Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday Musings

It's official, I am burnt out! Too much work lately and not enough play. I am grateful to be working, but sometimes too much is too much. But I am really looking forward to the start of the NHL season Wednesday night so that may recharge my engines.

If there was someone out there who knew how to market this league and got on board right now, they would make a ton of money. Over the last few years the NHL has lost many future Hall of Famers such as Mark Messier and Steve Yzerman, along with plenty of other stars. In fact, I have never seen an exodus of so many good players from one sport at the same time as what has occurred in the National Hockey League the last few years, due largely to retirement. But the NHL cupboard is restocked and in many ways is overflowing with top notch talent. The league is young and salaries are under control. Most importantly the New York Rangers are poised to make some noise, the L.A. Kings are building a team that is going to be very good a year or two from now, and Chicago has definitely improved as well.

This out of left field...I did get to see Gridiron Gang recently and thought it was a very good movie. I would definitely recommend it!

Getting back to the NHL, the New York Rangers have certainly changed things around. In the past they would only have one prospect to talk about as being highly touted. Yet, now they have a whole group of top tier prospects. Not just according to the Rangers but the various scouting bureaus and prospect rankings. That means that the roster will probably look quite a bit different in March as opposed to the start of the season. I expect there to be some guys making the jump from the American Hockey League and maybe a prospect or two gets dealt away for some veteran experience. One thing I will say is that I don't expect them to ship out a bunch of their young players, just one or two, as opposed to the past when they would clean out all the cabinets.

There was a really great story in The Hockey News' season preview issue about the Staal family. Once again to show that the Rangers are interested in developing talent, they sent Marc Staal, a defenseman, back to his junior team, Sudbury of the OHL. Too often in years gone by they would keep a prospect on the team where he would see very limited action as opposed to sending him back to juniors. See: Manny Malhotra. It really wasn't the Blueshirts fault though. To be fair a junior player has to be either sent back or if he plays in 10 games or more he has to be kept on the roster for the remainder of the season, get paid for that year, and it costs the team a year in regards to keeping his rights even if at some point he is sent back to juniors after he plays ten or more games. Once a player is sent back to juniors he can't be recalled. Usually they will rejoin the 'big club' or the farm team after their junior team has been eliminated from the playoffs.

A player sent to the AHL farm team can be recalled at any time. So I can understand if a guy plays well in camp you don't want to lose him for the whole season. But still, at 19, unless the player is really something special I feel it is always better to send him back to not stunt his development as a player.

Getting back to the will hear that name quite a bit over the next fifteen years in the world of hockey. Eric, a forward, already won a Stanley Cup with Carolina last year. Marc I have already mentioned is expected to be a top-four d-man in the NHL probably beginning next year. Jordan, a centerman, was drafted second overall by the Penguins this past summer and plays for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL, while Jared, 16, was drafted in the first round by the Sudbury Wolves this past summer and will play forward. He will be eligible for the 2008 NHL draft.

Kind of reminds me of the great Sutter Family who had six, count 'em six players, make it to the NHL. Ron, Rich, Brent, Duane, Brian, and Darryl all laced 'em up in the NHL. Meanwhile, Shaun was the first son of the Sutter Brothers to be drafted by an NHL team. He was drafted by the Calgary Flames in 1998 and is Brian's son. There was actually a seventh Sutter, the oldest, Gary, he was actually considered by his brothers and father to be the best of the clan. But according to Brian, Gary just never caught the eye of any of the scouts despite a heavy slapper.

Gary Sutter is not to be confused with Gary Suter, an American born d-man. Got all that? There will be a test on all this in the very distant future. Gary, won a Stanley Cup in Calgary and also played for the Blackhawks and Sharks. He was a member of the 1996 United States World Cup team that upset Canada in the finals!

That reminds me of last year when during a Rangers-Capitals' game play-by-play man Sam Rosen had the pleasure of saying "Nieminen(Ville) takes the puck from Numminen(Teppo) and takes a shot on Noronen(Mika)." Try saying that one five times fast!

Speaking of the Washington Capitals...Alex Ovechkin hit a hole in one during the Caps Care Classic at the Springfield Golf and Country Club in Springfield, Va., today. Ovechkin took a shot on the par-3, 160-yard fourth hole that landed short of the green and rolled in! Is this guy great at everything he does or what!!


1 comment:

Sean G. Kilkelly said...

Just announced...Jordan Staal has made the Pens and has agreed to a deal!