Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Night of Feeling Ill

One of the most frustrating things about the playoffs is that injuries or illnesses are treated as if one needs super double triple secret clearance AND two special handshakes just to be told someone has an upper or lower body injury or in the case of Evgeny Grachev "flu-like symptoms'.

In the end it was the Brampton Battalion who were left really sick as they lost to the Windsor Spitfires 4-1 but this game may have cost the Battalion more than just trailing in the series 3-1. The 3rd period turned into Cheapshot Hockey as the Battalion saw their starting goalie Thomas McCollum being helped off the ice after being run.

McCollum was favoring his leg and his status for Friday's game 5 is unknown, what is know is that Brampton coach Stan Butler was livid after the game at seeing his goalie be injured and just a minor called.

"I don’t know how that’s not a five-minute penalty,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler. “If you watch it, you see that. The referees have to make those calls, but for some reason in this series they put their whistles away and it goes back to 1970s standards.”

Now we get to see Evgeny Grachev's biggest test which is a "win or else" game if he is able to play on Friday. To be honest Grachev has to play unless he is bedridden and in a coma.

Grachev has gone though a lot of learning curves this season and while he was a part of Russia's World Junior team; Grachev was not as important to the Russian team as he is to the Brampton Battalion.

Can Grachev return and be a factor on Friday evening? Right now one has to say all the odds are against the Battalion from being down 3-1, possibly without their goalie and top left wing and facing the Spitfires.

Only in hockey.


Out west the Calgary Hitmen were able to avoid being swept by Tysen Dowzak and his Kelowna Rocketsby finally discovering their power play and winning game 4 6-2. The Rockets still hold a 3-1 as the series shifts back to Calgary for Game 5 on Thursday.

Dowzak (wearing an "A") had an assist for his 4th point of the playoffs but like his teammates had no answer for WHL Player of the Year Brett Sonne. Sonne had a 4 point night including the game winner as we got a chance to see finally why he earned that honor.

Ranger fans should be very happy that Sonne will be playing for the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference as he is going to be a very good NHL level player in the coming years. A hard working player with a nose for the puck with some soft hands and great hockey sense; Sonne broke though and gives Calgary a hope of coming back in this series.

Once again for the Rockets the key was their special teams as when they win it is because the Rocket penalty kill shut down the other team. In Game 4, the Hitmen went 3 for 4 on the power play and shut the Rocket's out on their power plays at 0 for 5.

In the series so far in the 3 Rocket wins they held the Hitmen to 0 for 10 on the penalty kill so breaking out like the Hitmen did gives the Rockets a lot to think about in the short time between games.

The difference in NHL level travel and the WHL will be evident as according to sources the WHL has both teams sharing a plane to travel to Calgary for Game 5. The Hitmen are going to sit on one end of the plane while the Rockets on the other end with the media traveling with them sitting in the middle.

That would be one interesting plane ride that we sadly have to miss.


A few people have noticed that there is version of this place over at Typepad so I was hoping not to have to address until the final product was released. However a few of you have different concerns that deserve being addressed.

First no this site is not going to become subscription only like Blueshirt Bulletin + as what I do here is separate from what Dubi does. Dubi was kind enough to offer me one of his Typepad spots after I have been having nothing but problems with Blogspot.

The work that Dubi does between the print version and Blueshirt Bulletin Plus is worth subscribing to but while not putting what is done here; the Ranger material over there has much more interest than what is done here.

Second given the worries that people have expressed about the Typepad version then no move is going to be made until we can insure that those of you who are regulars can continue to read us especially as we enter the draft season. I promise not to shut anyone out even if I have to email people a daily copy.

Third why the move? Simple Blogspot is run by Google and Google has gotten so big that they do not care if you are having problems. They want you to sign up for their advertising network which pays you nothing and gives you zero control over the types of ads run on your site.

I would gladly pay a fee if I was breaking even but I was making 15 cents a month and I need to at least cover the costs of phone calls to Canada every month. Like the Blueshirt Bulletin I lose money every month as I try to build up a place where Ranger fans can get a truly fair and realistic evaluation of Ranger prospects.

By working with the mother site Blueshirt Bulletin, Howlings, the media relations folks who supply us with the stories and pictures as the media who cover Ranger prospects and you Ranger fans who are like a vast spy network all over the world; together we can bring you the daily world of Ranger prospects .

That part will never ever change no matter what. Nobody is not going to be able to find out about Ranger prospects and those who exchange emails with me will tell you that.

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