Saturday, April 16, 2011

It Is About Staying Alive

For the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects, the goal now is being able to stay alive to play another day as the playoff series are now down to a matter of win or go home games.

Jason Wilson (2010 5th) and his Niagara IceDogs eliminated the Oshawa Generals in 5 games after Niagara defeated Oshawa 7-3. Wilson continued his strong play adding 2 more assists to run his playoff totals to 4-7-11.

This game was over in the first period after Niagara jumped all over Oshawa for 5 goals that was just too much for Oshawa to overcome. Wilson got his first assist on Niagara's 4th goal which turned out to be the eventual game winning goal at 14:36 of the first.

Wilson then earned a secondary assist on Niagara's 5th goal just 2:26 to give Niagara a 5-1 lead, Christian Thomas (2010 2nd) scored his 9th goal of the playoffs 46 seconds later at 17:48 to bring Oshawa to within 3 goals but the night belonged to Niagara.

Wilson and the IceDogs advanced to the OHL Eastern Conference Finals against the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors and already being labeled as heavy underdogs due to the Majors going 6-1-0-1 during the regular season. As much as we like the IceDogs, there remains a monster residing in Mississauga that we think will rule.

As for Oshawa, it is in it's own way really sad to see their season come to such an end but at the same time, this team was a full year ahead of schedule so we just might see them again. Or how sad would we be if Christian Thomas and Dan Maggio were on Broadway while Calvin de Haan and Tony DeHart  were out on the Island?

Thomas clearly is our Ranger prospect of the year and we expect to see his signature on a Ranger deal before training camp. Thomas has now set new standards for forward prospects with his 54-45-99 regular season and 9-10-19 playoff. Imagine that a Ranger prospect putting up 63 total goals in a single season?

Why the last Ranger prospect to put up numbers like that was this right winger of the Guelph Storm who everybody (but us we add ever so modestly) swore up and down was way too small to play in the NHL. All that guy did in his best season was put up 59 total goals before he turned pro and once he turned pro Ranger fans fell in love with him.

Isn't that right Ryan Callahan?

Dan Maggio (2009 6th) we honestly do not know if the Rangers will sign him as he has the numbers game going against him. We would love to see the Rangers risk an AHL contract as he did a strong job for Oshawa as a shut down defender and at 6'3 with an overage year available; it will not cost the Rangers much to give him another year to look at.

Maggio finished his season 2-12-14 +5 97 PIMs 6 Fighting Majors, 1-2-3 Even in the playoffs.

The Islander fans will have Calvin de Haan (2009 1st) to watch in their lineup next season as he has proven he is ready and will give the Islanders a very good 2 way defender on their blueline. 6-42-48 +13 in the regular season, 1-11-13 +3 in the playoffs.

Tony DeHart (2010 5th) was a good pick for the Islanders as we believe that he has earned an Islander contract because of his ability to fill any role asked of him.  4-26-30 +9 82 PIMs with 6 fighting majors, 2-10-12 in the playoffs he will be playing as a pro someplace next season.

In Portland, Nino Niederreiter (2010 1st) and his Portland Winterhawks are discovering the hard way that the 4th win in a series is very hard to get. Niederreiter scored his 7th goal of the playoffs in the 2nd period but that was the only goal the Winterhawks could manage to score as the Kelowna Rockets defeated Portland in overtime 2-1.

The Winterhawks still lead the series 3-2 but now face a long bus ride up to Kelowna for a game 6 on Sunday afternoon. Friendly advice to Portland win up there because you do not want to go to a game 7 against a Ryan Huska coached team; we have seen his teams win game 7's.

If there was any question about Kirill Kabanov's being a changed person then game 5 of the Lewiston/Montreal series erased them. Shame on the Montreal folks for not giving Kabanov a star because it was Kabanov who was a big reason why this game went into 2 overtimes before Montreal won 5-4 to force a game 6 on Sunday.

Kabanaov continued his hot streak with a 1-2-3 +2 8 shot effort against the Junior. How many ways can we sing the praises of Kabanov? Start with a 5-9-14 that has leapfrogged him up to 11th in QMJHL playoff scoring.

Add a scoring streak of 7 games in which Lewiston has gone 5-2 in as well as 4 straight multi-point games. Whatever Lewiston did to turn Kabanov around then one hopes they share that secret with the Islanders as if Kabanov keeps playing like this then the 3rd round pick Garth Snow gambled on Kabanov will be the best bargain in years.

Ryan Bourque (2009 3rd) and his Quebec Remparts had a chance to end their series against the Shawinigan CataractesBourque tried his best to win the game with a 1-1-2 effort on 6 shots but it was just not enough.

As with Portland, Quebec now has to go on the road in order to play game 6 and in this case we just do not have the confidence in Quebec's Patrick Roy's ability to coach a game 7 win against the Cataractes but it is because the Cataractes as a team scare us.

They have a much better playoff record on the road than they do at home so if the Remparts do not get the job done then beware the underdog in game 7.

OK let me put this quite simply; if you have followed the Rangers all season then why are you abandoning ship after just 2 games? Have the Rangers been blown out in either game?

Sorry but I am not sure which is more embarrassing that nobody sees that the Capitals are playing not to lose or that too many Ranger fans are acting like the Rangers lost Game 2 in worse fashion than Custer got his tail kicked at Little Big Horn. 

Now I will be the first to say that I did not think this team would even make it to the playoffs. I was wrong but you know since they are in then what the hell I have not gotten to seen a Ranger playoff game on my birthday in years.

I want one this year after all I have been through. 

(Images Wilson/Aaron Bell-OHL Images, Thomas, de Haan, DeHart, Maggio/Oshawa Generals Kabanov/QMJHL, Bourque/Quebec Remparts)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kabanov may turn out to be a bargain, but the best bargain for Snow in years is Grabner, hands down. In my opinion, he is one of the five best players on the team and he did not cost a thing.