Saturday, September 24, 2011

Raising The Curtain

If you are a New York Ranger fan then the chances are unless we told you who's picture that is on the left then you would not know who it was. Steven Fogarty (2011 3rd) has been the forgotten Ranger prospect during this year's training camp as Fogarty has been out west playing for the Pentiction Vees of the BCHL.

The BCHL is a Junior A league or to make it simpler to understand; it is the place for junior players out west to play for while remaining eligible for the NCAA. It is a high quality league that has sent many a player to the NHL and Forgarty is going to join that list one day.

The Rangers wanted Forgarty to play for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL but Fogarty has a letter of intent to play for Notre Dame starting next season. Several people had told us that Fogarty has the tools to become a legit power forward in the NHL and we now see why.

6'3 200 with a body that looks more like he should be playing nose tackle for the New York football Jets than in the NHL. Fogarty made his BCHL debut on Friday night scoring his first goal of the season as his Vees won on the road 5-2 over the Coquitlam Express.

A coaches goal so to speak as the Vees forced a turnover in the defensive zone then Fogarty wasted no time putting the puck on net. No fuss no fancy play, just pressure, forecheck, turnover, attack and score; that is a John Tortorella play just as he would have drawn it up.

The first thing that stood out about Fogarty is nothing fancy to his game just pure power and strength with a single-minded purpose when in the crease area. When he sets up in the crease then you are going to stop him only by taking a penalty.

Going to be a whole lot of fun watching him this season.

The New York Islander's 2011 5th round pick John Persson of the Red Deer Rebels got his own season off to a good start. Persson a 6'2 211 lb left wing from Mora in Sweden had a secondary assist on Red Deer's first goal and then converted on his shootout opportunity to help the Rebels earn a 3-2 shootout win over the defending WHL Champion Kootenay Ice.

Persson coming off a 33 goal season last year for the Rebels is being counted on as one of the team leaders for the Rebels. A smart fundamentally strong player who is going to give you a strong effort every night; Persson has some super soft hands for a big man as he went 2nd for the Rebels in the shootout which was a nice surprise for us.

Elsewhere in the WHL, Derek Boogaard and Rick Rypien would have been proud as the 2 former Regina Pats were honored during the pregame ceremonies and then the Pats just dominated the Swift Current Broncos 5-1.  The Pats displayed both player's names on their bench along with the words "In Memory".

The Pats are coached by former Ranger Pat Conacher who was making his debut with the team.

In Saskatoon, the Saskatoon Blades honored Wade Belak (player) and Brad McCrimmon (coach) in a pregame ceremony memorial service. The Blades played video tributes followed by a moment of silence. Then the Blades went out and defeated the Prince Albert Raiders 4-3.

The WHL is holding moments of silence to honor the fallen four at every team's home opener. In addition every player will be wearing a decal on their helmet this season. We will share the image when we can get a copy of it.

In the OHL, 2011 Islander 3rd round pick Andrey Pedan was scoreless as his Guelph Storm dropped their home opener to the defending OHL champion Owen Sound Attack 6-4. Not sure where the Rangers think they can send Scott Stajcer to in the OHL but it won't be Owen Sound.

Owen Sound is very clearly set in goal with Jordan Binnington so if the Rangers plan on sending Stajcer back to the OHL then they had best make sure he first has a place to play. Imagine our surprise when we took a peek at the game while it was going on and saw this:

1 - GUE Bertuzzi, 17:14 - Check to the Head, 2 min
1 - GUE Bertuzzi, 17:14 - Fighting, 5 min

Several hours earlier we had read about Tyler Bertuzzi the nephew of Todd and everyone swears he is nothing like his uncle. Really? No they compare him to Steve Ott who is no saint either.

Ranger Cuts

The Rangers have made their first cuts of training camp and to be fair to the prospects who were cut, we will wait for the Rangers to make the announcement. Several names have been leaked out by their junior teams but our disappointment is the Rangers waiting until Saturday to announce the cuts.

Sometimes the NHL forgets that they leave CHL teams badly shorthanded while their prospects attend training camps. The CHL honors NHL requests to let prospects skip their training camps or not play in exhibition games so sometimes a little reverse consideration would be nice.

The least the Rangers could have done is return these players right after the prospect game so they could make it back for either home openers or just games period. Getting cut hurts and the best medicine for getting cut is getting these prospects right out playing.

Cutting them on Saturday means they miss this weekend's games and have almost a full week to dwell on being cut. Getting them playing ASAP is the best way to help avoid training camp hangover which is going to hit at least 1 if not 2 prospects.

In any event our Prospect Training Camp MVP is shared this year as we award it to Ryan Bourque and Tim Erixon for their play at Traverse City and main training camp. It will not be any surprise if you see both prospects in the opening night lineup on October 7th.

Erixon is easy but we would keep Bourque over Erik Christensen and even Carl Hagelin.

(Fogarty courtesy New York Rangers, Persson courtesy New York Islanders)

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