It’s an image seen on pretty much every hockey broadcast: the player, getting ready for the game, earbuds in, eyes locked in concentration and shoulders rocking in rhythm to the music coursing through their iPod. But what are they listening to?
In the case of Buffalo’s Jack Eichel and Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk, we’ve got the answer:
The New York Rangers enter the all-star break sitting second in the Metropolitan division and third in the Eastern Conference standings. However, some Rangers followers are grumbling over the club’s inability to dominate the Conference as they once did. Only four points separates the Blueshirts from the New Jersey Devils, who sit just outside the Eastern playoff picture.
Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post recently observed Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist turns 34 in March. That means the Blueshirts don’t have a lot of time to take advantage of his greatness before his inevitable decline.
The CHL Top Prospects Game runs this Thursday in Vancouver and it will be a strange year for the showdown. To begin with, three of the top four prospects in the NHL draft aren’t even eligible to participate – Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi all play in Europe. On top of that, hometown hero Tyler Benson of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants will miss the contest due to a lingering injury, so his captaincy of Team Cherry has been ceded to top defenseman Jakob Chychrun instead. The other bad news out west is that Red Deer center Conner Bleackley (Colorado) will miss six weeks with a fractured kneecap. The Rebels host the Memorial Cup, so at least his season’s not finished. Let’s get to the rest of the prospect world:
With Jack Eichel in Buffalo, Sam Reinhart, selected second overall by the Sabres in 2014, is sometimes overlooked. The 20-year-old winger has had a good rookie year and contributed 12 goals and 20 points, but he ran into a roadblock Wednesday in the form of Colorado Avalanche center John Mitchell.
In the second period of Thursday’s game against the Avalanche, Reinhart was cutting through the middle of the ice in an attempt to chase down a loose puck near the Buffalo blueline. As Reinhart began to skate back to the puck, Mitchell turned to locate the puck, cut back towards the Colorado zone and ran directly into Reinhart. The collision left both men down for a few moments, and Reinhart skated off the ice with a member of the Sabres training staff. Read more
Jack Eichel’s pre-game routine is already down pat. He goes to the same restaurant every time and always with veteran center David Legwand. Usually captain Josh Gorges is there and often other teammates, too. They shoot the breeze, load up on the good kind of calories and then prepare for the night’s festivities at First Niagara Center.
When the game is finished, he heads back to Matt Moulson’s house, where Eichel has been living with the experienced left winger and his family. Laundry and cooking are taken care of, so for the most part, Eichel can just focus on hockey. And with 13 points in his past 15 games, it’s working.
Recent reports suggested a trade of Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin could take place perhaps as early as this week. However, that might not be the case. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the teams expressing interest in the 20-year-old winger don’t get the sense that he’ll be moved soon. McKenzie said the feeling is GM Steve Yzerman is either taking things slowly to ensure he gets the right deal, or he’s focused on dealing with just one team.
Pierre LeBrun lists the St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, Minnesota Wild and Ottawa Senators among the interested clubs. He claims the Lightning and Senators had conversations, guessing the Bolts could target defenseman Cody Ceci. However, the Sens won’t part with him.
I’m back from Finland and things are not slowing down. The home team took gold at the world juniors in one of the best games I’ve ever seen live and the talent overall was incredible in Helsinki. But a whole slew of trades have gone down in the CHL since we last gathered, while the USHL Top Prospects Game runs tonight in Omaha. Names to watch in Nebraska include Cam Morrison (Notre Dame commit), William Knierim (Miami) and Matt Filipe (Northeastern). As for everything else prospect, let’s get to the list.
Fans of the Winnipeg Jets had a rocky relationship with Evander Kane, and there’s no doubt he’ll draw the ire of the MTS Centre crowd Sunday afternoon when the Jets host the Buffalo Sabres.
Kane’s tenure as a Jet had its ups and downs, and while fans loved his on-ice play, some of his off-ice decisions rubbed Winnipeggers the wrong way. There was the infamous “money phone” photo, Kane’s photo of him doing pushups with money stacks on his back and numerous unsubstantiated claims of off-ice misbehavior.
The final incident that led to Kane’s eventual trade to the Buffalo Sabres came when Kane allegedly had a tracksuit he wore to the rink — which was reportedly in violation of team dress code — thrown into the shower by then-teammate Dustin Byfuglien. Jets fans aren’t about to let that last one slide when Kane hits the ice Sunday.
For Kane’s return, Jets fans have decided to rally together and head to the game clad in tracksuits in order to mock the former Winnipeg winger. Read more