Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rocket Men

Yes Hatch go right ahead and have a good feeling about where the Kelowna Rockets are after defeating the Drummondville Voltigeurs 6-4 on Monday night. Yes Hatch enjoy that the Rockets no matter what happens against Windsor will be playing in the Memorial Cup Final on Sunday.

Now be honest and tell the world that you and the Rockets still have not played a good game at the Memorial Cup. The folks who have not seen you may be impressed by the efforts of the Rockets but those of us who know the Rockets also know better.

The only 2-0 team in the Cup that has not even come close to playing their "A" game and yet here they are one win away from bringing back the Memorial Cup to the WHL again. The question on everyone's minds is how will Kelowna play on Tuesday in what is now a meaningless game for them against the Windsor Spitfires.

Our belief is that Rocket coach Ryan Huska will treat this game as if it was the Rockets who are facing elimination and take the game to the Spitfires. The Rockets have played poorly against the 2 QMJHL teams but Windsor is going to be playing for their Cup lives and they are not a happy bunch at the moment.

There are 2 schools of thought here as if the Rockets knock off Windsor then the only team that really can match up with them in every area but perhaps goaltending will be gone. If there is a team that can explode and win 4 straight to steal the Cup is Windsor.

The OHL champs like Kelowna have not played well at all but they are a team that is to be feared. Take them out will be Huska's objective and for those who do not know the Rockets well then let us tell you this is a team that can play back to back games and handle it.

During the Rocket's run though the WHL playoffs they have played back to back games 7 times including twice during the WHL finals against the Calgary Hitmen. They will be there ready to play and this will be a great game in any event.

As for Tysen Dowzak, Game two earned him an improved grade of B+ as he played the smart game for the most part. We loved how Dowzak showed his smarts by just sitting there killing time behind his own net with the Rockets still nursing a one goal lead.

Many a player would have forced the puck up ice but Dowzak was not getting any pressure from Drummondville so he rightfully just sat there and let the clock tick off (A Jay Wells trick BTW). As Dowzak has told us, the Rangers did not sign him for his offensive skills but "smart" defensive plays like that one.

Dowzak looked much more comfortable handling the puck than he did last Friday night. He used his body to shield the puck to keep Drummondville away from it. Even better was after receiving a huge hit, just got right back up and into position instead of the common trend of today; taking a bad penalty because you got hit.

He does need to continue to improve his play in the neutral zone as Dowzak looked tenative almost afraid to make a move. Dowzak needs more confidence in himself, just remember to cross the center ice and get the puck deep.


While people are focusing on the Ranger's need to add a big scoring winger, we keep saying that adding depth to the goalie position is just as important.

Now nobody seems to know if Mark Guggenberger is draft eligible for the 2009 draft or a UFA because he is 20 but in any case this is a goalie the Rangers should be looking to add.

Do not let the 4 goals scored by Drummondville fool you as instead we suggest you look at these numbers

Regular Season: 17-3-1-2 2.06

Playoffs: 16-5-1 2.36

Memorial 2-0 2.50

Add them up and you have 35-8-2-2 but that is not why we say sign him. We say because we see some Ranger goalie named Lundqvist in him.

By that we mean, here is a kid who keeps his team in games long enough for his teammates to find a way to win games. All Guggenberger has done is be the goalie who knocked off 3 of the very best the WHL has to offer and is one win from winning a Memorial Cup.

Guggenberger we acknowledge has bounced around during his WHL years but with the right structure (read that no nonsense coaches) this is a prospect who in 2 years will be NHL ready.

If you doubt then take the time to watch him play in the Memorial Cup when his team is struggling and how Guggenberger props his team up. The Rangers have an advantage thanks to fellow Minnesota native Tysen Dowzak on the Rockets so if the Rangers can get him as a free agent or even with a 2nd round pick then grab him.

Besides with a name like Guggenberger how could he not be anything but a Ranger?


To answer those who have been wondering about who owns who's draft rights among Kelowna there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that most of the rights belong to Western Conference teams

Jamie Benn- Dallas Stars
Cody Almond- Minnesota Wild
Colin Long- Phoenix Coyotes
Brandon McMillian- Anaheim
Mikael Backlund- Calgary
Ryley Grantham- Calgary

The bad news is that the Rangers did not pick any of these players and the best of the bunch Tyler Myers will be a Buffalo Sabre.

(Dowzak-Regan Bartel, Guggenberger-Aaron Bell)


Amos said...

i like the idea of guggenburger as a free agent, i checked the central scouting goalies list and didn't see him, so i assume he's a free agent as well, but i sure wouldn't mind mitch gaulton's erie otter teammate jaroslav janus, who was dynamite in slovakias WJC run... he's ranked down at 14 on domestic goalie rankings, maybe could be got for a mid to late round pick? thoughts?

Jess Rubenstein said...

Janus has said if he does not get a pro deal he is going back to Europe rather than return to Erie.

That kind of turns me off of him as I would rather see him continue to play in North America to further his development.

I would take him with 4th to 5th round pick