After attending last nights Kitchener Rangers / Erie Otters game i had to post a couple of observations.
First, Gabriel Landeskog. The Rangers had a 2-0 lead before the Otters scored to cut the lead in half. The Rangers had a few bad shifts after that and were being outshot and seemed to not be able to get out of their own zone. Then something i've never seen before happened. Gabe stood up behind the players on the bench and walked down the bench giving each player not on the ice a pat on the back and words of encouragement. Talk about leadership.
When Rangers defenseman Jonathan Jasper was hit from behind into the boards (I expect a league review on the hit) It was Landeskog who was the first Ranger to go after the Otter. It's not the first time that he's come to the aide of his teammates but this guy is quickly becoming a natural born leader.
He is showing great chemestry playing with Tobias Rieder and Micheal Catenacci. Gabe now has 5 goals and 2 assists while Rieder has 2 goals and 5 assists, both tied on the club for second in points.
As for Murphy, he is quickly quieting skeptics. With a goal and 4 assists and a plus 6 last night, he now leads the league with 3G, 6A and 9 PTS in only 3 games played. He made some unbelievable passes, slap passes, stretch passes, rushes up the ice, you name it, he did it.
The most amazing stat for Murphy though is that, through 3 games, he has yet to be on the ice for any type of goal against, whether its 5 on 5, powerplay or shorthanded goals against. And the knock on him last year was his defensive play. Teams just cannot dump the puck in when he is on the ice because you just cant beat him to it. He gets it and he's gone up ice or passes it out of the zone, and almost always right on the tape of a teammates stick.
The two are on their way to being top 10 picks in the NHL entry draft come June. And you can add Rieder to the list of top 20.