Friday, May 4, 2012

The Hit: Mitch Moroz - Power Forward Target

Milan Lucic is known for "the Shift" (a good read here). It put him on the map and it defined him as a player. Mitch Moroz may have had a moment like that last night in the WHL final versus the Portland Winter Hawks. Moroz blew up Ty Rattie and sent him to the dressing room for the night, likely longer. The loss of Rattie could be crippling to the Winter Hawks, though they are a deep team. Moroz is a player I hope the Oilers use a pick on in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

"The Shift" (YouTube):

If anyone doubted that, they only needed to watch The Shift, where Lucic blew the roof off the Coliseum and essentially won the Memorial Cup in less than a minute. The Giants, who'd lost the Western League title two weeks earlier to Medicine Hat in double overtime in the seventh game of the finals, knew they needed a jump-start.

"It was the biggest game of our lives," says Lucic. "We'd talked about it, that we had to do something early. I just came off the bench and the timing was right."

In rapid succession, Lucic bowled over Matt Lowry, Jakub Rumpel, and Trevor Glass, and fought Jordan Bendfeld and the Giants went on to win.

Enter Much Moroz "The Hit":
Moroz set up Martin Gernat’s goal with a hard drive to the net around likely first-round draft pick defenceman Derrick Pouliot, then he knocked the WHL’s leading playoff point-producer Ty Rattie out of the game with a ripping shoulder block.  
Random check. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. You’ve got a guy standing there watching you. Two bottles of water and a couple of gatorades and it didn’t help at all,” said the sheepish Moroz, who didn’t come out to meet the media until half an hour after the game ended.
Rattie, who weighs 173 pounds to Moroz’s 208, sailed through the air with his neck and head bouncing off the boards. He lay on the ice for a couple of minutes before being helped to the dressing room. There may have been some malice in the hit, but it wasn’t dirty.
“He had lots of speed and I just tried to finish my check on him. I feel bad. I hope he’s OK. All the best to him,” said Moroz, who wasn’t targetting Rattie, the St. Louis Blues’ first-round pick in last June’s draft. “It could have been anybody. It just happened to be their top guy.”
The Winterhawks came after him, trying for a pound of flesh after the hit, but Moroz, who could be a second-round draft pick this June, shrugged it off.
Moroz is a beauty of a power forward prospect. Still raw in many ways, but comparable to Milan Lucic in many ways. The Oilers would be silly to pass him over in the draft.  In his first full WHL season the 6-2 and 208 lbs LW had 16 goals and 25 points with 131 PIM's.  He's followed it up with a neat 4 goals and 7 points in 14 games, with 20 PIM's.  His comparable Milan Lucic in his draft year had 9 goals and 19 points with 149 PIM's in the regular season and 3 goals and 7 points in 18 playoff games with 23 PIM's. 

By the way, he likes to fight:

More in the Power Forward Target Series:

Power Forward Target: Chris Stewart

Power Forward Target: Brandon Dubinsky 

(correction: Dubinsky is stated to be 232 lbs, he is 212 lbs)

Power Forward Target: Ryane Clowe

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A forum poster since 2000, Jay is the Moderator of the Edmonton Oilers forum the Motley Crude. A proud member of the Oilers Army. He also contributes to his blog Oilers Republic and to theOilogosphere. You can follow him on twitter ( Also, an Oilers blogger at Sportsnet Fan Fuel.

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