Friday, November 6, 2009

Dean Prentice Prospect Of The Month

The best way to describe why we named the Prospect of the Month after Dean Prentice is to borrow from the folks at the Legends of Hockey's description of Dean Prentice during his time as a New York Ranger.

Prentice became the two-way standout who excelled at backchecking, killing penalties, working the corners and jumping onto the powerplay. But his quiet, unassuming personality took a back seat to the more colorful (Andy) Bathgate who was the dipsy-doodler and scorer among the trio. As such, Prentice has been characterized as the most underrated forward of his era.

Whether it is 1959 or 2009, New York Ranger fans have always had one standard for their team; either they work hard or they got booed. All you have to do is look at those who the Ranger fans select as the winners of the "Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award" to see the kind of standards Ranger fans have.

It is with those standards in mind when we pick who is the Ranger prospect of the month because sometimes it is not how many points you put up but what you do in order to help your team win.

Dean Prentice Prospect of the Month for October- Sam Klassen of the Saskatoon Blades

Others had more points, others had highlight performances but what nobody else offered was the consistent performance that could be tied directly to how well his team played. Sam Klassen only scored 11 points during the month of October (3-8-11) but he was an impressive +17 as his Saskatoon Blades went 10-2-0-1 and jumped to the top of the WHL standings.

Had you asked us at the beginning of the month who we thought was going to suffer from the "Post-Camp Blues" after being cut our first thought was Klassen. Klassen is an overage defenseman who signed as a free agent with the Rangers last June but due to the combination of a glut of defenseman and having a year of junior eligibility remaining, Klassen was returned to the Saskatoon Blades (who were very happy to have him back).

Klassen even had a very quiet first 3 games back with the Blades but against the Kootenay Ice on October 2nd both Sam and the Blades work up their season with a decisive 8-4 win thanks in part to Klassen's 3 assists. It was his first points of the season but it helped the Blades start a 6 game winning streak.

Klassen scored his first goal of the season 2 nights later against Red Deer but it was his +4 that stood out that night. In fact it is Klassen's plus/minus that has had us almost addicted to his play as since October 9, Klassen has been either a "plus" or even in 12 out of 13 games.

The Saskatoon Blades have been 12-1 during those same 13 games which is why we have fast become fans of Sam Klassen's game. It is also interesting to note that Klassen who we interview for the November issue of the Blueshirt Bulletin told us his goal for the season was to become more involved with the Blade offense.

After watching Klassen's work on the defensive end, whatever numbers he puts up on offense are a very nice bonus.

Congratulations to Sam Klassen for earning this month's Prospect of the Month Honors.


The Latest on Ben Fanelli

Kitchener, ON: November 5, 2009 - 3:10pm

Kitchener Rangers defenseman, Ben Fanelli has been moved from I.C.U. to a private room in Hamilton General Hospital. His medical status remains unchanged. Medical testing continues and a no visitor policy is in effect.

The Fanelli family and the Rangers Organization again thank the many people who have expressed their concerns and wishes for Ben's recovery. If you wish to send cards or messages, those may be dropped off to the Kitchener Rangers office or emailed to

Further updates will be made by the Kitchener Rangers when they become available.

Steve Bienkowski
Chief Operating Officer
Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club

(Dean Prentice courtesy of the New York Rangers, Sam Klassen courtesy of Steve Hiscock Photography)

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