Tag Archives: Buffalo Sabres

SPOTLIGHT: BORQUES

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

Ray Bourque, one of the greatest defensemen in hockey history, speaks as confidently as ever at age 50 while continuing to carry plenty of clout, especially when it comes to discussing his sons.

Chris Bourque, 25, a three-time Calder Cup winner with the Hershey Bears, is off to his best start as a pro, which comes as little surprise to his Hall of Fame father.

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BRUCE BERLET REPORTS – JASON LABARBERA, CLASS ON AND OFF THE ICE

BY: Bruce Berlet

I learned how classy goalie Jason LaBarbera is when he was with the Hartford Wolf Pack for four seasons and then the Manchester Monarchs, where he never complained about the waiver rules that kept him locked in the AHL because the Los Angeles Kings were afraid of losing him on re-entry waivers if they tried to recall him.

Well, LaBarbera, named the AHL’s MVP and top goalie with the Wolf Pack in 2003-04, when he was 34-9-9 with a 1.59 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and 13 shutouts in 59 games, continues to demonstrate those traits as backup to Mike Smith with the Phoenix Coyotes. LaBarbera is wearing a mask this season to honor Pat Tillman, the former Arizona State and Arizona Cardinals standout who enlisted after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and died in Afghanistan from friendly fire.

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RANGERS LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK AGAINST DUCKS – A PREVIEW

NEW YORK RANGERS at ANAHEIM DUCKS
Ericsson Globe Arena – Stockholm, Sweden
October 8, 2011 – 1:00 p.m. EST

TOMORROW’S GAME:
The Rangers will face-off against the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow in the second game of the 2011 NHL Compuware Premiere in Stockholm, Sweden (1:00 p.m. EST). The Rangers (0-0-1, 1 pt) enter tomorrow’s contest having been defeated by the Kings, 3-2, in overtime earlier today in their season opener, and are now 2-0-1 all-time in regular season games played in Europe. The Blueshirts posted a 12-6-0 record in the second game of back-to-back sets last season. The Ducks enter the contest with a 0-1-0 (0 pts) record, having lost to the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1, in their season opener earlier today in Helsinki, Finland. Following tomorrow’s match, the Rangers will travel to Long Island to face-off against the New York Islanders on Saturday, October 15, at Nassau Coliseum (7:00 p.m.), in a match-up between Atlantic Division rivals.

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BRUCE BERLET REPORTS – “SO THAT’S A LATTE AND A HOCKEY CONTRACT TO GO?”

BY: Bruce Berlet

Kale Kerbashian joined the New York Rangers organization literally over a cup of coffee and a vanilla milkshake.

The smallish (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) but quick forward was interviewing with Rangers scout Rich Brown at a Starbucks in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, when he got an offer to play for one of the NHL’s Original Six teams.

“He had watched me all season, and I guess he liked what he saw so they gave me a chance,” Kerbashian recalled. “I loved coming down (to Hartford) and staying in the Homewood Suites. It was great.”

Kerbashian got a three-week taste of pro hockey in April after he signed AHL and amateur tryout contracts after completing his junior career with Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League. He had 63 goals and 81 assists in 126 games in two seasons in Sarnia and chipped in two goals and one assist in four games with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers in 2010. Continue reading

BRUCE BERLET REPORTS – YES, THEY GET HIS WHOLE NAME ON A SWEATER!

BY: Bruce Berlet

Jonathan Audy-Marchessault might be the smallest player in Connecticut Whale training camp, but he certainly has made some big-time plays and impressions the past few weeks.

It started when Dean Stork, coach of the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors, recommended Audy-Marchessault to the New York Rangers after the speedy forward had a standout season with the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League that was coached by Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy and included speedy, gritty left wing Ryan Bourque, son of Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque and a top Rangers prospect.

“I knew Roy and talked to Audy-Marchessault’s mother,” Stork said Monday as he began a three-day stint watching the Connecticut Whale practice and scrimmage at Champions Skating Center. “I was hoping to sign him for my team.”

Well, barring something unforeseen, Stork can forget that idea. After the 5-foot-8, 175-pounder from Cap-Rouge, Quebec, showed well in the Rangers’ prospects camp after the NHL draft in late June, he was invited to participate in the prospects tournament two weeks ago in Traverse City, Mich. After starting on the fourth line, Audy-Marchessault advanced to one of the top lines and played on the power play and killed penalties. In four games, he tied for second in team scoring with two goals and two assists as most of the Rangers’ top young players finished runner-up in the tournament to the more experience Buffalo Sabres.

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BABY RANGERS COME UP SHORT IN TRAVERSE FINAL

BY: Bruce Berlet

The New York Rangers prospects team felt it had a lot more to do and give Wednesday night after a lackluster effort during most of an overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in their robin-round finale Tuesday afternoon.

The Rangers didn’t consistently have the speed, grit and play making that they had shown in convincing wins over the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars, and there would be no better time to atone for the unimpressive performance than against the Buffalo Sabres in the championship game of the prospects tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.

DESPITE OT LOSS, BABY RANGERS PLAY FOR TRAVERSE CHAMPIONSHIP WEDNESDAY NIGHT

BY: Bruce Berlet

Having already clinched a spot in the championship game, the New York Rangers prospects looked to enter their bid for a second tournament title undefeated Tuesday afternoon in Traverse City, Mich.

The winless Carolina Hurricanes provided the opposition, and the Rangers failed to show much of the speed, tenacity and play making they showed in their first two games, losing three leads and a 4-3 decision with 41 seconds left in a second overtime of 3-on-3 on Justin Shugg’s breakaway backhander off a turnover by Christian Thomas.

As Thomas, who scored the Rangers’ third goal with less than a second left in the first period, tried to make a play at the Carolina blue line, Skugg deftly poked away the puck, raced past defenseman/captain Dylan McIlrath and center Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and put a shot between the legs of Jason Missiaen (35 saves).

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

With general manager Dale Tallon having added 11 new players to the Florida Panthers’ roster in less than a month, first-year coach Kevin Dineen has plenty of familiarizing and strategizing to do before the season opener Oct. 8 on Long Island.

Dineen, the former Hartford Whalers icon and captain who coached the AHL’s Portland Pirates the past six seasons before being hired June 1, said his major challenge in his first six weeks on the job has been getting in touch with so many new players and running his cell phone bill.

“I waited to get in the office to call the Euros because I don’t think that falls under my phone plan,” Dineen joked to Dave Lozo of nhl.com.

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DAMIEN HESS…TRAINING FOR EXCELLENCE

Hess

(Adam Gavriel contributed to the writing of this story) 

On a racing team there is of course the driver and then he or she answers to the pit boss for their instruction, but the most critical person to any of their success is the head mechanic that builds the car and keeps it running.

Hockey is not all that different.

A hockey team is, of course comprised of players and a coach, but for ANY team, the backbone of that organization is the team Athletic Trainer.

In the NHL, the New York Rangers have one who is recognized among the best in the business in Jim Ramsey. In the AHL, the Connecticut Whale has an Athletic Trainer who is also recognized to be among the best in the business. His name is Damien Hess.

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

bruce mug shot 1BY: Bruce Berlet

The run of Trumbull native Chris Drury as center and captain of the New York Rangers is over.

The Rangers bought out the final year of Drury’s five-year, $35.25-million contract on Wednesday, making one of the world’s all-time great winner an unrestricted free agent after he decided against applying for a medical exception because of a left-knee condition.

The buyout will open considerable salary-cap savings for the Rangers to re-sign free agents such as Brian Boyle and former Hartford Wolf Pack forwards Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov and be active in the free-agent market that starts Friday, especially in the pursuit of Dallas Stars center Brad Richards, the No. 1 target of president and general manager Glen Sather.

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