Sunday, January 27, 2013

Does anyone want to win?

Michael St. Croix (Edmonton Oil Kings)
What a strange weekend it has been for the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects. Got to see some history made (actually tied) but one thing is clear the good teams are starting to show some separation from the pack.

Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) was the only prospect to score a goal on Saturday evening as his Edmonton Oil Kings defeated the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-2 for their 4th straight win. St. Croix got the Oil Kings going with his 23rd goal of the season at 8:16 of the 1st period.

St. Croix also had the primary assist on Edmonton's 4th goal, a power play goal that came at 15:46 of the 2nd period to make it a 4-2 lead for the Oil Kings. For St. Croix, the 1-1-2 evening extended his scoring streak to 5 games (2-5-7) and overall a 23-33-56 season.

Teammate Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) did not score but he did make life miserable for the Brandon offense in front of the Edmonton net. Defensively Reinhart at 18 is so polished that I can't see him back in Edmonton next season.

The win for the Oil Kings opens up a 7 point lead in the WHL's Eastern Conference over the Calgary Hitmen. The Hitmen do hold 2 games in hand

Brenden Kichton (NYI 2011 5th)
has put up some very impressive numbers during his career with the Spokane Chiefs but pretty sure what he and 2 other Chiefs did tops many of them. The Spokane Chiefs were hosting the Medicine Hat Tigers and entering the 3rd period the Chiefs were trailing 2-1.

Not for long as Kichton teamed up with Dylan Walchuk to set up Todd Fiddler to tie the game at 2-2 on a goal that was scored just 8 seconds in the 3rd period. That tied the record for the fastest goal scored by a Chief to open a period which was set in 1988 by Tony Horacek.

But the Chiefs were not able to build from that as Medicine Hat went on to earn a 4-3 win. Kichton is now 16-43-59 on the season for the Chiefs.

Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) was scoreless as his Barrie Colts defeated Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) and his Peterborough Petes 4-1. Both prospects were scoreless as their teams are heading in opposite directions.

Barrie leads the OHL's Eastern Conference by 6 points while Peterborough is 9 points behind Kingston for the 8th and final playoff spot in the East.

Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) and Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) saw their Niagara IceDogs drop their 6th straight game, this time a 5-4 decision to the Saginaw Spirit. The IceDogs missing 2 of their best players have not been able to overcome their loss.

Neither Strome or Graham scored as their team has fallen to 6th place in the OHL's Eastern Conference.

Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) was a +1 on 3 shots and 1 hit as his Baie-Comeau Drakkar defeated the Victoriaville Tigre 3-2 in overtime. The Drakkar are in 4th place in the QMJHL trailing the Rimouski Oceanic by 1 point for 2nd in the QMJHL.

Brady Skjei (NYR 2012 1st) may not be putting up many points but his defensive partner Nate Schmidt has goals in back to back games for top ranked Minnesota. The Golden Gophers defeated Minnesota State 4-1 to earn a split in their weekend series.

As Gordie Clark would say sometimes we don't get to see the entire picture when we look only at the stat sheet. For 2 years Skjei has helped his defensive partner (Seth Jones last year) be able to jump into the attack knowing Skjei had his back.

If they win who cares if Skjei isn't scoring, as he is playing on the number 1 college team in the USA. Think down the road (especially those of you who are already packing Marc Staal's bags) and realize how a solid defender who can pass works in the Tortorella system.

Anders Lee (NYI 2009 6th), Robbie Russo (NYI 2011 4th) and Steven Fogarty (NYR 2011 3rd) may not have scored for their 8th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish but the Irish defeated Ferris State 5-2. The win broke a 5 game losing streak which dropped Notre Dame from the top of the CCHA standings.

Cristoval "Boo" Nieves (NYR 2012 2nd) and his Michigan Wolverines can't buy a win as they dropped their 3rd straight and 6 out of their last 7 after losing 5-1 to Western Michigan. Right now unless Michigan can find a way to steal the CCHA conference tournament then their 22 year streak of NCAA appearances will come to an end.

Nieves played 3rd line center this weekend and his frustrations got the better of him as he took 2 slashing minors and went 7-10 on his face-offs.

I admit that the one thing that I just can't handle is a talented prospect just not realizing the golden opportunity they have been given. Any one of us who as a kid dreamed of playing ice hockey but just for whatever reason couldn't would kill to switch places.

The player I am talking about is Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) of the Guelph Storm. There is no question that Pedan has NHL level talent at both ends of the ice.

But upstairs while others like to call him a "loose cannon", I won't because if Pedan doesn't wake up and realize the opportunity he has then one day he will wish he had. Pedan just recently served a 2 game suspension for antics in one game got himself ejected in the 1st period of Guelph's game with Owen Sound.

He was ejected for a "slew-foot" and I would not be surprised if the OHL lowers the boom on Pedan. Guelph doesn't address the countless penalties that Pedan takes so expect the OHL to.

Pedan joins Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd) in awaiting a hearing with the OHL's discipline team. Pelech missed his 2nd straight game as he will most likely find out his punishment on Monday.

And as I have said so many times; this is not about taking the hitting out of hockey but it is about taking players getting hurt. Michael Sauer sits at home and wonders will he ever get to play hockey again.

Cody Rosen (NYI 2010 7th) was "DNP" for Clarkson as they lost to Dartmouth 5-1. Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) is still out with his "lower body injury".

I wonder how many Ranger fans want to trade Michael Del Zotto these days?

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