Ryan Kennedy

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.

Michigan State legend Ron Mason passes away at 76

Ryan Kennedy
Coach Ron Mason (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Ron Mason, the legendary former coach of the Michigan State Spartans, has passed away at the age of 76.

Mason won 924 games behind the bench at Michigan State, Bowling Green and Lake Superior State. He guided the Spartans to the national championship in 1986 and again as athletic director in 2007. But his impact on college hockey went well beyond wins.

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Was Pittsburgh’s fatal flaw exposed by San Jose in Game 5?

Ryan Kennedy
San Jose's Logan Couture tracks Olli Maatta of the Penguins (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH – The Penguins had a chance to slay San Jose on home ice, but the Sharks had some tricks of their own and now the series is headed back to California. Even though Pittsburgh dominated the possession game, San Jose used opportunistic scoring to down the Pens 4-2. Perhaps most disturbing for Pittsburgh is how exposed the team’s inexperienced defense corps looked at times, particularly in the first three minutes when the Sharks staked themselves to a 2-0 lead.

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Pittsburgh’s defense has killed our pre-final assumptions

Ryan Kennedy
Brian Dumoulin (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Take away Kris Letang, and what do you see from the Pittsburgh blueline on paper? Olli Maatta, the oft-injured youngster. Justin Schultz, who barely survived the Edmonton Ruin Machine after choosing the Oilers over the Ducks. Ben Lovejoy, a player GM Jim Rutherford openly admitted he shouldn’t have traded Simon Despres for last year.

And yet, this crew (plus Brian Dumoulin and Ian Cole) has helped the Penguins to within a game of the Stanley Cup, despite losing Trevor Daley to injury before the final even began. How are they doing it?

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Who were the big winners at the draft combine this weekend?

Ryan Kennedy
Alex Nylander at the bench press (Photo by Jen Fuller/NHLI via Getty Images)

The draft combine is a tricky event. Some folks grouse that there is no on-ice component and the exercises do lend a bit of a dog-and-pony show vibe to the proceedings, but there is still a lot of business conducted. For players who didn’t have great years, or played in smaller circuits, the team interviews can be key. And it is interesting to see how certain players did on the physical tests compared to their peers. So who won the weekend?

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Top defensemen make their case at the draft combine

Ryan Kennedy
Mikhail Sergachev  (Photo by Jen Fuller/NHLI via Getty Images)

BUFFALO – There was a lot of interest among the local media in defensemen this morning. With Buffalo hosting the draft combine, camera crews and reporters got a chance to quiz a number of potential future Sabres and several of those candidates were blueliners. With Buffalo picking eighth, a top D-man will surely be available, but which one?

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Jesse Puljujarvi will not be quiet any longer

Finland's Jesse Puljujärvi (Markku Ulander/AFP/Getty Images)

BUFFALO – The main attraction at today’s draft combine access was top-rated Auston Matthews, as it probably should be. But for the few reporters who went to Jesse Puljujarvi first, a new personality could be seen. Puljujarvi, it seems, won’t be taking a back seat to anyone for much longer.

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Inside the interview room at the draft combine

Ryan Kennedy
Draft veterans Brian Burke and Paul Holmgren (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

BUFFALO – The NHL draft combine has two main components: the physical testing, most of which will happen this Saturday, and the interview portion. The latter is spread out over a few days this week, with all 30 teams interviewing a range of players from the 114 invited by Central Scouting. So what happens in those interviews? I had the good fortune to find out this year, as one franchise let me sit in on a block of interviews. Here’s how it went down.

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