Tag Archives: Dylan McIlrath

SPOTLIGHT: TIM ERIXON

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

Tim Erixon has certainly experienced a full gamut of emotions the past two-plus years and especially in the last six weeks.

The Connecticut Whale’s rookie defenseman decided against signing with the Calgary Flames, after being their first-round pick (23rd overall) in 2009. Faced with the prospect of losing Erixon’s rights before this year’s NHL draft, Flames general manager Jay Feaster traded Erixon and a fifth-round pick to the New York Rangers on June 1, 2011, for prospect forward Roman Horak and two second-round picks in June.

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WHALE GET HEAVIER

More decisions are in store for Connecticut Whale head coach Ken Gernander as the New York Ranges have made what is expected to be all but their last cut.

According to the New York media tweeting this morning the Blueshirts have sent forwards Ryan Bourque, Carl Hagelin, John Mitchell, Kris Newbury, and Dale Weise, along with defenseman Tim Erixon and Blake Parlett to the team. Dylan McIlrath was sent back to Moose Jaw of WHL.

The reporters are also stating that the final slot on the roster will go to  either Eric Christensen or Sean Avery.

The surprise then of this year’s training camp is that defenseman Stu Bickel has made it to the NHL. Bickel, as you may recall, came to the organization last November in a trade for the incredibly unpopular Nigel Williams, in a trade that should Bickel have even a decent year, will go down as one of the best that this organization has made to date. Williams had become a big locker room distraction and Bickel came in, played very well and now his hard work has paid off.

From last year’s Whale team, today’s cuts mean that Mats Zuccarello and Michael Del Zotto are on the team.

There are 25 on the current Rangers roster. On the defense there’s eight including Marc Staal and Michael Sauer. In addition to Bickel and Del Zotto, Brendan Bell has made the cut as have Steve Eminger, Dan Girardi, and Ryan McDonagh.

Up front there are currently 14 on the roster, Wojtek Wolski, Brad Richards, Marion Gaborik, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Ruslan Fedotenko, Brian Boyle, Brandon Prust, Zuccarello, Mike Rupp, Derek Stepan as well as Avery and Christensen.

Three goalies are on the roster for the moment, Henrik Lundqvist, Marty Biron and Scott Stajer, who is likely to be sent back to juniors shortly.

The most difficult cut for the Rangers had to be Dale Weise. The young forward must pass through waivers in order to get through to Hartford in the AHL. Among the comments that have been tweeted this morning is that Head Coach John Tortorella said that Weise, “Will play in the NHL,” and that the team hopes that he clears waivers, but that “it is what it is.”

As for some of the others who were cut, Tortorella feels that the youngsters, Hagelin, Bourque and Erixon need to come to Hartford and play a lot of minutes.

Also on the plan is that the organization is hoping that Head Coach Ken Gernander and Assistant Coach J.J. Daigneault will be able to work the same magic with Erixon this season the way they did last year with McDonagh.

Calling Wade Redden…you’re being paged to educate another young Rangers defenseman… (By the way, given the situation this team is in, Redden should be named Captain of the team…just a brief editorial comment…)

Here’s the official release on the cuts from the Rangers:

RANGERS TRIM ROSTER BY EIGHT
25 Active Players Remain with the Club

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has assigned forwards Ryan Bourque, Carl Hagelin, John Mitchell, Kris Newbury and Dale Weise, and defensemen Tim Erixon and Blake Parlett to Connecticut of the American Hockey League (AHL). Dylan McIlrath has also been assigned to Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League (WHL).

The Rangers now have 25 players remaining on their active roster, including three goaltenders, eight defensemen and 14 forwards.  The Blueshirts will continue their European exhibition schedule tomorrow, October 2 vs. HC Slovan Bratislava in Bratislava, Slovakia (11:00 a.m. ET), before opening their 2011-12 regular season schedule on Friday, October 7 vs. the Los Angeles Kings at Stockholm, Sweden (1:00 p.m. ET), as part of the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere.

PLAYERS ASSIGNED TO CONNECTICUT (AHL) ON 10/1/11:
Defense
(2): Tim Erixon, Blake Parlett
Forward (5): Ryan Bourque, Carl Hagelin, John Mitchell, Kris Newbury, Dale Weise

PLAYERS RETURNED TO JUNIORS ON 9/24/11:
Defense (1): Dylan McIlrath (Moose Jaw, WHL)

NEW YORK RANGERS ACTIVE ROSTER:
Goal (3): Martin Biron, Henrik Lundqvist, Scott Stajcer
Defense (8): Brendan Bell, Stu Bickel, Michael Del Zotto, Steve Eminger, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Sauer, Marc Staal
Forward (14): Artem Anisimov, Sean Avery, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Erik Christensen, Brandon Dubinsky, Ruslan Fedotenko, Marian Gaborik, Brandon Prust, Brad Richards, Mike Rupp, Derek Stepan, Wojtek Wolski, Mats Zuccarello

NO BAND-AIDS NEEDED FOR THESE CUTS

RANGERS TRIM TRAINING CAMP ROSTER BY 28
35 Active Players Remain with the Club

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has assigned the following 21 players to Connecticut (AHL): goaltenders Chad Johnson, Jason Missiaen and Cameron Talbot; defensemen Lee Baldwin, Collin Bowman, Sam Klassen, Tomas Kundratek, Jyri Niemi, Jared Nightingale, and Pavel Valentenko; and forwards Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, Tommy Grant, Jordan Hickmott, Tayler Jordan, Kale Kerbashian, Chad Kolarik, Chris McKelvie, Matt Rust, Scott Tanski, Kelsey Tessier, and Jason Wilson.  In addition, the Rangers returned seven players to their respective junior club: defensemen Peter Ceresnak (Peterborough, OHL) and Samuel Noreau (Baie-Comeau, QMJHL); and forwards Shane McColgan (Kelowna, WHL), J.T. Miller (Plymouth, OHL), Michael St. Croix (Edmonton, WHL), Christian Thomas (Oshawa, OHL), and Andrew Yogan (Peterborough, OHL). Continue reading

FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

On paper, the Connecticut Whale appears as if they’ll start the season strong in goal and on defense but could be offensively challenged after the loss of at least three of their top six scorers.

But as New York Rangers assistant general manager/assistant coach and Whale GM Jim Schoenfeld likes to say, “That’s why they have training camp.”

Schoenfeld believes six or seven forwards – “I don’t want to miss anybody,” he said in not naming names – will vie for the last one or two spots on Broadway starting Friday at the Madison Square Garden training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y. And he said some decisions won’t be finalized until after the Rangers play two of their four exhibition games in Europe before opening the season in Stockholm, Sweden, against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 7 and 8.

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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

BY: Bruce Berlet

And on the third day, they rested – deservedly so.

Yes, Monday was an off day for the New York Rangers’ prospects team that moved to 2-0 in a tournament in Traverse City, Mich., with a 6-2 romp over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night. Left wing Ryan Bourque, son of NHL Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, had two goals to increase his total to a team-high three in two games and a team record eight in three tournament appearances. The Rangers broke open the game with third-period goals by Jason Wilson, Andrew Yogan and Bourque.

J.T. Miller, the Rangers’ first-round pick (15th overall) in June, Shane McColgan and Bourque scored in the first period, when Scott Stajcer enabled the Blueshirts to enjoy a 3-1 lead by making 14 of his 26 saves. The Rangers allowed a power-play goal with only 17 seconds left in the second period that got the Stars to 3-2 and gave them a 25-20 shot advantage. But after a plea from coach Ken Gernander for better skating and pressure on Stars goalie Jack Campbell, the Rangers got the first 14 shots of the third period in amassing a 19-3 advantage in the final 20 minutes.

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RANGERS YOUNSTERS 2-FOR-2 BY BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

Ken Gernander has always been demanding, whether as a player or now as coach of the Connecticut Whale.

Gernander didn’t change Sunday night in the New York Rangers’ second game in the prospects tournament in Traverse City, Mich.

After the first period, Gernander requested more diligence defensively in a televised intermission talk after the Rangers had been outshot 15-7 in the first 17 minutes.

Then after the second period, Gernander asked his young team for better skating and more pressure on Dallas Stars goalie Jack Campbell, saying, “Twenty shots on goal in two periods just isn’t good enough, boys.”

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FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

After the horrific off-season that hockey has experienced, it was with joy that I could tune in to the NHL Network at 7 p.m. Saturday and watch most of the New York Rangers top young players in their opener in the prospects tournament in Traverse City, Mich.

 I would have been dialed in to the MSG Network, but I don’t have it on my cable in Glastonbury so I was delighted when I heard the games were on the NHL Network. And I still got to listen to MSG Network’s John Giannone, Joe Micheletti and Dave Maloney, with a touch of former Rangers goalie and announcer John Davidson, now president and general manager of the St. Louis Blues, the Rangers’ first opponent in the tournament.

It all let me and I’m sure thousands of others temporarily forget the deaths of Rangers left wing/enforcer Derek Boogaard, Winnipeg Jets center Rick Rypien and NHL veteran Wade Belak in the last four months and the loss of 43 lives, mostly of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv hockey team, in a plane crash on Wednesday. Those tragedies will never be forgotten, much like Sept. 11, 2001 that is being commemorated in earnest this weekend, but at least we could get a few hours of solace from the traumas since Boogaard was found dead in his apartment on May 13.

Rangers coach Ken Gernander and his Connecticut Whale assistants, J.J. Daigneault and Pat Boller, kept their defensive pairings and lines together most of the way as the search for chemistry at a higher level began. It was interesting to see rugged Dylan McIlrath, the Rangers’ first-round pick (10th overall) in 2010 who was named team captain, playing alongside offensive-minded Tim Erixon, the Calgary Flames’ first-round pick (23rd overall) in 2009 and son of former Rangers’ wing Jan Erixon who was acquired June 1 for two second-rounder and Roman Horak. Micheletti and Maloney said Erixon is the leading contender among the Rangers prospects to make the NHL roster, but as assistant general manager/assistant coach/Whale GM Jim Schoenfeld recently said, “I wouldn’t assume anything with the young defenseman.” It was an obvious reference to former Wolf Pack/Whale players Michael Sauer and Ryan McDonagh becoming the Rangers’ No. 2 defensive pairing as rookies last season.

And Rangers director of player personnel Gordie Clark told Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com: “The priority is not to necessarily go out and win, but the big idea is to find out what your future looks like. It just gives you another snapshot of where these kids are in their development.”

The initial snapshot was the Rangers youngsters obviously listened to Gernander’s televised pregame instructions to take short shifts to stay fresh so they could remain aggressive on the forecheck and pressuring the puck as they took a 2-0 lead in only 6:20. The Blues tied it in less than three minutes, but Carl Hagelin and Ryan Bourque scored minutes apart in the second period as the Rangers notched a 5-2 victory.

Erixon, Hagelin and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault each had a goal and an assist, and defenseman Blake Parlett chipped in three assists, tying the Rangers’ tournament record shared by Derek Stepan, David Skokan and Justin Soryal. Randy McNaught scored the Rangers’ other goal off Parlett’s first assist, and goalie Jason Missiaen made 18 saves in his debut in the Blueshirts organization.

During a third-period television interview, Rangers assistant coach Mike Sullivan gave high marks to McIlrath, Erixon and speedsters Hagelin, Bourque and Christian Thomas, son of longtime NHL wing Steve Thomas who didn’t score but used his quickness to get several good chances and show why he had 54 goals with Oshawa of the Ontario Hockey League last season. Andrew Yogan, who had two goals and an assist in two games with the Whale in April after missing most of last season because of shoulder surgery, also got in position to score several times but misfired on three excellent chances.

Hagelin, who played five playoff games with the Whale in April after he co-captained the University of Michigan to the NCAA title game, was satisfied with his tournament debut and the Rangers’ overall effort.

“I think we got a really good start,” Hagelin said. “Even though they came back to tie 2-2, I still thought we were controlling the game. Winning the game 5-2 and outshooting them 36-20 really shows that.”

Hagelin said his three weeks with the Whale was beneficial in learning what pro life is all about.

“I think that was a great experience,” said Hagelin, whose Whale teammates included wing Chad Kolarik, a teammate at Michigan. “A lot of guys there have been through this tournament and even played in the show (NHL) so it was fun to meet those guys and really get that experience to know what it takes to play well in games like this.”

Strong forechecking and accuracy from the points led to the Rangers’ early lead. First, Erixon one-timed a power-play shot from the right point that deflected off Blues defenseman David Shields and past Jake Allen. Minutes later, McNaught, back after missing most of last season with an ankle injury, deflected in a shot from the left point by Parlett, who excelled for the Whale after being called up from Greenville of the ECHL on Feb. 17 and was signed to an AHL contract on June 2.

But only 36 seconds later, the Blues’ Phil McRae, son of former NHL tough guy Basil McRae, scored off a rebound, and Anthony Nigro then tied it off a 2-on-1 shorthanded break. The Rangers continued to press and amassed a 20-9 shot advantage in the first period but had to settle for the tie due to the stellar play by Allen, the starting goalie for the AHL Western Conference All-Stars last season who made 18 of his 31 saves in the opening 20 minutes. The Peoria Icemen’s goalie last season was especially sharp on a strong shorthanded rush by Bourque, son of NHL Hall of Famer Ray Bourque who burst around Blues defenseman Brock Beukeboom, son of former Rangers standout blueliner/tough guy Jeff Beukeboom.

The Rangers reclaimed the lead for good with their second power-play goal early in the second period as Hagelin scored on a snap shot from the top of the right circle off a pass from Parlett. Then with the Blues on their second power play, Bourque poked McRae’s pass to Jason Wilson, who made a brilliant give-and-go pass to Bourque for a breakaway on which the speedy wing beat Allen between the legs for a 4-2 lead.

The Rangers increased their advantage to 5-2 midway in the third period with a third power-play goal as Audy-Marchessault redirected Parlett’s shot past Allen. The 5-foot-7, 175-pound Audy-Marchessault signed an AHL contract on July 7 after playing for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with Bourque and Kelsey Tessier, who got a contract with the Whale off his strong play as an invite at Traverse City last year.

The Rangers spent most of the final 20 minutes adhering to Gernander’s second-intermission plea to think defense first but look to be offensive if the opportunity presents itself. But Missiaen twice got fortunate when the Blues hit the post.

Jess Rubenstein, the astute observer of junior and college hockey through The Prospect Park, noted the game had several interesting sidebars. The Rangers’ McIlrath and Collin Bowman, one of four invitees by New York, played against former Moose Jaw teammates Cody Beach and Joel Edmundson, who partnered both Rangers prospects at times while with the Western Hockey League team. Beach fought McIlrath before they became teammates, along with McNaught, who played on line with Wilson and Audy-Marchessault.

Backup goalies Scott Stajcer of the Rangers and the Blues’ Jordan Binnington were teammates the last two seasons with Owen Sound, which won the OHL title and reached the Memorial Cup this spring with former Hartford Whalers wing Mark Reeds as coach and former Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman Terry Virtue as assistant coach. On June 23, Reeds was named an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators and replaced in Owen Sound by former Grand Rapids Griffins coach Greg Ireland. Virtue remained the assistant coach of the team partly owned by former Whalers wing Paul MacDermid.

Binnington, 18, is the reason the Rangers are leaning toward returning Stajcer, 20, to juniors as an overage player after he missed most of last season because of hip surgery in November. That would save a year on Stajcer’s entry level and eliminate the problem of four goalies – Stajcer, Missiaen and veterans Chad Johnson and Cam Talbot – fitting into three slots with the Whale and Greenville.

Johnson will be traveling to Europe in a few weeks as the Rangers’ third goalie with Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron for four preseason games. Johnson played only 20 minutes the last two months of last season after being called up when Biron fractured his collarbone when hit by a shot in practice Feb. 28. Johnson or Talbot could be traded if Stajcer steps up in this tournament and training camp. Saturday night, Stajcer backed up the 6-foot-8 Missiaen, who worked out but didn’t play for the Whale this spring after signing free-agent and amateur tryout contracts.

Another Rangers invitee, wing Tayler Jordan, didn’t play so he didn’t go against Ty Rattie and Brett Ponich, teammates with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks last season. And a late Rangers invitee that increased the team to 25 players was center Matt Rush, a linemate of Hagelin for four years at the University of Michigan. Hagelin was reunited with Rush on a line with rugged Shane McColgan.

Hagelin and defenseman Jyri Niemi, who played his rookie season in North America in 2010-11 with the Whale, were the Rangers’ assistant captains. The Blues’ roster included two players with NHL experience, McRae and left wing Stefan Della Rovere.

Stajcer will be in goal for the Rangers’ second game Sunday at 6 p.m. against the Dallas Stars. They practice Monday and play the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Placement in the round robin will determine whom each of eight teams face in the championship round Wednesday at times to be determined. The Rangers’ group returns to New York that night, then most of the players report to Rangers training camp Thursday before workouts begin Friday. The Rangers’ prospects tournament games are on MSG Network and the NHL Network.

AGREEMENT ON ARENA PROPOSAL IN QUEBEC CITY CLOSER

Quebec City has moved closer to becoming the next former World Hockey Association and NHL city to return to the NHL. The hub of the province of Quebec, which had the WHA in 1972-79 and the NHL in 1979-95, is trying to follow in the footsteps of Winnipeg, which also was in the WHA in 1972-79 and will have another NHL team this season for the first time since the franchise moved to Phoenix in 1996.

Whalers Sports & Entertainment, headed by former Hartford Whalers owner and managing general partner Howard Baldwin, is working to do like in Connecticut. The Whalers left Hartford for North Carolina in 1997 and became the Carolina Hurricanes.

Quebec City and Quebecor have come to an agreement about a proposed NHL-calibre arena, but the city council and agglomeration council have to approve the accord Tuesday before Mayor Régis Labeaume can officially seal the deal.

The 150-to 200-page agreement contains five documents detailing how Quebecor would manage the $400-million arena. The documents include stipulations regarding naming rights and lease provisions for shows and a much-longed for NHL team.

Labeaume and Quebecor president Pierre Karl Péladeau met in Quebec City Thursday night to finalize the deal. Documents were then drawn up by lawyers and signed by Quebecor’s senior adviser for special projects, Martin Tremblay, and vice president of legal affairs, Marc Tremblay.

Labeaume has convened special city council and agglomeration council meetings Tuesday. The documents will be presented to city officials around 10 a.m. and a question period will follow. The city council will then reconvene around 2 p.m. to vote. The agglomeration council’s vote, scheduled for 5 p.m., will be the last step.

Insiders say the deal is expected to go through as Labeaume’s team has voting majority in both instances. Quebecor would then acquire full control of the arena until 2040, with a possible extension to 2045 for $63.5 million if the company succeeds in landing an NHL team. The price tag would drop to $33 million without NHL hockey.

FROM THE CREASE with BRUCE BERLET

BY: Bruce Berlet

The New York Rangers will continue a new tradition when many of their top young players participate in a prospects tournament beginning Saturday in Traverse City, Mich.

All but five of 24 players have their NHL rights owned by the Rangers, and 10 were selected in the past two drafts. With the Rangers’ recent commitment to – and success with – homegrown talent, the faithful in the Madison Square Garden blue seats eagerly await seeing what many believe to be the Rangers’ strongest team in their five years in the tournament.

And the Blueshirts faithful will be able to watch them for the first time without having to travel to Michigan as MSG Network will telecast the Rangers’ four games. John Giannone and Joe Micheletti will call the action, and fans will have an opportunity to comment during the telecasts via Twitter.

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2011 TRAVERSE TEAM ANNOUNCED

RANGERS ANNOUNCE ROSTER FOR 2011 TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT

The annual prospect tournament set to begin on September 10, 2011

New York, August 15, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today the roster for the 2011 Traverse City Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.  The annual prospect tournament is scheduled to begin on September 10 when the Rangers’ prospects face-off against the St. Louis Blues’ prospects.  This marks the sixth consecutive year that a team of Rangers prospects will be competing in the eight-team tournament.

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