Monday, January 15, 2007
A Grab Bag of Notes
1. Central Scouting Services has released their mid-season rankings for eligible players for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. It is about halfway through most college, major junior, junior "A", and European leagues, so there are new rankings. Traditionally, the World Junior Championships has an effect on rankings. Up until last year's World Junior Championships, Phil Kessel was not just the consensus #1 overall pick but also potentially America's answer to Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. After the tournament, the consensus - and eventual - #1 pick was defenseman Erik Johnson, with Kessel no longer considered to be as good as Crosby or Ovechkin.
In either case, the top two skating prospects are Angelo Esposito and Alexei Cherepanov. While Esposito has made his mark only with the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Cherepanov was supposedly "the man" for Russia at the recent World Junior Championships. Time will soon tell which one of these two will emerge as the #1 overall pick. The 2007 draft may have another high draftee from New Jersey: James van Riemsdyk. The Middletown native even played a season at I believe Christian Brothers Academy before moving on to the United States National Team Developmental League. CSS listed him as the second best North American skater, I'll try keep an eye out here and there about where he can go in the draft.
2. Rich Chere's article in today's Star Ledger focuses on how the improved play of the New York Islanders has sparked new life into the Devils-Islanders rivalry. It's largely true, but we got a sour grapes watch:
Although the four clashes between the Atlantic Division rivals this season have produced some magnificent drama, Nolan is among those who believe the trapping, defensive-minded Devils play a style that is driving fans away.Funny how I always hear from other team's fans, beat writers, players (e.g. Brett Hull on NHL on NBC this recent Saturday slammed the Devils for "not crossing the red line" and stating "Brodeur only faces 20 shots a game anyway"), and personnel about the Devils being boring after the Devils win. I wonder if it's coincidence.
"I don't think it's very entertaining. It's like watching chess," Nolan said after Saturday night's loss to the Devils in overtime at Nassau Coliseum.
3. Joe Bechtel at 2 Man Advantage talks about Scott Gomez, complimenting him for his improved play. All things considered, Gomez is having a pretty good season. He was injured for a few games, and only in 11 games did he not register a point. Still, he has 35 points in 37 games: 8 goals and 27 assists. Given that he scored 33 goals last season, it's frustrating that Gomez seemingly lost the shot he discovered last season. That said, it's not as if he's a waste of space on the ice most of the time because of the lack of goal production.
4. Now for a personal note. I'm a graduate student at Rutgers University entering my final semester for my Master's Degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering. So what does this have to do with anything? Well, classes begin tomorrow so I may not be as forthcoming nor prompt with game previews, postgame reviews, and other things. In other words, I may be a bit more late or even miss a few games here or there on this blog. For example, I'll be in class tomorrow night (and on Tuesdays for the next 17 weeks or so) instead of watching the Devils (hopefully) pounding the snot out of the Rangers. Yeah, but I want to graduate so I put up with it and put a tape in the VCR. I'm not abandoning things here, I just feel it's appropriate to let you all know in advance.
5. Lastly, my Sitemeter shows me that at least 2,900 people visited In Lou We Trust with over 4,000 page views. Thanks to all of you who read this blog.