Thursday, April 24, 2008

And Then There Were None

Sometimes things are just meant to be and even sadder is that people will forget all the good things and focus upon the last image they have.

We will not because despite Ryan Hillier and his Halifax Mooseheads getting swept out of their QMJHL's semi-final series with the Gatineau Olympiques Thursday evening 5-2, the overall image we have is a positive one.

See we think that Hillier ending this season on such a sour note will go into his off-season will leave him with such a bad taste and this feeling that he has not just a little but a lot to prove.

For the game, Hillier was a -3, 3 shots on goal and 0-3 on faceoffs. We know that Hillier was not at 100% but since Hillier does not like making excuses when his play is poor neither will we.

For the record, Hillier played the last 2 games with a groin injury so we will not hold his performance against him because he did what we expect from a hockey player. Hillier sucked it up and gave it his best shot despite the pain.

We will only hope that Hillier did nothing to further injure himself and will take enough time to get healthy before reporting to the Ranger's training facility in right after the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

For Hillier this season was one of mixed results, Hillier was the leading scorer among prospects both in the regular season (24-38-72) and in the playoffs (8-7-15). However he suffered though a 5 week stretch where Hillier could not score no matter what he did.

We have not lost faith in Ryan because he has always been honest with us about himself during good and bad times. That alone is a quality that says a lot about Hillier's strength of character as we keep focusing on how Hillier despite all the criticism he was subjected to by the media, by his own Halifax fans and the supposed experts never once let it get to him.

Instead Hillier choose to turn all the negative into a positive as Hillier said it (the slump) taught him that he is going to really have to work harder on all areas of his game to make it to the next level. We believed him then and we will believe him tonight.

Hillier's QMJHL career may have come to an end this evening and he will move on next season to either Hartford or Charlotte. As for us, we have several people we really truly have to thank now that our prospect season is over.

We have to start with a new friend Willy Palov who covers the Halifax Mooseheads for the Chronicle Herald and deserves to tell you the same story of the Mooseheads final embarrassing game here. Whether it was via his always informative game stories or his sharing of information, we do not keep Ranger fans about Ryan Hillier without him.

We hope the Rangers do draft another Moosehead just so we can get to work with Willy again real soon.

Then there is Matthew Wuest of the Halifax Metro News who also kept us up to date and when it comes to live game blogs, some of the New York writers could take lessons from Matthew.

We also have to thank Terry Waterfield the Moosehead's Media Relations person who for the last 2 seasons has provided us with regular updates about the Moosehead and those pictures you have seen of Ryan on our site.

We can not forget either Karl Jahnke the Director of Communications for the QMJHL. Karl is the person who helps us so much when we need an understanding of QMJHL rules, helping us with the French speaking teams and has always treated us with the kind of courtesy that we can never say enough "thank you"s for.

As for us, well as one season ends another one starts as it is ironic that on the very day that our last Ranger prospect's season ends that one of our favorite people, former Hartford Wolfpack coach E. J. McGuire and his overworked staff of scouts at CSB released the final prospect listings.

While the Rangers are playing the Penguins, we will start breaking it the final rankings and how they just might affect how the Ranger's draft this year.

(Ryan Hillier's Picture courtesy of the HALIFAX MOOSEHEADS)

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