Thursday, March 18, 2010

Custer Had a Better Last Stand

Thursday night was one of those good news, some so-so news and some really bad news for the Ranger prospects. Given how bad the bad news was then we will start with the good stuff.

For those of you wondering about Ryan McDonagh (2009 Trade), you can find his name on the Second Team ALL-WCHA. McDonagh led the WCHA in plus/minus with a +20 for the season and chipped in 15 points on the season.

McDonagh was always out there against the top lines of everyone the University of Wisconsin was playing and a major part of why Wisconsin is just 2 games away from an NCAA bid. Our belief is that once Wisconsin's season comes to an end that he will give up his senior year and sign with the Rangers.

Then we have Chris Kreider (2009 1st) who was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team for his play. Kreider has had quite the 12 months from 1st round draft choice of the Rangers; earning a spot on Team USA's Under-20 team; winning a gold medal with said team; and now this.

Kreider on Friday will be looking to help his Boston College Eagles make it to the Hockey East Finals as it is almost a lock that Boston College is going to get an NCAA bid.

Kreider had a slow offensive start for Boston College but finished off Hockey East play with a 9-3-12 +10 along with 2 game winning goals and a ESPN Sportscenter moment for his goal in the Beanpot.

Now for the not so good news as 3 prospects opened their playoff run with just 1 win and 2 rather ugly losses. Not a good way to get the playoff season going but in the case of the losses it was kind of what we expected.

Ryan Bourque (2009 3rd) and his Quebec Remparts finished 30 points better than the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the QMJHL. So game 1 should have been an easy win for the Remparts right?

Someone forgot to tell the Titan that they were supposed to roll over as they gave the Remparts all they could handle before falling 6-5 in the first overtime. Bourque recorded his first QMJHL playoff point when he set up Olivier Hinse for a power play goal at 18:37 of the first people which gave the Remparts a 3-2 lead.

Bourque did not play too badly as he had 4 shots on goal, was even for the game, 2-1 on face-offs and took one penalty. Still this game had to be a reality check for the heavily favored Remparts that they hopefully get.

Mitch Gaulton's (2008 6th) Erie Otters talked about being able to stay with the defending Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires but it was the Spitfires who sent a message with their play in a 6-2 win that really was not that close.

The Spitfires shut down the Otter's top line and took the game right to the Otters. The Spitfires held a 32-9 advantage on shots on goal enroute to a 48 shot evening. Not to mention that the Spitfires got at least 1 point from 10 of the players in this game.

Now in reality we really do not think Erie has any chance to defeat the Spitfires in this series as the Spitfires are way too talented a team and can go 3 lines deep without skipping a beat. Toss in 2 players (Taylor Hall and Cam Fowler) who should go in the Top 3-4 players in the 2010 NHL draft and you can see why.

As for Gaulton, he needs to take this chance to step up his own game as the Otters badly need offense. Gaulton is supposed to be an offensive minded defender but he can help open up space for his teammates if he goes on the attack.

On the other hand, Daniel Maggio (2009 6th) and his Sudbury Wolves did their impression of "Custer's Last Stand" as they were just whipped 11-4 by the Barrie Colts. This one was nothing like the last time we watched a Sudbury playoff game (Marc Staal's era) as the Wolves actually had a 1-0 lead just 1:13 into the game.

That also might have been their biggest mistake as the Colts ran off 8 unanswered goals during a 20 minute span covering the first and second periods. Sudbury to their credit scored 3 unanswered goals of their own to cut the score to 8-4 but Barrie just poured it on finishing the Wolves off with 3 final goals to bring the score to the 11-4 outcome.

Like Erie, Sudbury has no chance to win this series; more because Barrie finished with the best record in the OHL while Sudbury outlasted the bottom of their conference.

Maggio was quiet with nothing to show for his efforts except a -1.


Rant Time 1

For some reason Derek Stepan (2008 2nd) did not make it to any of the WCHA all-star teams despite leading the WCHA in assists with 27. It leads us to scratch our head in wonder as do those who make these selections realize that somebody has to pass the puck to the goal scorers?

Oh well Derek you have to suffer with that gold medal you rightfully earned and we hope a couple of championships before you come join the Rangers. At least with the Rangers you know that the fans will appreciate your hard working efforts.


Rant Time 2

The Rangers as a team all talk about how together they are and remain. But maybe they have forgotten what it really is like to be united in a cause and do some of the things for team bonding.

That is Luke Walker (yea yea biggest fan stuff) but what Walker along with his Portland Winterhawk teammates all did prior to get ready for their WHL series against the Spokane Chiefs was to get Mohawks as a team.

Not just a few players but the team including their star players like Walker, Nino Neiderreiter, Ryan Johansen and on. Go check out the photo album that the Winterhawks have up over at Flickr.

Now we are not suggesting that the Rangers do something as crazy as get Mohawks but what we are saying is that between now and Sunday there is no excuse for the players BY THEMSELVES to get together in a social setting and just bond with each other.

Stop talking about being a team, become one cause if you fail to make the playoffs you won't be a team next year.

(McDonagh/Melody Hasse, Kreider/Dennis Pause, Walker/Portland Winterhawks)

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