Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Corey Perry and the Knight Riders

Life is just ducky for Corey Perry (Anaheim's 1st rounder in 2003) and the record-breaking London Knights this season.

In a recent 9-1 thrashing of the Erie Otters, Perry set the team record for most career points by a London Knight with 380. This puts the young Ducks prospect ahead of such notable NHL stars such as Brian Bradley, Dino Ciccarelli, and Jason Allison.

Currently, Corey Perry leads the OHL with 130 points (47+83) in 59 games. He'll have a few more games to pad his record. As a 20 year-old next season, Perry will most surely be in the AHL with the Ducks affiliate (or possibly the NHL).

Despite the record-breaking OHL career, I know Corey Perry is not without his critics. Reading some of the juvenile comments over at hfboards.com, you would think Perry will turn out to be the next Scott Kelman. (Remember him?)

If I were a Ducks fan, I'd be happy to have him as a prospect. He's an offensive dynamo and has a rare sense of offensive flair from a prospect.

The Hockey News Top Prospects Issue ranked Perry as the 18th best prospect in hockey and 3rd on the surprisingly deep Ducks prospect roster (Behind Getzlaf at #8 and Smid at #17). From THN's report:

"Uncertain to make Canada's junior team when the season began, Perry wound up playing on the top line and impressed everyone with his scoring prowess.

While the knock on the projected OHL scoring champ has been his skating, Perry has improved to the point it's no longer a big issue. He still needs to gain strength, but his magical ability to score and make plays gives him potential to reach NHL stardom."
Of course, you shouldn't mention Perry's record breaking season without mentioning the same of his London Knights team.

As of today, the London Knights are a deadly-sick 58-5-2-0!!! That's the kind of record you get from one of my video game Dream Teams...yikes!! This season also includes a 31-game unbeaten streak from the Knights and a .908 winning percentage.

Who else makes the Knights so good?

1. Defense - Coach Dale Hunter, one of the nastiest 2-way centers in NHL history, has the Knights playing a choking defensive system the way his old Washington Capitals used to do regularily (How else did a weak Jim Carey win a Vezina?). The Knights have let in just 115 goals in 65 games. The next best OHL team defensively is Mississauga with 166 - A difference of 41 goals in 15 games!

2. The Supporting Cast: The London Knights' roster doesn't strike me with the same awe as some of those old Kamloops Blazers teams, but they still have quite a few legit NHL prospects.
a. Dan Fritsche - former NHLer (feels weird to say that), USA WJC member, and Columbus BlueJackets 2nd rounder.
b. Danny Syvret - The undrafted defenseman was a solid 2-way presence for Canada's WJC team and will definitely find himself a hot commodity the next time the NHL holds an entry draft.
c. Robbie Schremp - The maligned Edmonton Oilers 1st rounder and USA WJC player is the Knights 2nd line center. Like Perry, Schremp is often panned by critics for what he can't do, rather than for the monster offensively potential that he does have.
d. David Bolland - Blackhawks 2nd rounder from 2004 is the Knights 4th leading scoring and has 84 points in 64 games! Most teams would like one player to get those totals these days.
e. Brandon Prust - Flames 3rd rounder from 2004 is more of a checking player on this deep team and still has 30 points and 166 PIM's in 45 games.

With Sidney Crosby and the Rimouski Oceanic on their own unbeaten tear (25 games), we may be seeing a potential Memorial Cup showdown in the works.

That, of course, is no foregone conclusion as the OHL and QMJHL playoffs may prove to show us a few surprises.


Extraleague Playoffs Update:

Just one game in Czechia yesterday, with Hame Zlin advancing in 6 games thanks to 4-3 overtime win over Litvinov.

Jan Caloun, after 26 goals in 24 regular season games, was held to just 1 goal in this 6 game series. Zlin's elite goaltending and defense showed a few cracks, but did manage to stop Litvinov's biggest weapon.

Zlin got a balanced effort from its stars, with non NHLer Ondrej Vesely as the unlikely hero with 5 goals and 2 assists in 6 games. My boy Jaroslav Balastik had 2 goals and 3 assists and 22 PIM in the series while Martin Erat led the NHL charge with 3 goals and 2 assists in the series.

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