Friday, April 6, 2012

Lacking respect

Yes I know I am a New York Ranger fan which means I clearly am biased when I say that the Pittsburgh Penguins are a dirty team and who are the wrong role models for the NHL. Yes my opinion is colored by the fact that I consider Derek Stepan one of my favorite Ranger prospects to have covered so obviously what I say here isn't important since it is so biased (and if you believe that you are easily fooled)

While you were saying those things, please explain to me how the Pittsburgh Penguins who put on the world's largest pity party when Sidney Crosby was dealing with his concussion can be involved in two separate disturbing incidents in four days?

At what point do we stop and forget everything else but address the point John Tortorella makes about players lacking respect for one another on the ice? Really it's more than Brooks Orpik with his "knee on knee" hit on Derek Stephan because it happens almost every game now.

A player takes out somebody on the other team with a questionable move; we can go on and on about how the NHL needs to crack down on these kinds of hits but really we need to talk directly to the players. It is the players themselves who are the ones who are the problem.

It should not be the NHL alone cleaning up these kinds of acts among the players, the NHLPA can no longer sit idly by and not talk to their own members about players deliberately hurting other players. The NHLPA has to ask itself do they really care about player safety?

You have to wonder what happened to cause players to try to injure their peers. We can't keep demanding that the NHL do more to protect their players when the NHLPA sits on the sidelines ignoring the problem.

The NHL likes to say with pride how two teams in the playoffs will go to war for playoff series and then shake hands once it's over. Unfortunately in today's world, that handshake is losing its meaning the more we see what Brooks Orpik does, the more that Duncan Keith does and the more we keep seeing players getting hurt.

As for the NHL, we believe that the the most part the role played by Brendan Shanahan is just that a role. Shanahan people had the idea that he would step in and clean up hockey.

If you expected that then sorry you were only kidding yourself as Brendan Shanahan doesn't work for the game of hockey, Brendan Shanahan works for the owners of the 30 NHL teams.

The same owners who would be very upset if they lost their players for extended periods due to suspensions. That is why while we are glad that John Tortorella said what he said, we also believe that the chances are better that Tortorella will find himself fined for his comments about the Pittsburgh organization then seeing Pittsburgh punished.

Sorry Ranger fans, you sadly are going to have to wait a little longer for Chris Kreider the New York Rangers 2009 first round pick to sign his contract.

Kreider and his top ranked Boston College Eagles made it pretty clear that they are on a mission after they dismantled a very good Minnesota Golden Gophers team 6-1 in the second semifinal of the Frozen Four.

Having watched Boston College several times this season, this was the best performance we see them play this season. Minnesota at one time was the top-ranked team in US college hockey and they happen to be a pretty solid team in their own right.

It took a while for Boston College to find their game but that is what makes them thesuch a great team because the first period was all about their goalie Parker Milner who made save after save while Boston College found their game. Minnesota for the first 10 minutes of the game looked like they were going to be the ones blowing out Boston College.

Boston College managed just five shots in the first period but they had the lead after one 1-0. The second period it started off the same way as the first did with Minnesota looking like they were going to take control of the game.

Chris Kreider took the tripping call at the two-minute mark giving Minnesota a power-play but again Parker Milner kept Minnesota off the scoreboard. Minnesota wound up getting called for a penalty of their own and Boston College cashed it in for their second goal 8 seconds into their power-play.

It was like watching Boston College just waiting for the right moment to break Minnesota's hearts. Anyone who knew Boston College knew that it was just a matter of time. A few minutes later Chris Kreider and linemate Destry Straight worked a two-man game to perfection as Straight drew the attention of two defenders and Minnesota's goalie to him then put the puck perfectly on Kreider's stick.

Kreider had basically an empty net to shoot at as he scored his 23rd of the season giving Boston College a 3-0 lead at 17:45. Boston College made it 4-0 with just 6.8 seconds remaining in the period.

Minnesota came out to start the third looking to get back into the game and got a goal just 1: 26 into the period to make it 4-1 but Boston College applied the dagger just 22 seconds later to regain their 4 goal lead at 5-1.

And any hope Minnesota had coming back was snuffed out when Boston College made it 6-1 off a power-play goal at 5:51 as Chris Kreider got his second point of the game. Kreider was being used at the right point when Pat Mullane won a face-off back to Kreider who slid the puck across ice to defensemen Brian

Dumoulin who fired it past Minnesota goalie Kent Patterson for the power-play goal.

This game was over as Boston College heads for the national championship Saturday night against Ferris State winners of the other semifinal. Kreider is 3-1-4 in 3 NCAA tournament games this year and 23-22-45 on the season.

The championship game will be Saturday night starting at 7 PM Eastern on ESPN2.

Couple of things about Chris Kreider the person that we want to get out there and one is don't think the moment the game on Saturday is over that Kreider would jump on a plane to New York to sign his contract. That's not the person who is Chris Kreider as he will first return back to Boston and rightfully enjoy winning the national championship with his teammates and his classmates.

The Rangers know this as well so they're not expecting Kreider to sign his NHL contract the moment he leaves the ice on Saturday.  Most likely the signing will happen Tuesday or depending on when the Rangers are scheduled for game one possibly Wednesday morning..

If it was up to us, we would sign him the day of game one and then while we would not dress Kreider we would make sure that the fans at Madison Square Garden knew he was in the house.

That does not mean that we believe Kreider could or should jump right into the Ranger lineup as even if Derek Stepan cannot play that it would be a bad idea to just throw Kreider out on the ice. We will acknowledge that there isn't anybody on the CT Whale roster who could honestly replace a Derek Stepan.

But it would be just as dangerous to put Kreider into a position where he is playing in the system that he doesn't know and even worse with teammates he does not know. If Stepan was healthy and Rangers wanted to insert Kreider into the lineup then we could understand that since the two have played together in the past and work out in the off-season together.

However the best use for Chris Kreider is to first get him up to speed with at least some kind of knowledge of the Ranger system before using him as a Ranger. As we said yesterday getting him 20-25 minutes in the AHL will at least give him a chance to absorb what the Rangers are trying to do.

Other than Derek Stepan we have no idea where or who we would put Chris Kreider with and we wonder if even the New York Rangers know the answer to that question.

Canadian Juniors

The second round of the Canadian juniors playoffs gets underway Friday night with 3 New York Islander prospects (a 4th is out with a broken jaw) and 4 New York Ranger prospects. We expect Kirill Kabanov, Ryan Strome, and Mitchell Theoret to have their teams advance to the third round.

For the Ranger prospects it might be close but we only expect Dylan McIlrath, Michael St. Croix, and JT Miller to advance with Samuel Noreau's team to be eliminated. We also have Steven Fogarty and his Penticton Vees taking on Powell River in the BCHL finals.

(Chris Kreider-NHL media)

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