Category Archives: New York Rangers

RANGERS REDUCE TRAINING CAMP ROSTER

rp_new-york-r_thumb.gifRANGERS REDUCE TRAINING CAMP ROSTER

50 Players Remain in Training Camp

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, September 27, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has reduced its Training Camp roster by 13 players.

Adam Chapie, Troy Donnay, Michael Joly, and Ahti Oksanen have been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL). Matt Carey, Spiro Goulakos, and Garrett Noonan were released from their Professional Tryouts, while Nick Betz, Reid Duke, and Joseph Raaymakers were released from their Amateur Tryouts. In addition, Tim Gettinger, Ty Ronning, and Sergey Zborovskiy were returned to their respective junior clubs.

Carey, Chapie, Donnay, Duke, Goulakos, Joly, Noonan, and Oksanen will all report to the Wolf Pack’s Training Camp.

The Rangers have 50 players remaining in Training Camp. The roster breakdown is listed below:

Forwards (28): Chris Brown, Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Steven Fogarty, Gabriel Fontaine, Nathan Gerbe, Tanner Glass, Michael Grabner, Ryan Gropp, Kevin Hayes, Marek Hrivik, Nicklas Jensen, Josh Jooris, Robin Kovacs, Chris Kreider, Maxim Lapierre, Oscar Lindberg, Philip McRae, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Cristoval Nieves, Brandon Pirri, Derek Stepan, Malte Stromwall, Adam Tambellini, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello

Defensemen (16): Calle Andersson, Mat Bodie, Adam Clendening, Sean Day, John Gilmour, Dan Girardi, Ryan Graves, Nick Holden, Tommy Hughes, Kevin Klein, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, Michael Paliotta, Brady Skjei, Marc Staal, Chris Summers

Goaltenders (6): Brandon Halverson, Magnus Hellberg, Henrik Lundqvist, Jeff Malcolm, Antti Raanta, Mackenzie Skapski

CANTLON’S CORNER: HOCKEY SEASON IS ALMOST UPON US

gerry-150x130BY: Gerard Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CTTraining camps have opened across North America and that means there are still some last minute signings and movement as the 2016-2017 season prepares to get underway.

ON THE MOVE

Right-wing on last season’s Hartford Wolf Pack roster, Shawn O’Donnell, has signed a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL). O’Donnell, who made the Wolf Pack as a walk-on three years ago, was a healthy scratch for more than half last season. He will be in the Milwaukee Admiral’s training camp.

Luke Adam, now a six-year pro, is at the Calgary Flames’ training camp on a PTO try-out deal. Matt Lindblad has retired. Lindblad had a back injury and the surgery to repair it caused him to miss most of this past season. He cut short his comeback after just eight games. Lindblad is now a pro scout for the Boston Bruins after just three seasons of pro hockey.

17 players from last season’s Wolf Pack roster who played at least ten or more games (two others didn’t) have signed elsewhere for this season.

One-time Bridgeport Sound Tiger Ryan Strome has signed a two-year contract extension with the New York Islanders with a payout of $2 million this year and $3 million next year.

On September 16th, former New Haven Senator John Ferguson Jr. was named the GM for the Providence Bruins. Ferguson has handled those duties for two other AHL franchises in his career, the St. John’s Maple Leafs and Worcester Sharks. He also is the Director of Player Development for the parent Boston Bruins where he handles their pro and amateur scouting.

CRABB RETIRES

Former Wolf Pack Joey Crabb has hung up his skates. The native Alaskan becomes the 67th former player to make the move to the coaching ranks. He will be a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Alaska-Anchorage (WCHA) this coming season.

Crabb’s tenure could be a short one. The Alaska state legislature is facing a serious economic downturn in the nation’s 49th state. It’s Board of Regents will decide in November, as a part of their overall budget review, whether one or both of it’s state college varsity programs at Anchorage and its conference rival, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, will get the axe.

He could become the school’s second full-time assistant coach as Josh Ciocco, the team’s assistant the last four years, left last week for a job at Brown University.

Crabb is the fifth ex-Hartford player this off-season to retire and move into coaching. The others are Chris McKelvie, who joins his twin brother Zach at Army (AHC), Jason LaBarbera, Calgary (WHL), Manny Malhotra, Vancouver (NHL) and Jeff Woywitka, Sherwood Park (AJHL).

MORE COLLEGE PLAYERS SIGN PRO DEALS

Another four college players have signed pro deals starting with University of Vermont grad Alexx Privitera who signed with the Manchester Monarchs,(ECHL). Dennis Kravchenko moves from UMASS-Amherst (HE) and signed with Calgary/Stockton (AHL). The Idaho Steelheads (ECHL) picked up Ryan Keller (Michigan State, Big 10) and Jarrett Fennell (Northeastern HE).

The signings of Privitera, Kravchenko, Keller and Fennell raises the number of players who have inked North American pro hockey deals after the collegiate regular season ended in March to 206.

Phil Esposito Jr. of East Haven and a former New Haven Knight (UHL) who stepped down as head coach of Danbury Titans (FHL), has signed to become the head coach of the expansion Watertown (NY) Wolves (FHL).

Former Wolf Pack/CT Whale Jared Nightingale signs for another year to be the captain of Toledo Walleye (ECHL). When he hangs up the blades, he likely to become an assistant coach somewhere.

Dean Yakura, who played in Danbury last season, has signed a one-year deal with Manchester (ECHL). Joining him in the Queen City is former Gunnery Prep player Craig Wyszomirski.

Drew MacKenzie (New Canaan/Taft Prep) has switched from Dornbirner EC (Austria-AEHL) to EC Kassel (Germany DEL-2) this year.

Pat Mullane (Wallingford/Avon Old Farms) moves from Assat Pori (Finland-FEL) to HC Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic-CEL) this year.

Tomas Kaberle, who played two games for the Wolf Pack in 2014-15, announced his retirement after playing last year in his native Czech Republic for HC Brno Comets. He will be living in Toronto where he will get involved in coaching somewhere down the line.

FORMER WHALER PASSES AWAY

Our prayers and thoughts are extended to the family of one-time Hartford Whaler, Richie Dunn, who passed away suddenly at age 59 in the Buffalo area late this week.

Dunn played 76 games with the Whalers from 1983-1985 covering a season-and-a-half. He played a total of 483 NHL games mostly with the Buffalo Sabres and one season in Calgary with the Flames.

Dunn had a stellar AHL career with the Rochester Americans and is an inductee in the American’s Hall of Fame. He was named an AHL first-team All-Star twice and was on the second team once. He won a Calder Cup title with the Americans in 1986-’87 playing a majority of his 428 AHL games there. He won the best defenseman award (Eddie Shore Trophy) with the Binghamton Whalers in 1984-85 and played two seasons with the Hershey Bears.

A Boston-born player played Canadian junior hockey in the OHL in the mid-1970’s for Kingston and Windsor a rarity in that era as few Americans dared to head North and play there.

ANOTHER LEGEND PASSES AWAY

The sport of US hockey lost a legend, Walter Bush. He was a pioneer and it’s not an understatement to call him a true hockey lion. Bush was 86 and just three days shy of his 87th birthday.

His name is all over the US blueprint for the development of the game in the US from the gold medal winning Squaw Valley team in 1960 to the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. Bush worked hard to promote women’s hockey to become an Olympic sport in the mid-1990’s. Bush helped craft a US model for hockey development similar to what had been done in Canada. His efforts were instrumental in the growth of youth hockey and helped lead the junior national team in becoming a force and able to compete internationally. He helped start the Minnesota North Stars (nee Dallas Stars) and owned a portion of the AHL Kentucky Thoroughblades.

He served with US hockey and its antecedent the AHA  (American Hockey Association) since 1959 and served on the Olympic and IIHF boards as well.

TRAVERSE CITY TOURNEY WRAPUP

It was the Jimmy Vesey show in Michigan.

Vesey registered five goals and two assists for seven points in the tournament. Vesey led the tournament in goals (five) and shots on goal (20), and he tied for first among all skaters in the tournament in points (seven).

Vesey’s five goals were tied for the most any player has registered in one year during the Traverse City Tournament since 2007. Vesey’s seven points were tied for the most any Ranger has posted in one year in the Traverse City Tournament. He notched a point in each of the tournament’s four games. Also, he posted a multi-point game in each of the final three contests, including a multi-goal game in each of the final two contests.

Vesey recorded the game-winning goal in the Rangers’ 5-4 shootout win over the Dallas Stars on September 17, and he tallied the game-winning goal in the final minute of the Rangers 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on September 19.

It’s a safe bet that Vesey won’t be in the Pack’s opening night lineup against St. John’s.

Malte Stromwall tied for second on the Rangers in goals (two), points (three), and shots on goal (eight) in the tournament. Stromwall, who was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on April 17, 2016, registered two goals in the Rangers’ 5-4 win against the Stars on September 17.

Robin Kovacs, who was Stromwall’s linemate in Sweden last season, was tied for second on the Rangers in goals (two) and shots on goal (eight) in the tournament. The 19-year-old, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round (62nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, tallied a goal in each of the Rangers first two games of the tournament.

Cristoval Nieves tied for second on the Rangers in assists (two) and points (three) in the Traverse City Tournament. Nieves, who served as the Rangers’ captain in the tournament, notched the game-tying goal with less than one minute remaining in regulation to help the Rangers defeat the Stars on September 17, and he tallied an assist on both of New York’s goals in the team’s 2-1 win against Minnesota on September 19.

John Gilmour led the Rangers – and tied for fifth among all skaters in the tournament – in assists (three), and he tied for second on the team in points (three). Gilmour, who was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on August 18, 2016, tied for second among all defensemen in the tournament in assists and points.

Sean Day tied for first among all defensemen in the tournament in goals (two) and tied for second among all defensemen in the tournament in points (three). The 18-year-old, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round (81st overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, recorded two goals on September 20 against Columbus.

The Rangers kick off training camp this weekend here is the training camp roster.

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

 

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK ANNOUNCE PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE

rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpgWOLF PACK ANNOUNCE PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE

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Includes Return of Friday-night $1 Hot Dog, $2 Beer Deal

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, September 21, 2016:  Spectra, operators of the XL Center and the Hartford Wolf Pack, today revealed the schedule of game-night promotions highlighting the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 20th-anniversary AHL season.

Once again this year, Wolf Pack fans can take advantage of two special promotions throughout the season.  The Pack’s ever-popular Friday-night food and beverage discount is back, as at every Friday-night Pack home game, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period.  Also returning are the Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket” Family Value Packs.  Those are available for all of the Pack’s Sunday and Wednesday home games, as well as the one Tuesday date, December 27, and include two tickets, two hot dogs and two soft drinks, all for only $40.  In a new wrinkle this season, at every Sunday Wolf Pack home game, the first 2,000 fans will receive a “hockey bingo” card.  The spaces on these cards contain possibilities that might happen in the game, and if they do, fans can fill in the spaces to win Wolf Pack bingo prizes.

In addition to those consistent features, the Wolf Pack will again be offering fans a bevy of single-night promotions and giveaways in 2016-17.  The first of those is at the Pack’s season opener Friday, October 14, a 7:15 PM contest at the XL Center vs. the St. John’s IceCaps.  The first 5,000 fans into that game will take home a Wolf Pack magnetic schedule, courtesy of CT-DOT.

Following is the full 2016-17 Wolf Pack promotional schedule:

Date/Opponent                                Faceoff    Promotion

Friday, October 14 vs. St. John’s               7:15         Opening Night (Magnetic                                                                                                                  schedule giveaway to the first                                                                                                          5,000 fans, presented by CT-                                                                                                           DOT)
Friday, October 28 vs. Lehigh Valley        7:15        The Wolf Pack put on their                                                                                                               “Howl-a-ween” celebration
Saturday, October 29 vs. Utica                   7:00       First 2,000 fans receive Wolf                                                                                                           Pack 20th-anniversary trading                                                                                                         card sets (set 1 of 4)                                                                                                                               presented by KOTA Solutions
Wednesday, Nov. 2 vs. Lehigh Valley     11:00      “Sonar’s Ed-u-skate” school-                                                                                                             day game
Friday, November 4 vs. Bridgeport          7:15       First 2,000 fans receive a                                                                                                                  Wolf Pack license plate cover,                                                                                                           sponsored by Aetna
Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. W-B/Scranton         5:00        Thanksgiving food drive
Wednesday, Nov. 16 vs. Springfield        7:00       Thanksgiving food drive                                                                                                                     continues
Sunday, November 20 vs. Providence   5:00        First 3,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                       Pack ice scraper, courtesy of                                                                                                              Aer Lingus; plus Sonar’s B’day
Friday, November 25 vs. Albany              7:15          First 2,000 fans receive 20th–                                                                                                           anniversary trading cards (set 2                                                                                                       of 4) presented by KOTA                                                                                                                   solutions, plus the Wolf Pack’s                                                                                                         annual “Teddy Bear Toss”
Saturday, December 10 vs. Toronto          7:00     First 2,000 fans receive a 2017                                                                                                      Wolf Pack team calendar, plus                                                                                                         “Star Wars Night”
Tuesday, December 27 vs. Providence      7:00     First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                        Pack ski cap
Saturday, December 31 vs. Albany              5:00     First 2,000 fans receive 20th–                                                                                                           anniversary trading card set                                                                                                             (set 3 of 4) presented by KOTA                                                                                                        Solutions
Saturday, January 7 vs. Bridgeport            7:30      Wolf Pack “red-out”, as first                                                                                                              5,000 fans receive a red Wolf                                                                                                          Pack t-shirt presented by CT-                                                                                                            DOT
Friday, January 20 vs. Toronto                   7:15       First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                       Pack 20th-anniversary poster,                                                                                                          presented by Bud Light, and                                                                                                            “Hartford Hockey Heritage                                                                                                                Weekend” begins
Saturday, January 21 vs. Rochester          7:00       Hartford Hockey Heritage                                                                                                                  Weekend” continues
Saturday, January 28 vs. Providence       7:00      First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                       Pack 2016-17 trading card set,                                                                                                          and Wolf Pack wear special                                                                                                                “Stick it to Cancer” jerseys
Saturday, February 4 vs. Rochester          7:30       First 1,000 kids 14 or younger                                                                                                         receive a Wolf Pack youth                                                                                                                  jersey
Sunday, February 19 vs. Springfield         5:00      “Sonar Saves” pet adoption                                                                                                               night
Friday, February 24 vs. Hershey                7:15        First 2,000 fans receive 20th–                                                                                                          anniversary trading card set (set                                                                                                    4 of 4) presented by KOTA                                                                                                                 Solutions
Saturday, March 4 vs. Lehigh Valley        3:00       First 3,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                        Pack bobblehead, plus “Military                                                                                                     Day”, as the Wolf Pack wearing                                                                                                       special military-themed jerseys Friday, March 24 vs. Providence               7:15         “Social Media Night”
Saturday, March 25 vs. Bridgeport          7:00        First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                        Pack drawstring backpack
Saturday, April 8 vs. W-B/Scranton        7:00        “Fan Appreciation Night”

Tickets for the Wolf Pack’s October 14th opening night and all Wolf Pack 2016-17 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 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

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NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT – 2016 TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT RECAP

cutNEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT –
2016 TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT RECAP

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The New York Rangers posted a 2-1-1 record in the 2016 Traverse City Tournament. Through three round-robin games, the Blueshirts were one of two teams in the eight-team tournament that did not register a regulation loss (2-0-1 record in the first three contests). In addition, New York posted the second-best record in the Ted Lindsay Division during the round-robin portion of the tournament.

  • Jimmy Vesey registered five goals and two assists for seven points in the tournament.
    • Vesey led all skaters in the tournament in goals (five) and shots on goal (20), and he tied for first among all skaters in the tournament in points (seven).
    • Vesey’s five goals were tied for the most any player has registered in one year during the Traverse City Tournament since 2007.
    • Vesey’s seven points were tied for the most any Ranger has posted in one year in the Traverse City Tournament.
    • Vesey notched a point in each of the four games of the tournament. In addition, he posted a multi-point game in each of the final three contests, including a multi-goal game in each of the final two contests.
    • Vesey tallied the game-deciding goal in the Rangers’ 5-4 shootout win against the Dallas Stars on September 17, and he tallied the game-winning goal in the final minute of the Blueshirts’ 2-1 win against the Minnesota Wild on September 19.
  • Malte Stromwall tied for second on the Rangers in goals (two), points (three), and shots on goal (eight) in the tournament. Stromwall, who was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on April 17, 2016, registered two goals in the Rangers’ 5-4 win against the Stars on September 17.
  • Robin Kovacs tied for second on the Rangers in goals (two) and shots on goal (eight) in the tournament. The 19-year-old, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round (62nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, tallied a goal in each of the Blueshirts’ first two games of the tournament.
  • Cristoval Nieves tied for second on the Rangers in assists (two) and points (three) in the Traverse City Tournament. Nieves, who served as the Rangers’ captain in the tournament, notched the game-tying goal with less than one minute remaining in regulation to help the Rangers defeat the Stars on September 17, and he tallied an assist on both of New York’s goals in the team’s 2-1 win against Minnesota on September 19.
  • John Gilmour led the Rangers – and tied for fifth among all skaters in the tournament – in assists (three), and he tied for second on the Blueshirts in points (three). Gilmour, who was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on August 18, 2016, tied for second among all defensemen in the tournament in assists and points.
  • Sean Day tied for first among all defensemen in the tournament in goals (two) and tied for second among all defensemen in the tournament in points (three). The 18-year-old, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round (81st overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, recorded two goals on September 20 against Columbus.

Photo courtesy NHL.com

CANTLON’S CORNER: XL CENTER ICE IS SET DOWN

xl-center-ice-completedBY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – What goes well with red and blue? Hockey ice of course.

14 die hard Hartford Wolf Pack fans took advantage of the opportunity to take part in the Annual Hartford Wolf Pack, “Paint The Lines” day at the XL Center. The fans got to paint the lines on the first fresh sheet of ice kicking off the 2016-17 season, the team’s 20th in the Connecticut capital.

Irene Leitao, of Enfield. is a season ticket holder and who occasionally sings the National Anthem at Wolf Pack games, was among those given the honor to paint a blue line. “It’s fun to be a part of starting another season and it feels nice that you’re helping out,” She said. “It was also fun to see people you see at the games and goof around with them and interact with the Wolf Pack staff and of course, our lovable Sonar! I’m a real hockey fan and have been rooting for the team since Day One.”

The process of making the ice and the painting the lines that these fans took part in, is a short slice of what goes on in creating the final product that the players will use on opening night.

dr-ice-2“We usually go from 8am-6pm to get this done correctly,” Wayne Knight who has spent 36 years making ice at the XL Center (nee Hartford Civic Center Coliseum) said.  “Today, we had a few hiccups, so we’ll be here into the evening, but it will  get done to perfection.”

Knight, whose nom de guerre is, “The Ice Doctor,” tends to the ice like it was his patient. His tools of the trade and preparation are not simply getting a bucket of paint at Lowe’s and  to start brushing.

“We have to use ten people,”Knight said. “It is very coordinated. We put a layer of ice over the concrete first, then we paint that white. Then we put a second layer of ice on top of the white. Then do the blue lines, then the secondary lines like the faceoff circle and hash marks, which must be done to the specifications. You can’t be off by an inch. Then the goal lines and then the center red line. We have sponsorship and team logos to do for the Wolf Pack and UConn last. It’s intricate work.”

To get the ice set up and the silky, creamy white color requires eight, 44-pound boxes (362 pounds) that must be placed on and over the first and second layer of ice which is placed over the concrete foundation. That’s all before the first brushes are even started to color in the blue lines.

The blue line paint (or the red line paint as well) isn’t some shelf store paint it is specially designed by a Canadian company called, “Jet Ice Limited” and it costs the team between $120 to $140 apiece.

The faceoff circle and the hash marks require three gallons of red paint. A pane of plexiglass is used to accurately set the marks to AHL league specifications.

Then the top layer of ice is made over the finished work of ice Picassos and sometimes it takes several cracks at it to get the perfection they seek.ice-painting-begins

painters-2 painters-3 painters sonar-interview-2 sonar-interviews-self sonar-with-fans

ON THE MOVE

Wolf Pack training camp is scheduled to start on Saturday, October 1st.

The Traverse City tournament began Friday and head coach Ken Gernander and his staff of new assistant coach Keith McCambridge and assistant coach and assistant GM Pat Boller will get their first look at the new young crop of Ranger prospects and free agents in the right team round robin tournament. It is the Rangers 10th season participating in the tournament in the Michigan Upper Penisula region –UP to the natives.

It will be available on streaming on Fox Sports Go and www.detroitredwings.com

Tyler Brown who played all last year with the Wolf Pack with four goals and nine assists signed an ECHL deal with Greenville.

Five Wolf Pack players still unsigned from last year’s squad include Luke Adam, Shawn O’Donnell, Chris McCarthy, Matt Lindblad and Brian Gibbons. You can scratch off two of those from that list.

The Philadelphia Flyers announced their training camp roster and McCarthy, a Pennsylvania native, was on it. He will wear jersey number 74 and will likely get an AHL/ECHL deal to play either for Lehigh Valley or Reading (ECHL).

The other is the lethargic Brian Gibbons who signed a PTO tryout contract with the New Jersey Devils.

Former Wolf Pack goalie Cedrick Desjardins is scheduled to go to training camp this weekend with Jonquiere Marquis (LNAH),but is waiting on a European deal for the 2016-17 season.

He started last year in Hartford rehabbing from off-season ACL knee surgery, but only played seven ECHL games with Manchester and Indianapolis not playing a minute of AHL action with a $275K deal.

Ryan Verbeek, the nephew of Hartford Whalers great, Pat Verbeek, who is the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Assistant GM and Director of Player Development, will play as overage junior with Chicoutimi (QMJHL) this season is a training camp invitee for Tampa Bay because of the shortened roster because of the World Cup hockey tournament.

Ex-Pack rearguard Ryan Glenn will have a new address this season. After splitting last season between HC Sparta Prague (Czech Republic-CEL) and JYP Jyvaskylan (Finland-FEL) he heads to HC Bolzano (Austria-AEHL).

Former Hotchkiss Prep goalie Jay Williams has graduated from Miami (OH) (NCHC) and signed with Orlando (ECHL). That makes 202 NCAA players who have signed a North American professional contract since the end of the collegiate regular season.

There are plans for a season-long honoring of Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe who passed away this summer. A pair of green number nine’s at center ice on either side of the Wolf Pack logo.

This being the Pack’s 20th season there are still unfinished special promotions and player appearances in the works.

Get a laugh out of this. The oldest student assistant coach in the nation is former Ranger and NHL’er Corey Millen, age 52.

Millen who attended the University of Minnesota didn’t complete his degree and was named student assistant coach for the Gophers staff last week. Millen played just 19 games for the Rangers from 1989-1991 before being traded to Los Angeles.

He also played for New Jersey, Calgary, and Dallas.

(All photos by Gerry Cantlon)

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

 

CRAWFORD: ALRIGHTY THEN…PACK SIGN CAREY…MATT, NOT JIM

Carey-Action-Shot-Wild-6fc905b04aWOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD MATT CAREY

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St. Lawrence U. Product has Played 88 AHL Games in two Pro Seasons 

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, September 7, 2016:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Wolf Pack signed forward Matt Carey to an AHL contract.

A third-year pro and 6-1, 195-pound native of Hamilton, Ontario, Carey split last season between the Iowa Wild of the AHL and the ECHL’s Quad City Mallards.  In 21 games with the Wild, he contributed two goals and two assists for four points and served 14 minutes in penalties, and in 49 Mallard appearances Carey had a team-leading 25 goals, along with 22 assists for 47 points.  That was good for third among Quad City skaters in points, and Carey totaled 46 PIM and a +7 in ECHL action.

Carey, 24, spent the entire 2014-15 season in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs, notching ten goals and 11 assists for 21 points, along with 43 PIM, in 67 games.  He signed an NHL free-agent contract with the Chicago Blackhawks March 21, 2014, after one season at St. Lawrence University (ECAC), and suited up for two NHL contests with the Blackhawks in 2014-15 (one goal, two penalty minutes).

In his one year of ECAC action with the Skating Saints of St. Lawrence, 2013-14, Carey earned league All-Rookie honors, scoring 18 goals and adding 19 assists for 37 points in 38 games.  Those totals ranked him tied for the team goals lead and second on the team in points, and Carey finished second among ECAC freshmen in both points and goals.

CaptureThe Wolf Pack’s twentieth-anniversary 2016-17 season begins Friday, October 14 at the XL Center with the Wolf Pack’s home opener, a 7:15 PM contest vs. the St. John’s IceCaps.  Tickets for that game and all Wolf Pack 2016-17 home games will go on sale Tuesday, September 13 at 12:00 noon, at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 AHL season can be found on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com.  To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.

CANTLON: HOCKEY SEASON’S GETTING CLOSE

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – The calendar turns to September, and while the weather outside is starting it’s seasonal change to cooling down,  for Hartford Wolf Pack and hockey fans in general, things are starting to heat up. 

WOLF PACK SIGNINGS

The New York Rangers got forward Phillip McRae to his signature on a one-year AHL contract.

Last year McRae played for the Bakersfield Condors (AHL) putting nine goals between the pipes and 15 points in the stat book while playing in 35 games.  The Condors play in the AHL Pacific Division, and they are top farm team of the Edmonton Oilers.

The St. Louis Blues drafted McRae in the second round 33rd overall in 2008.

McRae has some strong hockey bloodlines. His father Basil McRae was among the toughest competitors in his day. He compiled 2,454 PM in 576 games and is presently the GM and part franchise owner of the London Knights (OHL). The younger McRae’s uncle, Chris, played in the AHL in the mid-to-late 1980’s through the early 1990’s with Adirondack, Newmarket, and St. Catharine’s. He completed his career in Ft. Wayne (IHL), leading the league with 413 PM in 1991-’92.

His sister Abbey just completed a four-year, Division I career with St. Lawrence University (ECACHLW).

The Pack finally announced forward Michael Joly signed an AHL deal for one season. Cantlon’s Corner announced that signing over six weeks ago. Joly played most of his QMJHL career with the Rimouski Oceanic and before his middle of last season trade to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles where he played with Pierre-Luc Dubois. That’s the same Luc-Dubois who was the Columbus Blue Jackets first round pick, third overall, in this past summer’s draft.

The Rangers signed forward Brandon Pirri to a one-year $1.1 million deal giving the Blueshirts 48 of their 50 CBA allowable contract slots. They have salary commitments of $71.6M in salaries for the upcoming season. They have roughly $1.4 million of remaining cap space. It is almost a forgone conclusion that some preseason or early season deal would be forthcoming for the Rangers. They are tight on contracts, have little maneuverability regarding cap space and have 18 defenseman and six goalies in the organization.

TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT RANGERS ROSTER ANNOUNCED

The Rangers announced their 2016 Traverse City Tournament roster is coming up in Traverse City, Michigan. The Rangers will be making their tenth consecutive appearance in the eight-team tournament, which is set to begin on Friday, September 16.

New York’s roster will feature 25 prospects (15 forwards, eight defensemen, and two goaltenders), including three of the team’s selections from the 2016 NHL Entry Draft: Sean Day, Tim Gettinger, and Ty Ronning. The roster also includes 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner Jimmy Vesey, who just signed with the Rangers as a free agent on August 19th. Russian forward prospect, Pavel Buchnevich, the organization’s highly regarded prospect will participate in the Tournament for the first time.

Several of the prospects on this year’s roster also represented the Rangers in the 2015 edition of the Tournament. Among those prospects are 2015 draft picks Ryan Gropp, Brad Morrison, and Sergey Zborovskiy. Also, 2015 draft pick Robin Kovacs from Sweden will also participate for the first time this year. Traverse City’s own, Brandon Halverson, did not appear in the 2015 tournament due to injury, but he’s healthy and one of two goaltenders on the Rangers’ roster this year. The Rangers selected twelve of the 25 participants in the NHL Entry Draft. The remaining list are kids on tryout contracts.

The Rangers are one of four teams that comprise the Ted Lindsay Division. Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, and Minnesota Wild are also in their division. The Blueshirts begin the tournament tangling with Carolina on Friday, September 16 at 4:00 p.m. New York will face Dallas on Saturday, September 17 at 3:30 p.m. and the Wild on Monday, September 19 at 3:00 p.m. Following their three round-robin games, the Rangers will have a placement game against a team from the Gordie Howe Division on Tuesday, September 20.

In the nine years that the Rangers have previously participated in the tournament, they have reached the Championship Game twice and won it in 2007. Current Blueshirts Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Marc Staal, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes, and Brady Skjei have all represented the team at the tournament in recent years.

Since the Rangers began participating in the Traverse City Tournament in 2006, in every year, at least one Rangers’ prospect who represented the team in the tournament, has also appeared in a game with the Blueshirts that same season.

*Portions of the Rangers press release were used in preparation of this segment

ON THE MOVE

Former Ranger and Yale University player, Chris Higgins, and former Bridgeport Sound Tiger, Raffi Torres, each signed an NHL training camp PTO contracts with Calgary and Carolina respectively.

Ex-Pack, and now twice an ex-Ranger, Dominic Moore, has signed a one-year, one-way deal with Boston for $900K.

Ex-Sound Tiger, Kevin Czuczman has signed an AHL deal with Manitoba.

Ex-Pack, Ryan Potulny goes from Lahti (Finland-FEL) to HK Hradec Kralove (Czech Republic-CEL) this year.

Ex-Pack, Devin Didiomete, is taking his stick and skates back to Italy and SHC Fassa playing in the brand new Alps Hockey League (AlpsHL).

Ex-Pack, Josh Nicholls, who played eleven games with Hartford last year, signed a one-year deal with Colorado (ECHL).

Another Wolf Pack alumni, Scott Tanski, who split last year with Orlando and Reading (ECHL) has signed a one-year deal with South Carolina. (ECHL).

Andreas Jamtin, the advertised Swedish version of Sean Avery, and who lasted in Hartford for fewer games than the North American version. Jamtim played in just ten games, five with Greenville, and five with the Pack. He leaves Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia-KHL) to return home and Farjestads BK (Sweden-SHL).

Here’s a blast from the past. CT Whale defenseman, Sean Collins, who has not played hockey in three years since last playing in Hartford during the 2012-13 season, has signed a tryout contract with the Beijing-based KHL team, Kunlun Red Star.

Ex-Sound Tiger, Mike Banwell, returns from Lillehammer IK (Norway-NEL) to become the playing assistant coach with Utah (ECHL).

Max Jones, the son of ex-New Haven Nighthawk, Brad Jones, has signed a standard NHL three-year, entry-level, two-way contract with Anaheim ($925K-NHL/$70K-AHL). He will play his last junior year this coming season with London (OHL).

Matt Hussey, who was born in New Haven and played at Avon Old Farms, signs with HE Rouen French Magnus Elite League.

Francis Drolet, who played at Salisbury Prep, stays in the French second Division going from Nantes AHG to HC Briancon.

Goalie Brendan Burke, son of ex-Hartford Whaler, Sean Burke, and who was on the Memorial Cup winning London Knights (OHL) and an Arizona Coyote draftee, is heading to Canadian university hockey and the University of Alberta Golden Bears (CWUAA) this year.

Returning to North America is ex-Sound Tiger, Juraj Kolnik, from Nottingham (England-EIHL) to Jonquiere (LNAH) the Quebec-based semi-pro hockey league.

The LNAH lost one team this week as the Cornwall River Kings closed shop a month before their regular season was set to begin. Former Wolf Pack tough guy, Francis Lessard, and South Kent Prep alumni, C.J. Chartrain, both played their last year.

Jared Bednar, who coached the Cleveland (nee Lake Erie) Monsters to the Calder Cup title was hired to succeed Patrick Roy in Colorado. One of his assistants held the same role in Cleveland under former Beast of New Haven and Hartford Whaler, Nolan Pratt.

Patrick Bordeleau, who played in San Antonio last year, has signed with Cardiff (Wales-EIHL). Jerome Leduc, who split last season with Rochester and Binghamton, signed with HC Pardubice (Czech Republic-CEL). Blair Jones, who ended the year in Charlotte after a trade from Utica at the trade deadline, signs with Iserlohn (Germany-DEL). David Wohlberg of Charlotte goes to EHC Bayreuth (Germany DEL-2).

Trevor Parkes of San Jose goes to Augsburger (Germany-DEL) while also heading to Deutschland is Jeremy Welsh, who goes from the Chicago Wolves to the Fischtown Penguins.

This latest batch of talent leaving the AHL for Europe sees the list go up to 75. Now 27 out of the 30 AHL teams have lost at least one player to Europe during this off-season.

Last week, Edmonton announced that it signed defenseman Matt Benning to a two-year, two-way contract ($925K-NHL/$70K-AHL). Benning becomes the 40th Hockey East player to sign a pro deal. Benning leaves Northeastern after his junior season and is the 42nd underclassmen to bolt early from the collegiate ranks nationally.

Benning has some serious hockey DNA flowing through him. His father, Brian Benning, played 568 NHL games and had 276 points with LA, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Edmonton and Florida. His uncle, Jim Benning, was a first round, sixth overall selection by Toronto in 1981 and played 610 NHL games with 243 points with the Maple Leafs and Vancouver. He is presently the GM of the Canucks.

His grandfather Elmer has been a scout with Montreal since 2000, and his cousin Brandon is a scout with Vancouver.

Jon Jutsi, who played six games with Manitoba at the end of last year after finishing up with Minnesota-Mankato (NCHC), has signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Alex Gacek of Miami (OH) and Nicholas Bligh of Dartmouth signed deals with South Carolina (ECHL) meanwhile Coltyn Anderson becomes the latest from North Dakota (NCHC), the defending national champion, signs with Orlando (ECHL), Trevot Jeke of Boston College signs with South Carolina (ECHL) and Collin MacDonald of New Hampshire signs with Toledo (ECHL)..

The latest is UCONN Husky Shaun Pauly like Sanderson, who graduated, inked a deal with Missouri (ECHL).

Now 200 NCAA players have signed North American pro deals since the end of the college hockey season.

KIWI HOCKEY CHAMPS

Former Hartford Jr. Wolf Pack and Berlin native Adam Blanchette guided the Sky Sports Southern Stampede (Queenstown) to their second consecutive Birgel Cup in the short-season New Zealand Ice Hockey League (NZIHL) finals sweeping the best of three finals in two games.

Before a rowdy home crowd, they overcame a sluggish first period down 1-0 by scoring seven consecutive goals en route to a 7-1 championship victory over the Canterbury Red Devils.

Leading the way was three Canadians with two from the Canadian college ranks, Matt Schneider (defenseman) and Adrian Volpe (goalie) plus Jade Portwood (US college).

It was the team fourth overall title in league history for the league which started in 2005. Canterbury also has four titles. The runner-ups featured former Danbury Whaler (FHL) Matt Puntereri who scored a goal in Game 1 a 6-2 loss in Christchurch.

AUSTRALIAN ICE HOCKEY TITLE STAYS WITH NEWCASTLE

The Newcastle North Stars led by captain Rob Malloy of Cheshire and a Hartford Jr. Wolf Pack alumni like Blanchette captured their second consecutive Goodall Cup title 2-1 over the CBR (Canberra) Brave in the Grand Final game in Melbourne at the O’Brien Group Arena.The title is the North Stars sixth title tops in AIHL history since the league began 16 years ago and had to work against his former teammate of a year ago Geordie Wudrick.

“It’s never easy to repeat because the target on our back was huge. This team had a ton of character. We had guys that played specific roles that they took pride in. The imports we brought out had the ability to take control of games and step up when it really mattered. I think continuously being compared with Geordie helped the imports step up because they had something to prove.Geordie is a hell of a hockey player and a great guy, but on the ice, there is no love lost. He left a huge void for us to fill, but the boys simply saw it as an opportunity,” said Malloy via e-mail.

The North Stars advanced by the downing the Perth Thunder in dramatic fashion 3-2 in overtime in the semi-finals to get into the title game.

“This one was different because we came into the playoffs as an underdog. The two other times we were regular season champs, and we were the team to beat. I saw this as an opportunity to leave a legacy as well. We don’t know of anybody else in the history of the league to captain two different teams to a Cup!” commented Malloy.

Canberra who finished 15 points behind the Melbourne Ice knocked off the league’s best team in the other semi-final also in OT 4-3 in their barn.

The Braves playing head coach is ex-Sound Tiger Artem (Art) Bidlevski.

For Malloy this is his third title in four years and caps a big six months of hockey for Malloy having been a part of the Australian national team that won the gold medal at the IIHF Division II tournament in Mexico City and moved the national program up a level in late March just before the AIHL regular season began.

“It’s funny how there has been a resurgence in my hockey career, after college, I thought my career was over. I guess my wife is the one responsible. Out here I get the best of both worlds, I have a full-time job to support my family, and I can still follow my dream. I’ll take a few months away from hockey and spend time with my family. Coming off of training for the world championship, then the tournament itself, and jumping right into our season – it definitely takes a toll. I’ll recharge the batteries, nurse a few injuries and work on my golf game !!

I’ll eventually get the itch to get back on the ice soon. Our world championships are in Romania next year, so that is next on the horizon, then we defend our title,” Malloy remarked.

Malloy and the North Stars are the Kings of Australian hockey and keep making history every season.

LATVIA GETS NEW NATIONAL TEAM COACH

Just days before the team’s pre-tournament camp and a week before they host the Group E IIHF Olympic qualifying tournament in Riga, the Latvians have a new national team coach who the Latvian hockey family is familiar with.

Harolds Vailjves, 64 last coached the team 15 years ago when the national team made it to Salt Lake City and the 2002 Olympic Games for the first time since the end of the Soviet Union.

Vasiljves is the father of former Beast of New Haven forward Herberts Vasiljves. Ironically, he is one of the 30 players in camp as he is likely looking at his last opportunity at 39 to represent the hockey loving the Baltic nation. The younger Vasiljves resides and still plays pro hockey for the Krefeld Penguins in the DEL league, pool  alsobut wasn’t selected for the team

The elder Vasiljves coaches in the Latvian national league for Zemgale. He replaces Leonids Beresnews who resigned for unspecified personal reasons. He was a big star in his playing days for Dynamo Riga then under Soviet/Russian occupation in the Soviet league.

All three pools will play from September 1-4.

The pool also features Germany, Austria and Japan and Latvia.

Latvia beat Japan 3-1 despite a strong effort in net from Japanese netminder Yukata Fukufuji who won his first AHL game against Hartford years ago and Germany shutout Austria 6-0.

In Group F opening action Kazakhstan beat Norway 4-3 in OT.

Former AHL All-Star Brandon Bochenski in a three-on-three format scored 29 seconds into the extra session on a setup from ex-Wolf Pack Nigel Dawes and another AHL Star who had success in the KHL Kevin Dallman.

Norway trailed 3-1 with former Wolf Pack/CT Whale Mats Zuccarello scoring a goal and assist and set up the game-tying goal with 16 seconds left in regulation.

In other game, France won in overtime 2-1 as former AHL’er Stephand DaCosta scored 23 seconds into the extra frame setup by current Philadelphia Flyer Pierre-Edouard Bellamare.

The French then knocked off Kazakhstan 4-1 despite Dawes scoring seconds into the game. Damien Fleury scored twice for the French team.

Norway beat Italy 4-1 to stay in the hunt as Patrick Thoresen an ex-Springfield Falcon had two assists for the Norwegian team that is being coached by his father, Petter.

In Group D Slovenia downed Poland 6-1 who feature New Hartford, CT native Mike Cichy on defense for the Poles. Belarus knocked off Denmark 5-2 despite current Wolf Pack Nicklas Jensen scoring the game’s first goal at 2:46 and had four shots on goal for the game.

The Danes got shutout 3-0 in their second game by Slovenia and Kazakhstan down 2-0 won 5-2 over Poland in the second game played.

The winners of the three pools gets the last three spots for 2018 Pyongncheong, South Korea Olympic Games.

RANGERS NAME CHRIS DRURY ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER

imagesRANGERS NAME CHRIS DRURY ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, September 2, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has promoted Chris Drury to Assistant General Manager.

In his expanded role, Drury, 40, will assist Gorton on all player transactions and contract negotiations, and he will continue to assist in overseeing and evaluating all players at the collegiate level. Drury, who rejoined the Rangers organization as Director of Player Development on September 4, 2015, will continue to assist in the development of Rangers prospects, both on and off the ice, and serve as a liaison between the hockey operations department and prospects in the organization.

During his 12-year NHL career, the Trumbull, Connecticut, native skated in 892 games with the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, and the Rangers, registering 255 goals and 360 assists for 615 points, along with 468 penalty minutes. Drury captured the Stanley Cup as a member of the Avalanche in 2000-01, ranking second in the NHL with 11 goals in 23 games during the 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 he registered 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 his team advanced to the Conference Finals on six occasions. In 135 career NHL playoff games, Drury registered 47 goals and 42 assists for 89 points, along with a plus-24 rating and 46 penalty minutes. Over the 12 seasons in which he played in the NHL (1998-99 – 2010-11), 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 (2007-08 – 2010-11) 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) after being named 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 (1994-95 – 1997-98), 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.

CANLON’S CORNER: EX-PACK, DAVID LENEVEU BEGINS POST HOCKEY CAREER

LeNeveu

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – For David LeNeveu having a place to call home was always an essential part of his life, even while living the life of a vagabond athlete in the hopscotch world of professional hockey for 14 seasons.

LeNeveu is the third ex-Hartford Wolf Pack goaltender that began this offseason to make inroads into a post-hockey playing life by finding a place in the business side of the equation while still keeping his glove hand and paddle working in coaching young goaltenders.

downloadLeNeveu is now the President and part of a six-man ownership group in the Nanaimo Clippers, a junior hockey team in Nanaimo, BC, just off the coast of Vancouver on Vancouver Island, a 15-20 minute ferry ride. “I said as I started my career, that I wanted a home in Canada to come back to in the summer to train and prepare for the season,” LeNeveu remarked. “I also thought that when the time came, that it would be the place you had to call your own and truly call it home, no matter how many other places you called “home” during the season.”

LeNeveu has been the goalie coach for the last two years with the Clippers and will continue that role despite the title and his other job responsibilities.

“You never lose the itch to get on the ice and I get to keep my hand in the game and pass along many of things I learned over the years,” LeNeveu said.

The British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) is not a gold mine of financial wealth, but it has a mandate and direction very different from the pro side of the ledger.

“You’re not making millions at the Junior A level, but you are building a major starting place for players to go collegiately and maybe the pros. It’s the same for the coaches, support staff, and sales staff. We want to see people get better, learn and grow, and to move on. In my opinion, it’s a very good place to start, whatever your goals are. Nanaimo is just a perfect fit for me.”

LeNeveu’s wife is from Nanaimo, and the two have three children, so with a family support system right there, it was an easy call for the Fernie, BC native.

“(Nanaimo) is a perfect spot for many reasons post-playing,” LeNeveu said. “I still love Fernie too, it’s where I grew up. Here, it’s a perfect blend. It’s a community of 80 to 90,000 here, and the short ferry ride to Vancouver gives you all the big city attractions you would want. The Clippers allows me to keep my stick in hockey as a coach in that sense, and to be able to maintain and grow my other business too. My kids know where their school will be every year and be with their friends. It’s a very good fit for me to start out this post-playing career.”

LeNeveu had two tours of duty in Hartford. Three years ago, he and Dov Grumet-Morris came in like the cavalry and carried the team on their shoulders (and goalie pads). The duo rescued them from what seemed a distinct possibility of the disaster of finishing dead last in the AHL. The team played .750 hockey the rest of the way with the solid pair of netminders between the pipes.

The opportunity for the second round with the Wolf Pack seemingly came out of left field. “I came off a good year, but there were no job openings. I was fortunate to go to South Carolina (Stingrays – ECHL). They that had a good coaching staff and a good team. It was a good place to start because I wanted to stay in North America. Then Providence (Bruins – AHL) needed somebody and that was the chance I was looking for.”

LeNeveu had a good game in the P-Bruins 1-0 loss. Then came a call from Hartford. They needed somebody, and LeNeveu was available. This set up the opportunity for him and Grumet-Morris to finally play together.

“Our paths crossed literally all over the world starting back in college with Cornell-Harvard games, in the minors, and even in Europe. We always respected each other,” LeNeveu said. “I am a player who wants a good relationship with the other goalie. I had a great one with (another ex-Pack goalie) Yann Danis in Oklahoma City. We came into not-the-best-of-situations. It was kind of weird, but we made it work.”

LeNeveu’s first day with the Pack was particularly trying. GM Jim Schoenfeld came into the locker room and lowered the boom on then last place Hartford team.

“It was a tough first day to be sure, but having been in hockey a bit, you weather those storms. It’s not the optimum first few days that anybody wanted,” LeNeveu said. He shook hands to say hello and then goodbye to ex-Pack Brodie Dupont in about an hour-and-a-half that day.

His first tour with the team certainly didn’t start out too well either. How he arrived with the team demonstrates the sometimes not too rosy and beautiful side of a pro athlete’s world.

LeNeveu was traded at the NHL trade deadline from San Antonio, then with the Phoenix (nee Arizona) Coyotes organization, to the New York Rangers just after the birth of their first child, so it was not the best of timing. The LeNeveu’s packed up all their possessions, and recognizing they would be hotel bound in Hartford for the remainder of the season, sent everything by ship transport.

“It was a very hectic period and we made the choice to ship our stuff by transport back to our home in BC. We heard varied horror stories others had in shipping by different means, but we chose this method. So we’re in Hartford and after the game they ask me to the coach’s office. I got a weird vibe from the start. It was game day and you usually don’t bother the goalies anyway, but this was different. Things go racing through your mind; your family has yet to arrive and they said immediately it’s not that. Then Patty (Boller, the team assistant GM and assistant coach) asks if you have a truck with a safe in the back. I say, ‘Yeah, it has my contracts and other important documents.’ ‘It’s gone, it’s all melted,’ and I went, ‘What are you talking about?'”

“The team received a call from the shipping company that their ship had caught on fire and we had lost everything. Many things were irreplaceable to each of us; pictures of our first child’s sonogram (before CD-Rom days), hockey stuff I had collected over the years. Everything-all-gone! For an athlete, when you live a bit of a gypsy life, it’s very different than people realize. We get hit with just as many problems as anybody else.”

After playing his junior hockey in Nanaimo, LeNeveu learned that the adjustment to being a professional player is embryonic with several stages.

“When you first start out it’s easier, but not easy. You’re single or have a fiancé or girlfriend. It’s a new adventure going to so many different, unique situations, but when you have kids, it all changes and decisions multiply themselves. Where do you live? Rent a space during the season? Renting furniture? Kids, if they’re school age, where to get them in school? Bringing their toys and your possessions? Insurance? Passports? There’s a tremendous litany of things, and despite it all, I wouldn’t trade any of it. Hockey has given me so much exposure, friendships, and opportunities.”

Like the Pack’s all-time leader in wins, Jason LaBarbera, LeNeveu is a student of and fan of, Benoit Allaire. LeNeveu hopes to impart some of those many hours of work he spent with Allaire on to another generation of netminders.

“Benny was excellent. He truly simplified the game for me. Goalies by nature over think things and I was in that category. Benny really helped develop my game with positioning. When you watch Henrik Lundqvist perform as he does, it’s the work (Benny) puts you through. He broke down video in such a unique way and kept things simple. He demanded hard work and attention to detail, but he also was stressing positioning and that season paid off for me because of working with him. He was there to pat you on the back and there to push you to succeed.”

LeNeveu’s last stint for the Rangers/Hartford came in a backup goalie role during the Rangers Stanley Cup. When Cam Talbot was injured, LeNeveu was on the bench in overtime in Game 1 when Lundqvist was knocked down and seemingly hurt. LeNeveu shared a little secret.

imgres“I had a clear view. I knew Hank wasn’t badly hurt,” LeNeveu said he thought the NBC cameras were trained right on him as fans wondered would he could be going into an overtime game no less, after not playing a game in nearly five weeks. “I had to look concerned, you stand up get your glove and stick, but if I had to I was ready. This is the chance every goalie and hockey player wants – to compete for the Stanley Cup.”

It sounds like David LeNeveu has found a little piece of heaven in BC to start his post-playing career.