Friday, November 21, 2008

Give Them the Stars

First Star- Antoine Lafleur (2007 2nd) Rouyn-Noranda

The shocked look on Antoine's face most likely has to do with the fact that someone besides Evgeny Grachev or Chris Doyle earned our first star on a Friday evening. Lafleur earned his first star of the year with a solid performance as he earned his 6th win of the season.

Lafleur stopped 23 of 25 shots as his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies earned a 3-2 road win over the Chicoutimi Saguenéens in the QMJHL. Lafleur earned his second straight win in net as he also lowered his GAA to 3.14 and raised his save percentage to .853.

For the win, Lafleur had to make what was considered 7 "dangerous" saves but is starting to hopefully show some consistency with his game. If Lafleur can get on a hot streak then it will do wonders for both his confidence as well as the Huskie's hopes of a good season.

There is not question that Lafleur has the talent to play at the next level, the areas where he must work on is first his consistency and second his positioning. The Rangers need for Lafleur to continue to improve as one does not want to see a second round pick fail to make it.

Second Star Chris Doyle (2008 5th) Prince Edward Island Rocket

The record books will not give Chris Doyle credit for his second Gordie Howe Hat Trick of the season but we will because Doyle very much earned it. Doyle's Rocket earned a hard fought 4-3 shootout win over the Val-d'Or Foreurs thanks in part to Doyle scoring on his shoot out chance.

Doyle set the stage for his drama in the shootout by netting 2 more assists (to bring his season total up to 26) in the game as well getting into his second fight of the season as well.

Doyle got his first assist on the power play in the first period as Doyle teamed with Benjamin Casavant to set up Mathieu Tousignant's 10 goal at 11:16 of the first. 21 seconds later, Doyle challenged the Foreurs Marco Scandella to fight and threw some bombs until he fell over himself and that ended the fight.

In the third, Doyle record his second assist of the evening at 1:11 to tie the game at 2-2 and then his real fireworks happened. On his attempt Doyle entered the zone, faked a slap shot which froze Jean-Sebastian Boucher and gave Doyle an empty net to score his first shoot out goal of the season and first shoot out winning goal.

Doyle also moves into 2nd place among QMJHL scorers at 12-26-38 which is also tops among Ranger prospects. The QMJHL also has a short interview with Doyle on their website right here.

Third Star Evgeny Grachev (2008 3rd) Brampton Battalion

For most of the game it looked as if the Brampton Battalion were going to fail in their chance to set a new team record of 15 straight wins, the Ottawa 67's scored at 1:09 of the 3rd period to take a 4-1 lead. The the Troops made the comeback of their season erasing the 3 goal lead by scoring 3 goals 3 minutes apart to tie the game and then scoring the game winner to earn a 5-4 win and a 15th straight win.

It was not Evgeny Grachev's best night as on one play he coughed up the puck to help the 67's score but Grachev bounced back to net 2 assists including one on the tying goal. The assist on the tying goal was teaming up with last night's Team OHL competition Matt Duchene and Cody Hodgson.

Grachev now is 12-11-23, +11 in 20 games with the Battalion.


The Rest of the Prospects

Staying in the OHL, Michael Del Zotto (2008 1st) had an assist for his 20th point of the season (4-16-20 -9) as his Oshawa Generals lost in the shoot out to the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors 4-3.

In the WHL, Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) was scoreless as his Medicine Hat Tigers were able to hold off the Lethbridge Hurricanes 2-1 despite being out shot 41-23.

Also in the WHL, Tysen Dowzak (2008 UFA) did not score as his Kelowna Rockets jumped out to a 6-1 lead and cruised to an easy 7-3 win over the Prince George Cougars.

In the NCAA ranks, someone sent us this stat that is all so interesting. Carl Hagelin (2008 6th) and his Michigan Wolverines have now lost 3 straight games on Friday evenings and have a 2-4 record on Fridays after being shut out by 7th ranked Miami of Ohio.

On the season Michigan is now 8-5 as for whatever reason the Wolverines simply can not generate any offense on Friday evenings. Hagelin came the closest to scoring for Michigan but his deflection attempt went wide of the net.

Derek Stepan (2008 2nd) netted his 5th assist of the season but his Wisconsin Badgers saw their 5 game unbeaten streak come to a crashing halt as the Badgers were whipped 6-2 by St. Cloud State. It was an ugly game for the Badgers as Stepan was -2 in addition to the assist.

Danny Hobbs (2007 7th) took 4 shots but like his UMass teammates did not score as the Minutemen were shut out by the defending NCAA champs Boston College 2-0. Hobbs actually played a decent game but BC was too good defensively for the Minutemen.

(Pictures: Antoine Lafleur and Chris Doyle - PEI, Evgeny Grachev- Brampton Battalion)


Pierre said...

I attended the 67s-Battalion game last night at the Civic Center, and I agree that this was not a very good game for Grachev despite the 2 assists. That being said, he must have been a bit fatigued playing his second game in two nights, even though he, along with Hodgson and Duchesne, seemed to be on the ice every other line change. Despite his so-so performance, there is clearly plenty to be excited about with this kid. Like Hodgson said the night before, Grachev is HUGE, and I was quite impressed with his foot speed considering it's apparently one of the biggest knocks on the guy. Evgeny is extremely aggressive on offence, but clearly needs to be more aggressive in the defensive end. Again, that might have been a case of fatigue. Oh well, now I'm off to Scotiabank Place for the Rangers and Sens game... am I ever spoiled this week-end ;)

Jess Rubenstein said...


Thanks for the report, any time you catch a Ranger prospect in action PLEASE share as the more eyes we get the better for all Ranger fans.

I have to agree that it was fatigue because normally Grachev is very responsible on the defensive end.

With me it is getting to the point where I think Grachev just might wind up better than Anisimov in terms of potential.

Pierre said...

Would that be based on how high you view Grachev or do you think Anisimov's stock is dropping? I'm not sure what to make of Anisimov. I remember you saying he was the top prospect in the organization, and this was shortly before Cherepanov's death. On the flip side, Mitch Beck at Howlings said this week that he thinks that Anisimov only has third or fourth line potential. Where do you stand on Anisimov as of now?

Jess Rubenstein said...

It is viewed on how I think of Grachev not a problem with Anisimov.

Anisimov is like the Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk who took a while to develop as his body caught up to the rest of his game.

No offense to Mitch but if he is saying that about Anismov then he is not seeing the potential that others have.