Sunday, November 2, 2008

Streaking on a Sunday

Here is the kind of nice problem we would want to have more often when it comes to awarding stars to our Ranger prospects; they play so well that we don't know who to award a star to.

That was the problem faced when it came time to write up the report on Sunday prospect action. One prospect on a 9 game scoring streak, another on a 7 game streak or the 3rd prospect having an instant impact in just his second game.

What a nice problem to have when you think back to 2000 when the Rangers had next to no quality or quantity in the prospect pipeline.

When we say that the better days for the Rangers are still to come it is no longer a pipe dream; it is reality.

Having said that it was decided that rather than pick one to be a star, we gave it to all 3 worthy prospects.


Evgeny Grachev (2008 3rd) extended his scoring streak to 9 games with an assist as his Brampton Battalion extended their team winning streak to 8 games with a 5-4 overtime win over the Guelph Storm.

It was a secondary assist on a power play goal in the second period that started a Brampton comeback when it appeared as if the Battalion winning streak was going to come to an end.

Secondary assist or not, Grachev now has 10 points (5-5-10) over this 9 game streak and is showing signs that this is just the beginning of what he can do on the ice.


Chris Doyle (2008 5th) extended his scoring streak to 7 games as his Prince Edward Island Rocket defeated the Lewiston MAINEaics 3-1 in QMJHL action.

For Doyle, the assist moved him into 6th place among QMJHL scorers which is the highest a Ranger prospect has been since the days of Ryan Callahan and Nigel Dawes.

Like Grachev, Doyle's assist was a secondary one as Doyle helped to get his Rocket team on the scoreboard in the first period. For a change it was an even strength goal but it gave the Rocket a 1-0 lead that they never gave up.

Doyle during his streak has gone 5-8-13 and as with Grachev and his team, Doyle's scoring streak has helped the Rocket improve their record to 9-9-0-2.


When you are 6'5 then you already stand out but Tysen Dowzak (2008 UFA) is showing that there is more to him than just his large size. In his second game back with the Kelowna Rockets, Dowzak is showing that he is not going to suffer from any disappointment about being returned back to the WHL.

The Rockets defeated the Oil Kings 3-1 in part to the play of Dowzak on the defensive end. Dowzak was out there blocking shots and leading the Rocket penalty kill which now has killed 7 straight with Dowzak in the line up.

Regan Bartel is the play by play announcer for the Kelowna Rockets and he did an interesting interview with Dowzak about his return to Kelowna that is worth listening to and can be found right here.


The Rest of the Prospects

In the OHL, Michael Del Zotto (2008 1st) and his Oshawa Generals got themselves rocked for the second straight game, this time by the Windsor Spitfires 7-2 in the OHL. This was the second meeting of the season between the 2 teams and the difference in overall talent is very clear.

The Generals actually led after one period 2-0 but after that this game was all Spitfires who scored 7 unanswered goals. As it is the Spitfires as the top ranked team in all of the CHL and this game was a great example as to why.

Del Zotto got shut down by the Spitfire's defense to the point where he was a non-factor other than being a -3 for the second straight game. This will be a good test for Del Zotto as we want to see how he handles being shut down.

Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) in just his second game with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL had another quiet game as the Tigers lost to the Calgary Hitmen 2-1. That is not to say that Kundratek had a bad game as that was not the case.

When you factor in all that Kundratek is having to adjust to from learning to speak English, adapting to the North American game and as well as living in Medicine Hat and then toss in losing time to a fractured hand then this is expected.

We are going to wait about 5 games before doing a scouting report on Kundratek as to do one now would not tell us anything accurate about his potential. That Kundratek is playing in Medicine Hat gives us confidence based on our previous experiences with the Tigers.


We held off on giving away the score of the Michigan/Ohio State game in the hopes that people would watch the game with an open mind. For many it was going to be their first look at Carl Hagelin (2007 6th) and it was important that people were able to see for themselves.

If we had posted that the 8th ranked Wolverines blew out Ohio State 6-1 then it is doubtful people would have watched. Hagelin is a prospect who we believe is headed to a pretty good NHL career with the Rangers.

The Wolverines also tossed us a huge curve by moving Hagelin back to center for just the 2nd game in his Michigan career. While Hagelin saw his point scoring streak end at 4 games, his play in our book was rock solid given the instant change.

We were not alone as Michigan's coach the legendary Red Berenson had this to say about Hagelin's game:

"I thought Carl [Hagelin] was terrific. He had a great game for us. You watched him go back and lug the puck out of our zone. He was good on faceoffs. He was good on the forecheck. I thought he really played a strong game, and [playing center is] not his comfort zone, but he was good tonight."

If you did not watch the game today then you missed a chance to see a very good player.

(Pictures: Grachev- Brampton, Doyle- PEI, Dowzak- Hartford Wolfpack)


Lee said...

interesting Dowzak's very negative attitude about ECHL - if that's prevalent, it helps explain Skokan's escape. Seems to me that over the last few years, there is now tiered development in hockey, as in baseball. But I guess the ECHL still has a way to go to establish itself as a genuine dev league. And that NHL teams don't run the ECHL affiliates is a key difference.

Jess Rubenstein said...


I understand Dowzak's attitude towards the ECHL. They claim to be a developmental league but limit how many players a team can send.

I do not consider the ECHL as a development league