Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Something in the Water

So we figured that with just 2 WHL prospects playing on Tuesday night and their playoff picture just about determined that it would safe to sneak a 2nd night off this week before everything got crazy with the various playoffs.

Guess who was wrong about that bright idea? That is alright because in a way it was kind of what we wanted to see out of these very 2 prospects so it make things worthwhile.

Sam Klassen (2009 UFA) and his Saskatoon Blades badly needed a rebound effort after getting spanked by Calgary on Sunday. With 3 games remaining in the regular season and 4 points being the difference between the first, second or third seed, the Blades needed a win to keep their very slim conference hopes alive.

Even if they can not win the conference they still have a real good chance to win the East Division and the second seed that goes with. But to do that they needed to defeat the Moose Jaw Warriors to pull within 1 point of division leader Brandon.

Klassen and company got that win 4-2 over the Warriors as Klassen was a -1 but got into his 2nd fight of the season. We did not get to see the video yet about the fight so we really do not know how well he did but it did something for the Blades.

Klassen wound up with an extra 2 for roughing but his Blades scored a shorthanded goal 11 seconds after Klassen went into the penalty box to tie the game at 1-1. The Blades had more trouble than they expected from the Warriors as they were not able to put them away until 41 seconds left in regulation when they scored an empty net goal.

But for Klassen, it was what we needed to see from him as he has been mostly quiet for a bit. If the Blades are going to go deep in the WHL playoffs then Klassen is going to need to step it up as an emotional leader for the Blades.

Then there is our surprise player of the season Roman Horak (2009 5th) of the Chilliwack Bruins who has done much more than any of us expected from him. Going into the game against the Prince George Cougars, Horak was 20-23-43, +12 and considering that Chilliwack is a below 500 team it is respectable numbers for a European rookie.

But when it comes to what we want to see from Horak next season one of the things that comes to mind is in all of the games we had seen him in that Horak never gets angry. Do not get us wrong we like a player who can stay out of the penalty box but that does not mean every once in a while show some emotion out there when someone is running at you.

Horak did just that as he earned his very first misconduct penalty in North America as his Bruins defeated the Cougars 7-4. Horak had 2 assists and was a +2 on the evening as the Bruins pulled within 2 points of 7th place Kamloops and 4 points of 6th place Kelowna with 3 games left.

That the Bruins are even making the playoffs or even have a chance to finish with a .500 or better record was more than anyone expected in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season. Horak deserves some of the credit for it as he stepped into first line duty for the Bruins and has scored 6 game winning goals out of the 20 goals he has on the season.

By the way 6 game winning goals is the most by a Ranger prospect this season. Still for Horak it has been a very good season and with a strong off-season, Horak could challenge for a spot on the Hartford roster next season.

The Wolfpack need centers and Horak is a very good 2 way center with rock solid faceoff skills so do not count him out just yet.

(Klassen and Horak courtesy of the WHL)

No comments: