Friday, April 1, 2011

It Is All About DeHart

So on a team that boasts a total of 4 New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects if you were asked to pick the player who would be the star for the Oshawa Generals in Game 5 against the Kingston Frontenacs how many of you would have said Tony DeHart (NYI 2010 5th)? Christian Thomas most likely, Calvin de Haan a good 2nd choice, maybe Dan Maggio but Tony DeHart not a chance.

Yet it was Tony DeHart with a 2 goal, 3 assist +2 career night that led the way for Oshawa as they used a 3 goal outburst to break open their game against Kingston on their way to a 6-2 win. The win eliminates Kingston in 5 games and sends the Generals on their way to what should be a very good matchup with the Niagara IceDogs.

Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) got the Generals on the board first when he scored his 5th goal of the playoffs just 1:46 into the game. DeHart got his first point of the night with a secondary assist on the play.

After Kingston scored to tie the game at 1-1 after 1 period, with Oshawa on the power play it was DeHart earning his 2nd point of the night when he set up Boone Jenner for the go ahead goal at 1:39 of the 2nd period.

4:58 later with Oshawa again on the power play, DeHart earned point number 3 with another secondary assist this time on Lucas Lessio's goal for a 3-1 Oshawa lead. Christian Thomas earned his 2nd point of the night when he earned a secondary assist on Scott Valentine's goal at 18:19 of the period for a 4-1 Oshawa lead ending the period.

In the 3rd period DeHart scored his 1st goal of the playoffs and 4th point of the game at 1:04 of the 3rd period on yet another Oshawa power play for a 5-1 lead. Calvin de Haan (NYI 2009 1st) earned a secondary assist on the goal.

DeHart then put the finishing touches on both the game and series when scored his 2nd goal of the game and point number 5 at 3:52 on an unassisted goal and a 6-1 Oshawa lead. The game's 1st star DeHart had a career night as the 5 points also pushed DeHart up to 4th in the OHL playoff scoring race.

The leader is Thomas as he improved to 5-8-13 +12 which when added to his regular season totals means Thomas is 59-53-109 +32 on the season. Forget him being the son of former NHLer, Steve Thomas will now be known as the father of a future Ranger.

Still DeHart as we have been saying has been the perfect role player for Oshawa this year. The Generals have used him in every role on the blueline whether it was replacing de Haan as the leader or as the shut down guy before the Generals traded for Dan Maggio (NYR 2009 6th). The Islanders need to give him his contract as they need a DeHart in their system.

As for Maggio, he did not score and wound up with 6 PIMs and a -1 but his role was to be shut down defender and Kingston's top line was held to just 1 goal so mission accomplished. Congrats to a General team which had missed the playoffs for 2 straight seasons and now are on to the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Niagara IceDogs in what should be a great series as an excellent defense takes on an excellent offense.

As for Ethan Werek (NYR 2009 2nd) and his Kingston Frontenacs, their season is over but the questions are just beginning. Werek is a player the Rangers need to make a decision on as to whether or not to sign him.

Injuries cost Werek to miss 19 games this season as he fell to career lows of 24-28-52 with no goals and just 3 assists in the playoffs. There is no question that Werek has talent as well as a 6'2 body which the Rangers could use but this year hurt Werek's cause from a weak training camp to the injury that we believe Werek should have asked the Rangers to look at.

We hope the Rangers do not give up on Werek as we still believe he has a lot to offer the Rangers and it would be a shame to just walk away from him.

In Lewiston, chances are there is a young Islander prospect named Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) still walking around with a huge grin on his face. Kabanov and his Lewiston MAINEaics eliminated Kabanov's former team the Moncton Wildcats in 5 games thanks to a 6-1 win.

We are not sure which impressed us more Kabanov's play or the maturity he has been showing during a series that you just had to know he wanted to win so badly. That Kabanov took the high road and refused to trash his former team after all that happened should make Islander fans feel better about Kabanov's growth.

Kabanov added his 2nd goal of the series which was Lewiston's 3rd of the game as they just took control of this game in the 2nd period and never looked back. It sends an 6th seeded Lewiston team that few expected to be amount to much this season into the QMJHL's second round for a match up with 2nd seeded Montreal.

Kabanov is 2-2-4 in 5 games after 2 straight strong performances in this series. If Kabanov continues to play like this then Lewiston is going to give Montreal a good fight despite being huge underdogs.

Dylan McIlrath (NYR 2010 1st) and his Moose Jaw Warriors are heading back to Moose Jaw now on the brink of elimination after losing game 5 to the Kootenay Ice 3-1. McIlrath and his teammates on their ride back to Moose Jaw will look back at going 0 for 5 on the power play and know where the Warriors lost.

McIlrath's pattern of taking penalties in Moose Jaw losses continued as he took an elbowing call in the first period which Kootenay did not score on.

Come Sunday when Moose Jaw could be playing their final game ever in the building that is nicknamed "the Crushed Can".  While people love the newest of arenas and all the fancy perks that go with them; there is something to be said about small arenas like this.

Ranger fans would be surprised to know how many former Rangers once called this place home. It only holds 2700+ fans but it's rich history of being loud and energetic is well known throughout the WHL.

Speaking of elimination, Andrew Yogan (NYR 2010 3rd) was again a healthy scratch as his Erie Otters are barely alive after blowing a 4-1 2nd period lead as they live to play a game 6 after a 6-5 overtime win in Windsor over the Spitfires. According to Victor Fernandes of, Yogan did not travel with the team because "he was sick"

Game 6 is in Erie at 4:30 PM but we do not expect Yogan to be back in the Otter lineup.

Finally Glen Sather and Brian Burke have once again made a small town mad by picking up a WHL team and moving them. The duo who once owned part of the Tri-City Americans tried to move that team but instead sold their interests and received the rights to the expansion Chilliwack Bruins.

Now word comes in that Sather, Burke and Darryl Porter have agreed to sell their shares in the Bruins to a group that will relocate the team to Victoria, BC. The WHL is going to look bad here because they had previously said that no such move was in the cards.

(Images: Thomas/Oshawa Generals, Kabanov/Ron Morin/Lewiston Maineaics, Moose Jaw Civic Centre/Moose Jaw Warriors) 

1 comment:

brian said...

So you think there is any chance that The Rangers buyout Wolski this summer and bring in Thomas? How's his defense? I also remember reading somewhere that he plans on using this summer to get stronger. And btw Yale outplayed MinnesotaD but got robbed with that major to O'Neil. A real shame.