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    Fukufuji next season

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 May 24日 Sunday

    First ever Japanese NHL player and ECHL Bakersfield Condors goalie Yutaka Fukufuji has hinted on his blog that he’s looking outside America for a team to play next season. With his former Asia League team Kokudo/Seibu team folded, I’m not sure whether he means a return to Japan (the newly formed Tohoku Free Blades? Very unlikely), move to Europe (ECHL goalie would translate to second division in an elite nation?), or maybe he’s just yanking our chain and is looking into Canada 😛

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, ECHL, hockey, information, Japan, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    福藤選手のPV サンプル

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 October 1日 Wednesday

    SHOKO さんが作成したベーカーズフィールド・コンドルズの正ゴーリーであり日本人初のNHL 選手である福藤豊選手のPV のサンプルです:

    Posted in 01_日本語, Asia League Ice Hockey, ECHL, hockey, information, NHL, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Baseball and Hockey Blogalog

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 29日 Friday

    Deanna has another great interview, this time an insightful and long interview with the veteran (of NPB and other leagues) Fernando Seguinol. The Fighters in Sapporo Dome, Shinjo, playing in various countries, his travelling season so far, playing for Katsuya Nomura, different approaches at the plate playing for different organizations in different countries, learning the language, etc. all very interesting stuff.

    Update from the Seibu Prince Rabbits equipment manager about their Bavaria training camp. The team lost again, this time to a team in the second tier German league, but apparently the goalie Kikuchi is playing well and even received applause from the local fans. The defence must’ve been really porous giving up lots of shots. Anyways, there’s a funny anecdote (with pictures) about how him and another player went swimming in the cold lake after the team cycled up to the castle at Hussen. Most players are not strong swimmers because most Japanese hockey players are from Hokkaido where they don’t have swimming during phys ed. I’ll do a wrap on their Bavarian trip after their last game on the 31st. Japan NT and Seibu player Ryuichi Kawai has some pictures up from their Ingolstadt game, the atmosphere does look amazing, his brother Takuma is the first Japanese major junior player and is on Gatineau.

    One time LA King, and current ECHL Bakersfield Condors goalie, Yutaka Fukufuji visited Oji Eagle Kei Tonosaki in Tomakomai. They both entered Kokudo (which merged with Seibu) at age 18 and are now 26 year olds, how time flies. Fukufuji blanked a visiting Team Canada (Allan Cup winner, best amateur team in the country) in a warm up game in Tokyo before a Nagano Cup some years back, I guess that would be around 2000, when he was still a high schooler.

    Kazuma Takahashi explains his current situation, having to train alone because he’s not on any team yet, and how team building works differently between Japan/Europe and North America. In Japan and Europe the team is set during the off season, but in North America only the core of the team is set during the offseason, and the rest are based on tryouts during training camp, that’s how he ended up on the ECHL Utah Grizzlies (which was a step or two up from the previous season he spent in the SPHL.

    Good luck on the upcoming season to all the players!

    And, back to baseball, former Hanshin Tigers ace Kei Igawa has proven himself a true ace in America as well… in AAA. His numbers so far are 13-5, 3.55ERA, 6.92K/9, 2.64K/BB, 1.19WHIP. But got whipped around in his brief MLB stint again with 13.50ERA in 4IP in 2 appearances. Note to Japanese pitchers trying to break into the majors, you need something more than a decent fastball, mediocre location, and a good changeup.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, baseball, culture, ECHL, hockey, information, MLB, NPB, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    福藤選手、08-09シーズンもECHLで

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 7日 Thursday

    福藤豊選手が08-09 シーズンもECHL ベーカーズフィールド・コンドルズ(Bakersfield Condors)に戻る事が確定になったという記事がチームの公式サイトに掲載されました

    借金13のチームで勝率5割の18勝18敗1分、チームNo.1のGAA 3.39 とセーブ率.899、そしてプレーオフ直前の9試合が7-2-0でGAA 2.38 とセーブ率.930 と、プレーオフでの強豪ビクトリア相手に脅威の39セーブの延長勝ちと55セーブの延長負けが特に高く評価されたらしいです。そして福藤選手がこの若いチームでいくつもの通算記録保持者だという事も称えられています。

    チームも独立チームからNHL アナハイム・ダックスの傘下に入り、NHLからは2段下で野球で言うとAA 的存在なチームなので、今年もチームの成績以上の活躍が出来れば、AHL に上がれるかな。今シーズンはディフェンスがザルでなければ、より目立ちやすいのだが…頑張れFuji!!

    The Bakersfield Condors, official ECHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, announced today they have agreed to terms with goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji. The announcement was made by Condors Head Coach Marty Raymond.

    Fukufuji’s name is highlighted throughout the Condors record book, having climbed the ranks in almost every career category as the 2007-08 season progressed. He stands as the club’s all-time leader in wins (45), saves (2,401), minutes (4,944), appearances (90), and is tied for the club record with four shutouts. He ranks fourth in career save percentage (.910) and seventh with a 2.72 goals against average (GAA).

    Fukufuji, 25, has played more minutes between the pipes for Bakersfield than any goaltender in the history of the team. The 2008-09 campaign will be his third in Bakersfield. Last season he overcame a shaky start to carry the team into the post season, finishing with a record of 18-18-1, a .500 win percentage on a team that finished 13 games below .500 on the season. His 3.39 goals against average and .899 save percentage both led the team.

    It was at the end of the season that Fukufuji shined for the Condors. His 7-2-0 record down the stretch was accompanied by a 2.38 GAA and a .930 save percentage, and helped guide the team to a playoff spot. Fukufuji was a workhorse after returning from Injured Reserve in mid-February, appearing in 22 of the team’s last 23 games of the regular season, making 19 starts. In the playoffs, he went 2-4 while starting every game, and made 31 or more saves in each outing, highlighted by a 39-save overtime victory in Game 1 and a 55-save overtime loss in Game 6, both on the road in Victoria.

    そして昨シーズン終了後に日本製紙クレインズを退団になった36歳の元日本代表の桑原ライアン春男選手は、韓国のHigh1 と契約するという噂も流れています…昨シーズンは8G+6A=14P とイマイチパッとしない成績でしたが、若くて勢いのあるHigh1 でもう一花咲かす事が出来るんじゃないでしょうか?日本国籍所有者だから、外国籍選手にも数えられないので、両者にとって利益のある契約になると思います…もし実現されればですが(^^

    Posted in 01_日本語, Asia League Ice Hockey, ECHL, hockey, information, Japan, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    2007-08 Japanese players in North America

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 29日 Thursday

    Now that the Spokane Chiefs have been crowned as the Memorial Cup champs, Gatineau Olympiques’ Takuma Kawai’s season has ended, along with the seasons of all Japanese players in North America. Here are their 2007-08 stats.

    Player

    Team

    League

    GP

    G

    A

    P

    PIM

     

    Kawai, Takuma

    Gatineau Olympiques

    QMJHL

    47

    5

    8

    13

    20

     
     

    (Playoffs incl. Memorial Cup)

    17

    1

    2

    3

       

    Nishiwaki, Masahito

    Dayton Bombers

    ECHL

    64

    14

    17

    31

    44

     
     

    (Playoffs)

     

    2

    0

    1

    1

    0

     

    Takahashi, Kazuma

    Utah Grizzlies

    ECHL

    28

    0

    5

    5

    31

     
                     

    Player

    Team

    League

    GP

    W

    L

    T

    GAA

    Sv%

    Fukufuji, Yutaka

    Bakersfield Condors

    ECHL

    47

    18

    18

    1

    3.39

    0.899

     

    (Playoffs)

     

    6

    2

    2

    2

    3.55

    0.912

    Kawai played regularly on the powerful Olympiques team, but was converted from forward to defense with 15 games left in the season. He only managed 1 goal in the Q playoffs, but got 2 assists and was an even +/- 0 at the Memorial Cup. Hopefully his appearance in the Memorial Cup sparked an interest in some NHL teams to take a flyer on him with a late round pick.

     

    The five-foot-11, 190-pound Kawai is actually a forward who was moved to defence in February because of injuries on Gatineau’s blue-line. He made an impact in Monday’s Memorial Cup loss to Belleville with two assists.

    He’s a role player with a feisty, hard-hitting style _ hence the missing teeth _ which are desirable qualities whether he plays forward and defence.

    “It was kind of hard at first,” Kawai said of the switch. “I had to adjust. I’m enjoying it right now. I like to make a pass and make a hit too.”

    “Now, I have to use my head a lot. (Before) I just skated, made a hit and came back.”

    Kawai’s older brother Ryuichi Kawai is a defenceman for the Seibu Prince Rabbits of the Asian Hockey League. The younger Kawai started following his brother to hockey practice when he was three years old.

    Nishiwaki is one of Japan’s top forwards and among the league leaders in scoring (more than a point per game) when he was in the Asia League. It took him some time to establish himself on the Bombers, but being 6th on the team in scoring, he was an important player. Hopefully he’ll challenge himself overseas again, as this was only his first season in the States, and he should be better adapted to the minor league hockey environment next season. After Dayton lost out in their best of 3 first round series, Nishiwaki came back to join Team Japan in time for the World Championships Division I in Sapporo where he scored 2 goals in 5 games.

    Takahashi was more of a role player back in Japan where he scored less than a point per game but had at least 1 PIM per game (119 PIM in just 41 GP in 2004-05). He managed to hang on for a full year on the Utah roster, even though he was scratched for many games and was asked to be a role player with limited ice time when he got into games. Hopefully he’ll get another crack at the ECHL next season, as he definitely took a step up from the previous season when he played in the SPHL. 

    Fukufuji was lucky enough to get called up to the NHL the previous season when the LA Kings didn’t want to risk putting Jason LaBarbera through waivers where he probably would’ve been picked up by another team, as he was absolutely dominating the AHL then. Anyways NHL proved to be way beyond Fukufuji’s level as he was shellshocked into 4.37 GAA and .837 Save % in 4 games before being sent back down. Yutaka had a reasonable season and excellent playoffs despite being on a weak team (hence the unimpressive numbers). Hopefully the team in front of him will be better next season, and if he continues his solid play, maybe he can get some time in the AHL between the pipes. I’m interested in seeing what he can do at that level, as he’s proven himself in the ECHL over 5 seasons (including parts) already. 

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, ECHL, hockey, information, International, Japan, opinion, statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    ECHL Playoffs update

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 28日 Monday

    Fukufuji almost singlehandedly won the first round of the ECHL playoffs for his Bakersfield Condors against the Victoria Salmon Kings, but he was spraygunned with 61 shots, so it would’ve been a true miracle had the Condors won, as Victoria was truly superior in every other facet of the game. Fukufuji intends on playing in North America again next season, hopefully he’ll get a chance with an AHL club.

     

    Every party has a spoil-sport and this one almost did, too. His name was Yutaka Fukufuji. The Bakersfield Condors goaltender was the reason the Salmon Kings were forced into overtime for the victory.

    Fukufuji, the first Japanese-born player to play in the NHL, almost single-handedly forced a Game 7. Regulation time was dominated in almost every facet by the Salmon Kings. Every aspect except one — goaltending.

    The shots clock at the end of regulation time read a glaring 57-23 in favour of Victoria and ended 61-25.

    “He [Fukufuji] stood on his head all series and kept them in it,” said Goldie.

    “But we knew if we kept putting the shots on him, some had to eventually go in and we got one more goal than they did tonight.”

    But the dominant Salmon Kings not only had to solve the gallant crease efforts of Fukufuji, they had to do it by contending with five against-the-grain goals by the Condors that kept pulses pounding amid the deafening din caused by the near sold-out crowd.

    Despite holding a wide edge in play, the Salmon Kings had to fight back from 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3 deficits. But after finally taking a 5-4 lead on third-period goals by Marc-Andre Bernier and Ryan Wade, the Salmon Kings saw the opportunistic Condors tie it 5-5 on former Senators draft-pick Andrew Ianiero’s fifth goal of the series at 13:16 of the third period.

    In a game in which the shots were flowing for them like winter-rain water out of the Sooke Reservoir, the S-Kings were forced into the strange and painstaking position of trying to climb back into a game that might have turned into a blowout against a goalie of lesser calibre that Fukufuji.

    Bernier had two goals for Victoria and Wade, Chris St. Jacques and Paul Ballantyne one each. Ianiero led the Condors with two goals.

    But the biggest goalbelonged to the tricky Goldie in OT, who took a lovely two-on-one pass from Estrada and made a move around Fukufuji that was truly worthy of a golden goal.

    Now the Salmon Kings are facing the Utah Grizzlies in the second round. The Grizzlies feature Japanese forward Kazuma Takahashi, but he was a healthy scratch and didn’t make the trip up to Victoria for the first 2 games of the series, which the teams split with blowout scores of 6-0 and 1-6.

    As reported earlier Nishiwaki’s Dayton Bombers lost the best of 3 mini playoff round, so he flew back to Japan in time to play in the World Championships Division I B which was hosted by Sapporo. He played well in the tournament, but it was not enough for Japan to advance to the top division as Japan finished a strong 3rd in the tourney.

    Posted in 02_English, ECHL, hockey, information, International, Japan, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    ECHL プレーオフ第1ラウンド修羅場

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 23日 Wednesday

    自分が面倒くさすぎて説明しきれなかったECHL のプレーオフ制度を現在Utah Grizzlies所属の高橋一馬選手が説明してくれました、全25チーム中21チームが出場し、西と東のカンファレンスでとてもアンバランスなレギュラーシーズンとプレーオフのスケジュールを組んでいるのには変わらない、分かりづらい制度なのですが(^^;

    ご存知の通りDayton Bombers に所属していた西脇選手はプレーオフミニラウンドに敗退して、先週札幌で行われた世界選手権ディビジョンI の大会に参加して活躍しました。そしてNHL 初の日本人選手となった福藤選手は現在Victoria Salmon Kings と第1ラウンド決戦中(4戦先勝が2-3ですので2連勝する必要があります)。高橋選手のグリズリーズは4-2でシリーズ勝ち取り、なんとBakersfield 対Victoria の勝者待ちです!なんとECHL のプレーオフで日本人対決が実現するかもっ!?福藤選手とコンドルズの活躍を是非期待してます、ビクトリアは強いチームですが、何が起こるかが分からないのがプレーオフ!

    Posted in 01_日本語, ECHL, hockey, information, International, Japan, opinion, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    IHWC Div I 2008: Japan NT preparations

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 5日 Saturday

    The Japanese national team has been preparing to host the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I tournament at Sapporo in the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan. The games will run 13 – 19 April against Ukraine, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, and Croatia.Since the end of the Asia League season, the national team has been in training in Hokkaido and has recently played 2 practice matches against Amur of Khavarovsk (an RSL team, but no idea what kind of roster the team brought over, as the box scores only indicate uniform numbers and no names).

    Game 1 ended in a 4-4 tie. All goals were scored by the 34th minute in a flurry of a first half. One of the two remaining university players, standout defenseman Haga was used in the 2nd pairing with Aaron Keller. And High1 defenseman Okubo was used in the 4th pairing, but successfully quarterbacked the power play and assisted on 2 PPGs. Kikuchi (Seibu) allowed 4 goals, though the number of shots was not recorded.

    Japan eked out a 2-1 win in game 2 against an Amur squad that was fresher after a day of rest. Obara (Seibu) scored both goals on the power play this game, and combined with his 2 PP points (1G + 1A) in game 1 and has been playing great. Haruna (Oji) continued his hot play from the AL playoffs where he reeled off 9 straight victories (only allowing more than 2 goals in a single game), as he only let in 1 of the 19 shots he faced. Haruna has the hot hand and the original Japanese NHLer Fukufuji will be tied up in the ECHL playoffs with the Bakersfield Condors, so the Oji veteran should be the starting goalie in the upcoming tournament. AL’s top scorer in recent seasons Nishiwaki who is playing with the Dayton Bombers this season, and if his team loses in the first round of the playoffs (a best of 3 play in series), then he’ll be able to squeak into Sapporo for the start of the tournament.

    JIHL/ALIH and Japanese national team veteran Ryan Kiyoshi Fujita, who always plays way above his size, was nowhere to be seen over the Amur games although he’s listed on the long list of players in training camp. It’s unknown whether he was dropped because of injury, fitness, or team plans. 

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, ECHL, hockey, information, International, Japan, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »