Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Philly Pushing Pressure

It is clear from the tone in the title-linked article that the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers have grown impatient with their second overall draft pick and UNH sophomore, James van Riemsdyk.

Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren, apparently used to getting his way, seems to be in the midst of a snow-fort tantrum saying that van Riemsdyk's World Junior Championship performance was "just OK."

After last season Holmgren had attempted, unsuccessfully, to persuade James away from the Blue and White and now seems willing to discredit his future player's performance on the international stage out of spite. These disparaging remarks being made about a performance that resulted in van Riemsdyk being ranked second in US Junior Team points and goals to arguably one of the best American born hockey players, Jeremy Roenick, while playing in two fewer games.

While I understand criticism of his game and how he appears on the ice - how can you argue with his best in the nation point production? And the fact that up until the Maine game he led all UNH forwards in plus-minus? All the while, he doesn't have any synergistic line combinations, like Krog and Haydar or Gare and Hemingway or Saviano and Collins, either here at UNH or at the World Juniors as good as the guys playing alongside him are in their own right. He still gets it done. I know everyone wants to see him run away from the rest of college hockey and set records - I do! I bet he would like to! But the fact of the matter is that is not what happens. Look at Dany Heatley. He was also a number two overall pick and played for the University of Wisconsin. He had 56 and 57 points in his two years respectively and was roundly criticized (while playing with fellow NHL'er Steven Reinprecht who had 66 points during Dany's freshman season). He came into the NHL and scored 67 points in 82 games right out of college. By which time he was 21, turning 22. James is still 19. He can't even legally drink alcohol. But like Heatley, James too has nearly double the points of his nearest teammate in his sophomore year. He is also on pace for 50+ points and picking it up lately. These are not coincidences.

All I can say to Mr. Holmgren is, good things come to those who wait.

James, we would gladly have you back for another year!

In the meantime, Nation, be sure to catch this hometown article on James.

Go 'Cats!


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