Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Something About the QMJHL

During the preseason when I was asking those who help get the information about the Ranger prospects which ones would have the best chances to earn player of the week honors in their respective league, the responses were kind of expected.

Michael Del Zotto, Carl Hagelin, Alexi Cherepanov, Evgeny Grachev and Derek Stepan were at the top of everyone's list.

Funny how nobody including yours truly had the two prospects who have actually won the award as Goalie Antoine Lafleur (2007 2nd) was named as the QMJHL Telus Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.

That the "Q" gave Lafleur this honor kind of validates the back to back first stars that was awarded Lafleur for his efforts by Prospect Park. The Telus award also says a lot about the bounce back season that Lafleur is having.

For the week ending on Sunday, Lafleur posted 2 wins while only allowing 3 goals while facing 52 shots. Lafleur had a GAA of just 1.49 along with a save percentage of .942.

Lafleur now goes up against the goalies of the other 2 CHL leagues for ADT CHL Goalie of the Week Honors. Lafleur is a good kid who I really enjoyed meeting at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft so a bit of acknowledged biased is here.


Game 2 of the OHL portion of the ADT Canada Russia Challenge was played on Monday evening in St. Catherines Ontario. Team OHL won a very hard fought 3-2 decision over the Russian Selects. The Selects who had the weekend off while most of the OHL players were getting to play their 4th game in 5 nights made this a much tougher matchup for the OHL.

The Ranger representatives for this game were once again Evgeny Grachev (2008 3rd) and Michael Del Zotto (2008 1st). Del Zotto had another quiet night but again it has to be stressed that does not mean a bad game.

Grachev had an assist to give him 2 points for the 2 games as he was on the ice for one goal for and one goal against. Grachev is expected to be named to Team Russia for the World Under-20 Championships to be held this year in Ottawa.


The Weekly College Polls came out and finally Michigan has paid for their failures to win on Friday evenings. Carl Hagelin's (2007 6th) Wolverines fell to 14th in the USCHO.com/CBS College Sports poll and 15th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

Sorry Wolverines but when you can not put the puck in the net then you do not deserve to be in the Top Ten.

Danny Hobb's (2007 7th) UMass Minutemen however in our eyes got the short end of the stick in the polls. Coming off a 2-0 loss and a 4-3 overtime win over defending NCAA Champion Boston College (ranked 4th in both polls at the time) led to dropping to 17th in the USCHO/CBS as well as the USA Today/USA Hockey.

For the record, UMass has defeated 3 teams that were ranked in the Top 5 of the polls including a win over then number one Boston University. This is a team that many others are not going to want to face come NCAA time.

(Antoine Lafleur Picture courtesy of Michael Fortin)

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