Under The Rock

By Steve Gandour

Separating The Men From The Boyes

One of the hardest decisions for any Coach to make throughout the year is who he will make his final cuts at camp. When is it time to keep that prospect with the team to start seeing NHL game time? Do you stunt his progress by rushing him? Do you stall his progress by coddling him?
Where does a players momentum and confidence come into consideration?

For the Leafs first Round Pick of 2000, these questions are quickly coming to the forefront. Brad is definitely making next September’s decisions harder here in May. With the biggest showcase for the CHL coming up very soon, and Boyes seemingly a lock to be there… he may just make the Leafs and the rest of the hockey world start asking if he is ready now.

Brad has shown an incredible offensive flare and hockey sense that baffles opposing coaches. With the Boyes – Pecker combination doubling the points per game rate of the next best forwards in Erie throughout the season, and the playoffs, you would think the opposition would be checking them into the ice. The fact is that the opposition night in and out has tried to put their best defensive lines against the Boyes line, and have had little to no success. Boyes is topping a goal a game in the playoffs this season, and seems to get stronger every game. His efforts in the World Juniors only added to his already superb resume.

To top everything off, Brad was acknowledged by the OHL reporters, fans, and owners (basically everyone that is involved in the games on a daily basis) for the second season in a row as the best in the league. He is the William Hanley Trophy recipient two years running as most sportsmanlike in the game as voted on by the OHL Coaches and GM’s. He is the Red Tilson Trophy Winner two years in a row as league MVP as voted on by the writers and broadcasters. The way the playoffs are going, he could be up for the Memorial Cup MVP as well as the OHL Playoffs MVP. During the annual coaches poll, Boyes was named the Smartest Player, Best Playmaker, Best Stickhandler, and Best on Face-Offs. Quite an impressive way to wrap up a career year. The only thing that might top it would be a Memorial Cup Championship.

The problem arises when you listen to the Leafs new Director of Amateur Scouting. Trapp admits the Leafs have often in the past rushed prospect too soon. He has made it clear it will not happen in his administration. That could spell a year or two of pro hockey on the Rock for the Leafs most honoured prospect. However, ultimately the cuts are made by current Leaf Coach and GM Pat Quinn. He will have the final say, and if Boyes plays in September like he is playing now, Quinn will have a hard time justifying sending the Leafs best young forward down. Especially if he makes the same mistake he has made these past two years and keeps the likes of Hoglund up in the young kids spot.


Miguel Delisle (F) – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Miguel was honoured in the annual OHL Coaches poll for the first time in his junior career.
Delisle was named Most Dangerous in Goal Area, Best Shot and Hardest Shot by the Coaches around the league.

Pierre Hedin (D) – MoDo (SWE)
Pierre continues to have a great World Championship for Sweden. He recorded his second goal of the tournament last night, to go with 2 assists in 7 games. More importantly, he has been one of the steadiest defensive defenseman as well.

Brad Boyes (F) – Erie Otters (OHL)
Brad is second in the OHL Playoffs in goals (22) and tied for first in points (41) in only 19 games. Brad and Cory Pecker have been the most dominant offensive force throughout these playoffs, and barring a complete comeback by Barrie (they did get one win last night), Boyes will showcase his talents at the Memorial Cup.

Kris Vernarsky (F) – Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Kris was named the Best Checker in the recent Coaches Poll in the OHL. This marks Kris’ first honour on the Coaches Yearly Poll.

Jay Harrison (D) – Brampton Battalion (OHL)
Jay was honoured in the OHL’s yearly Coaches Poll as being named Best Defensive Defenseman. Ironically, ex-Leaf prospect Jon Zion was the unanimous choice for best Offensive Defenseman.