Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not Fitting The Crime

We knew that Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) was going to be suspended as the New York Ranger prospect last Sunday took a high sticking major which is an automatic suspension/review. Since we also knew that this was Thomas's 2nd offense (almost a year ago he took a slew footing major) that Thomas was going to get at least 2 games and at most 5 games.

But when we got the word it was 10 games we were shocked as this punishment does not come close to fitting the crime. The OHL in their media release states the following:

The league has taken the position, that for education purposes, any announcement regarding supplementary discipline will be supported by video footage and additional rationale for all incidents involving checking to the head, checking from behind, and others at the discretion of the league.

Now since we can not break down the video then here is the link and we will do the best we can.

First their explanation (rationale)

- glancing blow to the side of helmet
- no serious injury- player returned to play in the game
- persuaded not an intentional blow to the head
- Players must always be responsible for their stick

Hopefully by now you have viewed the video yourself because here comes our questions.

The OHL's own words acknowledge that there was no intent to injure,  that the player was able to keep playing and that it was a glancing blow. So how exactly does this become a 10 game suspension because the video offered as evidence does not offer any real explanation?

If anything this video fails to clearly show much of anything as all we see is Thomas face down on the ice being checked by the Saginaw player. So how does Thomas wind up in this position in the first place?

It is a valid question to ask because Thomas is not even facing the player he struck with his stick and we have to wonder if the player Brandon Archibald did not create this situation by how he took down Thomas to the ice.

And before anyone pulls the "he is a Ranger fan" what we want to see is a video that shows the entire play from start to finish. We are all for a "zero tolerance" policy against head shots but the punishment must be in line with the action.

We could honestly argue that by taking Thomas down; Archibald created the situation himself that led to Thomas's stick catching his helmet. What a strange week for the Ranger's top 2 picks from the 2010 Draft. The biggest prospect 6'5 Dylan McIlrath is out with a possible concussion and the smallest 5'9 Christian Thomas is suspended for a hit that at best is questionable.

Game Action

A strange day gave way to some pretty good game action even if the results were not what fans would have liked to have seen. It was the debut of Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) as a member of the Shawinigan Cataractes and if tonight is any indication then look out QMJHL.

Kabanov did not score but he was very active taking 7 shots (5 called scoring chances) as his Cataractes defeated Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his Baie-Comeau Drakkar 3-2. In keeping with the strange theme of this day, the Cataractes were up 3-1 and the final ticks of the clock (19:56) were about to happen when a bit of a scrum broke out which led to a Cataractes power play.

On the resulting faceoff, Samuel Noreau fired a shot that beat the goalie and the buzzed for his first goal of the season as 19:59 of the 3rd period. Our French is terrible and from what little we got there was 2 unhappy teams when this game ended.

So yesterday we were talking about hot scoring streaks andRyan Strome (NYI 2011 1st)was one of them as he had 9 points in the 6 games he played in since being returned to the Niagara IceDogs by the Islanders.

Yet while against the Brampton Battalion, Strome's scoring streak ended in Niagara's 4-1 win; Strome might have played his best game of the season. No goals no points but how about earning the game's 2nd star?

Strome was solid at both ends of the ice as the IceDogs won their 4th straight to go over the 500 mark. Fellow Islander prospectMitchell Theoret (2011 7th)also did not score but got into his 2nd fight of the season.

The IceDogs are rolling and as much as coaches never like saying one player is bigger than the team; the IceDogs have done a complete 180 since Strome rejoined the team.

Earlier this week we talked about accountability using what Peterborough Pete GM Dave Reid wrote the Pete fans as an example of it. So on Thursday night the Petes took the ice for the first time this week and wish we could say that the Petes ended their losing streak but sorry can not.

What we can say is that the Petes did play hard as promised against the Ottawa 67's but they remain their own worst enemies. Andrew Yogan (NYR 2010 3rd) had an assist for his 8th point of the season which actually gave the Petes a 5-4 lead.

The Petes could not hold the lead  as Ottawa tied the game and forced overtime where they won with a goal at the 42 second mark of the overtime period 6-5 . Fellow Ranger prospect Peter Ceresnak (2011 6th) did not score but played a good game with a +2 on the night.

The effort was there but so were the mistakes which while the Petes got a point changed a 4 game losing streak into a 5 game winless streak.

(Thomas/Oshawa Generals, Strome/OHL Images-Aaron Bell)


Leatherneck said...

Where do you see Thomas's future being with the NY Rangers? Who does he play with in the future? Or is he a trade worthy asset? Hypothetically say Thomas and Zuccarello for Tyler Biggs. I think Del Zotto's tenure as a Ranger is going to end soon should he not get his game back. He was awful against Toronto and had it not been for Sauer 3 golden opportunities for the Leafs were thwarted by Sauer. I believe that Erixon has moved up in the depth chart and leap frogged both Eminger and Del Zotto.

I know that this was not going to be our year so my expectations were else where and my goals for the season as another stepping stone to see this team build up for the eventual Cup runs. I see Fedetenko being replaced by Bourque to form our fourth line with Rupp being an alternate on that line platooning with Bourque, it is clear we need a winger for the 1st line and just maybe Anisimov can be shifted there. JT Miller would be a good line mate for Dubinsy and Callahan or possibly Thomas and finally a 3rd line of Krieder, Stepan and Callahan or a trade for Biggs
To me it will be a successful year should Del Zotto grow and develop his play, Stepan getting better and better and work on his faceoffs which are a weakness, and be in a position to draft Reinhart or Koekkoek.
On defense it is becoming clearer as to whom will be our 3rd pairing with McIlrath and Erixon with Del Zotto being as is with no improvement the 7th D...your thoughts?

Jess Rubenstein said...

Sorry Leatherneck I missed the email here,

I believe if the NHL keeps true to their word about opening up the game then CT has a good future.

He has a legit NHL shot which he can use from several places on the ice,

Because he is a RW and the NYR are trying to build up a more physical team then you could safely use him with a Miller (kid not afraid to fight and a Kreider (would like to see him get mad)

Sorry disagree on Del Zotto as I do see better effort and honestly quitting on him at age 21 then you will set a standard where no prospect is allowed the mistakes needed to help them learn.

Erixon has not made the loop around the league so nobody has him scouted but Erixon I have not seen him grab the imitative and until he does then I do not believe his offense will help.

Only way NYR are in any position to draft either of the players you suggest would be to not make the playoffs.

Sorry my friend we disagree on a lot here.

In time we will be here

Kreider/Stepan/Thomas or Miller



Bourque/Lindberg/St. Croix

There will be some tough decisions down the road to be made. Do you keep Staal and Girardi when you have some huge size with talent?

Answer yes if it helps you fill other holes like a down the road replacement for Henrik