The other day, I saw on the <a href="http://www.headlinehockey.com/">Headline Hockey News</a> site that there was an article about him in the Columbus Dispatch:
<a href="http://www.dispatch.com/bluejacket/bluejackets.php?story=dispatch/2003/09/22/20030922-D1-03.html">Fritsche, 18, gets taste of the fast-and-furious NHL</a>
Unfortunately, you have to be registered with the site to read it, and that means paying up! I'm not registered, haven't read it, but if anyone has, I, too, would appreciate a summary!
Fritsche, 18, gets taste of the fast-and-furious NHL
Monday, September 22, 2003
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
NEAL C . LAURON | DISPATCH
Jackets newcomers Darryl Sydor (5) and Todd Marchant attempt to clear the puck in front of the net against Nashville.
The difference between Canadian junior hockey and the NHL is the difference between gasoline and nitrous oxide. Indeed, many a terrific junior has been immediately daunted by the speed of the big leagues. Thatís why thereís an American Hockey League.
Center Dan Fritsche received his first introduction to fast-throw gearing last night in Nationwide Arena. Fritsche, the pride of Parma, Ohio, made his debut for the Blue Jackets in an exhibition against the nasty Nashville Predators. He was exposed to acceleration heretofore unknown to him. And he got a rush out of it.
"You get the puck and youíve got one second to make up your mind what to do with it ó and someoneís on you," Fritsche said. "These players are unbelievable. Youíre open for a second, and youíve got the puck on your stick. Itís amazing."
Fritsche scored a power-play goal in the second period when he redirected a Duvie Westcott slap shot past Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun. It was the highlight moment in the middle of a sound effort.
"It was a solid performance for an 18-year-old, to say the least," Blue Jackets coach Doug MacLean said.
The Predators came back from a two-goal deficit to forge a 2-2 tie. Andrew Cassels had a goal and an assist for the Jackets, who are 0-1-1-0 in the exhibition season. Marek Zidlicky and Denis Arkhipov scored for the Predators. Among the crowd of 13,968 was a clutch of Fritsche backers.
"All my family and friends are just two hours down the road," Fritsche said. "To score in my first game . . . I canít believe it. Itís perfect."
Fritsche was selected in the second round of the June draft. He still has two years of junior eligibility with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. Given his youth ó and the fact that the Blue Jackets can feel quite comfortable sending him back for seasoning ó he remains a long shot to stick in Columbus beyond September.
Yet heís still here.
MacLean made more cuts last night. Forwards Brad Moran, Jeremy Reich and Joe Motzko and defensemen Darrel Scoville, Tyler Sloan and Ryan Kiser were assigned to the Syracuse Crunch. Forward Steven Goertzen was sent back to his junior team in Seattle.
The Blue Jackets are down to 40 players. One junior, Fritsche, remains.
"He has played well," Cassels said. "When youíre a young guy, youíve got to take your shot to make an impression. Obviously, heís still here."
Translation: Heís making an impression.
"Weíll see what he can do in the next phase of camp," Mac-Lean said. "We knew he was a good player. With this young kid, you canít get overly excited at this point ó because the pace is only going to pick up."
Translation: Fritsche might have a future with the Jackets, but it might be jumping the gun to think he can make the team this year. But whatís he supposed to do? Back off?
"Being a second-round pick ó you donít see too many of those coming out here and playing at 18," Fritsche said. "Rick Nash is a great player, he was the No. 1 overall pick, he got a chance to play right away and he deserved it. Itís a little different for me. But I think I felt comfortable out there. Iím trying to prove Iím ready to stay, that Iím strong enough and fast enough and ready for the NHL."