Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A good way to start the week

New York Ranger fans can say that they had a very good Monday up and down the franchise. It has been a very long time since Ranger fans can honestly feel good about the direction the franchise is going.

Who knows what will happen in the 2012 NHL playoffs but it sure makes life easier clinching a playoff spot on March 19 rather than having to go all the way to the shootout on your last game of the season only to fall short.

In case you missed it, the day got off to a very good start when the OHL gave Andrew Yogan a going away present by naming him as the OHL Player Of The Week for the week ending March 18th. Yogan was 4-4-8 +4 in three games for the Peterborough Petes who failed to make the playoffs.

Yogan is on his way to the AHL and the CT Whale along with teammate Peter Ceresnak's; if we were Yogan we would be in Hartford yesterday as he has a golden opportunity staring him in the face. Go in there, work hard and force your way into the lineup now before the Rangers start bringing in other players on ATOs.

Remember what you saw from Carl Hagelin last year when he took advantage of his opportunity with the Whale and look where Carl Hagelin is today. It wasn't just talent, it was doing all the little things that got Carl Hagelin where he is today which is going to the 2012 NHL playoffs.

USA Today/ USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

Chris Kreider's (NYR 2009 1st) Boston College Eagles will be entering the NCAA tournament as the unanimous number one team in the weekly men's college hockey poll. Boston College received all 34 first-place votes which really was kind of expected considering that Boston College is on a 15 game winning streak.

Brock Nelson (NYI 2010 1st) and his North Dakota Fighting Sioux (NCAA rules prohibit North Dakota from using Fighting Siouxname during any NCAA competition) made the biggest jump in the poll jumping up to 4th from 12th after winning the WCHA Final Five.

Scott Mayfield (NYI 2011 2nd) and his Denver Pioneers remain 9th in the poll after finishing 2nd in the WCHA Final Five to North Dakota. All three teams will see action in the NCAA tournament starting on Friday/Saturday.

Game Action

Just one game on Monday as Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) and his Penticton Vees traveled to Chilliwack for game three of their best of seven series against the Chilliwack Chiefs. Fogarty had a pretty quiet night going scoreless as his Vees regained home ice advantage after a 3-1 win.

Game four is scheduled for Tuesday as the Vees look to grab a stranglehold 3-1 series lead.

The QMJHL Playoffs

New York Rangers and New York Islanders each have a prospect who will be taking part in the QMJHL playoffs. That's where any similarities will end as one prospect Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) plays for the Shawinigan Cataractes who will be the hosts of the 2012 Memorial Cup.

What that means is that no matter how their team does in the QMJHL playoffs, they will be playing for Canada's Junior trophy. The Cataractes finished 2nd overall in the QMJHL and in the first round will be facing the 15th seed the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. If you think this is going to be a competitive series then sorry you will be disappointed as you talking about teams that were separated by 41 points in the standings.

As you can tell we're not exactly the fans of the QMJHL playoff format as they play 68 games to eliminate just 1 team. Why bother playing playoff series when you know that the other team has no realistic chance to even avoid being swept out in four games?

It is kind of like the NCAA men's basketball tournament as you really think a 16 seed is going to defeat a 1 seed in your lifetime? One day it may happen once which is why were not going to really go deep into the QMJHL playoffs until they get to their final four.

No matter what happens the Cataractes will be at the Memorial Cup when it starts in May. On the other hand there is Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his Baie-Comeau Drakkar who are entering the QMJHL playoffs as a 13 seed and will be facing the Victoriaville Tigre who were only 31 points better than the Drakkar in the standings.

Tell you what, here is what the Drakkar did over the last 10 games of their season. They went 2-8, they fired their coach with 3 games remaining in the regular season while in the midst of a seven game losing streak.

If the Tigre don't knock the Drakkar out in 5 games then their coach deserves to be fired. Like we said were not fans of these mismatches and really think that having teams "qualify" for the playoffs just so they can show something (2 home games) doesn't help anyone.

Reduce the number teams eligible to play in your playoffs to eight and that adds meaning to your regular season. How sad must it be to be the 1 team in the entire QMJHL that didn't make the playoffs (next year they are adding an expansion team so will be 2 teams)?


Tomorrow we will look at the OHL which will feature two different matchups where New York Ranger take on New York Islander prospects. While those matchups might not be any better than those in the QMJHL, they will be interesting because of how the matchups will take place.

Stick Tap

How about some cheers for the guys whose names you never hear mentioned? We are talking about the scouts of the New York Rangers. Everybody gives Gordie Clark the majority of the credit but it's the guys on the front line who start things off and fight to see some players picked.

How nice it was to get the box score and see that out of the 4 goals and 7 assists awarded against the New Jersey Devils, all but 1 assist went to players who came through the Ranger farm system.

Matter-of-fact let's include Ken Germander and his staff in Hartford for getting these guys ready for the NHL. And as we have said all along the best has yet to come and we kid you not.

(Andrew Yogan- Aaron Bell of OHL images)

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