Saturday, January 5, 2013

Strange but true (Russian) hockey stories

(New York Islanders)
The New York Islander and New York Ranger prospect report for Friday night is more about head scratching and wondering what people in Russia are smoking. Got to start with what was a jaw dropper when I got the word of Griffin Reinhart's 4 game suspension by the IIHF.

Now I am all for players being held accountable for their actions but in this case this is a totally bad suspension especially when you look at other plays from the Under-20 tournament. Even more mind boggling is between the video (coming right up) and Reinhart's rep for being an almost squeaky clean player.

A Stick Tap to our friend Neate Sager of Buzzing the Net who points out other plays that were clearly much worse but yet don't even come close to the punishment leveled on Reinhart. Reinhart misses out on the Bronze Medal game against Russia but will have 3 more IIHF games left to serve (the suspension will not affect Reinhart's play in the WHL) and there is a very good chance that Reinhart who is just 18 won't be made available by the Islanders next year if he is in the NHL.

Reinhart would not be eligible to play until the 4th game of next year's tournament which means Hockey Canada would have to carry Reinhart on the roster leaving the team a player short for 3 games. Just a flat out poorly judged call by the IIHF.

Just flat out dumb.

But speaking of dumb, I thought that New York Ranger fans and Canadian fans set new lows when it came to trashing their teams. That is until I got to read about the war of words going on between Alexander Semak and the Russian team.

The accusations that the players were out partying until 5AM (with no names of which players of course) was met with a response from the Russian players. Makes one wish for a John Tortorella 90 second speed press conference.

Adam Pelech (OHL Images)
Tonight's Star Adam Pelech Erie Otters

The only player who earned a star for his play on Friday didn't score any points but helps make my argument about the need for some defensive stats like blocked shots, forced turnovers, hits and disrupting the other team's attack. That is what Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd) did to help his Erie Otters earn a 1-0 win over the Barrie Colts.

The Barrie Colts as in the OHL's Eastern Conference leading team being shut out by an Otter team that sits in last place in the OHL's Western Conference. An Otter team playing their backup goalie while their starter is away at the Under-20 Championships.

Pelech earned the game's 2nd star in helping Devin Williams earn his very 1st OHL shutout and even better is that the Otters with the win are just 4 points out of a playoff spot.

The Rest Of the Prospects

Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) and his Niagara IceDogs will be very happy to get back their missing players who are away at the Under-20 Championships. The IceDogs dropped their 2nd straight game, this time 5-2 to the Mississauga Steelheads.

Graham was scoreless and a -2 for the game. Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) missed this game with a hip pointer that he suffered in Niagara's last game.

Theoret is expected to miss this weekend's games for sure but his status is unknown after that.

Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) had 2 primary assists as his Saskatoon Blades doubled up the Prince Albert Raiders 6-3. McColgan had assists on the Blade's 1st and 5th goals in helping the Blades jump into 5th place in the WHL's Eastern Conference as well as to pull within 8 points of the East Division leading Raiders.

McColgan is now 11-30-41 for the season.

Brenden Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) had a secondary assist as his Spokane Chiefs dropped a 3-2 decision to the Everett Silvertips. It was Kichton's 300th game as a member of the Chiefs, an accomplishment that only 7 others had achieved with Kichton being the first defenseman to do so.

Kichton's assist brings him to 10-35-45 on the season.

In Denver, Scott Mayfield (NYI 2011 2nd) and his 11th ranked Denver Pioneers hosted 12th ranked Cornell in a non-conference matchup. The Pioneers had little trouble defeating Cornell going wire to wire with a 5-1 win.

Mayfield was scoreless on 2 shots but was ejected with 5 seconds remaining for grabbing a facemask and roughing which also led to the game misconduct. I really got to wonder what Mayfield would have been like playing junior hockey.

Mayfield is 6'4 and already over 200 with a bit of attitude to his game.

In exhibition action, Cristoval Nieves (NYR 2012 2nd) was one of the few bright spots for his Michigan Wolverines as they lost 5-3 to the USNTDP Under-18 team. It was the first time that the Under-18 defeated Michigan in 13 tries.

Nieves in addition to the goal was the leading Wolverine in face offs going 9-6 for the game.

Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th) missed his 3rd game with a "lower body injury" for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. There is no update as to his status.

Cody Rosen (NYI 2010 7th) was "DNP" as his Clarkson Golden Knights lost to UMass-Lowell 2-1.

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