May we offer New York Ranger fans some friendly advice about how to watch the Traverse City games? Don't worry about who is playing with who or why they are doing things.
Just put the channel on, sit back and enjoy watching the games. There is nothing to stress over as the goals of Traverse City are going to be different than you are used.
This is about prospects learning how to play at the higher level; about coaches to learn what they have in terms of talent and to see how the prospects react in different situations. Do not worry about who is playing with whom or why certain prospects are not used in expected situations.
Here is where the Ranger staff are going to learn what they can expect/not expect from these prospects. It is also going to be where just about every prospect is going to learn how to play with their teammates.
Yes you are going to see Dylan McIlrath playing with Tim Erixon but there is also a very good chance that you will see McIlrath play with the other 7 defensemen on the roster. Now is the chance for Ranger coaches to see which players might have chemistry with each other and which don't.
Traverse City is for teaching, Traverse City is for learning and winning is just a nice bonus. Fans are going to discover that Christian Thomas is much more than an offensive weapon as he is a pretty good penalty killer.
Be happy to see Ryan Bourque as the possible captain in part because his numbers have never told the true value that Bourque brings to a team. Bourque has always been the player who a coach will ask to make sacrifices for the good of the team.
Traverse City is for experimenting and with a 25 man roster so you will see a ton of juggling with scratches as well as during the games themselves. You can safely expect to see some very ugly hockey at times but that is OK since many of these players have never seen or played with some of the guys who might be their linemates.
Have some fun with these games, enjoy that you are watching live hockey and while it may not be pretty, it is a chance for a kid to live his dream. The Ranger prospects could go 0-4 at Traverse City but the franchise is still going to come out as winners because of the information about the prospects they will learn.
The games are going to become homework assignments for these prospects after the coaching staff holds the AM practices. They are going to want to see little things like if a forward prospect knows to go back and cover if a defenseman pinches in.
If you want to try something different then open up these links, download copies of these forms and see how the prospects do the things on these checklists.
TV is not the ideal method of scouting but have some fun and see how these prospects learn from game to game. Try not to be critical as it is better for them to make mistakes now and learn from them.
After the off-season we have been through just enjoy that you have hockey to watch and that the countdown to the 2011-2012 season is now for real.
I wrote this on Facebook but thought why not say it here too?
Hockey is supposed to be a game, it is supposed to be about having fun whether you are playing it or in the stands watching it. The Hockey world has taken a beating this off season but as we are on the eve of the 2011-2012 let us remember that hockey still remains the only sport where at the end we all shake hands.
This year how about we shake hands at the beginning of the season too?
(Ryan Bourque courtesy of Katherine Ep)
21 minutes ago