We start our report with the news that Antoine Lafleur is alive and well playing for the Prince Edward Island Rocket at least for one night. Lafleur got the start Thursday evening as his Rocket traveled to face the Chicoutimi Saguenéens.
Lafleur played well despite having gone 11 days since last playing as he gave up 2 goals on 32 shots while taking undeserved loss 3-1. The Rocket only took 23 shots on goal themselves as they jumped out to a 1-0 lead 1:08 into the game and then could not score despite having several open nets to score on.
In watching the game one could say the Rocket were tired having played the night before but Lafleur made several strong saves to keep his team in the game until an empty net goal sealed the game for the Sagueneens.
We liked the effort by Lafleur as he made several solid saves despite having the long layoff. However the reason we choose to use a picture of Lafleur with Ranger goalie coach Benoit Allaire is that we think Lafleur could use a visit from Allaire to help Lafleur make a few technique corrections along with some confidence building support from an outsider.
There remains a goalie who could still become a positive prospect but we do not believe it will happen with Lafleur remaining a Rocket. A change of scenery would help both Lafleur and the Rocket.
Tomas Zaborsky of the Saginaw Spirit scored his 16th goal of the season as his Spirit whipped on the Erie Otters 7-3 at home Thursday evening.
If not for a late goal by the Otters, Zaborsky would have had the game winning goal but we are wondering how much longer Zaborsky will remain with the rebuilding Spirit.
The Spirit having just traded Jan Mursak might be looking to move Zaborsky who is 3rd on the team in scoring at 16-16-32 would be an attractive player for teams looking for scoring help for a playoff push.
It would be very interesting to see Zaborsky on say a Brampton Battalion playing along with fellow Ranger prospect Bobby Sanguinetti.
Speaking of Bobby Sanguinetti , he is about to leave his Brampton Battalion as they are on their hottest streak of the year as they won their 6th straight game 2-1 over the Oshawa Generals. It was Sanguinetti who set up the game winning goal at 16:35 of the second period.
The Battalion sit atop the OHL's Central Division with 41 points, 5 more than 2nd place Barrie will miss Sanguinetti as he joins Team USA for the World Under-20 Championships. As for Sanguinetti that game winning assist was also his prospect leading 43rd point as he is now 17-26-43.
I got this email from our friends at the International Ice Hockey Federation and it might have an impact down the road:
The IIHF-affiliated national ice hockey associations and leagues decided today to give notice to the National Hockey League, exercising their right to re-open the current IIHF-NHL Player Transfer Agreement (PTA).
The representatives from the
“We listened to the reasons from the associations and their leagues and discussed in depth the most important concerns,” said IIHF President René Fasel who chaired the meeting at
“It is very important to point out that the IIHF members are not seeking confrontation,” said René Fasel. “We have an excellent co-operation with the NHL and it is our intention to keep it that way. But just as the NHL feels that there are points that should be addressed, our members also have proposals about how to adjust certain elements in the contract. And all members have expressed the desire to have an agreement in place with the NHL.”
The current IIHF-NHL PTA was a four-year agreement (2007-2011) where the parties could give notice about a re-opener before January 1, 2008. The PTA regulates all player transfers between the IIHF affiliated national associations/leagues and the NHL. The Ice Hockey Association of Russia is not part of the agreement.
If no new agreement is reached, the IIHF-NHL PTA will expire after the 2007-2008 season.
It needs to be pointed out that both sides are wanting to talk about this deal and without a deal then nobody has to honor anyone's contract which could do a ton of damage to hockey everywhere.
In World Under-20 play, in division 1 group A, Austria will face host Germany in the division group final to determine who move up to the Elite level next year. Austria coming off a 15-0 win over Lithuania is undefeated in the round robin play as is Germany who blasted the Ukraine 11-1.
In Division 1 group B which is being played in Latvia, Belarus and Slovenia are the favorites to fight it out for the other promotion back to the Elite level. However do not count out the very surprising team from Hungary.
We want to thank the IIHF website for the information provided in this report.
Team USA's ALL-ACCESS Pass
We got this email from our friends at USA Hockey for those wanting to follow Bobby Sanguinetti and Team USA:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – As part of USA Hockey’s coverage of the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, usahockey.com will be offering an All-Access Pass that will include exclusive, behind-the-scenes video offerings of Team USA at the event in the Czech Republic.
As part of the complimentary All-Access Pass, fans can gain access to insider video, such as game highlights, interviews with players and coaches and feature stories beginning during training camp and continuing throughout the event.
To take advantage of this new offer, please visit usahockey.com as the championship approaches. The All-Access Pass coverage begins Dec. 16.
As we get further details we will share them as well.