Monday, December 26, 2011

Surprised? Not A Chance

So the first day of competition at the 2012 World Under-20 championships has come and gone with no surprises in the games we checked on. For the three prospects representing the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders, they actually played as we expected which was rather well.

The disappointing part of today's action was that none of the games involving the local prospects really provided a true test for them. All of their games wound up becoming were three blowouts.

We start with Ryan Strome the Islanders 2011 first round draft pick was a very nice 1-3-4 as Canada had no trouble with Finland defeating them 8-1. The only surprise out of this game was how badly Finland played as this game was over the moment the Finland hit the ice and saw the Canadians waiting for them.

Canada jumped all over Finland with two goals in the first 4:25 and never looked back. Strome got his first assist on Canada's first goal by Mark Stone of the game even though this was a secondary assist.

Strome would another ssecondary assist on another goal scored by Mark Stone in the third period. Strome also earned a primary assist on a goal by Dougie Hamilton.  Strome put the finishing touches on this game by scoring Canada's final goal as Strome made his debut at this tournament a successful one.

Canada gets Tuesday off before returning to action on Wednesday against the Czech Republic.

Johan Sundstrom had an assist for his only point of the game has Team Sweden had no trouble defeating Latvia 9-4.

Sundstrom is one of Sweden's alternate captains for this tournament and was one of the New York Islander's 2011 second round draft picks. Sundstrom was used as a center for Sweden and was barely over 0.500 going 8 -7 on his face-offs.

Sweden also will get Tuesday off and will take on Switzerland on Wednesday. Switzerland lost to Russia 3-0 which will make their game against Sweden a must-win in order to avoid winding up in the relegation round.

Our only New York Ranger prospect to see action on Monday was 2011 first round pick JT Miller. Miller and his teammates which believe had to overcome an what others felt was a slow start to blow poor Denmark out 11 -3.

We don't see it as slow start but rather just bad penalty killing which is what was the only thing that kept Denmark in the game in the first period.  The hardest thing for us was getting used to seeing Miller wearing number 11 instead of its usual number 18.

The funny thing about Miller's goal was we actually saw it coming because J.T. Miller has this thing about skating to the right circle in the offensive zone taking a pass just inside the circle and shooting.

We have watched Miller go to that exact same spot in Traverse City, we saw him use the same move in three different games what the Plymouth Whalers. But we haven't seen anybody do is stop him from that spot as that is our favorite part of Miller's game.

It's our favorite because the part of Miller's game where he he just keeps everything down to the basics, Miller's already shooting the puck by the time the pass has reached his stick. If anything we would like to take the tape of Miller's goal and show it to the Rangers so they can learn what to do on a power play.

The USA is off until Wednesday when they will face Finland.

As we mentioned yesterday we weren't really all that excited about the opening days of the tournament and the results of these games as you can see all why. We love the idea of naming a juniors champion but we have to wonder if there isn't a better way to do this as we go through this every year.

The haves will have, they have nots won't, and maybe once in awhile lightning will strike so a huge underdog or make it to the semis.

Canada will always love hosting this and if you get the right U.S. City too but if you want to attract interest in places where hockey is not a hotbed than you need to make the playing field a little more level.


The rest of the prospects will start see in action starting on Tuesday and we will have a report on how Slovakian Ranger prospect Peter Ceresnak does in his opening game. 

If this looks a little different than its normal format we apologize, we're having a bit of health technical difficulty that we hope to resolve in the next few days. Just once would like to trade places with those say that blows to the head area do not come with a price tag in the future. 

Not looking for a pity party but would gladly trade places with those who live in denial.

(Strome- NHL Media, Sundstrom-USA Hockey, Miller- Plymouth Whalers)

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