Friday, August 28, 2009

Prospects Leave a Good Impression

Friday night exhibition hockey saw 3 New York Ranger prospects in action including the North American debut of 2009 5th round pick Roman Horak who is currently with the Chilliwack Bruins of the WHL.

The Bruins were taking on the defending WHL champion the Kelowna Rockets in the exhibition opener for both teams. Horak made his North American debut a very successful one as Horak off a goal and an assist was named the game's first star in the Bruin's 4-2 win.

So little is known about Horak and the kind of player he is but the first impression judging from this game and the few reports from it (big thanks to @jbbruins via twitter who also provided a game recap here as well as the picture of Horak), Horak has some very good playmaking skills.

(Sat afternoon update: thanks to Jacob Bestebroer of Chilliback for sending us a link with a postgame interview with Horak here)

Horak got the Bruins on the scoreboard in the first period as he cashed in a rebound of a Mitch McColm shot. Horak knocked the puck down and fired it past Kelowna goalie Adam Brown for his first goal in North America.

Horak played well, between going to the net and setting up his teammates (he could have had a 4 point night) and if this is a sign of things to come then the Rangers might have stolen a prospect in the 5th round.

Chris Doyle followed up his season debut with an even better performance going 2-1-3 as Doyle's Prince Edward Island Rocket came from behind with 3 unanswered goals to defeat the Arcadie-Bathurst Titan 5-4.

Doyle in 2 exhibition games is 3-1-4 but it is more than just the points that are getting our interest. Doyle is showing a more aggressive side that his critics said has been missing from his game.

Doyle took 10 shots on net, scoring 2 even strength goals (including an unassisted one) then on the power play setting up who proven to be the winning goal. Doyle has the talent but the question has been how bad does he want it (his professional contract)?

So far the answer is that he wants it very badly.,

Ryan Bourque had just one assist as his Quebec Remparts had very little trouble with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens winning 6-3. It was a mixed evening for the Ranger's 3rd round pick as he had 2 dangerous shots but also was -2.

Bourque who has swapped his uniform number from 26 to 91 set up the Rempart's first goal of the game. Bourque found linemate Danick Paquette for a power play goal and a 1-0 lead that the Remparts never gave back.

The good side of Bourque's game is that he shows an ability to adapt to whoever he is lined up with. Rempart coach Patrick Roy put Bourque with Dmitri Kugryshev (2008 2nd Washington)for this game and the 2 prospect bonded rather quickly.

The other part of Bourque that we have grown to quickly like is that he has no fear about physical contact, does not avoid it and despite his size initiates the contact.

No word as to whether Traverse City invitee Craig Cunningham played as his Vancouver Giants had to go to the shoot out to defeat the Kamloops Blazers 6-5.


I have learned to greatly appreciate what hockey players go though when they suffer knee injuries. On Wednesday I got to find out firsthand what arthroscopic surgery is all about as I had a torn MCL repaired.

It is an experience I hope to never repeat as I have broken bones, I had a neck injury and nothing compares to this. To see how hockey players (and football players) go though heck to return to action is a humbling lesson as it screams volumes about their heart and desire.

I also though am discovering how great people are too as the support and kind words I have gotten over the last couple of days also tells you why the hockey world is the best world to be a part of.

The offers of help to keep this place going while I recover have blown me away. From players that I am supposed to be covering, to you guys the readers and my peers in the hockey world; words can not begin to express how grateful I am for all the help.

Now who wants to do my rehab for me?

(Horak courtesy of Bob Frid-Free Motion Photography, Chris Doyle-PEI Rocket, Ryan Bourque-Aaron Bell)

1 comment:

Amos said...

holy crap man, i guess my lack of twittering and facebooking has kept me out of the loop. hope your recover goes smoothly, i'm sure it's tough being out of commision. as a drummer, when i sustained a serious nerve injury that left me without the use of my left arm for 6 months. i had to change careers, and had to teach my arm how to write again (i'm left handed), and especially do the thing i love most (outside of hockey), playing drums. 18 months of rehab and various procedures, including a number of nerve blocks, which involved a needle into my spine going through the left side of my throat) it's about as close to normal as i'm ever going to get again. injuries can be life changing, so i hope your recovery is swift. i'd love to pitch in around the website any way that i can if you need help, i was just thinking the other day how i wish i had your job.