World Junior Championships
- Jamie Lundmark had a solid first game for team Canada, notching 2 assists in a 9-0 killing of Belarus. He skated on a line with Dany Heatley, who had 2 goals, and Mike Cammalleri, who was the star of the game as he netted 3 goals. Lundmark also picked up a minor penalty during the game and had 1 shot on goal. The next test for Lundmark and team Canada will be tomorrow against team Finland.
- Pavel Brendl has 1 goal in two games so far for the Czech Republic. His goal came in the second game, a 9-1 win over Kazakhstan, and happened to be shorthanded. Brendl is tied for first in the WJC tournament with Stanislav Chistov, a top 2001 prospect, and Pavel Duma, both whom are playing for Russia, with 1 shorthanded tally. Brendl also has 7 shots on goal, 2 penalty minutes and is a +2 in the 2 games so far. He is being counted on to score a lot of goals during the tournament.
- Sven Helfenstein has picked up where he left off at last year’s WJC, dominating the opposition. Helfenstein has 1 goal in 2 games, while getting 4 shots on goal. He missed a penalty shot against team Russia, which could have given team Switzerland a win instead of a 3-3 tie.
- Henrik Lundqvist is playing solid between the pipes for team Sweden. Lundqvist has only allowed 3 goals on 48 shots in 2 games, and is 3rd among goalies with a .938 save percentage and 5th among goalies with a 1.50 GAA. Sweden lost to the Czech Republic 2-1, and then defeated Slovakia 3-1. I’m sure Lundqvist is making some scouts smack themselves for passing him over in last June’s Entry Draft.
- Jason Labarbera was assigned to Houston of the IHL from Charlotte of the ECHL where he was playing some good hockey. He posted a 3.21 GAA and .912 Save percentage in 17 games with the Checkers. The GAA may look a little high, but keep in mind that Charlotte is one of the “less-talented” teams in the ECHL, and therefore most of the time Labarbera gets hung out to dry. It seems he always has been on bad teams throughout his career and therefore some people have not paid much attention to him. But, they should start to now as I expect Labarbera to play really well in Houston. Bryce Wandler will now possibly get the starting job for the Checkers, after Yeremeyev gets sent back down to Hartford when Mike Richter returns. Yeremeyev likely will not get any playing time during his stay in New York as Kirk McLean likely is to start tonight against Carolina and Richter comes off the IR tomorrow.
- Manny Malhotra’s name has been thrown around in the papers lately, with the hot rumor being Malhotra being dealt to the Hurricanes in a deal for center Rod Brind’amour. Other marquee players available are Rob Blake and Eric Lindros, and Sather has expressed his interest in acquiring those players. We’ll see how this plays out, but I really don’t want to see any of our top prospects being dealt for another old veteran.