Prospect Park: Three Prospects Remain Alive

In News, Prospect Park by Jess Rubenstein

Sean Day (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

After one of the worst possible weeks for those in junior hockey, the Ranger’s still have three prospects playing in their respective league playoffs. Of the three, Sean Day and his Kingston Frontenacs advance to the OHL Eastern Conference finals. Tim Gettinger and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are 3-2 in their series. Brett Howden and Moose Jaw face possible elimination on Saturday.

Sean Day did not score but his Kingston Frontenacs held off the Barrie Colts 2-1 in game six. The win gave the Frontenacs a 4-2 series win and their first appearance in the OHL Eastern Conference finals since 1993.

Day has, for the most part, played well during the playoffs going 3-6-9 in 11 games. He is also a +7 as he has done a good job limiting his defensive mistakes. Still, we want more from Day who in our eyes have a superior talent that has yet to fully emerge.

The Frontenacs will have a very tough test in the Hamilton Bulldogs in their hope of a shot at an OHL championship. If the player we believe Day is emerges then Kingston has a very good chance of winning.

Tim Gettinger (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Tim Gettinger and his Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are discovering that the OHL Playoffs are much harder to win. The regular season champions at one point found themselves down in the series 2-1 before winning the last two games.

Friday night saw the Greyhounds play a not-so-pretty effort before earning a 4-1 win over Owen Sound to take a 3-2 series lead. Tim Gettinger was scoreless on two shots with a +1 and a minor for holding.

Gettinger has also not played a bad game as he is 2-10-12 in nine games but his contributions have come in other areas. The 6’6 Gettinger is 16-9 on faceoffs and was a part of a penalty kill that was 1 for eight on Friday.

The Greyhounds look to finish off Owen Sound on Sunday in Owen Sound. Win and they advance to the OHL’s Western Conference finals.

Brett Howden (Moose Jaw Warriors)

Captain Brett Howden and his Moose Jaw Warriors find themselves facing an elimination game on Saturday. That is because the Warriors were shut out 2-0 by the Swift Current Broncos in game five. The WHL regular season champions have struggled in the playoffs for the second straight series.

Howden very quietly has been the best of the Ranger prospects during the playoffs. Forget that Howden is a career-best 6-7-13 in 12 games. Howden has stepped up when the Warriors have needed him the most.

In game four which went to triple overtime, Howden was 30-29 in faceoffs, no player on either team came close to taking the 59 faces like Howden did. So far Howden has won 56% of his faceoffs in the 12 games taking 375 of them (31.25 a game).

If you want to find out who the future first-line center for the Rangers is, look no further his name is Brett Howden. Oh and expect him to also be one of the team leaders if not team captain too.

The Week That Hurt

Humboldt Broncos

Next season when you watch the Rangers, take a look to see how they got to Broadway. Somewhere along the way, you will find that it involved a bus ride or two. So while you are wondering why so many players, teams and even reporters are making a big deal about this, it is because we all know it could be us as one of the victims.

Did I know any of the Humboldt Broncos who lost their lives in the bus accident? No, not directly but out here for those of us who cover junior hockey, everyone knows someone who did. My friends are hurting as am I.

The bus accident is never spoken along but it is always in the back of our minds. At the games, I always find myself spending time with the drivers. They know the players better than anyone realizes.

This past season, the Vancouver Giants driver passed 600 trips with the team. On a night when Ty Ronning was the best player, he gave the driver the team championship belt instead of himself.

Most of you do not realize that those players on the ice for the Rangers spent a lot of time on a bus. If anything it has been a miracle that up to last week there had not been as bad an accident as there was.

Mackenzie Skapski (Orlando Solar Bears)

Former Ranger Mackenzie Skapski tweeted how the accident brought back bad memories. When Skapski was 15 he was badly injured in a bus accident. Skapski among his many injuries suffered a blood clot near the brain.

If one wants to take any solace in this was that the hockey world has rallied around the Broncos and Humboldt to help them. So many good things have happened since the accident from raising over 10 million for the victims to the bonding that has gone on in the hockey world.

And still those kids have gotten back on those buses again to play hockey.

That is most likely what the Humboldt Broncos would have wanted.

For everyone to keep playing hockey.