Friday, April 24, 2009

The Truly Great Grachev

There are times when words can not simply describe just a great a performance a Ranger prospect puts on. On Friday evening, Evgeny Grachev put on one of those performances that quite simply makes you wonder "just how good he is going to be".

It is ironic on a night when no Ranger stepped up when his team needed it the most that Grachev gave that kind of performance in the 3 period of Game 6 against the Belleville Bulls.

Grachev set up Cody Hodgson's tiebreaking goal and then scored the "turn out the lights" goal as Brampton scored 5 goals in the 3rd period to come back and win 7-4 to advance to the first OHL final in franchise history.

Back in March we asked for Grachev to score some big goals, to make some big plays and boy has he delivered to cement his status as the Ranger prospect of the year. In the 5+ years of covering Ranger prospects nobody has ever turned up his game like Grachev has during the OHL playoffs.

In the 3rd period with the scored tied at 3; Grachev found Hodson on the other side of the crease setting up an easy tap in to help Brampton regain the lead at 4-3 which they never gave back. It was Grachev's 13th assist of the playoffs and extended his scoring streak to 9 games.

With the score 5-4, Belleville pulled their goalie but Grachev put an end to their hopes with his 11th goal of the playoffs with just 63 seconds remaining in regulation. They call it an "insurance" goal and it was Grachev's 3rd of the playoffs.

What makes Grachev's performance even more impressive is that he did this less than 24 hours after playing almost a full 2 overtimes. Now we want to ask Godzilla to take his game to an even higher level and give the folks in Brampton their very first OHL Championship.


Got to love what Regan Bartel wrote about Tysen Dowzak and the Kelowna blueline:

I like to call the Kelowna Rockets blue line the - 'Rodney Dangerfield Defence'! They don't get any respect.

Or do they?

In this series the top five d-men of Tyler Myers, Tyson Barrie, Tysen Dowzak, Brandon McMillan and Collin Bowman are a combined +8. Myers and Barrie lead the pack at + 4. The Giants top five d-men are a combined minus 8.

During the regular season Vancouver Giants Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Evander Kane finished 1st and 4th overall in scoring. Neither has been a factor so far in this series and if the Rockets keep this up then they will have a date with Kelly Kisio's Calgary Hitmen in the WHL finals.


Then there is this piece from Steve Zipay at Newsday in which he talks about other people who write about the Rangers:

Love the free press, I grew up and made a career of it, but I've gotta laugh more and more at these "expert" bloggers who watch games on TV, never show up at a practice or a game, take notes from the MSG broadcast, then read and cherry-pick all the immediate post-game reports from writers and columnists actually at the games, "borrow" some of that without recourse, and then post their opinions maybe, oh, FOUR hours later. Great country, this.

You know Steve you are right about those who use someone else's material without crediting it back to the original writer. You are also right about the free press but since you want to laugh at the "expert" bloggers can we would like to point something out to you.

You have written about Ranger prospects (meaning those in the NCAAs and CHL) in the past but can we ask how you based your opinions of them? Did you go see them play in the juniors or NCAA or did you rely on someone else's material or scouting report for your "expert" opinions?

People view you as an "expert" on the Rangers but could you honestly say that you could recognize any of them on your own? Without looking at any notes could you tell us which prospect plays for who and where?

We bring this up because it was wrong to make a blanket statment about those who blog about the Rangers. If you got a legit beef with someone speak up because you might discover we agree.

There are a lot of bloggers who play dirty and nothing would make us happier to see them cleaned out. At the same time there are some of your own peers who play just as dirty and are no better with their behavior.

But to paint a broad brush like you did is offensive to those bloggers who do not have access to the Rangers directly like you do. We know both sides because we have been credentialed in the past by the Rangers and NHL but we also know how very very hard it is for bloggers to gain acceptance.

Even worse is how you added this disclaimer:

The tiny opinion above---which clearly touched some nerves---isn't about hard-working newspapermen and women here in the NY area or DC. It's about the hacks. Just find it comical. I've already moved on. There's work to do.

AH Newspaper people you mean those same people who for years never dared to "blog", who have fought to prevent bloggers from being treated as responsible journalists and who now are facing being phased out because more and more bloggers are gaining acceptance which means nobody wants to buy newspapers?

Maybe Steve then does that mean when we see you say something like Del Zotto going to Hartford next season we can find it comical because Del Zotto is just 18 and not eligible to play for the Wolfpack just the Rangers until after next season.

Should we consider you a "hack" because you did not know that or will you say it was an honest mistake?

Or maybe we too should move on because we have work to do as well.

(Grachev courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

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