Sunday, November 26, 2006

What's Wrong With Thomas Hickey?

At this point of the scouting season, I expected Thomas Hickey to be moving up my list. But instead he's moving down after two viewings I've had the last 3 weeks.

Two things look bad right now: 1) Something's definitely off with his skating. 2) He's just not rushing the puck like he did before.

While updating my rosters this week, I noticed Central measured Hickey at 190 lbs this fall. Last September he was 177 lbs. That might be clue #1 on why his skating has regressed. He definitely lacks some quickness and overall speed versus the 2005-06 version of Thomas Hickey.

As for his lack of puck-rushing - perhaps that's also a symptom of the skating. But he's passing up chances to carry the puck that he didn't before. Looks like a conscious effort to play better defence. Memo to Thomas: being a 5-10 stay at home defenceman is not your ticket to the show.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Kyle Turris Show

It's the sort of performance amateur hockey players dream about: dozens, perhaps even a 100 or more NHL scouts in attendance, and you ring up four goals and a couple of posts.

That's what Burnaby's Kyle Turris did here in Yorkton last night, in Canada West's opening game against Russia at the World Junior A Challenge. It's one of those rare moments that sometimes occur in the scouting business - a player does more to help himself in one single night than he probably will the rest of the season.

Look for Turris to be on the rise in the rankings, "with a bullet".

This is also a good opportunity to clear up a misconception that I often hear about games that have a large number of scouts in attendance. Often, that sends the fans and media abuzz with wonderment - "I wonder who they are all here to see?" - but it's not really who is playing, as who isn't playing that causes this.

If you see a big group of scouts at one game, take a look at that night's schedule for the rest of the league. Odds are, you'll see it's a sparse night for games in that particular league. Scouts try to work 7 days a week (or, if you're in Ontario, 9 days a week) when they can, and if there's only one or just a handful of games on a Thursday night, that's where the scouts will go. Prospects or not.

And that's part of the reason why last night's game in Yorkton was so well attended. It was the double-whammy of 1) the beginning of an important international tournament, and 2) the only game going on out on the prairies on a Monday night.

So Mr. Turris picked a good night to score four goals.