Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tuesday night was not their delight

While the Republicans were hosting their "Super Tuesday" primaries, the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects were not having a "Super Tuesday" of their own.  Three teams were facing "must-win" games and not one of them was able to come away with even a point.

But we're going to start with the one team that doesn't ever lose; that is Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) and his Penticton Vees of the BCHL. All the Vees were trying to do was set a new North American record (US and Canada) for most consecutive wins which they did after blowing away the Trail Smoke Eaters 10-0 for their 41st straight win.

Think about it for second as the last time the Vees lost again in regulation was back on October 19th to the same Trail Smoke Eaters. The last time Penticton lost again was on November 5th which is 93 days ago.

For us the winning streak is more of a distraction then it is worth because in some ways we are missing out on seeing how Steven Fogarty handles certain situations. We're not seeing him having to deal with adversity like a losing streak or being on the ice in the last minute of play trailing by a goal.

A lot of people look probably looking at this right now and say who41 straight wins is too good to pass up but as nice as it does look how do we know what Fogarty is going to do in high-pressure situations?

It was funny how Fogarty was supposed to be this project player, someone who had so much to learn and was so green but yet here he is playing Junior A hockey against some pretty good players who will be either in the WHL or the NCAA next year.

Tuesday night Fogarty had 2 goals and an assist while earning the game's second star. It's kind of hard to sit here and try to tell you about Fogarty's defense in a game that had a 10-0 score.

Yet we really want to because it is part of what is going to get him to the NHL and will just throw this number at you; the Smoke Eaters went 0 for 8 on their power plays of which Fogarty was out there killing 7 of them.

Fogarty is now 32-47-79 on the season with just 2 games remaining on the BCHL regular season schedule for Penticton.

Dylan McIlrath (NYR 2010 1st) and his Moose Jaw Warriors missed out on a chance to clinch the WHL's East Division Championship after losing 2-1 to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Moose Jaw actually dominated most of the play holding Lethbridge to just 17 shots but Moose jaw despite having taking 38 shots could only get one past Lethbridge's goalie Damien Ketlo.

Moos Jaw also missed out on a chance to cut into the Edmonton Oil Kings 6 point lead for the WHL's Eastern Conference title. McIlrath played a steady game but no points and even better know penalty minutes.

Wednesday night Edmonton will host Moose Jaw in what could be a preview of the WHL's Eastern Conference Finals. With both teams having only 6 games remaining in the regular season this becomes a very key game for both teams.

A Moose Jaw win not only cuts Edmonton's lead down but would clinch the East Division. An Edmonton win for all intents and purposes would give them the Central Division title while also reducing the magic number for the first-ever conference championship.

On the other side though, John Persson (NYI 2011 5th) and his Red Deer Rebels are simply going to run out of time after losing to the Calgary Hitmen 3-2. The loss on their last game in hand leaves them 8 points behind 8th place Brandon was 6 games to play.

It is one of those times where you admire a team for keeping up the fight but not having the ability to overcome the obstacles facing them. Persson had a quiet night with no points and a minor for roughing.

In the OHL, one must wonder how many lives the cat known as Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) and the Guelph Storm had left because they keep shooting themselves in the foot when they have a chance to secure a playoff spot. Tuesday night there was the Storm once again snatching defeat from victory as they gave up 4 unanswered 3rd period goals to lose to the Kitchener Rangers.

For Guelph, a win would've gotten them a tiny bit of breathing space and even an outside chance to catch 6th place Saginaw. But no instead with 4 games remaining on their schedule, the Storm hold onto 7th even in points with Windsor and 2 points ahead of 9th place Sault Ste. Marie.

Pedan was scoreless, a +1 and a minor for high sticking at the end of the 2nd that led to a power-play goal at the start of the 3rd. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde made appearances in this game.

The Connor Crisp Saga Pt 3 Buy the T-Shirt

The story that we really loved following continues to make news as Connor Crisp is very much getting his "15 minutes of fame" after being on NHL Live as well as being the buzz of the hockey world (internationally too). The way we see it is simple, those who called a disgrace don't know their hockey history or even worse the rules involving teenage players.

For his part, Erie GM Sherry Bassin is accepting the blame as well is the responsibility for Erie not having a real backup goalie on Sunday. Erie is hosting JT Miller and the Plymouth Whalers on Wednesday evening and according to our friend Victor Fernandes of Shootout will have legit goalies for the game.

And give the Otters credit for taking advantage of the situation as they are selling Crisp T-Shirts for 10 dollars with the proceeds donated to the Erie Shriner's Hospital for Children (60 sold so far) and they placed the game worn jersey on eBAY (as of 5 AM EDT bid is $380).

Yet still there are those who want to see the Otters punished like Dave Pollard of QMI Agency wrote for Slam:

"And, yes, it left plenty of people with smiles, celebrating a feel-good story that ended with a touch of class when Crisp was named the first star of the game despite giving up 13 goals on 45 shots.

But it should never have come to that.

Teams at this level of hockey simply don’t show up for a road game with one friggin’ goalie. That’s as bush league as it gets.

The Otters, one way or another, should have brought a second goaltender to Niagara. By not doing so, Otters owner/general manager Sherry Bassin embarrassed himself, his organization, the IceDogs and the OHL and hung Crisp out to dry in the process.

Bassin found himself without a second goalie after backup Devin Williams, who was hurt Friday, failed a concussion test “late” Saturday night. Two prospects, Adam Wood and Corey Foster, were unavailable"

It always amazes me that people think all the team has to do is snap their fingers and make players available especially those 15-19 years old. It's not that easy as we can take first Adam Wood who plays in the Central Ontario Junior C league for a team named Clarington.

Erie cannot just simply call the kid and say "hey want play for us? " Erie needs to first ask for permission from Clarington about borrowing their goalie and if we are Clarington about to play in our league finals do we want to risk our starting goalie?

Wood having just played Saturday evening would've been asked to turn around travel 2-3 hours for a 2 PM afternoon start against the best team in the OHL's Eastern Conference.

It is funny how critics want to talk about how Erie was risking Crisp to injury but not one of those critics think about possibly risking Wood. See it's easy when you sitting at a computer writing things up to make judgments about "what if's?"

Erie was in a bad spot yes, they made a judgment call and in hindsight it's easy to sit back and say it was the wrong call. Erie also was handcuffed because two of their goalie draft picks would've been asked to risk possible NCAA eligibility.

Should Erie have asked the OHL for help sooner? Sure if you could find somebody on a Saturday evening/Sunday morning and odds are there really would not have been much time to get somebody unless that person had the gear ready to go and was already at the arena.

People keep forgetting that unlike the NHL or any professional league that we dealing with teenagers and a whole different set of rules. Maybe the OHL and the other two CHL leagues will learn something from the situation and come up with possible solutions in case something like this happens again.

Now I didn't write all this to pick a fight but rather to get the people who are calling this disgraceful, unprofessional every other name to realize it's just not as easy as you may think if you were walking in Sherry Bassin's shoes.

All I know is I'm glad that I didn't have to make that kind decision because I for one see it as a no-win situation.

(Stick tap to Neate Sager of Buzzing the Net for once again being a voice of common sense)

Steven Fogarty image-- Randy Emery

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