This week I will be sharing some notes on Division-I College games I have observed over the last few weeks. How could you not love college hockey and from an entertainment standpoint, itís an area of hockey that is underrated in the mainstream. Thereís always hype for the Under-20 tournament as well as the Memorial Cup, but those of you who donít watch the Frozen Four are doing yourselves a disservice. There are some very talented players in the NCAA, who exhibit higher physical maturity than you see from players in Junior, which results in everyone getting to watch a quality product on the ice.
Chris Kreider, Left Wing, New York Rangers (Boston College)
When you take a kid out of a U.S. high school, you typically expect to see a fair amount of rawness in their game because of the poor competition theyíre up against on a daily basis, the small number of games played and an overall bad hockey environment for a pro prospect. As long as the tools are there, if the prospect learns the game correctly, one can be optimistic about said prospect. In Kreiderís case the tools are there, and his skating and shot tools are both definite plusses. On more than one occasion I saw him breaking away into open ice to get off a shooting opportunity. Chris has also gotten stronger, one time after he let a shot go near the dot from the left circle, a defender about his size tried to check him but Kreider followed through with his shoulder and planted the guy on his rear-end. Kreiderís hockey sense though is still very off. His positioning at times was horrid, especially on the power play where he hung his teammates out to dry on missed cycles and he made some questionable decisions with the puck. As stated previously, rawness is typical with high school guys. Heís only 1.5 years removed and there have been subtle improvements, but the longer this goes without correction, the more I get concerned that this isnít just a high school thing.
Charlie Coyle, Right Wing, San Jose Sharks (Boston University)