Celebrating a decade of squandered potential and faded dreams, the draft of 1999 turned out shallower than an infantâ€™s paddling pool, yet despite being regarded as an acrimonious footnote in league history the draft of â€™99 also served as an unlikely backdrop to one of the most meticulously engineered pre-draft coups ever.
Add International Scouting Services to the list of scouting organizations that are starting to put together the Matt Duchene bandwagon. In their latest rankings, following a the shocker from Redline report, ISS has followed suit and finally shuffled the top 2 of the draft. Unlike Redline, Tavares remains at #1, but ISS now has Duchene at #2 and Hedman at #3. Looks like the “Big Two” just became the “Big Three”.
It’s not yet time to pack away the sticks and skates for some of the Leafs players. A pair of Maple Leaf defensemen, Luke Schenn and Ian White were informed on Saturday night that they would have a chance to represent Team Canada at the upcoming World Hockey Championship which begin April 24th in Switzerland. Jason Blake will lace ‘em up for Team USA while Niklas Hagman will don the Finnish colors.
International Scouting Services (ISS) has released the March edition of their monthly top 30 rankings for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in June.Â Much of the names at the top remain unchanged, while a couple new players begin sneaking into the top 30. In Canada, Major Junior playoffs are about to begin, and it’s crunch time for draftees as they prepare to make one last impression on NHL scouts.
When Team Canada went for the third straight Gold Medal, they were ruled â€œtoo small and lacked the necessary talentâ€ to win. They proved them wrong. When Team Canada went for the fourth straight Gold Medal, they were ruled as â€œan underdog team with potential but not enough skillâ€ to win. They proved them wrong. This year, Team Canada went for the fifth straight Gold Medal at the World Junior Hockey Championship. They were ruled as â€œtoo smallâ€ and weâ€™re slated to win nothing more than silver. Again, Canada proves them wrong. How can you rule out the Hockey Capital of the World?
This is it. One of these two teams will be singing â€œIâ€™ve got a golden ticketâ€ in the dressing room. A win means a trip to the gold medal game; a loss is a trip for the bronze. Dustin Tokarski will get the start for Canada, and while some feel Pickard should have gotten the game, itâ€™s hard to argue the way Tokarski held his own after the penalty-stacked opening 10 minutes of the Canada/USA game.
ANTON STRALMAN (# 36)
Birthdate:Â August 1st, 1986
(for all you stargazers out there, that makes him a Leo).
Hometown:Â Tibro, Sweden
Itâ€™s their final exhibition matchup of the pre-tournament and Canada looks to apply the same pressure theyâ€™ve produced in their first two meetings. Sunday nightâ€™s game against Finland showed that this team can in fact change on the fly, and Iâ€™m not talking about the lines.
Canada came through the gate a bit slow and sluggish. They managed to escape the first period tied at 1, but as the game progressed with chances equaling out by the midway point, Canada began to come alive and pounded the Fins with shots from everywhere being both unpredictable and a deadly force on every shift in the third period.
Team Quinn does exactly what the former NHL head coach always demanded from his team. An all out hard hitting war, and thatâ€™s exactly what fans have gotten.
On the topic of spin-o-ramas, here’s a highlight reel play from Leafs’ 6th rounder in 2006 Tyler Ruegsegger during recent collegiate action. [More after the jump, including an update from U of D head coach George Gwozdecky].
With the imposition of the salary cap taking some clout away from the financial Super Powers (or so they say), the “new” NHL focuses upon the importance of successful drafting and a constant flow of young players on cheap, entry-level contracts. With scouts now being dispatched to all corners of the globe, it’s getting to be quite a small world. The boundaries of the Hockey Community are ever-growing, and we’re starting to find ourselves with a neat little global village forming in the NHL.