Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In The Neck Of Time

Tomorrow we get to chat with New York Ranger's Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark about how the Ranger prospects did this season for the Blueshirt Bulletin (yes double cheap plug but it pays the bills).

Maybe the first thing we should ask Clark if there is any way to convince Glen Sather that the Saint John Sea Dogs play in the OHL or WHL as the more we watch Tomas Jurco the more we like him.

Sather as we have already mentioned has only selected 1 player from the QMJHL out of 33 first round picks in his career.  Boy it would be really nice to make it 2 for 34 as the player who is doing more to raise his draft stock has become a human highlight reel.

From the 2011 CHL Top Prospect's Game-

But at the 2011 Memorial Cup we have a new nickname for Jurco and it is "The Finisher" as every time Saint Johns has needed a big goal, it has been Jurco who has scored it. Against the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday night Jurco scored with scored his 4th goal of the Cup to tie the game at 4-4 with just 15 seconds.

Well actually Jurco got credit for a goal that went off of all places his neck but the 6'2 right wing from Slovakia has made sure people have gotten to know his name really well. Jurco scored 2 goals to take over the Memorial Cup scoring lead with a 4-1-5 mark in 3 games.

It was Jurco who's goal against Owen Sound that clinched a spot in the Memorial Cup finals on Sunday. That goal alone could be a huge difference as the Sea Dogs attempt to become the 1st team from the QMJHL to win the cup since 2006.

Jurco who was ranked 20th in the final CSB rankings has become a YouTube star thanks to videos like the one we posted for you. Jurco though wants to be known for more than his slight of hand with his hockey sticks.

"I'm not a clown," Jurco said Monday prior to his scoring the game-tying goal in the Sea Dogs' 3-2 overtime win against the Owen Sound Attack in Monday's MasterCard Memorial Cup game. "I'm a hockey player."

One of our favorites Sunaya Sapurji of the Buzzing the Net crew said it best when she tweeted

Yesterday Tomas Jurco said "I am not a clown" he's right, he's the whole darn circus!

But more than anything else that is raising his draft stature with us is his maturity off the ice and how he is handling himself. Being a New York Ranger 1st round pick has to be one of the hardest spots to be in of all hockey but Jurco shows he can handle it.

The skinny on him is that he works hard at everything he does and while some may think he is a bit cocky; that would make him an ideal New Yorker. He needs some bulk as most kids do but his hands might be the fastest we have seen period.

That alone says a lot as among the Rangers and their prospects they have Derek Stepan and Christian Thomas who are no slouches either. Jurco is not soft either as he goes right into traffic to make a play.

This is one magician that has an act worthy of Broadway.


In game action, Jurco's "neck" goal did force overtime but the Kootenay Ice were able to keep their very slim hopes alive but scoring at 3:55 of over time for a 5-4 win over Saint John.

It was a meaningless game for the Sea Dogs who already are set for Sunday's final and they rested several key players. It was one of those games where the Sea Dogs win by losing.

First they are off until Sunday but the win by Kootenay means the loser of Wednesday's game between Mississauga and Owen Sound now has to play a tiebreaker game on Thursday.

Do not discount this as while Kootenay has Wednesday off, the loser of Wednesday's game will need to play on 3 straight days in order to earn the 2nd spot in the final on Sunday.

But if there was ever a team that has gotten more help from the on-ice officials during this playoff season, it has been the Kootenay Ice. Call it sour grapes going back to the WHL finals but even the overtime winner against Saint John was because a linesman blew an offsides call.

Give the Ice their due as they have taken full advantage of these calls and if we were the other 3 teams in the Memorial Cup then be nervous as Windsor proved you can come all the way from the tiebreaker to win the Cup.


Closing our eyes, Owen Sound will go with Jordan Binnington against Mississauga but should Owen Sound lose then wonder which goalie would play in the tiebreaker game?

If you have to play 3 games in 3 nights and you have 3 guys who are good enough to start then roll the dice and put in Scott Stajcer in the tiebreaker. If he wins then you have Mississauga scratching their heads wondering who gets the start on Friday (we go right back to Binnington who has 2 big wins against Mississauga under his belt).

(Jurco courtesy of Saint John Sea Dogs)


Kmp said...

I like Jurco, good speed, hustles (despite some scouting that says he disappears at times and can score.

See the Whale resigned Nigthingale. How do you see their roster this year? Would like to see Kolarik and Wiese resigned.

On D Bickel and Valentenko are RFAs do they come back? Are Redden and Del Zotto playing there next year? Alot of Right D with Kundratek, Parlett, Nightingale and Klassen has to figure in too.

Newbury, Grachev, Hagelin (think he makes big club out of camp), Bourque, Horak, Grant, Wilson are signed. Figure they bring back either Didiomete or Soryal as an enforcer. Not sure do they sign Yogan? Do Wiebe and Kerbashian come back? Do they bring back Mitchell? He gives them depth at center.

Jess Rubenstein said...

I see the Whale roster with a lot more change next season. I doubt any of the UFAs come back

Kolarik I think wants a shot at the NHL as a regular something he does not get with the Rangers.

Weise is in a really tough position as unless the Rangers sign someone else then he takes Boogaard's spot on the roster. He also has to start looking over his shoulder at Jason Wilson who is younger and does the same things.

Bickel does not come back mainly because of money as he has to get a QO of 826,875 and he is not NHL close.

Valentenko 550,000 which puts him on the bubble as he has skating issues which hurt his NHL chances.

Redden is expected to ask out of his contract to become a UFA as he is not interested in playing in the AHL anymore.

Del Zotto has the weight of the world on his shoulders as he has to have a super strong camp to make the team. IF the NYR do not resign Emminger or Gilroy then he has a easier road but if not then he has a fight on his hands.

Parlett is a AHL player and not listed as a Ranger which helps his cause. Klassen is in last year of EL so he has to have a big year or he will be gone.

The NYR have said they will qualify Mitchell for sure as they think he has an NHL future.

Yogan has not been signed and won't be until he can prove he can stay healthy.

As for the rest we have to watch as with all the kids coming in that somebody has to go

Leatherneck said...

What about Tyler Biggs and Mark McNeill? I think they may be a better fit for the Rangers...Imagine a line with Stepan centering Krieder and Biggs and McNeill centering Grachev and Thomas...Now how cane we pull that stunt to draft those two...which means we have to trade for a 1st round pick in the same area as where the Rangers are....this is other question for you is next years draft?

Jess Rubenstein said...


Biggs was the first kid I had up in the box and he would not be a bad fit.

McNeill would not be a bad pick either as he played a heck of a playoff for Prince Albert.

That box is going to change so Jensen (who has proven chemistry with Thomas) is not bad either.

I am supposed to come up with 5 possible choices for the Ranger pick at 15 which is why I am going to highlight as many of them as possible.

Gaining a 2nd first would take a miracle or a top level level prospect. I would prefer keeping Kreider and McIlrath.

As for 2012, I kind of like what is going to come out in that draft a bit better depthwise. Right now the favorite to be the number 1 pick is a kid playing for Sarina with possibly the greatest hockey name ever in Nail Yakupov

The kid in his rookie season put up 101 points in 65 games. He had next to no support on Sarina but was a 1 man gang.

Wait until 2013 when Stefan Matteau (son of THE Matteau) becomes eligible