As reported by local journalist Ryan Slocum, the Flint Firebirds have reinstated the junior team’s coaching staff after a mass walkout by the team’s players. It’s a crazy development in what was already a bizarre story that unfolded in less than a day, but if there is a silver lining, it’s that the players on the team came together for something they believed in and won.
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.
Players from the OHL’s Flint Firebirds have reportedly quit the team en masse after coach John Gruden and his staff were fired Sunday night. In what is still a developing story, the cause of the firing revolved around the ice time given to 17-year-old Hakon Nilsen, who is the son of owner Rolf Nilsen.
When Terry Kalna thinks about the hockey game of the future, he envisions a fan who never has to worry about finding a parking spot or waiting in line. In fact, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ senior vice-president of sales and broadcasting just wants you to stroll in the door, mobile phone in hand. There’s already a parking spot reserved for you and, at 8:05, four hot dogs will be ready and waiting at a certain concession stand. “No lines, none of that hassle,” he said. “Completely automated, barrier-free. We want to take all the anxiety out of the experience.”
Every season, Washington Capitals defensemen John Carlson and Karl Alzner have a friendly little competition: who can score the most even-strength points.
“This year,” Alzner said, “I have absolutely no chance. We may have to tweak the rules a bit.”
Right now, Carlson is up six points to four, but clearly Alzner sees where things are heading. Toss in his six power play points and Carlson is one of the top-scoring D-men in the NHL and if his first-star performance against Boston Thursday night is any indication, the offense is not drying up anytime soon.
Last season, the Ottawa Senators shocked the hockey world by going on a miracle run to snatch a playoff spot. This year, the big “shock” was captain Erik Karlsson trimming off his famous locks of hair.
“We were like, ‘who the heck is this guy and where did he come from?’ ” said right winger Bobby Ryan. “He did it very subtle and didn’t tell anyone.”
Ryan has a passing interest in hair these days, as a spokesman for Head and Shoulders shampoo’s “Shoulders of Greatness” campaign. The big and skilled winger will stick up for his own flow – “My personal feelings are that I have a pretty good head of hair,” he said – but his play on the ice is what really does the talking.
Let’s get down to brass tacks here, people: Edmonton’s season is finished. With rookie center Connor McDavid fracturing his clavicle, whatever small margin of error the Oilers possessed in chasing a playoff spot is now flushed down the toilet.
It’s been a controversial week in the prospect world, as the CHL-NCAA talent war reached DEFCON 1. First, Toronto pick Jeremy Bracco departed Boston College for OHL Kitchener, then days later Carolina prospect Warren Foegele jetted from New Hampshire for OHL Kingston. This didn’t sit well with social media’s college boosters, but in the end it’s up to the players. As for Kingston, the Frontenacs just traded for Maple Leafs pick Stephen Desrocher, who won a Memorial Cup with Oshawa last year. He’ll add size and a big shot to the blueline of a team clearly going for it all. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about the world of prospects right now.
The Vancouver Canucks will not be sending rookies Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen back to junior right now – but they made the teenagers earn it.