The theme for Capitals Farm Report for the week of March 8-14: In The Books
We have arrived at the end of the regular seasons for the Major Junior and Elitserien leagues, and we are pleased to report that each of the Caps' prospects will be seeing postseason play. We will take a short look back at the final numbers and a quick look ahead as the first round postseason matchups have been announced.
Marcus Johansson, Farjestads FBK (Swedish Elitserien)
Farjestads BK had a relatively disappointing week, with one win, one tie, and one loss to a far inferior opponent to finish out their season. This meant they finished in fifth place in the SEL - still in the playoffs, but with fewer home games. The SEL held its annual playoff selection show on national TV on Sunday. Of the eight playoff contenders, the top three get to select their first-round playoff opponent from the bottom five. The final two teams not selected play each other, with the higher-seeded team having home-ice advantage. I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that the three top teams chose the three bottom teams, leaving #4 Skelleftea and #5 Farjestads as dance partners for Round One. The Ferries hold a 3 games to 2 advantage this season, with both losses in the second half of the season. Their playoff series begins on Torsdag (Thursday).
Mackan got two goals this week to finish the regular season in an ever-so-balanced Swedish way. His final totals:
In 42 games he had 10 goals, 10 assists, 20 points, 10 PIM and a plus/minus of even.
Cody Eakin, Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
The Broncos dug down deep and clawed their way from eighth to seventh place in the Eastern Conference to earn a playoff date with the Brandon Wheat Kings. They won big against the Prince Albert Raiders to clinch eighth place and a playoff berth, then won a home-and-away series with 7th place Moose Jaw by two shootouts to push Moose Jaw into eighth place and a date with the Calgary Hitmen. But here's how close it was - the teams entered the last game tied with 71 standings points each. They finished regulation and OT tied 4-4. They went to a shootout. A ten round shootout. At the end of ten rounds, the Broncos left the ice with the two points and seventh place.
And First Star of the game with a goal and three assists? Take a bow, Cody.
Cody took lots of bows this weekend, as their last home game on Saturday was awards night.
Eakin skated away with Broncos Molson Player of the Year honours as the team MVP along with four other awards as the highlight to the 16 on-ice awards.
In earning the designation as team MVP, Eakin joins other notable Bronco Most Valuable Players including Joe Sakic, Jason Krywulak, and Sergei Varlamov.
"It’s special to be recognized for those prestigious awards. It’s an honour to be a part of that group of players that has been part of it."
Eakin, who is tenth in the Western Hockey League points race with 47 goals and 44 assists, had already wrapped up the team’s top scorer award. The talented 18-year-old also added the Coaches Award, the Fans Most Popular Award, plus grabbing top spot in the Three Star rankings.
"It was especially nice to do that in front of all the fans," Eakin said after receiving his awards during Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday. "Personally, I’ve worked hard over the season to better my game, and obviously it’s nice to get recognized and earn some accolades. But as I said, I’m not a big guy for awards and kinds of things like that. I like to continue improving my game and work hard and help contribute towards playoffs."
Cody's final regular season stats: in 70 games, 47-44-91, minus-8, 71 PIM
Their first playoff game is @ Brandon on Friday. And the team had to scramble for new home ice as their regular rink is unavailable due to
a Yanni concert the Women's World Curling Championships.
Dmitry Kugryshev, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
The Remparts had the easiest week, with only two home games and their first-seed playoff berth comfortably established. They beat the Rimouski Oceanic 5-2, and then pounded the Baie-Comeau Drakkar eight goals to none in front of nearly 13,000 fans. Dmitry was held off the scoresheet for the first game, but grabbed one goal, three assists, and First Star of the Game for the second game.
Of course, the big news of the week for Kuger was the three year entry level contract he signed with the Capitals on March 9. He gave a short interview to Le Journal de Quebec:
Kugryshev had a big smile after practice.
"It's the dream of all players in the world to play in the NHL. Yes, the Russian players can play in the Kontinental League, but the NHL is still the best league in the world. It's a great day in my life. It's like a birthday, I receive many calls from Russia." No sign of life from his friends Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin yet? "They are probably not yet aware."
As for the playoffs, the Remparts square off against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Thursday. I was skeptical of the Remparts playoff success, but I looked at the Q playoff brackets and I think the Remparts may have a shot - the four teams that finished ahead of them are all playing on the other side of the brackets. Which means Quebec is alone as the top seed on their side of the brackets and if they buckle down, they *could* play through to the finals while St John and Moncton and Victoriaville and Drummondville beat each others' brains in.
Dmitry finished the 2009-2010 regular season 29-58-87, plus-19, 52 PIM in 66 GP
Stefan Della Rovere, Barrie Colts (OHL)
SDR and Alex Pietrangelo chillaxin' back at the billet. (photo courtesy The Barrie Examiner)
Stefan Della Rovere, Alex Pietrangelo, Kyle Clifford, and Zac Rinaldo all got Friday night off as healthy scratches for the Barrie Colts as the team prepares to shift gears for the OHL playoffs. After a truly remarkable and historic regular season, the Colts are aiming higher.
Today, let's celebrate a show of success that will go down in history as one of the most undeniable, undisputed, top-notch regular seasons a team has put forth in the history of the grand old Ontario Hockey League.
We're talking about the Barrie Colts, who ended the 68-game portion of the season on Saturday the same way they opened it, followed it up and followed it through: with a win. Give the Colts 57 wins on the season, 116 points and the best points total the league has witnessed save for the London Knights and their stellar 59-win, 120-point campaign in 2004-05.
"When they go out and work hard for you every night -- and there's nights when I'm giving them heck and they're not happy -- but they keep working for each other and for this organization ...," the coach said. "I think we're all very, very proud of what this team's done."
"It's just an unbelievable feeling," heart-and-soul captain Stefan Della Rovere said. "I don't think anybody expected us to be breaking franchise records and to become the second-best team in the entire history of the OHL."
Knowing this would be their shot-at-it season, the Colts loaded up from the get-go, bolstered the lineup with the likes of Luke Pither and Bryan Cameron before acquiring workhorse defenceman T.J. Brodie and Nick Crawford, then Matt Kennedy, all-world defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, goalie Mavric Parks and toughguy Zac Rinaldo. Those moves surely tipped the balance.
But stacked or not, opponents don't mail in wins and the Colts had to earn it.
"Having that target on our backs definitely made us a better team," said Kennedy, a Horseshoe Valley native who joined the team down the stretch after four seasons in Guelph. "There's not one team in the league that showed up and gave a half-hearted effort against us, so it's forced us to get better."
And with so many superstars swirling about, it forced each player to buy into the various systems, despite the significance of the role, in order to make it work.
"Everyone came out one game at a time and just had fun with it," said Della Rovere, a fourth-year Colt. "Whether it was just doing the grind work or putting the puck to the net, I think everyone filled their roles to perfection."
And the playoffs is always where the real fun begins.
"What we've done up until this point in the season is obviously a great accomplishment for us and we're really happy with what we've done," Kennedy said. "But starting (Thursday), it doesn't matter what we've done so far. It's a new season."
For those keeping track, the Colts, who'll enter the postseason ranked first in the Canadian Hockey League, are in good company. That 2004-05 Knights team won the Memorial Cup, as did last year's regular-season champion Windsor Spitfires, who finished with 115 points.
Captain Delly finished the 2009-2010 regular season as follows: 18-23-41, plus-19, 125 PIM in 57 games. The Colts take on the Sudbury Wolves at home on Thursday.
Don't surprised if a couple of Stingray scouts show up at the next Japers' pickup game. The team's a little banged up right now.