We have said this before and will continue to do so; no matter if you are a New York Islander or a New York Ranger prospect the game we want to see you play is the first one after you have been demoted.
How you handle going from the NHL life to the juniors is a giant test of your character. Try being a teenager going from living the life of charter planes and first class hotels to long bus rides and Motel 6's.
Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) was one we should not have worried about as if anything the return of Strome was exactly what his Niagara IceDogs needed. The IceDogs have been struggling off to a 2-4-0-1 start so add a player who put up 106 points last season and things get better fast.
How fast? How about a hat trick in his first game of the season? The IceDogs came out all fired up and took out their frustrations on the Belleville Bulls whipping them 5-0.
This game was over in the first 5:46 as first fellow Islander prospect Mitchell Theoret (2011 7th) scored his own first goal of the season just 3:33 into the game on the power play. We will get to Theoret in a few cause he played a great game himself.
Ryan Strome got on the board just 2:13 later on another power play goal from the IceDogs to make it 2-0. 8:07 later at 13:53, Strome took a feed from Theoret to make 3-0 on an even strength goal.
In the 3rd period Strome got the first hat trick for the prospects this season when he scored at 6:34 for the 5th and final goal of the night for the IceDogs. Safe to say Strome was the game's first star as the IceDogs finished off the Bulls.
Theoret had a good night of his own as in addition to his own first goal of the season, he added the assist on Strome's 2nd goal for his 5th point of the season. Then to complete his night Theoret got into a fight with the Bull's Austen Brassard to earn himself the "Gordie Howe Hat Trick".
Scott Stajcer's (NYR 2009 5th) return to the Owen Sound Attack a bad one as Peter Ceresnak (2011 6th) with 2 assists and Andrew Yogan (2010 3rd) with a goal helped the Peterborough Petes to a 4-2 win.
Stajcer one can make the case had not seen game action since the final game of Traverse City which was almost a month ago but Stajcer did not get much help from his teammates either. A penalty filled game where the Petes went 2 for 7 on their power plays while Owen Sound was 0 for 8.
This was not a pretty game by either side as it seemed like a penalty was called every other whistle. Stajcer often found himself alone with a member of the Petes in front of the net. The Attack actually led this one 1-0 before Matt Puempel deflected a Ceresnak point shot past Stajcer to tie the game at 1 at 11:35 of the first.
2:29 later while the Petes were on the power play, Andrew Yogan caught everyone flat footed when he fired a shot that Stajcer never saw for a 2-1 Petes lead that they never gave up. The shot went 5 hole and Stajcer never saw it.
Ceresnak earned his 2nd assist of the game on the goal which gave the Petes a 2-1 lead and send Stajcer on to his first loss of the season. Yogan in addition to his goal also had 6 minutes in PIMs including a double minor that ended a Pete power play.
Ceresnak's 2 assists gives him 4 points (1-3-4) on the season while Yogan is 2-3-5. For Stajcer he was credited with 29 saves while giving up 4 goals in taking the loss.
In Windsor, JT Miller (2011 1st) had an assist as well as a fight as his Plymouth Whalers lost in overtime to the Windsor Spitfires 4-3. There were a couple of things that we came away from this game about Miller that impressed us.
For starters he is a whole lot smarter on the ice than people give him credit for as Miller's assist was a shorthanded one that came at 19:59 of the first period. Here is a video and you want to check at the 2:05 mark of the clip.
Got to to love how Miller just goes to the net as his hard work kept the puck alive in the crease and Plymouth somehow beat the buzzer.
Now I know I said I was not going to show fight clips here this year but I have to make an exception because of the points I really want to make about JT Miller. First watch Miller on the forecheck here as he takes the body and generates the turnover allowing Plymouth to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
Second Miller used his shoulder right between the numbers to hit Grant Webermin; it was a hard hit yes but because Miller used only his shoulder it was a clean hit. And not sure which impressed me more; Miller's hand speed or his brute strength as he really turned Webermin into a rag doll.
Not at all happy about Miller throwing at Webermin while he is down and defenseless that needs to go.
Finally in the QMJHL, the Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) watch is now up to 5 games as the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada hit the road for a game against the Halifax Mooseheads. The Aramada gave up 3 goals in the 3rd period to lose 5-3.
As for Kabanov, there is a ton of rumors but almost zero fact to back them up. We here are going to follow the rule that governs the draft picks. Kirill Kabanov was drafted out of the QMJHL not from Europe so because Kabanov is under 20 then by rule he has to be returned to the QMJHL holding his rights.
The Islanders have no power or ability to send Kabanov to anywhere so the rumors about Europe are not true. At the same time we will repeat our statement which is the Armada either needs to trade Kabanov, play him or grant him his release.
What they are doing now is wrong and unfair to Kabanov who just wants to play.
(Strome/NHL Media, Ceresnak/OHL Images-Terry Wilson)
25 minutes ago