The Hockey News

The family business: How Paul Reinhart helped sons Sam, Griffin and Max become top prospects

Sam Reinhart (Ken Andersen/NHLPA via Getty Images)

By George Johnson

Watching his father, Paul, on ESPN Classic is like being transported into another world for Sam Reinhart. But it’s not his dad’s skill that has Sam in awe. The effortless skating style, crisp passing and ability to read the play in the high-octane ’80s – all of that transcends eras and styles. Besides, as the most hotly anticipated teenage talent outside the NHL not named Connor McDavid, Sam has all those qualities himself.

No, it’s that luxuriant thatch above Paul Reinhart’s upper lip that gets Sam’s attention.

“I’ve been trying to grow that mustache for 19 years,” Sam said.

At 19, Sam may not be able to manage his father’s Chia Pet mustache, but as the baby of the hockey-playing Reinhart brood, he’s the closest in style and the highest in hype. Read more

This Week in The Hockey News magazine: Draft Preview 2015

The Hockey News
Draft Preview 2015

Draft Preview 2015

It’s THN’s highly anticipated, XL-sized Draft Preview 2015 edition, featuring our top 100 prospects with scouting reports on each, plus bigger features on generational talents Connor McDavid (and his impact in Edmonton) and Jack Eichel (and why Buffalo is about to fall in love) and much more. Rounding out the issue:

- Good, but is it great?: Why this year’s draft is deep, but it’s no 2003

- The History of The NTDP: An inside look at the progress and inner-workings of USA Hockey’s prospect hothouse, the National Team Development Program

- The draft’s family ties: Familiar names dot the landscape of this year’s selection board

- NHL Team Reports: The game plan for all 30 franchises entering the draft, including their short- and long-term needs, their cap situation for next season and which prospects already in the system are ready to step up

- THN’s Homegrown Draft Teams: We built each NHL team a roster comprised of its drafted players who remain active and played one NHL game this season. Some are going strong with their original clubs. Others have flourished elsewhere

- To go or not to go to the draft?: Reid Gardiner can tell you the sinking, gutting feeling of hearing 210 prospect names called and not one of them being yours

- Trail blazer: Viktor Khatulev never played an NHL game, but his significance as the first Soviet drafted into the NHL can’t be understated

- A home away from home: Behind the scenes of junior hockey are billet families that are feeding, supporting and cheering on the NHL’s next in line

- On the horizon: Meet the NTDP product who could end up being even better than Jack Eichel

Pick up a copy at your local newsstand, buy it from the THN Store (McDavid cover / Eichel cover), digitally on the IPad or through Zinio, or subscribe at thehockeynews.com

The Rangers are rich and entitled; the Islanders are lucky and shameless

New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In our Playoff Preview edition, we asked one blogger following the Rangers and one following the Islanders to have some fun at each other’s expense. To our delight, they didn’t play nice.

By Dominik Jansky of Lighthouse Hockey:
To say Rangers fans were born on third base thinking they hit a triple would be an insult to nepotism: their blue-blooded forefathers have hit one triple since 1940, and even that exhausting trip required a bunch of uncles from Edmonton to do the pinch running. Yet like an embarrassing, fumbling son whose rich father pretends he doesn’t exist, Rangers fans boldly stagger around town with hollow bluster, as if their club has contributed anything to hockey over the past 75 years beyond bloated payrolls, retirement packages for fading stars, and miraculous job security for Glen Sather.

The Rangers are New York’s media darlings – if being the seventh-most-popular team in one’s home is “darling”-worthy – purely by virtue of geographic convenience. That all changes when their rivals bring their own superior, impressive history to Brooklyn, and media don’t have to trudge out to Nassau to get quotes from New York’s best player, John Tavares.

For now, Isles fans can enjoy one last hurrah in a raucous Nassau Coliseum – birthplace of the only dynasty New York will ever see, and home of the majority of New York’s Stanley Cups since the Great Depression. Rangers fans must be content to tell themselves the new sky bridge at the sterile Madison Square Garden, the “World’s Most Self-Congratulatory Arena,” is somehow worth the $1,000 tickets, the gutting of the 300s section and the loss of their soul.

At least they’ll always have Matteau…if he can still afford to get in the building.

By Mike Murphy of Blueshirt Banter:
The Islanders are giving their fans a nice treat by making the club’s last season at the Coliseum an Irish wake instead of the cataclysmic, all-consuming funeral pyre that would’ve been far more appropriate. Next season, the steadfast crew behind the Gorton’s Fisherman will leave the NHL’s second smallest arena for the new second smallest arena, in Brooklyn…where exactly zero percent of the locals admit to being a part of Long Island.

When Isles fans aren’t standing like meerkats trying to see the action in a building that in no way was designed to host hockey games, they’ll continue to make the hatred of the Rangers a load-bearing part of their identity and express a shameless pride when they manage to be louder than visiting Blueshirts fans in their own arena.

The Islanders will appear in the playoffs for the third time since the 2004-05 lockout, which will mercifully give their fans something to do other than call for the heads of their coach, GM and owner. Luckily for them, the team managed to add a top ‘D’ pair on clearance sale before the season and trade for a goalie who didn’t refuse to report to the club!

Things sure are looking up for the Empire State’s other team (even Buffalo knows that Buffalo doesn’t count), which goes to show you that if you fail long and badly enough and somehow avoid being exiled to Kansas City, you might just survive to draft a Tavares and put yourself in a position to advance past the first round for the first time in 22 years. What an inspiration.

This is feature appears in the Playoff Preview 2015 edition of The Hockey News magazine. Get fun features like this one, and much more, by subscribing now.

Detroit company finds success with game-used stick phone cases

The Hockey News
Original Stix

By Warren Frank

Detroit-based company Original Stix appears to have found an extremely interested market for its game-used composite sticks phone cases.

The idea to turn old sticks into hockey-themed phone cases came from CEO Terry Johnson. He’s always been inspired by creative repurposing, but it was an experience during his time at Michigan State that was particularly influential.

“One of my friends built a table out of old sticks,” Johnson said. “I always thought it was interesting to repurpose something designed for an entirely different reason, and it got me thinking about other products built with authentic materials.”

 

Original Stix case

After graduating, Johnson teamed up with two friends and fellow Michigan State alumni, Mario DiMercurio and Andrew Mestdagh, to found the company. The company’s first product, an iPhone 5 case, was launched in August, and its positive reception has led to the addition of Galaxy s5 cases, iPhone 6 cases and an apparel line. All Original Stix products are made in the U.S. – a point of pride for the business.

“The rubber cases are made using local injection molding facilities,” Johnson said. “The sticks are cut by hand, and then the inside is coated with a rubberized coating for added protection. When an order comes through, customers can request specific sticks so we match the sticks with the rubber frame and build to order.

“Everything is done right here in Detroit. The area has been going through some tough times in recent years, so creating jobs and bringing manufacturing back to the area is something that our fans have really gotten behind, regardless of what team they follow.”

And it’s not just fans interested in Original Stix products: the company recently completed a custom order for the New York Rangers, with cases featuring game-used sticks now sold at Madison Square Garden. Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who went to high school with Johnson and DiMercurio, has been to the Original Stix headquarters a number of times.

While Original Stix is looking to add additional teams, customers can currently choose stick pieces from more than 50 squads from the NHL, AHL, NCAA and OHL. The sticks can be swapped out without having to buy a new case.

“We’ve had a lot of customers who have sticks autographed by NHL players,” Johnson said. “We love seeing stuff like that. It’s like a portable piece of memorabilia as opposed to an autographed photo that just hangs on the wall.”

Original Stix display

Goodbye Hamilton Bulldogs. Hello…Hamilton Bulldogs

The Hockey News
Hamilton Bulldogs (Brandon Taylor / Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club)

By DENIS GIBBONS

So, now they come?!

Hamilton Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer was probably trying to figure that one out when more than 10,000 fans paid to see an AHL game in Hamilton, Ont., Saturday night.

The sad news is the Bulldogs’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Lake Erie Monsters was their farewell to the steel city. The franchise will relocate to St. John’s, Nfld., until a new arena is ready in Laval, a suburb of Montreal.

 

Hamilton Bulldogs say goodbye (Shea Berencsi/THN)

Hamilton Bulldogs say goodbye (Shea Berencsi/THN)

 

Mid-week games at Hamilton’s First Ontario Centre sometimes attracted fewer than 2,000 fans.

The Bulldogs name will live on, however, with the arrival of a new OHL franchise for the 2015-16 season. The Belleville Bulls sold their franchise to Andlauer after the City of Belleville refused to make improvements to the tiny arena there. Read more

2015 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings

The Hockey News
(Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

TBL DET head to head

HOW THEY WIN

LIGHTNING: The Lightning are the highest-scoring team in the NHL and have the ability to put teams away early with a tsunami of shots and play in the offensive zone. Much of Tampa Bay’s success comes from its roster’s ability to spread out the contributions. No defenseman plays more than 23 minutes a game and, generally speaking, no forward plays more than 20. The fact unheralded Tyler Johnson went into the stretch run of the season battling for the team’s scoring lead with Steven Stamkos tells you all you need to know about the Bolts’ depth of offense. After struggling on the penalty kill in years past, the Lightning have quietly become a top-10 team on the PK and use their quick-strike ability to be a shorthanded scoring threat. They’re also more than big enough to play that “heavy” game that seems to be so successful in the playoffs.

RED WINGS: Prior to the season, Detroit GM Ken Holland said that if the Red Wings could get anything resembling full seasons out of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and their goaltending held up, they would be fine. All those things have happened and the Red Wings have been much more than fine. When Detroit is healthy, it has a ton of depth in the form of four strong lines that can play in any situation and adapt to almost any style of game. Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist are right there with Datsyuk and Zetterberg when it comes to offensive contributions, and they give the Red Wings danger and depth in scoring. Whether it’s Jimmy Howard or Jonas Gustavsson or Petr Mrazek, they have the kind of goaltending that is very good and can sometimes be great. They can be sure it won’t be a negative deciding factor in a playoff series. Read more

2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Anaheim Ducks vs Winnipeg Jets

The Hockey News
(Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

ANA WPG head to head

HOW THEY WIN

DUCKS: Though it may sound counterintuitive, the Ducks win when players other than Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are scoring. That’s because it’s a given the dynamic duo will produce with regularity. But it takes more than two prolific offensive players to win against the big boys of the NHL. That’s what cost Anaheim in the second round against Los Angeles last spring – a lack of balanced scoring. The addition of Ryan Kesler is a big boost to the second line and Matt Beleskey moved north of 20 goals for the first time, though 12 of them came in the first 26 games of the season. Anaheim has one of the youngest, most mobile bluelines in the league, led by Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm. They’re adept at moving the puck efficiently and are crafty in the offensive zone. They’re also underrated defensively, as is veteran Francois Beauchemin.

JETS: The Jets make for a miserable opponent thanks to their grinding style under coach Paul Maurice. They’re a top-five SAT Close team, consistently the aggressor in generating shot attempts. Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler combine size and scoring touch on the wings, Mark Scheifele continues to develop as a two-way center and Michael Frolik excels in his checking role. The Jets ‘D’ corps, when healthy, is versatile and punishing. Dustin Byfuglien will earn a few Norris Trophy votes after a dominant return from playing forward last season. Towering Tyler Myers looks reborn after arriving from Buffalo in the Evander Kane trade. Jacob Trouba’s offense hasn’t sparkled like it did in his rookie year, but his bruising play suits the playoffs. And hey, goalies Michael Hutchinson and Ondrej Pavelec have both had hot streaks. Who’s to say one won’t in the playoffs? Read more

2015 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview: New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Hockey News
The Penguins will be the underdogs when they take on the Rangers (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 7

HOW THEY WIN

RANGERS: The Rangers yield practically nothing to the opposition. Boasting one of the most skilled and savvy blueline corps in the NHL, New York is always safe with players such as Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi on the prowl. The fact Keith Yandle hasn’t even been mentioned yet speaks volumes of the talent back there, and even if you get through two of those players, you still have to deal with Henrik Lundqvist, the backbone of the franchise. ‘The King’ always gives New York a chance to win, and last year’s appearance in the Stanley Cup final wasn’t enough to slake his thirst for glory. Needless to say, the penalty kill is also a strong suit. Up front the Rangers have speed and skill to burn, headlined by forwards Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello and past Cup champion Martin St-Louis. Chris Kreider and Carl Hagelin also have some wicked afterburners.

PENGUINS: The Penguins score well in many metrics historically important to playoff success. They’re top-10 in goals against, power play, penalty kill and 5-on-5 scoring. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin remain two of the NHL’s elite players, and Crosby in particular heated up down the stretch. Marc-Andre Fleury was tied for the NHL lead in shutouts and was having quite the season in net, while first-year coach Mike Johnston has utilized his fast-paced style with a nod to defensive responsibility. The Pens have been a better possession team with Johnston at the helm despite injuries/illnesses to key players Crosby, Malkin, Olli Maatta and others. And if you believe in good storylines, the last time Pittsburgh won the Cup was in 2009 when Dan Bylsma was a rookie coach (albeit as a mid-season replacement). Pittsburgh has the weapons to do it. Now it’s just a matter of execution. Read more