Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Slow Kind of Sunday

We have gotten very spoiled this season as it seems that this current crop of Ranger prospects is always doing something outstanding. It has gotten to the point where the bigger story is when the prospects have an average day as was the case on Sunday.

Today's Star Evgeny Grachev (2008 3rd) Brampton Battalion

Evgeny Grachev is on another scoring streak with the Brampton Battalion. By scoring his 13th goal of the season against the Sudbury Wolves, Grachev's latest scoring streak is now up to 4 games (5-3-8) as his Brampton Battalion's winning streak is now at 16 after a 3-1 over the Wolves.

Grachev the game's second star looked a lot better on Sunday than he did on Friday despite this being his 3rd game in 4 nights. Grachev was moved up to Brampton's first line due his center (Matt Duchene) being injured and an injury to the normal first line left wing.

One of the areas in which we really like Grachev is his ability to adapt to changing situations like this one. Grachev teamed with Cody Hodgson and the duo teamed on Brampton's first goal of the game.

It was a power play goal (Grachev's 5th) as Grachev picked up a rebound of Hodgson's shot while parked in the slot. It was a power forward goal as Grachev is too big and strong for most players in the OHL.

It is going to very interesting tomorrow evening as Grachev will rejoin the Russian Selects to play the second game of the OHL portion of the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge. By playing it will mean 4 games in 5 nights and how he performs will be a good test for Grachev.


Other Prospect Action

The other Ranger member playing in the Challenge tomorrow evening Michael Del Zotto (2008 1st) may not be as flashy as Grachev or Chris Doyle have been but quietly his numbers of 4-17-21 are looking pretty good.

Del Zotto had an assist but his Oshawa Generals dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Ottawa 67's on Sunday. It was the second straight shootout loss for the Generals who fell to 11-11-0-3 on the season.

Oh and we really would like to point out to those who continue to suggest that Del Zotto might be a defensive liability at the NHL level that Del Zotto's assist was a shorthanded one as Del Zotto made the play while killing a penalty.

People are going to zero in on Del Zotto's -9 but don't realize that on a rebuilding General team, Del Zotto is being asked to do everything on defense. Given the circumstances that Del Zotto is playing under we are very confident in saying that Del Zotto WILL NOT BE a defensive liability at the NHL level.

The leading scorer among Ranger prospects Chris Doyle (2008 5th) actually did not register a point during regulation or overtime, did score on his shootout attempt but it was not enough. Doyle's Prince Edward Island Rockets dropped a 4-3 shootout loss to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

Antoine Lafleur (2007 2nd) got the day off as his Rouyn-Noranda played their 3rd game in 3 nights as they lost to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 4-3 also in the shootout. It was a well deserved day off for Lafleur as at times the QMJHL schedule is too crazy by asking teams to travel and play 3 games in 3 nights.

(Grachev picture courtesy of the Brampton Battalion)

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