Saturday, February 21, 2009

Something about Saturdays

It is funny the 2008-09 season has given hope to the Ranger fans because of the play of the Ranger prospects except for some strange reason on Saturday nights. Saturday night for whatever reason has been the one night out of the week where prospect performances have been average at best.

5 prospects saw action on Saturday night and the total output was 1 goal, 1 assist and 1 fight is all that came out of it. It has been the typical results for the Saturday night this season and if we could explain it we would.

Sadly we have to start with another example of hockey stupidity in Medicine Hat.

We are not happy at Tomas Kundratek's new hobby of fighting as the Ranger's 2008 3rd round pick got into his 3rd fight in 4 games only this time he also got himself a game misconduct in his Medicine Hat Tigers 8-3 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Back on Jan 21st the 2 teams got themselves involved in a line brawl that led to Lethbridge's coach Michael Dyck being suspended for 5 games for failing to control his players. One has to wonder what the WHL is going to do to both coaches after a total of 53 penalties for 238 PIMs were handed out.

Do we praise Kundratek for his game high 27 PIMs? To be honest, we understand the role of fighting in hockey but incidents like this makes it hard to defend fighting in hockey. Kundratek in his fight took on another WHL tough guy (tonight Mitch Versteeg) which if he is doing to show that he will not back down then we can say we get the message already.

Our concern is that he is too inexperienced at fighting and those he is dropping the gloves with are bigger, stronger and the fear of Kundratek getting hurt is real. However it is this insane brawls that are happening with these 2 teams is maddening.

Kundratek got an instigator, a fighting major, the 10 minute misconduct for instigating and then a game misconduct in this game to bring his season PIM total to a prospect high 81 PIMs.

If you are keeping track Chris Doyle leads the prospects with 5 fighting majors, Tysen Dowzak is second with 4 and Kundratek is 3rd with 3.

Chris Doyle and his Prince Edward Island Rocket came back from being down 3-1 to defeat the Quebec Remparts 5-3 thanks to 4 goals in the last 10 minutes of the third period. It was Doyle who got the comeback going by scoring his 24th goal of the season with a power play goal at 12:15.

For Doyle it was his first goal in 4 games as we believe that Doyle's back is still causing him some problems.

Max Campbell got a secondary assist on what proved to be the game winning goal as Western Michigan earned the weekend split by knocking off the Lake Superior State Lakers 4-1. Campbell's assist was his 11th on the season as Campbell improves to 14-11-25.

While we wish Evgeny Grachev a Happy 19th Birthday, our friends in Brampton have a sense of humor as they headlined the Brampton Battalion's 6-3 upset loss to the Owen Sound Attack with the headline: " Evgeny Grachev over the hill at 19" because Grachev did not score on his birthday and has failed to score in 2 of his last 3 games.

Truth be told, Grachev and his Battalion teammates looked past the Attack towards Sunday's game against the Belleville Bulls. Now instead of playing for a shot at the first seed in the OHL Eastern Conference they will be again trying to pull within 2 points of the top seeded Bulls.

If you live in Canada this game will be a must see on Sportsnet.

Tysen Dowzak and his Kelowna Rockets followed up their big road win on Friday with a 3-2 win over the Everett Silvertips. Dowzak was quiet in this game as we think he might have some minor injuries after his excellent game against the Giants on Friday.

Mitch Gaulton and his Erie Otters went on the road to Plymouth and came away with a 7-4 win over the Plymouth Whalers. Gaulton was scoreless in this game as the Otters pulled to within 2 points of the 5th seeded Whalers in the OHL's Western Conference.

Derek Stepan and his Wisconsin Badgers suffered a blow to their hopes of a NCAA berth when they dropped an embarrassing 5-0 loss. There was nothing nice to report about this one as Stepan was held in check with just one shot on goal.

Carl Hagelin had 4 shots on goal but he and his 3rd ranked Michigan Wolverines can only blame themselves for dropping the 2nd half of their weekend series with Ohio State 3-2. Michigan had a 2-0 lead and then gave away the game.

Antoine Lafleur was the backup goalie as his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies defeated the Val-d'Or Foreurs 5-2.

Danny Hobbs was a healthy scratch as his UMass Minutemen jumped out to a 4-0 lead and then hung on to defeat the Maine Blackbears 4-3.

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