It’s a great day in Canuck land. Not only do we have the re-signing of Bo Horvat, but we also have some honest to goodness live hockey action to talk about! As most are aware by reading the heading, the 2017 Young Stars hockey tournament is underway.
The Battle of Alberta is an iconic hockey rivalry. Even the kids participating in this event are aware of the legendary Edmonton/Calgary rivalry, even if they weren’t alive to see the most recent playoff series between these 2 teams (it was 1992).
Chad Butcher: My choice for Intiguing Oiler Invite lived up to my expectation in game 1 with 2 goals and an assist. He was everywhere on the ice, generating offense and preventing offense with his speed game.
Rasmus Andersson: The Flames defenseman started out by taking a couple of penalties, but turned his overall performance around by playing a well rounded game. He rushed the puck, took the body, and maintained a visible presence at all times.
Ryan Mantha: Big defensemen who can shoot, pass, be physical, play sound in their own end and move the puck out of their own end efficiently are worth a fortune! Mantha showed tonight that all of these things are within his capabilities. It may be a one-of, or it may be a development in his game. Either way he looked like a great piece for the Oilers tonight.
Ziyat Paigan: Fans have been waiting to see what this big Russian could do, and honestly it was bad. He was not physically dominent, nor was he reliable with the puck (on several ocassions he made high risk passes through the blue paint.
Tyler Parsons: This is a hard one, at times Parsons was outstanding, but then there were moments where he looked very much average. The reality is that the Oilers found his weakness: shots high on the blocker side. Of the 4 goals given up by Parsons, 3 of them were blocker side. This is a real opportunity for development for the young American!
Brock Boeser: He wasn’t dynamite on the scoreboard tonight, but his presence was felt in all 3 zones. He made several great passes to team mates, back checked hard, and even rang a lethal wrister off of the post. Boeser looked like the most skilled player in the tournament on day one. Once he pots a goal or two, this will confirm my assertion.
Mikhail Berdin: Any time a goaltender faces 38 shots and only gives up 3 goals, he is deserving of a high mark. If Berdin was not the netminder tonight, this game would have been encroaching on a double-digit deficit. The Russian netminder stoned Brock Boeser and Jakob Stukel on separate breakaways.
The Second Period: The 1st Period was action packed, the 3rd period had some sustained pressure, the second period had a lack of team work and cohesion. The entire period felt disjointed and not very entertaining to watch.
Griffen Molino: For someone who drove the puck out of the defensive end as much as Molino did, you would not expect to see him on ‘The Bad’ list. Molino would have had more success if he were to have moved the puck to team mates quicker and not just circle the net until he ran out of room and was forced to try to make a play that was not there. Often this is the result of playing top minutes on a team with less talent. With any luck, the video crew will be able to show Molino some different times to deliver the puck to open team mates.
Hit on Jalen Chatfield: Kody McDonald left his feet and made contact with Chatfield’s head which left Chatfield in duress. Although Chatfield was able to return in the second period, McDonald was shown the exit. The hit resulted in a 5 minute powerplay which led to the Canucks’ 3rd goal of the night (incidentally, the eventual game winner).
Goaltender Puck Handling: Berdin took a penalty for playing the puck outside of the trapezoid, and Demko had Schneider-esque moments with the biscuit. The big fellas should have just played the puck less, it would have resulted in lower blood pressure for the coaches and fans alike!