Categories
Feature

IceCaps Pre-Season Report

by Nic Phelan, Lead Correspondent, IceCaps Hockey Report

12015023_1056102327776073_3855781481103547723_o

ST. JOHN’S, NL. — On the eve of the St. John’s IceCaps first game of the year in Hartford against the host Wolfpack, one cannot help but feel the buzz that is brought to the city this time of year. Typically every October you can feel it in St. John’s, but this year, under new management and new affiliation there is something special about being connected to the most storied franchise in sports.

In the Coleman’s Cup Training Camp series against rival Toronto Marlies, the IceCaps came back from a Game 1 loss to win games 2 and 3, and the first training camp series win of the franchise history. Game 1 occurred in Stephenville, NL during the IceCaps annual road trip to start the year. Jeremy Gregoire and Morgan Ellis tallied goals for the IceCaps but it wasn’t enough as they lost in the final minute to the Marlies.

Game 2 took place in Corner Brook, NL and was a complete reversal; the IceCaps went out and hammered the Marlies 5-2 on the back of last year’s rookie standout Daniel Carr as he registered two goals. Other scorers were Stefan Fournier, Connor Crisp and Markus Eisenschmid.

Game 3 was held in Gander, NL. The boys took over with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Marlies. Carr registered the lone goal in the shootout, following up a strong performance through the camp. Nikita Scherbak finally seemed to find his groove with a goal and two assists for a game high three points. Joel Hanley, Bud Holloway and Gabriel Dumont were the other goal scorers.

In the four years that the IceCaps have called St. John’s home, they have managed a 50 per cent success rate at finding the playoffs. It’s not necessarily the best percentage, but when they’ve made it to the dance they’ve stuck around all night, making it to Eastern Conference Finals in their inaugural season, and following that up with a loss to the Texas Stars in their third season in town. The exciting part of this is never in those four years did the team ooze the potential it possesses with this combination of young prospects and veterans.

With final cuts from the Canadiens last week, the baby Habs managed to find support in the likes of former Calder Cup Champion and World Junior Champion, Dustin Tokarski. He’ll add to a goalie tandem which has already proved to be competitive between blue chip prospect Zach Fucale and hometown favourite Eddie Pasquale.

Also clearing waivers or being sent down were former AHL Defenseman of the Year, Mark Barberio, incumbent Captain Gabriel Dumont, Christian Thomas, Charles Hudon, Sven Andrighetto, Nikita Scherbak, and Michel Therrien’s favourite pet project Jacob De La Rose.

New projected lines look like we could see Carr – McCarron – Scherbak as a fixture which was present during the Canadiens rookie camp and into regular camp. JDLR could also see time on a top unit with Andrighetto and Hudon. Dumont, Thomas and Gregoire/Bozon may round out the top 9.

The impressive part of these line combinations is the versatility with many of them playing multiple positions through junior and pro ranks.

This provides the IceCaps with potentially the deepest front nine in the Eastern conference, but certainly the most potential. If the Canadiens can remain healthy this year, residents of St. John’s will be in for a treat watching this team and you can feel the anticipation in the air.

Categories
Ignore Press release

Canadiens Assign Tokarski, Barberio, De la Rose to St. John’s IceCaps

Three more added to IceCaps roster
BARBERIO, TOKARSKI AND DE LA ROSE ASSIGNED

Jacob de la Rose (Photo by St. John's IceCaps)
Jacob de la Rose (Photo by St. John’s IceCaps)

St. John’s IceCaps MEDIA RELEASE

MONTREAL, QC – The Montreal Canadiens assigned three more players to St. John’s on Tuesday: defenceman Mark Barberio, goaltender Dustin Tokarski and forward Jacob de la Rose.

Barberio, 25, has played 105 career NHL games, all with the Tampa Bay Lightning, recording 17 points (6G, 11A) and 44 penalty minutes.

Tokarski, 26, has gone 9-9-5 in 27 career NHL games with Tampa Bay and Montreal, posting a 2.80 GAA and a .907 SV%.

de la Rose, 20, is in just his second season of North American pro hockey. The native of Sweden split last season between Hamilton (AHL) and Montreal, playing 33 games with the Canadiens and notching six points (4G, 2A).

The IceCaps open the 2015-16 season Saturday in Hartford vs. the Wolf Pack. Catch all the action with Brian Rogers at stjohnsicecaps.com, 930AM and on AHL Live.

Categories
IceCaps game report

Recap – Griffins vs Bulldogs: Second Straight Win for ‘Dogs

By Dale Lamontagne, Hamilton Bulldogs Correspondent, Bulldogs Hockey Report 

Brandon Taylor / Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club
Brandon Taylor / Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club

HAMILTON, ON — In the second game of the back-to-back between the Hamilton Bulldogs and Grand Rapids Griffins, the ‘Dogs skated away with a nice 5-2 victory to sweep the weekend set against the Detroit Red Wings AHL affiliate.

It didn’t take long to see the first goal of the game.

The Hamilton Bulldogs struck first with Nick Sorkin cleaning up the rebound in front of Jared Coreau, where he backhanded the puck by his glove hand. That was Sorkin’s fourth goal of the season.

The Bulldogs went up 2-0 fourteen minutes into the opening frame, thanks to Davis Drewiske.

Lots of credit goes to Maxime Macenauer, who fed Drewiske a nice pass, where he roofed it top corner with a wicked backhand shot. It was a helluva shot that you rarely see Drewiske do.

Jack Nevins and Chris Burton dropped the gloves right off the faceoff, but the officials would intervene before the two could scrap it out. So both players went off for minor unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and the game was played 4-on-4.  Last week, Jarred Tinordi was knocked out flat after participating in a staged fight with a Utica Comets player and officials were quick to make sure the fight did not happen.

With only a handful of seconds left in the 4-on-4, the Griffins cut the Bulldogs lead in half, with Mitch Callahan beating Mike Condon on the blocker side.

Once Nevins and Burton got out of the box, they wasted no time beginning a fight. Both players landed a bunch of punches to the face and head area, but Nevins got the upper hand as he took Burton down to the ice.

The Griffins started the second period on a good note as they were able to tie the game on the breakaway.

Forward Landon Ferraro, son of former NHL’er Ray, scored on the breakaway after receiving the puck at center ice as a Bulldogs player turned it over.

But moments after the Griffins tied the game, the Bulldogs got their lead back after Charles Hudon and Jacob De La Rose had a nice 2-on-1 opportunity. Hudon dished to De La Rose the puck who beat Coreau on the blocker side.

A little after the mid-way mark in the second, Nathan Paetsch was called for slashing, but he was not happy about it as he broke his stick over his net, then slammed the Griffins bench door before heading down the tunnel. Paetsch was given a slashing, unsportsmanlike conduct and 10 minute game misconduct.

Fast forward with 1:35 left, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 4-2 on the power-play.

Forward Hudon blasted the shot from the point and Coreau made the save, but there would be a huge rebound with Daniel Carr tucking the puck away to extend the ‘Dogs lead.

Carr’s goal would send the ‘Dogs into the second intermission up by two goals.

The Bulldogsmade it a 5-2 game just a couple of minutes into the third period, thanks to T.J. Hensick who buried a wrap-around-goal.

The ‘Dogs hung on to their 5-2 lead for the remainder of the period, defeating the Griffins for the second night in a row.

Next Game

The Bulldogs are back in action next Friday as they host William Nylander and the Toronto Marlies. Game time is at 7:30 p.m. Get your tickets at hamiltonbulldogs.com/tickets.

Categories
IceCaps game report

Bulldogs Defeat Americans on Toy Toss Night

By Dale Lamontagne, Hamilton Bulldogs Correspondent, Bulldogs Hockey Report 

(Photo by Hamilton Bulldogs)

HAMILTON, ONT — It was a pretty special night in Hamilton, as the Bulldogs hosted the Rochester Americans on toy toss night, in support of the CHML, Y108 and 953 Fresh FM Children’s Fund, that will deliver the toys to children in need just in time for Christmas – and that always draws a good crowd.

GAME RUNDOWN 

As noted above, tonight was a pretty special night at First Ontario Centre for the toy toss, and the Bulldogs had several chances in the opening period to score a much anticipated goal that would trigger the toy toss madness. But however, they failed to convert.

Every shot and every chance the Bulldogs had to score, the fans got louder, and louder anticipating a goal. But the Bulldogs did not get one, so fans would have to wait for the second period.

The second period would be a lot more special.

Hamilton’s forward Daniel Carr scored the first goal of the game and triggered the toy toss extravaganza, which lasted a good ten minutes with Bulldogs personnel cleaning up the thousands of wrapped teddy bears.  It was quite the scene to witness.

Several minutes after the Bulldogs scored the first goal of the game, the Americans evened it up with a goal coming from Johan Larsson.

Moments after Larsson’s goal that tied things up for Rochester, they took the lead after Dan Catenacci deflected the puck in front, beating Mike Condon.

On Hamilton’s penalty kill, Condon made a huge cross-crease save that kept the game at 2-1 Rochester.

The Bulldogs were able to tie things with with 3:49 left in the second period after T.J. Hensick tapped in the loose puck that was sitting on the blueline after Drayson Bowman shot a puck off Nathan Lieuwen, which trickled behind him.

The Bulldogs were rolling at this point, and Jacob De La Rose had a wonderful chance to give the ‘Dogs the lead after receiving the puck at the top of the circle and firing a slap shot that would land right in the chest of Lieuwen.

With just 17 seconds remaining, Hensick came down the wing and chipped a weak shot past Lieuwen. That was Hensick’s second goal of the game and Hudon’s second assist of the night.

The third period was a lot more physical than the first two with players getting involved in after whistle scrums, and many more hits.

The Bulldogs played a good third period keeping their lead intact and they held on to take the win by a score of 3-2.

 

Categories
IceCaps game report

Bulldogs Win Matinee in OT, Defeat Amerks 5-4

(Brandon Taylor / Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club)
(Brandon Taylor / Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club)

By Dale Lamontagne, Hamilton Bulldogs Correspondent, Bulldogs Hockey Report

HAMILTON, ONT — The Hamilton Bulldogs entered this afternoon’s contest having snapped a three game losing streak in St. John’s to the IceCaps. But tonight, the Bulldogs defeated the Rochester Americans by a score of 5-4 in overtime and are now 6-7-2 in the young 2014-15 AHL season.

Game Rundown 

There were a lot of goal scoring in the first period, as the  Hamilton Bulldogs were able to take a comfortable  4-1 lead after the with Rene Bourque, Jacob De La Rose, Greg Pateryn and Gabriel Dumont scoring for the ‘Dogs, while Luke Adam notched the lone goal for the Rochester Americans.

The good news after the first period, two of the four Bulldogs goals in the first came on the power-play, and that’s refreshing. It’s well documented that the ‘Dogs have had a rough go thus far on the man advantage, and scoring the two goals up a man this afternoon is a good sign moving forward for the team.

Sven Andrighetto, who was a healthy scratch on Friday in St. John’s, scored three points in the Bulldogs victory. I think he got the message loud a clear on Friday when he sat out and watched the team from the stands.

Bulldogs head coach Sylvain Lefebvre spoke to the media after the game and provided some insight on why he decided  to scratch Andrighetto.  ”You don’t want to do that, but sometimes you do have to do that,” said the Lefebvre in a much happier mood. ”For a coach there’s only so many ways to send messages and that’s one. [Andrighetto] responded really well tonight and that’s what we want. He’s a big part of this organization and he’s a top prospect,” said coach.

Lefebvre said Andrighetto was scratched because of the compete level and inconsistent performances. The coaching staff in Hamilton want Andrighetto to be NHL ready and not AHL. This was defiantly  an eye opener for the young forward.

In the middle frame, the Americans would strike back and score three unanswered goals to tie the game at four a piece, with Matt Ellis, Chad Rutwedel and Jake McCabe scoring the goals for the Americans, who have struggled to string along wins in their past 10 games.

The third period would see a game that would remain tied. And if it weren’t for netminder Mike Condon, it would be a different story.

Condon played a really solid game in the final period of Sunday’s afternoon matinee, as he made a handful of saves that kept the puck out of the net and gave the Bulldogs the opportunity to send the game to overtime, where they would eventually score the game winner.

Just a little over two minutes into the extra frame, forward T.J. Hensick scored his third goal of the season, and notching the Bulldogs sixth win of the 2014-15 campaign.

The Bulldogs are back in action on Wednesday as they travel to Utica to take on the Comets. The Bulldogs next home game is on Friday as they host division rivals Toronto Marlies.

 

Categories
IceCaps game report

Bulldogs Fade in the Third, Flames Win 4-3

(Photo by Brandon Taylor / Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club)

 

By Dale Lamontagne, Hamilton Bulldogs Correspondent, Bulldogs Hockey Report 

HAMILTON, ONT — For two consecutive games, the Hamilton Bulldogs have blown a lead in the third period to the Adirondack Flames, resulting in back-to-back losses. Yesterday, the Flames defeated the ‘Dogs 3-1, scoring three unanswered goals in the third period, and tonight scoring three goals in the third period, to take down the struggling Hamilton team 4-3.

GAME RUNDOWN 

The first period would see both teams scoring a goal. The Hamilton Bulldogs scored the games first goal, after Gabriel  Dumont stole the puck while the Adirondack Flames were on the power-play, but was denied by Flames goaltender Joni Orito. But luckily enough, Jacob De La Rose picked up the rebound and scored a shorthanded goal and his first ever as a Bulldog.

Moments after the ‘Dogs got on the board, the Flames came back right away scoring a goal on the power-play as Garnet Hathaway was found all alone in front and was able to bury his third goal of the season to tie the game.

With 42 seconds left in the period, Connor Crisp and Bryce Van Brabant dropped the gloves for a heated scrap in front of the Bulldogs bench. Crisp landed multiple punches to the face of Van Brabant, but Van Brabant took him down and he kept swinging and the officials had to intervene.

Bulldogs goaltender Mike Condon made several key saves for Hamilton in the opening frame, notably in the first five minutes of the period.

The Bulldogs were able to take a 2-1 lead in the second period as Sven Andrighetto scored the tally for the ‘Dogs on the power-play. Yes, that’s right. The power-play. It’s been well documented that Hamilton has struggled on the man advantage this season, but they finally potted one and it’s pretty refreshing.

The physicality would continue to pick up in the second period as Jack Nevins dropped  the gloves with Mark Cundari because he wanted to defend his teammate  sticks up for Christian Thomas, who was hit hard at centre ice by Cundari.

Despite Hamilton allowing one goal on the penalty-kill tonight, you have to give credit where its due because they have been pretty decent. The Bulldogs had several chances to score when down a man.

In the third period, we would see a very similar outcome form Friday’s game.

Bryce Van Brabant was able to jam a rebound past Condon to tie the game, but moments later Condon had a tough go with a  rebound and Turner Elson put the Flames ahead.

After Sylvain Lefebvre called a timeout, Condon  made a great first save bet then had a little trouble getting up in his crease after stopping a few shots and Mathieu Tousigant was able to sneak one by to give the Flames a 4-2 lead.

But the Bulldogs tried to make a comeback but they just could not.

They had multiple chances on the power-play but they just could not convert.

Magnus Nygren, who just came back into the lineup after sitting out a few games due to injury, fired a wrist shot from the point past Ortio.

But that wouldn’t be enough for the Bulldogs to tie the game, as the Flames held on to secure a 4-3 victory.

The Flames leave Hamilton with successfully sweeping the weekend series against the Bulldogs. The two teams will meet six more times this season.

Notes: 

  • The Attendance for tonight’s game at FirstOntario Centre: 2,485.
  • Head coach Lefebvre told me post game that Eric Tangradi is considered day-to-day and he hopes to see him back in the lineup on the trip in St. Johns this coming week.

 

Categories
Press release

Bulldogs Welcome De La Rose to Roster

CANADIENS ASSIGN DE LA ROSE TO BULLDOGS
Forward’s assignment brings training camp roster to 18 forwards, nine defencemen, three goaltenders

Hamilton Bulldogs PRESS RELEASE

Jacob de la Rose (Photo by The Canadien Press)
Jacob de la Rose (Photo by The Canadien Press)

MONTREAL, QUE. – Montreal Canadiens and Hamilton Bulldogs general manager Marc Bergevin announced today the Canadiens have assigned forward Jacob de la Rose to the Bulldogs.

The 19-year-old spent the 2013-14 season with the Swedish Hockey League’s Leksands IF. In 49 games with Leksands, the 6-3, 203-pound forward recorded 13 points (seven goals, six assists) and 18 penalty minutes.

The Arvika, Sweden native was selected by the Canadiens in the second round (34th overall) in the 2013 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

The assignment of de la Rose brings the Bulldogs’ training camp roster to 18 forwards, nine defencemen and three goaltenders.

The Bulldogs open the 2014-15 regular season on Saturday, Oct. 11 when they will visit the Rochester Americans at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial at 7:05 p.m. The puck drops for Hamilton’s home-opening weekend on Friday, Oct. 17, when the ‘Dogs host the Toronto Marlies at FirstOntario Centre at 7:30 p.m.

Hamilton Bulldogs 2014-15 season tickets, flex tickets, group tickets and single-game tickets are on sale now. For more information, call 1-866-DOGS-TIX or visit hamiltonbulldogs.com.

Listen to all Bulldogs regular season and post-season games live on Hamilton’s AM 900 CHML, on www.900chml.com or watch live on www.ahllive.com. Catch every Friday night home game live in high definition on Cable 14.

Training Camp Roster 2014-15 (updated)

http://hamiltonbulldogs.com.ismmedia.com/ISM3/std-content/repos/Top/Training%20camp%20roster%20-%20Oct%207.pdf

Categories
Press release

Bulldogs, Future Habs Convene for Canadiens Development Camp

Fifty players invited to the Canadiens’ annual Development Camp

Montreal Canadiens PRESS RELEASE

IMG_03152Development Camp

MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens announced Thursday that the team will hold its annual development camp, from July 7-11, at the Bell Sports Complex, in Brossard.

A total of 50 players will participate in the development camp, including 28 forwards, 17 defensemen and five goaltenders. Five of the six players selected by the Canadiens at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft held last weekend in Philadelphia will be among the participants, including first round selection Nikita Scherbak.

The list of players invited to the development camp includes 20 prospects drafted by the Canadiens organization, a few players acquired through trades or free agency, and more than 20 players invited on a try-out basis (list of players here).

All players will be divided into two groups (A-B). The first on-ice practice sessions will be on Monday, July 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on both ice surfaces at the Bell Sports Complex. On-ice practice sessions will take place in the morning for the remainder of the week, with scrimmages at the end of the day. A three-period intra-squad game will be played on Friday, July 11, at 9:30 a.m. All practices are open to the public.

Players participating in the development camp will be available to the media every day around noon (12:30 p.m.), starting Monday July 7.

 

#  Player 2013-14 Team Acquired Pos. Shoots Height Weight
6 AGOSTA, Justin (College player) New Hampshire (HE) Invite D R 6.03 210
26 ANAS, Samuel (College player) Quinnipiac (ECAC) Invite C R 5.08 148
58 ANDRIGHETTO, Sven Hamilton (AHL) Draft 13 RW L 5.09 183
48 AUDETTE, Daniel Sherbrooke (QMJHL) Draft 14 C L 5.08 175
40 BEAULIEU, Nathan Hamilton (AHL) / Montréal (NHL) Draft 11 D L 6.02 194
46 BENNETT, Mac University of Michigan (CCHA) Draft 09 D L 6.00 195
98 BOBYK, Colton Spokane (WHL) Invite D L 6.01 190
CARR, Daniel Union (ECAC) Free agent LW L 6.00 182
41 CONDON, Michael Wheeling (ECHL) / Hamilton (AHL) Free agent G L 6.02 209
97 CORSON, Dylan S.S Marie (OHL) / Barrie (OHL) Invite C L 5.11 190
92 CREVIER-MORIN, Marc-Olivier Gatineau (QMJHL) Invite D L 6.01 197
CRISP, Connor Sudbury (OHL) / Hamilton (AHL) Draft 13 C L 6.03 226
91 CURCURUTO, Gianluca Plymouth (OHL) Invite D L 6.01 195
34 DE LA ROSE, Jacob Leksands IF (SweAl) / Sweden Jr. Draft 13 C/LW L 6.03 187
72 DIDIER, Josiah (College player) University of Denver (WCHA) Draft 11 D R 6.03 218
84 DIETZ, Darren Hamilton (AHL) Draft 11 D R 6.01 204
85 ELLIS, Morgan Hamilton (AHL) Draft 10 D R 6.01 204
73 FEDERICO, Danny (College player) Quinnipiac (ECAC) Invite D L 6.01 205
86 FOURNIER, Stefan Hamilton (AHL) Free agent RW R 6.03 220
70 FUCALE, Zachary Halifax (QMHJL) / Canada Jr. Draft 13 G L 6.01 178
90 GADOURY, Philippe Halifax (QMHJL) / Nepean (CCHL) Invite C L 5.10 180
83 GOULET, Alexandre Charlottetown (QMJHL) Invite C L 5.11 190
47 GRÉGOIRE, Jeremy Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) Draft 13 C R 6.00 187
65 HAWKEY, Hayden Omaha (USHL) Draft 14 G L 6.01 180
71 HIGHMORE, Matthew Saint-John’s (QMJHL) Invite C L 5.11 174
82 HOLLAND, Patrick Hamilton (AHL) / Montreal (NHL) Trade RW R 6.00 185
75 HUDON, Charles Chicoutimi/Baie Comeau (QMJHL) / Canada Jr. Draft 12 LW L 5.10 178
55 IMAMA, Bokondji Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) Invite LW L 6.01 214
61 KOBERSTEIN, Nikolas Olds (AJHL) Draft 14 D R 6.01 180
38 LEHKONEN, Artturi Kuopio (FinE) / Filnland Jr. Draft 13 LW L 5.11 161
43 LERNOUT, Brett Swift Current  (WHL) Draft 14 D R 6.04 206
62 MacMILLAN, Mark (College player) University of North Dakota (WCHA) Draft 10 C L 6.00 171
11 MAKOWSKI, David (College player) University of Denver (WCHA) AHL D R 6.01 205
25 McCARRON, Michael London (OHL) Draft 13 RW R 6.05 237
68 McNALLY, Brandon (College player) Dartmouth (ECAC) Invite LW L 6.01 186
80 MOTTE, CJ (College player) Ferris State (WCHA) Invite G L 6.00 191
20 MUTO, Vincent (College player) Niagara University (AHA) Invite D R 6.00 204
15 NEVINS, Jack Hamilton (AHL) / Charlottetown (QMJHL) /  Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) Free agent LW L 6.01 204
63 PADAKIN, Pavel Calgary (WHL) Invite RW R 6.00 179
95 PAPIRNY, Jordan Brandon (WHL) Invite G L 6.00 170
53 RANGER, Alexandre Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) Invite RW R 5.10 181
42 SCHMALZ, Matt Sudbury (OHL) Invite RW R 6.05 206
28 SCHERBAK, Nikita Saskatoon (WHL) Draft 14 RW L 6.01 175
57 SEKAC, Jiri Praha HC Lev (KHL) Free agent LW L 6.02 195
64 SORKIN, Nick Hamilton (AHL) / New Hampshire (HE) AHL RW L 6.03 175
78 SZMATULA, Michael (College player) Northeastern (HE) Invite LW L 5.08 178
60 THOMAS, Christian Hamilton (AHL) Trade RW R 5.09 176
59 THROWER, Dalton Vancouver (WHL) Draft 12 D R 6.00 203
96 TRACCITTO, Reggie (College player) University of PEI (CIS) Invite D R 6.00 204
45 WARDLEY, Evan Seattle (WHL) Invite D R 6.04 208
Categories
Feature

A First Look at Hamilton Bulldogs 2014-15 Lineup

By Dale Lamontagne, Lead Correspondent, Bulldogs Hockey Report

(Photo by Hamilton Bulldogs)
(Photo by Hamilton Bulldogs)

MILTON, ON. — The Hamilton Bulldogs have added some veteran depth up front in signing T.J. Hensick to a one-year deal on Thursday.

It’s no secret the Bulldogs lack veteran help up the middle with just Jacob De La Rose and Gabriel Dumont  currently penciled in on the depth chart. But by adding Hensick, the Bulldogs get a proven forward at the AHL level that will likely center Sven Andrighetto and Christian Thomas on the first line, which could end up being the Bulldogs most offensive line in the 2014-15 campaign.

Hensick, 28, has 371 points in 363 AHL regular season games. He split the 2013-2014 season between the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Swedish Hockey League’s MODO.

In 42 games with Hartford, he scored 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists), and in 31 regular season games with MODO, he scored 15 points (four goals, 11 assists.)

Overall, this is a good depth move for the Bulldogs and I’d expect Hensick to score 30+ points next season, which is something the ‘Dogs desperately need.

There will be several changes in the 2014-15 Bulldogs lineup from last season with 18-goal man Mike Blunden being signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning and goaltender Devan Dubnyk being picked up by the Arizona Coyotes.

Forward Joonas Nattinen is a restricted free agent who received a qualifying offer from the Canadiens but he will be playing for MODO in the Swedish Eite League in the Fall. The Habs chose not to give qualifying offers to the following restricted free agents: forward Robert Czarnik and goaltender Peter Delmas.  Goalie Robert Mayer was released from the final year of his contract instead signing a three year deal with Genève-Servette HC of the Swiss hockey league.

With a hole in their goaltending depth resulting from the departures of Dubnyk, Delmas and Mayer, the Canadiens signed free agent Joey MacDonald to a one-year, two-way deal. MacDonald will likely share the crease with Mike Condon who spent most of his season in the ECHL.

Jacob de la Rose has committed to playing in Canada this season and will likely center the second line.  It will be interesting to see what happens with defenseman Magnus Nygren who has declared that he will not go back to Hamilton after an unsatisfying experience both on and off the ice. Both parties are likely open to a trade.

Mac Bennett could get a chance to play with his Michigan teammate Greg Pateryn. The puck-moving Bennett paired with the stay-at-home Pateryn formed an effective duo for the Wolverines. Also on defense Dalton Thrower was signed to a three-year entry-level contract days after the conclusion of the Canadiens season.

In other changes the Habs finally parted ways with the underachieving Louis Leblanc trading him to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional fifth round pick. Montreal decided to pass on signing Brady Vail and Erik Nystrom to entry-level contracts. Back in April, the Habs signed forwards Connor Crisp and Daniel Carr from the NCAA champion Union College Dutchmen to contracts. Rugged forward Jeremy Gregoire signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Canadiens but he has one more year of junior hockey left with Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

Below is an updated depth chart of the Bulldogs:

 

0vPGnCLGBulldogsDepthChartFinal2

 

As you can see, the Bulldogs lack veteran depth up front and on the back end whereas the goaltending situation seems fine.

Nonetheless, this signing is the start of many changes that need to be addressed in Hamilton.

Categories
Feature

Down on the Farm – ‘Dogs Not Going Places, But Adding Faces

By Dan Kramer, Senior Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

HAMILTON, ON – Just when it looked like the Hamilton Bulldogs might be putting together a late-season streak to at least keep things interesting in the Western Conference playoff hunt, back-to-back losses have essentially killed any remaining dream that the team might stage the most improbable of runs.

After wins at home on Wednesday and Friday, the ‘Dogs were unable to carry momentum into the weekend, dropping a 5-1 decision to the Abbotsford Heat and then falling in the first game of a nine-game road trip on Tuesday by a 4-0 score to the Texas Stars.

Mac Bennett will join former college D partner Greg Pateryn on the Hamilton blueline (PHOTO: Salam Rida/Michigan Daily)
Mac Bennett will join former college D partner Greg Pateryn on the Hamilton blueline (PHOTO: Salam Rida/Michigan Daily)

If a degree of blame could be laid on goaltender Dustin Tokarski – making only 19 stops on 23 shots – for the first loss, the result in Texas was hardly Devan Dubnyk‘s fault, as Hamilton was doubled up in shots 40 to 20 by the first place Stars. With Michael Bournival back in Montreal, the offensive well has again run dry, and players are left to play for pride and call-ups in a bid to not finish last in the conference for a second year in a row.

But this doesn’t mean that any and all intrigue surrounding the team has vanished. Late in the AHL season, as young prospects complete their junior and college seasons, team rosters are bolstered by an influx of fresh-faced talent. Hamilton is no exception to this ritual, with the Montreal Canadiens adding two new players to the squad on Wednesday.

First is Mac Bennett, an average-sized, mobile, two-way defender who was a third round pick of the team back in 2009. Signed to a two-year entry level contract, Bennett has yet to be officially assigned to the ‘Dogs, but one can assume he will join the team as soon as his semester at the University of Michigan is complete. He may not have the professional experience or the upside, but at age 23 and with four years of college hockey under his belt, he will hit the AHL as a more mature and developed player than a Jarrred Tinordi or Nathan Beaulieu, more in the footsteps of a Greg Pateryn. Speaking of Pateryn, his presence in Hamilton will be a big help to Bennett adjusting to the pro game. The defensemen spent two seasons in Michigan together, including one as partners – chemistry they can reignite quickly at the next stage in their development, especially as Pateryn represents one of the team’s more reliable guys on the back end, making him an ideal partner for a rookie.

In addition to his smart puck-moving game on-ice, Bennett’s off-ice leadership qualities were recognized as an alternate captain in Michigan a year ago, and then the team’s captain this past season. His offensive game didn’t develop as fully as many had hoped when he was drafted, but he has compensated for this by improving his play without the puck. Like many young players, consistency is still a bit of an issue with him, as he could stand to play with more intensity on a regular basis, but hopefully that comes with a new challenge in the next phase of his career.

The other signing is a player most Hab fans will be less familiar with, but one who could stand to surprise given there is a need for a forward of his ilk. Nick Sorkin – a 22-year old undrafted winger – may not be a household name as of yet, but the 6’3″ Maryland-native is coming off a tremendous bounce-back season that followed a year derailed by a broken hand. Having completed his fourth season at the University of New Hampshire at a point-per-game pace (20 goals, 21 assists in 41 contests), Sorkin agreed to a professional tryout with the ‘Dogs for the remainder of the season. Though he’s on skinny side at 195 lbs, he isn’t afraid of playing an aggressive and physical style, and given the lack of scoring talent and size on Hamilton’s present roster, he certainly could find a niche for himself.

It’s not unheard of for undrafted college forwards to make a splash at the NHL level. Though he left school after only a single season at age 21, and his NHL peak was somewhat of a flash-in-the-pan, Dustin Penner might be a good example as the kind of path Sorkin could aspire to follow if he should pan out. Which at this point is of a longshot at best. Those who don’t follow the ‘Dogs closely may not know the name Matt Grassi, a d-man the team signed to a similar tryout a year ago and then retained on an AHL deal this year, but who has only suited up for three games between the two seasons combined. So there’s a chance Sorkin is little more than that, too.

Sorkin and Bennett won’t be alone in joining the Bulldogs. Both Brady Vail and Connor Crisp find their respective squads one game away from elimination in the first round of the OHL playoffs, and thus should be available in the coming days. Then there’s 18-year old Jacob De La Rose, whose season ended days ago, but with whom the organization must make a determination as to what will be best for his development: another season in Sweden, joining Hamilton, or spending a year with the Windsor Spitfires.

Local fans will have only two opportunities to see this next wave in action at home, as nine of Hamilton’s eleven remaining contests are on the road. Tickets for games on April 12th and April 19th are available at http://www.hamiltonbulldogs.com/.