Sunday, March 22, 2009

2 Games 7 Points

Today's Star Evgeny Grachev

There was no need for a fancy or cutesy headline as the numbers simply tell the story; Evgeny Grachev in 2 OHL playoff games has 3 goals and 4 assists. The Brampton Battalion have a 2 games to none lead over the Peterborough Petes in their OHL Playoff series.

The best way to really show how good Grachev is playing is to use what his teammate Matt Duchene said about the goal that Grachev scored as evidence:

“There aren’t many guys who can score a goal like that,” said Duchene. “I got the puck and saw him going to the net. That’s the only place I could have put it. If I put it back farther, it would have been intercepted. If it was too far ahead, he wouldn’t have got to it. It was a huge play for us, and a big part of it was Albert stepping up at the blue line to intercept the puck.”

There is one area that we have not really touched upon is how easy Grachev adapts to those he plays with. Stan Butler uses Grachev with Cody Hodgson (a power player), Duchene (more finesse) and the Russians used Grachev with Nikita Filatov as well as Sergi Andronov.

Grachev in a way can called an infantry soldier as he "improvises, adapts and overcomes" every obstacle placed in front of him. That goal that Grachev scored was a shorthanded one which is also another area that Grachev does not get enough credit for; his play on defense.

Against the Petes on Sunday afternoon, Grachev got 2 secondary assists on 2 Cody Hodgson power play goals (the Battalion's first 2 goals of the game). Grachev's shorthanded goal at 14:22 of the second period gave the Troop a 4-2 lead in the game.

The Troop in our eyes took the Petes lightly and some weak goaltending (4 goals on just 13 shots) allowed the Petes to score 2 third period goals which tied the game and forced overtime. The Battalion scored the game winner 54 seconds into overtime and helped Brampton avoid an embarrassing defeat.

The series now shifts to Peteborough for games 3 and 4 starting on Tuesday evening.


The NCAA made their selections for the NCAA tournament and it was exactly as the folks at College Hockey News predicted it would be. Carl Hagelin and his Michigan Wolverines are in as a 1 seed in the Eastern Regionals while Derek Stepan and Wisconsin are finished for the season.

For Hagelin and the Wolverines, the road back to the Frozen Four is going to be a lot harder than in recent years. The Wolverines in a region that features Air Force, Vermont and the host school Yale.

Yale has it's own Ranger connection as they have a pretty good volunteer goalie coach named Mike Richter. Richter has helped Yale's goalie Alec Richard go from a sub 500 goalie to a 19-4-1 1.97 season.

If you have never been to an NCAA regional then head out to the Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut and go see some excellent hockey.

As for Derek Stepan and the Wisconsin Badgers, this article here shows exactly why they are heading home for the summer. The NCAA uses RPI to determine the 10 At Large selections and as we have been saying for the last 2 days that had the Badgers defeated the Denver Pioneers just once it would have given them the needed boost.

(Grachev courtesy of the Brampton Battalion)


Jon said...

Jess, have you heard ANYTHING about the Rangers being interested in bringing back Kveton? He's just been awesome in the Czech league and should really get a look in the "nu-NHL".

Salvage21 said...

I was wondering if you could post some thoughts on what you think about the latest updates to Hockey Future's Rangers top prospect list.

I bet a lot of us frequent visitors would appreciate your view as well. As always, keep up the good work.

Jess Rubenstein said...


If you read the HF message boards, I am not exactly well liked there. Lists like these are purely subjective and based upon the view of the person who writes it just as any list I would write.

That being said, I have never been a fan of how HF ranks Ranger prospects simply because it is (in my eyes) not a good idea to have just one list since all of the prospects are playing in different leagues and at different stages of their development.

Doing it that way in my eyes can be misleading. For starters those in Hartford or Charlotte are already receiving coaching from the Rangers on a daily basis so they in theory should be more advanced than those in the CHL or the NCAAs.

Those in the CHL get limited visits from Ranger scouts and a couple of camps.

Those in the NCAA have even less Ranger contact and only attempt camps if they pay their own way there.

Since I do not cover Hartford or Charlotte (Mitch Beck and Bruce Berlet do a much better job than anyone else) I do not think it is fair for me to judge those I do not see play on a regular basis.

If you want a quickie list based upon potential towards helping the Rangers OVERALL then my list would look a bit like this:

1 Derek Stepan
2 Michael Del Zotto
3 Evgeny Grachev
4 Carl Hagelin
5 Tomas Kundratek
6 Max Campbell
7 Tysen Dowzak

My list is based upon OVERALL Ranger needs and what I see as how best these prospects can provide those needs.


If Tom Renney was still coach I would say that Kveton would be coming over now but with Tortorella here now I am unsure.

On the surface it looks as if Tortorella (and Schoeny) are moving the team away from the smaller forwards but I would bring Kveton and his speed over for a look as the Rangers still in my eyes lack good foot speed.

The question with Kveton will be is he willing to spend time in Hartford as his track record in the past has been suspect about his willingness to pay his dues in North America

Jess Rubenstein said...

One last thing Salvage

I will give HF's lists a much better grade than the list that Larry Brooks wrote for The Hockey News in their future watch issue.

Jimbo said...

Evgeny Grachev is the Rangers top prospect based on skills, based on needs, based on size, based on speed, based on anything.

Jess Rubenstein said...


You forgot one area: personal preference which is when you boil all the lists including mine that is what they are.

You left out one huge area which in my list is a big difference: leadership as I have seen Stepan show it but not Grachev and down the road the Rangers will need it.

Jimbo said...

Jess, look at it this way, Grachev is going to be so good that if Stepan is better as you say, then we have a couple of future superstars and I think we could all live with that.