Sunday, December 20, 2009

Crossing the Fingers

The first cuts were made to the Team USA roster on Sunday and that brought good news to the 4 players with Ranger ties as all 4 made it past this round of cuts. The 4 are Derek Stepan (2008 2nd), Chris Kreider (2009 1st), Ryan Bourque (2009 3rd) and Luke Walker (Traverse City).

For the Rangers, one can say that this is a pat on the back for their scouting staff to have this many prospects on one national team at the same time. Of the 4 we believe that the draft picks are locks to make Team USA while Walker keeps surprising people with his continued improvement.

The Rangers might regret not having an NHL contract available for Walker after his performance at Traverse City as with each passing day, Walker's value keeps going up. Even we have to admit that we are surprised that he has made it this far due to the recent injuries that Walker suffered to the facial area.

The Rangers should wind up with no less than 4 of their prospects playing in the 2010 World Under-20 Championships as Roman Horak (2009 5th) we believe will make the Czech Republic team in part because of his experience gained playing in North America.

We will break down how we see the World Junior's shaping up later this week.


Scott Stajcer was the only prospect in action on Sunday as his Owen Sound Attack ended their first half of the season with a solid 8-1 win over the Oshawa Generals. Stajcer stopped 22 out of 23 shots for his 12th win of the season breaking a personal 2 game losing streak.

More importantly for Stajcer is that he needed this kind of bounce back performance after getting yanked in his previous 2 starts. Stajcer also got some rare offensive support by his teammates which made his life a lot easier.

The Attack outshot the Generals 47-23 for the game as they got revenge for the General's 6-5 win the night earlier. Stajcer ends the first half of the season 12-14-2-1, 3.55 goals against and a 0.904 save percentage.

With this game all 3 CHL leagues are joining the NCAAs on a holiday break for the next week so we will take a couple of days off ourselves to get ready for the World Juniors.

(Kreider courtesy of Dennis Pause, Stacjer courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

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