"We have never hidden that we are huge fans of New York Ranger's Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark. One of the reasons why is because his mind set is simple; in order to advance a prospect should first dominate at the level he is playing at.
From that we came up with what we call "The Staal Standard" which when stripped down measures not the number of points you score but rather how many game changing plays you made. What good is scoring 3 goals when your play resulted in the other guys scoring 4?
We want to see you rise to make a big play when your team needs one not padding stats when your team is up 6 goals in the 3rd period. We want to see you put your team on your shoulders and carry them.
The two prospects who earned our stars for Saturday night left no question about their taking charge of their own play. Great efforts from two first round picks showed us why they were deserving of being picked where they were
Ranger's Star Chris Kreider
Chris Kreider (NYR 2009 1st) is exactly what were talking about as in Boston College's opening-round game against Air Force, it was Kreider who rose to the occasion with a two-goal performance as Boston College defeated the Air Force 2-0 to advance to the Northeast Regional Finals on Sunday.
Here's some food for thought, Glen Sather just raves about Kreider being special and when you consider the players that Sather has coached over the years that is pretty high praise. Against Air Force, Kreider was attacking the net taking advantage of his size as well as his physical play.
Kreider got first goal of the game off a great feed from linemate Kevin Hayes who put the puck right on Kreider's stick and Kreider one timed it into the net for what turned out to be the game-winning goal. The second goal we would be not very honest if we did not acknowledge that a poor call from a referee gave Boston College a power-play they really did deserve.
But Kreider we won't deny his effort as he would not be denied taking three shots before finally get it past Air Force's goalie Jason Torf. For Kreider, it broke a four-game goalless streak giving him 22 goals on the season.
Couple of interesting facts from the Boston College sports information folks, the first is that Chris Kreider has 6 two-goal games in his career at Boston College but not one hat trick. The second is that Boston College has started NCAA tournament three times in the last 11 years in Worcester and won the title all three times.
Islander Star Brock Nelson
Brock Nelson (NYI 2010 1st) if you want to talk about player who's matching the "Staal Standard" then go look at what Brock Nelson has done in his last four games for North Dakota.
Start with Saturday against Western Michigan where Nelson got North Dakota's second goal started with a play behind the Western Michigan that that wound up bouncing off Danny Kristo to fall right at the feet of Corban Knight.
Nelson also sealed the win with an unassisted in empty net goal (his 28th) with 25 seconds remaining in regulation. It's the fourth straight game going back to the WCHA Final Five quarterfinals where Nelson has scored at least one goal.
The win sets up a rematch with Minnesota who North Dakota defeated in the WCHA Final Five semifinals in the same rink has Sunday's game will be. North Dakota fans may not like hearing this but on everybody's talking about Chris Kreider being NHL ready; the question has to be asked isn't Brock Nelson also ready?
28-18-46 with the kind of run Nelson is currently on makes a strong case to say yes he is ready.
The Rest of the Prospects
The big story in the QMJHL has to the Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) and his 13th seeded Baie-Comeau Drakkar who defeated fourth-seeded Victoriaville 5-3 to take a 2-0 series lead. Give credit where credit is due as the Drakkar are playing some very good hockey taking both games from Victoriaville on their ice.
Samuel Noreau had a pretty good game even though he was scoreless as he took two shots, was credited with a hit and was a +3 for his Drakkar. The series now shifts to Baie-Comeau for games 3 and 4 next Tuesday and Wednesday.
In Shawinigan, Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) and his Shawinigan Cataractes made it two straight wins over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies defeating them 6-3. Kabanov had a goal (his 2nd) and a secondary assist in the win.
Last season Kabanov lead the QMJHL with a 12 game scoring streak. Shawinigan with just love Kabanov with a 16 game scoring streak.
The series now shifts to Rouyn-Noranda for games 3 and 4 also on Tuesday and Wednesday.
As expected Scott Stajcer (NYR 2009 5th) got the start for his Owen Sound Attack in game two of their series with the Kitchener Rangers. Stajcer gave up three goals on 28 shots as Kitchener defeated Owen Sound 3-2 to take a 2-0 series lead.
Owen Sound is missing too many players due to injury and suspension to be seriously considered to have a shot at winning this series. Stajcer kept Owen Sound in the game until late before giving up the game-winning goal with a little over 2 minutes remaining.
Game three will be Monday night in Kitchener and might we suggest to Owen Sound that the best revenge is winning the game not winning the fights. Something is really wrong when one of the stars of the game takes a double minor for spearing.
Dylan McIlrath (NYR 2010 1st) and his Moose Jaw Warriors evened their series with the Regina Pats at 1-1 after a 8-1 whipping. McIlrath had an assist on Moose Jaw's third goal of the night but was not around for the end of the game after taking an unsportsmanlike penalty and a 10 min. misconduct.
Moose Jaw jumped all over Regina tonight scoring the game's first 5 goals and using their physical play to their advantage. McIlrath was much more active and when McIlrath is playing like this, the other team is not going to get many scoring chances.
Game three will be Tuesday night in Regina
Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th) and his Kelowna Rockets could not muster any sustained offense as the Portland Winterhawks dominated at both ends of the ice earning a 4-0 win and a 2-0 series lead. We hate something like on some kind of soapbox but it is getting old seeing players resorting to dirty tactics, and it does not matter which team is guilty.
The playoffs are supposed to bring out the best in teams but players getting ejected for slashing, for kneeing or for any other reason has to be unacceptable. This playoff season is barely 2 games old but there are so many unsportsmanlike penalties being handed out that maybe the punishment needs to be harsher.
There were six handed out in the Portland/Kelowna game which were six too many. The series is shifting the Kelowna for games 3 and 4 but we would be shocked if the series is not a four game sweep.
Did not play
Love this time of year because nobody wants to acknowledge players getting injured and those that do try to be as vague as possible. It's kind of silly but it's been going on for years in hockey especially the playoffs so we all have to play the game.
Brendan Kichton (NYI 2011 5th) for example left his game on Friday after taking a puck to the face. It happened on the ice in front of everybody so really how silly is it to call it an "upper body injury"?
It's really doubtful that Vancouver does not know that Kichton suffered some kind of jaw injury and if (a big if) Kichton does return to play that his helmet will have a face guard to protect said jaw. For the meantime, Spokane is not talking and they are acting like Kichton will be able to play in the next game.
Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) is out with a "upper body injury suffered during final regular-season game." Theoret is a third/fourth line player who is not going to be a difference maker for the Niagara IceDogs so again was the big harm in saying what kind of injury you really has?
Because Niagara at least acknowledged that Theoret is injured, we will respect that they call it what they call it. And yes several of you have e-mailed me or tweeted what kind of injury it was but it is a game and we will play along as long as teams at least acknowledge that there was an injury.
(Kreider/New York Rangers, Nelson/ Grand Forks Herald)
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