Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Hockey

As New York Ranger and New York Islander fans in the USA get ready to sit down for their Thanksgiving meal; we still have some hockey going on to talk about.

Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) and his Guelph Storm were not so very nice guests on the road against the Mississauga Steelheads for the Steelhead's annual "School Game". The Storm behind Pedan's 1-1-2 afternoon just whipped the Steelheads 8-0.

This game was pretty much over after the first period as Guelph jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to 2 power play goals scored after a double minor created a lengthy 2 man advantage. The Storm were already up 1-0 when they scored at 15:35 and then again just 23 seconds later with Pedan earning a secondary assist on that goal.

In the second Pedan scored his 8th goal of the season at 7:49 to make it a 4-0 lead for the Storm. Pedan is now 8-9-17 on the season as the Storm extend their unbeaten streak to 4 games (2-0-0-2).

If you don't have tickets to Saturday's game at Madison Square Garden between Cornell and Michigan with the Ranger's 2012 2nd round pick Cristoval Nieves then you are going to miss watching a future Ranger.

Nieves and his teammates were hosting Bowling Green Wednesday evening and I want you to check out this video which will have a few "highlights" from Nieves. It won't take long for you to see Michigan's #12 in action and check out the pass he makes at about the 1:50 mark.

"Boo" Knows Hockey and where the net is"

Funny thing a couple of weeks back a reader told me about how a nationally known hockey expert said Nieves can't score and he won't score. Not going to mention names but to that "expert", Nieves as a freshman has already worked his way up to Michigan's first line.

I bring it up because the last Michigan player who also wore number 12 was not on the first line until the end of his 2nd season and Carl Hagelin has turned out to be pretty good. Nieves with the primary assist on Michigan's first goal is 2-6-8 in 12 games which if Michigan plays about 40 games will work out to about 27 points.

Don't miss the game on Saturday at the Garden.

Brenden Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) and his Spokane Chiefs played host to the Everett Silvertips on Wednesday and earned a 3-1 win. Kichton earned the game's 2nd star on a 2 assist evening.

Kichton recorded his first assist when he set up Todd Fiddler for a power play goal to open the scoring just 47 seconds into the 2nd period. In the 3rd after Everett had tied the score at 1-1, Kichton set up Reid Gow at 4:41 for an even strength goal that turned out to be the game winner.

Kichton is now 8-18-26 on the season which are pretty good numbers for a defenseman but Spokane plays in the WHL's US Division which has the Portland Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans in it. If Spokane plans on getting past either team then Kichton is going to elevate his game even more.

Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his 3rd place Baie-Comeau Drakkar were in Halifax to take on the 1st place Halifax Mooseheads. The Moosehead's trampled all over the Drakkar 6-2 to end the Drakkar's unbeaten streak at 15 games (13-0-0-2).

Noreau had a bad game as he was scoreless on a -2 on 3 shots and he took 2 penalties the 2nd of which led to the Moosehead's 6th goal of the game. Then again the Drakkar were taking on the current top ranked team in the CHL on the road so not going to worry about 1 game.

Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) and his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles are their own worst enemies. I don't know of any other team this season that will snatch defeat from victory like they do. Against the Moncton Wildcats, the Screaming Eagles took a 2-1 lead into the 3rd period and Moncton scored 3 unanswered goals to win 4-2.

Leduc was his typical -1 no points and i hit for the game. You can almost sub any QMJHL team here and the story will be the same.

Two that go away

Now I make no secret that I am a huge believer in the Gordie Clark philosophy when it comes to prospect development but one of these days I just have to ask him why he hasn't selected any Portland Winterhawks since Michael Sauer back in 2005.

I can understand not wanting any of the Winterhawks from 2006-2009 but since then I am sorry the Winterhawks have been producing some very talented players. Yes I know they are my home team but when it comes to having the mindset of how to build a winning franchise then the Winterhawks and the Rangers walk the same path.

I know that the Rangers were not in spots where they could grab some of Portland's blue chip talent but twice the Rangers could have grabbed a couple of players and didn't. To this day I don't know why the Rangers used their 2010 7th round pick on Randy McNaught instead of goalie Mac Carruth.

McNaught was a goon and really not much of one as I doubt he is even playing hockey anywhere this year. In the meantime Carruth has rewrote the Winterhawk's record book and if you look at his record then you understand why Portland is where they are today.

The Blackhawks had the pick right after the Rangers and want to guess who they drafted? Yes That's the truth, the whole truth and nothing gets past the truth.

Then there is the player who I have called the clone of Ryan Callahan, Brendan Leipsic. If there ever was a player that John Tortorella would adopt as his own it would be Leipsic.

Like Callahan, he is not the biggest dog in the yard but also like Callahan there is never ever wondering if you are going to get a 100% effort out of him. He was sitting there at the 2012 NHL draft when the Rangers had the 80th pick in the draft.

The Rangers traded that pick to Nashville and guess who Nashville picked with that pick? Of course it was Leipsic and the Predators got themselves a real player.

Leipsic is only on an 11 game scoring streak at the moment 9-17-26 and is 12-20-32 in 20 games for the season. Now I bring this up because the Rangers don't have a 1st round pick in 2013 and odds are will wind up picking at the end of each round if the season gets wiped out.

Portland is currently 18-4-1-0 on the season; they lead the WHL in goals scored and fewest goals allowed. I really do hope the Rangers remember this at draft time.

Say a Thank You

When you gather with your loved ones:

Say thanks to the cop on the beat who protects you and your loved ones
Say thanks to the fireman/EMT who fights fires and offers medical care
Say thanks to those who wear a uniform so far from home to keep America free

And remember most of all to tell those who are sitting down to eat with you what they mean to you because it only takes an instant to never get the chance to say it again.

From my family to you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

To the Absent Comrades thsnk you

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