Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thoughts on Kitchener and Guelph from November 28

I caught this one on the OHL Action Pack last night, but didn't have time until this morning to write about it. I haven't seen much of Guelph yet this season, so I figured what better game to watch than a Battle of Highway 7. Kitchener and Guelph are always bitter rivals in the Midwest Division and their match-ups make for entertaining hockey.

This one definitely looked like a match up of bitter rivals as it was a very spirited affair. A total of 52 penalty minutes were handed out and a total of 16 powerplays were given between the two teams. Albeit, the majority of those penalties were the result of some very undisciplined and lazy hockey from Guelph and Kitchener, however the point being that it was a scrappy game.

Neither team came into this one playing their best hockey of the season. The Storm were riding a 4 game losing streak, while the Rangers were a modest .500 over their last 10 (after starting the season so red hot). A lot of Guelph's problems this season can definitely be attributed to injury, as they've been without captain Matt Kennedy, Michael Latta and Peter Holland through stretches. Losing three of your four best forwards definitely makes life tough. However Kennedy remains the only one of the three still out of the line up (with a groin injury), meaning that the Storm should be able to start stringing some wins together soon. And soon was last night as they used a hat trick from Taylor Beck to propel them to a 7-4 victory over the Kitchener Rangers. The Storm will definitely be a dangerous team when all their players get back in the groove.

The Rangers however looked very sloppy last night. A lot of defensive miscues and undisciplined penalties. Kitchener's defense just got outworked and looked very weak along the boards and near the net as Guelph's forwards worked the cycle and found room near the crease. Any time a team lets in 7 goals, you might look to the goaltending, but Brandon Maxwell wasn't too fault for this loss. He had little chance on the majority of Guelph goals, which tells you his defense needs to step up. While Kitchener is obviously still a very solid team and a contender in the West, I think it should come to no surprise that they've been linked to adding another quality defenseman (Sam Lofquist before Guelph snagged him, and Taylor Doherty in trade talks).

Let's look at some individual performances.

Kitchener Rangers

John Moore (CBJ)
I've been underwhelmed with Moore in past viewings this season, but he was quite good last night. Seemed a lot more willing to use that skating to not only bring the puck up ice, but continue with it into the offensive zone. Had a couple very nice rushes into Guelph territory. His passing was very crisp too. He seems to have very good vision and anticipation of the play. Picked up a very nice assist on Chris MacKinnon's second period powerplay goal by firing a slap pass from the point to him at the side of the net for the redirect. Defensively there was some good, some bad. He was directly responsible for the J.P. Labardo second period goal. As Labardo (or Cody McNaughton one of the two) took the puck hard to the net, Moore was soft on them as he failed to move his feet and tried to use his stick cutting behind the net. Instead they blew by him, took the puck around the net and cut back out for the wrap around which generated the rebound J.P. Labardo eventually put home in the goal mouth scramble. However, later in the game he seemed to have learned his lesson. Taylor Beck tried to get through him to the net with a nice move and Moore took the man and put Beck hard into the net, knocking it off it's moorings. Defensively, it looks like its just a consistency issue where he'll need to figure out how to play the puck carrier hard every time.

Tyler Randell (BOS)
I thought Randell played a very solid game. His line with Andrew Crescenzi and Ben Thomson was the most consistent for the Rangers tonight, despite not getting on the board. He was very good along the boards and was a load to handle for the Storm defenseman in front of the net. Seems to be seeing time on the first powerplay unit right now too. Had a very nice assist on Matt Tipoff's opening goal of the game as he recovered a missed shot by Chris Mackinnon and fed a backhand pass cross crease to Tipoff for the tap in goal. For all intents and purposes, he has disappointed offensively this season though. Perhaps it's just a matter of confidence in his ability to use his size to generate scoring chances.

Ben Thomson (2011)
A Rangers 8th rounder this past year, Thomson has been a very pleasant surprise. He was recently named to Team Ontario for the Under 17's, so clearly others in the league have taken notice of him. He's a very big kid, already looks like one of the biggest Rangers forwards on the ice. He throws his body around and was solid along the boards as he and linemates Tyler Randell and Andrew Crescenzi dominated the cycle on several shifts. It'll be interesting to see his development going into next season. Could be a potential power forward.

Andrew Crescenzi (2010)
I continue to be impressed with this big Rangers forward. Playing in his first season in the OHL, Crescenzi seems to be finally gaining confidence in his offensive abilities. He's quite large (easily 6'4, 200lbs) and he plays that way. Uses his size to protect and puck and took it hard to the net on a couple of occasions, generating a scoring chance. He's kind of a big and awkward skater, but I wouldn't say his speed or acceleration is poor. Had one rush where he took the puck from the redline and beat all the Storm defenseman to the net, but couldn't beat St. Jacques. His play along the boards is excellent too, as mentioned about his line tonight. He's not putting up the offensive stats to generate NHL attention, but I do think he has potential.

Ryan Murphy (2011)
This guy is so talented. He will be a tremendous offensive defenseman in this league, something I've said in any of my viewings of him this season. Moves the puck up ice effortlessly. Skating and Puckhandling ability are definitely plus assets for him. He anticipates the play very well too though. He's one of those guys who seems to find the seam up the middle. Defensively, he's definitely improving. Off the rush, he uses his skating ability to stay in front of forwards and he's not afraid to play the body either. Along the boards, he's a bit of a warrior too. Was pushing and shoving in loose puck battles, even winning a few against bigger Storm forwards. However he does have some problems with bigger/stronger forwards near the net. Was unable to push Taylor Beck or Michael Latta off the puck on a few occasions, especially as they were moving in and behind the net. But he's young kid, and he's going to get stronger. The important thing is that he shows concern for the defensive end and has a bit of a physical intensity to him. All things that will likely be increased by the time he leaves this league. He finished with a secondary assist.

Jeff Skinner (2010)
Outside of a few shifts, Skinner was pretty invisible last night. As much as I like him as a draft prospect, his play without the puck in his own zone needs to improve. Got beat along the boards several times tonight and he needs to do a better job of tying up his man. Not his best effort.

Jeremy Morin (ATL)
I thought Morin was the best Rangers forward on the ice last night (even better than Chris MacKinnon and his hat trick). While his play in the OHL so far has been represented by his goal scoring ability, it was his playmaking ability last night that shone. Nearly every time he was on the ice, he was making things happen with the puck; making defenseman miss as he carried the puck in the offensive zone. In the second period, he deked around Peter Holland and Adam Comrie before passing it off to Chris MacKinnon for the tap in at the side of the net. I think the skating concerns have been overblown. He's not the world's best skater, but he has some elusive ability on the ice as evidenced by the amount of room he created for himself with the puck. Had a couple other very nice passes that did not amount to goal, but instead quality scoring chances. It's good to know that he's not just a one trick pony. Morin finished with 2 assists.

Brandon Maxwell (COL)
As I said earlier, Maxwell was not to blame for this loss. Wasn't the best game of his career or anything (far from it), but the majority of the 7 goals against were not his fault. One that was though, was Michael Latta's first period goal where Maxwell came out to play the puck, fanned on it and Latta picked it up and beat Maxwell on the wrap around before he could recover. He tried to make the fancy play instead of just flicking the puck to the corner. But he made some big saves in this one to keep it close for the majority of the first two periods. I like how he challenges shooters at the top of his crease and I like his quickness and mobility in the net. If it weren't for a couple of easy tap ins, redirects and pucks off other players skates, Maxwell would have had a solid night! Instead, he makes 31 of 38 saves and takes the loss.

Guelph Storm

Ben Chiarot (ATL)
Chiarot was excellent last night. He's a big body defenseman that actually uses his big body. The Rangers could just not beat him along the wall. While he is physical and does not hesitate to push and shove around the net, he's also smart positionally. On one occasion Jeff Skinner dumped the puck in and came flying into the zone for retrieval. Chiarot, knowing that Skinner could potentially beat him to the puck, angled Skinner away from it by physically engaging him and then blocking him with his body as he tapped the puck out to his forward to get the puck up ice. I like how he keeps things simple offensively too. Makes the smart pass, and does it quickly. He finished +1 in the game.

Sam Lofquist (2010, but 1990 born)
What a find this guy has been so far for Guelph. He played a TON last night and in every situation. He was outstanding. Lofquist, a former member of the USNDP and Minnesota Golden Gophers, has stepped right into Guelph's line up as someone who can play in all situations. He's got great size, he's solid positionally, he was physical in the defensive end, he moved the puck up ice well by pass or carry, and he controlled the point on the powerplay like a 3 year OHL veteran. I liked his mobility on the back end too, as I didn't expect him to be the type that could carry the puck into the offensive zone based on what I'd read about him at Minnesota. He picked up three assists on the powerplay and I really liked the way he moved the puck smartly and was able to get his point shot through. Put a nice low shot on net for Matt Sisca to tip in to start the third period. While he may not have been getting the playing time at Minnesota to show what he's capable of, if he keeps playing like this, he'll quickly get back on to the NHL radar.

Peter Holland (ANA)
Holland was pretty good last night. His skating looks improved (wasn't poor to begin with) and he was able to cut through Kitchener's defense. When the puck is on his stick, he's able to keep control very well and shields the puck with his frame. That makes him very hard to knock off the puck when he's in full stride. Had four assists on the night, two of which were very nice plays to set up Taylor Beck for a tap in at the side of the net. However, he still leaves me somewhat underwhelmed. I'm not entirely sure why, but there's something missing. He still needs to play harder without the puck and along the boards. Was one of the only Guelph forwards last night who didn't have their way with the Rangers defense on the cycle. Was really soft on Jeremy Morin during his pass to Chris MacKinnon on their second period goal. Weakly waved his stick at Morin as he blew by him. At the next level, that type of weak play without the puck won't cut it. He doesn't have to develop into a power forward, but adding a little sandpaper to his game could go a long way.

Michael Latta (NSH)
Latta is just a very solid player. No real flaws in his game, but at the same time, nothing that he does exceptionally well. He's not the biggest guy, but he's very strong and that makes him very hard to contain in the cycle. He brushed off Ranger defenseman numerous times in the offensive end in order to gain possession or keep possession of the puck. He scored a nice goal by taking the puck off Brandon Maxwell and beating him on the wrap around. Defensively and physically, he's a solid contributor too. Dropped the gloves with Dan Kelly, coming to the aid of a high sticked teammate. For everything he does well, I'm not sure his skating has improved much. He still looks a bit sluggish entering the offensive zone, and it prevents him from being a more dynamic player. Once he's able to gain puck possession, he outworks and outhustles the opposition, but in terms of being a factor in transition, he is mostly not. That being said, for all the things he does well, he should be able to carve out a career in the NHL for himself. He also finished with a secondary assist on the night.

Taylor Beck (NSH)
Beck has exploded offensively this season and I think it's easy to see why. Not only has he gotten stronger (and more equipped to play his style of game), but his skating has visibly gotten better. He was a factor on the rush with the puck on his stick and he generated more than a few scoring chances by taking it hard to the net. While none of his 3 goals on the night were spectacular, he put himself in good position to score the goal. His increased strength and skating ability has increased his elusiveness on the ice and he's now able to create more room for himself offensively. Was absolutely Guelph's best forward on the night and looks to be turning himself into quite the excellent NHL prospect.

Adam Comrie (FLA)
Comrie was quietly efficient last night. Paired with Ben Chiarot (mostly), they kept the game very simple and did a good job of getting the puck up ice quickly to their forwards. Comrie did a good job defensively, save the Jeremy Morin dangle. On the play he got caught turning around and Morin went right by him. However, he also got lost defensively in coverage as he was caught standing around looking at Morin while Chris MacKinnon slipped past him for the tap in. Overall though he did a good job of winning battles in the corners and keeping Ranger forwards away from the front of the net. Wasn't spectacular, but he played a very calm and collected game. I'm interested to see if he makes the United States WJC team.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Thoughts on Barrie and Mississauga from November 27

I was lucky enough to take this one in tonight, because it was an excellent game. Hard to imagine that a match up between the 5th (Barrie) and 6th (Mississauga) ranked teams in the Canadian Hockey League would be anything other than fantastic.

This game had pretty much everything. Back and forth action; some outstanding goaltending; a few very nice goals; and even a fight. In the end, the Colts came out on top 5-2 thanks to a third period hat trick by Darren Archibald and some outstanding goaltending from Dalton McGrath. The win increases the Colts lead on the Central Division and Eastern Conference to three points and simultaneously extends their winning streak to 13 games. This Colts team is starting to look pretty unbeatable. Since the Brodie/Crawford deal, Barrie has held opponents to less than 1.5 goals per game and has not given up more than 2 goals in any of those seven contests. For a team that got a lot of attention for their offensive firepower, that deal has made them quite the defensive juggernaut too.

This brings me to Mississauga. Hard to really say something negative about the Majors because they've been just as strong this season and were 8-0-2 in their last 10 before tonight's division battle. I don't want to jump to conclusions after tonight's game, but considering how often I've seen the Majors (and the Colts) this season, I feel that I've got a good grasp on what this team brings to the table. I'm just going to come out and say it. Mississauga does not have the firepower or skill to hang with Barrie in a seven game playoff series. If tonight proved anything to Majors management, it was that they need to make a few additions in order to be able to beat the Barrie Colts in the playoffs. Barrie's forwards were too fast, too physical, and too skilled for Mississauga's defense to handle. And Mississauga's forwards are not skilled enough to be able to compensate for this disadvantage. The Majors had many great opportunities tonight, but they just couldn't finish. Again, the Majors are a great team and they have a great team concept, but I truly believe if they want to stay neck and neck with Barrie, they're going to have to go out and add another quality scorer and a quality two-way physical defenseman. That trade with Saginaw improved this Barrie team so much; the Majors have to go out and add something to stem the tide.

Some thoughts on individual performances...

Barrie Colts

Alexander Burmistrov (2010)
Burmistrov had a relatively quiet game tonight. He had a few nice rushes with the puck, was effective on the penalty kill, but didn't really get any chances in close to the net. On one of his rushes he did make a very creative play with the puck. He brought the puck up ice, and just before he hit the blueline, he faked a dump in, to which the defender bit (and backed off), and he was able to continue carrying the puck across the blueline and make a nice pass to a teammate for a shot on net. He finished with an assist and was +2 on the night.

Alex Hutchings (TBL)
I was really disappointed that he didn't get an invite to the Subway Super Series as it means he's not considered a candidate for Team Canada at the WJC's. However, I think he would have been a perfect candidate for the team. He's one of the best skaters in the OHL, he's a tremendous penalty killer and capable two way forward, and he's able to play any role needed of him. Since he's a 1990, it was his last kick at the can too. Oh well, you've got to soldier on and that he did tonight. Hutchings had a very good game. His speed creates so many chances, not for himself but for his teammates too thanks to forced turnovers. Had two partial breakaways, but was stymied twice by Majors defenseman David Corrente (making two very nice defensive plays). On the penalty kill, he did get a break on net alone though, but was robbed by J.P. Anderson with the paddle. He rang a shot off the goal post on that same penalty kill, as he cut across the blueline one on one with the defender and tried to go far side on Anderson. He scored his goal late in the game on a redirect that Anderson mishandled.

Nick Crawford (BUF)
Continues to be outstanding for Barrie since the trade. Playing solid both ways and really establishing himself was one of the league's top defenseman. The game's opening goal in the first period by Stefan Della Rovere was all Crawford. Controlled the puck at the point and made a beautiful pass to Stefan Della Rovere in front of the net for the wide open tap in. He's got outstanding on ice vision and just keeps the game simple. I have a hard time wondering what type of impact he'll have at the next level, but he's definitely playing some inspired hockey right now. Had 3 assists on the night and now has 10 points in 7 games with Barrie.

Stefan Della Rovere (WSH)
After a slow start to the season offensively, SDR has been much better over the course of the last month or so. He's back to playing that aggressive, pesky offensive role he cherishes and excels at. Tonight he was excellent along the wall and in the cycle, winning the majority of battles he engaged in. Finished off the aforementioned Crawford pass for the games opening goal. Got open in front of the net, took the pass and went around Anderson tucking it in on the backhand. Also received an assist on the late third period Alex Hutchings goal, making a nice pass to Hutchings in front of the net. Looks to be in good form as he tries to reclaim his role on Team Canada's checking line.

T.J. Brodie (CGY)
It's interesting to see him playing a bit of a different role in Barrie. While he's been underwhelming on the stat sheet, I don't think he's playing poorly. The pairing of Brodie and Crawford must have played AT least 30 minutes for Barrie tonight and Brodie saw time on the first powerplay unit. As always, he was solid with puck possession and makes smart plays to get the puck up ice. However, one thing I have noticed about Brodie is that at times he can become a little too narrowly focused with the puck in his own end. He'll try to do it all himself and skate out of the forecheck, rather than make the simple pass. This can lead to turnovers like it did on one occasion tonight. Defensively, I think he's playing much better and more consistent with Barrie, especially in defensive zone coverage. He got only his second point with Barrie tonight, but it was a beauty. On the powerplay, he regained possession of the puck along the boards, spun around at the point and fired a lob pass to Darren Archibald for a one time goal at the side of the net. Just a beautiful pass. Brodie also finished +3 tonight.

Darren Archibald (2010, but 1990 born)
This guy is just phenomenal. I'm going to make a pretty blunt statement here, but I think he's the best power forward in the OHL right now. The guy has 8 goals and 12 assists in his last 11 games. He hits hard (crunched Stuart Percy hard into the boards tonight), he drops the gloves, and he's very skilled for a big man. His best asset might be his wrist shot which is very hard and very accurate. He uses his size and speed to allow him space to get it off too. I'll run over the goals he scored to accumulate his third period hat trick. First one cutting down the wing on a 2 on 1, he absolutely wired a wrist shot over a sliding Stuart Percy and over J.P. Anderson's shoulder to the back of the net. Second goal was off that beautiful Brodie lob pass on the powerplay. But he showed incredible hands at the side of the net to finish off the pass by one timing it over Anderson's shoulder yet again. Hat trick goal he found a loose puck in the slot and wired top shelf yet again. Puck was on his stick and to the back of the net in a split second. Did I mention he also hit the crossbar in the first period too? Did I also mention he saved an easy tap in goal with some excellent work on the penalty kill by lunging with his stick to disrupt a pass to an open man at the side of the net? Darren Archibald is a beast in this league, plain and simple.

Dalton McGrath (2010)
Simply put, McGrath was outstanding tonight. Maybe the best goaltending performance I've personally witnessed this season. Admittedly, there was some luck involved, but the old adage is you've got to be good to be lucky. I think maybe it's time we realized this guy might actually be good and in the shadows of starter Peter Di Salvo. He was an award winner and all star in Junior A last year, he was excellent in the OHL preseason and he's been tremendous in limited action during the regular season. He's started only 4 games, but he's won all four of them and he hasn't had a save percentage under .913 in any of them. Made two absolutely outstanding saves tonight. Went post to post and robbed Devante Smith Pelly at the side of the net with the blocker. Later, used the blocker again as Blake Parlett had an open net to shoot at but McGrath managed to somehow keep the puck out. To be slightly negative, he does have some rebound control concerns, as he doesn't yet have the ability to control the shots he stops. But the important thing is that he's stopping them. He cuts down the angles and makes himself big in the net. He seems to have good mobility, especially laterally. As a late 1991, McGrath is first time eligible for the NHL Draft in 2010 and if he can start to get a few more starts, he might work his way on to a few radars, if he hasn't already. McGrath made 40 of 42 saves for the win.

Mississauga St. Michael's Majors

Stuart Percy (2011)
I thought he was the Majors best defenseman tonight, despite being a -3. As a 1993 rookie, his progress thus far has to be a positive for Majors management. Made a very nice defensive play on Stefan Della Rovere as he tried to get by him with the puck on the way to the net, but Percy stood his ground and got the puck off him and out. Also made a very nice play on the Archibald two on one goal. He forced Archibald to shoot by cutting off the pass, and then very nearly blocked the shot attempt, but credit to Archibald for the very well placed shot. This rookie was definitely not to blame for the loss tonight.

Tim Billingsley (PHX)
Had a very poor game. A couple bad turnovers in the first period, combined with blown coverage on the Stefan Della Rovere goal got him off to a bad start. To start the third, he took a sloppy tripping penalty to cope with making a bad pinch and getting caught in the zone. This led to Archibald's powerplay goal that made the game 3-0 and put it out of reach for the Majors. Billingsley has to be better.

Brett Flemming (WSH)
Thought he played a quietly effective game defensively despite being -2 on the night. Shows glimpses of being a physical defender, I wish he'd be more consistent in that department. Was a non factor offensively tonight though, which has to be a big part of his game. Not his best or his worst effort though.

Casey Cizikas (NYI)
I thought Cizikas was Cizikas tonight. Some solid penalty killing, a couple scoring chances in close to the net. Overall the Colts defense did a pretty good job neutralizing him though, especially the Brodie/Crawford combo. Did take a really lazy penalty in the first period though, while the Majors were on the powerplay.

Devante Smith-Pelly (2010)
I thought Smith-Pelly was easily the best forward for Mississauga tonight. He was robbed a few times by Dalton McGrath, especially on the play I mentioned where McGrath slid across the crease to make the save with the blocker off Smith-Pelly's shot attempt. He scored a nice goal with a big slap shot near the faceoff circle that McGrath was unable to glove just above his pads. I definitely don't understand why he was left off the NHL's Central Scouting Preliminary list, but if he continues to play well and hard, I'm sure he'll find his way into the mid season rankings.

Cameron Gaunce (COL)
Gaunce played a solid, if unspectacular game tonight. He seems to be cutting down on the defensive zone turnovers that were plaguing him a bit in the early part of the season. Last two times I've seen him, he's been relatively mistake free. I also like the progress he's shown in the physical aspect of his game this year. Seems much more willing to throw the body and had a couple nice hits (including a nice hip check) tonight. He finished with assists on both of the Majors goals but didn't really influence them greatly.

J.P. Anderson (2010)
Anderson was OK tonight. I still really like him as a prospect, but he's got to make some adjustments as he's been underwhelming to start the season. Not the biggest goalie, Anderson is definitely not afraid to challenge shooters and come well out of his crease to make a save. However, one thing I've noticed about Anderson is that his posture in net is hindering him. Maybe I'm crazy, but he seems to compact himself and hunch over a bit when he's challenging shooters. Rather than standing tall (or tallish to still give himself a chance to be ready to go down into the butterfly) to take away more of the upper part of the net. All three of Darren Archibald's goals were scored up high on Anderson and that seems to be a pattern I'm seeing from every team this year. He's definitely a very athletic goaltender though and he does well to control his rebounds and take away the bottom of the net. His pads are incredibly quick and he reacts very well to the play. Still though, some of the same concerns I have about Anderson are the same ones people had about Mike Murphy, and we all know that Murphy wasn't the highest NHL draft pick. Anderson made 24 of 29 saves and took the loss.

That's it for tonight's game. Anyone else see this beauty or have thoughts on anything I've said? Is Darren Archibald the best power forward in the OHL? Is Barrie that much better than Mississauga?

Ryan Yessie's Thoughts on Peterborough from November 26

Ryan was able to catch the Peterborough Petes in action against the Sting last night and files his report on some of the Petes higher profile players. The game was a lopsided 6-3 victory for Peterborough as they handed Sarnia their 6th straight loss (London handed them their 7th straight tonight).

Ryan Spo
oner - #23 - C - YOB: 1992 - 5‘10” - 175lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010

Report: Nov/26/09: Spooner displays great speed, good agility and is very shifty and hard to stop once he gets going. His size my become the biggest obstacle he has but I believe I saw the two sides of Ryan Spooner. With the puck he is arguably in the same league as Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin skill wise. By this I’m referring to his puck possession and movement. With the puck he could make defencemen miss, can draw opponents in, and unlike most players with this ability it seems like he looks to find the open pass before anything else, and is very accurate in doing so. I didn’t get much of a judgement on his shot due to this, but it did look pretty solid for an NHL prospect. His play without the puck however was less than encouraging. He would coast along whenever he didn’t have the puck. He wasn’t cherry picking, and would work for the puck when it came near him, and when he did get the puck that switch would turn on where he became that prospect everyone has been talking about, but he doesn‘t show hustle when getting back on the play, and really appears to have no urgency on his side of the red line, or even in the offensive zone to get open at times. He has elite skating and playmaking abilities but his size combined with his relaxed play without the puck will push Spooner into the second half of the 1st round, and may push me to say he may wind up being a boom or bust prospcet. Wherever he goes he will put up big points, but he needs to work on his play without the puck so that he can be putting up those big points in the NHL, not the AHL/Europe.
(Spooner had 4A, +1 tonight)

Adam Sedlak - #24 - D - YOB: 1991 - 6‘2” - 210lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010

Report: Nov/26/09: I trashed him last year for his lack of ability to move the puck. This year he’s improved greatly. He moved the puck well and was a very decent skater. His defensive zone coverage was alright but could be improved upon. There’s some serious range in where people project Sedlak. (I’ve heard between late 1st and 5th round) but between him and Rogalski personally it would be tough to separate the two skill wise and could be a coin flip in terms of which the better prospect is. Both have very similar size and skill sets. But simply Sedlak‘s production needs to improve this year.
(Sedlak had 1A, +1, 2 PIM tonight)

Matt Puempel - #17 - LW - YOB: 1993 - 6‘0” - 190lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2011

Report: Nov/26/09: Puempel was pretty impressive out there tonight for Peterborough. He scored a nice goal in this game, and he threw his body around well. He’s a solid skater and someone to watch closely for next year.
(Puempel had 1G, +1, 2 PIM tonight)

Zack Kassian - #9 - LW - YOB: 1993 - 6‘3” - 215lbs.
NHL: 1st Round - 13th Overall by Buffalo in 2009

Report: Nov/26/09: I was pretty impressed with him last year, not so much this year. He was a little inconsistent in whether or not he worked at different points of the game. His skating is good for someone his size, and he threw some good hits as expected. He took a 10min misconduct for not wearing his mouth guard, and then attempted to knee Kyle Neuber, which incidentally lead to Neuber getting 2 for kneeing, even though it appeared Kassian was the one to stick his leg out last second after Neuber attempted to fight Kassian on multiple occasions. This seemed to play a part in Kassian being off his game. Kassian has a lot of skill but apparently has a long way to go before he’s NHL ready.
(Kassian had 2A, -1, 12 PIM tonight)

Barron Smith - #55 - D - YOB: 1991 - 6‘5” - 210lbs.
NHL: 7th Round - 188th Overall by Toronto in 2009

Report: Nov/26/09: It’s a good thing Smith is as physically imposing as he is, because he had 3 clear shots from the point and missed the net in comical fashion as 2 of the 3 were atleast 10ft. Off the net. However on his side of the red line he was unrelenting physically and made life difficult for Sarnia forwards most of the game, but he began to fade out as the game progressed and stamina became a factor. Smith has got a lot to work on, but has the attitude that matches his skill set, and has NHL ready size to impose his will on the opposition.
(Smith had -2 and 2 PIM)

Jason Missiaen - #1 - G - YOB: 1991 - 6‘8” - 220lbs.
NHL: 4th Round - 116th Overall by Montreal in 2008

Report: Nov/26/09: He did a good job staying square to the shooter. He did a good job consuming most rebounds and not giving too many second chances. However when the pressure was on he looked like he was prepared to fold a few times. Picking the corners seems to be the most effective way to score on Missiaen, his lateral movement was almost non existent. Overall he’s a good goaltender at the junior level but I honestly question his effectiveness at the pro level.
(Missiaen stopped 33 of 36 shots tonight)

Some interesting stuff from Ryan there. In particular his comments about Ryan Spooner struck a chord with me. In the limited viewings I've had of him, I've been impressed with his play without the puck in the offensive zone and his ability to generate offense from energy on the forecheck. This was something Ryan brings up as being absent from his game last night. Perhaps it was proof that his consistency without the puck is something that's held him back from being more of an impact player. Either way, 4 point night ain't half bad!

Comments for Mr. Yessie?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ryan Yessie's Thoughts on Sault Ste. Marie and Sarnia from November 21

Ryan was at the Sault Ste. Marie and Sarnia game on Saturday and has filed a report for us. The Hounds, thanks to solid goaltending from Robin Lehner, shutout the Sting 2-0. This handed Sarnia its 5th straight loss and a trip to the very bottom of the Western Conference standings.


niel Catenacci - #7 - C - YOB: 1993 - 5‘10” - 170lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2011

Report: Nov/21/09: Catenacci looked decent out there in this game. His skating is solid, he engages in battles for the pucks, and seems to be able to absorb a decent amount of punishment from bigger opponents. He certainly in no way stood out or take over even a few shifts as other 1st overall picks have done in the past. He will continue to be a good forward, but this seems to be a tribute to how weak the 2011 draft will be. Catenacci really didn’t have any standout flaws in his game, but none of his skills appeared to be standouts either. Combine that with his small stature, and Catenacci will be a decent prospect, and will be a 1st rounder in next year’s draft, but will not project to be more than a 2nd line forward.
(Cantenacci had 1G, +1, 2 PIM tonight)

Brett Thompson - #9 - C - YOB: 1991 - 5‘8” - 160lbs.
Eligible in 2010
Report: Nov/21/09: To be honest when I saw Thompson listed as 5’8” 160lb.I was surprised. He looked a lot bigger on the ice than that, and played a huge impact in this game. Thompson showed off great speed, and good shiftiness when coming up the ice with the puck. He made some very solid tape to tape passes. He banged in the puck in the crease for what turned out to be the winning goal, but what was more impressive was the way he set up a 2 on 1 goal for Catenacci drawing in the goaltender and the defenceman towards him then sending it over to Catenacci for the goal that put this one in the books. Thompson wasn’t someone I was expecting too much from, but he looked really good out there tonight, I was impressed.
(Thompson had 1G, 1A, +1 tonight)

James Livingston - #12 - RW - YOB: 1990 - 6‘1” - 210lbs.
NHL: 3rd Round - 70th Overall by St. Louis in 2008

Report: Nov/21/09: Livingston is someone who once again leaves me wanting to see more out of him. He didn’t look very different from last year. He threw some big hits, he only got one shot on net, which may be playing an impact on my opinion. His skating is not great but not bad either, average skater for his size. Livingston however appeared to show some leadership qualities at times, as well as being on the ice almost entirely for every penalty, which shows that at the NHL level even if he can’t become the power forward St. Louis thought he would when they picked him in the 3rd round, he can still be a special teams player, and is more than physical enough to fill a bottom 6 role. Livingston did have great positioning on defence tonight.

Nick Cousins - #27 - RW - YOB: 1993 - 5’9” - 155lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2011

Report: Nov/21/09: Cousins looked pretty good out there tonight, displayed great speed, handled the puck well, and positioned well. He got caught a few times trying to do too much in the offensive zone, but has so much speed to his game he was able to make it back in his own zone. He played on a line with Livingston, so that shows the SOO has confidence in him going forward. He’s certainly a player to watch going into the 2011 NHL draft. He could turn out not far off of his teammate Catenacci in the draft.

Brandon Archibald - #3 - D - YOB: 1992 - 6‘3” - 200lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010

Report: Nov/21/09: Above all Archibald was the one I was most disappointed in tonight. He has great size, and although he did hit, he didn’t utilize his size nearly as well as he should be. His skating is very awkward and always looks like he’s got one broken foot he leans to one side, and really can’t generate speed. However backwards Archibald is very smooth, with good lateral movement, it was very odd, and I almost think he should skate backwards both directions because he was about as fast, and much more fluid going backwards as he was going forward. Archibald turned the puck over a little too many times for a potential prospect, and was just not at the level I expected him to be at after hearing so many great things to start the season.
(Archibald had 1A, +1 tonight)

Brock Beukeboom - #25 - D - YOB: 1992 - 6‘1” - 196lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010

Report: Nov/21/09: Before this game I had Archibald slightly past Beukeboom. That all changed tonight. Beukeboom played very good tonight for the SOO and was arguably their best defenceman. He plays a safe stay at home game, but seems to be a very good skater, always moving his feet, and really seems to build his game around protecting his own net. He had good body positioning on incoming forwards, and although I’d like him to hit a little more, he wasn’t bad in this regard either. Beukeboom will never put up a lot of points but seemed to hit his outlet passes fairly well. Beukeboom isn’t going to be a franchises key defenceman, but I could see him landing in a Steve Staios type role one day.
(Beukeboom had 2 PIM tonight)

Robin Lehner - #35 - G - YOB: 1991 - 6‘4” - 224lbs.
NHL: 2nd Round - 46th Overall by Ottawa in 2009

Report: Nov/21/09: Lehner played outstanding and earned the shutout tonight. Lehner’s reflexes are second to none, he really doesn’t come out of his crease enough which is really the only knock in his game, and at his size it doesn’t hurt his game as it would to other goaltenders. His reaction time, as well as his recovery ability are simply amazing. I was a little weary about him getting drafted so high, but after seeing him, he simply stole this game. If Sarnia had scored first this would have been a very different game. At one point during the tie game Lehner made a save and gave up a rebound and an open net, he quickly recovered and dove across the net and got enough to prevent the puck going in. Simply blown away by Lehner’s performance tonight.
(Lehner stopped all 25 shots for a shutout tonight)


Shayne Campbell - #30 - G - YOB: 1992 - 6‘2” - 175lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2011

Report: Nov/21/09: Campbell played great in relief of Adam Courchaine who suffered an upper body injury. Letting in 6 goals over the course of the two games, many of those wouldn’t have been stopped by any goaltender in the league. Campbell continues to show great reflexes, and is starting to get quicker with his recovery. Because of his quickness he makes saves that other goaltenders at his general skill level wouldn’t make. Although there are those out there that feel Campbell isn’t capable of being a starting goaltender, he reminds me a lot of former goaltending prospect Parker Van Buskirk, however Parker’s development was largely ruined playing behind overagers, with the injury to Courchaine, Campbell will now get an opportunity to show that he can handle the starting job, when/if Courchaine does get traded. Campbell certainly made a big step in that direction with his performance this weekend.
(Campbell stopped 56 of 62 shots in 2 games this weekend)

Joe Rogalski - #74 - D - YOB: 1991 - 6‘2” - 185lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010

Report: Nov/21/09: As promised I was going to do a write up on Rogalski, so I did watch him closely this weekend to get a good look at how he has developed this season. Rogalski continues to rush the puck up the ice, but is very smart about moving the puck to his linemates at the right time. He appears to be the kind of player that doesn’t want to play selfish often passing instead of shooting on the power play. Skating wise Rogalski has it down in both directions he is an above average skater, and a very good one for a defenceman pushing 6’3”. Rogalski has a decent shot, but if he used it more often he might be more effective with it, which is something he should look to improve in. Also what needs improvement is Rogalski’s ability to add muscle. He’s shown a willingness to hit, but just simply isn’t as effective as he could be being only 185 and not looking a pound bigger. Rogalski is reliable in his own zone, probably not a guy you’d put on your PK in the NHL, but is someone who can do his job in his own zone. At the start of the year I said Chiarlitti had taken the edge over Rogalski as the top prospect out of Sarnia this year, recently Rogalski has re-claimed that title, and if he continues to improve may hear his name called in the 2nd/3rd round. There’s no question his strengths are skating, and his puck moving abilities, as well as his potentially imposing size at 6’2“-6’3”.

Thanks to Ryan Yessie for this report. Anyone else out there have comments on the Hounds or Sting?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Top 10 - Capable of More: A Change of Scenery Needed?

A big thanks to everyone who sent in their ideas for this Sunday's Top 10. Some tremendous ideas and ones I'll be pocketing for the coming Sundays. But for today's I'm going with the suggestion by "Jim." He suggested...

Top 10 players that need a change of scenery. Some players are drafted to clubs that are just not the right fit. Like a top goalie going to a team with an NHL drafted goalie, a strong D man that can't crack the line up on one team but would be amazing on another, a checking forward on a team that needs scorers etc. etc. I am always amazed how many players excel after a trade. Josh Bailey was not a star in Owen Sound and then goes to Windsor and we all now that ending. Tyler Beskorowany.... leaves Owen Sound where he saw limited play and now has played in 22 of 24 games for Kingston, Brian Lashoff plays little time with Barrie and is Kingston's captain. Christian Thomas saw 3rd and 4th line ice for London and now is the go to guy in Oshawa. Let's try and predict a current under achiever and see where he ends up.

I thought this was an interesting idea and would likely make for a good read and some really good feedback. Nearly every team has a couple guys you think have more in them, and more often then not, those guys need a change of scenery to bring out the best in them. I've come up with 10 (and 4 honorable mentions) that I've personally been impressed with in times that I've seen them before, and have always thought they could put up better numbers. I also think that any of these guys could be potential trade targets, meaning they could get a chance to show a new team what they're made of.

This week's list is not in order, but rather 10 guys whom could be capable of more.

Corey Bureau - Mississauga St. Michael's Majors
This season Bureau has taken a step forward offensively for the Majors. He's currently sixth in goals (7) and eighth in points (14). However, I just can't help but wonder if Bureau has more in him offensively. He's one of those heart and soul type guys who has no problem playing north to south, and who'll do all the little things needed from him. But how soon we forget he was the 32nd overall pick in 2007 and that he was an OPJHL all rookie team member in 2008. I've seen him make some very nice plays to score goals and I think his ability in close to the net is better than his stats would indicate. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of current Barrie Colt Bryan Cameron. He's definitely getting a chance in Mississauga, but I think if he were on a more dynamic offensive team with a better playmaker, he'd have the potential to be a real quality goal scorer in this league. I also have him on this list because something tells me that if the Majors make a move to get a quality top 6 forward (a Cody Hodgson, Eric O'Dell, etc), Bureau might be one of the guys on his way out.

Andrew Crescenzi - Kitchener Rangers
A huge forward, I see Crescenzi as one of those guys who could, after improving his skating, and conditioning, in conjuncture with just good ol' natural maturation, be a quality forward in this league. He's kind of big and awkward right now, but he's one of the Rangers top penalty killers (for the third best unit in the league) at the forward position and he shows good hockey sense on the ice. He played for a terrible team in the OJHL last year (Villanova), but he did manage to finish 5th in team scoring as a 16 year old. There has been a lot of talk about the Rangers making a move for a quality 2nd line center, and if I was the other team, Crescenzi would be one of the guys I'd target.

Keevin Cutting - Owen Sound Attack
After such a promising rookie season last year and a gold medal appearance with Team Ontario at the Under 17's, Cutting seems to have taken a step back this season. He's found himself passed on the depth chart by guys like Geoff Schemitsch and Curtis Crombeen, and doesn't appear to have a lot of confidence in himself. I believe he's even been a healthy scratch a couple of times. But he definitely has potential. At times, he can be a puck rusher, or a powerplay quarterback. At times, he'll play physical and play good positional defense. But he needs to get the confidence in order to do this consistently. Owen Sound likely isn't going to make any moves to push them into the playoffs, but you have to wonder if Cutting's future with the team is slightly at risk. Fortunately for him though, because of a late birth date he's not eligible for the NHL draft until 2011, so he's got some time to figure this out.

Jamie Devane - Plymouth Whalers
After the Leafs went and selected him in the third round of the 2009 draft, a lot of people were left scratching their heads. But Leafs management seemed content that he was a big body just waiting to break out. This season, he's regressed offensively thanks to a stagnate role in Plymouth's offense and an injury. Since the Leafs seemed to have a hand in the Jesse Blacker move to new pasture, you have to wonder if they'd want to see Devane get a chance at a larger offensive role. At this point, he still hasn't scored this year and he's on pace to seriously regress offensively. Best thing for him might be a fresh start with a team that could use his large frame on the powerplay or in offensive situations...or just a team that's rebuilding and is willing to give him a shot.

Nick Esposto - Oshawa Generals
Currently tied for 4th on the team in goals, and already matching his goal total of last year (7), Esposto is definitely making strides this season. However, I can't help but wonder if he's capable of more, if he had a better playmaking forward on his line. He's a big body, he seems to get himself into good scoring positions, and he's got a very hard shot. Things that generally add up to a quality goal scoring forward in this league. He definitely looked that way in the preseason, pacing Oshawa with 5 goals in only a handful of games. As a young team, I'm not they'd look to trade a guy like Esposto (a 1991). However, I do think that if he were given a larger role on the powerplay, or someone to feed him the puck, he'd be quite the sniper.

Stephen Johnston - Belleville Bulls
Here's a guy fighting for an NHL contract and he's not playing like it. A 6th rounder by Detroit in 2008, Johnston was drafted because he showed so much as a rookie during Belleville's 2008 playoff run. Last season he was given a larger role, but was still a very secondary scoring option behind all of Belleville's big guns. This year, a rebuilding year, Belleville had to be looking at Johnston as one of those guys who'd step up and become a ppg player. But he hasn't taken any steps forward and finds himself slowly falling down the depth chart, with the recent acquisition of Alex Aleardi and the emergence of Andy Bathgate (only recently). What's especially perplexing is that Johnston's best asset is definitely his speed, and what better place to take advantage of that than the big ice in Belleville. As a 1990 perhaps spending his final year in the league (although you have to wonder how high Detroit's interest is now), you'd have to think he's a probable trade piece. This is especially true considering fellow 1990 Matt Tipoff was just sent out. I've seen Johnston play well and I know he's capable of more offensively. Perhaps a new team and a new system would bring out better from him?

Cody McNaughton - Guelph Storm
Take a look at the first round of the 2008 Priority Draft. Not to many of those guys struggling right now. While every draft has their "busts," McNaughton does have talent and was drafted 12th for a reason. He's just kind of found himself buried on a team that already has high end offensive talent at the forward position. Not the biggest, but McNaughton fears no one and could be a top end chippy offensive winger. If Guelph decides to make some upgrades (in goal or down the middle), I could see McNaughton as a guy who goes the other way. And if that's the case, I think he'd truly show that he's more than just the energy player he is currently in Guelph.

Bryce O'Hagan - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
O'Hagan started off the year so well. Had an outstanding preseason. Carried that over to the regular season winning his first four starts. But after that it's been downhill. Robin Lehner has been so outstanding that he's relegated O'Hagan to full time back up, and at this point in his career (a late 1991), that can't be good for his NHL draft prospects. However, O'Hagan is a good goaltender and better than some of his performances may indicate. Consistency is obviously an issue, but he has the ability to steal games and I feel he only needs a chance to play all the time in order to really start stringing together consistent positive play. The Hounds are finally playing better lately, and it has me wondering what they'll do with Bryce. The team could badly use another quality offensive player (especially down the middle), and maybe O'Hagan is the piece that gets them that. After all, Lehner is eligible to return again next year (if the Senators don't send him to the AHL). If Bryce O'Hagan is dealt to a team he can get consistent play with, I think he'd show everyone what he's capable of.

Charles Sarault - Kingston Frontenacs
The 35th overall pick in the 2008 Priority Draft, Sarault has found himself passed on the depth chart this season by fellow 2008 draftees Corey Durocher and Derek Froats. With only one goal on the year, I think it's safe to say that the Fronts had to have had higher expectations for Sarault this season. From what I've seen of him, he definitely has the potential to be more of an offensive contributor. Good speed, good energy, creativity with the puck, Sarault is a little rough around the edges though and can fall victim to overplaying the puck and being too one dimensional of a player. The Fronts are definitely in the running for the division (heck every team in that division is), and if they should choose to upgrade their offense or defense, I could see Sarault being a guy going the other way. And if he does, I could see him excelling in a new environment with more playing time.

Jared Staal - Sudbury Wolves
Staal's development in this league has really stalled (no pun intended). His best season to date remains his 2008 draft year and he still has yet to put together the offensive consistency that was expected of him. Many people saw the leaps forward that Eric, Marc and Jordan took in this league and assumed Jared would progress on the same path. In Sudbury, Jared just hasn't been able to get it done and that's led to a lot of trade rumours. While his skating has always been his sore spot, the other intangibles he brings to the ice should allow him to perform better. He has good hands in close to the net, he can work the cycle, he's an excellent defensive forward, and he is a smart hockey player. I just don't think the system or linemates in Sudbury suit him and his skill set. He needs to play on a team where he's going to get more second chance opportunities and with a group of forwards who can outwork a team along the boards. If he does get traded to a better team, I do think we'll start seeing more from Jared.

Honorable Mentions:
Jared Knight was one guy I wanted to include on this list, but considering he currently leads the 15-7 London Knights in goals (11), I had trouble justifying how he could actually perform better. I do think that he's potential trade bait though, as London will likely look to make a move to keep pace in the West. The Hunters are never content with staying put. Knight is a top quality offensive player who has the potential to be a very dangerous all around forward in this league (if he isn't already). In another environment, where he could get more time on the powerplay, I think he could be putting up even better stats. Colt Kennedy in Kingston is definitely a guy who needs a change of scenery. He's played in only 8 games this year and has been a healthy scratch (and has been suiting up for the Tier II Kingston Vees). But the former 12th overall Priority selection does have potential in this league. While he's already on his third team, Kennedy did show signs of becoming a gritty offensive winger in his small time frame with Kingston to end last year. Guelph defenseman Tim Campbell is one guy I've always felt could be putting up better stats. He shows solid puck moving skills, yet just hasn't been able to put it up on the scoreboard. His incredible performance in the preseason seemed to show he was ready to break out this year, but it hasn't happened. Like McNaughton, I could see Campbell as potential trade bait to improve the team, and if that happens and he receives more ice time from his new team, I think we'll see a large increase in his scoring. Lastly, Barrie defenseman Mitch Bennett is another guy I expected to break out. He had a very strong preseason, using his big shot and physical play to force his way on to the team. But he hasn't been able to get in to the line up very much and is not currently playing much at all for Barrie. If Barrie looks to make another deal, I could see Bennett being a casualty and maybe then he's able to show what he can do.

Thanks again to Jim and everyone else who sent in ideas. They will definitely be used at a later time. Anyone else you think deserves a spot on here?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ryan Yessie's Thoughts on Saginaw and Windsor

Ryan's been pretty busy lately, but he's still a good enough guy to supply us with his thoughts after seeing the Saginaw Spirit and Windsor Spitfires in Sarnia over the past couple of weeks. I for one always enjoy reading another perspective on things.

The thoughts on Saginaw come from games on the 30th of October and 5th of November. Saginaw dominated both games, winning the first game by a score of 6-1 and the second by a score of 4-1.

The thoughts on Windsor come from the Spitfires 7-1 victory over Sarnia last night (Friday, November 20).

After Sarnia started the year so strongly (much to the surprise of many), they've really cooled off lately. The Sting are only 2-8 in their last 10, winless in their last four, and now find themselves out of the playoffs in the Western Conference. Is it a slump or a return to reality for a young and rebuilding Sarnia hockey team. On a positive note, at least Ryan has a lot to tell us about the other team's top offensive players!

Here are Ryan's reports...

Sarnia vs. Saginaw - Oct/30/09 and Nov/5/09

T.J. Brodie - #79 - D - YOB: 1990 - 6’1” - 173lbs.
NHL: 4t
h Round - 114th Overall by Calgary in 2007
Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: Brodie displays great speed even late in shifts and in games. On multiple occasions he displayed a very active stick applying pressure and forcing turnovers. Brodie appears to have off the charts hockey sense, and could be considered one of the best defencemen playing in the OHL this year. Brodie could work on being more physical and didn’t appear to have the hardest shot, but neither are things I’d consider to be flaws in his game.
(1G, 2A, +4, 2PIM in 2 Games)

Josh Shalla - #25 - LW - YOB: 1991 - 6’1” - 187lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010

Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: Shalla is eligible for this year’s draft. Shalla has an absolute laser of a shot. He either seems to score, just miss by inches, or force the goaltender to make a great save every time he puts the puck towards the net. Shalla also worked hard in the defensive zone. However his transition from one to the other (offense to defence, or defence to offense) may become an issue. Shalla appears to be a bit of a weak skater. This affected his ability to win battles for the puck, especially on dump ins, and transition plays. He is good along the boards, but his skating again prevented him from being as able to engage in as many battles as he could have. On breakout plays Shalla would likely benefit from being the trailer as a screen for his great shot could be utilized, and his lack of speed could be masked by set plays such as that.
(1G, 1A, +4, 2 PIM in 2 Games)

Jordan Szwarz - #10 - RW - YOB: 1991 - 5’11” - 186lbs.
NHL: 4th Round - 97th Overall by Phoenix in 2009

Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: After being very impressed last year I have to say I was a little disappointed with his play. Both games he was uninvolved in the plays and disappeared for long stretches. His goal he scored was not out of skill but out of being the 2nd opportunity guy who just happened to find himself with an open side. Hopefully Szwarz improves his game from here on in.
(1G, 1A, +1 IN 2 Games played)

Ivan Telegin - #24 - C - YOB: 1992 - 6’3” - 185lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010

Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: Telegin was very impressive in both games. Great puck control, shot, decision making and is still only 17 years old. Telegin may have good speed, but is not your typical Russian. Telegin has great size and could fill out to a power forwards size. It isn’t his game but he is a decent hitter. Telegin utilizes his ability to control the puck, and his speed and shiftyness when moving up the ice to create scoring for himself. Telegin was Saginaw’s best forward in the 2 games played against Sarnia.
(2G, 2A, +5, 2 PIM in 2 games)

Cody Sol - #41 - D - YOB: 1991 - 6’5” - 214lbs.
NHL: 5th Round - 125th Overall by Atlanta in 2009

Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: Sol has good speed and puck move movement abilities. For someone his size I’d go as far as consider it outstanding. His size after watching him the first half of last year left me wishing he’d use his size a bit more effectively, and he heard the bell on that one. He’s become a big physical presence using his size and was throwing hits all over his own zone during these two games. Also with his improve physical play he also showed he could hold his own against a Kyle Neuber who has a reputation as a good fighter (but we really haven’t seen that yet in Sarnia). Sol also showed off a decent shot from the point which he used a few times in these games. It doesn’t appear likely that Sol will become a top 4 defenceman at the NHL, but watching him develop I certainly see him making it as a very useful 3rd pairing defenceman.
(1A, +4, 9 PIM in 3 games)

Edward Pasquale - #80 - G - YOB: 1991 - 6’3” - 216lbs.
NHL: 4th Round - 117th Overall by Atlanta in 2009

Report: Oct/30/09 & Nov/5/09: Although he only let in 2 goals in 2 games, it was a tale of two goaltenders. In the first game Pasquale looked slow to react and relied heavily on size and his defense limiting scoring chances. He stayed deep in his net, but fortunately most shots went into his chest. He made a great save in the third period, but definitely did not look like a goaltender who was considered the #1 draft eligible goaltnder in North America 1 year ago at this time. The second game was much closer, and Pasquale was that much better. He came out to the top of his crease cutting down angles, responded better to shots in terms of his reflexes, and he came out of this game making several outstanding saves. This leaves me to wonder if consistency is the biggest thing for Pasquale to work on going forward.
(Stopped 63 of 65 shots in 2 games)

Sarnia vs. Windsor Nov/20/09

r Hall - #4 - LW - YOB: 1991 - 6’1” - 185lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010

Report: Nov/20/09: After being amazed by Taylor Hall for 3 years I can say I wasn’t overly impressed with his efforts tonight. There’s no denying his top end skating, puck handling, and ability to rush the puck up the ice, but it never really translated into much until this game was already put away. However that one goal was one for the highlight reel, breaking out one on one short handed with a defenceman I hold pretty high in my rankings Nathan Chiarlitti, and just absolutely posterized him, then made a beautiful move on Campbell to slide the puck in. It was, to be honest coming from a Sarnia follower a Stamkos-like play that we saw for years here, there‘s no other way to compare it. However what happened after the goal was not Stamkos-like at all. Hall carried on with a huge celebration including the “Ovechkin leap“ into the glass. For a player of his caliber to do this when scoring the goal that makes the game 7-1 with less than 3 minutes left in the 3rd, especially for one that did very little for his team in this game the first 57 minutes of this game compared to the way he usually plays. It was fairly tasteless, ignorant, and to be honest I’ve been a fan of Hall since he was a 16 year old, but I lost a little respect for him, and his coach for that matter who would let one of their players carry on like that after scoring a meaningless goal. It was a highlight reel goal, but come on Taylor.
(Hall had 1G, +1 tonight)

Adam Henrique - #14 - C - YOB: 1990 - 6’1” - 196lbs.
NHL: 3rd Round - 82nd Overall by New Jersey in 2008

Report: Nov/20/09: “Most underrated player in the league” Is certainly a title worthy of describing Adam Henrique. He reminds me a lot of Matt Halischuk when he was with the OHL Champion Kitchener Rangers a few years back. He has great speed, plays hard in his own end, and just has a gift for putting the puck into the net. Henrique was key in face-offs, and just was; in my mind Windsor’s best forward all night. Not many people would know this but Henrique now has 22 goals in 25 games, an outstanding pace for someone who isn’t even recognized as one of Windsor’s top 5 players by many that are either not very in tuned with the OHL, or outside of Windsor. I would not be shocked to see Henrique in a 3rd line role in New Jersey as soon as next year.
(Henrique had 2G, 2 PIM tonight)

Kenny Ryan - #26 - RW - YOB: 1991 - 6’0” - 204lbs.
NHL: 2nd Round - 50th Overall by Toronto in 2009

Report: Nov/20/09: Kenny Ryan neither impressed or disappointed me in this game. I put in a report mainly because not that many people have seen him in person yet in the OHL. He seems to have decent but not great speed, good puck handling abilities and makes good decisions along the boards. He floated a lot in the neutral zone, looking for a pass to score and abandoned his defensive responsibilities, but overall Kenny Ryan leaves me thinking he’s one of those guys who, when Timmins and Mitchell, and likely a few of Nemisz, Henrique, and maybe Hall are gone, steps up and shows what he’s capable of.
(Ryan had 1G tonight)

Richard Panik - #28 - C/RW - YOB: 1991 - 6’2” - 197lbs.
NHL: 2nd Round - 52nd Overall by Tampa Bay in 2009

Report: Nov/20/09: Richard Panik has a lot of boom or bust perceptions around him. He would serve better as a Right Wing prospect, as supposed to the Center position he played for a few shifs this game. I have a hard time seeing him compete with Lecavilier or Stamkos in the top two in Tampa. Panik showed off some impressive speed, especially someone at his size that can fly like that. He was willing to play physical, and I know one of the knocks on him is laziness and not being good at his side of the red line, but he played hard in the defensive zone, and if he is still inconsistent, he certainly chose this to be one of the games he showed up to. He scored the first of two highlight reel goals for Windsor. He was coming out front around the back of the net, and he may have got tripped, or just dove for the puck, either way on his way down was able to slip the puck past Campbell short side. Panik would score again but would not be anything compared to his first goal. Overall I didn’t see any flaws in his game, but if his reputation is that he doesn’t show up to some games, then that may be a concern, but he certainly showed up tonight.
(Panik had 2G, +2 tonight)

Ryan Ellis - #6 - D - YOB: 1991 - 5’10” - 170lbs.
NHL: 1st Round - 11th Ovearll by Nashville in 2009

Report: Nov/20/09: Ellis did not really stand out the way he did last year in games I watched, however he wasn’t bad either. He certainly made a few Sting players wish they didn’t block his shot, but he really only got one to the net on the PP. Ellis does look a fair amount improved with his skating, but will either need to continue to improve, or add more of a physical element to his game if he ever wants to wear a Predator jersey, considering how many good defencemen they have, plus fellow prospect Jonathon Blum and Cody Franson who are both spending most of their time in Milwaukee and are ahead of Ellis in both development, and arguably overall potential if he can’t improve one of those two.
(Ellis had 2A, +1 tonight)

Cam Fowler - #6 - D - YOB: 1991 - 6’2” - 190lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010

Report: Nov/20/09: Fowler was hands down Windsor’s best defenceman tonight. He was skating great, threw some solid hits, shot the puck well, moved the puck well, there really wasn’t any flaws in his game. Add in the fact that his skating was so smooth for someone who looked bigger than 6’2”, and factor in that when he is done growing could wind up as big as 6’4” 220 is just amazing to project where he’ll be. I was set on Hall/Seguin going 1-2 in this draft, but Fowler will definitely make the top 3 very interesting. Not sure how much more I can elaborate, but his puck moving and skating were just better than everyone else from the blueline in this game, and didn’t really show any weaknesses in his game tonight.
(Fowler had 3A, +1 tonight)

Thanks to Ryan again. Any thoughts for him?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Team Ontario for Under 17 Challenge Announced

Hockey Canada unveiled the roster for Team Ontario that will compete at the 2010 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in Timmins, Ontario. The 22 man roster has 20 Ontario Hockey League players on it. The two that don't currently play in the OHL are forward Lucas Lessio and goaltender Chris Festarini. Both of their rights are held by OHL teams; Lessio with Oshawa and Festarini with Erie.

Below you can find the full roster. Link to Hockey Canada is here.

# Player S/C Ht Wt Birthdate Team
1 Chris Festarini /L6'1 170 06/03/1993Port Colborne Pirates/GOJHL
30 Tyson Teichmann /L6'0 150 05/19/1993Belleville Bulls/OHL
2 Cody Ceci R/6'2 195 12/21/1993Ottawa 67's/OHL
3 Curtis Crombeen L/5'10 165 02/12/1993Owen Sound Attack/OHL
4 Ryan Murphy R/5'10 160 03/31/1993Kitchener Rangers/OHL
5 Justin Sefton R/6'3 200 04/14/1993Sudbury Wolves/OHL
6 Dougie Hamilton R/6'3 185 06/17/1993Niagara IceDogs/OHL
7 Scott Harrington L/6'0 190 03/10/1993London Knights/OHL
8 Stuart Percy L/6'1 175 05/18/1993Mississauga St. Michael's Majors/OHL
9 Carter Sandlak L/6'1 190 05/18/1993Guelph Storm/OHL
10 Ben Thomson L/6'3 185 01/16/1993Kitchener Rangers/OHL
11 Matthew Puempel L/6'0 185 01/24/1993Peterborough Petes/OHL
12 Daniel Catenacci L/5'10 180 03/09/1993Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds/OHL
14 Boone Jenner L/6'1 190 06/15/1993Oshawa Generals/OHL
15 Alan Quine L/5'11 175 02/25/1993Kingston Frontenacs/OHL
16 Garrett Meurs R/5'11 170 01/12/1993Plymouth Whalers/OHL
17 Zack Mitchell R/5'11 160 01/07/1993Guelph Storm/OHL
18 Barclay Goodrow L/6'2 205 02/26/1993Brampton Battalion/OHL
19 David Broll L/6'2 215 01/04/1993Erie Otters/OHL
20 Ryan Strome R/5'11 165 07/11/1993Barrie Colts/OHL
21 Brett Ritchie R/6'3 190 07/01/1993Sarnia Sting/OHL
22 Lucas Lessio L/6'1 180 01/23/1993St. Michael?s Buzzers/CCHL

Team Ontario is going for a third straight gold medal at the event. The tournament runs from December 28 to January 4.