Friday, January 30, 2009

G is For Gaulton, Godzilla, Great, and Goal

We interrupt the Evgeny Grachev report for news about another Ranger prospect Mitch Gaulton. Gaulton scored his first goal of the season as his Erie Otters defeated a hot Niagara IceDog team 5-3 on the road Thursday evening.

For Gaulton it was his first goal since October 19th 2007 and it helped the Otters get going in their game against the IceDogs. Gaulton still is trying to get himself into game shape but nights like this will help both Gaulton and the Otters.

Gaulton has not been known as an offensive minded defender but prior to his original injury in 2007 there was a belief that Gaulton was about to break out. For the Otters who have been struggling with injuries while trying to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 season, the return of Gaulton has had a emotional boost for them.

Gaulton's first goal was also the game's first score as Gaulton took a feed from teammate Luke Gazdic at 9:23 of the first period. It sparked the Otters who scored 2 more goals in the first period to chase IceDog's goalie Jeremy Smith out of the game.

For the Otters the win allows them to return home with a 2-2 record after a long bus trip and keeps them in the 7th seed of the OHL's Western Conference with a 24-23-2 record.


Normally we would have made Evgeny Grachev's record setting 11th straight game with a point as the top story but the point that Godzilla received was an empty net assist. Yes it is a point but for us it kind of takes away from the record.

Even the game itself was not exactly what we have gotten used from the Brampton Battalion. The Troop had more of a struggle against the Oshawa Generals than they might want to acknowledge.

The Battalion earned a 3-0 shutout win but the Generals really are no match for a team like the Battalion who won their 8th straight. This is one that we give the Battalion a pass on as one could also make a case that the championship winners find a way to win the ugly ones too.

However for Grachev the bigger story is that once again he earned our Prospect Of the Week award and clinched the Prospect of the Month award for January as well. There really is not a whole lot more that can be said about the season that Grachev is having with 27-27-54 +27 numbers.

Grachev for the week ending on the 25th was 3-4-7 in 3 games as he extended his scoring streak to 10 games. During the span Grachev has gone 10-10-20 +15 and with the point in Thursday's game gives him a chance to do yet another thing that has not been done by a Ranger prospect.

With a point on Saturday against the Sudbury then Grachev will have recorded a point in every game that he played in during the month. The recent Ranger prospect history has names like Dawes and Callahan who were prolific scorers during their junior days.

However for all their own scoring neither ever scored in every game that they played in during the entire month. In fact since October 11th a span of 36 games, Grachev has points in 31 of those games.

However if you are a Brampton fan then what Grachev has done is second best as Grachev doesn't even have the longest scoring streak on his own team. Teammate Cody Hodgson has an 18 game scoring streak going 14-16-30.

Wonder how Godzilla is going to top what Hodgson has done?

(Gaulton courtesy of Mark Bell/Erie, Grachev courtesy of the Battalion)


Amos said...

couldn't be happier with the news of gaulton's first goal back. what a rush that must have given him!
grachev continues to tear it up, but as cautious as the rangers tend to be with moving their prospects along, do you think it's going to take an additional stellar training camp to earn a spot on broadway next year?

Jess Rubenstein said...


First I would like to see if Grachev plays well in the OHL playoffs. I do not think he is even close to NHL ready at this point.

The stats look great but against he is for the most part playing on the 2nd line against 2nd liners.

Let us see how he does in the OHL playoffs as I expect him to turn his game up then as the Grachev I have seen in the past plays his best in the bigger games.

I think Hartford is where he begins next season unless he greatly improves his foot work

Amos said...

yeah that's something i forgot to mention was his performance in the playoffs. i think if brampton had gone farther last year bobby sanguinetti would've gotten much more of a look during camp this year.
even though his body is "nhl ready" i'd agree in that he needs to step it up to be ready for the show. i noticed in the WJC's every now and then it looked like he was thinking about something else while on the ice instead of taking it hard to the net like we all know he's capable of. Which do you think would be better in the long run for him, provided he doesn't make the squad (i think any opening in the lineup will go to anisimov anyway, in my opinion), a season in hartford, or another in brampton? personally with how crowded hartford is this season, i think he might be better served as a top line winger in brampton than buried in hartford not being able to distinguish yourself (see: dale weise, who is struggling, i think he'll pick it up tho)

Amos said...

hmm weird i left a comment earlier but it didn't post. it was basically asking whether you think grachev would better be served playing in brampton or hartford next year? i think sanguinetti would've gotten a longer look if brampton had made it further in the OHL playoffs last year. basically because of how buried someone like dale weise is in the hartford system, do you think the rangers would send someone like grachev back to brampton where he would log first line minutes with hodgson departing? lemme know your thoughts!