Saturday, September 16, 2006

NTDP U18s--Too easy pickins' ?

Game three of the NAHL Showcase…more of the same. An 8-0 U18 blitz with all three BU recruits finding the net. Kevin Shattenkirk scored the game-winner while Colby Cohen and Colin Wilson scored 3rd period goals and both also tallied assists. The USA defensemen are being tutored during the tournament by former NHL standout Phil Housely.

The U18s' early blowouts support a U.S.Hockey Report opinion piece earlier this week contending that playing 17 games against NAHL teams doesn’t really benefit the players. Shooting fish in a barrel isn’t much of a challenge. USHR editor Chris Warner suggests the U18 players be spread across the teams in the USHL which has become the best feeder league for NCAA teams. He argues that playing a rugged USHL schedule with the challenge of earning playoff spots would be of greater value for even the best U18 players. In the early years of the NTDP program, the U18s did play against USHL teams. Might that scenario be revisited, allowing the U18s to remain together as a team following their U17 season, so that they can be well-prepared for international tournaments, including the World U18s?


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