Friday, December 31, 2010

How Swede It Is

First Star Carl Hagelin

Now we have long been huge fans of Carl Hagelin (NYR 2007 6th) as the captain of the Michigan Wolverines has repeatedly shown that he has plenty of NHL potential. Hagelin has grown over the years from a defensive specialist to a solid 2 way forward.

Against Colorado College, the Michigan senior had the hat trick of assists in helping the 10th ranked Wolverines win the Great Lakes Invitational for the 14th time in school history. Hagelin had a primary assist on a shorthanded goal, the primary assist on an even strength goal and then set up a power play goal which tied the game late in the 3rd period.

Hagelin started his evening when trying to kill a Colorado power play, Hagelin stole the puck, broke in on the Colorado goalie Joe Howe who made the save but Luke Glendening put in the rebound at 10:43 of the first period and a 2-0 Michigan lead.

In the 2nd period Hagelin hooked up with Glendening a 2nd time this time at even strength at 16:59 to give Michigan a 4-3 lead. In the 3rd period with Michigan now trailing 5-4, Hagelin got his 3rd assist when he fed Lee Moffie for Moffie's 1st goal of the season at 14:00.

Hagelin was named to the All-Tournament team as he collected his 12th,13th and 14th assists of the season to improve to 9-14-23.

Second Star Jesper Fasth

We wanted to see Jesper Fasth (NYR 2010 6th) in action and we got it as the young Swede scored 2 goals to help Sweden send Roman Horak (NYR 2009 5th) and his Czech Republic team to the relegation round with a 6-3 win.

Fasth was everything as advertised; a strong skater who is quick on the shot and full of energy. This is very much a player to watch as bias aside, Fasth deserved "Player of the Game" for his efforts as he took 6 shots and was a +1.

Fasth's first goal really was a bad play by the Czech goalies as he just sent a shot in from the slot at 17:09 of the first period to give the Czech Republic a 3-1 lead after 1. Fasth added his Ranger prospect leading 3rd goal in the 2nd period when he converted on the power play at 5:42 for a 5-1 lead for Sweden.

Do not look now but Fasth is 7th in overall scoring and 2nd in goals (based on shot %) as Sweden is heading towards a huge showdown on Friday with Canada. The winner of that game gets the huge bye right into the semi-finals.

The Rest of the Prospects

Roman Horak (NYR 2009 5th) like his Czech team just can not find a way to get untracked. Horak has no points as now with the loss to Sweden is heading to the relegation round for the 2nd year in a row.

Nino Niederreiter (NYI 2010 1st) scored his 2nd goal of the tournament as Switzerland eliminated Slovakia from medal contention with a 6-4 win. Niederreiter really has not played as well as we think he can despite a 7 shot effort.

The Swiss play an ugly type of game which makes them very dangerous as they are headed to a matchup with Team USA on Friday with a bye into the semi-finals on the line. Memo to Team USA do not take this team lightly.

Chris Kreider (NYR 2009 1st) had a goal, Ryan Bourque (NYR 2009 3rd) a primary assist but we think Brock Nelson (NYI 2010 1st) despite not scoring provided more of a spark for Team USA than the Ranger duo as the USA is heading back to the medal round after shutting out Germany 4-0.

Nelson we did not realize brought more energy than we have seen out of him all year which is good news for Islander fans. For a young man who was injured the other night he did not show any signs of it as Nelson's energy line of himself/Callahan/Morin will be a factor against the Swiss.

Dylan McIlrath (NYR 2010 1st) if you went by the stat sheet had a quiet night for his Moose Jaw Warriors. If you took advantage of the WHL's free webcast then you got to watch the Vancouver Giant announcers singing the praises of McIlrath.

It was a lovefest that even taught us a few things like our favorite; McIlrath has a armspan of 83 inches, 83 inches is 1 inch short of 7 feet. Just his presence due to his size forces people to where he wants them to go. Think about it as McIlrath is 6'5 220 and has yet to grow into his body, we compared him to Jeff Beukeboom and then we saw his heavy shot from the point.

McIlrath is starting to look more for his offense and as he learns to use that shot from the point then people are not going to want to try to block it. One Giant tried to and it knocked him off his feet which was also the last time anyone tried blocking his shot.

The Brandon Wheat Kings are at the point of the season where they are going to have to decide to become sellers or bring in someone to make a run. For 20 year old David Toews (NYI 2008 3rd), the season is doing a lot to help raise his own NHL stock.

Toews was the lone bright spot as the Wheat Kings dropped their 2nd straight 5-2 to the Calgary Hitmen. Toews notched his 9th goal of the season in the losing effort as he improved to 9-11-20.

Tony DeHart (NYI 2010 5th) is doing everything he can to convince the Oshawa Generals to keep him as he set up the game winning goal as the Generals behind a 4 goal third period came from behind to defeat the Peterborough Petes 6-4. DeHart is 2-17-19 on the season as the Generals have 1 too many 20 year olds on the roster as well as the addition of Ranger prospect Dan Maggio (2009 6th) which means DeHart's spot on the roster is a question mark.

Our suggestion to the Generals is to keep DeHart because he has repeatedly proven that he can play several roles for the team. As for Maggio, he is still struggling to recover from his "lower body" injury and he might be out for a couple more weeks.

Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) was held scoreless in the game.

Danny Hobbs (NYR 2007 7th) had an assist on UMass/Amherst's only goal as the Minutemen lost 5-1 to the 15th ranked Wisconsin Badgers. For Hobbs, it was his 6th assist and 9th point on the season. Islander prospect Jason Clark (2010 3rd) was scratched was the 7th time this season.

Jason Gregoire (NYI 2007 3rd) missed his 5th straight game due to an "upper body injury" as his 5th ranked North Dakota Fighting Sioux defeated 3rd ranked Minnesota-Duluth 5-0 in the US Hockey Hall of Fame game.

The Lewiston MAINEaics lost to the Victoriaville Tigres 4-1 as Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) remains stuck in London due to weather issues. We hope that Kabanov remains on his best behavior in London and stays off twitter.

(Hagelin/Michigan Wolverines, Fasth/HV71)

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