Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shocking Results

According to Canadian history, the original Voltigeurs were a light infantry unit formed in 1812 to fight against the American forces during the War of 1812. Light infantry units by nature are some of the most dangerous because they can strike from anywhere using multiple methods of attack.

In 2009, the Drummondville Voltigeurs stayed true to their namesakes by opening their 2009 Memorial Cup run with a shocking 3-2 overtime win over OHL Champs the Windsor Spitfires. Forward Maxime Frenette poked in a rebound past Windsor Spitfires’ goalie Andrew Engelage at 8:56 of the first overtime to steal a win over the favorites to win this year's Cup.

In what was expected to be a high scoring game, it turned out that the goalies were the ones who stole the show as the Spitfire's Engelage and the Voltigeur's Marco Cousineau trades great saves with each other all game long. How neither goalie earned a star in this game is a major disappointment because they both put on one heck of a show.

Of course in games when you have top level talent going up against each other that is unknown players who wind up doing most of the damage. For the Spitfires it was their captain Adam Henrique (2008 3rd NJ Devils) who had 2 goals in the losing effort.

The Voltigeurs got their winning goal from a player who had been for the most part a spare part during the playoff run in Frenette. The London Free Press did a great writeup on Frenette worth reading right here

For us what we believe the key to the win for the Voltigeurs was that they came right at the Spitfires going right on the attack and then used Spitfire hockey against the Spitfires. The Spitfires looked off balanced as they did not expect a team from the QMJHL to come out with a swarming physical attack.

When the Voltigeurs Olivier Hotte took a roughing call against the Spitfire's Conor O'Donnell; the tone for this game was set. The Voltigeurs though also hurt themselves offensively by trying to be too perfect, too cute (something Ranger fans will understand all too well).

If not for Engelage this game might not have made it to overtime, Engelage made several spectacular saves during the first 2 periods including during several on 3 straight power plays that the Voltigeurs had in the second period. During one series, Engelage made a blocker, then stick and finally a skate save to rob the Voltigeurs of what would have been the game's first goal.

On the other end of the ice, Voltigeur's goalie Cousineau showed some excellent positioning work as well as a glove hand in also keeping the Spitfires off the board until a second of the second period. In fact the game's first goal was scored with just 0.02 remaining in the second period according to the video review of the goal.

In the 3rd period, it seemed as the Spitfires lost the edge that made them one of the top teams in all of the CHL this past season. For whatever reason, the Spitfires could not figure out how to put the Voltigeurs away and it cost them.

Credit the Voltigeurs as the Spitfires are saying that they gave the game away, we disagree as the Voltigeurs took it from them by playing Spitfire hockey.


Prospect Scouting

Dmitry Kulikov is someone who we believe just might be the 2nd defenseman selected in the upcoming NHL Entry draft. Really liked how he handles the defensive zone as he kept the big guns from the Spitfires from getting the rebound chances.

The Rangers needs are in other positions but if by some miracle he was still there at 19 then it would be a no brainer.

Mike Hoffman is a free agent and worth looking at from the Ranger's standpoint, 5 shots on goal but a willingness to go into traffic to make plays is what stood out. Had 2 good chances but Engelage made quality saves.

Taylor Hall looked a little off against Voltigeurs but credit them for keeping a body always near him. The Voltigeurs made sure there were people in his way almost to the point of interference. Hall never got the chances in open ice like we gotten used to seeing. Feel sorry for Rimouski on Sunday.

Ryan Ellis is considered one of the top offensive defensemen in the OHL, his numbers were better than Michael Del Zotto's were. His being 5'10 we believe will drop him down towards the Rangers but you have to pass on him if you are the Rangers.


We also would like to comment on these Zherdev to the KHL rumors that people appear to be going crazy over.

(A) Please check out Beyond the Blueshirts as Laurie has only reported on a couple of occasions that Zherdev was not interested in the KHL.

(B) Under the current CBA the Rangers in order to retain the rights to Zherdev only need to offer him 100% of his 2008 salary and they either keep him or gain compensation for him. At 3.25 mil there are very few NHL teams who will try to outbid the Rangers for a talented but frustrating player.

(C) The KHL is cutting player salaries, they made an agreement with their player's union in order to make it happen claiming they could not afford to pay top dollar salaries. No way do they then go out and spend big bucks on Zherdev.

(D) The Rangers if they fail to give Zherdev an offer sheet will have given Fedor Tyutin away for nothing. Say what you want about Zherdev but that would mean yet another major mistake by the Sather management staff.

(E) It is May, not June or even July, unlike us here who still have hockey to cover, most Ranger reporters, bloggers and even fans have nothing other than rumors to talk about. The bad news is that it is just May and the nonsense we are sad to say is about to get much much worse.


Jonesy_NYR427 said...

I was able to catch the game yesterday. Great game. The Memorial Cup and the World Juniors are 2 reasons why the NHL Network is the greatest thing since cable TV. Anyhoo, with your recommendations in mind, I was really impressed with Kulikov. Not only did he play big in the slot, but he seemed to be the one D'ville defenseman who routinely took the puck away from Hall. NYR needs a scoring wing in the worst way, but if he's there, I agree that they have to take him. A good young D is more valuable than a good young FWD every day and twice on Sunday.

Lee said...

Jess - sorry I am often asking about these details but its confusing. Why is Hoffman a FA, while Corey Cowick is draft eligible? Both have 3 years Junior, and CC is older

Jess Rubenstein said...


To be honest when it cones to draft eligibles, even I get just as confused as you are.


It is a sgame there are not more fans like you.

The game I am really wanting to watch as a fan is Kelowna/Windsor.

DK is a dream pick as I think he will wind up going at least 6th but it is a nice dream