Thursday, October 28, 2010

Roman's Giving and Taking

The middle of the week with just two games involving prospects of either the New York Rangers or New York Islander on the schedule. The Chilliwack Bruins featuring Roman Horak (2009 5th) and Brandon Manning (Traverse City) were on the road against the Edmonton Oil Kings while Dylan McIlrath (2010 1st) and his Moose Jaw Warriors headed to Prince Albert to face the Raiders.

In what was one very exciting game, the Bruins hung on for dear life edging the Oil Kings 2-1. This game the Bruins need to get on the bus and get out of town as soon as possible because they know that if not for their goalie Lucas Gore they should have lost this one.

We know people care about the Ranger prospects but when you see a performance like Gore's it is hard not to give him the rightful credit he deserves. Gore stopped 37 out of 38 shots (19 of 30 in the 3rd) including 1 right at the buzzer to steal this one for the Bruins.

Roman Horak scored his 7th goal of the season to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the first but as rock solid as he has been playing so far this season; he could have made life easier for his Bruins if he had just finished on any of the (what we counted were) 5 good scoring chances he had after his goal.

Horak did not play badly but tonight his finishing touch was just not there as Horak should have had a hat trick tonight as he kept missing on his chances. Horak also was a central figure on the only goal that the Oil Kings scored as he took a hooking penalty at 12:39 of the 3rd period.

Just after the penalty had expired as Horak was rejoining the play, the Oil Kings scored to make it a 2-1 game and if not for the goalie Gore, the Oil Kings tie and go on to win.

Brandon Manning saw his 8 game scoring streak come to an end but the one time only offensive defender was just outstanding on the defensive side that he was named the game's second star. That sound you keep hearing is the cash register as Manning's signing price goes up with each passing game.

We really liked the selection of Dylan McIlrath (2010 1st) and the reasoning that the Rangers gave for passing on Cam Fowler and others to select McIlrath. When we see efforts like McIlrath put on tonight against the Prince Albert Raiders then it makes the pick look really good.
McIlrath scored his 2nd goal in as many games, picked up a secondary assist while going a season high +4 as the Warriors took one from the Raiders 5-4 in the shootout

McIlrath has a thing about scoring the game's 1st goal as he did tonight jumping on the board with a shot at 3:37 in the first to give Moose Jaw an early 1-0 lead. McIlrath added a secondary assist on Moose Jaw's 3rd goal of the game as they had to rally from down 3-1.

It was a strong game for McIlrath who also showed some poise as he is starting to get the message that he helps Moose Jaw more when he is not in the penalty box. It is part of his development as the young 18 year old defender is starting to pick his spots in both fights as well as going for that monster hit.

Is He Staying or Is He Going?

The clock is not ticking as the New York Islanders have to now make the decision as to whether or not to keep 2010 first round pick Nino Niederreiter or send him back to the Portland Winterhawks.

The decision has most likely already been made and either Nino knows or he will first thing on Thursday. Nobody asked us but we believe the Islanders are going to return him to Portland but for the wrong reasons.

If they send him back then they can claim that they have NHL ready prospects in the AHL and can afford to let Nino develop at a slower pace. We think they are wanting to send him back to save a year towards his free agency, arbitration rights and anything but helping his develop.

In our book, Nino does not gain anything by playing in the WHL this season as learning how to play in the NHL under the guidance of Doug Weight . The danger of sending Nino back to a Winterhawk team than he has not spent a second with is that Nino will go back with the "Post Draft Blues" and pick up some bad habits.

The Islanders kept Nino out of the Winterhawk training camp and none of this is a reflection on the Winterhawks, heck for selfish reasons Nino back in Portland means we have an excuse to live out of Portland.

If Nino had looked in over his head against the NHL players then yes sending him back would be the right call but he has shown he can play. We think the decision will be made more about his contract status than his development.

(Images Courtesy of: Horak/Chilliwack Bruins, McIlrath/Moose Jaw Warriors, Niederreiter/New York Islanders)

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