Friday, January 14, 2011

The Russian is Here

He has been the butt of jokes, he has been trashed, labeled and saw his draft stock fall all the way to the 3rd round. Yet after all that there is one label that despite everything has not changed; Kirill Kabanov has the talent to be a very dangerous hockey player.

Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) whatever the Lewiston Maineaics are doing is turning the Russian prospect into a team player. When Kabanov has a night like he did against the Halifax Mooseheads (1-2-3 +5) during the Maineaics 9-3 win, then you do not ask how Lewiston is doing it you just hope it does not stop.

Yes the game was a blowout but it does not take away from Kabanov's play as Kabanov got the primary assist on Lewiston's 4th goal. Then Kabanov scored his 5th goal of the season for Lewiston's 6th goal of the game so the 2 points brought him to 5-8-13 in 19 games.

Kabanov though it was not his points but his overall hard work that earned him the game's 3rd star. It was a true 2 way effort for the New York Islander prospect and that is bad news for the rest of the QMJHL.

It was the 4th straight win for the Maineaics who jumped from 6th to 4th in the QMJHL standings and gave them an 8-2 record in their last 10 games. The way things are going Kabanov and the Maineaics are not going to be a team you will want to play against in the QMJHL playoffs.

Kind of strange to see people saying that a team that already has a .808 winning percentage can become even more dominant than they already are but for Casey Cizikas (NYI 2009 4th) and his Mississauga St. Michael's Majors that is the case.

Cizikas scored his 21st goal of the season to extend his goal scoring streak to 3 games (5-2-7) as the Majors just dominated the Brampton Battalion 4-0. You want to talk about a shutdown performance then this was it as the Majors held the Battalion to 22 shots for the entire game (12-4-6).

The Majors may be the hosts of the 2011 Memorial Cup but games like this send a message that they want to go to the Cup as OHL Champions. On a night where the Majors took only 1 penalty, it is not hard to imagine what the Majors running over every team they may face in the OHL playoffs.

For Cizikas who we have said on several occasions has been the best Islander prospect all season, he is now 21-22-43 +29 in just 31 OHL games this season.

The only New York Ranger prospect to see action was Jason Wilson (2010 5th) and his Niagara IceDogs. Wilson and his IceDogs have been playing some pretty good hockey as of late and they kept it up with a 3-0 shutout of the Erie Otters.

Wilson had a primary assist on Niagara's 2nd goal to extend his scoring streak to 3 games as the IceDogs won their 3rd straight. Wilson is now 8-11-19 on the season with a +9.

Even better for Wilson is that he has points in 8 out of the last 10 IceDog games which interesting enough the IceDogs have gone 8-2. Wilson is a 6'3 power forward which the Rangers can use given their lack of size among the forward prospects.

Wilson has a golden opportunity to earn a Ranger contract with a strong second half as well as a long Niagara playoff run but he has push it. Wilson is 2nd to Dylan McIlrath in fighting majors with 5 fights.

Finally as Ethan Werek missed yet another game for the Kingston Frontenacs, he confirms in an interview with the Kingston Whig-Standard that his wrist injury is a ligament tear. In the interview he is trying to do anything to heal the injury without surgery.

We think who ever made that suggestion may have given Werek some bad advice as he has already missed a month and does not appear close to returning. If he has surgery now he will miss at least another 4-6 weeks which hurts his prospect stock.

(Kabanov/Ron Morin/Lewiston Maineaics, Wilson and Cizikas/Aaron Bell and Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

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