Cmon you know you want to talk hockey with us over at Blueshirt Banter
Really I do get paid to do this and imagine if you will 13 straight days of getting to watch New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects playing playoff hockey. So let us see who is still alive and playing because a day off would really be nice even if I am stuck at home.
It is funny in a sad way that the very prospects who could step in and help both teams right now are also the ones who are still playing.
So between the Frozen Four there are 14 prospects still alive and playing in the playoffs. The Islanders have 8 of their high quality prospects left with the Rangers having 6.
Here is who is still playing:
First the NCAA Frozen Four:
Carl Hagelin (2007 6th) and his Michigan Wolverines are going to take on what I call the best team in college hockey today the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota with their 2 Islander prospects Jason Gregoire (2007 3rd) and Brock Nelson (2010 1st). As much as I respect the Michigan program it is going to be next to impossible to find a reason that North Dakota will lose to them.
North Dakota enters the Frozen Four unbeaten in their last 15 games and really when clock strikes midnight on Saturday; it will be 17 straight cause the last time they lost was in January. Carl Hagelin is very good on defense but North Dakota just has too many weapons and Hagelin can not cover them all.
North Dakota's Jason Gregoire just might be the hottest player in the NCAA with a 16 game scoring streak (18-11-29) and if they win then expect Gregoire to turn pro while he is this hot. Brock Nelson is going through the growing pains of a freshman but he had a statement game in the regional finals against Denver.
In the other half of the Frozen Four is Anders Lee (2009 6th) and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will bring 10 freshmen to the party but these are not your average freshmen especially Lee. Islander fans will be drooling over this 6'3 220 power forward with the softest hands out there.
Even better is when it was written that for Notre Dame to have any chance in the NCAAs that Lee needed to start scoring again he did breaking the hearts of the Merrimack and New Hampshire fans.
In the QMJHL
Ryan Bourque (2009 3rd) and his 3rd seeded Quebec Remparts swept their way through the 1st round and take on 7th seeded Shawinigan. Quebec we expect to win this series but do not let that 7th seed fool, this Shawinigan team is going to put up a really good fight.
Kirill Kabanov (2010 3rd) and his 8th seeded Lewiston MAINEaics will be huge underdogs against 2nd seeded Montreal Juniors. Montreal swept all 4 regular season games this year and the MAINEaics are too young and inexperienced to handle the defensive pressure Montreal will put them under.
In the OHL
Casey Cizikas (2009 4th) and top seeded Mississauga St. Michaels Majors are taking on the Sudbury Wolves. Cizikas missed the 1st round due to an arm injury and there is a good chance he will not play in the 2nd round either.
The Majors are hosting the Memorial Cup so no matter what happens they know they are playing in May. Sudbury shocked Ottawa in the first round but they will not sneak up on anyone this time.
Jason Wilson (2010 5th) and his 3rd seeded Niagara IceDogs will be facing the 4 Ranger and Islander prospects of the 4th seeded Oshawa Generals. It will be the battle of a tough defense going up against a high powered offense.
Niagara has to figure out a way to shut down Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd), Calvin de Haan (NYI 2009 1st), and Tony DeHart (NYI 2010 5th). Dan Maggio (NYR 2009 6th) and his defensive partner Scott Valentine will be asked to shut down Wilson's line and we expect that at some point in the serious Maggio and Wilson will drop the gloves with each other.
What we don't want to do is pick a winner cause all of the prospects on this team are good guys. May the better team win.
Owen Sound survived the soap opera drama in their series against the London Knights. Even better is they found a way to get Scott Stajcer (2009 5th) who I interviewed the other day for the Blueshirt Bulletin. Discovered why people like Stajcer so much as this is one kid with the most positive outlook on like since Michael Sauer (and silly it may seem both had hip surgery).
Owen Sound takes on Plymouth in the 2nd round with Stajcer starting the series as the back up goalie. Before this series ends you can bet that Stajcer will be the starter for the Attack.
4 prospects started but only 1 is left so who is surprised that it is Nino Niederreiter (2010 1st) of the Portland Winterhawks? They take on the Kelowna Rockets who will give Portland a bit of a fight but Portland will take this series in 5 games as they just are way too deep for the Rockets.
Well we do not have to wonder any more if Andrew Yogan (2010 3rd) will get out of Robbie Ftorek's doghouse because the Erie Otters lost game 7 to the Windsor Spitfires. A disappointing end to Yogan's season but he earns high marks for fighting to make it back to play this season after major shoulder surgery.
And he will also get marks for not saying the wrong things when asked about his benching in the playoffs. We know kids want to play but part of the learning and growing process is also learning when not to say something to the media.
Someone is going to take Wednesday off to take care of a good friend of a dog who had to undergo doggie dental care on Tuesday.