Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Slower Sunday

Sunday's Star

There are times when someone's effort is not going to show up on the scoreboard because they did not put up goals or assists. On Sunday Sam Klassen (2009 UFA) of the Saskatoon Blades had one of those days as he keyed a strong defensive effort to help his Blades to a 4-0 shutout win over the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Klassen has moved into the 2 spot on the Blade's defense teaming with Stefan Elliot and this pairing has become a huge reason why the Blades have 5 straight games. Klassen did not score but his +3 as well as his efforts on the penalty kill played roles in this road win.

Klassen has been on a role since October 7th as he has gone 1-4-5 with a +9 and that was also the start of the current Blade winning streak. With Klassen anchoring the Blade defensive corp, the Blades currently are the number one defensive team in the WHL holding opponents to just 2.27 goals per game.

The Rest of the Ranger Prospects

The Ranger's 2009 1st round pick Chris Kreider made his NCAA debut on Sunday as his 12th ranked Boston College took on 11th ranked Vermont in a nationally telecast game on Sunday. The results may not have been to Kreider's liking as his young Boston College Eagles were taken to the woodshed by the veteran Catamounts 4-1.

We saw some good and a few bad things out of Kreider here but the good should eventually provide a solid player for the Rangers if they let him develop and not rush him. Kreider finished 2nd on his team with 4 shots on goal and we gave him credit for 2 "dangerous" scoring chances in this.

In the first period we saw Kreider's wrist shot which has some heat on it, it was low and in time it will catch goalies unaware leading either to scores or nice rebounds for teammates. Late in the second period, Kreider had beaten Vermont goalie Rob Madore with a nice shot only for it to go off the right post.

Offensively we can't complain about any part of Kreider's game as we have to factor facing one of last year's Frozen Four teams into how well he played. The Catamounts did a good job disrupting the Eagle's offensive flow after the first 10 minutes of the game which made it hard for Kreider to use his best weapon which is his speed.

Defensively, Kreider does need to learn how to read plays better which is to be expected of a young player making the kind of jump in competition like Kreider has. Kreider fell a couple of times early for head fakes but mostly stayed within his defensive positioning.

Kreider also needs to learn how to better square up his body when trying to check, at 6'2 205 Kreider should be a tad more physical at both ends of the ice. If he does then he will create more space for himself.

Overall grade out his debut as a B-, taking into account playing against one of the better teams in Hockey East if not the NCAAs. We liked that Kreider did not show any jitters or played like he was an average freshman.

Kreider is going to get better more likely soon than later so let us watch him say in January and see how he plays then. We think it will be worth waiting for.

Daniel Maggio (2009 6th) and his Sudbury Wolves came into Sunday's OHL matchup with the Brampton Battalion with the 3rd worst defense in the league. So of course that means that the Wolves shut out Brampton 3-0 with Maggio earning a secondary assist on the game winning goal.

With the assist, Maggio is now 4-6-10 in 13 games with a -3 and 21 PIMs.

Chris Doyle (2008 5th) had a quiet game as his Prince Edward Island Rocket fell to the Saint John's Sea Dogs 5-2. Doyle was limited to just 1 shot for the game which is nothing close to what we are used to seeing out of him.

Luke Walker (Traverse City) and his Portland Winterhawks went up against their former coach Mike Williamson who is now coaching the Calgary Hitmen and the 2 teams put on a great display of wide open pond hockey. The Winterhawks will not like watching the tape of this one as they gave away leads of 2-0 and 4-3 in losing 6-5 on a goal in the last 40 seconds of the game.

Walker had a goal (Portland's 4th) and an assist on the Winterhawk's 2nd goal but was also on the ice for 2 key goals for Calgary. Walker on the season improves his numbers to 7-7-14 +5.

Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) had a secondary assist as his Medicine Hat Tigers held off the Swift Current Broncos 4-3 despite being outshot in the game 35-22. Kundratek is now 0-5-5 on the season.

A Favor To Ask

This month we are trying to help the American Red Cross raise money to help those great folks who respond to disasters wherever they happen. All you have to do is click on the ad in the upper right corner.

It just costs you a few minutes of your time and when you do that then we help raise money for disaster relief efforts that the American Red Cross provides. Click early and often please cause the person you one day may be helping could be yourself.

(Klassen courtesy of the Saskatoon Blades, Kreider courtesy of Boston College)

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