Getting drafted is a dream for all high-end hockey prospects, but being selected by a team on the rise like the Tampa Bay Lightning makes the day even more sweet. Czech defenseman Dominik Masin was picked 35th overall by the Bolts this summer, capping off a season that saw his stock jump up after the world under-18s. Speaking through a translator, Masin was amped for the future.
It’s just a matter of time before the first Australian drafted by an NHL team gets a chance to play in the big league. Nathan Walker was selected 89th overall by the Washington Capitals in the 2014 draft and Friday signed a three-year entry-level contract.
“He’s probably still a couple of years away, but he’s on the right track,” said Capitals director, amateur scouting Ross Mahoney. “He’s one determined guy, I’ll tell you that. He’s had an incredible journey so far.”
Walker, 20, was born in Cardiff, Wales, and was two when his family moved to Sydney, Australia. Though hockey is a bottom rung sport in Australia, Walker became fascinated with the game at the age of six watching Hollywood movies Mystery, Alaska and The Mighty Ducks.
Sometimes change trickles up and other times, it trickles down. In the case of the rule changes recently adopted by the American League, it will be interesting to see whether or not those holding the levers of the NHL take notice.
At its board of governors meetings this week, the AHL passed what can only be described as radical rule alterations. And I use the term “radical” keeping in mind that significant change sometimes moves at a glacial pace in this sport. But give the AHL credit. It made positive moves on two of the most controversial, debated and polarizing issues facing the game today: fighting and shootouts. Read more
The American League just got a whole lot more interesting.
At the end of the NHL farm circuit’s Board of Governors meetings Thursday, the league announced a slew of rule changes for the 2014-15 season. It’s more than fair to think of these changes as experiments for future NHL implementation, as there’s a precedent for rules starting in the AHL and moving to the NHL. That’s fantastic news considering what the changes are.
The most prominent: the introduction of 3-on-3 overtime. The league states:
Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period.
If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.
Willie Desjardins is the newest coach of the Vancouver Canucks and he certainly has his work cut out for him. The Canucks went from one of the top teams in the West to a basketcase franchise in an almost inconceivably short period of time and one of the reasons was based on structure.
The American League’s Calder Cup championship was decided in a similar way the Stanley Cup was at the end of last week.
Tuesday night the Texas Stars and St. John’s IceCaps played Game 5 of the Calder Cup final and it went into overtime. With the Stars holding a 3-1 series lead, they had a chance to close out the championship on the road.
And that they did. The Stars took a 2-0 lead in the game before the IceCaps roared back to take a 3-2 advantage. Texas tied it up again with less than 10 minutes to go in the third period. And, in the dying minutes of the first OT period, Texas’ Patrik Nemeth scored the championship goal with this nifty move. Hey, that looks like a Patrick Kane backhander. Read more
By Sean Shapiro
It was like being the new kid at school – if you arrived just in time for exams. With the exception of a morning skate, Brett Ritchie didn’t even have a chance to practice with the American League’s Texas Stars before making his 2014 Calder Cup Playoff debut in Game 6 of the second round against the Grand Rapids Griffins May 18.
Nursing an injured ankle back to health, the second-round pick (Dallas, 44th overall in 2011) missed the Stars’ first eight playoff games and hadn’t played since April 13 against the San Antonio Rampage.
Not knowing how the ankle would hold up or how he’d feel jumping into a playoff series against the defending Calder Cup Champions, Ritchie shook off some early jitters and scored in a 7-1 series-clinching victory. “It’s good, it gives you some confidence around the net,” Ritchie said. “I didn’t feel very comfortable around the net at the start of the game, but for that one (goal) to go in, it kind of bounced me back to where I was before I got hurt.”
Ritchie, recapturing his pre-injury form, provided a much-needed boost for Texas as it battled through a seven-game series with the Toronto Marlies to reach the Calder Cup final and a five-game series against the St. John’s IceCaps to win the AHL title. The Orangeville, Ontario native had 11 points in 13 post-season games, two of which came in Tuesday’s 4-3 Game 5 OT win that clinched the Calder Cup for Texas. Read more