Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mid Week Report

We had held off with the announcement that Chris Doyle was our Prospect Park Prospect of the Week as the hope was that Doyle would have also earned the CHL Prospect Of the Week honors as well.

It would have been a fitting honor for the Ranger's 2008 5th round pick as we can not recall the last time a Ranger prospect forward had won such an honor. For Doyle it would have been a major confidence builder but sadly it did not happen as the CHL selected Jamie Benn as the Boston Pizza CHL Player of the Week.

It is a selection that is hard to argue with as Benn of the Kelowna Rockets was 5-4-9 in 3 games last week while Doyle was 2-6-8 in 4 games. There is nothing for Doyle to hang his head about as Doyle was the QMJHL Telus Player of the Week for his efforts.

Doyle who is carrying a 4 game point streak thanks to his efforts last week as well as being the current leading scorer among Ranger Prospects at 7-15-22 has one more game before earning his next expected honor.

Under normal circumstances there would have been a vote for our First Dean Prentice Prospect of the Month but Doyle's play has made it a one player race. We are happy for Chris but we bet that another group is just as happy and that group is the Ranger scouts who cover the QMJHL.

If Doyle pans out then getting him with a 5th round pick is a very nice bonus.

An All-Star Already

The OHL announced the rosters for the All-Star team(s) that would be representing their league during the 2 game OHL portion of the 2008 ADT Canada Russia Challenge and 2008 First Round Pick Defenseman Michael Del Zotto was named to play in both games.

Del Zotto was one of three defenders who will get to play in both games and his being named was no surprise to us given his play so far this season. Del Zotto who plays for the Oshawa Generals is currently 6th among scoring for OHL defensemen at 2-12-14 in 13 games.

Our hope is that Del Zotto's play in these 2 games will hopefully help Del Zotto earn a chance to make Team Canada's entry for the World Under-20 Championships this winter. Del Zotto has worked hard to become a better defenseman at both ends of the ice so this honor is a well deserved reflection of his efforts.

Do We Need to say More?

There are times when a picture is just so telling of a story that we just can not wait for a reason to post it as is the case here.

The picture is of 2007 6th round pick Carl Hagelin of the Michigan Wolverines as he is makes what we have come to know as a typical Hagelin play.

The picture came to us courtesy of Matthew Trevor of the Michigan Wolverines Media Relation's department. To say that Matthew has not done more than his fair share of helping us get you the word on Carl Hagelin is an understatement.

Guys like Matthew Trevor never get enough credit for the work they do except when we talk about them. Even in sending us this picture there was Matthew in his email offering more help.

We hope in the not so near future to hear from the Wolverine coaching staff about Carl Hagelin thanks to Matthew's efforts. In the meantime, this weekend IF you live in Canada on Saturday then on the NHL Network in Canada will be the Ohio State Buckeyes going up against Hagelin's Michigan Wolverines live at 7:05 PM EDT (yes we know the Rangers/Maple Leafs will be on the CBC at the same time so DVR it).

For those in the USA, then the game will be shown on Sunday on the US version of the NHL Network starting at 12 noon and if you have never seen Carl Hagelin play then you really will want to make the effort to do so.

Go Slow Winterhawks Owners and Fans

We never hide the fact that Prospect Park owes a debt of gratitude to the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL for helping us get off the ground. It was Dean "Scooter" Vrooman who was the very first to offer us media credentials back in 2004.

Vrooman provided more help than we ever expected in helping us arrange interviews not only with Ranger prospects on the Winterhawks but other teams in the WHL. Scooter never had to do what he did for us but as we learned that was why he was a legend to Winterhawk fans.

Going to Portland was our guilty pleasure when it came to covering Ranger prospects, it is a couple of hours drive from where I live so I get to attend the games and get to go home after the game.

Then a new ownership group came in and put on a clinic on how to totally destroy a franchise and alienate your fan base at the same time. If you read us last spring then the list of "crimes" against Winterhawks fans is too long to repeat here.

We will mention in our book the worst offense which was that Dean Vrooman left after 25 years as the Winterhawks announcer. Vrooman to this day has never spoken publically about why he left but you will never convince this writer that he was not shoved out the door by the ownership.

The Winterhawks fell so bad that we could not in good faith use a Winterhawks game as a means of prospect evaluation. For us to do our job properly we have to be able to see what a good player does against good competition otherwise it can be very misleading.

Over the last 2 seasons we have gone to a total of 5 Winterhawk games (only 1 last season) because it was a waste of time watching them in action. They just were not competitive and even worse as Ranger fans might understand; the off-ice antics involving management/ownership got more ink than the team on the ice did.

That was then and this is today as of Wednesday the Winterhawks have new ownership and hopefully a new beginning. From a selfish standpoint we are very happy since it means we can hopefully in the not to distant future return Portland to our base of WHL operations (and spend more time at home).

However we want to offer some advice to both the new owners and the Winterhawk fans; be patient and go slow while keeping expectations on a realistic level. It is going to take some time to rebuild the franchise and heal the wounds with with fan base.

For the new owners, we hope that they rebuild in the traditional hockey manner via the (bantam) draft rather than try to take the quick short cut method. The Winterhawks need talent at every position and you will not turn things around overnight.

For the fans, yes you have gotten rid of the previous group but now you need to show some support by attending games now not waiting until the rebuild is in place. Support the franchise that you claim was ruined by the old owners and support the next generation of Winterhawks.

Oh and to the new guys; there is a guy working at a bank in Vancouver who should be behind the microphone calling Winterhawk games. No offense to Andy Kemper but I bet even he would have no problem moving over one chair for the Scooter.

If you want instant credibility with the Winterhawks Nation then right the wrong and bring back the Scooter as soon as possible.

(pictures- Doyle-PEI Rockets, Del Zotto-New York Rangers, Carl Hagelin-Michigan Wolverines)


Amos said...

I enjoy your blog as always, thanks for the prospect updates.

Two things I wanted to ask/comment on...
Now that room has been made on the Hartford roster with the jettisoning of Jessiman, do you think the Rangers will call up Hillier or Zaborsky to Hartford? It seems that, pardon the pun, Jamtin has come alive in Charlotte, with 3 points in 3 games, while Hillier has 1 point in four games. Zaborsky has I believe 3 points in 4 games, but 6pim.
Also, not only is the NHL network airing the Carl Hagelin game sunday (12:00pm est) but at 8:30 tomorrow night (friday) the very same network is airing the Wisconsin vs North Dakota, meaning I will be getting my first glimpse of Derek Stepan. I've got both games set to tape, so I'm excited about getting to see a level of hockey I'm not usually party to. The only action of Hagelin I've seen is his PK work and a few shifts at the WJCs last year on a very deep Swedish team.
Just thought I'd point that out.

Jess Rubenstein said...


I think the Rangers will leave both in Charlotte for now in order to get them ice time.

Jessiman was playing the role of sometime 4th liner and both Hillier and Zaborsky are finesse players not meant for the grinder game.

I think Jamtin gets the call instead

Thanks for the assist Amos please keep doing this