Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ty Rattie Story & Ties to Allen, Baldwin at NHL Camp, Draft Schedule

 - Corbin Baldwin, who played in all 19 playoff games on the road to the CHL championship, is one of 36 players currently participating in the Minnesota Wild NHL development camp. The camp will focus on the development of the organization’s top young prospects in both on-ice and off-ice settings. Director of Player Development Brad Bombardir and Hockey Operations Advisor Andrew Brunette will lead the on-ice sessions along with Barry Karn and Andy Ness. The Wild’s coaching staff will also meet with the players and work with them off the ice. In addition, players will participate in daily strength and conditioning education sessions and receive nutritional instruction. A great opportunity for the 6' 5" 210 lb. defenseman. Congrats Corbin!

- The final draft of the 2013-2014 schedule is out for review. There might be a few tweaks before the final schedule is approved and made public but it won't be long before we get a look at the schedule. If the schedule is like those in the past there will be fewer home games early in the season while football is going on. It will also be interesting to see how Brampton fits into the schedule. I read that the most likely scenario when teams go to Brampton is they will play three games so I assume that means the Americans will make one trip to Brampton and the Beast will make one trip to Allen. With the CHL meetings scheduled for July 17-19 look for the final schedule to be released sometime the last ten days of July. The home opener the last two years has been the third week of October so that would be the best guess for this year. The home opener will be special this year as I assume the championship banner will be raised. Get your tickets early for that one.

- In talking to the Americans sales staff season ticket sales are going very well and there is always a spike when the schedule is released. If anyone has not renewed their season tickets from last year I would get it done before the schedule is released. And if you are thinking about becoming a season ticket holder you will get the best seat selection if you act before the schedule comes out. If you buy as few as five games you can be designated a season ticket holder which gets you extra perks. Call 972-912-1000 for details. And if you really want the first class treatment when you call for season tickets tell them you want to talk to Darryl "Booter" Bootland. I know two folks who got a call from Booter about about their season tickets and it was a pleasant and fun surprise. And by the way, they both bought season tickets.

- I know this is a stretch but things are really slow as far as new information goes related to the Americans. I found the article below written by Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on line edition which is about smaller players who do outstanding in the Western Hockey League as junior players but struggle making it to the NHL. Ty Rattie's junior scoring statistics speak for themselves. The connection to the Americans is the mention of Todd Robinson in the story and also Ty Rattie is from the same hometown as Aaron Dell (Airdrie, Alberta).  Anyway I found the story interesting and hope you do as well.

One of the most compelling issues on the board when the St. Louis Blues open training camp in September is what to make of the little right wing with all of the points by his name.
Rattie or not?
No player in the organization carries a more conflicted transcript than Ty Rattie. His numbers from the Western Hockey League cause salivary glands to work overtime. But they come with “buyer beware” qualifications.
Rattie, 20, was the Blues’ second-round pick in the 2011 draft, the 32nd player taken overall. He played four seasons at Portland in the WHL, and played pinball with the scoreboard.
In 269 games, Rattie had 151 goals and 197 assists for 348 points. He departed as the WHL’s all-time leader in playoff goals with 50 in 76 career games. He led the Winterhawks to the Memorial Cup finals last season and was named the MVP of the playoffs.
It’s exciting stuff, but it’s difficult to interpret.
Ken Hodge is a former part-owner, general manager and coach in Portland. He watched Rattie play throughout his WHL career, and he has seen a number of Winterhawks parlay sensational junior careers into successful NHL careers. Two of them recently competed for a Stanley Cup: Chicago’s Marian Hossa and Boston’s Andrew Ference.
Hodge knows the what happens in Portland sometimes stays in Portland. He recently told the Portland Tribune: “(Rattie’s) an excellent player. He had a great junior career. Sometimes junior careers are different from pro careers.
“You have to be careful in how you judge them. His numbers are great, and he would be one of the top juniors to ever play in Portland, as a goal-scorer especially.”
Remarkably, Rattie’s radical numbers place him only third on Portland’s career list. Todd Robinson played five seasons in Portland (1994-95 through 1998-99), scoring 145 goals and 325 assists for 470 points. Troy Mick played four seasons in Portland (1985-86 through 1988-89) for a line of 204-262-466.
Robinson is a small forward, 5 feet 8, 185 pounds. He played in the Central Hockey League as recently as last season. But for all of the glitzy WHL stats, he has never played a shift in the NHL. Likewise, Mick, 5-11, 193 pounds, never played in the NHL.
Rattie also is a bantam, generously listed as 5-11, 165 pounds in the media guide. Does his exciting junior performance hold weight in a bigger, faster NHL environment? Is Rattie ready or not?
“He’s going to get a very good look at training camp and he’s going to get a look with some of our better players,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. “It’s a big step from junior hockey to the NHL.
“He’s a talented goal-scorer and he’s scored at every level. He’ll get a look and if he’s ready to play, he’ll play.”
Rattie does not have blazing speed like the diminutive Andy McDonald possessed. He does not have an especially hard shot. But he has a knack and if he can add a bit more heft, he’s confident it will translate. Size matters, yes, but it’s also relative.
“I’ve been trying to put on some weight,” Rattie said while attending the Blues’ three-day orientation program this week. “I’ve been working out for a couple of weeks now and I’ve already put on five pounds, so I’m on the right track. I’d like to put on maybe another five pounds before training camp.
“Everyone’s working toward training camp and (competing ) for a roster spot, so I’m going to work hard and do whatever they want me to do. I eat everything I can; I’ll get there eventually.”
There is a fine line between chaos and creation, and Rattie does not want to cross it. The things that made him special during his junior career — savvy, quickness, vision — are not based on bulk. He dares not compromise wiliness for waist size.
“I think, when they tell me to get bigger, I don’t want to get too big,” said Rattie, who is from Airdrie, Alberta. “I don’t want to loose my shiftiness, or my speed, things like that. If I lose that, I’m going to get killed out there.
“Like I said, I want to put five more pounds on, nothing more. Smaller guys can play this game nowadays. If I stay shifty and quick, I’ll be fine.”
The Blues’ organization is a testimonial that small, shifty players can succeed. There have been a number of them in Blues history, from Camille Henry to Cliff Ronning to McDonald. And the current roster includes mighty mites like Vladimir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz.
The NHL is not necessarily a “go big or go home” league. Diminutive players can compete, they just have to possess exceptional attributes to compensate. Many consider Wayne Gretzky to be the best player in the history of the game. Gretzky was never the fastest on the ice, never had the hardest shot and was 185 pounds with a team of Clydesdales in his pocket.
Joel Edmundson was also in attendance at Blues orientation. A stout 6-4, 200 pounds, Edmundson was a second-round pick in the 2011 draft. He was a shut-down defenseman for Kamloops in the WHL last season and went head to head with Rattie a number of times.
“I was always up against his line, it was one of the top lines in the whole WHL,” Edmundson said. “He’s a good play-maker. ... He sees the ice really well and he just makes it look way too easy.
“Sometimes you won’t notice him and he comes out of the game with a couple of points. That’s the kind of player he is. He’s a setup man and a sniper. He was great on the power play. He knows his spots and he knows how to pick them.”
It’s hard to imagine the Blues have Rattie in their headlights right now. The current roster is crowded with one-way contracts for established occupants, at least two or three above what it will carry. Barring more trades, Rattie would have to force management’s hand with an amazing camp.
Then again, the Blues just traded their most skilled forward, David Perron, to Edmonton. And when they did, Armstrong suggested it opened a crack in the door.
“With Ty Rattie coming, and with Dmitrij Jaskin, we just felt this was the right time to try to create some space, for (Vladimir) Tarasenko and Schwartz for this year … but also understanding we believe in and we need Rattie. We are asking him to take the next step, also.”
One thing is certain, Rattie came to the right place. He was smitten by baseball growing up and played shortstop during his formative years before he had to choose between sports at age 15.
He got a taste of Baseball in St. Lou last week, attending a game at Busch Stadium and meeting some Cardinals during batting practice. It’s possible Rattie could have the best of both worlds this fall — playing for the Blues, watching October baseball in St. Louis.
“I’m a big baseball guy,” he said.
Big is good.

No comments:

Post a Comment