NHL Camp Blog
I have been trying to the these Power Rankings up for the past few days now, but due to the lack of content on the Ontario Hockey League's website (i.e. no longer a Standings section showing the teams past 10 games/streaks, and unable to view the schedule for past scores) it has taken me until now to find the proper information, thanks to http://twitter.com/#!/craiger_c . So without further a due:
1. Mississauga St. Michael's Majors - GP: 10, PTS: 16
2. Ottawa 67's - GP: 12, PTS: 16
3. Kingston Frontenacs - GP: 11 PTS: 13
4. Sudbury Wolves - GP: 11, PTS: 9
5. Oshawa Generals - GP: 11, PTS: 14
6. Niagara IceDogs - GP: 13, PTS: 17
7. Brampton Battalion - GP: 12, PTS: 15
8. Barrie Colts - GP: 12, PTS: 5
9. Peterborough Petes - GP: 11 PTS: 7
10. Belleville Bulls - GP: 13 PTS: 6
Here is a list of recent OHL graduates that I believe will make impact on their respective NHL teams this season. Some are rookies, some are sophomores, none are players who have already proven themselves. (I.e. Drew Doughty, Steve Stamkos, who are both fairly recent OHL graduates, but have already had a breakout season.)
Alex Pietrangelo - It has been known since his draft year that he will be an impact defenseman for the St. Louis Blues. After playing the first 9 for the past two years, Pietrangelo should finally earn his permanent roster spot and show the world what he has got. Has the potential to be a solid contributor in both ends of the rink.
It is disheartening to see that the city of St. Catharines is doing the bare minimum in regards to a new arena for the OHL IceDogs. The Jack Gatecliff Arena is currently the oldest rink in the Ontario Hockey League and offers IceDog fans run down concessions, washrooms, seating, corridors and more. The fan experience upon visiting the outdated IceDog arena is unfortunately, for lack of a better term, subpar.
The IceDogs have heightened the city with a tremendous amount of community involvement and charitable work. Not to mention, the team sheds light on an otherwise struggling St.Catharines downtown. It is highly disappointing to see that St. Catharines city officials are not doing more to accommodate them. If the city has intentions of seeing the IceDogs remain in St. Catharines they have no other choice but to step up to the plate and support the team with a new facility. It is to point of embarrassment that a region this size is struggling to support an OHL franchise.
The construction of a new facility is critical to St. Catharines as it would market the city and region and provide intangible benefits to the surrounding community. Using tax dollars to subsidize a sport complex will always bring rise to discrepancy; however the economic trade-off of a new facility will provide tax revenue to the city and surrounding areas. So, even the taxpayers who do not enjoy hockey will in some way or form reap the benefits. It is also important to keep in mind the increase of quality-of-life benefits surrounding the community. These benefits are often not included in debate over subsidizing sport facilities due to the fact they are difficult to measure.
A major quality-of-life benefit that a new rink would provide the city with is the knowledge that local government is putting forth effort to develop unity throughout the community. Ever since the IceDog’s inaugural season (2007) a growing sense of pride has grown amongst citizens of St. Catharines.
Seeing former IceDog players such as Alex Pietrangelo represent Team Canada at the World Junior Championships and expand his footprint in the NHL allows Niagara fans to relate back to the team with satisfaction of their efforts in developing high-caliber players. Not long ago, Windsor built a brand new facility which indicates the city appreciates the significance of sport and recreation to the success of its municipality. This being said, it would be appropriate to point out that Windsor is marked as having the highest unemployment rate amongst all major Canadian cities.
The IceDogs five-year lease of the Jack Gatecliff Arena is set to expire in 2012, a rather short time frame in terms of constructing a new rink. The ultimate decision of whether or not the IceDogs remain in St. Catharines is in hands of local politicians who hopefully realize that not only do the IceDogs deserve a new facility, but so does the community.
In the O Radio blogging team
Although it may be early in the OHL season, there is a certain sense of excitement circling the Owen Sound Attack. The team is off to a 3-1 record, beating both
For starters, the Attack is equipped with the healthy, 18-year-old, Joey Hishon. Last season, Hishon was left healing a broken foot and injured knee which prevented him from making a noticeable impact in the ’09-10 season, as he only played 36 games. The
As far as leadership goes, Attack captain and Elmvale native Garrett Wilson is prepared to take on a larger leadership role. The 19-year-old left winger was drafted in the 4th round of the 2009 NHL Draft (107th overall) by the Florida Panthers.
Moving to the defensive end is Jesse Blacker, arguably the Attack’s best blue-liner. The 19-year-old
Starting goaltender Scott Stajcer, a 5th round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft (140th overall) to the New York Rangers has been identified as one of the most talented goalies in the Ontario Hockey League. The 19-year-old
The biggest change to the Attack may have occurred with the recent separate but related trades of Steven Shipley to the Niagara IceDogs in exchange for Andrew Shaw, Matt Petgrave and three picks, while over-ager Jason Wilson was exchanged a few days later for 17-year-old sniper Andrew Fritsch.
Shaw, a 19-year-old
Matt Petgrave, an 18-year-old defenseman hailing from
Lastly, Andrew Fritsch, the young
With many new faces on the Attack, it seems that there has been a shift in attitude amongst the players. Positioned in the smallest market in the CHL, the Owen Sound Attack have had a history of player`s reporting dissatisfaction which affects the general atmosphere amid the team. However, this season, the Attack presents an energetic group that has faith in the talent and depth of their roster.
The effort and enthusiasm displayed in the first few games by the Attack proves that the team has a strong core of returning players along with new addition rookies who seem to be motivated and engaged. Also, the trades made by Dale DeGray, have to this point, presented positive results. If the first week of the Attack`s season is anything close to indicative of how the season will prevail, it would be no surprise to see the Owen Sound Attack become a key contestant in the Western Conference.
- Vicky Grygar, In the O Blogger
1. Oshawa Generals - Undefeated in 4 games, the Oshawa Generals have proven in the early stages of the season that they are legit competitors for the top spots on the east. Christian Thomas very well should have been in my 50 goal scorers projection for this year. Coming off a 41 goal and 66 point season, Thomas is leading the Gens with 5 goals and seven points, while rookie Lucas Lessio has 3 and 1, one of many players with four points on the Gens. Michael Zador has four wins in net, and Boone Jenner hasn't heated up yet... The Gens look like they could continue the roll and sit around the top of the Eastern Conference for weeks to come.
2. Mississauga St. Michael's Majors - Although tied with the Brampton Battalion for six points, the Majors have only had one tough loss against the Ottawa 67's, 7-2 this past Sunday. However, they did beat the Windsor Spitfires 5-1 Friday, and the Belleville Bulls 5-3 Saturday, proving they are still dangerously offensive. The Majors still have all the pieces necessary to lead the Eastern Conference for the majority of the season. Casey Cizikas, Jordan Mayer, and Justin Shugg each have five points, while Devante Smith-Pelly and Finnish rookie Mika Partanen have 3, not to mention a huge potential of secondary scoring... Majors are still my pick to headman the conference.
3. Ottawa 67's - Move up after their 7-2 victory over the St. Mike's Majors. Shane Prince is doing a fine job quarterbacking the 67's scoring, and there are too many names that could be noted as offensive juggernauts to mention any at all... However, I will say Chris Perugini has played great, picking up the only two 67's wins, stopping 73 of 77 shots... Uhhh, I think it's time to give him the number one spot... If he played the other two games, would they be two and two? Ottawa moves up if they play Perugini and continue to utilize their scoring potential.
4. Niagara IceDogs - IceDogs stay about the same. This team has an extreme potential to succeed this season. Although they lost two of their three games over the weekend, they losses were indeed tough. 4-3 to Guelph after being up 3-1 into the third, and 4-3 to Brampton in overtime after coming back to tie the game 3-3 late in the third of what turned out to be quite the emotional match-up. The IceDogs will continue winning games, and with a fairly easy upcoming schedule facing Sudbury and Barrie this coming weekend, The IceDogs should gain the points and possibly even move up depending on how Ottawa and Mississauga make out. Ryan Strome, Alex Friesen, Andrew Agozzino, Freddie Hamilton, and now Steven Shipley provide a first-line scoring ability that could compete with any other OHL club, not to mention their depth potential that could very well be the most evenly balanced in the league.
5. Kingston Frontenacs - The Fronts had a tough weekend, finishing with a loss to the undefeated Oshawa Generals. Kingston, along with the other three teams Oshawa has beat, just couldn't solve the superb goaltending of Michael Zador, not to mention Christian Thomas' scoring streak. The Fronts have a solid team, despite being two and two, and will still remain and a powerful opponent in the East Division. Should stay around third in the East Division, and 5th in the conference.
6. Brampton Battalion - The soldiers drop this week for me. Why? Because it just doesn't quite make sense as to how they are first in the Central Division. I just can't see Mississauga and Niagara losing their games this weekend, not to mention Brampton being too successful in the upcoming weekend where they face the Kingston Frontenacs, the red hot Owen Sound Attack, and the Mississauga Majors on Thanksgiving Monday... Just can't see Brampton's young team continue the streak.
7. Peterborough Petes - Matt Puempel is huge for the Petes. Last season's rookie of the year will be one of the OHL's top scorers and prospects in 2011. Ryan Spooner, another one to watch out for in the scoring race. The team has had a shaky start, but with the young talent and skill this team could very well turn it around. I have faith in the Petes and to me, they just plain have a better team then any I am about to talk about in the next three spots.
8. Sudbury Wolves - The Wolves have an average team, John MacFarland is impressive, Marcus Folingo, and Mike Lomas have the ability to put up some numbers, but judging by their play this past weekend, the team just doesn't seem to have much secondary scoring. The Wolves are a pain to play against, but just don't have the offensive chemistry to do anything great this year, which is why they will stay around the mid-late mark in the rankings this season.
9. Belleville Bulls - Sure, they have some talent.. They're 1-3. Don't have as many games as Peterborough or Sudbury, face Barrie on Wednesday which could result in a win, but then they have London, Sarnia and Niagara, and to be direct, the Bulls just haven't done anything for me to prove they can legitimately compete in the top of the conference. Until I see something to prove me otherwise, they stick around the ladder half of the standings.
10. Barrie Colts - Not much to say here. Really.. This is a seriously damaged team. Lost their captain, star players, Head Coach and GM... They're rebuilding. They'll be 10 all year unless they make some big moves, but they don't have much to offer. 10 for sure.
- Jeff Blay
Newest contributor of the In the O Radio Show's blogging team, Vicky Grygar, talks about big name addition Steven Shipley as an IceDog, and why Owen Sound may not have been the right fit.
Following the trade of Andrew Shaw, Andrew Fritsch, and Matt Petgrave to the Owen Sound Attack in exchange for 18 year-old Steve Shipley, over-ager Jason Wilson, and picks, many Niagara fans were skeptical. Sending off a keynote player like Andrew Shaw is always difficult for fans and the team itself. Even more skepticism lay in the fact that what Niagara was receiving was yet to be deemed..."worthy" of such trade.
After the IceDogs home-opener vs. the Erie Otters, much of the initial uncertainty has been long forgotten. Contributing with a goal and assist, as well as time on the power play and penalty kill, Steven Shipley flourished in his debut as an IceDog.
Drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 NHL Draft (98th overall) to the Buffalo Sabres, the Ilderton, Ontario native earned the first star of the night, in addition to an overwhelming welcoming by Niagara fans. To add to his resume, Shipley won a world U-17 gold medal with Team Ontario in 2009, and represented the Owen Sound Attack at the CHL Top Prospects Game. This begs the question as to why there was any skepticism about this trade to begin with. How could this 6 foot 2 offensive power be overlooked? One could very well assume it must have something to do with his former hockey club. This isn't to say that Shipley was not a key contributor to the Attack, the forward tallied 23 goals and 40 assist last season ('09-10). The problem lies in the fact that Shipley may not have been utilized by the Attack in the best way. This ultimately leads to the issue of whether or not it is in the best interest of a player's development to remain on a team that fails to properly utilize its showcase players.
It was refreshing to see the IceDogs coaching staff relay the utmost confidence in this trade at the home-opener. Shipley was given ample amounts of ice time against the Otters, which is exactly what a player arriving to a new team requires. The first two periods were if anything an adjustment for the new center, but by the third Niagara got to experience Shipley engaged and playing with a comfortable rhythm.
It is pivotal for young, up-and-coming hockey players to be provided with confidence from the coaching staff. Niagara's display of commitment in their decision to pick up Shipley was evident during the home-opener, and it seems to have paid off judging by his level of play towards the end of the 3rd period. It will be interesting to see Shipley develop with a new organization - an organization that is self-assured and in no-doubt of this player's abilities.
In the O Radio, Blogger