Status: New York Rangers / Hartford Wolfpack center.
HT: 6-1 WT: 195 pounds
DOB: February 1, 1990 In: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
First Hockey Memory: “I was six and a half and I was first introduced to skating at a birthday party at the Crystal Lake Ice House. And my parents then signed me up and I started playing organized hockey when I was seven.”
There’s no Stanley Cup Playoff action scheduled for Saturday, but that doesn’t mean there’s any lack of intrigue in the pro hockey community, with three teams facing elimination in the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs.
Dan Kelly of the Albany Devils made it oh-so-easy for the American League to toss the book at him. In fact, Andreas Johnson of the Toronto Marlies hadn’t even gotten up off the ice from the vicious headshot Kelly laid on him Tuesday night before people were predicting a double-digit suspension for him.
Clearly, Mr. Kelly has a difficult time learning to keep from hitting other players in the head, since he had already been suspending a game in December and another game last season for the same offense. Johnson, on the other hand, got almost no time to get accustomed to the learning curve when it comes to violence in North American professional hockey. After playing three years in the Swedish Elite League, he came over after the playoffs this year and was playing in just his second AHL game. The idea for him was to get a taste of the league before coming over to play full-time next season, not to get his head almost taken off.
The second-round Calder Cup playoff series between the Toronto Marlies and Albany Devils has been feisty. Through four games, the Marlies and Devils have traded wins and unpleasantries, leading to the teams combining for 136 penalty minutes in a series that is still at least two games away from deciding a winner.
But the aggressiveness between the two sides went too far in Tuesday’s Game 4. Midway through the second period of a game the Marlies were leading 3-1, Toronto winger Andreas Johnson collected a short pass from defenseman Connor Carrick and cut across the blueline. As Johnson turned his head to work his way into the Albany zone, he was met with a stiff elbow and forearm shot to the head from Devils defenseman Dan Kelly.
The result of the hit was frightening. Johnson, playing in only his second North American contest, was left laying flat on the ice, motionless, as the medical staff from the Marlies rushed onto the ice to attend to him: Read more
Blue Jackets fans may not have a vested interest in what happens during the NHL post-season, but down in the AHL, Columbus’ AHL affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, are looking like a team to keep an eye on. Especially if 19-year-old top prospect Sonny Milano is going to keep putting up highlight-reel goal.
The Monsters entered Game 4 of their second-round series against the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Detroit Red Wings’ affiliate, leading 3-0 with a chance to complete the sweep, and while a three-goal third frame from the Griffins stopped the Monsters from sending home their divisional rivals in four games, it was a Lake Erie goal that stood out most about the game.
With the score knotted at one in the first period, Milano took a pass while crossing into the Grand Rapids zone and went to work. Breaking in on Griffins defenseman Xavier Ouellet, who spent a handful of games with the Red Wings this season, Milano opened up his body as if to show pass or shot before corralling the puck on his backhand, pulling off a perfect spin-o-rama and letting go a backhand in one motion. Griffins goaltender Tom McCollum was baffled and beaten by the shot: Read more
Scratch another name off of the list of potential NHL bench bosses.
The Syracuse Crunch announced Tuesday that they’ve relieved coach Rob Zettler of his duties as coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning AHL affiliate, and Benoit Groulx, who was considered a candidate for one of the NHL openings, will take over behind the Crunch bench.
Zettler had coached the Crunch for the past four seasons after taking over behind the bench during the back half of the 2012-13 campaign. Under Zettler, the Crunch had a 108-90-41 record, but after he led the team to the Calder Cup final in his first year behind the bench after taking over from Jon Cooper, the Crunch had failed to recapture the same level of success. Syracuse missed the playoffs in 2013-14, exited in the first round in 2014-15 and missed the post-season again this past season.
His replacement, Groulx, comes on as Crunch coach after six successful seasons as coach and GM of the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques, as well as a gold medal as coach of Team Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championship. Read more
Before the season began, Mattias Janmark had a pretty heavy choice ahead of him. According to his contract, he could head back to Sweden if the Dallas Stars couldn’t find a roster spot for him. Sure, Janmark was familiar with AHL Texas from a brief visit the previous season, but the ball was in his court and it was either Frolunda or The Show.
Luckily for Dallas, Janmark earned his way into The Show.
Less than a week after being eliminated from the AHL post-season, the Portland Pirates announced they’ve signed a letter of intent to pack their bags and head elsewhere.
The Pirates, the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers, announced on their website Wednesday that the franchise has signed a letter of intent to relocate the franchise to a new city. No details of the sale were disclosed, and it won’t be final until it’s approved by the AHL Board of Governors, but it appears the franchise could be gone before next season. All season tickets that have been sold will be refunded, the team said.
Portland’s relocation announcement caught nearly everyone off guard, and that includes the team’s players. Veteran goaltender Mike McKenna, who has spent his past two seasons with the Pirates, told the Portland Press Herald that it was a “complete shock.”
“Just the worst news I’ve ever gotten in my life,” McKenna told the Press Herald. Read more