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.

Jordan Subban sounds like an incredibly fun teammate

Ryan Kennedy
Jordan-Subban

When the Vancouver Canucks tabbed defenseman Jordan Subban with the 115th overall pick in the 2013 draft, they knew they were getting a bundle of skill with great bloodlines. After all, older brothers Malcolm and P.K. were both in the game and P.K. had just won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top blueliner.

But along with sharing a position, Jordan also seems to have P.K.’s gift of gab, as evidenced by this recent video of the Belleville Bulls blueliner going through the paces at Canucks development camp with a hot mic on:

Read more

Women can do more than just clean up and cheer at hockey games

Ryan Kennedy
ice-girl-Lundqvist

The New York Islanders are credited with bringing the concept of ice girls to the NHL in 2001, but many franchises have since followed suit. San Jose is the latest team and the Sharks are now dealing with a movement to ice those girls before they even get to shovel their first snow scrapings between whistles.

Sure, as Greg Wyshynski of the Puck Daddy! blog notes, they’re mixing in a guy or two on the squad, but he gets to wear a zip-up jacket. The women will sport the bare midriffs that are basically standard-issue in the ice girl game and that’s one of several reasons there is growing animosity towards the concept.

Here’s my main problem with the concept of ice girls (other than the fact teams are infantilizing these employees who most likely drive cars to the games by calling them “girls” instead of “women”): it’s not just the needless and workplace temperature-inappropriate sexualization, it’s the void of other female role models in a hockey context at NHL arenas.

Read more

Nylander and Toninato soar at Toronto Maple Leafs rookie camp

Ryan Kennedy
Dom-Toninato

Yes, it’s July and yes, it was only a scrimmage, but do you like hockey or don’t ya? The Toronto Maple Leafs, like many NHL franchises, held their rookie development camp this week and the festivities ended with a scrimmage. Far from orthodox, the game featured a 15-minute period of 4-on-4 with players changing every 45 seconds, followed by a similar format but 3-on-3 (there was also a “normal” 15-minute period to begin with).

One player who looked pretty sharp was center Dakota Joshua. A member of the United States League’s Sioux Falls Stampede, the Dearborn, Mich., native was great on the forecheck, dogging defensemen and keeping plays alive in the corners.

“That helps me out a lot in the USHL, to make plays and help put points on the board by winning puck battles and finding the open teammate,” Joshua said.

The growing pivot will have an expanded role on the Stampede next season, as the team is losing a bunch of veterans. After that, he’ll head to Ohio State.

“It was a perfect overall fit for me,” he said. “It’s in the Big 10, which I felt was one of the best conferences in college hockey and it’s close to home. I know I’m going up against the best talent in America every night.”

Here’s who else stood out to me on the day:

Read more

St. Louis Blues prospects don’t fit the Russian stereotype

Ryan Kennedy
Ivan-Barbashev

When T.J. Oshie ended a classic Olympic showdown by outduelling the Russians in the shootout, he became an instant hero back in the United States. And while most of the host nation was crestfallen by his derring-do, Oshie had at least one Russian on his side: Maxim Letunov thought the American was great.

As luck would have it, Letunov was selected by Oshie’s NHL team, the St. Louis Blues, mere months later at the draft. He went later in the second round after the Blues had taken countryman Ivan Barbashev 33rd overall. Both players may be Russian, but they shatter stereotypes.

Read more

Americans and Connor McDavid will rule the 2015 draft

Eichel-McDavid

I thought it was a bit unfair that some news outlets were already running stories on the 2015 draft class before the 2014s had even strolled up to the podium in Philadelphia, but now that NHL Central Scouting has released its watch list, it’s time to weigh in.

In terms of hype, 2015 is going to be a big year. If the prospects at the top develop on the path I expect them to, you’re looking at three or four franchise-changing talents, followed by some more excellent players after that. In terms of potential, it blows 2014 out of the water.

Read more

What do the players think of a major junior union?

Ryan Kennedy
CHL-Prospects

It’s unfortunate, but efforts to get a players’ association started for the three major junior circuits always seem to get off on the wrong foot. As reported by the Toronto Star on Monday, Hockey Canada nemesis Glenn Gumbley is back on the scene, this time teaming up with Unifor (which also represents Star reporters), a major private sector union.

Based on the comments and situations described in the article, neither Gumbley nor Unifor should be anywhere near a potential CHL union drive, but that doesn’t mean I dismiss the idea. What the concept does need, however, is support from the constituents themselves. So I hit the ol’ modern rolodex and asked major junior players from across the country what they thought. The respondents represented all three circuits: Ontario League, Western League and Quebec League. Some were high NHL draft picks, some haven’t been drafted yet, while others signed pro deals as free agents.

And there was one common thread when I asked what the players would want from a union: More money.

Read more