Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Quiet Prospect

One has to feel kind of bad for Michael Del Zotto as his efforts have been very much overshadowed by other Rangers prospects so far this season. Funny thing is that for a defenseman 5-21-26 is not a bad number for just 24 games.

The Ranger's 2008 1st round pick is 5th best in scoring among OHL defensemen despite missing games and as we suspect playing injured for a couple of weeks. We said last week watch out as we believe Del Zotto looks like he is beginning to heat up and on Thursday night that is exactly what Del Zotto did.

Del Zotto has the game's winning goal as well as 2 assists and the game's 3rd star to give the young defender from Stouville, Ontario a 3 point night as Del Zotto's Oshawa Generals whipped the Belleville Bulls 5-2 on Teddy Bear Night.

This was a solid win for the Generals as they defeated the leading team in the OHL Eastern Conference with little trouble. The last time these 2 teams met it was the Bulls who whipped the Generals with little problem.

Del Zotto got his night going by assisting on Brett Parnham's second goal at 17:57 of the first period which gave the Generals a 2-0 lead. At 10:59 of the second period, Del Zotto scored what proved to be the game winner as he netted his 5th goal (and 3rd power play) of the season.

Del Zotto then set up teammate Kory Nagy at 11:35 of the third also on the power play to finish the General's scoring for the evening. It was Del Zotto's third 3 point night of the season and as we pointed out last week, Del Zotto since his return is 3-8-11.

We also have to give a salute to the 4,984 General's fans who got to toss a franchise record 3,976 Teddy Bears which will give some needy kids a happier holiday season.


Evgeny Grachev (2008 3rd) has a couple of more kudos to add to his already growing OHL resume, first off being named the OHL Rookie of the Month for November as we will let Paul Krotz the OHL's Director of Media and Information Service tell you:

Evgeny Grachev led all OHL rookies in November scoring 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points in 13 games for the Brampton Battalion. Grachev finished the month with a plus-minus rating of plus-5. Grachev scored points in 10 of his 13 games including six multi-point games.

He received first star of the game honours in four November games highlighted by his performance on November 16 where he scored all four goals in a 4-2 victory over the Ottawa 67’s. Grachev and the Brampton Battalion went 12-0-1-0 in November that included the end of a club record 16 game win streak that began October 13.

Grachev competed with the Russian Selects during the two-game Ontario leg of the 2008 ADT Canada Russia Challenge. He scored a shorthanded goal and was named game MVP for Russia in a 6-3 loss in Guelph on November 20.

Grachev ended the month of November with back to back first stars so in his first game in December, Godzilla Grachev kept his streak going as he was named the First Star for the 3rd straight game in a losing effort as Grachev's Brampton Battalion lost to the Saginaw Spirit 5-2.

Grachev had a goal as well as setting up the Battalion's other goal in the loss. It was Grachev's 3rd straight game with a goal and his 17th on the season as well as his 14th assist.

Grachev's goal is best described as an "Adam Grave's Special" as Grachev set himself up in the crease while out working and out fighting the Saginaw defense for a rebound. Grachev amazes us with each passing game and we are telling people now when the WJC starts to make sure they are there to watch when Grachev plays for Russia.

Once you see Godzilla with your own eyes then you will see why we are so high on him.


Speaking of the WJC, it boggles the mind how Michael Del Zotto did not earn an invite to Team Canada's selection camp as what we ask did Del Zotto need to do in order to earn the invite?

For the first time since Prospect Park started there will be no Ranger prospect on either Team Canada or Team USA which greatly disappoints us as we can understand Derek Stepan is a year away from Team USA but not Del Zotto.

Call us biased but in our eyes very few of those invited by Team Canada has the offensive set that Del Zotto does. Del Zotto is doing more this season for the Generals which might have hurt his case but that still does not mean we question his not being invited.

It also puts us in the awkward spot of rooting for Russia (Evgeny Grachev) as well the Czech Republic and perhaps Sweden in order to see a Ranger Prospect earn a medal.

(Michael Del Zotto courtesy of the New York Rangers)

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