Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Let's Meet the Guys in The Caps System Still Playing Hockey

Ladies and Gentlemen here's your South Carolina Stingrays:


#2 Patrick McNiel; Date of Birth: 03/17/1987, Height: 6' 0", Weight: 195 lbs, Shoots: L Resides: Strathroy, ONT Biography: McNeill made his professional debut in 2007-08 after playing the last four years with the Saginaw Spirit in the OHL, where he accumulated 53 goals and 129 assists for 182 points in 249 career junior contests. He was the Capitals’ 4th round selection (118th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He led all OHL blueliners with 77 points during the 2005-06 campaign and was a 2nd Team All-Star. McNiel served as Saginaw’s captain during the 2006-07 season, and was the 1st overall pick in the 2003 OHL Priority Selection Draft. In Hershey this year, the 21 year old McNiel played 48 games, had 1 goal and 13 assists and 16 penalty minutes. In the 5 ECHL playoff games he's competed in this year, McNiel has 2 assists, is -3 and has 4 penalty minutes.

#6 Sean Collins; Date of Birth: 10/30/1983, Height: 6' 1" , Weight: 212 lbs, Shoots: R Hometown: Troy, MI Collins played four seasons at Ohio State University before signing with the Capitals in 2007. The 25 year old made his professional debut in South Carolina this year and played 31 regular season games and had 1 goal, 13 assists was +/- +7 and had 16 penalty minutes. So far in the 2008 ECHL playoffs, Collins has played all 15 games and has 1 goal, 8 assists, is +4 and has 18 penalty minutes.

#44 Sasha Pokulok; Shoots: R Height: 6-5 Weight: 230; Birthdate: 1986-05-25 Birthplace: Vaudreuil-Dorion, PQ. This towering 22 year old defenseman enjoyed a stellar freshman year with the Cornell Big Red in 2004 - 2005 that culminated with a selection to the ECACHL All-Rookie Team. In 2005-06, Pokulok was a member of the 2006 Canadian WJC team. He turned pro in 2006-07 after two years at Cornell. He suffered a concussion in the first game of the season with the Hershey Bears. He returned in January and was reassigned to the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays. He suffered another concussion after playing about a month. Pokulok’s use of his size, matched with his good stick-handling ability, made him one of the best defensive prospects in the Capitals' system before the injuries. If Pokulok had stayed healthy throughout the 2006-07 season it would be very likely that he would be contending for a job in the NHL. But now, a good season will just mean staying healthy throughout the rest of the ECHL playoffs and turning in some decent numbers and games. So far he's played 14 of 15 games and has 5 assists, is +/- +4 and has 12 penalty minutes.


#27 Center, Travis Morin, Shoots: L Height: 6-2 Weight: 195 Birthdate: 1984-01-09 Birthplace: Brooklyn Park, MN. Morin played 2002-03 season with the USHL’s Chicago Steel. He had 47 points (21 goals, 26 assists) in 60 games played. His 47 points ranked him third on the team in scoring and his 26 assists ranked him second on the team in that category. Then in 2003-04: Morin completed his NCAA Freshman season at Minnesota State University-Mankato; and he had 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 38 games played. His 21 points ranked him fourth on the team in scoring. He turned pro at the end of senior season (2006 - 2007) and joined the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays roster. The 24 year old center is a tenacious competitor whose play along the boards is quite good. He is defensively responsible and plays very well in one-on-one situations. His great puckhandling and passing skills enable him to play the point in power-play situations. He possesses a good, quick release as well. Morin is a decent skater, but it is one area that could use some improvement. During the 2007-08 Regular Season with the South Carolina Stingrays, he played 68 games scored 34 goals and had 50 assists, a +/- +16, and 30 penalty minutes. He made the 2007 - 2008 ECHL All Star Team. So far in the ECHL playoffs, Morin has played 15 games and has scored 10 goals, has 5 assists, is -5 and has 16 penalty minutes.

#7 Right Wing Andrew Gordon. Shoots: Right Height: 5'11" Weight: 180 lbs Birthdate: 12/13/1985 Birthplace: Halifax, Nova Scotia. Selected by the Washington Capitals in the seventh round, 197th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, this 22 year old right wing made his professional debut this year after completing his junior season at Saint Cloud State last year. During the 2007-2008 season Gordon played 58 games with the AHL Hershey Bears and 11 regular season games with the Stingrays. During his 58 games in Hershey, he scored 16 goals and had 32 assists and 39 penalty minutes. During his 11 games in South Carolina, he scored 8 goals and had 6 assists and 6 penalty minutes. Gordon plays the game with loads of energy and intensity who seems to always be around the puck. He has an excellent scoring touch combined with great hockey sense and awareness that makes him a difficult player to defend against. Gordon has a keen sense of knowing where the play is going and often times is able to put himself in great scoring position. He is relentless in his puck pursuit and is a fierce competitor. He doesn’t shy away from getting physical to win the battles for pucks or space on the ice. Gordon skates with speed and has good acceleration. He possesses a great wrist shot and gets his shots off very quickly. So far during the 2008 ECHL playoffs Gordon has played 4 games, has 1 goal and 1 assist and is +/- +2.

#18 Right Wing Steve Pinizzotto Shoots: Right Height: 6-1 Weight: 195 lbs Birthdate: 1984-04-26; Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario. He was acquired/signed as an Unrestricted Free Agent in 2007; prior to turning pro Pinizzotto played two seasons at Rochester Institute of Technology. During the 2007 - 2008 regular season he played 40 games for South Carolina in the ECHL and 23 games for Hershey. He has split his playing time between playing Right Wing and playing Center. In his 40 games with the Stingrays this season, he scored 15 goals, had 17 assists, was +9 and spent 58 minutes in the "sin bin." During his 23 regular season games in Hershey, Pinizzotto had 4 assists and 12 penalty minutes. Pinizzotto’s game combines great offensive ability and some grit. He can set-up and finish plays. Where Pinizzotto is particularly dangerous is around the net. He can often be found making things happen around the net. He is also quite strong along the boards and in the corners. Pinizzotto is a tough competitor and won’t shy away from the physical aspects of the game. He moves the puck extremely well and possesses nice passing skills. Pinizzotto has a strong shot with a quick release. He's played 5 games has 1 goal, is -1 and has 12 penalty minutes.

#19 Right Wing Stephen Werner Shoots: Right Height: 6-0 Weight: 195 lbs Birthdate: 1984-08-08 Eligible for Draft: 2002 Hometown: Washington, D.C. This 23 year old "hometown hero" was drafted 83rd overall in 2003 Entry Draft by the Capitals. He played college hockey at UMass. Werner is a good two-way player with good playmaking and decision-making skills. He has a hard shot and is good through traffic. He could stand to be more physical. During the 2007 - 2008 season, he played 25 regular season games with South Carolina and scored 6 goals, 15 assists, was +/- +8 and had 24 penalty minutes. So far in the 2008 race to the Kelly Cup, Werner has played 14 games and has scored 5 goals, has 6 assists; is + 1 and has 4 penalty minutes.

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