I had a chance to see Stars prospect Curtis McKenzie in action today as the Miami Redhawks faced off against the University of Windsor Lancers in exhibition play. I don't know if many of you are as familiar with McKenzie as his Miami teammate and Stars prospect Reilly Smith. McKenzie didn't attend this year's Dev Camp. NCAA players have to pay their own way - not sure if that was the reason why he wasn't there or not though.
I've heard he had some offensive upside in juniors and today was the first game I finally saw today what our scouts must have seen in him in 2009. He scored a goal and was a +2. McKenzie played on a line with freshmen Blake Coleman and Tyler Biggs. You might be familiar with Coleman, who is from Plano, TX. They were definitely the energy line of the game. We need to see more offensive upside from McKenzie with the loss of Miele and Camper.
McKenzie's an emotional player and the Windsor guys were baiting him the whole game. Although, I will say that McKenzie showed great composure when a Lancer punched him in the cage when he was on the bench. The hit went uncalled by the officials. I can only imagine the fun Steve Ott could have baiting McKenzie if they ever meet up on the ice. Hopefully he will continue to work on his composure.
Biggs, the Cincinnati native and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, had some amazing opportunities and couldn't bury them. He's got good size and is nasty but he needs some work on his shot.
I was disappointed when I didn't see Reilly Smith out on the ice for warmups. Then after the first 10 minutes of the game, I was glad Reilly wasn't out there against the Lancers - they are a nasty, dirty team, especially #6, Ryan Green. No sense in Reilly getting hurt by stupidity in an exhibition game. But I do have to give props to Windsors two goalies - they faced 50+ shots and only let in 4 goals.
Sorry to be so long with this. I'll try to get back up for another regular season game soon so I can give you guys an update on Reilly's development too.