Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Crunch Time

For the the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects the image of Dylan McIlrath fits in with what this week is going to be all about. Contracts are going to be won or lost here while the scouting departments are looking at which players are going to be on their drafting radar.

The CHL finishes up on Sunday and for several teams they are looking at playing as many as 4 games this week as teams jockey for playoff seeding.

If the season was over then this is how the prospects would be looking.


Ryan Bourque (NYR) and his Quebec Remparts are currently 3rd in the QMJHL standings 3 points out of 2nd place and just 1 point ahead of 3rd.  With 2 games remaining they need too much help for 2nd place so should concentrate on keeping 3rd.

Kirill Kabanov (NYI) and his Lewiston MAINEaics have been struggling as of late falling in the standing down to 8th. Considering that nobody expected them to be even this high this season then they are ahead of schedule. We do not expect them to move up or down with just 2 games left.


Casey Cizikas (NYI) and his Mississauga St. Michaels Majors have clinched home ice throughout the OHL playoffs. The question is how soon will they get Cizikas back into the lineup? Cizikas is sidelined with an arm injury but the good news is he is wearing a brace not a cast.

Jason Wilson (NYR) and his Niagara IceDogs will enter the first round as the 3rd seed in the OHL Eastern Conference even though they have a better record that whichever team wins the OHL East Division. Still we expect a "message game" on Thursday when the IceDogs face the Majors,

Christian Thomas and Dan Maggio (NYR), Calvin de Haan and Tony DeHart (NYI) are 3 points out of 2nd seed in the OHL's Eastern Conference with 3 games left to play but Friday is THE game as Oshawa faces Ottawa on the road. Win Friday in regulation and then win the other 2 games and the Generals are the 2nd seed in the first round.

Ethan Werek (NYR) and his Kingston Frontenacs are the 5th seed right now in the OHL Eastern Conference with a 2 point lead over 6th seeded Brampton. Both teams have 3 games left with Brampton having a tougher schedule, the loser gets Niagara in the first round.

Scott Stajcer (NYR) and his Owen Sound Attack are currently the 1st seed in the OHL's Western Conference with a 6 point lead over Kitchener with 3 games remaining. The Attack need just 1 point to clinch the WC top spot but here is the biggest question of them all; who is your goalie for the playoffs.

Stajcer is almost ready (or is ready) to play after being out since November, if he can not get playing time in any of the 3 remaining games how can you gamble on him in the playoffs? Stajcer is their best goalie but the playoffs is not the place to try to shake off rust.

Andrew Yogan (NYR) and the Erie Otters are locked in a battle for the 4th seed in the OHL's Western Conference with the Windsor Spitfires. The Spits hold a 2 point lead as well as a game in hand over the Otters and to be honest this is the match up of 2 teams nobody expected to be in this spot.

The OHL plays a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 format which makes that 7th game very key should the series get that far. Experience favors the Spitfires but the Otters have played well in the 2nd half defeating all the top teams.


Nino Niederreiter (NYI) and his Portland Winterhawks hold a 1 point lead over the Spokane Chiefs for the WHL's Western Conference 1st seed, loser gets 3rd seed. Both teams have 3 games but most expert this race to come down to the last game of the season where the Winterhawks face the Chiefs in Spokane.

Words will not do just how huge this game just could be with all that is stake but if you are wanting to see a big time game then spend 6.95 and watch it here. You will get your money's worth for sure.

Roman Horak (NYR) and the Chilliwack Bruins have gone from 11th to tied for 5th in the WHL's Western Conference with the Vancouver Giants. Vancouver holds a game in hand but neither team wants to be 6th as that means a match up in the first round against the Portland/Spokane or basically a 4 and done playoff series.

Horak and company have been red hot and if they can grab the 5th seed they have a good chance against 4th seeded Tri-City. But as we said finish 6th and not a chance.

Dylan McIlrath (NYR) and his Moose Jaw Warriors have rediscovered how to win after slumping for a while. They have not had really anything to play for since they are too far behind 4th seed Kootenay and too far ahead of 6th seeded Brandon. An injury to Cody Beach is going to mean the McIlrath is going to most likely have to do more fighting than what the Warriors would like.

David Toews (NYI) and the Brandon Wheat Kings are the team the nobody wants to face in the WHL playoffs. The Wheat Kings have jumped from 11th in the Eastern Conference to 6th along the way defeating the team with the best record, the Saskatoon Blades 3 out of the last 5 times they have faced them.

We will fit in the NCAA match ups over the next 2 days as to be honest with the way the NCAA selects teams for the hockey tournament there is really only 1 team on the bubble as we expect the teams with Ranger and Islander prospects to get the invites.

(The Incredible Truck courtesy of the Moose Jaw Warriors)

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