The fun part of this job is getting to talk with the New York Ranger prospects and getting to learn about them as people and not just players. Tonight I got to spend some time talking to Chris Doyle (2008 5th) and it was a lot of fun.
For a couple of days, Chris has been claiming that he was not receiving credit for 2 assists that he had earned which would give him a 3 point lead over Ethan Werek for the prospect scoring lead. It was becoming a good laugh as Chris was telling me how he should be number 1 and I was holding to that I had to go with the official stats.
So while we were chatting this evening; the QMJHL updated their stats and there was those 2 missing assists that Chris kept swearing he had earned. It was the first time anyone had did a goal scoring dance while talking to me as I got a well deserved "told you so" from Chris.
Chris has a right to be feeling good these days as he is in fact the leading scorer among Ranger prospects at 19-37-56 but he is also putting to rest a lot of the criticisms he has been hit with. Chris knows all about being a hometown player as he spent 3 seasons playing for the Prince Edward Island Rocket.
Doyle has seen everything said about his game but the funny thing is that all he has done is prove people wrong. Doyle has been questioned about every part of his game from his passing, his willingness to take a hit to make a play and his toughness.
The best thing that could happen to Chris Doyle was the trade to the Victoriaville Tigres as it offered Chris a fresh start and a chance to just play hockey. Things with Prince Edward Island were a mess as Chris went though 3 coaches in his 4 years there.
So when Doyle was sent to the Tigres, the new chance has paid off for both player and team. Doyle has been a happier more relaxed player and the results have paid off; Doyle is 4-19-23 in 20 games a +7 with just 9 PIMs for Victoriaville which is almost the opposite of what he was with PEI.
On Wednesday Doyle had an assist to extend his current scoring streak to 6 games (1-10-11) as his Tigres lost to the Drummondville Voltigeurs 4-2. The Voltgeur's Olivier Hotte found out the hard way that Doyle's disciplined play did not mean he was not going to drop the gloves.
Hotte decided to run Doyle's linemate and team captain Phillip-Michael Devos and found Chris Doyle in his face. Not much of a fight as Hotte really did not want to go with Doyle but a reminder that Chris Doyle has always been there to protect a teammate.
That is a trait that the Rangers need more out of from their prospects. Doyle is a good kid who has been misunderstood by those who simply did not know him. Getting to know him this past week has been something I have really enjoyed as to listen to Doyle realize that he has a chance to win not only a QMJHL title but also a Memorial Cup says a lot.
Doyle has not been the one to toot his own horn which has led to people misunderstand him but he is a good kid, grounded and understanding of the world around him so we want to send a message to his grandfather Alfred Arsenault that it does mean something to Chris that you follow and support his career.
Just as much as it means to us here at the Park that you read us to keep track of your grand son.
In other action Sam Klassen and his Saskatoon Blades just jumped all over the Red Deer Rebels with 5 goals in the first period and cruised to an 8-1 win. Klassen was his all too typical +2 for the Blade Blueline to improve to a Ranger prospect leading +31 as he gets closer and closer to Evgeny Grachev's +40.
Even better is that the Blades have the best record in the WHL with 86 points with a winning percentage of .729 and 2 games in hand over rival Brandon Wheat Kings. The Rangers actually have a legit shot at seeing 2 prospects making it to the Memorial Cup which would be a huge first in the Sather era.
(Doyle Courtesy of Benoit Dery Please check out his outstanding work and welcome him to Prospect Park)
4 hours ago