Thursday, January 29, 2009

It is the System

Over at the Blueshirt Bulletin + I was asked why I did not believe the Rangers were a top 3 eastern conference team and my response was because top 3 teams do not win one, lose one. But there is more as championship winning teams leave you believing that no lead is safe that they can find a way to beat you.

I bring this up because of all the teams that I get to watch, I am a huge fan of the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. The Giants are the Anti-Rangers in many ways as when they enter the 3 period of a game then you just know they will find a way to win.

That when the Giants have a team in trouble that they finish them off, that they they play as a team where no one player even the stars of the team are more important than another. You do not earn a record of 42-4-0-3 by not having the team believe in each other.

I bring this up because on Wednesday Tomas Kundratek and his Medicine Hat Tigers traveled to Vancouver to face the Giants. The question was not whether or not the Tigers were going to lose but rather how bad would the loss be.

The Tigers like so many other WHL teams jumped out to a 3-1 lead over the Giants but the Giants scored the games last 3 goals of the game to win 4-3. It was not that the Tigers played badly as if anything it was the opposite.

The Tigers shut down the leading scorer in the WHL Casey Pierro-Zabotel for the most part as well as my favorite prospect Evander Kane. To limit those 2 who have combined 58-96-154 to just 1 assist is pretty good.

The Tigers even outplayed the Giants for most of the game but when came down to crunch time the Giants came together, they came back and then they won again. Now compare this to the what the Rangers did against the Pens and you see why one does not believe in the Rangers.

It is because the Rangers do not believe in themselves or their system as that is what the results show us.

Tomas Kundratek was scoreless and a -1 but again it should not be viewed as Kundratek playing bad just that the Giants were that good when it counted.


Tysen Dowzak and his Kelowna Rockets put on a solid defensive showing in defeating the Prince George Cougars 4-1. Dowzak did not score which is typical but his effort in this game was much better than it has been as of late.

Dowzak needs to be more of a force on the blueline if he is to have a future as a professional. A little more offense would be nice but his defense needs more consistency. Play games like he did against the Cougars where he shut down passing lanes, where he kept people out of scoring positions and where he simply broke up plays and the Rangers get a player.


Chris Doyle and the Prince Edward Island Rocket saw their 3 game winning streak come to a end as they were shut out by the Saint John Sea Dogs 3-0. This one was a costly loss for the Rocket as they are chasing the Sea Dogs in the standings and fell 9 points behind them.

Doyle was shut down as he was held to just 3 shots and nothing else. If the Rocket are going to make a push for a QMJHL playoff spot then Doyle needs to play and produce like he did in November and December.


Antoine Lafleur started the game on the bench but after starter Mickael Audette gave up 4 goals over the first two periods in came Lafleur. It did not matter as Lafleur and his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies lost to the Montreal Junior 6-1.

Lafleur gave up 2 goals on 9 shots faced in the 3rd period but with the Huskies playing the role of the Rangers as of late then Lafleur will more than likely be heading to Hartford on an ATO come March.


Finally Adam Graves is going to be a busy beaver next week as the retiring of the number 9 is on Tuesday but on Wednesday Graves will be one of the honourary captains at the OHL All-Star Classic.

Graves will be the captain of the Western Conference All-Stars and will have Michael Del Zotto

Graves for those who did not know played for the host Windsor Spitfires during his junior day and currently is a part owner of the Oshawa Generals.

The other honourary captain will be some former Detroit Red Wing named Steve Yzerman.


Ryan McFadden said...

couldn't agree with you more.

The Dark Ranger said...

Jess....I second Ryan. Belief in the Renney system is essential (if you believe in that sort of thing). They gave it up.