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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Niagara Ice Dogs vs Kitchener Rangers

Last night i bypassed my Friday night Knights game and proceeded to the Kitchener Auditorium where there were 4 legitimate first round picks playing with a 5th one on the outside ready to look in. Those would be Ryan Strome, Dougie Hamilton, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Murphy with Tobias Rieder looking to move up.

The game was a lot closer than the 4-1 score indicated (empty net goal) with special teams playing the major role. 5 0n 5 was basically a wash.

Of the four, Landeskog produced offensively with 2 goals and 1 assist and was a plus 2. His linemate, Jason Akeson scored once and added 3 assists. Landeskog was again solid all over the ice, but it wasn't his best game of the season.

Tobias Reider was quiet all night and other than a couple of nice assaults going to the net was virtually invisible.

Dougie Hamilton didn't impress last night either.He went pointless and a couple of noticeable mistakes left him a minus 1 on the night while on two other occasions his goaltender had to bail him out. While i still consider him a legitimate first round pick, some have him climbing, but i have him dropping slightly. He hasn't played his best in the last couple of games I've seen him.

The interesting battle was between the OHL's leading scorer Ryan Strome and the guy people still say can't play defense, Ryan Murphy. Right from the opening faceoff, Murphy was on the ice every time Strome was on the ice, many times just shadowing him. There were times that Murphy would just go out to his blue line and just stand in front of Strome.

Strome did however assist on Niagara's lone goal on the power play and finished the night minus 1 but was otherwise unnoticed most of the night. Murphy also only had 1 assist, also on the power play and finished the night a plus 1. He was his usual self rushing the puck up the ice and making unbelievable tape to tape break out passes.

I remember watching an all star defenseman named Ray Bourque eat up minutes during a game. I don't think there was anyone in the game that could pace himself on the ice like Bourque did. Enter Ryan Murphy. The Rangers were on the powerplay when a minute into it they took another penalty to go down 2 men. Murphy had been on the ice the whole powerplay to that time. He assisted on the Rangers PP goal and stayed on for the remainder of the powerplay.

That shift lasted an amazing 3:17 seconds and if it wasn't for Ice Dogs goalie Mark Visentin, Murphy would have had a couple of more points there. He finally went to the bench but when Ryan Strome came over the bench 20 seconds later, Murphy was out there again for another 1:23. He's worked hard on his defense this season and has a willingness to learn. And after shutting down Strome last night, shift for shift, I'm convinced he can play defense with the best of them.


  1. Dom we know you love don't have to keep putting down Hamilton to improve Murphy's chances. A team will either be picking a two way shut down defensemen like Hamilton (6'4") or an offensive defenseman under 6' like Murphy. You aren't comparing like players.
    Was Murphy on against Strome et al. when that line made it look like a 5 on 4?

  2. First off, Murphy was on against Strome shift for shift, 5 on 5 and on the PK.

    Secondly, about Hamilton, I still think Hamilton is a first round pick, but in the last few games i've seen him, he has not shown the ability he was highly touted for, especially on his defence. Will he correct it? I hope so.

    the point is that some people knock Hamilton's offence, and IMO he's right where he should be, even maybe a little higher. I'm impressed by it, while he gets praise for his outstanding defensive work, which has been a problem in the last 2 weeks.

    For Murphy it's the exact opposite. While he gets praised for his offensive work, he gets unfairly criticized for his defensive work. Even after the game against Niagara i read at least 10 reporsts still knocking his defensive game. And when you shut down the OHL's leading scorer (at the time) you must be doing something right.

    I was at that game with a scout from the Tampa Bay Lightning and his words were "I can't understand what everyone's talking about when it comes to his defence."

    I'm not trying to knock Hamilton to improve Murphy's status, just calling it as i see it. You might actually be surprised when my rankings come out for the end of October. You may even be in shock that i don't have Murphy at number 1.

  3. Aren't you Orr over Gretzky on the HFBoards site?

  4. Yes. And i hope that doesn't impact anything in a negative manner.