Sunday, December 7, 2008

Psycho Sunday

Sunday was a confusing day in trying to report on how well the Ranger prospects who played did. It is hard to award stars when on one hand you have players did alright individually but their team stunk up the place.

Or there is the other side where your team won but your play was nothing to get overly excited about. That is the case with the 4 Ranger prospects who saw action on Sunday which is why no star is going to be awarded here.

We start with Chris Doyle (2008 5th) of the Prince Edward Island Rockets as Doyle has been in a mini-scoring slump of his own. Goalless in his last 3 games as the Rocket have lost 6 straight games, Doyle scored 2 goals as the Rocket lost to the Drummondville Voltigeurs 8-3.

The Rocket are struggling everywhere but also have the bad luck of playing the hottest or best teams in the QMJHL. The Voltigeurs came into this game winners of 12 straight games and with the second best record in the QMJHL at 25-4-0-2 so this was kind of expected.

Doyle on one hand scored his 2 goals (#'s 15 + 16) on 6 shots but the first goal came when the Rocket were already down 4-1. The second came with the Rocket trailing 5-2 so the game was already decided to take away from the goal's importance except in the stat column.

Max Campbell (2007 5th) in many ways can relate to Chris Doyle as the Western Michigan sophomore knows what it is like to play on a team that has a losing record. Campbell has goals in 4 straight games but WMU has just one tie out of those 4 games including today's loss to 4th ranked Miami of Ohio.

WMU over the last 2 weekends has played Notre Dame (#1) and Miami (#4) so Campbell's goals were coming against high quality opposition. The biggest problem for Campbell and WMU is that they just do not have the talent to go up against the best teams in college hockey as witnessed by their 2-10-4 record.

For Campbell though we have to admit that we are happy for his individual accomplishments but knowing the young man as we do; Campbell will tell us that he would trade his goals for wins in a heartbeat. Campbell is one of our favorites because while others like to try to find fault with him.

Campbell since being a healthy scratch on October 18th has scored 6 goals and with his 4 goals in 4 games now has the longest goal scoring streak among Ranger prospects this season. Campbell and his Broncos have a 12 day holiday break before returning to action.

Evgeny Grachev (2008 3rd) is playing like he wants to make the Rangers next season. The young man from Yaroslavl, Russia has his 3rd multi-game scoring streak going (this was is already up to 5 games at 3-5-8). However maybe our standards and expectations on Grachev are getting higher but we did not like his effort on Sunday.

Grachev did have an assist (17-16-33 for the season) in his Brampton Battalion's 5-4 overtime win over the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors but it was a secondary assist. The rest of the game, Grachev looked a tad out of sync on Sunday and was really not much of a factor other than one scoring chance in the 3rd period.

Michael Del Zotto (2008 1st) extended his own scoring streak to 4 games (2-4-6) as his Oshawa Generals jumped out to a 4-0 lead and then had to hang on as the Sudbury Wolves scored 3 late 3rd period goals to make the score 4-3.

Del Zotto helped the Wolves get back into the game by taking a cross-checking penalty at 16:14 of the third period. The Wolves used that power play to score a goal to make the score 4-2.

One thing that we will be watching for as when teammate John Tavares takes off for Team Canada then Del Zotto will become the focal point of the General offense. It should be a good way to evaluate Del Zotto.

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