|Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oil Kings)|
I have never been a fan of trading future first round picks and this is not a knock on Rick Nash who has been really the only Ranger to show up. Poor Nash, he must be having this horrible nightmare where he thinks he is back in Columbus.
Back to Nash and the 2013 first round pick the Rangers gave to Columbus as part of the trade. Picture Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov strolling up to the podium at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft (scheduled to be held in Newark no less) and good old Dubi announcing that with the 1st pick of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft Columbus selects Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks.
The pick of course being the one the Rangers gave to Columbus as part of the Nash trade. Say hello to your worst nightmare Ranger fans after 2 efforts that left many a Ranger fan ready to wish the lockout was still going on.
Still the day was pretty good as watching Griffin Reinhart putting on a textbook display on how to be a shutdown defender was fun. One thing is for sure, Reinhart is very much an expert on how to kill off a penalty.
Rienhart's defense was why he earned the game's 3rd star as he was an artist slamming the door and holding Prince George to just 1 power play goal despite the Oil Kings giving up 9 power plays. Yes I can and I will say that this would have been a totally different game if Reinhart was not there.
Michael St. Croix still isn't scoring goals but he made a nifty pass to Trevor Cheek for Edmonton's first goal of the game. The puck just is not going in for St. Croix but he is out there working hard and Edmonton coach Derek Laxdal is keeping him in the lineup.
St. Croix is 21-30-51 and while he is no where near his offensive numbers of last year; St. Croix is on pace for 78 points which isn't bad to have. More importantly this win allowed the Oil Kings jump past the Calgary Hitmen for 1st place in the WHL's Eastern Conference who were idle.
In the QMJHL, the dream season that Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his Baie-Comeau Drakkar are having kept on rolling after the Drakkar held off the Shawinigan Cataractes 4-3. The Drakkar extended their unbeaten streak to 11 games (10-0-1-0) and improve to 31-11-2-2 66 points which is good for 2nd in the QMJHL.
Not bad for a team that last season was 29-34-1-4 63 points which was good for 13th. Noreau himself is having a career season as he continues his quest for a Ranger contract.
Noreau had the secondary assist on the Drakkar's 3rd goal of the game which tied the scored at 3-3 at 3:29 of the 3rd period. It was Noreau's 20th assist and 26th overall point both are career bests.
It was also Noreau's 4th straight game with a point and he is right now making it hard for the Rangers not to offer him at the least a AHL ELC contract. Gordie Clark says with prospects that a big part is has that prospect shown improvement since being drafted?
Noreau's answer is yes he has.
Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) had the primary assist on his Guelph Storm's 2nd goal as the Storm jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead and then cruised to a 5-3 win over the Kingston Frontenacs.
The win was the 5th straight for the Storm as they kept pace with the 4th placed Kitchener Rangers in the battle for home ice in the OHL playoffs. Pedan also stayed out of the penalty box to improve to 11-19-30 on the season.
Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) returned to the Peterborough Pete's lineup after missing a game as his Petes dropped a 2-1 decision to the Brampton Battalion. Credit the Battalion as they put on a very solid defensive performance holding the Petes to just 15 shots.
And while the rest of you are working on Martin Luther King day, yours truly is going to check out Brenden Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) and his Spokane Chiefs as they visit the Portland Winterhawks in a unique event where they will be opening the curtains to let the daylight in the Portland Memorial Coliseum.
It is like getting to play a hockey game outdoors only without the cold. It is an interesting experience and one that is popular among Winterhawk fans.