Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Rookies of the year

Playing solitaire til dawn with a deck of 51
Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me I’ve nothin’ to do.
-- Statler Brothers, Flowers on the Wall

Suddenly, I’m very busy again. More on what's changing later as details get worked out. It could be an example of 'be careful wishing for change because it may not be what you want,' or it could be good. We’ll see.

As for what I’ve been writing lately, it’s funny the things you’ll do when you’re procrastinating. Cleaning the bathtub suddenly looks very appealing. So did writing an article on next year's Calder Trophy race instead of the Thrashers Top 20 prospects. But do not fear, the Top 20 will come in the next week or two.

Regarding the Calder, there are no Thrasher rookies on the likely list. Of the logical candidates to make the team, Zach Bogosian has two things against him – he’s 18 and he’s a defenseman. The last newly-drafted defenseman to win the Calder was Bryan Berard in 1996-97. If Bogosian can outscore Berard straight out of the gates, more power to him. One could reasonably make the argument that goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has a better chance than Bogosian, even though he’s slated to play in Chicago, due to the susceptibility to injury of starter Kari Lehtonen. Goaltenders have an easier time winning this award than defensemen. I would buy that argument, but not put my money there.

But my pick for the Calder is Kyle Okposo of the New York Islanders. I saw him play for Univ. of Minnesota, and came away impressed. He played nine games in the NHL last year (25 is the limit for eligibility), and scored five points. Not bad. His college, AHL and NHL experience will all help him. He should get plenty of ice time too.

Other small items

Kevin Doell signed with Leksand. It’s important to note that this is the farm club level (2nd league) in Sweden, not the elite league.

The Buffalo Sabres signed Colton Fretter as soon as they hired Kevin Dineen as their AHL coach in Portland. (Dineen coached there last year too, but that was under Anaheim.)

Among the NHL and AHL, only the Islanders and Rochester coaching jobs remain unfilled.

Don't forget Project Runway is on tonight at 9pm on Bravo.

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