Category Archives: IIHF World Championships

CANTLON: WOLF PACK’S JENSEN HEADS TO KHL

Wolf Pack’s Jensen Heads to KHL

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT The exodus has begun.

The Hartford Wolf Pack’s leading scorer, Nicklas Jensen, who registered 55 points and was the second highest goal-scorer in the AHL with 32 goals. Jensen was the Pack’s only representative to the AHL All-Star game and was the team’s MVP as voted on by the players. Jensen has made the decision to leave for greener pastures in the KHL according to a press release from Jokerit Helsinki.

Jensen, who wore number 13 in Hartford, and another ex-Pack (when they were the CT Whale) and New York Rangers draft pick, Tim Erixon, who’s still playing with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL playoffs, have both signed with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in southwest Russia, near Kazakhstan. But that’s not all…Then both players were traded to the Finnish based KHL team Jokerit Helsinki for a fellow Dane Philip Larsen who played with Vancouver this year and his KHL rights which were held by Jokerit and financial compensation.

But that’s not all…

****UPDATE****

(Since Howlings first published this story, we have received clarification from Jokerit Helsinki. – “All we can say is that Jokerit has acquired Jensen’s rights and that no deal has been signed,” Ilro Keurulainen, the Media Communications Coordinator for the team told Howlings).

Right after being signed, both players were then traded to the Finnish-based KHL team, Jokerit Helsinki for Philip Larsen, a fellow Dane. Larsen played with the Vancouver Canucks this past season and his KHL rights were still held by Jokerit.

Jensen is a five-year AHL vet. Like many Europeans who come to the States, he waited to see where he was after five years. The decision becomes whether to pursue staying in North America or head back to Europe where there is usually better money, a different schedule and to be closer to home. Jensen was Vancouver’s first round pick in 2011 and was acquired by the Rangers along with a sixth-round draft pick and Emerson Etem on January 8th last year.

Helsinki is the capital of Finland. The team plays at the Hartwell Arena which seats over 13,000.

Jensen and Larsen will likely be teammates in for Denmark in Pool A of the 2017 IIHF World Championships to be held this year in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany in a couple of weeks.

These two signings boost the count to five AHL’ers who have signed to play in Europe next season. To date, that list includes, Reto Berra (Springfield to HC Fribourg-Gotteron Switzerland-LNA), Joel Vermin (Syracuse to HC Lausanne Switzerland-LNA) and Chad Billins (Utica to Linkopings HC Sweden-SHL).

CANTLON’S CORNER: PACK HEAD TO SYRACUSE TO CRUNCH BEFORE XMAS

PACK HEAD TO SYRACUSE TO CRUNCH BEFORE XMAS

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

CROMWELL, CT – The chill of winter that permeates the air declares the holidays and the heart of the hockey season.

Before departing for the annual holiday break to spend time with family and loved ones, the Pack still have one more game to play on the road.

The Wolf Pack record stands at 9-14-3-1 (22 points) which has them last in the Atlantic Division, next to last in the conference, and 29th out of 30 teams in the AHL. The Pack is in Syracuse to battle the Crunch who, at 16-7-0-3 (35 points), are first in the North Division, second in the conference and third overall in the AHL. They will cross sticks at 7:00 pm Wednesday night at the War Memorial, their second meeting in over a week.

“It was a good weekend with good back-to-back games, but a far cry from where we want to be. They’re not that much different than Hershey. They have pretty good depth as far as skill players, and like Hershey, we won’t have the benefit of the last line change, so that will be a test. We just have to keep playing like we have been,” Pack head coach, Ken Gernander said. “It was very good that we got more scoring than we have on a night-by-night basis. I was happy with our weekend overall we did a lot of good things and even after looking at the video (after the game), there was a lot of positive reinforcement in our efforts.”  Continue reading

CANTLON: (FRI) UCONN WIN IN FINAL 2016 HOME GAME

 VS. 

BY: Gerry Canton, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT On the strength of two Tage Thompson goals and 22 saves from Adam Huska, the UConn Huskies defeated the UMASS-Amherst Minuteman 3-1 at the XL Center Friday night before a crowd of just 3,949.

UConn’s record improves to 6-6-6 overall (4-3-3-2 HEA) while UMASS-Amherst  drops to 4-9-2 overall (2-7-1 HEA).

The Huskies will play next in Prescott Valley, Arizona as they take part in the Sun Devil Classic on December 30th against the St. Cloud St. Huskies. The Huskies return home on January 7th where they will go head-to-head with Yale University in their first meeting ever between the two programs.

“We talked about finishing the first half on a high note and play a solid 60 minutes. We played well for 40 and change,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “We played well in the first and second, but in the third (period) we took some penalties. I’m proud of the guys that we held on and found a way to win.” Continue reading

(FRI) COLUMBUS TORTORELLA’S DEFEAT RANGERS 4-2

post-game-notescapturebox-scorecapture   Game Summary                           NYR: H. Lundqvist (L) CBJ: S. Bobrovsky (W)              Event Summary

team-notes

        ON POINT – Two Rangers defensemen (Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei) have tallied 11 or more assists through the first 18 games of one season for the first time since 1993-94 (Brian Leetch and Sergei Zubov). In addition, three Rangers defensemen (McDonagh, Skjei, and Nick Holden) have recorded eight or more assists through the first 18 games of one season for the first time since 1996-97 (Leetch, Bruce Driver, and Alexander Karpovtsev).

        KILL ZONE – New York was 2-for-2 (4:00) on the penalty kill in the game. The Rangers have not allowed a power play goal against in six of the last seven games, and have killed off 19 of their opponents’ last 20 power play opportunities (over an eight-game stretch), dating back to Nov. 3 vs. Edmonton (95.0% over the span).

        SHUTTING THE DOOR – The Rangers limited their opponent to fewer than 30 shots on goal for the 11th time in 18 games this season. In addition, New York has held its opponent to fewer than 25 shots on goal in five games in 2016-17.

        Michael Grabner tallied a goal, recorded two shots on goal, and posted a plus-one rating. As of the conclusion of tonight’s game, Grabner leads the NHL in even strength goals (11) and plus/minus rating (plus-17), and he is tied for second in the NHL in goals (11) this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Ranger prior to Grabner who registered 11 or more even strength goals through the team’s first 18 games of one season was Rod Gilbert in 1971-72 (13 goals). Over the last 20 seasons (since 1996-97), Grabner is one of six Rangers who have registered 11 or more goals in the team’s first 18 games of one season (Rick Nash – 2014-15; Marian Gaborik – 2009-10; Brendan Shanahan – 2006-07; Jaromir Jagr – 2005-06; Theo Fleury – 2000-01). He is also one of six NHL players who have tallied at least 11 even strength goals through the first 18 games of one season since 2005-06 (Alex Steen – 2013-14; Rick Nash – 2010-11; Alex Ovechkin – 2009-10; Alex Semin – 2008-09; Simon Gagner – 2005-06). All of Grabner’s 14 points thus far this season have been primary points (a goal or the primary assist on a goal).

        Mika Zibanejad tallied a goal in the contest. He has registered a point in four of the last five games, recording five points (two goals, three assists) over the span. Zibanejad has notched a point in 11 of 18 games this season. Continue reading

CANTLON: (WEDNESDAY) HUSKIES CAGED BY BOBCATS 5-2

UCONN    VS.  Quinnipiac_Bobcats.svg

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HAMDEN, CT UConn Huskies hockey program, relatively new to the Divison One experience, still have a few miles to go before proving they can compete with elite college hockey.

The Quinnipiac Bobcats, the fourth-ranked team in the nation. displayed their speed and puck possession skills while outshooting the visiting Huskies 43-31 beat UConn 5-2 Wednesday night at the High Points Solutions Arena.

“It certainly wasn’t the result we wanted,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said afterward. “I was proud of the fight in our guys. We showed some fight in facing some adversity. We didn’t execute some plays that cost us our guys competed hard.”

The second period saw the Huskies show flashes of being competitive playing against the more experienced Bobcat program, but Quinnipiac struck like lightning.

The Huskies used their powerplay to get back into the game early in the second period at 2-1.  Kasperi Ojantakanen’s quality scoring opportunity was stopped by the Bobcat’s Chris Truehl in net, but he was unable to control the rebound. Spencer Naas got to the puck and had three chances at it with the third time being the charm scoring his second goal of the season at 1:44.

Quinnipiac answered back two minutes later, reestablishing a two-goal lead.

Thomas Aldworth, a speedy player from Texas, swung in from the left wing side and moved to the right and put a perfect wraparound into the goal for his second of the season at 3:43 past freshman netminder Adam Huska who answered the call playing against one of Division I’s premier hockey programs.

The Huskies clawed back with one of their few effective rushes. The Huskies had Evan Richardson put a strong backhand shot on Truehl that he saved. Karl El-Mir was right there on the right wing side of the doorstep and using his forehand, flipped the puck into the open side of the net at 9:17 for his second of the season.

UConn gave up the center of the ice far too much and Quinnipiac made them pay for it. Bobcats established a three-goal lead 1:44 later.

Bobcat defenseman Brogan Rafferty roared through center-ice after taking a short pass from K.J. Tiefenworth, and went in on a clean breakaway and beat Huska with a backhand shot through the five-hole after extending himself as he tried to poke-check  the puck at 11:01.

The Bobcats’ Connor Clifton sped through the neutral zone and wired one over Huska’s left shoulder for a 5-2 lead.

“We have a very active D-corps and we want to make plays in the neutral zone and we don’t want to have guys sit back and we did that well tonight,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said.

The Bobcat defense wasn’t too shabby either. They limited Tage Thompson to just one shot on goal.

“He’s a tremendous hockey player and we were fired up and played like we do against a Boston College,” Pecknold said.

The Huskies played too passively and gave Quinnipiac quality chances. They went to the locker room up 2-0 in part because UConn’s 6’5 defenseman, David Drake, was injured on the game’s first shift after being drilled by Scott Davidson behind the net suffering an upper body injury.

The first goal saw Andrew Taverner launch one from the left point that sailed over Huska’s right shoulder, after being completely screened.  UConn’s Joseph Masonius and QU’s Scott Davidson battled in front of Huska providing the screen.

Huska kept things close stopping Derek Smith and Davidson from the left point an right wing respectively.

Tommy Schutt and Connor Clifton had back-to-back shots on the same shift turned aside by the 6’3 Slovak freshmen.

Right after the first goal, the Huskies’ Maxim Letunov was hit with a major and game disqualification for drilling Chase Priskie into the end boards. It caused a big gash on his forehand and he did not return.

UConn also had to deal with Jeff Wight going down with a season-ending upper body injury on the first shift causing UConn to play short two of their natural centers for most of the game.

After the penalty was assessed to Letunov, the UConn PK weathered the storm. Tim Clifton and Luke Shiplo had good bids, but Huska kept the door closed.

“We did a great job killing the five-minute major,” Cavanaugh said. “We rebounded pretty well and they didn’t get a whole lot on it (the penalty).”

The best UConn chance of the period came on the kill with Thompson setting up Ben Freeman for two whacks, but Truehl stayed steady on both.

The Bobcats stayed on the puck deep in the UConn end after the Huskies won the draw. The Bobcats’ Davidson got to the loose puck, controlled it and put in into the front of the net. Craig Martin fanned on his first shot but stayed with it and while falling down, he got his stick on the puck and flipped it over Huska’s left shoulder for the 2-0 lead.

“The biggest problem we had was breaking the puck out of the zone. That was our biggest issue and we wound up giving them (chances). When that happens, they get riding time in the offensive zone and we get tired playing defense and can’t get any energy to create any offense,” remarked Cavanaugh.

NOTES:

Very classy gesture initiated by Pecknold. Both teams gathered at center ice after the game in honor of Bruce Marshall. The former UConn head coach who was close to Pecknold passed away suddenly in New Hampshire on Sunday.

Letunov with the game disqualification will be suspended for the game on Friday against AIC at the XL Center. He could face further discipline from Hockey East.

Quinnipiac is now 3-1-0 and was coming off a 3-2 OT win over Maine in Orono.

UConn came (2-1-2) off a pair of ties last weekend 4-4 against Colgate and 1-1 with AHA member R.I.T.

Huska was big in the R.I.T. game, his first collegiate start with 36 saves. He was stellar last season with Green Bay (USHL). Huska led the league with a 1.97 GAA and played for the Slovakia World Junior team where he put on a show in a memorable 48 save performance against Russia and another against the Czech Republic.

Thompson with four goals and six points paces the offense for UConn.

Quinnipiac lost a significant number of their NCAA Finalist squad.

Quinnipiac now leads the series with UConn 17-11-2. The Bobcats have won the first three major D1 meetings. They won this one 5-2, in 2014 they prevailed 4-1 and last year there was a wild, feisty 6-2 game at the XL Center with four powerplay goals.

Quinnipiac features four players from Alberta and five who played junior hockey in BC and Alberta.

Quinnipiac has had college hockey for 41 years and is in their 19th season of Division I.

College recruiting notes: UCONN got a commit next year from Zac Robbins who plays currently with Cedar Rapids (USHL).

UConn got a commitment for next year from Zac Robbins who plays currently with Cedar Rapids (USHL).

Quinnipiac got a future recruit for 2020-21 in Paul Fletcher out of the Dallas Stars Triple AAA program, who will play at Selects Academy program at South Kent Prep this winter.

Yale has secured a commitment for next season from Greenwich native Phil Kemp who is currently with the USNDTP (USHL). Kemp went to Brunswick Prep school and has a good shot of being on the US WJC team for the tourney to be held starting Boxing Day in Montreal and Toronto. He withdrew his commitment from Brown University and, according to Chip Malafronte of the New Haven Register, is a third generation Yale athlete. His grandfather played with President George H.W. Bush in late 1940’s on the Yale baseball team.

Matt Tugnutt, son of former NHL’er Ron Tugnutt, has committed to Sacred Heart University next fall. He currently plays for Kemptville (OJHL).

RANGERS ANNOUNCE 2016 TRAINING CAMP ROSTER

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CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK SEASON COMING UP SOON

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Hartford, CTFor Hartford Wolf Pack fans, the excitement is beginning to rise as the season is getting closer by the day.

WOLF PACK SIGNING

The Pack made another signing mid-week inking forward Matt Carey to a contract for the ’16 – ‘17 season.

Carey led the Quad City Mallards (ECHL) with 25 goals and 47 points in 49 games. He also spent 21 games with the Iowa Wild (AHL) garnering two goals and four points for what turned out to be the AHL’s worst team last season.

He played with the Rockford IceHogs the previous season and left St. Lawrence (ECACHL) after just one college season where he compiled 37 points in 38 games. Carey scored his first NHL goal in his second game with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Carey is a 6’0, 190lb. winger who played Junior A hockey in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario (OJHL). He is also the younger brother of Greg Carey, who played with the Springfield Falcons last season. The elder Carey has signed to play with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for this coming season.

The New York Rangers formally announced the signing of BU forward and defenseman, Ahti Oksanen, to an AHL deal. Cantlon’s Corner reported this signing back in June.

ON THE MOVE

Former Pack forward Nick Tarnasky has signed with the San Diego Gulls. Tarnasky moves into the slot vacated by Brian McGrattan, who signed with Nottingham (England-EIHL). Former Wolf Pack and Ranger, Stu Bickel, and former Yale player, Antoine Langaniere, re-signed with San Diego for another year.

Tarnasky represents the 12th player from last season’s Hartford roster to sign elsewhere. Just five players from that team have yet to be signed. They are Shawn O’Donnell, Tyler Brown, Chris McCarthy, Matt Lindblad and Brian Gibbons.

Joining McGrattan in heading to Europe is forward Matt Fraser who split last season between Rockford and the Manitoba Moose. Fraser is going to Rogle BK (Sweden-SHL) while goalie Joni Ortio, who played with the Stockton Thunder and had some time with the Calgary Flames, heads to Skelelftea AIK (Sweden-SHL).

The list of AHL to Euro players is up to 78. Now 28 of the 30 AHL teams have seen at least one player head overseas. To this point, only the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Ontario Reign have not seen any roster players head across the pond.

The new Laval team, scheduled to launch in the AHL next fall when the Montreal Canadiens move their farm team there from St. John’s in the soon to be completed, Place Bell Centre, now has a name. 51 percent of those responding to the, “Name The Team” contest selected, “Rocket” over Patriotes and Rapides (French spelling). The name of course, honors Montreal Canadians great, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, who was the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games in NHL history.

The team name “Rocket” has been used once before when it was the name of a QMJHL franchise that played out of the Maurice Richard Arena (which is now used for speed and figure skating) and the Bell Centre from 1999-2003. The team was sold and moved to Charlottetown, PEI and retained the name, Rocket, until last year when the team was renamed, “The Charlottetown Islanders.”

Former Wolf Pack Vinny Saponari, who played most of the last year with the Pack’s ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, and who had three AHL recalls for a total of 18 games, was released in training camp by KHL Dynamo Riga, but has signed with Frisk Asker (Norway-NEL).

Samuel Noreau, an ex-Pack who played for three ECHL teams last season including Greenville, was cut loose by the Rangers and signed with the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL).

Former Bridgeport Sound Tiger, Lukas Sutter, the son of Rich Sutter from the NHL’s legendary Sutter clan, after a sitting out a year playing senior hockey with the Prairie Outlaw of the Fort Carlton Senior Hockey League (FCHL), suits up in Canadian collegiate hockey with the University of Sasketchewan Huskies (CWUAA) this season.

MANNY CALLS IT A CAREER

Ex-Pack and Ranger, Manny Malhotra, is now officially retired. Incredibly, Malhotra played in 991 NHL games tallying 295 points. Malhotra was a number one pick for the Rangers, 7th overall in 1998. It seems like just yesterday that he was at Wolf Pack practice when it was held at Avon Old Farms Jennings-Fairchild Arena.

Malhotra never became the type of player the Rangers hoped he would be. He was an example of drafting a talented player and heaping unrealistic expectations and projections on his skill set and assets. It was also an example of too much over-handling in a player’s development. He was really a solid second round pick, but his leadership skills remained intact throughout his playing career and was a mentor to the younger players the past few years.

He never became the big scorer the Rangers envisioned he would be. Under the Ranger GM at the time, Neil Smith, the organization could never make up its mind about him and that caused many problems.

At the end of training camp in 2000, Malhotra was told he was being switched from a center, where had played all camp, to left wing – With no notice! Malhotra was genuinely peeved.

Malhotra would evolve into one of the best checking and best faceoff centers in the NHL, let alone in New York. He led the NHL in face-off percentage in 2009-10 with a 61.4% ratio while with the Vancouver Canucks and despite suffering a near career-ending injury, he played in the Stanley Cup final for a Canucks team that went on to lose to the Boston Bruins in seven.

His eventual departure from Vancouver didn’t go well either. He still played in the NHL with both the Carolina Hurricanes and the Columbus Blue Jackets and ended his career playing for the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) last season before being released on March 1st. He didn’t get to play for the eventual Calder Cup champions. Malhotra played in 71 AHL games in his career and scored 10 goals and 23 points overall.

He won his only championship in 2000 as a member of the Calder Cup Champion Wolf Pack. Malhotra played in all 23 playoff games that year but in his career only played 40 regular season games with the Pack. He registered 17 points on six goals and 11 assists. Malhotra also won a bronze medal with Team Canada that same year at the World Junior Championships.

Malhotra junior career was in Guelph (OHL) where he went to the Memorial Cup final in 1998, but he and his teammates failed to win a title. Despite that disappointment, Malhotra was named to the All-Tournament team with the likes of Marian Hossa and former Pack tough guy, Frankie Lessard.

After 206 games with the Rangers where he registered just 19 goals and 41 points, Malhotra was traded to Dallas along with ex-Pack Barrett Heitsten for Martin Rucinsky, and the late Roman Lyashenko.

While in juniors, Malhotra was selected number one and 17th overall by Guelph where he was coached by the Wolf Pack’s first head coach, the late E.J. McGuire during his first year. Malhotra was named the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year (Bobby Smith Award) in his second season.

Malhotra, who is of Pakistani descent, grew up in Toronto was one of the first Eurasian players to ever play in the NHL. A player following in Malhtora’s footsteps as a second generation player of sorts will skate for the Rangers this upcoming season. Mika Zibanejad is an Iranian-Swede who was born and raised in Sweden.

Malhotra was a consummate pro who was among the most thoughtful and truly articulate interviewees in the Wolf Pack’s twenty-year history.

He will make Vancouver his post-career home, but won’t be totally out of hockey. According to the Vancouver Province newspaper, Malhotra is expected to be taking a coaching position with the Canucks for the upcoming season.

If this happens, it’s possible that Malhotra would be used as a skill development coach this coming season and could be on the bench as an Assistant Coach in the 2017-18 season for the Canucks AHL affiliate in Vancouver.

OLYMPIC HOCKEY NOW SET

Norway, Slovenia, and Germany will fill out the last three Olympic spots for the 2018 Pyeongchang, South Korea Games as all three countries won the qualifying pools last weekend.

Group F saw Norway, paced by ex-Pack and current Ranger, Mats Zuccarello, beat France 2-1 in order to advance. Zuccarello, who was the top scorer for all players with five points, scored the equalizer just 5:10 after the French took the lead. They were the only host nation to win their pool.

The Germans knocked off the host Latvians 3-2 as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ Thomas Kuhnhackl scored a powerplay goal with 5:09 left in regulation to advance. The Germans, along with Norway, will be in Pool C at the Olympics.

Slovenia beat Belarus 3-2 winning Group D in penalty shot style.

Denmark, one of the tournament favorites to win Group D after a strong World Championship showing in April, didn’t win a game until their final one last Sunday placing third in the Group D pool.

Current Wolf Pack Nicklas Jensen paced a 5-2 win over Poland with three primary assists and four shots on goal. Ex-Sound Tiger Franz Nielsen had three assists for the Dames in the tournament.

Mike Cichy, the New Hartford, CT native, had one assist (primary) a backhand pass on a goal by Kamil Kalinowski for the Polish team.

DRURY NEW ASSISTANT GM

Trumbull, CT native Chris Drury has always been successful and has taken another step up the ladder in the Rangers organization. He’s done so with the same speed he had as a player coming out of Boston University.

Drury was named the team’s new assistant GM where he will gain one of the portfolios Jim Schoenfeld has held along with being the GM in Hartford. This could be a signaling of the changing of the guard in the Rangers’ organization that has been whispered about since Glen Sather stepped down as Rangers GM a year and a half ago.

Drury’s work with the young forwards of the Wolf Pack paid dividends last spring with the revitalized team having a strong second half. The team would fall short though of their goal of making the playoffs. Drury spent time with Nicklas Jensen, Marek Hrivik and the now departed Jayson Megna in developing their down low games.

Drury’s career highlights professionally are highly impressive. After being drafted in Hartford in 1993 by the Quebec Nordiques (nee Colorado Avalanche), he would shine in a 12-year NHL career. Drury skated in 892 games with the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, and the Rangers. He registered 255 goals and 360 assists for 615 points and added 468 penalty minutes. Drury captured the Stanley Cup as a member of the Avalanche in 2000-01 when he ranked second in the NHL with 11 goals in 23 games during that team’s playoff run.

In 1998-99, Drury received the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year after registering 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points with Colorado. Drury recorded at least 20 goals in nine different seasons in his career and recorded at least 50 points in eight different seasons.

In addition, Drury’s team reached the playoffs in nine of his 12 seasons in the NHL and advanced to the Conference Finals on six occasions. In 135 career NHL playoff games, Drury tallied 47 goals and 42 assists for 89 points, along with a plus-24 rating and 46 penalty minutes. Over his 12 NHL seasons (1998 – 2011), Drury led the league in playoff game-winning goals (17), ranked second in playoff overtime goals (four), ranked fourth in playoff goals, and ranked ninth in playoff games played.

Drury played four seasons with the Rangers (2007-2011) after signing with the team as a free agent on July 1, 2007. In addition, Drury served as the Rangers captain for three seasons (2008-09 – 2010-11) as the 25th captain in franchise history – as well as the second American-born captain in franchise history – on October 3, 2008. In 264 regular season games with the Blueshirts, Drury recorded 62 goals and 89 assists for 151 points, along with 116 penalty minutes. Over his first three seasons with the Rangers, Drury led the team in goals (61) and points (146), ranked second in assists (85), and tied for second in game-winning goals (10). In addition, the Rangers made the playoffs three times during Drury’s four seasons with the team.

Prior to joining the NHL, Drury completed one of the most impressive collegiate hockey careers in NCAA history.

Over four seasons at Boston University Terriers (1994-1998), Drury tallied 113 goals and 101 assists for 214 points in 155 games. During his collegiate career, the Terriers captured the National Championship in 1994-95, appeared in the National Championship Game twice (1994-95, 1996-97), and appeared in the Frozen Four three times (1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97).

Drury was selected as a First Team All-American on two occasions (1996-97, 1997-98), a Hobey Baker Finalist as the Top Player in College Hockey on three occasions (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98), and he became the first Terrier to receive the Hobey Baker Award in 1997-98. Drury is Boston University’s all-time leader in goals and ranks third on the school’s all-time points list.

Internationally, Drury represented the United States in numerous tournaments and earned several medals. He participated in three consecutive Winter Olympics (2002, 2006, 2010), capturing a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Drury was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

Drury started his illustrious career at Fairfield Prep High school in Fairfield winning a state title his sophomore year beating an unbeaten and untied Hamden team 3-1 at the Hartford Civic Center (nee XL Center) and appeared in one other final against Greenwich which they lost. His number 18 which he and his older brother Ted, an ex-Hartford Whaler wore, is retired and a banner hangs to honor him in the corner of the Jesuits home rink, Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport.

A second generation Drury is following in their footsteps in his nephew Jack Drury’s (Ted’s oldest son) who’s playing this season for Waterloo (USHL) and is an early college commit to Ted’s alma mater, Harvard University.

*Portions of a Rangers press release was used in this segment

 

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF-SEASON – VOLUME 11

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings 

Hartford, CTIt was a very busy week for NHL executives and lots of it involved players with connections to Connecticut and the New York Rangers’ organization.

FREE AGENT WRAP

It was a wild and wooly week of player movement in both the NHL and AHL as some teams made some terrific moves to improve themselves and some real head-scratching moves in a hard salary cap era.

THE RANGERS

As we reported last week, it became official on Tuesday as both defenseman Mat Bodie and forward Nicklas Jensen were re-signed by the Rangers. According to generalfanager.com each player received a one- year/one-way NHL deal for $600K.

Expect an announcement in a few days to come on new deals for forward Marek Hrivik, and defenseman Tommy Hughes.

But getting back to the two signees, Bodie, who ended the year as the Hartford Wolf Pack’s team captain after Ryan Bourque was traded to the Hershey Bears, enters his third year in the Connecticut state capital.

Jensen came to Hartford from the Vancouver Canucks in a trade for Emerson Etem in January. It was the best deal by the Rangers all year as Jensen spearheaded a resurgent Wolf Pack. Unfortunately, that run came up short as the team missed out on the playoffs by four points. Jensen, a Denmark native, turned a lot of heads with a superb performance in the World Championship tournament following the conclusion of the Wolf Pack season.

THE WOLF PACK

Not having much in the way of salary cap room left The Rangers mostly sitting out of the ruckus of a crazed free agent marketplace. The team did make two deals and both were for new defensemen.

At the AHL level, the most active teams were the San Antonio Rampage, the Tucson Roadrunners, the Chicago Wolves, the Hershey Bears, the Albany Devils, the Syracuse Crunch, and the Iowa Wild. All of them handed out some hefty contracts.

TJ Brennan, two-time Eddie Shore winner left the Toronto Marlies and went to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Brennan received a two-year deal for $625K per season. That’s NHL money.

The Wolf Pack will see Westport, CT native, Mike Paliotta when the puck drops for the 2016-2017 season. Paliotta played high school prep hockey at Choate and is coming off a splendid season with the Calder Cup Champion, Lake Erie Monsters. Paliotta received a one-year, two-way deal paying $650K in the NHL and $70K in the AHL.

Adam Clendening, who split last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Edmonton Oilers, and who had a brief stay in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with the Penguins, signed a great deal. He has a one-year, two-way deal that pays $600K in the NHL and $300K at the AHL.

The Rangers now have fifteen defensemen in their organization.

The team is currently searching for a new Assistant Coach after Jeff Beukeboom was promoted to New York to replace the departed Ulf Samuelsson, who left to become the new Head Coach of the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers, the top farm team of the Carolina Hurricanes, which is run by his good friend and former teammate, Ron Francis.

SCHOENFELD WINS AHL EBRIGHT AWARD

Hartford GM Jim Schoenfeld earned the highest honor an AHL Executive can receive when it was announced that he’d won the Thomas Ebright Award.

Schoenfeld recently completed his 13th season as the Wolf Pack’s GM, and continues to play a key role in developing the organization’s prospects, and also served as the chairman of the AHL’s Competition Committee in 2015-16. Schoenfeld, who has also had stints in the AHL as a player (Cincinnati, 1973-74) and head coach (Rochester, 1984-85; Hartford, 2005-07), has provided invaluable leadership within the American Hockey League during his career, serving on the Competition Committee and Executive Committee and helping the league develop player safety initiatives.

“The American Hockey League is comprised of 30 teams, all with their own specific agendas. However, it has been refreshing over the years to see all involved put those agendas aside to come together in a decision-making process, that places the good of the League as the number one priority. Although in many ways I feel there are members of the League much more deserving of this award than I am, I must say it is a very good feeling to be well thought of by the group. Special thanks to (AHL President/CEO) Dave Andrews, (Syracuse Crunch President/CEO) Howard Dolgon, (St. John’s IceCaps COO) Glen Stanford and (recently retired long-time Hershey Bears GM) Doug Yingst.” Schoenfeld said via e-mail. The Pack GM is attending the birth of another grandchild and therefore was only available via an email.

During Schoenfeld’s tenure as Wolf Pack GM and during his time as head coach, he mentored the team’s all-time winningest coach, the former captain, Ken Gernander. He’s also taught now Charlotte Checkers head coach, Ulf Samuelsson and Montreal Canadiens assistant coach, J.J. Daigneault. Schoenfeld succeeded Don Maloney as Wolf Pack GM, who was relieved of his duties as GM of the Arizona Coyotes at the end of this past season.

The Thomas Ebright Award honors Tom Ebright, the former owner, and governor of the Baltimore Skipjacks and Portland Pirates who passed away in 1997.

AHL DIVISIONAL ALIGNMENT

The AHL has realigned the league once again.

The Wolf Pack will continue to play in the Atlantic Division though minus Portland, which was sold and relocated to Springfield to replace the departed Falcons who have moved to Tucson, Arizona. The new team moniker will be The Thunderbirds.

Charlotte will continue as part of the Western conference and play in the Central Division. The Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage stay in the Pacific Division but will play 76 games while the rest of the division continues to play just 68 with the dreadful percentage points system remaining in place.

Expect the divisions to be tweaked again next season with the addition of the newest NHL team operating in Las Vegas. Their AHL franchise will likely be out West while Vancouver’s AHL team shifts out West and Binghamton is being relocated. The landing spot of that team seems to look like it is going to be in Belleville.

Division Alignment (NHL affiliate in parentheses)

Eastern Conference  
Atlantic Division
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI)
Hartford Wolf Pack (NYR)
Hershey Bears (WSH)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (PHI)
Providence Bruins (BOS)
Springfield Thunderbirds (FLA)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT)

North Division
Albany Devils (NJ)
Binghamton Senators (OTT)
Rochester Americans (BUF)
St. John’s IceCaps (MTL)
Syracuse Crunch (TB)
Toronto Marlies (TOR)
Utica Comets (VAN)

Western Conference  
Central Division
Charlotte Checkers (CAR)
Chicago Wolves (STL)
Grand Rapids Griffins (DET)
Iowa Wild (MIN)
Lake Erie Monsters (CBJ)
Manitoba Moose (WPG)
Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)
Rockford IceHogs (CHI)

Pacific Division
Bakersfield Condors (EDM)
Ontario Reign (LA)
San Antonio Rampage (COL)
San Diego Gulls (ANA)
San Jose Barracuda (SJ)
Stockton Heat (CGY)
Texas Stars (DAL)
Tucson Roadrunners (ARI)

RULE CHANGES COMING

There are several rule changes coming to the American Hockey League including a new rule on fighting. It will be under rule 46

Rule 82 (“Icing”)

The current rule on an icing call is that the offending team cannot make player substitutions. The revision to the rule is that the offending team on an icing violation cannot use a time-out to rest their players.

Rule 1.10 (“Ice Cleaning”)

The ice cleaning procedures that are used during promotional timeouts will now also be used prior to overtime during the regular season, replacing the “dry scrape.”

ON THE MOVE

Lots of players on the move who have various Connecticut connections.

Former Pack center Chad Nehring worked hard to grow from a fourth line penalty killer and faceoff specialist and borderline ECHL call-up to a successful AHL scorer who led the Pack in scoring last year, is on the move. At age 27, Nehring is viewed as old by hockey standards and no longer seen as a “prospect” earned himself a nice deal from the Ottawa Senators getting a deal paying $600K should he play in the NHL and $125K for play in the AHL at Binghamton next year.

Another ex-Pack, Jayson Megna, heads to the Vancouver Canucks and the Utica Comets with the same deal he had last season in Hartford, an NHL one-way for one year at a very cap friendly, $600K.

Now former Pack Defenseman, Kodie Curran, who split last year between Hartford and the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits heads to Denmark and Esbjerg, the defending champions of the Danish Hockey League.

Chris Mueller, a Pack alum, leaves the San Diego Gulls to sign with Arizona. Mueller’s deal is a two-way, one-year deal. He will likely play in Tucson on a contract that pays $600K in the NHL and $250K at the AHL level.

Christian Thomas, who played with two NHL and two AHL teams last season, including in Springfield, has signed with the Washington Capitals, and will likely play in Hershey with the Bears. He signed a one-year, two-way deal paying $575K in the NHL and $125K at the AHL.

Ex-Pack defenseman Mike Kostka got a $50K raise to stay in Binghamton signing a one-year, two-way deal ($800K-NHL/$325K-AHL).

Former Pack Dale Weise was a big winner in the NHL free-agency chase. The not-shy forward received a four-year $9.4 million deal from the Flyers starting at $2.75M next year.

Goalie Chad Johnson, who made lots of friends with the media while playing for the Pack, heads to his hometown of Calgary where he earned a one-year deal paying $1.7 million.

On his way back to the New York Islanders where he found his NHL game, is one-time Pack forward, PA Parenteau. While in Hartford, he and Weise were almost inseparable. Parenteau gets a one-year deal at $1.25 million.

Ex-CT Whale, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault landed himself a very nice two-year cap friendly, one-way NHL deal from the Florida Panthers at $750K per year.

Ex-CT Whale Brandon Mashinter was rewarded by the Chicago Blackhawks with a one-year, one-way deal paying $575K.

One-time Pack goalie, Al Montoya, will trade Florida shorts for Montreal winter jackets leaving the Panthers for Les Habs. Montoya picks up a one-year deal paying $950K.

Former Sound Tiger Matt Martin hit the jackpot. The Ontario boy heads back to the Toronto Maple Leafs on a four-year $10 million deal.

The biggest winners thus far in free agency were a pair of ex-Sound Tigers. Kyle Okposo gets a seven-year $42 million deal with the Buffalo Sabres while Franz Nielsen heads to Detroit for the next six years earning $5.25M per season.

One-time Sound Tiger goalie, Anders Nilsson, leaves the St. Louis Blues for Buffalo on a one-year NHL deal at $1 million.

Mac Bennett, the nephew of former Hartford Whaler Bill Bennett, got a one-year, two-way with Washington/Hershey (AHL) at $575K-NHL/$250K-AHL.

Brad Malone, nephew of former Whaler Greg Malone and cousin to former Wolf Pack Ryan Malone, signed a one-year, two-way deal with Washington/Hershey (AHL) as well. His deal pays $575K for play in the NHL and $250K in the AHL.

Philip Samuelsson, eldest son of former Ranger, Wolf Pack and Avon Old Farms assistant coach and Whalers great Ulf Samuelsson, who spent part of last year in Springfield and ending the year in Arizona, signed a one-year two-way deal with Montreal/St. John’s (AHL) at ($600K-NHL/$125K-AHL).

Cole Schneider, the former UConn player in their AHC years, signs with Buffalo who acquired him at the trade deadline. Schneider signed a one-year, two-way deal at ($600K-NHL/$300K-AHL)

After ex-Pack and ex-New York Ranger, Fedor Tyutin had the last two years of his contract bought out in Columbus, signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche at $2 million.

Ryan Bourque resigned an AHL deal with Hershey. The contract gives the younger Bourque another year playing with older brother Chris. The terms were not released.

Former Sound Tiger goalie and Avon Old Farms product, Parker Milner, signs with Hershey on an AHL deal.

Ken Agostino (Yale) get a one-year, two-way deal for Chicago/Rockford (AHL) at $625K-NHL/$125K-AHL.

Former Sound Tiger Joe Whitney won’t be torturing the Wolf Pack anymore. Last season his year was cut short by a broken leg, but Whitney signed a one-year, two-way with Colorado/San Antonio (AHL) at ($600K-NHL/$325K-AHL).

Ex-Pack and ex-Sound Tiger, Micheal Haley, will continue to play with San Jose after signing a one-year, two-way deal at ($625K-NHL/$275K-AHL).

Former Wolf Pack TJ Hensick signed a one-year, two-way deal with Los Angeles/Ontario (AHL) after splitting last year between Charlotte and Utica. Contract details not yet released.

Another former Bulldog, Andrew Miller, leaves Edmonton for Carolina/Charlotte (AHL) signing a one-year, two-way deal ($650K-NHL/$200K-AHL).

A third ex-Yalie, Sean Backman from Greenwich, CT, stays out West with LA/Ontario (AHL) after signing a one-year, two-way deal. Backman’s father is former Nighthawk, Mike Backman. He is brother-in-law to Hamden native and fellow Avon Old Farms graduate, Jonathan Quick. Contract details not yet available.

Former Sound Tiger center, Harry Zolniercyzk, leaves San Diego and signs a one-year, two-way with Nashville/Milwaukee (AHL) for $575K-NHL/$125K-AHL. His stock has gone down every year. He was making $300K in Bridgeport two years ago and last year in San Diego $250K.

Joining Zolniercyzk is another ex-Sound Tiger, Trevor Smith, who comes back from SC Bern (Switzerland-LNA) for a rare two-year, two-way deal at ($575k-$650K-NHL/ $175K-$150K-AHL) with Nashville.

Taylor Beck who played in Bridgeport last season before being traded to San Antonio is on the move again as he receives a one-year, two-way deal from Edmonton/Bakersfield (AHL) where he will earn $650K-NHL/$250K-AHL.

Simsbury native and Westminster Prep grad, Tommy Cross, re-signs with the Boston Bruins with a one-year, two-way deal paying $600K-NHL /$175K-AHL.

One time Quinnipiac Bobcat, Jeremy Langlois, signs an AHL deal with Rockford leaving San Jose (AHL).

Marc-Andre Cliché, who played just six games with the Sound Tigers after a trade with San Antonio, leaves Bridgeport to play for Toronto (AHL) on a one-year deal and contact details yet unavailable.

Former Sound Tiger defenseman, Victor Bartley, who also played games with two NHL and two AHL clubs last year signed with the Minnesota/Iowa (AHL) with a great deal $650K-NHL/$350K-AHL.

Wade Megan, who played at South Kent Prep, signed a one-year, two-way deal with St. Louis/Rockford (AHL) at ($575K-NHL-$85K-AHL) after a strong season in Portland.

The Sound Tigers signed former Quinnipiac Bobcat, Kellen Jones, who played mostly with Missouri (ECHL) last year and got a recall to Bakersfield. His brother, Connor, is expected to re-sign with the Sound Tigers bringing the twins back playing together. Both are the grandsons of former New Haven Blade, Terry Jones.

The Sound Tigers also signed out of Penn State (Big 10) defenseman, Luke Juha, and three others to one-year AHL deals. Besides Juha, another collegiate undergraduate signed in the AHL. Junior, Jamie Phillips of Michigan Tech (WCHA), signs with Manitoba (AHL). That makes 170 Division I players who signed pro deals since the collegiate season ended. That number includes 35 underclassmen.

Former UConn Husky Cody Sharib signed another one-year ECHL deal with the Indy Fuel. West Haven native Mike Peirara resigned an ECHL deal with Reading. Periara played his public school hockey at Notre Dame-West Haven and prep hockey at Avon Old Farms. Peirara’s brother Joe is an assistant coach with UConn.

One-time Sound Tiger, Chad Costello, whose team won a second consecutive ECHL Kelly Cup title, and was both the regular season and playoff MVP, has signed a new ECHL deal with Allen for next season. Joining him is ex-Sound Tiger goalie Riley Gill, who was part of both championship teams as well.

Ex-Pack, Carl Klingberg, leaves the Torpedo Novgorod (Russia-KHL) for EV Zug (Switzerland-LNA) joining ex-Pack and Ranger, Raphael Diaz.

Brendon Nash, an ex-Wolf Pack, goes from HC Kladno (Czech Republic-Division 2) to EC Graz (Austria-AEHL) next season.

Another ex-Pack, Jakub Petruzalek who split last year with Orebro HK (Sweden-SHL) and Dynamo Moscow (Russia-KHL), signs with HC Trinec (Czech Republic-CEL).

Four other AHL’ers join Kodie Curran in heading to Europe. A big catch is Alexander Khohklachev, who leaves Providence for SKA St, Petersburg (Russia-KHL).  Ex-Pack Bobby Sanguinetti leaves Rochester for EHC Kloten (Switzerland-LNA). Danny Hobbs, who spent most of the year with Binghamton and some with Evansville (ECHL), is off SonderjyskE (Denmark-DHL). John Albert goes from Manitoba to Karpat (Finland-FEL).

That makes 39 AHL’ers who are going to Europe thus far.

Ex-Pack, Colby Genoway, returns next season to Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia-KHL). Defenseman, Jerry Pollastrone, who played prep hockey at Salisbury Prep, goes from HC Bolzano (Italy-AEHL) to Vienna (Austria-AEHL) next season.

Binghamton announces its new ECHL affiliate will be the Wichita Thunder.

Former Nighthawk, Eric Dubois, whose son, Pierre-Luc, was just selected third overall in the NHL Draft and signed an ELC with Columbus, is the new assistant coach with Manitoba (AHL). The Moose new head coach is Pascal Vincent, who, along with Dubois, have Mark Morrison, the ex-Nighthawk whose assistant coaching deal with the Moose was extended another year. Dubois was an assistant with Rimouski (QMJHL) last year.

Matt Carkner retires from playing to become the Sound Tigers assistant coach next season.

Quinnipiac University saw Daniel Fritz, who played at Canterbury Prep in New Milford, transfer to Canisius College (AHC).

Three AHL coaching adds/changes: Eric Veilleux is the new head coach for San Antonio after coaching in Norfolk (ECHL) last year. Ex-Whaler, Randy Ladouceur, remains an assistant with the Rampage.

One-time Whaler, mostly an Islander, Derek King, was named an assistant coach with Rockford (AHL) and Utica loses assistant coach Paul Jerrard to Vancouver to be an assistant with the Canucks.

Correction in Off Season Volume 10 we incorrectly stated the new Milwaukee Admirals arena as the Carver Arena. It will be at UWM (University Wisconsin-Milwaukee) Panther Arena. We regret the error.

*Contract info is courtesy of generalfanager.com

KHL IN BEIJING

Former Sound Tiger Tomas Marcinko was one of the first 10 players named to the roster of the new KHL team in Beijing. The team will be called the HC Kunlun Red Star. Marcinko, a Slovak played with HC Pardubice (Czech Republic-CEL) last year.

Joining him is goalie Andrei Markov, who left Rochester last week after signing with Spartak Moscow, but his contract was sold to the team this week.

The new team will play in the 18,000 LeSports Arena formerly called the Wukesong Arena used in the 2008 Summer games in Beijing for basketball and will be the largest arena in the KHL.

The 2022 Winter Games will be held in Beijing.

Kunlun has three meanings one is martial arts style term, the other refers to the mythical Mt. Kunlun home to mythical gods and creatures and the other refers to the area adjacent to the Gobi Desert near the Tibetan Plateau and is the longest chain of mountains encompassing 1,900 miles, the largest mountain chain in Asia.

Here is the team logo:Kunlun Redstar

AHL ARENA IN LAVAL

The AHL will see more city changes after next season.

One expected move will be Montreal moving their team from St. John’s to a brand new building on the Montreal North Shore in a suburb of Laval. The building will be called, “The Place Bell Centre,’ and it will be run by Evenko Management, the same company running the Bell Centre.

Cantlon’s Corner j returned from a weekend in the city had a chance to check out the progress from last summer. (See pictures).

Much progress has been made with almost all the exterior work done by the fall so they can commence the interior work away from the harsh winters.

summer 2015Summer 2015

Summer 2016Summer 2016

(Photos by Gerry Cantlon)

The construction is being done by Pomerlau Construction and the building sits on the corner of Claude Gagnon and Lucien Paiement Streets with de la Concorde West Boulevard and Cornbusier Boulevard that leads to the nearby major Highway 15.

Toss in the very friendly Metro stop at the Montmorency (Orange line) terminal 25 minutes from downtown Montreal and this building has the potential to be a major gold mine in addition to saving the Canadiens millions in recall finances.

Right across from the building are two empty lots for a surface parking area or small parking garage and space for team offices. The city government of Laval is kicking in $46.3 million (Canadian) for the project and the total cost will be $120 million for a 10,000 seat arena with two smaller public ice skating rinks to be attached.

Ottawa seems to be inching ever closer to announcing it will be moving its team from Binghamton to Belleville, Ontario after this upcoming season. That will place their affiliate 155 miles (249 kilometers) from the Canadian capital city rather than the present 265 miles (426 kilometers).  Factor in the Canadian dollar exchange issue for Ottawa, Vancouver is likely joining them soon. Currently five of the seven Canadian NHL franchises having their farm teams in Canada. Read more about that HERE

Early talk on the location of the Las Vegas team’s AHL affiliate could be in California or Nevada too. Early rumors say it could be in Fresno or Sacramento or nearby Reno.

OLYMPIC QUALIFYING

The last three teams for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeon Chang, South Korea will be decided September 1-4 in Minsk, Belarus, Riga, Latvia and Oslo, Norway. The host country in each group is the running for the spots.

Nine of the twelve teams are already set while there are an additional twelve countries who will battle for the last three spots.

The groups involved are:

Group D

Belarus, Slovenia, Denmark, and Poland.

Group E

Latvia, Germany, Austria, and Japan

Group F

Norway, Kazakhstan, France and Italy.

Several current and ex-Wolf Pack players are likely to be involved such as Nicklas Jensen (Denmark), Mats Zuccarello (Norway) and Nigel Dawes (Kazakhstan).

 

CANTLON’S CORNER: UCONN’S TAGE THOMPSON READY FOR THE NHL

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlingsgerry-150x130

STORRS, CT The long hours and years of hard work are about to pay off for UConn‘s Tage Thompson.

The poised winger, listed at 6’5 has the potential to be drafted in the first round of the NHL’s Entry Draft on Friday night in Buffalo, New York at the First Niagara Center. The draft will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network starting at 7 pm.

The Thompson clan will be all be on hand, including his parents (Brent and Kim), as well as his grandparents. They’ll all be there except for his younger brother, Tyce, who is attending the US-17 Development camp in nearby Amherst. The coach of that team is Hartford Wolf Pack assistant coach, and assistant GM, Pat Boller.

Thompson Action # 3 Agaisnt QUMaybe he’ll be excused to head over to see the big moment?

“It’s very exciting to be projected in the first round,” said Thompson. “I’ve dreamt of it, my entire life, and now it’s starting to become a reality. It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind lately, but we’re hoping for the first round, and we’ll see where Friday takes us. I’ll just be happy whoever selects me,”

At age 18, Thompson has been hard at work in the off-season, weight training, and following a nutritional plan to add some weight to his already impressive size.

“I’d say I’m in pretty good shape right now.  I’ve been training all summer; I was up at UConn during May, and I can feel myself getting stronger, putting on some weight. I think I am ready for this. I’d like to be between 200 and 205 [pounds] before the (Hockey East) season starts. Right now, I’m at 195.” Thompson said.

Last year playing as true freshmen, he formed one of college hockey’s most potent power play combos with center Maxim Letunov. Thompson led the nation in power play goals with 13, en route to posting a total of 14 along with 18 assists in 36 games. Thompson has the ability, as big as he is, to consistently find a way to be in the right position to release his rocket of a shot.

“It was a natural connection,” Thompson said of playing with Letunov. “We knew Thompson Action #2 Against SHUwhere each other was and playing with him helped me as a player.”

Thompson is currently a resident of Orange, Connecticut. He grew up in a hockey environment. His father, Brent, was a former, Wolf Pack defenseman who had a 14-year pro career. Currently, the elder Thompson is the head coach of the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the New York Islanders’ top farm team. Having a father with Brent’s experience and teaching ability has been a great lifelong resource at his disposal that few others rarely have.

“It’s obviously helped so much to have a father who has played the game and is now into coaching. He’s been around the sport his entire life and growing up with him helped show me what it takes to get there. He’s given me advice that’s had a huge impact on my game and development. And his competitiveness is definitely a part of who I am as a player.” remarked Thompson.

Brent is on his second tour of duty as the head coach of the Sound Tigers. He played 121 NHL games in his career and took part in 635 AHL games, of which 153 were with the Wolf Pack in their first two seasons. Brent was a second round pick, 39th overall, in 1987 by the L.A. Kings while playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL).

Thompson has his father’s frame but a bit more angular than bulk, but his hockey idols give a key to his mindset.

He admires Evgeni Malkin of the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as Jeff Carter (LA) and Jamie Benn (Dallas Stars). Certainly not a bad trio to emulate.

Thompson will be among several second generation players likely to be drafted in the first round. One of those will be Alexander Nylander, (Missuagua Steelheads OHL), the son of ex-Hartford Whaler and New York Ranger, Michael Nylander. Another is Logan Brown (Windsor Spitfires, OHL) the son of former NHL’er Jeff Brown, and Matt Tkachuk, the son of 19-year veteran Keith Tkachuk. The younger Tkachuk scored the Memorial Cup winning goal in OT for the London Knights (OHL) and of course Kieffer Bellows, the son of Brian Bellows, from the USNDTP (US National Development Team Program). Bellows will attend Boston University in the fall.

Thompson Action # 1 Agaisnt BrownThompson also has had access to the hockey community over the years including his father’s trusted assistant coach and West Haven native, Eric Boguniecki, who played his prep school hockey at Gunnery and Westminster and had been invaluable to him.

“He has played the game in the NHL (178 games, and 341 points in 351 AHL games) and I’ve been able to talk with him to get advice on certain aspects of the game that you could only get from somebody with experience,” Thompson stated.

Thompson came to UConn via the USNDTP program which now operates out of Plymouth, Michigan. He plays in the Junior A USHL (United States Hockey League) and a fellow former teammate and Connecticut native from Ridgefield, Chad Krys; a defenseman who’s also a projected first round pick. Krys is heading to Boston University, and the two have been training together.

“We have been working out down here (Fairfield County), and he is top flight player himself,”

As tempting as it might be, even in jest, there haven’t been any side bets on who gets drafted first between the two pals.

“No, no,” Thompson said with a laugh. “I wish him the best.“

The two were at the NHL Combines, for a strictly off the ice, dry land situation, and no skating in the evaluation process.

“For the first few days, we met with all the teams, interviewed with their staff and so on so they could have an opportunity to get to know you,” Thompson said. “Then they put us through all sorts of tests, like the long jump, vertical leap, stuff like that. There was no skating at all, just all off-ice things.”

The decision to go to UConn as a true freshman last year was not an easy decision for the then 17-year-old when he arrived at Storrs.

“There was a certain wow factor playing against 24-year-old men. There was an adjustment to that, and I got more comfortable as the year went on.”

UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh’s trust in his prized freshmen on one of the youngest Division I teams in the country, was not unnoticed by Thompson.

“I’m in a really good spot here at UConn They’ve given me many opportunities to be successful. I feel comfortable with the coaching staff, my teammates, and I feel like we’re going to have a solid team next year. Coach showed his faith in me by trusting me, even though I was young coming in. There were growing pains he had to work with (with me) along the way.”

In addition to the joy coming tomorrow night, Thompson was selected on Monday to take part in next month’s trip to Michigan as a part of the 42 player World Junior Championship Evaluation Camp. The highly regarded Christmas time (December 26-January 5) tournament will be held in Toronto and Montreal this year. The Pool A Group the US is in will play in Toronto and games at the Air Canada Centre.

Thompson, who has dual citizenship, said college, not Canadian major junior, was the preferred route for him and that he will be back for his sophomore season at UConn, only he’ll return with an NHL jersey to sport with his name on it.

NOTES:

Thompson’s teammate, defenseman Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, NJ), is also draft eligible. Masonius was also named to the WJC Evaluation Camp next month.

The last time the NHL Draft took place in Buffalo was in 1991 and was held in the old Aud. That year, there were two Connecticut natives drafted. The first was Mike Pomichter of North Haven. He played at Boston University and was chosen by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round. The other selection was former Wolf Pack, Todd Hall. He was taken by the Hartford Whalers in the third round out of The University of New Hampshire.

Thompson’s linemate, Letunov had his NHL rights dealt for the second time on Monday as the Arizona Coyotes sent his rights to the San Jose Sharks along with a 2017 6th round pick for the Sharks 2016 4th round pick this year and 3rd round pick next year.

Letunov was originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 2014 in the second round, 52nd overall. St. Louis sent Letunov to Arizona for D Zybnek Michalek and last year’s third-round pick.

The 6’2 swift skating and puckhandling Russian came to UConn after changing his mind and rescinding his commitment to Boston University. He was named to the All-Hockey-East Rookie Team and selected to the All-Conference second team. Letunov set the Huskies record for regular season points.

Letunov played US junior hockey with the Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) and then the Swift Current Broncos (WHL) selected him in the first round, 36th overall, in the 2014 CHL Import Draft. The Moscow native saw the Russian team, Salavat Yulaev, select him in the KHL Draft in 2013.

Enfield native Robbie Baillargeon might have achieved a college hockey first. As a graduate transfer from Boston University to Arizona State, under current NCCA guidelines, Baillargeon can play this season only as an undergraduate or would have to wait a year. Grad transfers have happened in football and college baseball.

In Hockey East news, goalie Patrick “Packy” Munson has left the University of Vermont and headed back home to Minnesota. Rumors were that he was going to transfer to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, but he decided on the University of Denver.

Two more underclassmen from college hockey have signed with NHL clubs this week.

Boston College lost big defenseman Ian McCoshen to the Florida Panthers, and would likely see him start the season with the Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL).

RW Nick Schmaltz of the national champion, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (nee Fighting Sioux), has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks and will start next year with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL).

Jimmy Vesey of Harvard could be a third to sign an NHL deal. The much-heralded left-winger has his four-year degree in hand. He had his rights traded from the Nashville Predators to the Buffalo Sabres, who gave up a third round pick. Vesey has elected under the CBA rules to become a free agent, so Buffalo enters the same sweepstakes as the rest of the NHL to win his rights. Toronto is one of the biggest players in that pursuit and just made his father Jim Vesey, a team scout after drafting his brother Nolan (University of Maine) last year, The Rangers and Boston Bruins are both considered to be players in the Vesey Sweepstakes.

35 Division 1 underclassmen have signed professional deals thus far, 143 players in total have departed for the pro ranks since the end of last year’s collegiate season among the five college hockey conferences.

North Dakota, Michigan, and Boston College have lost the most with five underclassmen each.

Former Yale Bulldog, and Bridgeport Sound Tiger, Jesse Root, heads overseas to HC Bolzano in Italy. HC Bolzano plays in the Austrian Elite League. Root spent most of the last year with the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL) and just seven games in Bridgeport.

At the US U-17 Select Camp, Pat Boller is not the only HWP connection. As mentioned, Boller is the head coach, but one of the goalie coaches is none other than ex-Wolf Pack, Phil Osaer. The Team’s GM is Danbury native, Kenny Rausch, who played at Immaculate High School. Besides Tyce Thompson, one other Connecticut prep school player invited was Ben Mirageas of Avon Old Farms.

Our condolences on the passing of Michigan State’s great head coach Ron Mason, who dies earlier this month at age 76. Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, MI was the site of the memorial service and honored the second all-time winningest coach in college hockey history (Jerry York BC is tops). Mason had a career record of 924-380-83. Mason also coached at Lake Superior State and Bowling Green University and played at St. Lawrence University in the early 1960’s.

His son-in-law was Shawn Walsh of the University of Maine and his grandson, Travis Walsh, just graduated from Michigan State. Travis went undrafted and played three games apiece with the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL) and the Chicago Wolves (AHL). Tyler Walsh is an assistant coach with the USNDTP U-18 Team.

Photos Courtesy Of UConn Athletic Department

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 6

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Here’s this week’s news from around professional hockey.

STANLEY CUP FINALS

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks started the final series of the hockey season on Memorial Day, and a Connecticut kid played a big part.

Farmington native, and Avon Old Farms grad, Nick Bonino, scored with 2:25 left in regulation off a superb pass from Kris Letang, and flipped his shot high to the short side, to give the Penguins a 3-2 victory in Game One.

The Penguins, in the Sidney Crosby era, are seeking their third title. Behind the bench is Mike Sullivan, the ex-New York Rangers assistant coach under John Tortorella. Sullivan is at the helm after being promoted from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins earlier in the year. Sullivan replaces the fired Mike Johnston. Former Ranger and one-time Hartford Wolf Pack/CT Whale, Carl Hagelin gets his second shot at the Cup.

Ex-CT Whale, Tim Erixon, is one of the Penguins’ Black Aces.

The San Jose Sharks are making their first appearance in the final in their 25- year history. The Sharks feature Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, who have a combined 2,778 NHL games without a Stanley Cup. One of the Sharks Black Aces is former Wolf Pack and Sound Tiger Micheal Haley.

The Sharks radio play-by-play voice is Dan Rusanowsky, a Milford native, and former voice of the New Haven Nighthawks. Rusanowsky becomes the second Nighthawks alumni announcer to call a Stanley Cup final. Hockey Hall of Famer from the Los Angeles Kings Nick Nickson called two Stanley Cup championships in LA.

AHL CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS

It’s the Lake Erie Monsters and the Hershey Bears who will battle for the 80th Calder Cup title.

Hershey knocked off regular offensive powerhouse, the Toronto Marlies, in five games. The Bears won Game Five by a 3-2 score clinching their appearance in the championship final. In the history of the AHL, these two cities have produced the most titles the Bears 11 and Cleveland 10 mostly in the late 1950’s and 1960’s period.

In the history of the AHL, the two cities where Lake Erie and Hershey are located have produced the most titles. The Bears have won eleven in Chocolate-town and Cleveland has won ten, though theirs came mostly in the late 1950’s and 1960’s.

In the 21st century, the Bears have won the title three times. The last victory came in the 2009-2010 season when they beat the Texas Stars in six games, (4-2). They won the previous season against the Manitoba Moose and they were also victorious in 2005-06 beating the Milwaukee Admirals all four games to two.

Cleveland last appeared in the Calder Cup Final as the original Barons lost to the Rochester Americans four games to two. Their last title came in 1964 when they swept the Quebec Aces, who featured Fred Glover who would eventually make his way into the AHL Hall-of-Fame. Glover was the team’s leading scorer, PIM leader, and their head coach!

One thing the league won’t have to worry about is attendance in this series. Hershey and Cleveland have always been on top of the AHL’s attendance figures.

The Bears feature ex-Wolf Pack players Chris and Ryan Bourque, who was last year’s captain before being traded for Chris Brown at the NHL trade deadline. Chris won the regular season scoring title and was named the AHL MVP. In this playoff season, he has become the all-time leading playoff point-earner in Hershey. The elder Bourque surpassed Mike Nykoluk (74 points, 1958-1972) who went on to be a Rangers assistant coach in the late 1970’s and the head coach ifor the Toronto Maple Leafs for three seasons.

The Bears also have Chandler Stephenson, the nephew of ex-Whaler Bob Stephenson, former Sound Tiger captain, Aaron Ness, and assistant coach Randy Murphy, an ex-Wolf Pack.

Lake Erie features ten ex-Springfield Falcons from a year ago when Columbus switched its affiliation. Among them is their defenseman, Steve Eminger. The ex-CT Whale ended last year tearing his right knee up at the XL Center as a member of the Providence Bruins. Eminger rehabbed and signed mid-season with the Monsters. Ex-Sound Tiger tough guy Brett Gallant is a Monster too. On defense is Stratford native, and former Fairfield Prep and Taft Prep, player Jamie Sifers. Also on the roster is Westport native, and Choate Prep grad, Mike Paliotta and former Rangers defenseman, Justin Falk.

One of the assistant coaches is former Beast of New Haven, Nolan Pratt.

MEMORIAL CUP

The London Knights are kings of Canadian junior hockey.

It took overtime to overcome a great effort by QMJHL champs, the Rouyn Noranda Huskies, seeking to achieve one of the biggest upsets in Memorial Cup history.

The Huskies attempt would certainly rank with another major underdog story dating back to 1979. In that year, the high-powered Brandon Wheat Kings lost 2-1 in overtime to the Peterborough Petes.

It was not a shock considering London’s top line consisted of Mitch Marner (Toronto), Christian Dvorak (Arizona) and Matt Tkachuk (2016 draft eligible) factored in the game winner and game-tying goals.

At 7:13 Thachuk came off the left-wing and snapped a wrister that Dvorak got the shaft of his stick on redirecting it just past the Huskies’ goalie, Chase Marchand. Tkachuk, was given credit for the game-winning tally and second goal of the game.

It looked like the Huskies would engineer their upset as Julien Nantel’s bang-bang rebound at 9:13 would hold up. The goal came off great pass from Alexandre Fortin.

The Knights had won 17 in a row showed and demonstrated why they are such an offensive juggernaut under head coach Dale Hunter.

Trailing 2-1, Dvorak took a pass from Aaron Berisha and zipped a backhander in at 15:49 to tie the game at two. The eventual tournament MVP, Marner nearly won it in regulation in the last minute hitting the crossbar from fifteen feet out. Marner had 14 points in the four games he played.

London has Max Jones (son of ex-Nighthawk, Brad Jones, 2016 draft eligible), goalie Brendan Burke (son of Hartford Whalers’ Sean Burke) and ex-Wolf Pack Mike Martin (team scout).

The host Red Deer Rebels were eliminated by the Rouyn Noranda Huskies 3-1 last Friday night to get to play London. That ended the season for Jake Debrusk son of ex-Wolf Pack Louie DeBrusk, Ivan Nikolishin son of ex-Whaler Andrei Nikolishin and Adam Musil son ex-NHL’er Frantisek Musil and nephew of ex-Whaler and Ranger Bobby Holik.

Brandon head coach/GM Kelly McCrimmon is the younger brother of late Whaler Brad McCrimmon.

The goal of the tournament was scored by Brandon’s John Quenneville (second cousin of former Whaler and Blackhawks coach, Joel Quenneville) on the second night of the tournament against Rouyn-Noranda. See it HERE

RANGER NEWS

In a move that could affect the makeup of the Wolf Pack coaching staff next season, Rangers assistant coach, Ulf Samuelsson, has been hired Ron Francis, the Carolina GM and his long-time friend and former Hartford Whaler teammate. Samuelsson becomes the third head coach in the Charlotte Checkers AHL history. Samuelsson replaces Mark Morris, the ex-New Haven Nighthawk, who took the job at his alma mater, St. Lawrence University (ECACHL).

Samuelsson played 1,080 NHL games, 463 of them in Hartford and for his career had 31-145-176 and 1,110 PIM. In Hartford, Samuelsson’s number 5 and Francis’ number 10 hang in the rafters of the XL Center. He was the assistant coach in 2005-06 with the Wolf Pack and in 2004-05 with Avon Old Farms prep school when they had a goalie from Hamden named, Jonathan Quick.

Samuelsson has all four of his children involved in hockey. The eldest Philip split last year with the Arizona Coyotes and the Springfield Falcons. Henrik played all season in Springfield (nee Tucson). His daughter Victoria is a sophomore with the Penn State University varsity women’s team and the youngest child, Adam, has committed to Boston College this past spring and played with the CT Jr. Rangers (USPHL-Premier) last year.

This leaves an opening in New York where it’s likely that Wolf Pack assistant coach, Jeff Beukeboom, is likely to get the promotion call to work with the defenseman there as he has the last four years in Hartford.

WORLD CUP HOCKEY ROSTERS

The rosters are set for the September inaugural tournament patterned to capture the great Canada Cup series in the 1980’s. Some of the usual suspects with CT ties will be a part of various lineups.

Team Europe – Nino Neiderreiter, and Franz Nielsen (Sound Tigers) and Mats Zuccarello (CT Whale)

Team Finland – Mikko Koskinen (Sound Tigers) and Lauri Korpikoski (Wolf Pack)

Team North America – J.T. Miller (Wolf Pack) and Sean Couturier (son of Nighthawks Sylvain)

Team Russia – Artem Anisimov (Wolf Pack) and Vladimir Namestnikov (son of Wolf Pack Evgeni)

Team Sweden – Cal Hagelin (CT Whale)

Team USA – Jonathan Quick (Hamden), Max Pacioretty (New Canaan) and a trio of ex-Wolf Pack Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Callahan, and Brandon Dubinsky.

WOLF PACK PRIORITY DATES

The Wolf Pack regular season home opener is one of seven dates the team released as guaranteed home dates for the 2016-17 AHL season.

The 20th season of the franchise, now longer than the Hartford Whalers were in the Connecticut capital will commence at home on Friday, October 14th. The six other released special dates are; Wednesday, November 2nd 11:00am, Friday, November 25, Saturday, December 10, Friday, January 6, Friday, January 20, and Friday, January 28.

The full AHL schedule will be released in mid-August. The league needs to wait until after the NBA schedules are released. Why? Lake Erie and San Antonio are owned by NBA teams and play in the same building. The two teams are last NBA/AHL connections. Milwaukee will play at University-Wisconsin Carver Arena because the BMO Harris Center is being torn down and Charlotte already has moved to the Bojanglee Coliseum.

ON THE MOVE

Milford native, Mark Arcobello, who played collegiately at Yale and his public school hockey at Fairfield Prep, and prep school at Salisbury Prep (winning a championship at both), has signed with SC Bern (Switzerland-LNA).

Max Talbot who split last season between Providence and Boston is heading to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (Russia-KHL).

Ex-Pack Corey Potter who split last year with Springfield and Milwaukee and got a brief late season recall to Nashville will be joining former Wolf Pack teammate Dane Byers in Cologne (Germany-DEL) next season.

Domink Uher from Wilkes Barre/Scranton heads back home to HC Sparta Prague of the Czech Elite League (CEL). Zach Phillips, who spent most of the year with Providence, but was reassigned to three different teams in the second half Chicago (AHL) and Atlanta and Kalamazoo (ECHL), heads to Sweden to Tingsryds AIF (Sweden-Allsvenskan).

Zach Phillips, who spent most of the year with Providence but was reassigned to three different teams in the second half of the season, Chicago (AHL) and Atlanta and Kalamazoo (ECHL), heads to Sweden to Tingsryds AIF (Sweden-Allsvenskan).

Former pair of CT Whale players taking up new European residences, Casey Wellman goes from Spartak Moscow (Russia-KHL) to Frolunda HC (Sweden-SHL) the defending champions. Francois Bouchard goes from HC Val Pusteria (Italy LIHG A-League) to GHC Bordeaux (France-FREL).

Manitoba Moose announced its new head coach will be Jets assistant coach Pascal Vincent who has extensive QMJHL coaching experience before becoming an NHL assistant coach.

PRE-SEASON NHL GAME IN BRIDGEPORT

The New York Islanders will host their third NHL pre-season game at the Webster Bank Arena on Saturday, October 1st against the Washington Capitals at 7pm.

WJC TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

The highly regarded tournament returns to North America on Boxing Day in Toronto and Montreal with a twist on the format between the two cities for the tournament.

Toronto ACC (Air Canada Centre) will host one group featuring the US, Canada, Russia, Slovakia, and Latvia. Then in Montreal at the Bell Centre the other group (Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Denmark, and Switzerland) for the preliminary round. Each city will host the quarterfinal round and the semifinal round and medal games will be held in Montreal.

The US squad could feature UConn’s Tage Thompson and Ridgefield native, Chad Krys. Slovakia will likely have incoming UConn freshmen and Ranger draft pick, Adam Huska, in net and another slick skating center, Husky Max Letunov , who will be playing for Russia.

HALL OF FAME

Steve Moria, a one-time New Haven Nighthawk who played all 105 games of his AHL career in the Elm City, was inducted in the British Hockey Hall of Fame. Moria was the last Nighthawk to play actively in pro hockey.

Moria played until he was fifty before retiring five years ago. He played in over 1,339 games in Britain including their National team and World Championship teams with 3,043 total points in his career.

He played his last three season with Basingstoke (EIPHL) as a player-coach in fact 10 of his British season he held that title.

Among the teams he played for included Fife (Scotland), London, Milton Keynesn, Nottingham, Swindon, Blackburn and the Cardiff Devils in Wales where he was held in very high regard for 12 years and the Slough Jets. He played in all the leagues that have been around the UK such as the EIHL, BNL, EIPHL, BD 1 & 2 and BISL.

He is from Vancouver and played Junior A hockey in Richmond, BC for three years in the BCHL. He played collegiately at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks when it was a Division 2 program and is their Hall of Fame as well.

IN MEMORIAM

The hockey world took a double whammy this week with the loss of one-time Whaler Rick MacLeish 66, (meningitis and other complications) and Tom Lysiak 63, (Leukemia) who both had battled these illnesses for several years.

MacLeish gained his stardom with the Philadelphia Flyers as one of its top scorers during their Broad Street Bullies days in the early to mid-1970’s.

He was drafted in the first round fourth overall by the Boston Bruins in 1970 from Peterborough (OHL). He never played for the Boston. The Bobby Orr-led Bruins halfway through his first year of pro playing in the minors playing with Oklahoma City (CHL) he was a part of three team trade between Philadelphia, Toronto and Boston.

He struggled to find his game until he broke out in 1972-’73 season with 50 goals and 50 assists. He was one of six Flyers to hit the 50 goal mark in franchise history (Reggie Leach, Bill Barber, John LeClair, Tim Kerr and March Recchi) were the others.

He scored the Stanley Cup game winner for the Flyers first Stanley Cup in 1973-’74 beating the heavily favored Bruins 1-0 in Game 6 led the play playoffs in scoring with 13 goals and nine assists, but he lost out on the Conn Smythe trophy to teammate Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent both times.

On the Flyers second and last Cup winning team in 1974-75 he had 20 points in 13 games the team was also the last Stanley Cup team to win with a lineup that was comprised of all Canadians. He was an NHL All-Star three times in his 12-year career.

MacLeish had great speed for the time, one of his patented moves to come across the blue line and shift to his off-wing shooting side, going against the grain before firing his hard and very accurate wrist shot. He led the Flyers team in scoring in 1976-77.

He escaped what could have been a life threatening incident in a late season game in LA in 1978. MacLeish slid into and was accidently cut on the neck by the skate blade of Marcel Dionne. The injury resulted in MacLeish receiving 80 stitches to close the wound.

MacLeish came to the Whalers in the summer of 1981. he arrived in the Connecticut capital with Blake Wesley (former Whaler Glen’s older brother) and big tough winger Don Gillen. The trade sent Fred Arthur and Ray Allison the otheer way. All five players never made an impact for their teams. The only notable exception was defenseman Fred Arthur who would retire two years later to become a doctor.

The Whalers traded MacLeish to Pittsburgh for defenseman Russ Anderson, who still lives and works in Connecticut. Two years later MacLeish retired as a member of the Red Wings.

Lysiak was a second overall selection in the 1973 draft for the first incarnation of NHL hockey in Atlanta, the Flames. He was also drafted by the WHA’s Houston Aeros. Denis Potvin of the Islanders went first overall.

Lysiak played junior hockey for the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) winning the scoring title his last two years when he had Lanny MacDonald as his winger before being taken fourth overall by Toronto. He played in the 1974 Memorial Cup tournament.

He played for the Flames for six years leading them in scoring five of the six years, and made three straight NHL All-Star game appearances. He was the face of the franchise and retired to the Atlanta area.

Lysiak was part of what was then the largest trade in NHL history in 1978. The move was an eight player trade between Atlanta and the Chicago Blackhawks. Lysiak was the Flames’ team captain at the time.

He played seven years with Chicago before retiring in 1985 after 919 NHL games with 292 goals and 843 points.

Lysiak might most be remembered for his twenty game suspension for tripping linesman Ron Foyt on October 30, 1983 against the Hartford Whalers. The suspension remains one of the longest in NHL history and has been the standard for player contact with an official. It set a standard that even holds to this day as it was used as a measuring stick this past season for the crosscheck hit by Calgary’s Dennis Wideman on linesman Don Henderson.

Lysiak’s daughter, Jessica Lee Lysiak, is married to San Jose Sharks’ defenseman, Justin Braun, who’s competing for the Stanley Cup. He will miss tonight’s game to be with his wife and family. Braun’s agent is former New England and Hartford Whaler Tim Sheehy.

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