Saturday, March 26, 2011

Game Day Edition: It's Playoff Time

This morning Guy and I recapped every CHL and NCAA playoff game, went in depth with 3 different CHL series and a bracket of the NCAA tournament and discussed concussions and why one NHL rookie has the most impressive stats in the Calder trophy race. Click here to go inside the world of prospects hockey.

We came out of the gate strong with TPS favourite Mike Farwell, the colour man for the Kitchener Rangers. The team Guy picked to reach the Mastercard Memorial Cup hit a speed bump in the form of Plymouth last night. Despite getting 3 points each from Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Murphy - both high end prospects for the 2011 draft - the Rangers fell 6-5 to the Whalers in the opening game of their OHL series. What was Kitchener's downfall? How is Landeskog dealing with the pressure of being a potential first overall pick? And can the Rangers solve Plymouth tender Scott Wedgewood who faced 51 shots on Friday night? Both teams are hoping to erase the memory of disappointing 2010 playoff outings.

From the OHL we jumped to the NCAA with Ken Schott of The Daily Gazette in Schenectady New York. Ken took in Yale's overtime victory over Air Force as well as Minnesota-Duluth's 2-0 shut out of Union last night in one regional. It sets up a battle of the Bulldogs between Yale and UMD tonight. The Ivy league school, ranked #1 in the tournament had all they could handle from the Military academy, relying Spruce Grove's Chad Ziegler's overtime winner, was it a wake up call for them? How does UMD match up against Yale tonight? We also touched on the defending champion Boston College Eagles getting bounced by Colorado College 8-4. The Tigers were led by freshman and St. Louis prospect Jaden Schwartz who potted 2 goals and a helper. Michigan is also moving on after a controversial game winning goal against Nebraska-Omaha. What's the buzz over the game winner? Ken has the answers.

Just before the top of the hour we recapped Friday night in the CHL and NCAA from 2 upsets in the WHL to blow outs in the QMJHL and OHL we had all your playoff and NCAA tournament information. We then narrowed our focus on the QMJHL series between Gatineau and Rimouski. The Olympiques seemed to have little trouble in their 6-0 series opening win over the Oceanic but Gatineau voice Luc Chenier cautioned that it wasn't as easy as it looked from the stats page. Gatineau is rolling right now though, picking up their 10th straight win thanks to several key players returning to the line up. However there was a surprise starter in net for Gatineau as New Jersey Devils prospect Maxime Clermont didn't start in net. You can find out why as we went behind the Mic.

Our NHL Insider segment with Daren Millard of Rogers Sportsnet started off with the very interesting program on Thursday night called 'Crisis on ice?" It was an in depth look at concussions in the NHL and contained a lot of great information. We wondered though it the show would have taken place if Sidney Crosby wasn't on the shelf right now. There was also a terrific segment with Sportsnet analyst Nick Kypreos and Ryan VandenBussche reliving their fateful fight that ended Kypreos' career. When we got back to prospect talk, we ask Daren about Michael Grabner's impressive stats. He leads all rookies in goals and is plus 17 with the New York Islanders. When you consider he doesn't have a lot of power play points we wondered if he was the front runner for the Calder? Daren told us who the most impressive rookie blueliner is and we found out what he's watching for tonight in the world of hockey.

We wrapped things up with the most improved Edmonton Oil King this season, and a guy who scouts are really starting to take notice of heading into the 2011 NHL draft. Keegan Lowe led Edmonton with a plus 33 rating this year. He once went 29 games without a minus rating and as Guy pointed out he went from -5 at the end of October to plus 10 by the start of December. Now that's impressive stuff. Lowe was +1 in the Oil Kings loss last night and told us how you try to limit Ryan Nugent-Hopkins chances. It's a tough gig as RNH had 4 points in the series opening win for Red Deer Friday night. Lowe talked about his evolution as a hard nosed tough Dman and scoring his first career playoff goal last night.

You can hear all these conversations and more by hitting the archive section on our website, and while you're there make sure you vote on our poll question. What was the biggest shocker from Friday night's CHL/NCAA action.

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