Category Archives: NHL

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: IN DEFENSE OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Hartford, CTThe recent new AHL Rule 46 announced in July at the conclusion of the AHL Board Governors meeting regarding fighting reads as follows:

Rule 46 (“Fighting”)/Rule 23 (“Game Misconducts”) 

  • Players who enter into a fight prior to, at, or immediately following the drop of the puck for a faceoff will be assessed an automatic game misconduct in addition to other penalties assessed.
  • During the regular season, any player who incurs his 10th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for one (1) game. For each subsequent fighting major up to 13, the player shall also be suspended automatically for one (1) game.
  • During the regular season, any player who incurs his 14th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for two (2) games. For each subsequent fighting major, the player shall also be suspended automatically for two (2) games.
  • In any instance where the opposing player was assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major shall not count towards the player’s total for this rule.

I rise in defense of the heavyweight.

This another assault on the character of the heavyweights and the continued micromanaging and over regulation of hockey in general. The rules addition is both unnecessary and unwarranted intrusion into the sport adding another layer of bureaucracy that allows officials who are often game-fully challenged as it is- to yet again get to play a further role in the game than is needed.

Did anyone hear an outcry to change and add this amendment to the fighting rules last year? Coaches? Players? The fans? No, just another bureaucratic fiat issued and the AHL is told just to put it in.

Primarily, it is the fear of a concussion lawsuit such as the judgement the NFL had of over $3.5 Billion that scares the bejesus out of the NHL. So the NHL now practices its version of defensive medicine because of a still yet unproven theory that connects CTE disease to fighting or concussions in general. Far more understanding and real science needs to find out what causes CTE. I believe there are far more complex medical and biological issues at play in that development.

Just my humble opinion.

Fighters are an important part of the game. They have served a very useful role in protecting smaller players and keeping fellow players in check from cheap shot artists who are indeed causing the reckless endangerment of players. Over the past several years, the PC police keep making it harder.

Again, this will allow those types of player’s free reign to do as they will because of the heavyweights, the player’s protectors if you will, will be circumspect about when, if and how to drop the mitts. You can’t depend on disciplinary sanctions, which were all negotiated in CBA contracts at the NHL and AHL level, to truly have a deterrent effect. It’s has been lawyered down and diluted to the point of having little to no effect.

The Raffi Torres suspension, for example, is the only significant exception to attempt to seek to have a corrective action taken on a players conduct.

Elbows directed at the head, to hits from behind, and stick activity, especially behind the play like spearing, high sticking, and butt-ending, are real issues in the game to correct – not fighting.

The majority of suspensions and injuries came from one of the aforementioned categories. At the same time, concussion-related injuries are down, and that’s good. We still have too many infractions of the above categories going on in the game. The real injury issue are those head shots that are unwarranted and reckless. Having a real deterrent on the ice offering immediate justice doled out by your peers should be in the game not excised from the game.

There was no call for this rule. This rule is a dictate from somewhere in the NHL offices which now more or less control the AHL. Almost any semblance of what the game once was has left the building. From the fighting to the overtime gimmicks to many other aspects of how the play of the game is now unrecognizable from its past to its present.

Can you imagine the recently passed, “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe, playing under some of these rules? Not a chance.

Hockey fighters, by and large, are great people. They’re strong community assets, particularly to charities. They are beloved by their teammates who respect their contribution to the team game. They are an enormous presence in the locker room for every team.

Fighting is a PART of hockey, not the whole game.

Remember the old, tired argument that people won’t watch hockey because of fighting? With fighting down significantly in the last five to ten years, where are the national ratings for the NHL on NBCSN?

Television ratings in the States are uneven at best. Why? Because the NHL is a market driven, ad revenue based league and a gate receipts generated league. They have no US national TV deal. However, there is a national TV deal in Canada. However, with the value of the falling Canadian dollar now an issue, it has made the deal less lucrative than the original figure. The demographics are shifting where hockey is played and is popular in the United States as the sport is no longer weather specific.

We have seen as recently as last year, players like Brian McGrattan (San Diego), Paul Bissonnette (Ontario), our old pal Stu Bickel (also in San Diego and who led the AHL last year with 210 PM), and recently retired players Matt Carkner, as well as, one-time Pack and NY Ranger, Colton Orr, and Nick Tarnasky of the Wolf Pack last year, all exiled to the AHL. They were sent packing as if they didn’t matter anymore. Shame on the NHL and shame on NHLPLA and PHPA for participating in this job-killing maneuver by the Lords of the Boards. The union is there to represent the players and maintain their job security not participate in their elimination or evisceration.

McGrattan, as other heavyweights have the last few years, signed in Europe with the Nottingham Panthers (England-EIHL). Tarnasky signed in San Diego, taking his slot. Bissonnette and Bickel re-signed for AHL deals with their respective teams they played with last year.

The fact is players want to fight in the game. In a survey done several years ago, 98% responded yes – Case closed, right?

No, as we found out this summer in college hockey when the coaches voted overwhelmingly to keep the OT rules as they are in the NCAA. I think that decision came with some guidance from the NHL which has sought to institute the same carnival concepts from pro hockey OT into the collegiate game. The majority vote was ignored and shown no respect. Thankfully, in that case, the coaches have prevailed—for now.

Fans stand up and cheer at a fight. Nobody is booing it. That’s a fact that many namby-pamby writers in particular and now some hockey executives many who have little understanding of the game, though some do, and benefitted in the fighting era and its history are suddenly recoiled by it. They seek to institute their social engineering theories to curb violence.

Truthful fact, violence is part of the human condition. How we maintain it, is a key to the maintenance of balance. A hockey fight is an expression of violence, but do you want to see real violence? Visit Chicago on a weekend or Hartford, Orlando, Syria, Dallas, Paris, Nice or Brussels. That, my friends, is real violence. A hockey fight or line brawl is not even in the neighborhood.

What happens when countries disarm in the name of peace? They will usually find their way into an inevitable war.

Hockey fighters have been important part of the fabric of our great game. From the good guys, and even the bad guys, they have been a part of our great sport. They have produced some great stories and incredible moments along with the exciting goal scoring and terrific defensive plays the game provides.

Paul Stewart, current head of officiating in the ECACHL college conference over the years regaled to many us writers of some of the characters he fought and played with in his days in the NAHL, WHA, AHL and eventually the NHL, all before becoming an NHL referee where he did 1,000 games.

From the inspiration for the Slap Shot character, Oggie Oglethorpe, he told of how he and teammate Bill Goldthorpe suckered him at the team Christmas party in Binghamton (NAHL) to see who would be the team heavyweight. His first pro fight was in Hartford with Jack “Killer” Carlson then of the New England Whalers (WHA) and Stewart with the Cincinnati Stingers. The referee, Bill Friday, told them, “Boys, that’s the best fight I’ve seen in 20 years.” Stewart also scored his first pro goal in Hartford against Louis Levassaeur.

Stewart’s NHL debut with the Quebec Nordiques was in his hometown at the Boston Garden. He battled Terry O’ Reilly that night. Stewart told him during the warm-ups, “You’re not the only Irishmen in the building O’Reilly. He fought Stan Jonathan and Al Secord in one night. Stewart’s verbal battle with all-time Bruins great goalie Gerry Cheevers is simply laugh-out-loud funny. “Cheesey! I know where your horses are. I’ll burn the barn down!”

One of my all-time favorites, Frank “Seldom” Beaton, played with the New Haven Nighthawks for two-and-a-half seasons in the late 1970’s. When he was in the WHA playing for Birmingham in a game in Cincinnati (where he had played the year before) had cops seeking him out on an assault arrest charge. He’d apparently punched out a gas attendant who spilled gas on his Corvette. He was carried out under their noses in the player’s stick bags to the team bus to avoid them.

You’re laughingI know you are. And you should because these are funny stories. It’s a part of life and the game that has many of these vignettes.

The attempt to sanitize our sport by the PC police must stop now. Fans and I know there are a lot of you who agree with me. Let’s hear your voices before the faceless bureaucrats destroy a part of the hockey spirit. They have done enough damage already in other areas.

I gladly stand to defend the heavyweights and scrappers of our game they deserve to be respected and appreciated not legislated, marginalized and ostracized from our great game.

(Publisher’s note: This editorial represents the sole opinion of our esteemed colleague, but does not express the opinion for all of the Howlings staff).

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.

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD AHTI OKSANEN

imgresWOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD AHTI OKSANEN

*           *           *           *

Finnish Import Played four Seasons at Boston University 

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, August 30, 2016:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Wolf Pack has signed forward Ahti Oksanen to an AHL contract.

Oksanen, a 6-3, 215-pound native of Kirkkonummi, Finland, finished a four-year career at Boston University (Hockey East) in 2015-16.  The 23-year-old Oksanen led the Terrier squad in plus/minus this past season, with a +19, and finished second on the team in points and goals, totaling 15-21-36 in 39 games.

As a Junior in 2014-15, Oksanen helped lead B.U. to the NCAA “Frozen Four” championship game (a 4-3 loss to Providence College), scoring 25 goals and adding 13 assists for 38 points in 40 games.  Those totals were good for second among Terrier skaters, and second in Hockey East, in goals and a tie for fourth on the B.U. team in points.

In 150 career games in a Boston University uniform, Oksanen amassed totals of 51 goals and 64 assists for 115 points, along with 66 penalty minutes.

AHTI OKSANEN’S AMATEUR RECORD

Regular Season               Playoffs

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

2012-13  Boston Univ.   H-East   36    4     13  17   12     —     —   —    —    —

2013-14  Boston Univ.   H-East   35    7     17  24   22     —     —   —    —    —

2014-15  Boston Univ.   H-East   40    25    13  38   18     —     —   —    —    —

2015-16  Boston Univ.   H-East   39    15    21  36   14     —     —   —    —    —

The 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.  A special discount package is available for the home opener, including one Red-level ticket to the October 14 game, as well as one complimentary Red-level ticket to an October, November or December Wolf Pack home game of the purchaser’s choice.  Plus, every package purchased will feature a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.  The Opening Night package is priced at $30, and will is available for purchase through September 7.  The special package is available only through the Wolf Pack’s official website, hartfordwolfpack.com.

Wolf Pack 2016-17 single-game tickets will go on sale Tuesday, September 13 at 12:00 noon, 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.

RANGERS ANNOUNCE 2016 TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT ROSTER

rp_new-york-rangers_thumb1.pngRANGERS ANNOUNCE 2016 TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT ROSTER

Annual prospect tournament begins September 16

BY: The New York Rangers 

NEW YORK, August 29, 2016 – The New York Rangers have announced their roster for the 2016 Traverse City Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan. The Blueshirts are making their 10th consecutive appearance in the eight-team tournament, which is set to begin on Friday, September 16.

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

Several of the prospects on this year’s roster also represented the Rangers at the 2015 Traverse City Tournament, including 2015 draft picks Ryan Gropp, Brad Morrison, and Sergey Zborovskiy. In addition, 2015 draft pick Robin Kovacs will participate in the Traverse City Tournament for the first time this year. Traverse City, Michigan, native Brandon Halverson, who did not appear in a game during last year’s tournament due to injury, is one of two goaltenders on the Rangers’ roster this year. Twelve of the 25 players on this year’s roster were selected by the Rangers in the NHL Entry Draft.

The Rangers are one of four teams that comprise the Ted Lindsay Division, along with the Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, and Minnesota Wild. The Blueshirts begin the tournament with a contest against 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, the Rangers have previously participated in the Traverse City Tournament, they have reached the Championship Game twice and won the Tournament in 2007. Current Blueshirts such as Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Marc Staal, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes, and Brady Skjei all represented the team at the tournament in recent years.

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

PLAYERS WHO APPEARED IN THE TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT

AND ALSO PLAYED WITH THE RANGERS IN THE SAME SEASON

 
TOURNAMENT YEAR/NHL SEASON PLAYER(S)
2006 Tournament/2006-07 season Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky
2007 Tournament/2007-08 season Brandon Dubinsky, Lauri Korpikoski, Marc Staal
2008 Tournament/2008-09 season Artem Anisimov
2009 Tournament/2009-10 season Michael Del Zotto, Chad Johnson
2010 Tournament/2010-11 season Evgeny Grachev, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan
2011 Tournament/2011-12 season Tim Erixon, Carl Hagelin
2013 Tournament/2013-14 season Conor Allen, Jesper Fast
2014 Tournament/2014-15 season Anthony Duclair, Kevin Hayes, Mackenzie Skapski
2015 Tournament/2015-16 season Brady Skjei

*The Traverse City Tournament did not take place in 2012

2016 Traverse City Tournament – Rangers Schedule

Day Date Opponent Time (ET)
Friday September 16 Carolina 4:00 p.m.
Saturday September 17 Dallas 3:30 p.m.
Monday September 19 Minnesota 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday September 20 Placement Game TBD