Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Everybody Loves Ryan Suter, Brian Rafalski, & (again) Tom Gilbert

I seem to have a bit of a theme going lately, with everybody loving Derek Stepan and Tom Gilbert, and now Ryan Suter and Brian Rafalski. But hey, I like it, don't you?
  • Burnside (ESPN): Another Suter, another 'Miracle'?
    "He's certainly on track to be one of the best defensemen in the NHL," suggested David Poile, assistant GM of the U.S. Olympic team and the man who drafted Suter into the Nashville Predators organization.
  • Levin (Nashville Predators): One-one-one with GM David Poile

    NP.com: Ryan Suter was one of the 34 players at the Orientation. What are Suter’s chances to make the final Olympic roster? Has he helped his chances at any of the USA Hockey events this summer?

    Poile: I think Ryan’s chances are really good. He came on strong last year for the Predators; had his best season and improved in every facet of the game. The fact that he played for the United States in the World Championships this spring under Brian Burke, myself, Ron Wilson, who is the head coach. Brian and Ron got a good chance to see him day-to-day and I think they are very comfortable with Ryan. As long as he continues to perform at the level he did last year, hopefully a bit better, I think his chances are excellent to make the Olympic team.
  • Detroit Free Press: Rafalski could be option as USA captain
    Bill Beacon of the Canadian Press staff broke down the top candidates, and the Red Wings' Brian Rafalski (Dearborn) is on that list. The Canadian Press called him a top puck-moving defenseman and potential captain.
    Beacon's picks on D:
    Rafalski, Rob Scuderi, Los Angeles; Paul Martin, New Jersey; Ryan Suter, Nashville; Erik Johnson, St. Louis; Mike Komisarek, Toronto; Brooks Orpik, Pittsburgh and Tom Gilbert, Edmonton.
  • Kurtenbach (Chicago Blackhawks Examiner): Call Me Kotter

    His picks for defensive pairings and 7th defenseman
    Erik Johnson
    Jack Johnson
    This Johnson line will be the back bone of USA hockey for many year. Both players have great offensive upside. For EJ, camp is his first real hockey action since the unfortunate (not for Blackhawks fans) drunk in a golf cart incident. If he regains form, he's likely to lead power play unit.

    Mike Komisarek
    Brian Rafalski
    The big hitters. Both are rock solid in their own zone, and Komisarek do what is nesessary in the attacking zone. Rafalski, like the Johnsons will be a dependable powerplay force for the US.

    Ryan Whitney
    Rob Scuderi
    I like Whitney to make the team because of his powerplay prowess as well. While Scuderi brings the toughness factor to the team.

    Scratch- Tom Gilbert
    Most have never head of Tom Gilbert, but this Edmonton Oiler is a beast and will make a name for himself with team USA.
  • Canadian Press (NHL.com): A look at which players should make the US Olympic Hockey Team
    Brian Rafalski, defence, Detroit: A top puck-moving defenceman and potential captain.

    Ryan Suter, defence, Nashville: Gifted young player with U.S. Olympic bloodlines.

    Tom Gilbert, defence, Edmonton: Strong puck-moving blue-liner.
  • Kreiser (NHL.com): Brodeur, Lidstrom led the NHL's over-35 club
    SECOND TEAM

    Defense

    Brian Rafalski, Detroit Red Wings
    Age: 35
    Rafalski went home in the summer of 2007, signing with the Red Wings after seven seasons (and two Stanley Cups) in New Jersey -- and put up the two best offensive seasons of his career while helping the Wings win the Cup in 2008 and get to Game 7 of the Final last season. His 49 assists and 59 points were both career-highs, and he teamed with Lidstrom to make the Red Wings' power play the best in the NHL. Like Lidstrom, he's smart, a good skater and hard to hit, meaning that he should have several more productive NHL seasons.