Tag Archives: Ryan McDonagh

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).

RANGERS: LINDBERG HIP AIN’T SO LUCKY – SURGERY PUTS HIM OUT 6 MONTHS

Oscar LindbergOSCAR LINDBERG UNDERGOES SUCCESSFUL SURGERY
Expected to Recover in Six Months 

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, May 6, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that Oscar Lindberg underwent a successful simultaneous bilateral hip labral repair. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly at Hospital for Special Surgery. The expected recovery time is six months.

Lindberg, 24, skated in 68 games with the Rangers in 2015-16, registering 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points, along with a plus-12 rating and 43 penalty minutes. Lindberg tied for second among NHL rookies in plus/minus rating, ranked eighth in hits (132), and tied for 10th in even strength goals (12) this past season. He received the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award as the top Rangers rookie in Training Camp in 2015.

Photo by SNY.TV

RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FREE AGENT FORWARD MALTE STROMWALL

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RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FREE AGENT FORWARD MALTE STROMWALL

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, April 17, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with free-agent forward Malte Stromwall.

          Stromwall, 21, skated in 49 games with AIK of Allsvenskan in Sweden this season, registering 25 goals and 17 assists for 42 points, along with a plus-two rating and 26 penalty minutes. Stromwall ranked second in the league in goals and tied for seventh in the league in points this season. Also, he led all players 22 years old or younger in Allsvenskan in both goals and points in 2015-16. Stromwall, along with current Rangers prospect Robin Kovacs, helped AIK win the league championship in Allsvenskan.

          The 6-0, 185-pounder has played parts of the last three seasons with several teams in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and Allsvenskan. Stromwall has skated in 87 career SHL games, recording nine goals and five assists for 14 points. Also, he has tallied 46 points (27 goals, 19 assists) in 55 career games in Allsvenskan.

          Before playing professional hockey in Sweden, Stromwall played two seasons of junior hockey with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The Lulea, Sweden native skated in 130 regular season games with the Americans during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, registering 32 goals and 61 assists for 93 points, along with a plus-nine rating and 69 penalty minutes. Also, Stromwall tallied 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 20 WHL playoff games.

RANGERS: TWO HUGE POINTS ON THE LINE IN MONTREAL

Game PreviewNEW YORK RANGERS at MONTREAL CANADIENS
Saturday, Mar. 26, 2016, 7:00 p.m. ET
Bell Centre – Montreal, QC
Rangers: 42-24-8 (92 pts)
Canadiens: 34-35-6 (74 pts)

BY: The New York Rangers

TONIGHT’S GAME

The Rangers play their 75th game of the 2015-16 season and begin a back-to-back set tonight, Mar. 26, against the Montreal Canadiens in an Original Six matchup at Bell Centre (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG 2; Radio: ESPN 1050 AM). New York has earned at least one point in 10 of its last 14 games (8-4-2), including four of its last five contests (3-1-1). The Blueshirts have won 10 of their last 17 games (10-5-2), 15 of their last 24 games (15-6-3), and 18 of their last 29 games (18-8-3). The Rangers have also earned at least one point in 27 of their last 39 games (23-12-4), including 26 of their last 37 games (22-11-4) and 25 of their last 35 games (21-10-4). The Blueshirts enter the contest with a 42-24-8 record this season (92 points). Continue reading

RANGERS: SOMETHING BRUIN WITH RANGERS? NEW YORK TOPS BOSTON

Post Game NotesCaptureBY: The New York RangersBox ScoreCapture1OFFICIAL GAME REPORTS  GOALIES                                                                                     Game Summary                      Bos: T. Rask (ND) J. Gustavsson (L) NYR: H. Lundqvist (W) Event Summary
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–        HOME COOKING – The Rangers have registered at least 25 home wins in two consecutive seasons for the first time since 2007-08 and 2008-09. The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 16 of their last 20 home games (14-4-2), including 14 of their last 17 home games (12-3-2). New York has posted a 24-7-2 record in its last 33 home games. The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 27 of their last 34 home games (24-7-3) and in 28 of 36 home games in 2015-16 (25-8-3). The Rangers rank second in the NHL in wins (25) and points (53) at home this season. The Rangers lead the NHL in goals per game at home this season (3.28; 118 goals in 36 home games). Continue reading

OXNARD: PACK PROCURE POINT PUSHING PROVIDENCE PAST PRIMARY PERIODS

rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpg      VERSUS      Providence

Providence Bruins 3, Hartford Wolf Pack 2 (OT)

BY: Phil Oxnard, Hartford Wolf Pack

Hartford, CT, March 23, 2016 – A six-game Hartford Wolf Pack win streak ended Wednesday night at the XL Center, in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Providence Bruins.

Alexander Khokhlachev’s second goal of the game was the game-winner, scored at 2:15 of overtime.  Brandon DeFazio had the other Providence goal, and Austin Czarnik assisted on all three Bruin scores.  Daniel Paille and Nick Tarnasky scored for the Wolf Pack and Marek Hrivik had two assists.  Magnus Hellberg made 29 saves.

The loss also ended a Hartford streak of ten straight wins in games that went beyond regulation.

The Wolf Pack’s weakness in their special teams play was a major issue in the game, as the Wolf Pack went 0-for-6 on the power play and Providence was 2-for-3. Continue reading

FUEHRING: ORLANDO LIGHT UP SKAPSKI IN WIN

rp_Greenville-Swamp-Rabbits-300x225.png      VERSUS       Orlando_Solar_Bears_logo.svg

THREE-GOAL THIRD BOOSTS ORLANDO PAST GREENVILLE

Combs’ scores twice for Swamp Rabbits in 6-3 loss to Solar Bears

BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Orlando, FL Jack Combs scored twice for the second consecutive game, but Orlando’s Rylan Schwartz netted two goals of his own, helping the Solar Bears (31-24-8) to a 6-3 victory over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (28-27-9), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, at the Amway Center on Wednesday. In the end, a trio of third-period goals was the difference for Orlando.

Aside from Combs, Scott Fleming also found the back of the net for Greenville, while Schwartz (2g, 2a) joined Denver Manderson (3a) and Johnny McInnis (1g, 2a) with multiple points for Orlando. The loss dropped the Swamp Rabbits to 12th place in the Eastern Conference standings, and the team continues to sit seven points behind Elmira for the final playoff spot.

BOX SCORE Continue reading

FUEHRING: RABBITS LOOK TO START RUN TO PLAYOFFS TONIGHT

PLAYOFFrp_Greenville-Swamp-Rabbits-300x225.png QUEST HEATS UP TONIGHT IN ORLANDO

Both teams on the outside looking in as final meeting kicks off at 7 p.m. this evening

BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Date                      Time                   Opponent                  Follow               

Wed, Mar. 23        7 p.m. ET            @ Orlando                  ListenWatchTwitter

THE STORY COMING IN

Crucial points are on the line this evening as the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, face the Orlando Solar Bears at the Amway Center for the final time this season. Both teams are battling for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with the ninth-place Solar Bears just three points ahead of 12th-place Greenville. The Swamp Rabbits are seven points behind Elmira for the final playoff position with just nine games left in the regular season. Greenville enters tonight’s contest on a three-game point streak (1-0-2), but is coming off of a 4-3 shootout loss to South Carolina on Sunday. Jack Combs (2g, 1a) and Scott Fleming (1g, 1a) each recorded multiple points that afternoon, but Marcus Perrier scored twice for the Stingrays and Brandon Magee netted the shootout winner. Greenville is looking to earn at least a point in four straight games for the first time since a streak that spanned from Dec. 19 – Jan. 3. Continue reading

RANGERS: RANGERS ROLLER COASTER SEASON BACK ON THE CLIMB

Post Game NotesCaptureBY: The New York RangersBox ScoreCapture1OFFICIAL GAME REPORTS        GOALIES                                                                               Game Summary                             FLA: A. Montoya (L)     NYR: H. Lundqvist (W)                   Event Summary
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–        BOUNCE BACK – The Rangers have earned 13 straight wins in the game immediately following a regulation loss, dating back to Dec. 22, 2015, vs. Anaheim. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Blueshirts’ 13-game winning streak in contests immediately following a regulation loss is the longest within one season in franchise history.

–        NINETY-NINE – Following tonight’s win, the Rangers have earned 90 points this season. The Blueshirts have registered at least 90 points in nine of 11 seasons since 2005-06.

–        HOME COOKING – The Rangers have won at least one point in 15 of their last 19 home games (13-4-2), including 13 of their last 16 home games (11-3-2). New York has posted a 23-7-2 record in their most recent 32 home games. The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 26 of their last 33 home games (23-7-3) and 27 of 35 home games in 2015-16 (24-8-3).

–        WINNING WAYS – New York has earned at least one point in nine of its last 13 games (7-4-2). The Blueshirts have won nine of their last 16 games (9-5-2), 14 of their last 23 games (14-6-3), and 17 of their last 28 games (17-8-3). The Rangers have also earned at least one point in 26 of their last 38 games (22-12-4), including 25 of their last 36 games (21-11-4) and 24 of their last 34 games (20-10-4). Continue reading

FUEHRING: SWAMP RABBITS WEEKLY Week 23: March 21 – March 27

rp_Greenville-Swamp-Rabbits-300x225.pngSWAMP RABBITS WEEKLY

Week 23: March 21 – March 27

BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

LAST WEEK’S RECAP

Overall Picture: The Greenville Swamp Rabbits (28-26-9), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, earned at least, one point in each of their three games last week as the club battled Atlanta and South Carolina in its 11th three-games-in-three-days series of the season. Greenville went 1-0-2 and gained sole possession of 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings, placing the club seven points outside of a playoff spot with nine games remaining in the regular season.

Brian Hart and Kodie Curran each found the back of the net on Friday, but the Swamp Rabbits opened the week with a 3-2 overtime loss when Atlanta’s Max Everson completed his first pro hat trick with the game-winner just 36 seconds into the extra session. Between the pipes, Mackenzie Skapski played well and stopped 34 shots, but suffered the overtime loss on SANDLAPPER Securities Rink.

Twenty-four hours later, Skapski and the Swamp Rabbits responded with a 5-0 shredding of the Gladiators at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Georgia. The 21-year-old goaltender halted all 29 shots he faced to record his first ECHL shutout, and his first overall since he blanked the AHL’s Providence Bruins on March 27, 2015 with Hartford. Offensively, Greenville received goals from five different skaters, including Jack Combs game-winner just 26 seconds into the first period.

Combs continued his hot streak on Sunday by scoring twice in regulation, once in a shootout, and adding an assist against South Carolina, but the Swamp Rabbits suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to the Stingrays in their final meeting at the North Charleston Coliseum. Marcus Perrier notched two goals for South Carolina while Greenville surrendered a pair of two-goal leads in the setback. Despite the loss, the Swamp Rabbits collected one point and improved to 65 points this season. Greenville concluded the season series with a record of 5-4-2 against the Stingrays. Continue reading