Saturday, March 6, 2010

Step Up or Go Home

As we said last night, this is the time of the season for the Ranger prospects to make statements about their wish for a contract from the New York Rangers. The Rangers may have almost a month to go in their season but for the prospects just about every game now is "win or go home"

Sure those are the corny cliches that everyone pulls out but in many a case they are as true a statement as this is the time of the year where prospects can earn that desired contract. It is a love/hate time for us as well as nothing is more fun than watching a prospect elevate their game but at the same time it breaks your heart to see kids you have covered reach the end of the road.

Advancing: Carl Hagelin

The Michigan Wolverines are by their own standard having a down year even though they have a 21-17-1 record. When you are used to going to the NCAAs like the Wolverines have for the last 19 straight years then you have higher expectations.

Yesterday we said that Carl Hagelin (2007 6th) had to step up his game since Michigan is going to have to win the CCHA in order to earn a trip to the NCAAs. Hagelin responded with a 2 goal effort as the Wolverines advanced to the CCHA quarterfinals where they will have to beat arch-rival Michigan State on the road.

Hagelin scored both his goals in the second period (#s 15 and 16) has Michigan had no trouble finishing off Lake Superior. Hagelin had seen his 11 game scoring streak stopped in Game 1 started a new streak as Michigan's leading scorer improved to 16-25-41 on the season.

Earning Playoff Spots: Danny Hobbs, Chris Kreider

When the weekend began, Danny Hobbs (2007 7th) and the UMass Minutemen needed to sweep Maine and get some help from others. Hobbs and company did their part by sweeping Maine on the road winning Saturday 4-3 and getting the helped they needed.

Hobbs was scoreless but UMass uses him on their top line for reasons we still do not understand but it works for them. UMass winds up with the 7th seed in the Hockey East playoffs as they will earn a trip to face Chris Kreider (2009 1st) and the Boston College Eagles next weekend.

Kreider saw his 6 game scoring streak come to an end as the Eagles defeated New Hampshire 3-2. It was a win that came one day too late for the Eagles as they lost out on a chance to be the Hockey East regular season champions.

For us it also means a prospect is guaranteed to see his season end next weekend.

Eliminated: Max Campbell

Max Campbell's (2007 5th) season actually ended Friday night when he was ejected for head butting but the season for his Western Michigan Broncos came to an end when they lost 4-1 to Alaska-Fairbanks 4-1. The loss eliminates Campbell and the Broncos as a horrible season for both player and team as Campbell finished a disappointing 6-13-19 which is down from 16-15-31.

Campbell has for all intents and purposes taken himself out of serious consideration for a Ranger contract next season. A shame too because Campbell had a ton of potential as a pure sniper but took a long jump backwards this season.

Jockeying for Position: Sam Klassen, Mitch Gaulton, Tomas Kundratek, Ethan Werek

As we told you last night; if you have a DVR and can get the NHL Network USA version then make sure you catch Sam Klassen (2009 UFA) and his Saskatoon Blades in what is now a very important WHL game against Calgary. Klassen had an assist as the Blades rallied from down 3-0 to defeat the Edmonton Oil Kings 6-4.

This sets up tomorrow's game as an elimination game as the Blades trail the Hitmen by 4 points for the top seed in the WHL's Eastern Conference or East Division. The Hitmen (99 points 4 games left) and the Brandon Wheat Kings (96 and 4) lead the Blades who have 95 points and 5 games remaining.

Klassen's assist was his 27th on the season and his 30th point. Watch him tomorrow if you want to see what a hard hitting defenseman is like as Klassen has had some of the hardest CLEAN hits we have seen from a junior.

Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) and his Medicine Hat Tigers earned a 3-2 shootout win over the Red Deer Rebels in the battle for the 4th seed in the WHL's Eastern Conference. Kundratek was scoreless but the Tigers now trail the Kootenay Ice by 1 point.

Ethan Werek (2009 2nd) was held scoreless as his Kingston Frontenacs lost in overtime to the Oshawa Generals 3-2 and have basically conceded the OHL East Division championship to the Ottawa 67's after this loss. The Frontenacs have just about nailed down the 4th seed which is a huge improvement after missing the playoffs for the last couple of seasons.

Mitch Gaulton (2008 6th) and his Erie Otters after earning a 5-4 shoot out win over Scott Stajcer (2009 5th) and the Owen Sound Attack jumped into 6th place in the OHL's Western Conference. Gaulton was held scoreless as the Otters also may have put the finishing touches on eliminating the Attack.

For Stajcer who gave up 4 goals in facing 25 shots is now 3-7-0-2 and 1 no decision in his last 13 starts. His numbers have simply fallen south is now 21-23-3-3, 3.67 and 0.897.

With only 2 games left and trailing the Guelph Storm by 4 points (and 2 games in hand), it is safe to say that Stajcer is not going to play in the playoffs.

Barely Holding On: Daniel Maggio

Daniel Maggio (2009 6th) returned from his 2 game suspension as his Sudbury Wolves lost a big game to the Niagara Ice Dogs and now are in 8th place of the OHL's Eastern Conference with 4 games remaining. Maggio was a -2 in his return from a suspension for "Abuse of Official"

Still in this conference there are 4 teams fighting for 3 playoff spots all separated by 3 points as they head for the final weekend of the regular season.

(Hagelin courtesy of Michigan Photo Services)

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