Friday, August 29, 2008

Why Did NHL Scouts Miss The Boat On Stastny

(above) 43 players were drafted ahead of DU Alum Paul Stastny in the 2005 NHL Draft

Its not very often that we post comments from Message Boards, but the comment below was so interesting, I thought we'd pass it along.
From: How Does Stastny Slip To The 2nd round?
Site: Hockey's Future Message Board
Posted By: bleedgreen

"I watched him live quite a bit at the University of Denver and to be honest, he never looked like a stud prospect. He wasn't fast, he never went end to end, he rarely beat goalies with a shot further away than ten feet, he didn't dangle anyone.

Most players in the NCAA who go on to be at Stastny's level in the NHL, were far more dominant individual players in college. He got points for sure, but not very often through highlight reel individual efforts. I'm sure the scouts thought he was too slow and not dominant enough for his game to translate.

Why he did is because of one thing, smarts. He is the closest player I've ever seen to Ronnie Francis. He is always in the right place at the right time, and that translated, as well as his vision and awesome passing. He makes exactly the same plays he made in college, and they're the kind of plays that work at any level.

Scouts couldn't have known that, as I'm sure a lot of guys look like that at lower levels. Stastny is the rare case of a guy being smart enough to fit in with anyone at any level, the better the players around him the more it all works.

I'm curious to see his transition to #1 center continue as the players around him have helped out. As Sakic moves on and the team becomes more his, I wonder if at any point he can become more individually dominant if he is needed to. Hopefully the Avs keep enough skill around him to not worry about it.

After watching him live quite a bit, I didn't think he would ever be more than a third liner, despite him racking points and being a very good player at DU. He just didn't look he was dominant enough. Ironically guys like TJ Hensick [University of Michigan] are the ones who look like studs in college and don't reach the same levels. Hensick is a guy who relies on his skill and speed to get him there; it may not be enough. Whereas Stastny relied on brains and sound instincts.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Former DU Player Traded For A Bus

In the early 80's Denver had a player, Tom Martin, who left school after his Freshman year to play Major Junior hockey in Canada. While at DU he was traded to another team for a bus.
Martin was playing for the University of Denver during the 1982-83 season, the Seattle Breakers traded his WHL rights to Victoria with cash for a used team bus and future considerations. In fact, the deal was really just Martin straight-up in lieu of Seattle having to make a down payment on Victoria's spare bus. The unconventional deal was made in mid-January 1983.

"Our old bus blew its engine on a road trip to Kelowna," Seattle owner John Hamilton explained to a reporter from The Hockey News. "Victoria had a bus they couldn't use and we had a player we couldn't use. Bingo."

DU Library Digitallizing Classic Hockey Photos

(above) Legendary DU Coach Murray Armstrong won five National Championships

(above) A Russian player is helped to the locker room during DU's famous 2-2 tie game in 1960

(above) The DU ice hockey team poses for a group portrait around a Packard automobile at Reed Auto Sales on 5901 E. Colfax Ave in Denver, Colorado. All team members wear uniforms that read: "Tom Reed Auto Sales."

(above) Craig Patrick, Tom Miller, Keith Magnuson & Tim Gould celebrate DU's second straight National Championship in 1969

The University of Denver's Penrose Library is is in the process of digitizing its old hockey photos in the Special Collections Department for use on the internet. Check out the link to see dozens more photos.

Needless to say this is going to be a "Boone" to DU and college hockey buffs.

Note – a lot of the attributions are vague and/or wrong, but many of the captions can probably be updated with the help of the DU Media Guide and other sources.