Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thoughts on Mississauga from January 15

Tonight, the battle of the QEW continued, as the Niagara Ice Dogs and Mississauga St. Mike's Majors clashed for the 5th time this season. The Majors had won the previous 4 decisions, but the Dogs finally came out on top tonight, with a 2-1 victory. Niagara got great goaltending from the newly acquired Jeremy Smith, and the game winner from overager Patrick Lee.

Here are my thoughts on a few Majors from tonights game...

Casey Cizikas - NHL Draft Eligible in 2009

No doubt that Cizikas has to be disappointed with his low ranking (132) in the recently released midterm rankings of the NHL's CSB. And I would be to if I was him. I don't think he belongs that low. But then again, I'm a fan of the kid. He played well tonight. He shows good speed driving toward the net, he works hard in the corners and on the penalty kill, and at times he even shows some creativity with the puck in creating chances for his teammates. I'd be really, really surprised if at the end of the season, he ends up going that low in the NHL draft.

Kaspars Daugavins - Drafted by Ottawa in 2006/91
It was refreshing to see Daugavins playing with a high effort level tonight. He was recently demoted by the Senators after starting the season with their AHL affiliate in Binghampton. It would have been easy for Kaspars to be incredibly upset by the demotion and for it to show in his game, but he looked determined to show everyone his heart is with this team. He was the Majors best forward, buzzing around the ice and creating scoring opportunities nearly everytime he was on the ice. He was happy to have the puck on his stick, but he wasn't selfish and picked his spots well in putting the puck on net versus setting up his linemates. He hasn't really put up a lot of points since his demotion, but I think it is more to due with the fact that Dave Cameron is still looking for the right linemates for Kaspars. Or at least that is how I'd explain why he was being used as a winger for nearly every line tonight. He's a good player, and he needs to continue to get his confidence back. I think eventually he'll be a fine pro hockey player.

Corey Bureau - NHL Draft Eligible in 2009

Bureau looks to be a hard working, up and down winger. He showed a lot of effort and was a factor at both ends of the ice. He worked hard on the forecheck and did a good job coming away with the puck from the corners. He's increased his offensive output the last two months, with 11 points in his last 12 games. He's someone to watch in the second half of the season, as he gains more confidence in his offensive game, in this his first full season in the OHL.

Cameron Gaunce - Drafted in 2008 by Colorado/50th

Gaunce is just a solid all around defender. He runs the point on the powerplay and brings a calming presence to the ice. He makes the right decisions with the puck (although did get his pocket picked on a rare occasion tonight), and he isn't afraid to take the body. I think his skating has improved this season and it's been one of the main reasons his offensive numbers have increased as he's more comfortable in joining the rush. I think he's going to make a solid pro defenseman, and could get a serious look for Team Canada at next year's WJC's.

J.P. Anderson - NHL Draft Eligible in 2010

Fresh off of backstopping Team Ontario to gold at the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge, Anderson was solid tonight. He's not a big goalie, but he challenges shooters and has the speed and agility to make acrobatic saves. He needs to work on a few fundamental things, such as rebound control, but for a 1992 born goaltender, he's been quite the success this season. He definitely has a bright future ahead of him.

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