Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Forgotten Ones

Tuesday night playoff action was highlighted by some of the forgotten New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects as they made sure that we mentioned them.

The one who really needed a game to keep his stock up was Ethan Werek (NYR 2009 2nd) of the Kingston Frontenacs. From multiple injuries to a 5 game suspension, Werek has seen his stock drop at a time when that was the last thing he needed to have happen.

Missing the first 2 games of his Frontenac's playoff series against the Oshawa Generals because of that suspension was bad enough but taking 4 different penalties in Game 3 made us wonder what happened to Werek. In Game 4, Werek showed up with a big 3 assist effort to help his Frontenacs prevent being swept by the Generals with a 7-4 win.

It was the effort we had gotten used to seeing last season out of Werek and we hope he can bring in game 5 as well. It was Werek who got his Frontenacs going setting up Mitch Lebar for the first goal of the game at 12:45 of the first period.

Werek then 38 seconds later repeated his playmaking efforts by setting up Sean Jones at 13:18 for a 2-0 Frontenac lead and the Frontenacs were just getting started. After another goal to increase the lead to 3-0, Werek earned his 3rd assist of the game when he was credited for a secondary assist on the Frontenac's 4th goal.

Werek's efforts helped the Frontenacs jump out to a 5 goal lead as they eventually held off the Generals for a 7-4 win. Oshawa still leads the series 3-1 but the Generals know they can not take the Frontenacs lightly.

On the General side, Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) scored on a penalty shot for his 4th goal of the playoffs and had a secondary assist on Oshawa's first goal to improve to 4-7-11 but the points were when the game had been decided. Calvin de Haan (NYI 2009 1st) also had a goal as well as an assist but like Thomas it was too little too late.

Tony DeHart (NYI 2010 5th) had a power play assist for his 5th point of the playoffs while Dan Maggio (NYR 2009 6th) was scoreless and a -3 on the night. The series shifts back to Oshawa for game 5 on Friday night.

Jason Wilson (NYR 2010 5th) is also another player who we were wanting to see more out of in the playoffs and he picked Game 3 of his Niagara IceDogs series against the Brampton Battalion as his coming out party.

Wilson was named the game's first star after a 1-1-2 performance led the IceDogs to a 5-1 win and pushed Brampton to the brink of elimination down 3 games to none.

Wilson got the IceDogs going when he scored his 1st goal of the playoffs at 7:03 of the first period. It really was the only goal that the IceDogs would need as they never trailed in this one.

Wilson followed up his goal with his 2nd assist of the playoffs when he set up Freddie Hamilton at 14:37 of 1st period and a 2-0 IceDog lead. Wilson is the physical force on his line and this game was no exception.

Game 4 will be on Thursday in Brampton.

Ryan Bourque (NYR 2009 3rd) had 2 secondary assists as his Quebec Remparts just bombed the Val-d'Or Foreurs 9-0 in QMJHL action. Quebec scored 5 goals in the first and 4 more in the 3rd as they are one game away from a 4 game sweep of the Foreurs.

There is not much one can say when you have a 9-0 game but Bourque is a pleasure to watch as he plays hard whether he is up 9-0 or tied 1-1 in triple overtime. Bourque sets a standard for his Rempart team and it is showing up as the Remparts were all business in how they took the Foreurs apart.

The Remparts go for the sweep Wednesday night.

The scoresheet is going to say that Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) was scoreless in his Lewiston MAINEaic's 4-2 win over the Moncton Wildcats. What it will not show is that Kabanov played a solid game at both ends of the ice and had 4 good scoring chances.

Kabanov also has played smart on and off the ice going up against his former team which is a nice sign of his increasing maturity level. The win regains home ice advantage for the MAINEaics who now lead the series 2-1.

Game 4 will be tomorrow night in Moncton.

Dylan McIlrath (NYR 2010 1st) impressed us tonight by not dropping the gloves and fighting when his goalie was knocked down. It was the 3rd period of tonight's game 3 between McIlrath's Moose Jaw Warriors and the Kootenay Ice as Cody Eakin knocked down Moose Jaw goalie Thomas Heemskerk.

What we liked was how as McIlrath was skating towards Eakin he clearly saw the ref's arm up for a penalty, realized the time of the game it was (4:45 of the 3rd) and choose to do a lot of yelling instead of a fight.

For us it is a sign of his increasing maturity on the ice as McIlrath had to have know that a fight at that point of the game would have been an ejection for him. Instead McIlrath took out his anger on Kootenay in a different way; he fired shots on net during the power play.

As we said last week, the key for Moose Jaw to advance in the playoffs is more McIlrath on the ice and less in the penalty box. The game's 3rd star avoided the penalty box and Moose Jaw shut out Kootenay 4-0 for a 2-1 series lead.

Moose Jaw goes for a 3-1 series lead tomorrow night in Moose Jaw and we just have to point out to McIlrath that both Moose Jaw wins have been shut outs and he has avoided the penalty box in both wins.

We also have our first series win as the Mississauga St. Majors eliminated the Belleville Bulls in 4 games. The Majors have been playing without their captain Casey Cizikas (NYI 2008 4th) who is nursing an arm injury.

In Owen Sound sadly we saw a reason why our idea that if coaches had to serve suspensions as well as pay fines when their players do stupid things on the ice that coaches would become more demanding of better behavior by their players. Cmon 25 power plays combined in a game is a disgrace in our eyes.

Here look at the box score yourself and if you can find a legit reason for all these penalties then explain it to us because the playoffs is supposed to bring out the best in players.


The big question of the day was what did we think of the Ranger's signing of Tommy Grant of Alaska-Anchorage to a 2 year deal. Our answer was in all honesty how come?

While the Rangers and Alaska Anchorage want to rave about Grant's 16-16-32 season, we have to say in the games we saw him when he went up against North Dakota and Denver he did not stand out.

In fairness against those 2 teams it is very hard to stand out to begin. If you want to like his game then in 15 games against teams that played in the NCAA tournament, Grant was 7-5-12 which is not bad given the quality of teams.

Here is how his season broke down and a 2 year deal that only costs the Rangers money is worth the gamble since he is a 6'2 lefty shooter.

(Werek and Wilson/OHL Images-Terry Wilson and Aaron Bell, Grant/Fighting Sioux.com/Peter Bottini)


Thane said...

This is a signing more for the Whale. I was at the game against the Sioux, and he looked big, but a little slow. He could turn out to be a big 4th liner to stand in front of the net. You never know, if he spends a couple of years with Boyle's skating coach, he could have a chance, something tells me it is going to be with the Whale for the most part.

When is Kreider going to come out, that is the story I'm waiting for!

Thane said...

I was at this game, sitting right behind the net. I remember him, he has some size that's for sure. He looked alright, as a team they couldn't skate with the Fighting Sioux. If I remember he had a goal and an assist that night. I could see him standing in front of the net picking up goals. I didn't really picture him as a Ranger, but I could see him as a Whaler. But you never know, a couple of years with Boyle's skating coach, and he could turn into an entirely different player.

Jess Rubenstein said...

Thane, I think the NYR are going to wait until after their season ends before getting serious about Kreider.
For them it is going to be a matter of who they want to cut first to create space for Hagelin and Kreider (along with the newly signed McIlrath and Bourque).

I lean towards the post draft camp for prospects as I think the NYR will use the kids as their way of saying they are not going after big ticket players

Thane said...

I see Richards wanting to play for Torts in New York next year. He is the center they have been looking for Gaborik's line. It would be nice to see Drury's salary go towards a first line center that can earn it. I agree with all the young prospects, it should be a Whale of a year.

Jess Rubenstein said...

Actually I do not see the NYR as being able to sign Kreider, Hagelin, Thomas, Werek then Dubi, Cally, AA, Sauer and Boyle and have 8-9 million for Richards.

They would have to get Drury to first retire and then work out an arrangement for Redden to walk away from his deal (he said he is willing).

But I am not comfy with the idea of giving Richards a LTD at 8-9 mil a season for 5 years.