Published on October 23, 2012
With stud rearguard Paul‚ÄąPostma on the injured list to start the St.‚ÄąJohn‚Äôs IceCaps 2012-13 season, second-year defenceman Zach Redmond (above) has been able to make the best of his extra ice time as he leads the team in scoring with a pair of power play markers. ‚ÄĒ Telegram file photo
Published on October 23, 2012
Mark Dekanich made 37 stops in his only start to date this season, a 3-2 win over the Connecticut Whale last week. Dekanich will start tonight against the Portland‚ÄąPirates. ‚ÄĒ Photo courtesy of Chris Rutsch/Connecticut Whale
Sophomore blueliner has filled in nicely in Paul‚ÄąPostma‚Äôs absence
Zach Redmond no longer is a pleasant surprise.
Oh yes, there is much that is pleasing about his play. It‚Äôs the surprise part that‚Äôs obsolete.
No longer is he the seventh-round pick, 184th overall who turned pro last season out of Ferris State University, going from unheralded draft choice to a ‚ÄėWhat have we got here?‚Äô prospect within the Winnipeg Jets‚Äô organization.
He‚Äôs a top-three defenceman on the St. John‚Äôs IceCaps, one who‚Äôs featured on the team‚Äôs power-play and now a legitimate candidate to some day play in the NHL.
Through the IceCaps‚Äô first four games this fall and heading to a mid-week series tonight and Wednesday against the visiting Portland Pirates, Redmond has been assigned duties normally assigned to Paul Postma and his howitzer shot. With a hamstring injury keeping Postma from making his 2012-13 debut for St. John‚Äôs (and it‚Äôs not likely to happen in tonight‚Äôs game), Redmond‚Äôs gun has been the one that‚Äôs often first loaded by his teammates, especially on the power play.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs where (Postma) played ... last year,‚ÄĚ said Redmond of his new role. ‚ÄúSo yeah, it‚Äôs nice to get some shots because last year, I was more of a distributor.
‚ÄúWhen (Postma) gets back, we‚Äôll see what happens, but either way, it works out if we score.‚ÄĚ
Redmond has two goals this season, both on the power play. He leads the team with 18 shots on goal, his skating and puck-carrying are impressive and he sports a plus-two rating on a team that‚Äôs given up one more goal (12) than it‚Äôs scored through four games.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre seeing a defenceman who‚Äôs really making some solid strides on the development side,‚ÄĚ said IceCaps‚Äô head coach Keith McCambridge. ‚ÄúLast year, he was really strong for is. He did have a period where his game fell a bit, but a strong back end (to the season).
‚ÄúThis year, you can sense his confidence with the puck, reading playings, (knowing) when to join the rush, when to skate pucks out of trouble. I really like the way Zach Redmond‚Äôs game is right now.
‚ÄúWe always talk about (guys coming out of college) getting worn down (by their first pro schedule), but now, we‚Äôre seeing a guy who has trained hard all summer and is realizing his opportunity.‚ÄĚ
The IceCaps (2-2) are coming off a split of their first two home games, beating the Adirondack Phantoms 2-1 Friday, before falling to the Phantoms 4-3 on Saturday. Redmond says the team needs to break that win one-lose one habit that was so prevalent in 2011-12.
‚ÄúWe need to figure it out,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúWe did this whole .500 thing last year and we need to learn it‚Äôs not a matter of being satisfied (with one win).
‚ÄúWe have the veterans and the leadership, so it‚Äôs not something to get freaked out about, but we do need to learn how to play with as much, if not more, intensity in that second game. We need to .. do it right away.‚ÄĚ
St. John‚Äôs forward Ryan Schnell, who hasn‚Äôt played a game yet because of concussion-like syndromes, practised Monday, but there really are no changes in the numbers on the IceCaps‚Äô infirmary list.
After Saturday‚Äôs loss, it was reported here that Aaron Gagnon sat out the game to satisfy the AHL‚Äôs veteran rules, allowing Derek Whitmore to draw into the lineup. But McCambridge says Gagnon was actually hurt in the third period of Friday‚Äôs 2-1 home-opening win.
He joins Postma, Patrice Cormier, Ray Sawada and Carl Klingberg as key players from last year‚Äôs playoff run who didn‚Äôt play Saturday and aren‚Äôt expected to play tonight (7:30 p.m., Rogers Television, CJYQ 930AM/Steele radio-online network)
Jason Jaffray will play Wednesday against the Pirates, which will be his official action since spinal fusion surgery in April. The St. John‚Äôs captain also practised Monday and looked ‚Äúreally good‚ÄĚ according to the coach. Nevertheless, McCambridge said he will not pencil in Jaffray tonight even if he somehow was needed to fill out a lineup.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôll play short before Jason Jaffray goes in before the projected date,‚ÄĚ said McCambridge, who later explained he doesn‚Äôt want to test the veteran forward with back-to-back games on his return from inactivity.
Mark Dekanich will gets start in goal tonight for St. John‚Äôs, his first at Mile One Centre. Dekanich was outstanding in his lone appearance for the IceCaps to date, making 37 saves in a 3-2 win over the Connecticut Whale on Oct. 14.
Eddie Pasquale started both games against the Phantoms. He was the first star in Friday‚Äôs win and was mostly solid in Saturday‚Äôs loss, save for what turned out to be the winning goal when Brayden Schenn‚Äôs seemingly innocuous-looking shot somehow sneaked past him in the third period.
‚ÄúOther than that last goal, which he probably would like to have back, Eddie was outstanding for us,‚ÄĚ said McCambridge, suggesting the switch to Dekanich had everything to do with the IceCaps‚Äô busy schedule ‚ÄĒ they‚Äôre in the midst of a six games-in-nine days home stand.
IceCaps‚Äô centre Eric O‚ÄôDell is not taking a crash course in Russian.
Against the Phantoms, O‚ÄôDell looked good playing between Russian wingers Alexander Burmistrov and Ivan Telegin, part of which seemed to result from good communication among the three.
‚ÄúNot in Russian, we all speak English out there,‚ÄĚ said Burmistrov, who turned 21 on Sunday..
‚ÄúI think we have a pretty good line. All three guys are pretty skilled, but the main thing is to be hard-working guys.‚ÄĚ
St. John‚Äôs native and future AHL Hall of Famer John Slaney is back for a second year as the Pirates‚Äô assistant coach on Ray Edwards‚Äô staff. And former St. John‚Äôs Maple Leaf netminder and local fan favourite Mike Minard has returned as Portland‚Äôs goaltending/video coach ... Portland‚Äôs leading scorer through three games is AHL veteran Chris Conner (4G, 2A), followed by defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who has five points. Ekman-Larsson, the sixth overall pick in the 2011 Entry Draft, played a full 82-game schedule with the parent Phoenix Coyotes (13G, 19A in 2011-12), but has been assigned to the Pirates during the NHL lockout ... Portland‚Äôs roster includes a number of notable graduates from the junior ranks: goalie Mark Visentin and defenceman Brandon Gormley, both members of Canadian world junior entries, and centre Brendan Shinnimin, who led the Western Hockey League in scoring last season with 134 points, including 58 goals, for the Tri-City Americans. The difference? Gormley and Visentin were first-round picks of the Pirates, while the 5-foot-10 Shinnimin was undrafted. In fact, he wasn‚Äôt even drafted into the WHL, making Tri-City on a tryout ... The Pirates won‚Äôt play their first game in Portland until Nov. 2, when the host the IceCaps. That‚Äôs because of renovations to upgrade the 35-year-old Cumberland Country Civic Centre. The Pirates do have two home games on their October schedule, but in Lewiston, Me. The Adroscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston will host a total of six Pirates‚Äô home games this season ... Oklahoma City Barons‚Äô defenceman Justin Schultz is the latest CCM/AHL player of the week after scoring three goals, adding an assist and registering a plus-6 rating in two games. The University of Wisconsin product was a Hobey Baker finalist last season and the subject of intense interest as a free agent before signing with the Edmonton Oilers ...
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