Saturday night saw the 5th round prospects of both the New York Islanders and New York Rangers as making key contributions in helping their teams win exhibition games. We have to start with the Spokane Chief's Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) who made his season debut a very good one.
Kichton started a 5 goal 3rd period outburt with the 1st of 2 goals to help Spokane come from behind for a 6-4 win over the Everett Silvertips. Kichton, a 5'11 defender is coming off a 23-58-81 +55 season and will need to improve on those numbers for Spokane to challenge Portland for the US Division.
With Spokane trailing 3-1, Kichton struck off a feed from Marek Kalus at the 3 minute mark. 1:29 later Spokane tied the game at 3-3 but Everett regained the lead at 8:16.
Kichton then tied the game up at 4-4 on his 2nd goal at 11:50 and from there Spokane went on to score 2 more goals for the win. Kichton was 2-0-2 +2 for the game.
Regan Bartel the voice of the Kelowna Rockets called it perfected when it came to Shane McColgan when he said he had to do a little of everything.
And McColgan did exactly that to help his Rockets blow out the Victoria Royals 7-2. It was McColgan who got the Rockets going with his 1st goal of the exhibition season at 7:07 of the first period and the Rockets just piled it on from there scoring 4 times in the first.
McColgan also took 2 penalties one that he will need to avoid and the other which led to a Kelowna power play. The first was an unsportsmanlike in the last minute of the first period with Kelowna up 4-0, coaches never like those.
The second was a cross checking that led to McColgan taking 2 Royals with him so we can not complain about it. McColgan also had a primary assist on Kelowna's 6th goal of the game which killed off any hope of a Victoria comeback.
McColgan finished 1-1-2, +2 4 PIMs for the Rockets as he will practice for a couple more days before departing to play in Traverse City.
In Moose Jaw, the big question was how would the Warriors respond after playing a terrible game against Regina Pats on Friday. The answer was it was not pretty but Moose Jaw doubled up Regina 6-3 holding the Pats to just 20 shots for the game.
Moose Jaw did not dress Dylan McIlrath (2010 1st) but did Traverse City invitee Colin Bowman who played a much better game on Saturday. Bowman had a primary assist and 2 secondary assists for the Warriors who evened up their record at 1-1.
That Moose Jaw held McIlrath out of both exhibition games was more for the Warrior's benefit than it was McIlrath. Moose Jaw we believe is expecting the Rangers to keep McIlrath for most of the Ranger training camp and they would not have him available for the beginning of the Warrior's regular season.
In the OHL, the Plymouth Whalers did not dress most of their regulars including 2011 New York Ranger 1st round pick JT Miller but were able to defeat the Windsor Spitfires 2-1.
We do not have a scoresheet but we do not believe that the Niagara IceDogs dressed 2011 Islander 1st round pick Ryan Strome or 2011 Islander 7th round pick Mitchell Theoret. The IceDogs shut out the Erie Otters 2-0 in the opener for both teams.
2011 Islander 3rd round pick defender Andrey Pedan scored his 1st goal of the exhibition season to give his Guelph Storm a short lived 4-3 lead in the 3rd period but Guelph went on to defeat the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors 6-4.
Pedan scored an unassisted goal which came as a bit of a surprise given that Pedan had all of 2 goals last season. Pedan is a 6'4 Russian defender who we are told should have a breakout season for the Storm this year.
And write down this name (we said you needed to do it last year) Nail Yakupov who plays for the Sarina Sting in the OHL. Unless lightning strikes or a serious injury here is your 2012 NHL Entry Draft first pick.
Yakupov brought his entire family over from Russia and if the somewhat homesick kid could score 49 then imagine what he is going to do this year. And even better is that this year he is going to have a supporting cast so 60-70 goals is not out of the question.
Services for Belak will be held Sunday in Nashville and there were 2 articles that we felt was important to bring to your attention. The first features a very upset Tie Domi who wants people to focus more on depression than that Belak (as well as Rypien and Boogaard) was an NHL enforcer.
It is hard to argue with Domi who might know about the enforcing part but if you read the article you can get a sense that he is might also trying to be convincing himself. Domi was a mentor to Belak when both were Maple Leafs so our heart goes out to him as well.
The other article actually hits us harder when we see who the focus is on and that is former Ranger Colton Orr. The question asked "Should Colton Orr ever play another game in the NHL?"
Our answer comes more from our heart than our heads but the answer is a very loud "NO." Enough already if the players and the NHL are not willing to do more about the concussion issue then take it out of their hands.
It is not going to be hard to draw a line from concussions to depression as despite what many may think one thing that can help lead to depression is having something you love be taken from you not because of your own choice.
Tie Domi is right on one thing and that is we all need to start to speak up about depression as it happens to more people than anyone wishes to admit.
(Kickton courtesy of the Spokane Chiefs, McColgan courtesy of the Kelowna Rockets)
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