Edit: yeah well, they list him as D as well there...
Edit: yeah well, they list him as D as well there...
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A nice article about Ronalds Ķēniņš, a little about his early life, moving/playing in Switzerland at 15, life he has now there, his goals for ZSC and goals for Latvian national team. A great kid with a amazing head on his shoulders.
http://www.hockeyfans.ch/hintergrund/artikel/210 (in German)
An update on prospects before the U20 championship starts
*Juris Upītis also has played for Belarus Open League club Liepājas Metalurgs and HK Riga in MHL
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Ainārs Podziņš F 160392 Dinamo Rīga 29 4 0 4 17 +3 2.Juris Upītis F 160691 Dinamo Rīga 6 3 0 3 0 +2
Podziņš has been solid, invited to Russia U20 camp, Upītis doesn't see much action but when he does, scores goals :) Already 3 in just 6 games for Dinamo Rīga (and also 2 games and a goal in HK Riga).
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Roberts Lipsbergs F 290794 HK Rīga 34 7 7 14 18 +2 2.Kirils Tambijevs F 040292 HK Rīga 26 8 5 13 45 -3 3.Artūrs Kuzmenkovs F 011293 HK Rīga 31 6 6 12 18 +8 4.Ņikita Jevpalovs F 090994 HK Rīga 34 4 8 12 26 +3 5.Rihards Bukarts F 311295 Stupino Kapitan 29 5 6 11 12 -3 6.Nikolajs Jeļisējevs F 070794 HK Rīga 18 5 3 8 2 +5 7.Dāvis Straupe F 050892 HK Rīga 34 7 1 8 16 -6 8.Artjoms Dašutins F 100193 HK MVD 24 4 2 6 12 +3 9.Vladislavs Dudins D 090392 Olimpija 30 3 2 5 59 -2 10.Lauris Rancevs F 171093 HK Rīga 7 1 1 2 2 -1 11.Artūrs Salija D 150592 HK Rīga 24 0 2 2 42 -5
GP GAA SVS% SO 1. Kristers Gudļevskis G 310792 HK Rīga 24 2,43 91,30 0
Lipsbergs (94) last 9 games 7 points, Dašutins have started to collect points, Rihards Bukarts (95) has been relegated to 4th line under new coach so maybe won't see much from him during the remainder of the season, Gudļevskis has played a bit better (good for coming U20 Worlds).
Three good late 94s in Riekstiņš, Kondrāts and Kulda- HK Rīga and maybe next year's NHL draft for somebody?
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Ritvars Zonenbergs F 230593 HK Juniors 20 11 7 18 12 -1 2.Daniels Riekstiņš F 011194 Prizma Rīga 23 6 11 17 26 -9 3.Ričards Kondrāts F 211294 HK Juniors 20 5 12 17 4 +6 4.Ralfs Melders F 120393 Prizma Rīga 22 7 8 15 16 -7 5.Juris Ziemiņš F 150993 HK Juniors 20 6 9 15 14 +5 6.Edgars Kulda F 131194 HK Juniors 20 7 7 14 42 +2
Belarus Open League
After Upītis has left, it seems Liepāja isn't the same anymore. Couple of losses and not much interesting prospect stuff.
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Artūrs Mickēvičs F 020191 Liepājas Metalurgs 22 7 9 16 16 0 2.Juris Upītis F 160691 Liepājas Metalurgs 20 6 8 14 10 0 3.Edgars Siksna D 150193 Liepājas Metalurgs 24 1 4 5 20 -9 4.Māris Diļevka F 030392 Liepājas Metalurgs 12 0 2 2 8 +2
J20 Super Elit(N+S)
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Edgars Kļaviņš F 100393 AIK 22 7 3 10 2 -3
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Valters Ozoliņš F 130692 AIK Harnosand 16 0 5 4 16 -4 2.Krists Kalniņš D 130992 AIK Harnosand 20 0 1 1 14 -16 3.Romāns Semjonovs F 080794 Arborga 3 0 0 0 2 -2
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Romāns Semjonovs F 080794 Arborga 20 20 16 36 16 +4 2.Sandis Zolmanis F 200894 Orebro 19 7 8 15 10 +5 3.Martins Lavrovs F 310394 Arborga 19 6 8 14 68 -16 4.Antons Jasunovs F 230196 Lidingo Vikings 17 3 3 6 0 -16
Semjonovs has played a few games in Division 1 now, good to see also young Jasunovs (96) getting points playing on a not that good team.
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Kristiāns Pelšs F 090992 Edmonton Oil Kings 29 13 7 20 40 +18
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Ņikita Koļesņikovs D 301092 Blainville-Broisband Armada 26 3 18 21 29 +18
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Zemgus Girgensons F 010594 Dubuque Fighting Saints 18 9 11 20 20 +3 2.Ralfs Freibergs D 170591 Lincoln Stars 20 5 8 13 6 +5
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Kristaps Bazēvičs D 020894 Alaska Avalanche 8 2 2 4 2 +3
Pelšs has found his game and has got 8 pts in 9 last games, Girgensons has stopped a bit while Koļesņikovs got suspended for 2 games for a hit. Meanwhile Freibergs has been named defensive player of the week in the USHL and is leading defenseman there.
GP G A P PIM +/- 1. Teodors Bļugers/Teddy Blueger F 150894 Shattuck St.Mary's Prep 23 11 26 37 22 N/A
GP G A P PIM +/- 1. Haralds Egle F 110596 Green Mountain Glades 21 14 15 29 6 N/A
Bļugers continue to score for Shattuck, he's the leading scorer of the team now not sharing the title with anybody, Haralds Egle has reached 29 pts in EmJHL in 21 game (two years ago it took Girgensons 19 to reach this sum of points). Now we wait to see if Egle will have his chance to play in EJHL this season.
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Kristaps Nīmanis D 210793 Red Ducks 12 2 4 6 33 N/A
Jr.A SM Liiga
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Vitālijs Hvorostiņins F 170892 Sport U20 22 4 2 6 53 N/A
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Ronalds Ķēniņš F 280291 ZSC Lions 30 4 9 13 30 +2
Junioren Elite A
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Toms Andersons F 251193 Bern 18 10 7 17 16 N/A 2.Juris Zandovskis F 120293 Gotteron 17 5 8 13 39 N/A 3.Mārtiņš Mežulis D 073092 Rapperswil 18 1 1 2 18 N/A
Big news in Switzerland is, of course, the amazing performance of Ronalds Ķēniņš. He started as a youngster but now he's playing in the 2nd line in NLA and is the 6th scorer on his team. In the last 7 games he's got 7 points.
Red Bull Hockey Rookies Cup
GP G A P PIM +/- 1.Valdis Augusts Vasiļonoks F 270196 EC Salzburg U18 13 5 4 9 8 N/A
Last edited by rusher; 14-12-2011 at 00:32.
4.Ņikita Jevpalovs 190592 HK Rīga????????? Jevpalovs DOB is not correct(
Well, U20 Worlds have passed and I would say that, as regards performance, there were couple of surprises.
Scoring wise I didn't expect that HK Riga young prospects Ņikita Jevpalovs 2+3 and Roberts Lipsbergs 2+1 will lead the scoring table and also be responsible for our most important goal here. But our 1994 is full of good and interesting players, so not much of a surprise there. Teodors Bļugers/Teddy Blueger played good too 1+2 and looked very good, while we expected more from Zemgus Girgensons who had great presence (like Pelšs) but couldn't really take leading role in scoring 2+0. Kristiāns Pelšs, Oilers prospect also was thought to be our main scoing leader but couldn't produce on many occasions 1+2, though it seems it was just a bad luck as he returned with 4 points in 2 games in WHL, just after the U20 championships.
As concerns others, the unlikely choice for the spot in the team Juris Ziemiņš wa a pleasant surprise, also Vitālijs Hvorostiņins who plays in Finnish top junior league. I expected more from the likes of Māris Diļevka from Belarus open League and Edgars Kļaviņš from J20 Superelit who created chances but just couldn't realize them.
As for defensemen, I was left unimpressed by Nikita Koļesņikovs despite his QMJHL performance, Edgars Siksna or even the small Pauls Zvirbulis then looked more like good players, though Ņikita, if improves, has good chances at men's hockey because of his good shot and great size but has to improve skating.
In any case, 13 players CAN return next year and I don't know if all of them will, as 1994 guys are growing up and there's still Bukarts from 1995 who skills-wise imho could be here already this year but he's a bit unlucky as he could already be a part of U18 team last year but wasn't selected and the same about U20 this year, he's very young and that's what IMHO harms his chances of proving himself among big boys already (except in MHL) but i expect the team to be even better next year.
5 Latvians have made it onto NHL CS midterm scouting lists. From north american skaters the highest one is Zemgus Girgensons (12.). Also Teodors Bļugers (69.) is listed there. European skaters list Ainārs Podziņš (55.), Roberts Lipsbergs (84.) and Ņikita Jevpalovs (86.).
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Could our domestic players suffer from "KHL factor"? Or NHL's fears of Russians could allow our players sneak into draft's later rounds as there are many higher ranked Russians that will get passed on for sure?
Otherwise, as always there's far too many Russians in the rating (over 30) and Germans with Swiss guys (a bit over 10 for each), so I'd say maximum of 20 Russians could be drafted (and that's a big maximum, considering that Yakupov, Grigorenko, Kamaev, Zharkov will already go from NA list and last year like 9 Russians were drafted) and Germans will be lucky if 1 or 2 is drafted, the same about Swiss, don't think more than 3 of them can be drafted. Then again, the number of Swedes should go up.
This list is in no way final, it might be talking about North Americans as they are scouted more and I'd say Girgensons is secure in round 1 and Bļugers in draft in general- ranked 60sth in NA list could give him realistically a place around 100 in draft, 4th-5th round as predicted. But the European list will lose some and add another names as there's still a lot of rubbish and, imho, almost zero chance Podzinsh will be drafted because of age and he's not really lighting up KHL or was in U20 like Gusev who was spectacular and will be drafted despite the size and age (will be 20 too).
But in short, I think Russian factor doesn't apply much to Latvians as nobody here really pressures players to stay in Dinamo Riga system, so if it will have any impact, it can ony help our chances. But U18 will show how it is, if our guys do great job there, Jevpalovs or both can be drafted... or some other potential candidate appears (though doubtful).
But i wouldn't have high hopes about Lipsbergs and Jevpalovs, last year Danes also had like 5 guys in midterm rating and ony Jensen was selected. I think that North American list is safer to judge players from but as concerns European players if you're not in top 20 there, it's hard to say if you'll be drafted at all... Then again, U18 is still ahead, we're in the Elite and where else to show that our guys are not worse than playing against the best guys of the same age in the world. So hope lives on :D
Now the U18 championship is coming so let's look at our potential Latvian U18 forwards and their stats. A bit lengthy table with, imho, all the realistic candidates for roster spot in Latvian U18 team. Many players of similar skill, so it will be interesting to see who'll be chosen.
Birth Year Team League GP G A P 1.Zemgus Girgensons 1994 Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL 29 13 18 31 2.Teodors Bļugers 1994 Shattuck St.Mary's Prep USHS 35 15 41 56 3.Roberts Lipsbergs 1994 HK Rīga MHL 47 11 12 23 4.Ņikita Jevpalovs 1994 HK Rīga MHL 47 6 10 16 5.Rihards Bukarts 1995 Kapitan Stupino MHL 37 7 8 15 6.Nikolajs Jeļisējevs 1994 HK Rīga MHL 30 5 4 9 HK Juniors MHL B 10 7 5 12 HK Juniors Latvia 7 7 4 11 7.Romāns Semjonovs 1994 IFK Arborga U18 J18 Elit 22 21 18 39 IFK Arborga Division 1 3 1 0 1 8. Martins Lavrovs 1994 IFK Arborga U18 J18 Elit 20 8 9 17 9. Sandis Zolmanis 1994 Orebro HK J18 Elit 21 7 8 15 Orebro HK J20 Elit 2 2 0 2 10.Zintis Nauris Zuševičs 1994 Graz 99ers U20 Austria U20 19 26 19 45 Kapfenberger SV Austria 2 28 12 6 18 Graz 99ers EBEL 2 0 0 0 10.Artūrs Ševčenko 1994 HK Rīga MHL 8 1 0 1 HK Juniors MHL B 24 5 8 13 HK Juniors Latvia 19 10 11 21 11.Edgars Kulda 1994 HK Rīga MHL 1 0 0 0 HK Juniors MHL B 30 11 11 22 HK Juniors Latvia 20 18 12 30 12.Deivids Sarkanis 1994 HK Rīga MHL 2 0 0 0 HK Juniors MHL B 26 8 8 16 HK Juniors Latvia 22 11 19 30 13.Ričards Kondrāts 1994 HK Juniors MHL B 33 7 17 24 HK Juniors Latvia 24 7 7 14 14.Daniels Riekstiņš 1994 Prizma Riga MHL B 30 8 14 22 Prizma Rīga Latvia 19 5 3 8 15.Filips Plostnieks 1994 Prizma Rīga MHL B 29 8 3 11 Prizma Rīga Latvia 20 5 8 13 16. Kārlis Ozoliņš 1994 Liepājas Metalurgs 2 Latvia 24 12 15 27 17.Valters Freijs 1994 Liepājas Metalurgs 2 Latvia 21 5 6 11 18.Edgars Ārinieks 1994 Liepājas Metalurgs 2 Latvia 25 9 3 12
Last edited by rusher; 03-02-2012 at 18:51.
Did you put them in some particular order? Those first nine names look really promising, so our top9 could be really dangerous, but I doubt that they all will be released to tournament. Hard to judge those MHL B kids, because their teams are doing pretty poorly in not that great of a competition. LM kids are even more of an unknowns and would be interesting to see how Zuševics looks, almost apoint-per-game in Austrian second strongest mens league (I imagine that Austria2 is a better league than our national championship).
I don't think that LM guys are unknows, they play vs Prizma and Juniors in Latvian league and are doing better than those teams so it's safe to assume that they'd be better in MHL B (if played there) too. And Ozoliņš has pretty good stats if compared even to other guys from Prizma and Juniors. Freijs was considered a great player last year but this year doesn't produce quite as well.
I'm not sure if Austria 2 is better than Latvian league, if it then maybe only a bit. EBEL is a good league but I'd imagine Austria doesn't have as good player resources for decent 2nd league....
MHL B might not be that good a competition but Juniors are playing with 93/94 kids in a league where up to 1990 born guys are allowed, so the results are as they are. It still is a better competition than Latvian league
And Juris Ziemiņš (1993) who played for U20 in 29 games has 19 pts in MHL B and in 21 games 22 pts in Latvian league but he was quite decent in U20 level.
There is quite a good number of guys who are leaders of their teams- Lipsbergs is now top scorer in HK Riga, Girgensons... well, there's no comment, Bļugers is the top scorer of Shattuck, Kulda and Kondrāts are leaders of Juniors, Ozoliņš- LM, Daniels Riekstiņš- Prizma, Semjonovs his J18 Elit team, also Zuševics seems good too as surely a player who can already get some games in EBEL level at the age of 17-18 is a promising guy. Though there are a lot of guys here who can be called "promising".
If Girgensons and Bļugers (or just one of them) can play, this team will imho be the best Latvia's U18 ever assembled. Though the defence will probably be nothing to write home about. But not bad, only not as much better as other years.
Girgensons is a question mark also because we've seen him struggle with injuries after U20 and the team might not want to let him go to some U18 tournament if he was already one time in WJC. At least last year we didn't see him in Div 1. Kapitan didn't let Bukarts go to Denmark now so it's also a question will the release him for the tournament. Even if me miss them both the team will still be definitely better than last year and should be perfectly capable to stay in Elite but still, with all the best as I said we could, imho, fight for more...
I was rather surprised that they didn't even check Semjonovs last year as they could probably get him anytime (knowing who his father is). At least he is supposed to be here this year. BTW was it me or did it look like his father was in the stands when Latvia seniors played Russian ones?
As far as Bukarts goes I think a lot depends on the federation and how much do they want him. While he did seem to be a player that gets decent amount of ice time in Kapitan, he doesn't seem to be an integral part of the team. If they feel that they can go into relegation round without him, and if federation manages to push the right buttons, I am pretty sure we could see him in the championship.
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U18 Training Camp Preparing for U18 Worlds:
Player Birth Year Team League 1. Nils Grīnfogels 1994 Juniors MHL B, Latvian League 2. Elvis Merzļikins 1994 HC Lugano U20 Swiss U20 3. Ivars Punnenovs 1994 Kloten Flyers U20 Swiss U20
Player Birth Year Team League 1. Krists Apsītis 1994 Prizma Rīga MHL B, Latvian League 2. Edmunds Augstkalns 1994 Juniors MHL B, Latvian League 3. Kristaps Bazēvičs 1994 Alaska Avalance NAHL 4. Jānis Eisaks 1994 Juniors MHL B, Latvian League 5. Mārtiņš O. Freimanis 1994 LM 2 Latvian League 6. Matīss Gelažis 1994 Graz 99ers Austria U20 Kapfenberg Nationalliga (AUT2) 7. Rūdolfs Kalvītis 1994 Shattuck St. Mary's Midget AAA 8. Iļja Makarovs 1994 LM 2 Latvian League 9. Rinalds Rosinskis 1994 Juniors MHL B, Latvian League 10. Patriks Škuratovs 1994 Juniors MHL B, Latvian League
Player Birth Year Team League 1. Teodors Bļugers 1994 Shattuck St. Mary's USHS 2. Roberts Lipsbergs 1994 HK Rīga MHL 3. Ņikita Jevpalovs 1994 HK Rīga MHL 4. Rihards Bukarts 1995 Kapitan Stupino MHL 5. Nikolajs Jeļisējevs 1994 HK Rīga MHL Juniors MHL B, Latvian League 6. Artūrs Ševčenko 1994 HK Rīga MHL Juniors MHL B, Latvian League 7. Kārlis Ozoliņš 1994 LM 2 Latvian League Liepājas Metalurgs Belarus Opean League 8. Edgars Kulda 1994 Juniors MHL B, Latvian League 9. Daniels Riekstiņš 1994 Prizma Rīga MHL B, Latvian League 10. Ričards Kodrāts 1994 Juniors MHL B, Latvian League 11. Filips Plostnieks 1994 Prizma Rīga MHL B, Latvian League 12. Martins Lavrovs 1994 Assat U18 Jr. B SM-sarja Arborga J18 J18 Elit 13. Edgars Homjakovs 1995 LM 2 Latvian League LM U18 Latvia U18 14. Georgs Golovkovs 1995 LM 2 Latvian League LM U18 Latvia U18 15. Rūdolfs Pētersons 1995 Rīga 95 Latvian League Riga 95 St. Petersburg U17 League 16. Roberts Šmits 1995 Selects Hockey Academy U16 Midget AAA
Zemgus Girgensons, our best prospect won't be able to help but still, IMHO, when we speak about ourr forwards, this would be the best Latvia U18 ever assembled, very deep roster. The goalie line should be solid too as Merzļikins already has WJC experience, the problem is whether or not our defensemen can be up to the task. In the tournament previously against Norway, Belarus and Denmark we had wins in all three games, two shutouts and a goal difference 15-4 but this year the team really hopes for something more than just beating Denmark to stay up (that we should really be able to do without problem this year) and who knows how these defensemen can play against better teams. None has MHL or other league higher than MHL B experience, Bažēvičs'plays in NAHL and that's it.
Some players will not be called to the team like Romāns Semjonovs who plays in swedish J18 Elit and has some games in Division 1 this year, also Zintis Nauris Zuševics who plays in Austrian Nationalliga and has 2 EBEL games this year but, as I said, this team is so deep for Latvia standards that they maybe wouln't be able to crack the team anyway judging by preparatory game stats.
These three players are probably those people would miss most, there were other potential candidates that could be there but some potentials underperformed in tournament in Denmark and other names who had terrific season have joined the list or stayed on it because of good performance (Golovkovs 95 Plostnieks, Freimanis). Although Ozoliņš didn't score in the tournament after that he had a good few games in Belarus Open League for Liepājas Metalurgs and he scored a goal for them in play-offs so maybe that was the reason why he is still on the list (or maybe Tambijevs didn't need goalscorer in him).
Anyway if all goes well this team can surprise somebody. At least it 100% has to stay up, Denmark should be a class below this team...
So... CSS final rankings, nothing new, Girgensons and Bļugers still there in North American list, as well as Podziņš, Lipsbergs and Jevpalovs in European list. For some unimaginable reason Bļugers has fallen quite a bit, and for the same unimaginable reason Podziņš has risen (??) and Lipsbergs and Bļugers have fallen back too... but there's still World U18.
Speaking about World U18, I'm amazed about this Georgs Golovkovs guy who's born in 1995, centers our 2nd line (in the game vs Russia looked more like the first line) and scored a beautiful (and only goal) for us in the game. The most unimaginable thing is that he doesn't play in MHL, doesn't play abroad, doesn't play in MHL B, doesn't play in Latvian League and not even in RAMH (Latvian second tier) but is the 2nd best (?!) scorer in Latvia's U18 league (??!) playing for Liepājas Metalurgs U18. He's got 67 (33+34) points in 19 games and his teammate Edgars Homjakovs who's nr. 1 scorer there (also 1995) has 129 points (50+79) in 25, so I can't imagine what kind of a monster is that kid then :D
And it's not like he just had a lucky goal today... You could say so if in the preparation tournament vs Denmark, Norway and Belarus he also wouldn't be one of the best scorers in the team.
Knowing that Tambijevs is the head coach of HK Riga and he obviously likes this guy, he might be involved in MHL action next year and then who knows. But at the moment, after day one he's probably the only good news about our team. And it again reinforces the fact that probably 1995 won't be a bad year after all... Liepajas Metalurgs trio- Homjakovs, Golovkovs, Maslovskis, Riga 95s Pētersons and Ignatovičs + Bukarts, add three best 96 prospects where we again have a good year and you have a pretty good attack, maybe not better than this year but still... Defense should be better, don't know about goalies.
In other news, except for Jevpalovs chance where he single handedly dealt with Russia's defense, our first line, judging by stats too, didn't seem really better than Ozolins-Golovkovs-Kulda... maybe preparing for Switzerland, I hope
Zemgus has a jaw fracture and the season's over for him... sadly :( Latvian prospects can't catch a break can they, injuries at young age have harmed Karsums and Daugaviņš development, among others... hopefully all will be ok with Zemgus, at least it's not leg or arm injury.
Top Scorers-Latvia- WJC-18 2012
Team P GP G A P PIM 1. Georgs Golovkovs 11-07-1995 Liepājas Metalurgs U18 F 6 3 2 5 2 2. Rihards Bukarts 31-12-1995 Kapitan Stupino F 6 0 5 5 2 3. Roberts Lipsbergs 27-07-1994 HK Rīga F 6 4 0 4 2 4. Edgars Kulda 13-11-1994 HK Juniors F 6 3 1 4 0 5. Teodors Bļugers 15-08-1994 Shattuck St. Mary's F 6 2 2 4 6
Goaltending-Latvia- WJC-18 2012
Team GPI Mins GAA SVS 1. Ivars Punnenovs 30-05-1994 Kloten U20 4 178:07 3,37 89,58 2. Elvis Merzļikins 13-04-1994 Lugano U20 4 184:22 4,88 88,46
You can see stats here. This year we had 3 solid scoring lines so the ice time was evenly distributed and everybody got their time to shine. At the same time it felt like there was no real leader for this team like Zemgus would be if he played- while it was obviously who was who on, say, Denmark's team here the first and second lines not always made goals out of their chances and potential third line actually contributed to scoring as much as the first two ones with MHL experience and draft expectations.
All in all, it's hard to describe this tournament. On the one hand Latvia'94 proved that they're really talented managing to get 7 points in the tournament and beating Swiss and Germany in group stage. Had other results gone our way we'd be happy to be crushed in top 6 as at least we would've gotten as far. But as it is now, we're back where we've been before... 9th place and loss to Denmark, a team we should've won this year.
As for goaltending, entering the tournament we had Merzļikins as our nr.1 and although he wasn't that bad, he lost the nr. 1 goalie ''title'' in midway of the tournament. Punnenovs became nr. 1 but can't say he was stellar too. Our goalies can be great but as their numbers indicate, they're still pretty uneven... Both really only had one good game each- Merzļikins vs Swiss and Punnenovs vs Sweden. In other cases it felt like the head coach Tambijevs didn't know whom to trust at which moment.
Defense was, imho, still subpar. It was no secret that 1994 group is filled with capable forwards while there was not much to write home about in terms of defense. The head coach worried about that before the tournament and maybe it was better as he said but still... nothing much to write home about. I've heard positive things about Rosinskis though.
As concerns our attack, I think a lack of clear leader hurt us a bit. Other teams had their scoring lines, we had a bunch of capable forwards but they didn't produce big every game. Lipsbergs had a hattrick vs Germany, probably our most important game in this tournament but other than that he was silent. Bļugers and Bukarts were producing vs Denmark until Bjorkstrand stepped up but that's all. In the end, it was unusual to find 1995 born Golovkovs from Latvia U18 league to lead the scoring table, still younger Bukarts earned 5 assists (or 4) in a playmaker role and Lipsbergs with 4 goals were probably highlights of the tournament while more was expected from Jevpalovs who often couldn't capitalize on his chances and Bļugers, even though he was good, could've done even more offensively. Kulda as a late 1994 could continue to work and maybe might have a chance at draft next year. I've seen positive signs from him.
On the other hand this tournament made me think that all might not be as bad with 1995 as people might believe in Latvia. I think the year was overshadowed by 1994 and that's why only 3 people of that year made the roster. Judging by what Golovkovs showed (and Bukarts), and knowing there are other guys not worse than him born 1995 and with the addition of a 1996 or two we could still fight to save our place in the elite vs Swiss, Germany and Slovaks...
But overall the place at the end doesn't reflect how good this tournament has been for us and games/results like vs Germany, Swiss and Sweden will be tough to beat for following years. But I hope they'll do even better.
Last edited by rusher; 21-04-2012 at 00:59.
The depth of the U18 team (or the lack of depth in U20) really shows when you look at U20 team and see Jevpalovs, Bļugers and Lipsbergs among the scoring leaders and see that here their positions in the scoring table are even lower. Among 1993 birth year I can only see 4 forwards that can crack next year's U20 team, so this team will pretty much have to play at the WJC next year too..... Possibly even with both 1995 guys on the roster, at least I expect Bukarts to be there.
Great writeup, really enjoyed reading it. Our 1994 kids were great in year WJC, so I think with another year of experience added, they should be fine next year too because only real loss from past tournament will be Pelss and that's it. Girgensons will be in Vermont, so he will be there for us as well, Punnenovs or Merzlikins will be an improvement on Gudlevskis either way, our D will be just as unimpressive. Our target anyway will be a survival, and that will probably only require beating Germany, which we successfully managed do at U18 championship.
Looking forward to next U18 championship as well, seeing how impressive was Golovkovs, assures me that we might have some internal reserves that we currently now nothing about. There's also Egle in Greendale, LM has some kids which on paper looks just as good as Golovkovs, so who knows.
Defense: I like Siksna from LM, should be our defensive leader next year, then adding Nīmanis from Finland. Then someone from sportacentrs is concerned with defensemen size but Krišs Lipsbergs should be there, Zvirbulis is small but he wasn't bad this year already. We also have Brikainis and Šostaks (who was already involved in Belarus league this year) and who have size but not sure about skill... Komuls from HK Juniors? From 1994, as I said I've heard great things about Rosinskis (also from that scout that was writing about the U18), Kalvītis?? (wasn't bad in this tournament actually though I hope he plays in better league next year). Probably won't take 2 years younger guys for defense...
Forwards: Actually I only see few 1993 that can be on the team. Dašutins had a good second half of season in MHL, if he progresses further he could go, Kļaviņš from J20 Superelit- the same, Andersons should be playing in Swiss 2nd league (I hope), Kuzmenkovs from HK Riga/LM. Ziemiņš was already a surprize this year and with 1994 growing up.... Zemgus, Bļugers, Lipsbergs, Jevpalovs are pretty much locks as they already played this year and were among leaders, then Bukarts is growing up from 1995, Kulda was great. Probably Jeļisējevs who had a bad U18 but is a good player (though maybe he gains something playing on one line with Lipsbergs and Jevpalovs). Who knows about Golovkovs now, where he'll be Certainly knows how to score beautiful goals. We'll have a lot of competition for place on the roster (and even bigger after a year).
As for U18, haven't followed goalies and defensemen much. All I've seen is that Zemītis who played already this year and probably big Mamčičs from LM-2 should be the leaders. As for forwards, Riga-95 first line, LM U18 1st line (incl. Golovkovs), last year's U16 Red Bull first line (Egle, Locāns, Vasiļonoks) plus Bukarts, Zembergs (96) and somebody else probably.... still think the team will be the mix of 95/96 at least as concerns forwards. Should be a good lineup there, taking into account that we didn't have Zemgus this year too and Bukarts and Golovkovs proved themselves well and 96 guys are producing, as well as Riga 95 in Latvian league. We'll see. Certainly not as much depth as this year (as even without Zemgus we could've as well taken Sarkanis, Semjonovs, Zuševics, Freijs or other guys in plce of some of who were there and the team wouldn't be worse) but it can still be a good team.
I don't agree on your WJC D assesment. Zvirbulis was simply abysmal turnover machine, Nimanis (just like all of them really) was an offensive blackhole, everybody was afraid of crossing the red line thus leaving forward trio on their own, too much desperation D from everybody (too much hitting the deck unnecessarily). I could go on and on, and rip apart every single one of them, but what's the point. Hopefully they will be late bloomers and they can improve significantly still.
Kristiāns Pelšs has signed 3 year entry level contrct with Edmonton Oilers. Probably will play in AHL next year or who knows. His stats weren't that great in WHL this year, then again it has been said that the coach doesn't like him very much. I don't think he's NHL material but could be a good KHL players in few years. Though, if he really plays in AHL we'll see how he fares...
Personally I would like to see him in WHL for another year. But can't blame him for wanting more money now.
Who are the top Latvian players among 1996 and 1997 born players? I was watching a World Selects (1997) tournament in Espoo and there was a Latvian team there. They were 6th in the standings and I thought that the level of tournament was good, so that was a good results for them. From the older players, I have seen Rihards Bukarts and he could become quite a player.
5 Latvian players were chosen in CHL import draft today.
Edgars Kulda by Edmonton Oil Kings
Ņikita Jevpalovs by Blainville-Boisbriand Armada
Teodors Bļugers by Oshawa Generals
Roberts Lipsbergs by Seattle Thunderbirds
Rinalds Rosinskis by Prince George Cougars
Hard to say how many of them go over (though I think 4 out of 5 will try) and even harder to say how many might crack the roster. Bļugers has a college commitment so he probably wont go CHL route. Kulda, Jevpalovs and Lipsbergs were supposed to be the scoring guys for HK Rīga in MHL next season so that will definitely hurt that team.
Taro Tsujimoto, the greatest NHL player ever!
Zemgus Girgensons signs his three-year ELC contract with Buffalo, seems like he will be playing with either Buffalo or Rochester, skipping out on playing for Vermont in NCAA.
Huge congrats to him!!
In other news, seems like Bļugers is raising a few eyebrows in Pens camp... Few good years in NCAA and if not in Pittsburgh then somewhere else... he could find place.
Indrašis is in the Blackhawks camp too but I believe for him it will be more like a nice trip to North America and getting back, trying to crack Dinamo Riga roster this year. Few vacant spots left. Any news about Pelss?? He also should be there somewhere in Edmonton, as he also has two way deal now, no??
I'm not sure now how HK Riga will look. Of course people might return after failing to crack the CHL teams but honestly I don't expect Jevpalovs and Lipsbergs not to make it in the CHL, in all honesty they didn't seem worse than 2nd round drafted Blugers in U18 or U20 teams and it puzzles me why neither was chosen in the NHL draft (Russian factor working vs us too???)... Kulda is a hard worker. Not sure about d-men though. In any case, the 94s line has been destroyed now, yeah HK Riga has only Rihards Bukarts now and 2nd rate talents even for Latvian standards and 95 born kids... Indrasis and Bukarts are now too old to play there and I honestly fear for relegation from MHL top division.... Dinamo Riga can at least buy foreigners.
I have feeling Rihards Bukarts will dominate mhl this season,kids got some sick skills
Ok, seriously the kid has some great talent but how good exactly he'll be time will tell. Though it's plenty of opportunities for him in MHL this year, however we should also take into account the fact that HK Riga as a team might be weaker than last year.
Though about the last thing I said... it might not be true. The recent two games in Cherepovets cup:
HK Riga - Almaz Cherepovets 2:3
HK Riga - HK MVD 2:0
show that results are not worse then last year at the same tournament. Yeah still some leaders are missing from Dinamo Riga camp (though not sure if they leave for Liepāja or HK Riga when they are released, I mean couple d-men and Upitis, Bicevskis), probably they will try to ''help'' the team in the World Youth Cup HK Riga is preparing for... but not always these experienced guys are a help really, just look at Podziņš...
Anyway there are couple of good 1994 born players and guys like Kurmis need to finally start to show what they are worth... also who knows, someone from CHL drafted can return but I don't put high hopes on that, they are good players... maybe the d-man could return, some have questions about Kulda but he's a strong worker.
In what is a bs ruling, the NCAA has banned Ralfs Freibergs 33 games, as he "played in a professional league" prior to Bowling Green. More here at http://www.uscho.com/2012/08/02/ncaa...ergs-33-games/
Lake Braddock hockey, "Powerhouses of the South" (I wish)
Can someone here who is more intelligent than me about prospects give me a report about these guys-Dāvis Zembergs,Gatis Sprukts,Rodrigo ābols.They were the ones who stood out to me(Not counting Haralds Egle and Vasiļonoks) at Bauer Selects tournament
Is '98 born Robert Blueger, who's listed on the Shattuck-St. Mary's Bantam roster, the younger brother of Teddy Blueger? if that's the case, I'm sure those of you who follow this thread would be interested to know a game he's playing in will be broadcast on the S-SM website today at 1pm CDT, which I believe is 9pm local time in Latvia. You can see the game at the link below (check the Bantam team's schedule for additional live webcasts during the season... http://hockey.s-sm.org/2012-13-bantam-schedule/). Blueger is a forward who wears the number 5.
Some good news from Swiss.
Around a week ago 1993-born Juris Zandovskis made his debut in the NLA. Fribourg hasn't dressed him since, but still that's great news. And also 1994-born goaltender Elvis Merzlikins was the second goalie in one of the recent HC Lugano games.
Edgars Kļaviņš (1993) has already played 5 games in Swedish Elitserien, picking up a goal and assist (1+1). Nice to see progress like that.
Zemgus Girgensons (1994) has 7 games in AHL, 0+2 first year playing in a men's league
Last year I made a list of prospects to see their progress, coming closer to the WJC. Now, just for fun, I would like to compare what we had last year around this time and what we have today, as regards top 12 forwards:
1. Zemgus Girgensons 1994 USHL 11g 8+9=17p
2. Kristiāns Pelšs 1992 WHL 20g 9+3=12p
3. Teodors Bļugers 1994 USHS 20g 8+25= 33p
4. Artūrs Kuzmenkovs 1993 MHL 22g 5+4=9p
5. Rihards Bukarts 1995 MHL 21g 4+5=9p
6. Kirils Tambijevs 1992 MHL 23g 8+2= 10p
7. Toms Andersons 1993 Swiss U20 16g 10+4=14
8. Roberts Lipsbergs 1994 MHL 25g 4+3=7p
9. Nikita Jevpalovs 1994 MHL 25g 2+5=7p
10. Edgars Kļaviņš 1993 J20 Superelit 17g 5+2=7p
11. Māris Diļevka 1992 Belarus 10g 0+2=2p
12. Dāvis Straupe 1992 MHL 25g 4+1=5p
Now, I included also those not taken to WJC and Bukarts who was too young to play, just because it's just pure statistical comparison and we do not know whom will Tambijevs take to the WJC this year or who will be able to go.
1. Edgars Kļaviņš 1993 Elitserien 5g 1+1=2p
2. Zemgus Girgensons 1994 AHL 7g 0+2=2p
3. Teodors Bļugers 1994 NCAA 5g 1+2=3p
4. Nikita Jevpalovs 1994 QMJHL 15g 4+6=10p
5. Roberts Lipsbergs 1994 WHL 11g 1+4=5p
6. Edgars Kulda 1994 WHL 13g 1+4=5p
7. Artūrs Kuzmenkovs 1993 Belarus 13g 6+10=16p
8. Rihards Bukarts 1995 MHL 24g 7+10=17p
9. Kārlis Ozoliņš 1994 Belarus 14g 3+6=9p
10. Toms Andersons 1993 Swiss U20 14g 8+11=19p
11. Artjoms Dašutins 1993 MHL 19g 7+6=13p
12. Andris Siksnis 1993 MHL 19g 4+8= 12p
As you can see maybe the point totals do not look as impressive as for some players last year but either the legues in which they play have vastly improved or their statistics in that leagues. So there's definitely positive news preparing for U20 Worlds.
Also note that Lipsbergs and Jevpalovs also struggled in MHL last year, starting the season. The same ould be seen with them both at the start of QMJHL and WHl seasons but last few games have shown that they are getting where they should be.
For me personally it was fun to look at these stats as we often only remember the stats the players had at the end of the season and many young players actually improve towards the second part of the season. Therefore maybe if you look at some players' last season stats you think there has not been that much of improvement but when I looked at the same period last year, things look a bit differently
Last edited by rusher; 27-10-2012 at 11:39.
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