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May 21, 2005 Written by Stajanfan - November 30th, -0001

With approximately one quarter of the season played, the playoff races are already heating up. The savvy veterans on the teams are doing their jobs, but this year it is the youngsters that are taking charge of the respective teams.

Superstar Rick Nash, paired with Dany Heatley in Vancouver, are taking the teams by the reigns and leading them to one of the best records in the West. Ilya Kovalchuk of the Dallas Stars, arguably the most talented player in the league, has his team out to a blazing start thus far. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim have a budding star in Mike Cammalerri, taking charge of the team, leading them to what early on looks like their 2nd straight playoff berth.

Out East, New Jersey along with Boston, although not in the playoff race, are in the midst of rebuilding, and currently have their young guns flying high. 2nd overall pick Jeff Carter, teamed with sniper Eric Fehr, are having great early success, with Fehr leading the team in goals, and they are just starting to gel with one another. In Beantown, Alexander Radulov, another very impressive rookie, has found his stride, and is starting to put some impressive numbers on the board. Andrei Meszaros, a big hulking d-man that can do it all, struggled out of the gate, getting used to the life in the CMHL, but is starting to play very well for the Bruins.

The Pheonix Coyotes, in my opinion, are underacheiving thus far. But budding superstar Alexander Ovechkin, the best 19 year old on the planet, is putting up simply superb numbers playing with Brett Hull. In goal, they have one of the best young goalies in the league in Marc-Andre Fleury. He hasn't found his groove yet, btu when he does, so will the rest of the team.

Then there's Calgary, the team of young guns. From number one overall pick Ryan Suter, to the best young line in the league, Spezza, Frolov, and Zherdev, the list goes on when you talk about this team's youth. Though they might be 1 year away from emerging as contenders, this team is scary when it comes to pure talent up front from their abundance of youth.

The Chicago Blackhawks, the team that possibly got the steal of the draft in taking Andrei Kostsitsyn. He was absolutely lighting the league up with 7 goals and 18 points in only 16 games before his 6 week injury. He was unquestionably the Calder Trophy frontrunner before the injury, and his presence has shown as the Hawks have been in a tailspin since the injury.

So I leave you this: Veterans beware, there is a new breed of players in the CMHL. They're fast, they're skilled, they're young. Until next time, from Overtime with StajanFan, have a good one. Out.

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