Monday, March 26, 2012

Let us not forget

Tuesday when the New York Rangers take on the  Minnesota Wild, it will be the first time that the 2 teams that Derek Boogaard played for will have met on the ice since his passing last May 13th. I for one hope that the teams will find a way to honor the memory of Boogaard the person.

If you love hockey then you can't forget the how and why that Derek Boogaard passed away. You can't forget the findings of the folks at the Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy who discovered that Boogaard at age 28 was suffering from Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and had he lived would have suffered from middle age dementia.

If you missed the series written by John Branch of the New York Times then stop reading this and go read his 3 part series "Punched Out" - "Learning to brawl", "Blood on the Ice", and "A Brain Going Bad". It is a sad but yet powerful message about the affects of blows to the head and the demon called "addiction."

And as I have been saying all year; this is not about taking the hitting out of hockey but it is about taking the people getting hurt out of the game. I love hockey as it gave me a chance when I was a kid to be able to play a sport where my size did not matter.

I love hockey because it gave me a second chance to do something beyond my wildest dreams as an adult. But at the same time something has to be done because too many teenagers are getting hurt, suffering concussions at 15, 16, 17 and up.

One other thing we can learn from Derek Boogaard's passing and that is to not take for granted how much time we have here. Make sure you TELL those you care about that you care because you never know if you will get that chance tomorrow.

This is a first as the first time a Ranger and Islander prospect won this honor in back to back weeks. From the OHL, here is the press release.

Ryan Strome OHL Player Of The Week

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs is the OHL Player of the Week for the first week of the 2012 OHL Playoffs ending March 25 after leading the league with eight points in three games scoring three goals and five assists. 

Strome picked up a goal and two assists on Thursday night helping the top ranked IceDogs begin their first round Eastern Conference Playoff matchup against the eighth seeded Oshawa Generals with a big 8-2 win on home ice. The IceDogs took a 2-0 series lead on Friday with Strome recording two assists in the 6-1 win in Oshawa.  In Game 3 on Sunday night in St. Catharines, Strome scored twice and added an assist and was named second star of the game despite a 6-4 loss to the Generals. The IceDogs lead the series 2-1 heading into Game 4 in Oshawa on Wednesday night.

Strome, an 18-year-old from Mississauga, ON, is playing in his third OHL campaign and finished the 2011-12 regular season with 30 goals and 38 assists for 68 points in 46 games. A member of Canada’s National Junior Team this season, Strome was selected fifth overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders.

Speaking of last week's OHL Player Of the Week Andrew Yogan; in case you missed it say hi to the newest prospect under contract.

From the Rangers:

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with forward Andrew Yogan.

Yogan, 20, became the first player born and raised in the state of Florida to be drafted by an NHL team when the Rangers selected him in the fourth round, 100th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. This season, Yogan established career-highs with 41 goals, 37 assists and 78 points, along with 96 penalty minutes in 66 games with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He led Peterborough and tied for 15th in the OHL in points, and ranked first on the Petes and tied for sixth in the league in goals. 

He also led the team in power play goals (nine), and tied for second in assists and penalty minutes (96). Yogan was one of only two Petes, and the only one who skated in more than 13 games, to post a positive plus/minus rating with a team-high, plus-eight rating. He registered 21 multi-point performances, including a season-high, five points, and a career-high, four goals, on March 18 at Oshawa. Yogan finished the season with a career-high, eight-game point streak from February 26 vs. Belleville to March 18 at Oshawa, recording 12 goals and eight assists for 20 points over the span.

The Coral Springs, Florida native has skated in 240 career OHL games over five seasons with the Windsor Spitfires, Erie Otters and Peterborough Petes, registering 96 goals and 90 assists for 186 points, along with 287 penalty minutes. He recorded single game, career-highs with four assists, six points and a plus-six rating with Erie on January 30, 2009, vs. Oshawa. Yogan tallied two goals while making his OHL debut on September 21, 2007, vs. Erie as a member of the Windsor Spitfires. In addition, Yogan has registered two assists and 10 penalty minutes in eight career OHL playoff contests with Windsor and Erie.

Last season, Yogan made his professional debut with the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League (AHL), registering two goals and one assist in two games. He notched two goals while making his AHL debut on April 9, 2011, vs. Bridgeport.

We hope Yogan repays the faith the Rangers are showing him by becoming a complete player. There is not a single doubt in our mind that Andrew Yogan has an NHL future because of his offensive talents.

How much of a future Yogan has is going to depend on Yogan's willingness to work on his most glaring weakness which is his defense. Friendly advice to Andrew is if he thinks being in Mike Pellino's or Robbie Ftorek's doghouse is bad don't find yourself in John Tortorella's as it is nothing you want to experience.

Game Action

Just one game and really it wasn't even a fair match up as the Owen Sound Attack are 1 loss away from being dethroned as OHL champions after losing 4-1 to the Kitchener Rangers. The Rangers are now leading the series 3-0 and to tell the truth we kind of hope Kitchener finishes the job Wednesday evening.

Scott Stajcer (NYR 2009 5th) was the back up as the Attack only dressed  15 players due to injuries and suspensions. Hopefully the Rangers will bring Stajcer to Hartford as soon as this series is over so Stajcer can start working with Benoit Allaire as really this was a lost season for Stajcer.

Owen Sound in our eyes badly mishandled their goalie situation as they should have chosen either Stajcer or Jordan Binnington to be their starter and traded the other.They didn't and the inconsistent goaltending they are getting is the result.

Congrats Cadet 

D.J. Jones is not a Ranger or Islander prospect and odds are he never will be but the Penticton Vee defenseman is going to join "The Long Gray Line."  For those who do not know we are talking about the cadets at West Point which is where Jones is heading next season.

We thank soon to be Cadet Jones in advance for his service to our country. West Point is getting themselves a hard working defender from the Vees and we hope that translate into a leader for our soldiers.

(Derek Boogaard- New York Rangers, Ryan Strome- Niagara IceDogs,  Yogan- Aaron Bell of OHL Images)

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