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May 26, 2007

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Jess, have you seen this guy play?

Nick Petrecki

Defenseman
Clifton Park (NY)

Ht: 6-foot-3
Wt: 215 lbs
Age: 17
Country: United States
Team: Omaha (USHL)
Shoots Left
Draft: 2007

Commentary by McKeen's Hockey Prospects
04/12/2007 - Great skater with an upright but powerful stride that gives him an exceptional top gear and first step .. possesses soft hands and a long reach .. is rough when receiving the puck as his in-close coordination is awkward .. puck movement has come along nicely, as he now makes a heads-up first pass .. uses the glass and boards well when there are no open options .. distributes the puck adequately on the point and will likely be on the second powerplay unit in the NHL, as he also possesses a canonizing shot .. aggressive with or without the puck .. possesses a bone-rattling slapshot that is much more accurate now than it was early in the year .. possesses a quickly released snapshot that also carries good velocity .. guilty of the odd miscue while moving the puck on the point, as he can force a pass or shot into the oppositions legs .. vision is okay, as he can stretch the ice at times with a home run pass but can also struggle to find open lanes .. decision making with the puck is fine but he still makes a few questionable ones without it .. is caught up the ice to often .. will be caught out of position near his crease, as he gets to aggressive and skates too much in his own zone .. possesses freakish strength, as he is like a brick wall out there and will be huge when he plays in the NHL, as his frame is capable of adding another 15-25 pounds .. possesses the nastiest mean streak in the draft, but will take it too far with an undisciplined penalty, especially after the whistle .. nearly unbeatable in one-on-one situations, as once he locks on his man it is over .. neutralizes his man every time and often in the most physical way possible .. great one-on-one coverage down low and along the boards .. uses his long reach well and is unbeatable off the rush because of his fine gap control and superb mobility.

03/04/2007 - Throwback defenseman in the mold of Scott Stevens has tremendous lower and upper body strength that allows him to land devastatingly powerful checks .. finishes his man every time with vigor even after the whistle .. excellent at protecting his goalie and clearing the crease .. is short-tempered and may have the nastiest mean streak among the 2007 NHL Draft class .. uses tremendous lateral speed to close the gap on his man and rub him out along the boards with a stiff check .. stands his man up inside the blueline and has a knack for the big open-ice hit .. maintains a tight gap with his man and does a good job using his long reach to poke the puck away .. pressures the puckcarrier and does a good job limiting the opponent's options .. great skater for a big man as he possesses a powerful stride with exceptional backward and lateral mobility .. pivots effortlessly .. offensive game has greatly improved this season .. sees the ice much better lately and is making a great first pass .. decision-making has improved ten fold and did not turn the puck over once this weekend .. hands are supple and he can perform some trickery at times .. starting to show some offensive creativity in joining the rush and pinching in at appropriate times .. doing a fine job rushing the puck up the ice proactively .. passes the puck harder than most NHL'ers and putting them on the mark .. shot accuracy has vastly improved having full control without losing any velocity .. release has quickened .. holds the zone well but is not a natural power play QB .. wears the "A" as a 17-year-old and is a natural leader who communicates well .. a top-15 candidate and a defenseman you can build around.

Jess, what about this guy??

Indecisive seldom is a word used to describe Tommy Cross, one of the premier interscholastic prospects in New England.

A native of Simsbury, Conn., who commencing this season will play for Westminster School in the Founders League, Cross had some difficult decisions to make in recent months. Decisions that could (would?) have a profound effect on his life and his career. Yet he did so after serious thought instead of, oh, after flipping a coin.

Cross, who in mid-November played for the U.S. National Under-18 Team at the Four Nations Cup in Sweden, was invited to the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. But Cross was adamant about not wanting to make a seven-month commitment, which would have required him to live with a family in that area, and attend an Ann Arbor high school.

In short, he would have been outside the comfort zone that is the area in which he's climbed to the top of the interscholastic ladder. But by trying out for and making the U-18 team, he received a third dose of international competition which should hold him in good stead.

"Tommy knows Westminster very well and has good friends here," said coach Tom Earl. "Even though he went to the National Camp and did very well, he saw he had the skills necessary to play at a higher level and felt the next step, academically and athletically, was for him to go to Westminster."

And Cross, like more and more young men, knew where he wanted to attend college and that he didn't want to play juniors (even though he was the fifth pick by the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets). He made his decision so as to avoid the recruiting wars that can become a, oh, pain in the neck.

"I grew up watching the Beanpot and the Frozen Four and not the Memorial Cup," Cross said upon his return from Sweden. "The first and second Mondays in February always were marked on my calendar. I always watched the Beanpot and always was a BC fan growing up. It always was my team.

"I always went to college hockey games (because) that was the focus around here. I went to Yale games and have an uncle who had tickets to BC and BU (games). When it came time to make a decision, it was (Boston College) all the way."

With the college decision behind him, Cross’s first season at Westminster is now on top of his list of priorities – whereas the 2007 NHL Entry Draft might as well be on the far side of the moon.

"That's down the road," said Cross. "You don't focus on things that are ahead of you but take it step by step. You get better game by game and practice by practice. Stuff like the draft will come. I'm thinking more about my team (at Westminster)."

Just like Founders League teams may want to think about Cross, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound defenseman who as a sophomore at Simsbury High was voted Connecticut's Player of the Year.

"Tommy has a well-developed skill set," said Earl. "He sees the ice very well. He's a strong, explosive-type skater who has good hands and can make a play out of our zone well. Not only is he big but he's very physically strong. He's one of the strongest kids we've had. That makes him an explosive skater.

"He's also quick and fast. That combination has been recognized by the national program and the NHL."

It also was recognized by everyone who saw Cross play for his father, also named Tom, in the Simsbury Youth Hockey Association and at Simsbury High. And the two never fell into the potholes that can engulf a father-son arrangement.

"When I got to high school there weren't any problems," said Cross the younger. "I talked with my dad once or twice and it wasn't a father-son thing. It was pretty business like … it wasn't so much his being a coach but being able to talk hockey all the time and learn from him.

"In youth hockey and in high school, there was none of the 'coach's son is getting too much ice time.' It was a great relationship."

Sorry Lenny I have not seen either player in action as I don't spend a lot of time on the USHL.

However I do know the folks who run McKeens very well and happen to have a lot of respect for their work mainly because they are the only group who truly can say that they are 100% unbiased when they rate someone.

Sorry Lenny I have not seen either player in action as I don't spend a lot of time on the USHL.

However I do know the folks who run McKeens very well and happen to have a lot of respect for their work mainly because they are the only group who truly can say that they are 100% unbiased when they rate someone.

If they like someone then I tend to give that player more of a thumbs up than any other site.

Maybe some of my softball buddies in Clifton Park know of him.

One of our players played one game in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens in the late 60's. In fact, was on the bench when Green and Maki had that stick fight. He never got on the ice as the Canadiens had him up just to observe the game.

I thought with the death of the NYT board my aphritzin days were behind me . . .

Just wanted to share a video on this 17yr old Kyle Turris. He is a center and is projected to be a top 3 pick in the draft. I am not superstitious but check out in the middle of the video when he is at the bench with his number 19 next to number 94. Maybe it is a sign we should get this kid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKbELICwoF4

Medicine Hat lost. Sucks.

Hopefully they won't have to, but the Rangers may have to trade up a little to get Petrecki...I'm no draft expert, but apparently he could go anywhere from 5-25, depending on team needs (#21 of NA skaters in Central Scouting?, but #14 on ISS)...apparently the kid likes the Rangers, attending BC this fall...makes too much sense to draft this kid, but that is when I get worried...can never go wrong with big, mean physical defensemen who skate well...

maybe we could take a pick of a team that wants Montoya, plenty of teams above Rangers that need goalies...would it be possible in one deal to swap our #17 with a pick from #6-#12 AND trade Montoya in exchange for another prospect?? in other words, Rangers get higher pick and prospect (or a lower draft pick) in exchange for Montoya and our #17...

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