Who says there’s no fighting in the playoffs? St. Louis Blues enforcer Ryan Reaves weighed in on the topic last night, squaring off against Dallas’ Curtis McKenzie in what was actually two acts of ice justice.
Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.
As the season begins to wind down, we’re starting to see some hardware handed out in the prospect ranks. Toronto Maple Leafs hopeful Mitch Marner, for example, just won the OHL’s Red Tilson Trophy as the league’s most outstanding player for his work with the London Knights. Another OHL award-winner is featured below in my weekly wrap-up. Elsewhere in the hockey world, the USHL is in the middle of its two-stage draft. During Phase 1 (for 2000 birthdays), Sioux Falls landed competitive center Gavin Hain with the No. 1 pick. Phase 2 (for 1999s and earlier) happened today. And speaking of the USHL, let’s get to this week’s round-up:
The Calgary Flames announced that coach Bob Hartley has been let go, paving the way for what seems like an obvious fit: recently canned Anaheim bench boss Bruce Boudreau.
The Toronto Maple Leafs continued to pick up bodies for their rebuild today, signing KHL defenseman Nikita Zaitsev to a one-year deal. This move has been long-rumored, but now that it’s official, the question becomes one of expectation.
Sure, Zaitsev was a top blueliner in the KHL, but does that mean anything for his NHL potential?
Must be horrible to be Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff right now. After all, his team moved up to second from sixth in the draft order thanks to this weekend’s lottery, enabling the team to pick Patrik Laine or Jesse Puljujarvi this summer. But the Jets already have one of the deepest pools of young talent in the NHL, with Nikolaj Ehlers already a year in and Kyle Connor recently turning pro after one incredible college season.
Oh, the terrible choices Winnipeg will be forced to make in camp this fall.
The Strome family has a tradition. Three sons have been drafted into the OHL over the years, and a couple nights before each one has left home, the family has thrown a big party featuring all their relatives. The son who was leaving would give a speech, and things would get misty. OK, fine. There were full-on waterworks. Ryan is the eldest and currently a member of the New York Islanders. Matthew is the youngest and just gave his speech last summer before departing the family home in Mississauga for Hamilton. And in the middle is Dylan, an Arizona Coyotes draft pick who has been tearing up the OHL as a member of the high-flying Erie Otters for nearly three seasons. “We thank everyone for the help and generosity they’ve given us,” Dylan said.
“They’ve followed us for so many years of our lives, and they know we’re going off to do what we love to do. For them to help us out so much, you get emotional when you talk about it. I was crying, Matt was crying, Ryan cried. I cried when Ryan said it, I cried when Matt said it. My parents were both crying. It’s OK to show emotion in our family.”
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been attempting to rebuild the right way under the Brendan Shanahan/Lou Lamoriello/Mike Babcock regime and in winning Saturday night’s draft lottery, the most important piece has become available to them.
OK, try to follow along with us on this one:
A soccer match in Gothenburg, Sweden was interrupted the other day when a fan-thrown firecracker temporarily deafened a rival Malmo player and a nearby referee. Enraged, the Malmo player tore the corner flag out of the ground and hurled it at the crowd. Play was suspended as the officials debated whether or not the game should go on and as they did, a fan from the stands jumped onto the field.