Euro Curve takes a daily look at the latest international hockey news.
Writers Note: I apologize for not writing a blog yesterday but a sore throat kept me off the website and in bed. I promise today’s blog will be as good as a Janne Niinimaa slapshot ( Currently playing with HC Davos of Swiss League).
– Yutaka Fukufuji, the first Japanese born player to ever play in the NHL, is trying to stick with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose as one of the teams starting goaltenders. Unfortunately for Fukufuji, 25, he is in tough against incumbent Drew MacIntyre, and Boston College standout Cory Schneider. Fukufuji, an 8th round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2004, is believed to be headed for the East Coast Hockey League.
– The Anaheim Ducks were parading the Stanley Cup around London Wednesday, taking in some sights and even attending a Premier League football ( not soccer!) game. The Ducks face the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, September 29 to kick off the NHL’s regular season schedule. The two teams meet again Sunday. Both games will be played at the new 02 Arena, a 20,000-seat venue which will also host an NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants in October.
– New York Rangers Draft Pick Alexei Cherepanov (2007, 1/17) scored his first goal of the season last night for Avangard (Omsk) as the Russian Super League team beat VITYAZ (Chekhov) 7-5. Cherepanov was voted the games second star. Cherepanov, who was expected to be Russia’s best player in the recent Under-20 Super Series tournament against Canada, had been sidelined with an injury for most of the tournament. Cherepanov, widely considered one of the best prospects in the Super League, had 18 goals and 11 assists in 46 games for Avangard Omsk last season.
– Here’s a look at the top scorers in Russia’s top league:
RUSSIAN SUPER LEAGUE STATISTICS ( courtesy of www.rushockey.com)
EARLY REGULAR SEASON LEADERS ( Points)
# Player Team Pos G P(G+A)
1 Alexanderov Viktor Metallurg Nk F 9 12 (7 + 5)
2 Mihaylov Egor Metallurg Nk F 9 11 (5 + 6)
3 Mozyakin Sergey Khimik F 9 10 (7 + 3)
4 Morozov Alexei Ak Bars F 9 10 (4 + 6)
5 Antipov Vladimir Salavat Yulaev F 8 10 (2 + 8)
6 Saprikin Oleg CSKA F 9 9 (7 + 2)
7 Bashkirov Andrei HC MVD F 9 9 (5 + 4)
8 Yuhansson Andreas SKA F 9 9 (5 + 4)
9 Mihnov Alexei Lokomotiv F 9 9 (4 + 5)
10 Pokotilo Vadim Amur F 9 8 (6 + 2)
11 Dobrishkin Yuri Torpedo F 8 8 (5 + 3)
12 Antonenko Oleg HC MVD F 9 8 (5 + 3)
13 Haritonov Alexander Dynamo F 9 8 (5 + 3)
14 Badyukov Alexei Dynamo C 9 8 (4 + 4)
15 Korolyuk Alexander Vityaz F 9 8 (3 + 5)
16 Sushinsky Maxim SKA F 9 8 (3 + 5)
17 Yachmenev Vitaly Dynamo F 9 8 (3 + 5)
18 Yashin Alexei Lokomotiv C 9 8 (2 + 6)
19 Chupin Alexei Dynamo C 9 8 (2 + 6)
20 Leschev Albert Khimik C 9 8 (2 + 6)
For Illegal Curve, I’m Ezra Ginsburg.
About the Writer: Ezra Ginsburg made a name for himself on the local hockey scene in 1998, when, at the tender age of 16, he held The First Annual Ezzy’s Whiz Bang Hockey Draft, held at Rightway Sports on Corydon Avenue. The pool featured 16 teams and introduced an interesting draft format, which allowed players to be picked up off of the free agent market through a simple bidding process. The winner of the pool that year was Adam Sheps, but it was Ezra and friend Aaron Bernstein’s acquisition of Petr Nedved which showed a knack for insider knowledge of European players. In 98’99, Nedved was acquired by the New York Rangers 26 games into the season after he had spent the last year playing for Sparta Praha of the Czech Extra League. Ginsburg and Bernstein picked up Nedved for 30 dollars ( one of the most lucrative fantasy offer sheets in history at the time) and rode his 47 points in 56 games to a respectable second place finish.