BY: Gerry Cantlon, Special to Howlings
Training camp for the New York Rangers is just a few weeks away and that means things are getting busy in Blueshirt Country.
The coaching and scouting staff is gearing up for the Traverse City Prospect Tournament coming up on September 5th. The tournament runs through the 9th and will mark the fifth time the Rangers will participate. The late summer tournament enters it’s 15th go-round in the Northern Michigan city located near the Canadian border and will highlight players who are entering either their first or second season of pro hockey.
The Rangers join eight other teams. The host, given it’s in Michigan should be no surprise to anyone, is the Detroit Red Wings. Other teams participating include the St. Louis Blues, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and the winner of last year’s winner, the Buffalo Sabres.
Young players expected for the Rangers lineup are forwards Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, (both from Sweden), defensemen Conor Allen, Samuel Noreau and Tommy Hughes. Also up front will be the forwards Josh Nicholls and Michael St. Croix. Former Yale goalie and NCAA champ, Jeff Malcolm is expected to tend the net for the Blueshirts.
Wolf Pack Training Camp Slated To Begin September 23rd
One player who won’t be in the Hartford lineup this coming season is winger Brandon Segal. The forward, who tallied 24 goals (44 points) signed a one year, two way deal with the Washington Capitals. Segal will likely play with the Hershey Bears who have a solid roster and will be an early favorite for AHL Calder Cup champion.
Also on the move is Nick Palmieri. The right-winger will take his skates overseas to Germany DEL league and play for EHC Munich.
The long awaited regular season schedule came out last Thursday.
The Wolf Pack (version 2.0) will make their regular season and home debut against the Norfolk Admirals, top farm team of the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday October 5th a 7pm. After having spent the past two and half years under the Connecticut Whale moniker, will hit the ice with the name that was synonymous with Hartford AHL hockey.
Opening weekend at the XL Center for the Wolf Pack will also feature a visit from the New Jersey Devils’ farm team, the Albany Devils, the following afternoon at 3pm.
The Wolf Pack will not play on New Years Eve for perhaps the first time in the team’s 17-year history. The Wolf Pack have rare back-to-back games in Springfield the first weekend in November. Sadly, there are no new opponents on the schedule. Hartford will not play any games with Abbotsford, Binghamton, Charlotte, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Hamilton Iowa, Lake Erie, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Rochester, Rockford, San Antonio, Syracuse, Texas, Toronto, or newcomer Utica. The Wolf Pack therefore will miss out on contests against more than half the teams in the AHL.
The longest stretch away from the XL Center will be two weeks in early January, but two of those road games are in Bridgeport against the Sound Tigers. The team has only one Canadian road trip on the schedule. They will make a trip out to St. John’s. Newfoundland in April, just two weeks before the end of the regular season.
Ex-Pack playing and coaching
Paul Crowder who suited up for the Pack from 2009-2011 started last season in the Czech Elite League, but played a majority of his season with Wheeling (ECHL) with two AHL call ups to Wilkes Barre/Scranton and Milwaukee signed a one year AHL deal with the Milwaukee Admirals for 2013-2014 season.
Pierre Sevigny was named assistant coach for the Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) on August 7th. Sevigny played on the very first Wolf Pack team in 1997-98.
Wolf Pack all time PM leader Dale Purinton gets a second crack of head coaching this season with the Kerry Park Islanders of the Vancouver International Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) a Junior B League. Purinton was let go after 2011-2012 season by Cowichan Valley (BCHL).
Defenseman Maxim Galanov who played with Sevigny on that first Wolf Pack team has retired from playing to become the GM of Sokol Krasnoyarsk in the Russian Vyassha Hockey League (VHL). The VHL is the feeder league for the KHL much as the AHL is to the NHL.
Former players Jeff Ulmer has moved onto to play for HDD Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia that plays in the Austrian Elite League while swift skating Rico Fata leaves Switzerland for HIFK Helsinki in the Finnish Elite League (FEL).
Former defenseman Martin Richter leaves his native Slovakia for KH Sanok in Poland and Brian Fahey leaves Russia for EC Salzburg in Austria (AEHL).
Defenseman David Urquhart switches team in Italy and lines up for SV Ritten/Renon (LIHG),
Brent Henley is off to England and the Nottingham Panthers of the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) and David Liffiton goes from HC Milano Rossoblu in Italy to Farjestads BK in the Swedish Hockey league (SHL).
Ivan Baranka switches teams in the KHL going to Avangard Omsk while Jarko Immonen moves to Torpedo Novgorod.
Old friend Trevor Gillies switches from Vityaz in the Russian KHL to HIFK Helsinki in Finland (FEL) to fires his left hand at Finnish heavyweights. Gillies has played for every team in New England present and defunct except for Manchester.
Forward Fedor Fedorov will be with his 7th KHL team CSKA Moscow and rear-guard Joe Rullier re-signed with Jonquiere, Quebec in the LNAH (North American Hockey League). Neither was particularly well liked in their stints in Hartford.
Two Connecticut natives have signed for the season defenseman Lee Moffie of Wallingford and Avon Old Farms signed a one year AHL deal with the Lake Erie Monsters the AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. Moffie who won an NCAA championship at Michigan was traded by San Jose who originally drafted him, to Edmonton earlier this summer, but he was unable to reach a deal with the Oilers.
Former Taft Prep star Chris Collins signed with Bakersfield (ECHL) for the upcoming season.