Sunday, November 16, 2008

Four Times the Fun

During a chat with someone about Evgeny Grachev (2008 3rd), the question that we got asked was: "What do we like the best about him?"

After his 4 goal performance against the Ottawa 67's, the answer is easy. We just love how the bigger the game, the better Grachev plays.

On October 17th, it was Grachev who scored the game's only goal that gave Brampton Coach/General Manager Stan Butler his 400th CHL coaching win.

On Sunday as the Brampton Battalion were looking to tie a team record by winning their 14th straight game, there was Evgeny Grachev tying a team record for most goals in a game with 4 as the Battalion took care of the Ottawa 67's 4-2. And in case you are wondering, one of those who share that Brampton record is Bobby Sanguinetti so in our book that puts Grachev in pretty good company.

It was without any doubt the best individual performance by a Ranger prospect this season. With each passing game, Grachev is making the Ranger scouting staff look like a bunch of geniuses.

Grachev got his day going scoring on a 2-0n-1 shorthanded breakaway at 9:35 of the first period for his 9th goal of the season to give the Troop a 1-0 lead. Grachev then followed it up with 2 even strength goals (#'s 10 and 11) scored 3:07 apart; the first was just 36 seconds into the second period off a shot from the left face off circle.

Grachev then finished off his day by adding a power play goal (#12) at 9:03 of the third period off a wrist shot from the deep slot. 4 goals, one more Brampton win as the Troop now have the 4th best record in the entire OHL, a huge difference from their 2-6 start.

Grachev is now 12-9-21 on the season which places him second among the prospects in total scoring but his 12 goals are tied for the best among Ranger prospects with Chris Doyle.

And before we forget Grachev also was named the game's first star for his efforts.


Michael Del Zotto (2008 1st) followed up his 3 point performance on Saturday with another goal (#4) as Del Zotto's Oshawa Generals made it two wins in a row by defeating the Kingston Frontenacs 3-1 in OHL action.

Del Zotto scored his goal at 1:45 of the second period taking advantage of a goal mouth scramble to put in his 4 goal of the season and give his Generals a 1-0 lead that they would not give back.

It is in it's own way a reminder of what happened a couple of seasons ago when Marc Staal suffered an "undisclosed" injury and when he returned played like he owned the OHL. If that is the case then just like Staal did a couple of years, Del Zotto just might push his way onto the Rangers next season.

We say that because very quietly Del Zotto is now 4-15-19 on the season which is 6th best among OHL defensemen. If Del Zotto gets hot then the Generals will become a tough team to defeat.


Chris Doyle (2008 5th) only had 1 assist but that is because goalie Maxime Clermont of the Gatineau Olympiques stoned Doyle as the Olympiques won in the shoot out 6-5 over Doyle's Prince Edward Island Rocket in QMJHL action.

Doyle actually did have a good game with 5 solid scoring chances as Doyle took 10 shots. In addition to his offense, Doyle also put up respectable numbers on his face offs going 17-18 for the game.


Finally we have Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) and his Medicine Hat Tigers who got a bit of revenge on the Red Deer Rebels as they took the second half of the home and home series with a 5-2 win.

Kundratek had an assist in this game to give him 3 points on the season as he still looks for his first WHL goal. We get this feeling that like Del Zotto when Kundratek breaks out then look out for the Tigers.

After 9 games it is time for Kundratek to step up his game and put some serious numbers on the board. There is not doubt that the skill level is there and it seems that the biggest adjustment that European players have to make is being more selfish on offense.

Europeans are too drilled into looking for that perfect play when a garbage goal works just fine. We also know that Kundratek is in good hands in Medicine Hat playing for Willie Dejardins and the Tigers.

(Grachev courtesy of THE Brampton Battalion)

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