The CHL Daily News

By League Press Release


The races for top spots in the Canadian Hockey League are very tight as the
regular season winds down, as is the race for top spots in the Bank of
Montreal MasterCard CHL Top 10 rankings.

The top three spots in Week 21 of the Bank of Montreal MasterCard CHL Top 10
rankings remain the same as last week, as selected by a panel of National
Hockey League scouts. But there was a lot of movement on the rest of the
list, with just one more week of rankings to come for this season.

Just four points separate the top four teams in the Ontario Hockey League,
while the top four teams in the Western Hockey League are just seven points
apart. As a result, the overall Top 10 rankings saw quite a bit of movement
this past week.

Red Deer Rebels (43-18-6-1) of the WHL are still ranked number one, despite
losing two of three games this past week. Their lead in the WHL overall
standings is down to one point over the Swift Current Broncos, who move up
from sixth place to fourth place this week with a 40-17-5-7 record after
winning three games and picking up another point from an overtime loss this
past week.

Plymouth Whalers (38-15-10-2) of the OHL remain ranked second, going 1-0-2
in three games this week to hang on to the overall OHL points lead. The
red-hot Erie Otters have won 10 straight games and as a result, appear in
the Bank of Montreal MasterCard Top 10 rankings for the sixth time this
season, jumping into sixth spot after being unranked since Week 8. Erie won
four games this past week alone.

Acadie-Bathurst Titan (44-16-4-5) of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
won once and lost twice in overtime this week, to remain first overall in
the QMJHL and third in the weekly Bank of Montreal MasterCard CHL Top 10
rankings. Shawinigan (41-19-5-3) lost both games this week to slip from
fourth into fifth place, just ahead of the surging Otters.

Moving up into seventh position from ninth place are the Brandon Wheat
Kings, who are tied for third place in the WHL standings with the Regina
Pats. But the Wheat Kings have three more victories, giving them the lead in
the WHL’s East Division standings and seventh spot on the list, while the
Pats barely slipped out of the Top 10 this week.

In eighth spot are the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey
League, who went 2-1-0 this week to move ahead of Sault Ste. Marie into
third place in the OHL overall standings. The Majors were ranked 10th last
week while the Greyhounds, who were ranked fifth, slipped back down to ninth
after a 1-1-1 week.

In 10th spot were the Cape Breton Oilers of the QMJHL, who moved into the
Bank of Montreal MasterCard CHL Top 10 rankings for the first time this
season. The Regina Pats of the WHL and the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL,
ranked seventh and eighth last week, barely missed out on making the Top 10
this week.

The complete list from Week 21 of the Bank of Montreal MasterCard CHL Top 10
rankings follows. The rankings can also be found at every week.
The final edition of the Top 10 for this season will be published next week.


There are no games in the WHL on Monday night.

Heading into this week’s action, Nathan Barrett of Lethbridge continues to
lead the WHL scoring derby, but his lead is down to just one point over
Medicine Hat’s Joffrey Lupul. Barrett has 44 goals and 60 assists for 104
points, one more than Lupul (54-49-103). Eric Johansson of Tri-City
(44-53-97), Tyler Beechey of Calgary (43-53-96) and Lethbridge’s Jeremy
Jackson (38-51-89) round out the top five WHL scorers.

Rookie Cam Ward of Red Deer still has the best goals against average in the
WHL at 2.26, along with a save percentage of .910, which ties him for fourth
place in that category. Regina’s Josh Harding is second in GAA (2.35, .908
save percentage), followed by Shane Bendera of Kelowna (2.50, .911). Barry
Brust of Spokane (2.59, .912) and David Parley of Kamloops (2.74, .918)
round out the top five GAA’s in the WHL. Parley’s save percentage is the
best in the league.

The Red Deer Rebels (43-18-6-1) continue to cling to first place in the WHL
overall standings and the Central Division with 93 points, but their lead is
down to just point over the Swift Current Broncos (40-17-5-7). In the East
Division, the Brandon Wheat Kings (40-22-4-2) have tied the Regina Pats
(37-19-4-8) for first place with 86 points.

In the Western Conference, the Kamloops Blazers (37-23-5-4) have seen their
lead in the B.C. Division cut to just three points over the Kootenay Ice
(37-26-6-0). The Blazers have lost three straight while the Ice has won four
in a row. In the U.S. Division, the Portland Winter Hawks (35-23-5-5) have a
three-point lead on the Spokane Chiefs.

The WHL regular season schedule ends March 19.


There are no games in the OHL on Monday night.

The Plymouth Whalers (38-15-10-2) continue to lead the OHL overall standings
and the West Division standings with 88 points. The Sault Ste. Marie
Greyhounds (37-18-10-0) are just four points back in the West, but there are
just three games left for both teams. The Erie Otters (40-20-4-1) have won
10 in a row and are leading the Midwest Division by seven points with 85
points, with the Kitchener Rangers (34-22-9-1) second in that division.

In the Eastern Conference, the Ottawa 67’s (35-19-10-1) have 81 points,
three ahead of the Belleville Bulls. In the Central Division, the Toronto
St. Michael’s Majors have 85 points (38-18-8-1), two up on the Barrie Colts

Nathan Robinson of the Belleville Bulls (46-62-108) has a five-point lead
atop the OHL scoring derby over teammate Mike Renzi (42-61-103). Sarnia’s
Kris Newbury (41-60-101) is third, followed by Jason Spezza of Belleville
(39-60-99) and Erie’s Cory Pecker (53-44-97).

Peter Budaj of the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors is the leading goalie in the
OHL with a goals against average of 2.33 and a save percentage of .921, both
tops in the OHL. Jason Bacashihua of Plymouth (2.38, .919), David Chant of
Barrie (2.55, .920), Sault Ste. Marie’s Ray Emery (2.70, .915) and Chris
Houle of London (2.83, .909) round out the top five OHL goalies.

The OHL regular season ends March 17.


There are no games in the QMJHL Monday night.

The Acadie-Bathurst Titan (44-16-4-5) have all but clinched first place
overall in the QMJHL with 97 points, good for a 10-point lead in the
Maritimes Division standings of the Dilio Conference over the Cape Breton
Oilers (37-20-9-4). In the East Division, Chicoutimi (38-25-1-4) has a
one-point lead on Baie-Comeau as the season winds down.

In the Lebel Conference, the Hull Olympiques (29-29-3-6) lead the West
Division by four points over the Val-d’Or Foreurs (27-32-5-4). In the Centre
Division, Shawinigan (41-19-5-3) has a 10-point lead on Victoriaville
(37-25-5-1) with only four games remaining.

Shawinigan’s Olivier Michaud has the best goals against average in the
league with a 2.35 mark, along with a save percentage of .890. Dany Dallaire
of Halifax is second at 2.55 and a save percentage of .914, which is ties
him for the best percentage in the league. Marc-Andre Fleury of Cape Breton
(2.82, .914), Adam Russo of Acadie-Bathurst (2.82, .901) and Ghyslain
Rousseau of Baie-Comeau (3.14, .899) round out the top five regular QMJHL

Pierre-Marc Bouchard of Chicoutimi leads the QMJHL scoring derby with 42
goals and 88 assists for 130 points, followed by Yanick Lehoux of
Baie-Comeau (55-69-124) and Victoriaville’s Matthew Lombardi (52-72-124).
Jonathan Bellemare of Shawinigan (38-85-123) and Jason Pominville, also of
Shawinigan (57-63-120), round out the top five scorers.

The QMJHL regular season ends March 19.

For complete QMJHL statistics, check out the league’s official website.

Jason Spezza named OHL Player of the Week

Toronto – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Belleville Bulls
centre Jason Spezza is the OHL Player of the Week for the week ending Sunday
March 10, 2002. Spezza recorded five goals and five assists for 10 points in
three game last week

Spezza recorded his second eight point game of the season Saturday night
against the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors when he scored four goals and four
assists in a 9-6 win. The eight point game equaled a team record established
by Dan Quinn in 1983 and equaled by Jason Lafreniere in 1985 Brad Gratton in
1987 and Spezza on February 9.

In the 23 games since joining the Bulls in January, Spezza, the second
overall pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, has scored
20 goals and 34 assists for 54 points. He has been named OHL Player of the
Week four times this season.

Spezza, an 18-year-old native of Etobicoke, improved his season totals to 39
goals and 60 assists for 99 points in 50 games. He is currently fourth among
OHL scorers this season.

OHL Launches “Live Stats” Web Site

Toronto – Beginning March 12, Ontario Hockey League media and fans will have
the opportunity to follow OHL games as they happen using the new “Live
Stats” feature of the league’s official Web site –

Each game for the balance of the 2001-02 regular season and throughout the
2002 OHL Playoffs will be entered into the Web site “live” as it happens
from the arena, updating the game summary and full player and team
statistics on the site.

“The traffic on our Web site has been growing rapidly during the past three
years,” said OHL Director of Information Aaron Bell. “Our research clearly
shows that visitors to our site are looking for game summaries and
statistics. This new system provides that key information on a much quicker
basis and gives fans of the OHL a unique opportunity to follow all of our
games as they happen.”

The OHL Web site currently attracts over 900,000 page views per month, a
number which is expected to increase dramatically with the new live game

The OHL has partnered with Toronto-based multimedia company Commercial
Design in this new venture. Commercial Design was responsible for developing
the software required to operate the new stats system, as well as the new
design of the league’s Web site.

“We are very excited about working with the Ontario Hockey League on this
project,” said Cary Moretti, General Manager, Commercial Design. “I think
that the fans of the OHL will find this new system adds an all-new element
to the way they follow the Ontario Hockey League.”

Rogers Digital Cable is the title sponsor of the OHL “Live Stats” feature on
the Web site. Rogers offers NHL Centre Ice with over 1000 games per season
and Rogers Television provides the most extensive OHL television coverage
with over 180 games per season.

“We are very excited to be part of this new initiative,” said Michael Allen,
Vice President, Programming Rogers Cable. “It provides us with an
opportunity to be part of an innovative new method of communication to OHL

The new statistics system is currently in its final testing stages with the
OHL teams and will be available live on the Internet beginning March 12.