Category Archives: College Hockey

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 12

Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 12

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Another busy off-season week.

OLYMPIC TEAMS

The first country to get started on the Olympics, sans NHL participation for the first time in the last five Olympiads, has begun.  Team Canada named its management and coaching staff and a preliminary roster.

The GM who will guide and put the pieces of the puzzle together, is former Hartford Whaler, Sean Burke. A pro scout with the Montreal Canadiens, Burke was named last Tuesday to begin the process of putting a team together in six months for the Pyeongchang, South Korean Games which will run from February 9-25.

The first roster that’s been released has a few familiar names. They will have two squads with few different players on each to play in the Sochi Tournament on August 6-9 and the Tournament Victor Puchkov from August 14-17.

For the Sochi tourney, ex-Pack, Daniel Paille, will be playing and for the Puchkov tourney with ex-Pack and ex Bridgeport Sound Tiger, Taylor Beck. In both games, ex-Sound Tigers’ goalie Kevin Poulin will dress for the Canada. Continue reading

CANLTON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 11

CANLTON’S CORNER: Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 11

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – NFL football camps are opening. In basketball, the free agent signing period is in full-swing while in the NHL, nothing seems to be slowing down as the summer moves along.

RANGERS SIGNING

Of the many problems that existed for the Hartford Wolf Pack last season, the most glaring concern was between the pipes as the goaltending was far beneath an acceptable level.

The theory was that with both Magnus Hellberg, returning off a solid season, and a healthy and seeming revitalized Mackenzie Skapski, who is now fully recovered from hip surgery, could be the foundation upon which the team could build as the team’s young members adjusted to life in pro hockey.

It’s pretty apparent, that never materialized.

Hellberg freely admitted at the end of the year that he was sub-par. He seemingly was always fighting the puck and had problems shoulder high to his glove side and getting beaten early in too many games. Skapski just never seemed to recover sinking deeper and deeper on the depth chart as the season progressed.

Skapski never seemed to recover and sunk deeper and deeper on the depth chart as the season progressed.

After such an impressive training camp in New York, Skapski had a terrible performance in an early season game in Providence. “The Buffalo Killer,” as Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault dubbed him in his rookie season after two wins against the Sabres, dropped to 0-4 and was getting beaten cleanly on long shots. He also was apprehensive in his decision making deciding to stay back in his net instead of getting to a loose puck that the Bruins Jake DeBrusk raced in to get before beating him to the top shelf. His performance earned him a return ticket to the ECHL and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, where he remained except for a few emergency recalls. Skapski ended the year with his getting bombed in a 6-1 shellacking in his only playoff appearance. He did not even dress for the following game.

Hellberg has since signed in Beijing, China with the Kunlun Red Star, a KHL team there. Continue reading

RANGERS RELEASE 2017 PROSPECT BIOS

RANGERS RELEASE

2017

PROSPECT BIOS

BY: The New York Rangers

Name: Lias Andersson 
Position: Center Height: 6-0
Weight: 200 Shoots: Left
Born: October 13, 1998
Birthplace: Smogen, Sweden 

2016-17 Notes: Skated in 42 games with HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), registering nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points, along with a plus-21 rating and 18 penalty minutes … Established SHL career-highs in several categories, including games played, goals, assists, points, and plus/minus rating … Ranked eighth in the SHL – and led all junior players (younger than 20 years old) in the league – in plus/minus rating … Ranked second among all junior players in the SHL in goals and assists, and tied for second among all junior players in the SHL in points … Registered five points (four goals, one assist) and 18 penalty minutes in 16 playoff games while helping HV71 win the Le Mat Trophy as Swedish Hockey League Champions … Tied for fifth on HV71 in goals in the playoffs; also ranked second among all junior players in the SHL in playoff goals … Recorded two goals in three games with HV71’s junior team in SuperElit … Registered three goals and posted a plus-two rating in seven games while representing Sweden at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Career Highlights: Helped Sweden earn a silver medal at the 2016 IIHF World U18 Championship; recorded nine points (five goals, four assists) in seven contests and was selected as one of the Top Three Players on his team in the tournament … Helped Sweden earn a silver medal at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament … Has skated in 64 career SHL games over parts of two seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17), registering 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists), along with a plus-14 rating … His father,  Niklas Andersson, played parts of six seasons in the NHL (1992-93; 1995-96 – 1997-98; 1999-00 – 2000-01) with Quebec, the NY Islanders, San Jose, Nashville, and Calgary … His uncle, Mikael Andersson, played in the NHL for parts of 15 seasons (1985-86 – 1999-00) and is currently a European Scout with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Career Transactions: June 23, 2017 – Selected by the Rangers in the first round, seventh overall, of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft

Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 6

Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 6

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Never a dull moment in hockey. Plenty to review as news still pours in from the Hartford Wolf Pack and the rest of the hockey world.

WOLF PACK SIGN ANOTHER DEFENSEMAN

The first signing under the Chris Drury regime as Wolf Pack GM has been made.

The Rangers signed defenseman Brenden Kotyk, 25, from the NCAA Frozen Four runner-up University Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (NCHC) who fell 3-2 to Denver University.

Kotyk, who stands 6-6 and weighs 240 pounds, spent three seasons with the Bulldogs.  He is a native of Regina, Saskatchewan.   Continue reading

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK SIGN DEFENSEMAN BRENDEN KOTYK

WOLF PACK SIGN DEFENSEMAN BRENDEN KOTYK

*           *           *           *

Six-foot-six, 240-pounder Played three Years at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, June 8, 2017:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Chris Drury announced today that the Wolf Pack has signed defenseman Brenden Kotyk to an AHL contract.

Kotyk, who stands 6-6 and weighs 240 pounds, comes to the Wolf Pack after three seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (NCHC).  The 25-year-old native of Regina, Saskatchewan helped lead the Bulldogs to an NCHC championship this past season, and all the way to the NCAA Frozen Four championship game, in which they fell 3-2 to Denver University.

Kotyk skated in 41 games with UMD in 2016-17, notching three goals and ten assists for 13 points and serving 57 minutes in penalties, the second-highest total on the squad.  He also was a +20 on the season, which was second-best among Bulldog defensemen and fourth-best overall on the team.

In 97 career games in a UMD uniform, Kotyk totaled seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points, along with 85 PIM and a +25.  Prior to transferring to UMD, he played one season with the St. Scholastica College, who play in Division III.

BRENDEN KOTYK’S AMATEUR RECORD

                                    Regular Season               Playoffs

Year     Team              Lge.  GP    G     A   PTS  PIM    GP      G     A     Pts.   PIM

2012-13  St. Scholastica   NCHA  25    7     12  19   37     —     —   —    —    —

2014-15  U. Minn.-Duluth   NCHC  34    1     5   6    16     —     —   —    —    —

2015-16  U. Minn.-Duluth   NCHC  22    3     1   4    12     —     —   —    —    —

2016-17  U. Minn.-Duluth   NCHC  41    3     10  13   57     —     —   —    —    —

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2017-18 AHL season can be found on-line at hartfordwolfpack.com.  To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 5

Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 5

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Five weeks out from the end of the Hartford Wolf Pack season and there are still plenty of things going on.

CALDER CUP FINALS

The Calder Cup finals started Friday night and came to a thrilling conclusion. In Game One, the Grand Rapids Griffins got a goal from Tomas Nosek with 13.9 seconds remaining to break a 2-2 deadlock with the Syracuse Crunch.

The series is in a 2-3-2 format.

Games 2 will also be in Grand Rapids with the next three in Syracuse.

During the regular season, both teams were hit hard when injuries became a factor for their parent clubs, the Tampa Bay Lightning (Syracuse) and the Detroit Red Wings (Grand Rapids) respectively. As time heals all wounds, as both teams got healthy and didn’t make the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, they were able to return players to both their farm teams which benefitted greatly.

Each team won Game 5 of the conference final series to advance to Calder Cup final. Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 4 PART 2

Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 4 Part 2

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – So much going on right now that one story wasn’t enough to cover it all.

PLAYER AND COACHING MOVEMENT

Magnus Hellberg is getting as far away from Hartford as he possibly can. The now ex-Pack netminder signed a one-year contract with the Kunlun Red Star in Beijing, China for the KHL team that is entering its second season. Hopefully, Hellberg got his yuans up front. Below is a story from the AP on the financial problems of the KHL.

MOSCOW (AP) — The Kontinental Hockey League has cut a Russian team as it tries to fix worsening financial problems, including debts to league players of over $17 million.

KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko said Wednesday that the league is removing the Metallurg Novokuznetsk team, which had a 14-46 record and small crowds this season, as it bids to become leaner and more commercially successful.

Croatian team Medvescak Zagreb said in March it would withdraw to join the Austrian-based EBEL league.

Chernyshenko says the KHL — widely considered the world’s strongest league outside the NHL — has been hit by “unprecedented” wage delays to players totaling over 1 billion rubles ($17.7 million).

Seven of the KHL’s 29 teams are “regularly” late with salaries and some players have been waiting over six months for payment.

“The KHL will not stand for this,” Chernyshenko said.

From 27 teams next season, the KHL will cut three more for the 2018-19 season, Chernyshenko said. A statistical rating system measuring teams’ on-ice ability, their finances and crowd appeal will be used to determine who quits the league.

The league also plans to lower the salary cap and close some loopholes which help big spenders. That could make the league more competitive and reduce the dominance of wealthy teams like CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, which are funded by state-owned oil and gas companies.

SKA won its second KHL championship in three years last month after posting a 46-14 record in the regular season and then winning all but two of the 18 games it played across four rounds in the playoffs.

Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: PACK OFF-SEASON NOTEBOOK – WEEK TWO

CANTLON’S CORNER: PACK OFF-SEASON NOTEBOOK – WEEK TWO

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CTWhile the lights may be out in Hartford, there is still plenty of hockey going on still in the ECHL, AHL, and NHL.

AHL PLAYOFFS

The Hershey Bears have a three-games-to-two lead in their playoff series with the Providence Bruins after the weekend’s action. On Thursday night, Hershey won a 2-1 OT thriller with, who else but ex-Hartford Wolf Pack, Chris Bourque scoring both goals. The team got the win despite registering just 15 shots on goal. Bears’ goalie Pheonix Copley stopped 39 of 40 Bruins shots. The series is a 2-3-2 format with Game 4 on Friday going to the Bruins in a reversal of the score from the previous night and their own 2-1 win.  In Game 5 on Sunday in Providence, it took OT to get a result again, and Hershey won again as Madison Bowey scored 1:58 into overtime to give the Bears a 3-2 win.

Meanwhile, back in Thursday’s game, Bourque got his first goal early in the third and then the second, the game winner, the other came at 7:23 in overtime both on the powerplay. The Bears evened up their series with Providence at one with Travis Boyd scoring the overtime game-winner in Game 2. Continue reading

RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FREE-AGENT FORWARD DAWSON LEEDAHL

RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FREE-AGENT FORWARD DAWSON LEEDAHL

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, May 8, 2017 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with free-agent forward Dawson Leedahl.

Leedahl, 21, skated in 71 regular season games with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, registering 35 goals and 54 assists for 89 points, along with a plus-45 rating and 121 penalty minutes. He established WHL career-highs in several categories in 2016-17, including games played, goals, assists, points, plus/minus rating, and penalty minutes. Leedahl was the only WHL player who registered at least 30 goals, 100 penalty minutes, and a plus-40 rating this season. He tied for sixth in the WHL in plus/minus rating and tied for 12th in the league in points in 2016-17. In addition, he ranked third on Regina in points, and he tied for third on the team in goals and assists this season. Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: 2017 WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME ONE

CANTLON’S CORNER: 2017 Wolf Pack Off Season Volume One

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – There is LOTS of news going on regarding the New York Rangers and their top affiliates in Hartford and even in Greenville With the Swamp Rabbits. We will give to you a weekly series all summer keeping you up to date on all of it.

Week One has plenty to offer.

PLAYERS SiGNINGS

The Hartford Wolf Pack team makeover for 2017-18 is clearly underway.

The first two off season signings were on defense.

The latest is from the collegiate ranks in right-handed shooting rearguard, Neal Pionk. Continue reading