Named All-USA Player of the Year for a second straight season and Mr. Hockey as the best senior boys’ high school player in Minnesota, Mittelstadt (5-foot-11, 199 pounds) has elite skill and compete. A left-handed shot, Mittelstadt had 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) and led the United States Hockey League with a 1.25 points-per game average in 24 games for Green Bay. He can play center or left wing and is a proven performer at each level he’s played. Mittelstadt was named player of the game at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Top Prospects Game in September.

NHL.com analysis: Could jump into Sabres lineup after one season at University of Minnesota. Having Jack Eichel and Mittelstadt through the middle could be start of bright future in Buffalo.

9. Detroit Red Wings – Michael Rasmussen, C, Tri-City (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 5
2016-17: 50 games, 32-23-55

Rasmussen (6-foot-5, 221 pounds) is a prototypical power forward with great hands and puck skills around the net. A wrist injury in February limited Rasmussen to 50 games this season but he led Tri-City with 15 power-play goals and was tied for the team lead with five game-winning goals. He adapted to a bigger role with more minutes and was a steady contributor at 5-on-5 and on the power play in his second full season.

NHL.com analysis: The 6-foot-5, 221-pound goal scorer is power-play specialist. His skating and puck possession fits the Red Wings’ style perfectly.

10. Florida Panthers – Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga (OHL) 

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 7
2016-17: 60 games, 44-31-75

Tippett (6-foot, 202 pounds) might be the best shooter in this draft class. He was recognized for having the best shot and being the most dangerous in the goal area in the Eastern Conference coaches’ poll for the Ontario Hockey League. He can play either left or right wing, and is dangerous when attacking with speed. As a right-handed shot, Tippett can move down the left wing and cut to the net really well for a good opportunity.

NHL.com analysis: Panthers get forward with NHL-caliber shot and strong skating who has been compared to Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel.

11. Los Angeles Kings – Gabriel Vilardi, C, Windsor (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 4
2016-17: 49 games, 29-32-61

A right-handed shot, Vilardi makes players around him better with his relentless compete level and elite hands down low. Vilardi (6-foot-3, 202 pounds) has the ability to create in traffic when nothing is available, and can play center or wing. He won 51.1 of his faceoffs (136 of 266), and tied for the team lead in power-play goals (eight). He has 99 points (46 goals, 53 assists) in 111 games during his two seasons in the OHL.

NHL.com analysis: Surprising that Vilardi was available at this spot, but the big (6-3, 202), powerful center excels in the offensive zone below the faceoff circle. Will be great complement to Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter.

12. Carolina Hurricanes – Martin Necas, C, Brno (CZREP)

NHL Central Scouting final international ranking: 5
2016-17: 41 games, 7-8-15

Necas, a right-handed shot, captained the Czech Republic to its first gold medal at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, finishing with six points (two goals, four assists) in four games. Necas (6-1, 178 pounds) is mobile, smart and capable of making plays at top speed and with assertiveness. He’s good at handling the puck and effective in traffic.

NHL.com analysis: Another top-end forward added to the Hurricanes burgeoning corps. At 6-foot-1, 178 pounds, needs to get stronger but will fit in well with what they already have assembled.

13. Vegas Golden Knights (from Winnipeg Jets) – Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound (OHL) 

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 10
2016-17: 65 games, 45-51-96

Suzuki (5-foot-11, 183 pounds) climbed six spots to No. 10 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters after a strong second half to this season. He continually came through in the clutch, scoring 14 power-play goals, six game-winning goals, five shorthanded goals and five insurance goals. Additionally, 23 of his goals either tied the game or gave Owen Sound the lead. He also won 50.9 percent of his faceoffs.

NHL.com analysis: Championship teams are strong through the middle, and Suzuki and Cody Glass, the No. 6 pick, should form the building blocks for a strong future in Vegas.

14. Tampa Bay Lightning – Callan Foote, D, Kelowna (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 1
2016-17: 71 games, 6-51-57

The right-handed son of former NHL defenseman Adam Foote has good size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds), and hockey sense. He won’t be the physical presence his dad was, but he plays in all situations, plays heavy minutes and uses his reach and strength to contain opponents and gain position. He is more of a two-way defenseman with a good, hard shot.

NHL.com analysis: The 6-foot-4, 215-pound physical defenseman, who is the son of Adam Foote, has NHL-caliber size and the pedigree of Stanley Cup champion. With Victor Hedman, the Lightning could become a very difficult team to play against in a few seasons.

15. Vegas Golden Knights (from New York Islanders) – Erik Brannstrom, D, HV71 (SWE)

NHL Central Scouting final international ranking: 9
2016-17: 35 games, 1-5-6

He compensates for his 5-foot-9, 179-pound frame with great mobility and speed in transition. Brannstrom is an outstanding skater and a two-way player who defends as well as he pushes the offensive pace. He has a good shot, will run the power play, is very competitive and is active on every shift. Brannstrom could turn out to be the sleeper pick of the 2017 draft class.

NHL.com analysis: A surprise with Vegas’ third selection in the first round, reaching for the undersized (5-foot-9, 179-pound) defenseman. But he’s got high-end skills and experience playing against older competition in the Swedish Hockey League.

16. Calgary Flames – Juuso Valimaki, D, Tri-City (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 11
2016-17: 60 games, 19-42-61

Valimaki (6-foot-1, 211 pounds), a left-handed shot, finished seventh among WHL defensemen with 61 points and was eighth with 22 power-play assists. He’s a dynamic offensive defenseman who became more assertive and able to dictate tempo with greater confidence this season. He left Finland at 17 to play in North America and has 93 points (26 goals, 67 assists) in 116 games in his two WHL seasons.

NHL.com analysis: With so many young forwards, selecting high-end offensive defenseman who can help get them puck, or lead the rush, is a good decision.

17. Toronto Maple Leafs – Timothy Liljegren, D, Rogle (SWE)

NHL Central Scouting final international ranking: 6
2016-17: 19 games, 1-4-5

Liljegren (5-foot-11, 188 pounds) missed one month with mononucleosis in November but remains a dynamic prospect. He has tremendous speed, balance and feel for the game, makes good decisions under pressure and can control the play at both blue lines. He expects to return to Sweden after the draft to further his development.

NHL.com analysis: Entered season as top defenseman in draft class, but injury and illness set him back. Maple Leafs needed puck mover and get one with top-end that some scouts said reminded them of Senators captain Erik Karlsson.

18. Boston Bruins – Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYP (FIN)

NHL Central Scouting final international ranking: 8
2016-17: 41 games, 2-4-6

Vaakanainen (6-foot-1, 188 pounds), a left-hand shot, is a smooth, mobile skater with good balance and acceleration. His reliability in the defensive zone is probably his best asset. Vaakanainen, who will play for SaiPa in Liiga next season, finished tied for second among defensemen at the 2017 IIHF World Under-18 Championship with six points (three goals, three assists) in five games.

NHL.com analysis: Steady defenseman with well-rounded game, he’ll be nice addition to Bruins defense that is poised to get younger in a few seasons as Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, Ryan Lindgren, Jakub Zboril move into major roles.

19. San Jose Sharks – Joshua Norris, C, USA U-18 (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 34
2016-17: 52 games, 23-28-51

Norris (6-foot, 188 pounds), who will attend the University of Michigan next season, was among the most impressive performers in the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine, finishing first in five tests, including peak power output on the Wingate bike test. A two-way forward with a left-handed shot, Norris likes to take the puck to the net and has a good compete level.

NHL.com analysis: Surprise selection by the Sharks, but Norris led USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program under-18 team with 27 goals, and had dynamic showing at the Scouting Combine.

20. St. Louis Blues – Robert Thomas, C, London (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 22
2016-17: 66 games, 16-50-66

Thomas (5-foot-11, 192 pounds), a right-handed shot, is a highly intelligent two-way center who is impactful at both ends of the ice. He’s regarded as a gifted passer who can be trusted in any situation while excelling at making plays in traffic.

NHL.com analysis: On stacked team in London, he managed to stand out as point-per-game player. He could provide another go-to scorer when he’s NHL-ready in 2-3 seasons.

21. New York Rangers – Filip Chytil, C, Zlin (CZREP)

NHL Central Scouting final international ranking: 11
2016-17: 38 games, 4-4-8

A strong skater capable of making things happen with the puck, Chytil (6-foot-2, 191 pounds) played regularly in the top Czech league. He was good in the traffic areas, has strong hockey sense and did not shy away from battles in the corners. He’s a prototypical power forward capable of playing center or left wing.

NHL.com analysis: Rangers stick with pattern, taking another European center who, at 6-foot-2. 191 pounds, needs to add muscle, but already has experience playing against older competition.

22. Edmonton Oilers – Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Spokane (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 17
2016-17: 65 games, 42-57-99

Yamamoto (5-foot-7, 146 pounds) is excitement personified. He possesses high-end offensive instincts, thinks the game extremely well, and is constantly moving without the puck to get himself in good position to receive it. He skates like Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (5-8, 183 pounds), who, like Yamamoto, is from Spokane, Washington. Yamamoto has 227 points (84 goals, 143 assists) in 190 games in the WHL.

NHL.com analysis: Dynamic right wing could fit nice with left-shot center like Connor McDavid. At 5-foot-7, 146 pounds, he needs to get bigger and stronger, but he’s never been pushed out of a game.

23. Arizona Coyotes (from Minnesota Wild) – Pierre-Olivier Joseph, D, Charlottetown (QMJHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 27
2016-17: 62 games, 6-33-39

The left-handed shot had a strong second half and kept moving up the ladder; he was No. 42 on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm list of North American skaters in January. He makes smart decisions, plays a good two-way game and can distribute the puck well for a smooth transition. Joseph (6-foot-2, 163 pounds), a fluid skater, is the brother of Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Mathieu Joseph, who was selected in the fourth round (No. 120) of the 2015 NHL Draft and won a silver medal for Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.

NHL.com analysis: Solid puck-mover who can get the puck to the Coyotes’ pack of outstanding young forwards.

24. Winnipeg Jets (from Columbus Blue Jackets via Vegas Golden Knights)  – Kristian Vesalainen, LW/RW, Frolunda (SWE)

NHL Central Scouting final international ranking: 7
2016-17: 26 games, 1-5-6

Vesalainen (6-foot-4, 209 pounds), a left-hand shot, was named MVP of the 2017 IIHF World Under-18 Championship for silver medal-winning Finland after finishing with 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in seven games. He dominated his age group with skating power and puck control, and is a prototypical power forward capable of going straight to the net. Vesalainen will enter the first of a two-year contract he signed with HPK (SWE) in April.

NHL.com analysis: Power forward dominated at 2017 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, will add another big body (6-foot-4, 209) on the wing.

25. Montreal Canadiens – Ryan Poehling, C, St. Cloud State (NCHC)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 13
2016-17: 35 games, 7-6-13

The youngest player in college hockey this season, Poehling was a 200-foot player capable of playing all situations; he was used on the power play and in penalty-killing situations. Poehling (6-foot-2, 176 pounds) has a great work ethic, according to St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko. He is the highest-drafted player from St. Cloud State; center Matt Cullen was selected in the second round (No. 35) out of St. Cloud in the 1996 NHL Draft by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

NHL.com analysis: Canadiens got better through the middle with player who can play both ends of the ice and never looked out of place as the youngest player in NCAA hockey this season.

26. Dallas Stars (from Chicago Blackhawks) – Jake Oettinger, G, Boston University (H-EAST)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking for goalies: 1
2016-17: 35 games, 21-10-3, 2.11 GAA, .927 save percentage

Oettinger (6-foot-4, 218 pounds), the second-youngest player in college hockey, became the ninth BU goaltender named to a Hockey East All-Star Team. He possesses NHL size and covers a lot of the net. Oettinger, who served as the third goalie for gold medal-winning United States at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, has great rebound control and plenty of confidence.

NHL.com analysis: First goalie in the draft is big (6-foot-4, 218 pounds), composed and skilled. He should be NHL ready near the end of Ben Bishop‘s six-year contract.

27. Philadelphia Flyers (from Washington Capitals via St. Louis Blues) – Morgan Frost, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 31
2016-17: 67 games, 20-42-62

An excellent playmaker with good stickhandling ability, Frost (5-foot-11, 173 pounds) is very energetic. He’s a solid skater, difficult to contain in a 1-on-1 situation and drives puck possession. He was usually running the half-wall on the power play and exhibited plenty of poise and composure in that assignment.

NHL.com analysis: Flyers traded forward Brayden Schenn to Blues to to grab smart center whose skating improved dramatically this season.

28. Ottawa Senators – Shane Bowers, C, Waterloo (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 16
2016-17: 60 games, 22-29-51

A reliable two-way player who has a strong 200-foot game and is effective in the faceoff circle, Bowers (6-foot-1, 178 pounds) has good hockey sense and speed, is good on the penalty kill and can drive the net hard. A projected middle-six forward, he’s scheduled to attend Boston University in 2017-18.

NHL.com analysis: Bowers is really good at moving the puck and shielding it from the opposition. He’ll gain the offensive zone and is hard to defend at both ends of the ice.

29. Chicago Blackhawks (from Dallas Stars via Anaheim Ducks) – Henri Jokiharju, D, Portland (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 19
2016-17: 71 games, 9-39-48

The Finland-born, right-handed shot is an excellent skater and very elusive with the puck on his stick. Jokiharju (6-foot-0, 187 pounds) can beat the forecheck with a pass or by taking the puck himself and using his excellent vision and mobility. He had 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) on the power play and was named most valuable player for Team Don Cherry after getting three assists in a win against Team Bobby Orr in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 30.

NHL.com analysis: The right-handed shot is very smart and makes few mistakes. He’s a good skater in all directions and can move the puck. Jokiharju has been compared to defenseman Ben Lovejoy.

30. Nashville Predators – Eeli Tolvanen, RW, Sioux City (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting final North American ranking: 8
2016-17: 52 games, 30-24-54

Tolvanen (5-foot-10, 189 pounds), a left-handed shot, is always noticeable in a game because of his speed, intelligence and skill. He has a great work ethic, is energetic and has a high compete level. Bound for Boston College next season, Tolvanen led Sioux City with 54 points (30 goals, 24 assists) and a 1.04 points-per game average in 52 games. He had eight points (four goals, four assists) in 10 USHL playoff games for the Clark Cup champion.

NHL.com analysis: The left-handed forward is one of the elite shooters of this draft class, and is regarded as a skilled forward with deceptive speed.

31. St. Louis Blues (from Pittsburgh Penguins) – Klim Kostin, C/LW, Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

NHL Central Scouting final international ranking: 1
2016-17: 8 games, 0-0-0

Kostin (6-foot-2, 207 pounds) can play in the NHL or the American Hockey League next season as an 18-year-old because he has been drafted out of his native Russia. He played 18 regular-season games, including eight for Dynamo in the Kontinental Hockey League, before having season-ending shoulder surgery in late January. He has a very good release, is a good puck-handler and is effective in traffic. Kostin views himself as a power forward and likes to model his game after that of Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine.

NHL.com analysis: Kostin uses his size to dominant down low and has a good understanding of the game. He’ll certainly benefit from playing beside fellow Russian countryman Vladimir Tarasenko at some point in the future.

Fleury, Methot, Neal headline Golden Knights’ expansion draft roster

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By Navin Vaswani – The Score

The NHL’s 31st team is ready to play hockey.

The Vegas Golden Knights‘ expansion draft roster was unveiled Wednesday night, ending months of speculation as to the look of the league’s newest team.

Here are head coach Gerard Gallant’s players, broken down alphabetically by position:

Forwards

  • Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (from Flyers)
  • Connor Brickley [1] (from Hurricanes)
  • William Carrier [2] (from Sabres)
  • David Clarkson [3] (from Blue Jackets via trade)
  • Cody Eakin (from Stars)
  • Mikhail Grabovski [4] (from Islanders via trade)
  • Nikita Gusev [5] (from Lightning via trade)
  • Erik Haula (from Wild)
  • William Karlsson (from Blue Jackets)
  • Brendan Leipsic (from Maple Leafs)
  • Oscar Lindberg (from Rangers)
  • Jonathan Marchessault (from Panthers)
  • James Neal (from Predators)
  • Tomas Nosek (from Red Wings)
  • David Perron (from Blues)
  • Teemu Pulkkinen (from Coyotes)
  • Reilly Smith [6] (from Panthers via trade)
  • Chris Thorburn [7] (from Jets)
  • Alex Tuch [8] (from Wild via trade)

Footnotes

[1] Hurricanes trade 2017 fifth-round pick to Golden Knights as part of Brickley selection.
[2] Sabres trade 2017 sixth-round pick to Golden Knights (so Linus Ullmark wouldn’t be selected, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman).
[3] Blue Jackets trade David Clarkson, 2017 first-round pick, 2019 second-round pick to Vegas as part of Karlsson selection.
[4] Islanders trade 2017 first-round pick, 2019 second-round pick, forward Mikhail Grabovski, defenseman Jake Bischoff to Golden Knights as part of Jean-Francois Berube selection.
[5] Lightning trade Gusev, second-round pick in 2017, fourth-round pick in 2018 to Vegas as part of Garrison selection.
[6] Panthers trade Reilly Smith to Golden Knights for 2018 fourth-round pick.
[7] Golden Knights flip Jackets’ first-round pick in 2017 to Winnipeg for Jets’ first-round pick in 2017 and third-round pick in 2019 (as part of agreement to keep Vegas from selecting Toby Enstrom in the draft).
[8] Wild trade Tuch to Vegas for conditional third-round pick in 2017 or 2018.

Defensemen

  • Jake Bischoff [9] (from Islanders via trade)
  • Alexei Emelin (from Canadiens)
  • Deryk Engelland (from Flames)
  • Jason Garrison [10] (from Lightning)
  • Brayden McNabb (from Kings)
  • Jon Merrill (from Devils)
  • Marc Methot (from Senators)
  • Colin Miller (from Bruins)
  • Griffin Reinhart (from Oilers)
  • Luca Sbisa (from Canucks)
  • David Schlemko (from Sharks)
  • Nate Schmidt (from Capitals)
  • Clayton Stoner (from Ducks)
  • Shea Theodore [11] (from Ducks via trade)
  • Trevor van Riemsdyk (from Blackhawks)

Footnotes

[9] Islanders trade 2017 first-round pick, 2019 second-round pick, forward Mikhail Grabovski, defenseman Jake Bischoff to Golden Knights as part of Jean-Francois Berube selection.
[10] Lightning trade Gusev, second-round pick in 2017, fourth-round pick in 2018 as part of Garrison selection.
[11] Ducks trade Theodore to Golden Knights as part of Stoner selection.

Goalies

  • Jean-Francois Berube [12] (from Islanders)
  • Marc-Andre Fleury [13] (from Penguins)
  • Calvin Pickard (from Avalanche)

Footnotes

[12] Islanders trade 2017 first-round pick, 2019 second-round pick, forward Mikhail Grabovski, defenseman Jake Bischoff to Golden Knights as part of Berube selection.
[13] Penguins trade 2020 second-round pick to Vegas as part of Fleury selection.

NHL Awards: McDavid wins big while Bobrovsky, Burns, Matthews earn hardware

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By Navin Vaswani – The Score

The league handed out its annual hardware Wednesday night, and here’s a rundown of who won what:

Hart Trophy: Connor McDavid

The kid’s alright.

McDavid scored an awards hat trick Wednesday (he officially collected his Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer), capping off his stellar night by winning the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. He’s 20 years old.

Vezina Trophy: Sergei Bobrovsky

Bobrovsky won his second career Vezina Trophy, punctuating a remarkable season for both the 28-year-old and his Columbus Blue Jackets. The goaltender was emotional in victory, noting his return from groin injuries that threatened to derail his career for good.

James Norris Trophy: Brent Burns

Burns has his Norris Trophy. The San Jose Sharks defenseman edged Erik Karlsson for the award, his first, after posting career highs across the board.

Calder Memorial Trophy: Auston Matthews

For the first time in basically forever, a member of the Maple Leafs won an NHL award, with Matthews declared the league’s top rookie. He scored 40 goals and Toronto made the playoffs.

Bill Masterton Trophy: Craig Anderson

Anderson had one hell of a year. His wife Nicholle was diagnosed with cancer in the fall, resulting in the goaltender taking multiple leaves of absence from the Ottawa Senators. The club rallied around its goaltender and his wife, though, and the Sens’ deep run into the playoffs was one of the more special stories of the season.

Even better, Nicholle was in attendance in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, cancer-free.

Frank J. Selke Trophy: Patrice Bergeron

Bergeron won his fourth Selke Trophy on Wednesday, tying legend Bob Gainey for the most all time. Bergeron took the honor for the third time in four years. It’s his until it isn’t.

Jack Adams Award: John Tortorella

The man affectionately known as “Torts” won his second career Jack Adams Trophy, and he deflected praise thrown his way, saying he was glad his Blue Jackets were recognized for their incredible regular season.

Ted Lindsay Award: McDavid

McDavid’s peers know he’s the man. The Oilers captain took home most outstanding honors, as voted by the NHLPA.

NHL GM of the Year Award: David Poile

Poile’s Nashville Predators fell two wins shy of the Stanley Cup, but the general manager was rewarded for how far his team has come.

Lady Byng Trophy: Johnny Gaudreau

Calgary Flames superstar Gaudreau took home his first NHL trophy, the Lady Byng. He finished fourth in voting last season.

Latvian-born Canadian hockey player Krista Yip-Chuck allowed to represent Latvia

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By Kas jaunas.lv

Canada-born Latvian-born hockey player Krista Jip-Chaka received the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Council authorization to represent the Latvian national women’s national, reports the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation.

Currently, 21-year-old Krista Jip Caka last year turned to LHF and expressed her willingness to represent the Latvian female national team. In the spring IIHF application was submitted to Jip-Chaka could play in the world championship under the Latvian flag.

As the main argument for playing for Latvia national team Krista Jip-Caka said her roots were from Latvian orgin. Krista is Canadian with Latvian dual nationality, she acquired a Latvian passport  on April 14, 2015.

The previous four seasons Krista Jip-Chaka played for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Yale University team, which last season she recorded 20 points ( 5+ 15) she was elected captain by her teammates.

She was born in Whitby, Ontario, while her mom Liza Preisa once engaged in volleyball and played for University of Cincinnati.

 

Four years ago Krista Jip-Caka was part of the Canadian U-18 list of candidates, as well as becoming the Canadian U-18 Championship winner.

Latvian women’s national team in April played at world championship division I Group B and finsh in third place.

Jokerit To Host SKA In Open – Air Classic

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By KHL.ru

On the 2nd of December, 2017, Helsinki will host a KHL regular championship match between Jokerit and SKA Saint Petersburg, and the game will be a “Winter Classic” staged in an outdoor arena. The timing of the match coincides with three significant anniversaries: the 10th season of the Kontinental Hockey League, the 50th anniversary of the founding of HC Jokerit, and the centenary year of hockey in Finland.

The idea of holding a first-ever outdoor game in a KHL regular championship came from Jokerit. The Helsinki club proposed marking its 50-year jubilee with a major celebration for all the fans in Finland, and the plan drew enthusiastic support from the KHL.

A KHL match between two of the strongest European clubs will be one of the highlights of the League’s 10th anniversary season. Thanks to the vast territory covered by the KHL, the game in Helsinki will attract the attention of people across many countries and from fans of clubs which play in the competition. For this reason, marking the 100th anniversary of Finnish hockey with a KHL match dedicated to the occasion will be a superb way to raise awareness throughout an entire continent about the strong traditions of these great hockey powers. At the same time, the teams will be playing for valuable points in the regular season, and so the game will be fiercely competitive and even more exciting for the fans of both clubs.

The venue for the match was chosen with great care. It was here, over one hundred years ago, on the frozen waters of an inlet separating Siltasaari and Kaisaniemi, two areas of Helsinki, that amateur hockey players first started playing the exciting new game, which in those years involved fighting for possession of a ball rather than a puck.  Soon the Finns had created a permanent rink in Kaisaniemi Park, and matches in the national championship have been played here to this day.

Three days after the Jokerit – SKA game, the same venue will stage a match from the Finnish League. The two games are united under the banner, “Helsinki Ice Challenge,” and surrounding the playing surface will be special stands built to accommodate around 18,000 spectators. A sell-out crowd for this event would set a new attendance record for the League.

It is hoped the fans will feel the atmosphere of a century ago, a time when a new sport was taking its first steps on Finnish soil. Most of the open-air stadium will be for standing spectators, as that is how the hardy souls watched hockey back in those pioneering days. The Finnish club has announced that tickets for the match will go on sale from the 8th of June, 2017.

This match in the Great Outdoors is just one of many planned events dedicated to marking the 10th anniversary of the Kontinental Hockey League. News of the other surprises and celebrations to delight the fans during this anniversary season will appear in due course on the League’s official website.

PH ice hockey team targets gold in SEA Games

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By Dennis Gasgonia – ABS-CBN News

MANILA – The Philippines has a national ice hockey team and it’s aiming for the gold in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in August.

French-Filipino Francois Gautier, general manager of Hockey Philippines, said they will be holding the Philippine Ice Hockey Tournament starting Wednesday to help prepare the team for the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Gautier said they will be tested against hockey teams from Korea, Taipei and Singapore. Some of these clubs are expected to field professional players.

“These teams that are coming are a lot stronger than the teams that we’re competing against in the SEA Games,” Gautier noted.

According to Gautier, Thailand is the heavy favorite in the biennial games, but is expected to face rough sailing due to a complaint it received in the Sapporo event.

Gautier noted that the Thai team brought five Swedish players in that event and if those players won’t be eligible for SEA Games, then the Philippines will come in as the favorites.

“I’m not gonna guarantee a gold, but that’s what we’re going for. We’re not going to settle for anything less,” he said.

It will be the first time that the Philippines is fielding an ice hockey team to compete at the SEA Games.

“The goal is to prepare the team for SEA Games. What better preparation than to play them against some really tough competition?” Gautier said at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) forum at Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City.

The Philippine team recently won bronze in the 2017 Winter Asian Games in Sapporo, Japan last February. Its best win was a rousing victory over Qatar, 14-2.

Karjala Tournament grows

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By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

The Karjala Tournament, one of the men’s national team events of the Euro Hockey Tour, will grow to six teams. The traditional four national squads of the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden will be joined by Canada and Switzerland.

“There was desire from Canada to play against Euro Hockey Tour countries,” said the Finland Ice Hockey Association’s General Director Matti Nurminen. “The significance of the Karjala Tournament for the teams involved this year is particularly high. As NHL players are not going to join the Olympics in February, players from other leagues will give a taste of the Olympics at the Karjala Tournament.”

Switzerland as the fifth-best European nation in the IIHF World Ranking was invited as well and will complete the six-team tournament in Finland.

The event, known as Karjala-turnaus in Finnish, has been held every season since 1995/96 and is one of the most prestigious annual invitational tournaments for men’s national teams outside of the Worlds and Olympics. It usually takes place in November in Helsinki. Last year’s event was won by Russia.

For Canada the Karjala Tournament held 8-12 November will be a major opportunity to test players from Europe ahead of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games as will be the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland, 26-31 December.

Ticket sale for the event will start on 31 August it was announced by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association and the schedule will be released in mid-August.

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