Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday Tales

Michael Del Zotto just might be the "Rodney Dangerfield" of the Ranger prospects. The Ranger's 2008 first round pick is getting basically ignored by Ranger fans in part because of the numbers that third round pick Evgeny Grachev has been putting up.

So can we ask people to put aside Grachev's numbers for a moment and ask if 9-33-42 are not bad numbers for a defenseman? If since being traded from Oshawa to London that Del Zotto is 2-7-9 in the 8 games since the trade is bad?

It is exactly why we suggested that Del Zotto needed to be traded as now with London, Del Zotto does not have to play too many minutes, that he is playing with more talented teammates and has a battle tested former NHL player for a coach.

It is win-win for the Rangers, their fans and most importantly Del Zotto's potential itself. Take for example the 9-0 blasting that Del Zotto's London Knight did to the Kitchener Rangers on Tuesday evening.

Del Zotto had 2 primary assists in this win as well as a +2 as the Knights now have 15 goals in their last 2 games both wins. Del Zotto still does look for his offense maybe a tad more than people want but when you are putting up point a game numbers can you blame him?

Del Zotto now has a 4 game scoring streak going (1-5-6) during this streak. And the trade has also done a number on Del Zotto's plus/minus as he has gone from a -12 on the season to a -6. By the end of the season we expect Del Zotto to be on the plus side.

Then we have Tomas Kundratek of Medicine Hat as the scoresheet says that his Tigers won 5-4 over the Seattle Thunderbirds. Kundratek did not score but that to us was not the story.

For us the story was that (a) Kundratek returned to the top pairing on defense and (b) as we expected was paired with Bo Montgomery who was playing his first game with the Tigers.

We like this move by the Tigers for a couple of reasons; first Montgomery is a top flight defender who has had the bad luck of playing on a very bad Portland team. The second is that Kundratek has the kind of partner who thinks more about the big picture than getting into fights.

Kundratek still is trying to find his offensive side but the addition of Montgomery is going to help speed things up for him as Kundratek now has a solid partner to play with. On Wednesday, the new pairing is going to face a monster of a test as they face the Vancouver Giants.

The Giants in our eyes are the best team in the WHL (sorry Calgary) and it will be interesting to see how they measure up.


It has been a while since we mentioned the college polls, in the latest of USA Today and CBS Sports polls shows that the Michigan Wolverines (Carl Hagelin) have recovered from their slump and returned to the top ten.

USA Today has them at 7th while CBS College has them at 8th. Michigan has improved their season record to 18-8 having rediscovered their offense.

The other team with a Ranger prospect the Wisconsin Badgers (Derek Stepan) find themselves 15th in the CBS College poll and 17th in the USA Today poll.

Despite the experts who think that Wisconsin is not a NCAA tournament team, we think this is a team that nobody is going to want to face come NCAAs.

(Del Zotto and Kundratek courtesy of the Rangers)

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