Weekly Report- 9/12/09-9/18/09

Dobber Sports

2009-09-19

Cam Fowler

 

The puck has dropped world-wide on a new season of junior and European hockey. Who’s the surprise name at the top of the KHL scoring race, and who has three hat tricks ALREADY this young season? Find out more in this week’s Bugg Bytes.

 

 

KHL

The Kontinental Hockey League kicked off earlier this month, and despite the injection of international stars like Linus Omark, Sergei Zubov and Sergei Fedorov, an undrafted, un-noticed 22 year-old leads the league in both assists and points.

Although 5’10 1987-born Vadim Berdnikov has since cooled off, there wasn’t a hotter player in Europe to start the season. Berdnikov potted three assists in Chekhov Vityaz’s very first game of  2009-10, then followed it up with one- and two-assist performances. Despite having no points in his latest outing and no goals on the year, Berdnikov co-leads the KHL scoring race with six points.

Is Berdnikov worth watching? Well, unlike a lot of one-hit wonders, the diminutive center is not the product of a star import. In fact, Berdnikov hasn’t even had a regular set of linemates. Vityaz coach Mike Krushelnyski (yes, that Mike Krushelnyski) has seen fit to use the gifted playmaker’s talents to help out a wide range of wingers. The result is a league second-best 13 goals in four games. Look for an expanded article on Berdnikov later in the season.

Sweden

Neither the Elitserien nor J20 seasons have started yet, but play in the Allsvenskan began two days ago. 2009 draftee Oliver Ekman-Larsson has already appeared in two matches for Leksands IF. After a dominant rookie camp, ‘OEL’ hasn’t quite seen the same pop statistically as one might have expected. Through two games, the lanky rearguard has one goal and is a +2.

WHL

Opening weekend of the WHL season has been interesting, to say the least. No fewer than three players scored hat-tricks in their season debuts.

-Oilers rookie camp invite Stepan Novotny showed flashes of the skill that made him a potential NHL pick this past summer. However, Edmonton might regret not signing him when they had the chance. In mid-season form already, Novotny recorded a staggering four goals and five points during Kelowna’s opening-day match against Vancouver on Thursday.

-Speaking of teams kicking themselves, Atlanta seventh round pick Levko Koper had a respectable 59 points in his third full season of WHL action in 2008-09. He looks poised to shatter that total after notching three goals for Spokane in a 6-3 win over Prince George.

-Finally, remember how the Calgary Hitmen were supposed to be on the down-swing last year? Some unknown names promptly stepped up and propelled the team to one of the most dominant campaigns in history. It’s early yet, but it looks like the Hitmen should once again stump pre-season prognostications. The hero last night was undrafted, unsigned 1990-born left wing Tyler Fiddler. An energy winger who popped home 23 points as a rookie, Fiddler scored as many goals in Game 1 of 09-10 (3) as he did ALL of last season.

As for 1992s, Moose Jaw’s Quinton Howden seems to have finally figured out his vast skillset and considerable frame, and just in time for his draft year. Mentioned in this space almost three