Saturday night was very much not for the faint of heart as New York Islander and New York Rangers prospects tried to make sure they kept their seasons going. It is March and now the question is just how bad you want to keep playing this season?
We know that you want the NHL contract but what we the people who will be watching you, buying those tickets to see you, buying that merchandise with your name on it and arguing over you with our friends and fans of other teams want to know; how bad do you want it?
Anyone can say they have a dream of becoming an NHL player but very few get that chance to even make that dream possible. This season we have covered on a regular basis 24 prospects of both teams combined.
From this point forward the number of prospects will start to shrink as playoff rounds progress players will see their season come to an end and most will not have a happy ending to their season. This may sound all corny and full of clichés but it is reality not everybody gets to win and even fewer get to play in the National Hockey League.
Saturday night we give the Islander prospects the credit because several of them stood out. It is not that the Ranger prospects play badly on Saturday night but none really stood out like you'll see a couple of the Islander prospects did.
We are not in training camp anymore, now just like the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders are sitting now to decide which of the prospects they want to sign we too should want to see the players earn with their play not their draft status that NHL contract.
The New York Ranger prospect report can be found here
Islander's First Star Ryan Strome
With just 7 games remaining in the OHL's regular season and already assured of a playoff spot, Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st)
and his Niagara IceDogs are wanting to send some messages out to the rest of the OHL. The first one was "the road to the OHL title is going though them" after they just tore apart the Belleville Bulls 10-3.
The other message that Strome and his teammates sent was that they learned from the painful lessons of last season when they were eliminated in the OHL's Eastern Conference Finals. The IceDogs could not solve the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors defense especially Ryan Strome.
Against the Bulls, Strome had a four-point night showing off his playmaking skills as he had all assists; two primary and two secondary. Strome was the game's third star but here's something else to think about as Strome was also a +3.
Strome was on the ice for 6 of the Niagara goals (and on the ice for one goal against) and unlike last season when Mississauga had a chokehold defense; there isn't a defense like that this season in the OHL.
For Strome this was his third four-point game of the season and take away injuries and playing for Team Canada that Ryan Strome has registered points in 39 out of the 44 games he's played it.
While putting up a 23-35-58 season that Strome has yet to go 2 games in a row without scoring. That is just flat out textbook consistency that you want from your prized prospects.
As for the rest of the Islander report you can find that right here
Stick Tap to Clarkson and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Now unless you are a super diehard fan of hockey then it is a very good possibility that you have no idea who these two schools are. Clarkson is where New York Islander 2010 seventh round pick Cody Rosen plays for and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private school that specializes in research.
Both are members of the ECAC and are facing each other in the first round of the ECAC playoffs. Neither school has a realistic chance at even making the NCAA tournament but don't tell them that because that's not stopping them from putting on one hell of a game.
In a game played in front of a whole 1965 fans they were treated to a triple overtime contest.
Clarkson having been upset in game one of the series could not afford to lose while Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was looking to advance to the second round of the ECAC playoffs. The two teams on the playing 113:48 before Clarkson scored to force a deciding game three Sunday evening.
We know people love those outdoor games that are played in front of 50-60,000 fans but sometimes these little old barns can put on quite a show. For us that is hockey played in its purest form.
(Ryan Strome - Aaron Bell of OHL images, New York Ranger logo courtesy New York Rangers)