Sunday, September 23, 2012

The weight off his shoulders

Shane McColgan (Saskatoon Blades)
Sometimes timing is everything as I had an email exchange on Friday with James Wrabel one of the guys from The New York Rangers Blog about Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th). McColgan needs to hire Wrabel to be his PR guy or at least to be his good luck charm.

Two games into the 2012-2013 WHL season and McColgan is off to a pretty good start. Friday night, a key shootout goal to help his new team the Saskatoon Blades earn a win and Saturday, McColgan had 2 power play assists. While the Blades dropped the game 5-2 to the Prince Albert Raiders, McColgan has played like he was reborn as a player.

Traded to the Blades during the off-season from the Kelowna Rockets, McColgan took a lot of heat after the trade from Kelowna fans. Kelowna underachieved last season and several blamed McColgan which was rather questionable considering McColgan led the Rockets in scoring.

Maybe too much was expected from McColgan in Kelowna but in Saskatoon; McColgan doesn't have to try to carry the Blades on his 5'9 170 lb. shoulders. The Blades are using McColgan with Brenden Walker (26-55-81 last season) and Matej Stransky (39-42-81) so expect McColgan to pile up the points this year.

McColgan had a primary assist on the Blade's 1st goal and a secondary assist on their 2nd goal. Both assists came on the power play were also McColgan's 1st points of the season.

It wasn't a perfect night for McColgan as he got caught up in what was an endless parade to the penalty box by the Blades in this one. McColgan was called for 2 separate minors, part of the 12 power plays that the Blades gave the Raiders (who went 4 for 12).

Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) was the only other Ranger prospect to see action as his Peterborough Petes bounced back from an opening night loss to earn their first win of the season; a 4-3 decision over the Ottawa 67s.

Ceresnak was scoreless with a -2 for his evening but the Petes are giving him top pair minutes for now so hopefully he will reward their faith in him. The Petes are now 1-1 on the season.

The only Islander prospect to see action on Saturday night was defenseman Brendan Kichton (2011 5th) of the Spokane Chiefs. Kichton was scoreless as his Chiefs ruined the home opener for the Tri-City American with a 5-2 win.

It is going to be interesting to see how Kichton plays during the NHL lockout as the 20 year old by all rights should be playing in the AHL this year but was a victim of numbers. If the lockout is settled by mid-season then the question will be "will the Islanders offer Kichton at least an AHL contract?"

Friday night, I watched the Portland Winterhawks get spanked by the Seattle Thunderbirds in their home opener. Saturday night the Winterhawks returned the favor ruining Seattle's home opener 6-2.

Oliver Bjorkstrand the player I keep saying people need to watch had 2 goals (including the game winner) and an assist to go 3-1-4 in his first 2 WHL games. Another name to keep an eye on is Nicolas Petan who is 2-4-6 after 2 games.

Petan is in his draft year and the 5'9 170 center along with Bjorkstrand have been the Winterhawk's bright spots to open the season. Seth Jones played better Saturday night but like his Winterhawk teammates will face a test on Sunday

One thing that I really don't like about the junior system is cramming 3 games in 2.75-4 days. In the case of the Winterhawks, they travel about 4 hours from Kent Washington to Kennewick Washington to play a game at 5 PM against Tri-City.

Finally very belated congrats to Danny Hobbs (NYR 2007 7th) for signing a one way contract with the CT Whale. Hobbs who spent the last 4 years playing for the UMass-Amherst Minutemen of the Hockey East becomes the 4th member of the 2007 Ranger draft class to sign a professional contract.

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