Monday, December 28, 2009

The Short Report

The USA had the day off at the World Under-20 Championships and to be really honest; this year's version of the championships is making a great case for the critics who say the championships need some changes to them.

When you look at the standings so far and you see stats like a goal differential of a -21 or that the Swiss have not scored even a single goal then you wonder just how competitive these games truly are. It is hard to ignore the calls for changes when you see the same teams playing for the gold medal year in and year out.

In our eyes the tournament should be cut down to 8 teams with a round robin in 2 groups to decide seeding for the playoff round with nobody receiving any byes and goal differential used as one of the last tiebreakers. If there is still a need for 10 teams then have the top 2 teams from the previous year's relegation round play a play-in against the 2 promoted teams.

You want to make them interesting then have them play a best 2 out of 3 series or a second relegation play in at the site of the highest seed from the previous year. But no matter what make these preliminary games have more meaning than just the matchups between the USA and Canada or the Russians and Swedes.

As for the USA, after 2 games one can not help but to feel that USA Hockey is finally getting it and is building the program not just for one year but for the long term. To see younger players like Chris Kreider and Jack Campbell being used in key roles in their first year is a welcome change.

Now let us hope as the USA Hockey is getting ready for Buffalo next year that they continue to follow Canada's ideas and launch a goalie program. Canada holds a camp for their goalies prior to their summer evaluation program and brings in goalies not only for testing but for teaching too.

When we see a Mike Richter out there not being used by USA Hockey as a goalie coach then we think what a blown opportunity they are missing out on. Ask the folks at Yale if Mikey's coaching has not had any kind of impact on their hockey program.

Tuesday Action

The USA faces Latvia at 4 PM EDT/ 1 PM PDT in game 3 of their preliminary schedule. Hate to say this but the USA needs to come out hard and try to crush the kids from Latvia in the first period. Break their bad habit of slow starts here or Canada will break them on New Year's Eve.

Prospect Report

Mitch Gaulton (2008 6th) and his Erie Otters returned to OHL play taking on the Plymouth Whalers on Monday night. What a scary thought that Canada cut Tyler Seguin from their WJC team as this is a player who is expected to go in the top 3 of the 2010 NHL draft.

Seguin had 3 assists including setting up the game winner in overtime as the Whalers defeated the Otters 3-2. It was our first real look at Seguin and we were told this was not one of his better games.

If that is the case then this is going to be a stud NHL player; nice size (6'1 186) with all the tools to become a star player at the NHL level. What got us was that his decision making process was so smooth that it look like Seguin knew several moves prior what everyone was going to do.

Seguin is 2nd in the OHL in scoring at 27-31-58 but we liked him more than we do Taylor Hall because of his on ice maturity.

As for Gaulton he was scoreless and had a very quiet evening; if he wants a Ranger contract then the quiet evenings need to stop the sooner for his sake the better.

1 comment:

Bo said...

In all due respect, I think you need to do some more research on USA Hockey's commitment to goaltending development. Less than two years ago USA Hockey made the investment of hiring a fulltime goalie coach to not only work with US elite goalies but to also create a goaltending development program for American goaltenders around the country. USA goaltending coach Joe Exter is in his second year of working with and selecting the USNTDP goalies and developing a US goaltending standard. This summer was Coach Exter's second year of having summer goaltending sessions with the best 14-17 year old goalies (men and women) in the country. He brought in the best division one goalie coaches in the country for the camp and has even had John Vanbiesbrouck out to work with the NTDP goalies as well. Exter has also developed a lot of helpful information on for the purpose of developing goalies around the country and helping coaches with drills and instruction. There is a direct correlation between Jack Campbell's development and success and Joe Exter being the USA Hockey goaltending coach. Coach Exter is extremely knowledgeable, extremely committed, and a man of character. He has just begun and he is already making great strides; give him time and you will see USA Hockey goaltending go to another level.