Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wondering out loud

Wednesday night prospect hockey was is about thinking out loud about things involving New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects than the game results. From players being injured, being suspended to how they have been used this season.

Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 third) is the person we thought about most of the night because as he messed tonight's game for his Shawinigan Cataractes. The QMJHL earlier in the day announced the discipline for the player who caused Kabanov concussion.

Maybe because the injury occurred in a key game between two teams fighting for first place in the QMJHL. The player in question a Jason Cameron of the Saint John Sea Dogs was given a four game suspension and quite honestly we question if it was enough.

First here is the rationale that was offered as to why a four game suspension

His opponent was in a vulnerable position

The player at fault:

Came from the blind side and hit his opponent’s head with his shoulder;

Propelled himself upwards to get at his opponent’s head;

Did not have much speed;

Was his first offence.

The player was injured.

Put me in charge of all of hockey for just one day and I will make this one rule change regarding plays like this; all suspensions to begin after the injured player has returned to play. In other words you take a player out and you get to stay out until the player returns and then your suspension begins (For repeat offenders the coach also gets to serve your suspension with you).

In the meantime Kabanov is out of the Shawinigan Cataractes lineup for who knows and as in the case tonight the Cataractes lost a game they should have won. Now I can't come out and say that Kabanov would've been a difference against Acadie-Bathurst Titan but you are looking at a team like the Cataractes who are second in the QMJHL playing against a team who is almost 20 points behind them in the standings.

That the Cataractes wound up losing this game by the shootout 5-4; does make me wonder. For us it's a matter of putting some legitimate bite into cleaning up the game.

I have been involved with hockey since I was six years old watching, playing, the whole 9 yards and the majority of plays like this are preventable. And remember it is not about taking the hitting at the game but rather taking the people getting hurt again.

There was no reason why Kabanov winds up injured and missing tonight's game and who knows how many more.

Sticking to the QMJHL, Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 fifth) and his Baie-Comeau Drakkar were playing host to the Halifax Mooseheads as and their wonder child Nate MacKinnon. Wish people would stop comparing MacKinnon to Sidney Crosby because MacKinnon doesn't dive and he doesn't sucker punch people while they are being held.

As for the game, the Drakkar came away with a 2-1 shootout win and Noreau while not scoring still made us happy because he was using his 6'5 body as a weapon against the Mooseheads. We liked his defensive play and since he supposed to be a stay-at-home defenseman; he did a pretty good job this evening getting credited with three hits.

More importantly for the Drakkar gained two points in the standings holding them in 10th place but pulling them to within three points of the ninth place. In the QMJHL, the way the playoffs are set up the closer you are to the middle of the standings say being in the eighth or ninth seed the better a first-round matchup you will have. It is way better than having to face a one or two seed in the first-round.

In the WHL, the Kelowna Rockets with Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 fifth) were playing host to the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds earned a 2-0 win over the Rockets due to a large part being the more desperate team.

The Rocket are basically fixed in sixth place as they are 11 points behind fifth place and thanks to the loss 14 points ahead of seventh place. Seattle on the other hand has not made the playoffs in the last couple of years and are playing hard to make them.

They got the win and they found themselves as that seventh place team in the WHL's Western Conference. Good for them they truly wanted it more.

Up in Red Deer, John Persson and the Rebels were hosting the Prince Albert Raiders looking to make up ground on eighth place Brandon. Brandon having already defeated Regina and extended their lead over Red Deer to 5 points so the Rebels badly needed a win.

Red Deer shut out the Raiders 4-0 to remain just three points behind Brandon. Persson was scoreless but did take two minor penalties that Red Deer killed off the resulting power plays.

Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 fourth) had two secondary assists as his Edmonton Oil Kings taking advantage of a five goal second period defeated the Calgary Hitmen 9-5. For St. Croix the assists set a new career high as he is now standing at 50 assists for the season.

At 34-50-84 and having 18 games remaining, we were pretty sure that 50 goals is out of reach but we still think St. Croix can make it to 100 points. His Edmonton Oil Kings are only two points behind Kamloops for the best record in the entire WHL too.

Scott Stajcer (NYR 2009 fifth) had a good seat to watch Jordan Binnington earn a 2-1 shootout win over the Erie Otters for their Owen Sound Attack. Stajcer and Binnington are rotating in goal and the more we see it; the more we see it is hurting both goalies and their development.

Owen Sound to be honest we do not understand the logic that they are using as with 16 games remaining in the regular season; we see a team that is basically begging to be eliminated in the first round of the OHL playoffs.

We feel bad for both goalies as both very much deserve to be a starting goalie and while Binnington has one of the season of Junior remaining so he will be most likely a starter somewhere. Stajcer on the other hand does not and the Rangers hopes of his competing for one of the spots on the CT Whale may also be fading.

The Rangers as the way things are going right now very much could wind up having to cut or trade a decent goalie a situation in which nobody wins that way.

And last but not least the Moose Jaw Warriors will be welcoming back Dylan McIlrath (NYR 2010 first) on Friday night as he has served his eight game suspension. And then again maybe they won't considering how Moose Jaw went 7-1 during his suspension.

Just kidding but on a serious note, McIlrath comes back with a bull's-eye clearly on him and he is not going to get any kind of slack or sympathy. What McIlrath did was make it easier the WHL handout longer suspensions and McIlrath must realize that in his situation his next incident is three strikes and he really will be out as in season over.

If he gets a 3rd suspension we seriously doubt that the AHL would not honor it and just let him play.

Moose Jaw has a very good team, the kind of team that could win the WHL championship and a Dylan McIlrath would be an important piece to the puzzle.

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