Permit me to describe how the Prince Albert Raiders played in this game by using several tiresome, annoying, and overused clichés. The Raiders played a "good road game " by "keeping it simple" and “working hard for 60 minutes”. The story of this game, however, was the play of the home team -- the Regina Pats. Despite having a decent first period, the game was tied 0-0 after one. The second period was controlled by the Raiders. Although the Pats out shot the Raiders in the third period, the game never really seemed in doubt. The Regina squad looks confused, discouraged, and lacking in confidence. It makes one wonder what kind of team they have. Maybe their solid play at the beginning of the year was an aberration. Maybe their play of late is more indicative of their talent level. What do I think? To me, the Regina team has a talent level similar to a team like Swift Current. No better, no worse. Am I right? Who knows. I have been wrong many times in the past and sooner or later the results speak for themselves.
In this game I focused on Prince Albert Raider defenseman Ryan Button.
Ryan Button (Prince Albert Raiders, #36 CSB)
Ryan skating style is a little bit hard to describe. His overall skating ability is above average, and when he accelerates he generates good leg extension and speed. I would describe Ryan as a mobile defenseman who appears "light on his feet” -- in other words he moves quickly and fluidly to his advantage. In terms of his offensive skill level, Ryan is somewhat limited. Although he moves the puck quickly, efficiently, and accurately he does not demonstrate much in terms of overall imagination and creativity. I would not describe Ryan as a power-play type defenseman. With respect to his play in the defensive zone he does, for the most part, maintained good positioning. I would say that he needs to work on his upper body strength, as he appeared to get outmuscled in a couple of one-on-one situations. He uses quickness and hockey sense to win battles for the puck and to break up ways. I was struck by how well he reads the play, and his overall anticipation level is very high. He used this skill in this game to break up several plays and intercept passes in the neutral zone. Ryan is not a physical player, but he does not shy away from traffic. It is difficult to evaluate his leadership and character without knowing him or interviewing his coaches and/or teammates. One thing I can say is that he is an alternate captain -- which you do not see often in a player in his draft year. I really like Ryan's overall skill level and believe that he has the potential to improve over time. To me, Ryan will merit draft consideration in the second or third round of the 2009 entry draft.