Thursday, February 24, 2011

McIlrath Shows New York Rangers How To Defend Their Goaltender (Video)

There has been a lot of discussion this year about whether the New York Rangers should have taken offensive defenseman Cam Fowler instead of Dylan McIlrath with the 10th pick in 2010 NHL Entry Draft.  The lure of Fowler is understandable and even more intriguing with the second year struggles of Michael Del Zotto, but last night McIlrath showed why Rangers fans should be excited that Gordie Clark took him. For years there have been complaints about how we have no defensemen that stand up for their teammates or make opponents pay a price for taking runs at Henrik Lundqvist, and on this night McIlrath did both.  If he does this when he gets to New York, the current number 8 in Moose Jaw will be as beloved as Rangers number 8 Brandon Prust currently is.
While it happened at the end of the game we are going to start with McIlrath taking exception to his goalie Thomas Heemskerk getting run and it leading to a line brawl.  With less than two seconds left in the 3-0 Warriors win, Broncos forward Jordan Peddle ran Heemskerk and there was no hesitation from McIlrath to beat him for it. 
McIlrath likely has a suspension coming for getting an instigator penalty inside of the five-minute mark of the third period, but his Warriors are not going to stand for someone running their goalie.
Think the Rangers could use some of that mentality?  I certainly do.  Michael Sauer and Ryan McDonagh have added that to an extent this year, but it is still far too little and the statement is far too weak to make any opponents think twice about running their franchise netminder.  A statement like this could certainly change that.  Now I do not want McIlrath to be a Dale Purninton and feel he has to fight all the time, especially if he is supposed to be a top defender because his value is on the ice.  Now that I am on record with that, I have absolutely no problem if he drops them for a purpose and this certainly had one.
As I alluded to earlier, this was not his only “incident” on the evening.  McIlrath would get his night going early in the first period as Swift Current Broncos forward Andy Blanke was looking for someone to fight and looking to entice Dylan’s teammate to going, but he stepped in instead.  During the bout McIlrath destroyed Blanke with lefts early, then some rights before Blanke would land a couple good shots.

For more on this and everything else Rangers prospect related head over to The Prospect Park.