Saturday, June 30, 2018

Bowling Green's Reirden Takes Over with NHL's Capitals

Todd Reirden (Bowling Green) is the new head coach of the NHL's Washington Capitals. The Illinois native, who has served four years as an assistant or associate coach with the Capitals, takes over the top job after Barry Trotz resigned earlier this month. Trotz subsequently joined the New York Islanders after leading Washington to the first Stanley Cup title in franchise history this spring.

Reirden began his coaching career at BGSU in 2007-08, before moving on to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League as an assistant the following year. After serving as head coach of the WBS Penguins for the next season-and-a-half, he moved up to the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins as an assistant in 2010. He stayed there for four seasons before joining the Caps in 2014 as an assistant, before being promoted to associate head coach in 2016.

A defenseman as a player, Reirden skated four NCAA seasons at BGSU (1990-1994), collecting 25 goals and 51 assists for 76 points to go with 160 penalty minutes for the Falcons. A second-round NHL draft choice of New Jersey in 1990, he turned pro with Tallahassee of the ECHL in 1994-95. He would suit up for two more ECHL teams and three International Hockey League teams before making his NHL debut in 1998-99 with the Edmonton Oilers.

Reirden would go on to skate in 183 career NHL regular season contests for Edmonton, St. Louis, Atlanta and Phoenix, tallying 11-35—46 points and 181 PIM. He also played for five different AHL teams before concluding his career in Austria in 2006-07.

Reirden, 47, becomes the second former Central Collegiate Hockey Association player to become an NHL head coach this off-season. He joins Rod Brind'Amour (Michigan State), who is now head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Former NCAA Players Sign with ECHL Clubs

Several former NCAA Division I forwards were recently in the news regarding the ECHL, the primary Tier II or Double-A league for professional hockey, according to the league's website at

Alex Kile (Michigan) became the first-ever player to sign with the new Maine Mariners franchise that will begin play in the fall. He spent last season with Cincinnati (ECHL), recording 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points in 46 games, after tallying 40-40—80 points in 130 games at Michigan from 2013 to 2017.

Joe Cox (Michigan State) re-signed with the Florida Everblades after helping them to within one victory of the ECHL's Kelly Cup playoff title earlier this month. He recorded 22-32—54 points in 70 regular-season games, before adding six goals and 16 points in 21 playoff outings. He collected 28-41—69 points in 143 games at MSU from 2013 to 2017.

Woody Hudson (St. Lawrence) re-signed with the Worcester Railers after posting 10-19—29 points in the team's inaugural campaign in 2017-18. He registered 19 goals and 35 points in 140 games at SLU from 2013 to 2017, and then turned pro with Indy (ECHL) following his senior NCAA season.

Bo Brauer (Notre Dame) has signed with the South Carolina Stingrays after helping the Fighting Irish to within one victory of the NCAA championship in April. He notched a career-high five goals and eight points in 35 appearances last season, and finished his career with 8-5—13 points in 64 games overall.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Hutsko Headlines 2018 Boston College Draftees

Logan Hutsko (Boston College) was the lone current member of the BC men's hockey team to be drafted on Saturday at the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas. The Florida native was chosen in the third round, 89th overall, by the Florida Panthers.

A former member of the U.S. National Team Development Program, Hutsko overcame both a neck fracture and a cracked kneecap prior to college to tally 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points as a freshman for the Eagles in 2017-18. He also helped BC to last season's Hockey East regular season title.

Incoming BC freshman Jack McBain, son of retired NHL player Andrew McBain, was the first choice of the third round, and went 63rd overall to the Minnesota Wild. The 6-foot-3 center recorded 21-3758 points in 48 regular-season appearances last year with his hometown Toronto Junior Canadiens in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. On the first day of the draft on Friday, incoming BC forward Oliver Wahlstrom was selected 11th overall by the New York Islanders.

Two former Eagle defensemen were involved in trades over the weekend. On Saturday, Noah Hanifin was traded from the Carolina Hurricanes to the Calgary Flames, in a deal that also involved former Calgary draft choice Adam Fox (Harvard) going to Carolina. Hanifin played just one year at BC, and helped the Eagles to the 2015 NCAA Tournament by notching five goals and 23 points in 37 outings. He has collected 18-6583 points in three complete NHL seasons, all with the Hurricanes.

On Friday, two-time Stanley Cup champion Brooks Orpik was dealt from the Washington Capitals, whom he helped to their first-ever Cup earlier this month, to the Colorado Avalanche. A member of BC's 2001 NCAA championship team, Orpik notched 41 points and 324 penalty minutes in three seasons at the Heights, and has registered 185 points and 940 PIM in 14 full NHL campaigns.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Four NCAA Skaters Among First 14 Taken in NHL First Round

Current and incoming NCAA players were among the four Americans taken in the top 14 selections in Friday's first round of the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas.

Freshman forward Brady Tkachuk (Boston University) went fourth overall to the Ottawa Senators. The son of former BU and NHL forward Keith Tkachuk, the younger Tkachuk tallied eight goals and 31 points in 40 games this past season with the Terriers, and also helped them to their first Hockey East title since 2015. He also aided the U.S. in winning a bronze medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo.

Three picks after Tkachuk, the Vancouver Canucks tabbed defenseman Quinn Hughes (Michigan), who also played for the U.S. in Buffalo, and then helped the Wolverines to the 2018 NCAA Frozen Four in Minnesota after recording 5-24--29 points in 37 contests in his freshman NCAA campaign.

Right wing Oliver Wahlstrom, who is expected to join Boston College this fall after previously committing to Harvard, went at No. 11 overall to the New York Islanders after notching 40-43--83 points in 54 appearances with the U.S. National team Development Program's Under-18 squad. At No. 15, Boston University recruit Joel Farabee was taken by the Philadelphia Flyers, after collecting 27-37--64 points in 54 outings with the USA U-18 team.

Tkachuk and Hughes, like Wahlstrom and Farabee, were also products of the NTDP.

Other players with existing or upcoming NCAA ties who were taken in the first round on Friday included (Selection, NHL Team, Name, Position, Nationality, Team/League, NCAA school):

No. 19, Philadelphia, Jay O' Brien, C, USA, Thayer Academy/USHS (Providence)

No. 22, New York Rangers, K'andre Miller, D, USA, USA-18/NTDP (Wisconsin)

No. 26, Ottawa, Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, Canada, Okotoks/AJHL (North Dakota)

All 2018 NHL Draft selections can be found here.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

BC's Boyle Wins 2018 Masterton Trophy

Brian Boyle (Boston College) is the 2018 winner of the NHL's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, as awarded in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.

The Masterton Trophy is awarded to the NHL player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey". It was named for the late Minnesota North Star forward who died after suffering a head injury in a game during the 1967-68 NHL campaign.

Boyle, 33, who joined the New Jersey Devils prior to the 2017-18 season, was sidelined until November as he underwent treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia. A 6-foot-7 native of Hingham, Mass., he signed with New Jersey as a free agent in the off-season after previously playing for Los Angeles, the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay and Toronto. He skated in both the 2014 and 2015 Stanley Cup finals, for New York and Tampa Bay, respectively.

In 69 regular-season games this past year, Boyle scored 13 goals and added 10 assists for 23 points. He also helped the Devils back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012. In 693 career NHL regular-season outings, Boyle has recorded 106-86—192 points and 533 penalty minutes. He has also put up 15-13—28 points and 92 PIM in 111 Stanley Cup Playoff contests to date.

A two-time All-America selection in college, Boyle skated four seasons at BC (2003-2007) and notched 65-75—140 points in 159 appearances. He also helped the Eagles to five Hockey East regular-season or tournament titles, four NCAA Tournament berths, three NCAA Frozen Fours, and two NCAA title games.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Marlies Win AHL's Calder Cup

The Toronto Marlies are the American Hockey League champion.

The top farm club of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the visiting Texas Stars, 6-1, at Ricoh Coliseum in Game 7 of the Calder Cup Final on Thursday night in Ontario to clinch the club's first-ever AHL crown, and first by any pro hockey team from Toronto in 51 years.

Toronto captain Ben Smith (Boston College), who won two NCAA titles with the Eagles and also has a 2013 Stanley Cup ring from the Chicago Blackhawks, tallied an empty-net goal in Game 7. He led a contingent of former NCAA players on the Marlies' roster that included the likes of Chris Mueller (Michigan State), Trevor Moore (Denver), Colin Greening (Cornell), Justin Holl (Minnesota) and Vincent LoVerde (Miami).

Loverde had two assists for Toronto in the clinching contest, while Moore posted one. Mike McKenna (St. Lawrence) made 40 stops for the Stars in defeat, while Brian Flynn (Maine) and Matt Mangene (Maine) assisted on Texas' lone goal.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Stars Stay Alive in 2018 Calder Cup Final

Mike McKenna (St. Lawrence) made 43 saves and the Texas Stars stayed alive in the AHL's Calder Cup Final with a 5-2 victory at Toronto in Game 6 on Tuesday night.

Curtis McKenzie (Miami) was one of five different goal scorers for the Stars, along with Sheldon Dries (Western Michigan). Texas, which trailed the best-of-seven series, 3-2, following a 6-2 loss at home in Game 5 on Saturday, broke open a scoreless Game 6 with three second-period tallies.

Justin Holl (Minnesota) scored one of the host Marlies' two goals on Tuesday. The Marlies, who went 0-for-4 on the power play, outshot the Stars, 45-24, overall on the night.

The American Hockey League's playoff championship series will be decided on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, NHL Network) at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Simon New Head Coach of Grand Rapids (AHL)

Ben Simon (Notre Dame) is the new head coach of the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins. Simon, 39, a native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, succeeds Todd Nelson, who left Michigan last month to join the NHL's Dallas Stars as an assistant.

Simon spent the last three seasons as Nelson's assistant in Grand Rapids, helping the Griffins to the 2017 Calder Cup trophy as AHL champions. He previously served as an assistant with Rockford and Toronto of the AHL, along with one year as head coach of Cincinnati (ECHL). He began his coaching career as head coach of the British League's Sheffield Steelers in 2010-11, the same season that he finished his playing career.

Simon tallied 38 goals and 71 points in 45 games with Cleveland (NAHL) in his final year of junior "A" hockey in 1995-96, and also earned NAHL Rookie of the Year accolades. A fifth-round draft choice by the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks in 1997 following his freshman campaign at Notre Dame, he registered 44 goals and 86 assists in four NCAA seasons with the Fighting Irish. He lead UND in both overall and league scoring as a junior, and helped the Irish to the CCHA semifinals as a senior.

Simon, who went on to play in 81 NHL contests with Atlanta and Columbus, spent the majority of his career in the AHL and now-defunct IHL, recording a total of 86 career goals while also helping the Chicago Wolves to the 2002 Calder Cup title. He also played one year in Germany and one in the ECHL before turning to coaching.

Grand Rapids went 42-25-2 overall during the 2017-18 AHL season, and finished second in the Central Division, before falling to Manitoba in five games in the first round of the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Colorado Wins Second Straight ECHL Crown

The Colorado Eagles are the two-time ECHL champions. The Eagles defeated the host Florida Everblades, 3-2, on Saturday night in Game 7 of the Kelly Cup Final in Estero, Fla. to win their second straight league title. They join the Allen Americans (2015-2016), Toledo Storm (1993-1994) and Hampton Roads Admirals (1991-1992) as back-to-back ECHL playoff champions.

Former NCAA players on the Eagles roster this spring included Matt Garbowsky (RIT), Jake Marto (North Dakota), Chase Norrish (RIT), Brady Shaw (Vermont), Cliff Watson (Michigan Tech), Sam Brittain (Denver), Joe Cannata (Merrimack) and Lukas Hafner (Western Michigan), plus head coach Aaron Schneekloth (North Dakota) and goalie coach Ryan Bach (Colorado College).

The Eagles' franchise got its start in the now-defunct Central Hockey League in 2003, winning two league playoff championships there before moving on to the ECHL in 2011. Beginning this fall, Colorado will move up one level to the American Hockey League (AHL) as an expansion franchise, to compete for the Calder Cup as the primary/Triple-A affiliate of the NHL's Colorado Avalanche.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Capitals Win First-Ever Stanley Cup

The Stanley Cup was awarded in Las Vegas on Thursday night—but not to the host Golden Knights.

That honor instead went to the Washington Capitals, who won the NHL title for the first time in their 44 seasons after a five-game triumph over expansion upstart Vegas, by virtue of a 4-3 victory in Game Five at T-Mobile Arena.

Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik (Boston College) assisted on the tying goal midway through the third period, after Vegas had taken a 3-2 lead after two periods of play. Lars Eller then tallied the game-winning goal with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation, and the Capitals held on for their first Stanley Cup crown since entering the league in 1974, in their second-ever finals appearance. Washington was swept by Detroit in four games in 1998.

Reilly Smith (Miami) notched a goal and an assist in the series finale for Pacific Division and Western Conference champion Vegas, which went 12-3 over the first three rounds of the NHL postseason. The Golden Knights then won Game One of the final, before dropping four straight contests to the Eastern Conference champion Capitals. Alex Tuch (Boston College) assisted on Smith's goal.

Washington team captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored the Caps' second goal on the night and thus established a new franchise record with 15 goals this postseason, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player in the playoffs. This season marked the first time Washington had advanced past the second round of the playoffs in his 13-year NHL career.

Former NCAA players besides Orpik who lifted the Cup as champions with the Caps this year , Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage), Travis Boyd (Minnesota), Alex Chiasson (Boston University), Pheonix Copley (Michigan Tech), Aaron Ness (Minnesota), Matt Niskanen (Minnesota-Duluth) and T.J. Oshie (North Dakota).

Orpik had been the only player on the Caps' roster to have previously won the Stanley Cup (Pittsburgh, 2009). His second career Cup triumph pushed BC's all-time total to 19 Cups, tops among NCAA schools along with Wisconsin.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

O'Connell in Charge at BU

Former Boston University player and recent associate coach Albie O’Connell is the new head coach of the Terriers. He succeeds David Quinn, who left BU last month to take the head coaching job with the NHL’s New York Rangers.

A fifth-round draft choice of the New York islanders in 1994, O'Connell skated at forward for BU from 1995 to 199, and tallied 42 goals and 108 points. As a sophomore, he was part of the Terriers’ squad that advanced to the 1997 NCAA title game. After playing two seasons in the ECHL, sandwiched around two seasons in the British League, he turned to coaching, and first served as an assistant at Colby College in 2003-04.

O'Connell, 42, then spent time as an NCAA Division I assistant at Niagara, Holy Cross, Merrimack, Northeastern and Harvard, before returning to his alma mater in 2014 and helping the Terriers to the 2015 NCAA championship contest in Boston. He served the last three years an associate at BU, and aided BU’s run to a Hockey East Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament berth this past season.

O’Connell becomes the sixth-ever head coach in BU men's hockey history, and the fifth alumnus.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Washington One Win from Stanley Cup

T.J. Oshie (North Dakota) opened the scoring in a three-goal first period on Monday night, and later added two assists as the Washington Capitals moved to within one victory of their first-ever NHL championship.

The Capitals opened the week with a 6-2 rout of the visiting Vegas Golden Knights at Capital One Arena in Game Four of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. Washington now leads the best-of-seven series, three games to one, while having won the last three contests, including both played in Washington, D.C.

Reilly Smith (Miami) had one goal for Vegas, which hit several goal posts early on and then trailed, 4-0, after 40 minutes. The expansion Golden Knights, who have lost three straight games in regulation for the first time since Nov. 28-Dec. 1, then pulled within two goals in the final period before Washington tacked on two more scores in the final seven minutes of play.

The Capitals finished 3-for-5 on the power play despite being outshot, 30-23, overall for the evening. Washington also blocked 24 opposing shots in all, and killed off all four Vegas power plays.

The Caps will look to sew up the seriesand the Stanley Cupon Thursday night in Game Five at Vegas (8 p.m. ET; NBC TV, CBC TV).

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Caps Take 2-1 Cup Final Lead

Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage) assisted on two of his team's three goals Saturday night as the Washington Capitals took the lead in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Vegas Golden Knights at Capital One Arena.

Washington now leads the best-of-seven NHL title series, two games to one. It was the first-ever home victory for the Caps in the Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

T.J. Oshie (North Dakota) combined with Beagle on Washington's second goal, by Evgeny Kuznetsov, to make it 2-0 in the second period. After Vegas pulled within one early in the third period, Beagle fed Devante Smith-Pelly in front of the Golden Knights net with just over six minutes remaining in regulation for a score that regained Washington's two-goal advantage.

Game Four is Monday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC TV, CBC TV) in Washington, D.C.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Dennehy in Charge with Wheeling (ECHL)

Mark Dennehy is back in the coaching game.

Dennehy, 50, who spent the last 13 seasons as head coach at Merrimack College, has been named the new Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations with the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers. It marks his first foray into the professional coaching ranks, as he becomes the 17th head coach in Nailers history.

Dennehy went 156-222-56 overall in 13 seasons at Merrimack. His overall career record is 159-250-59 in 14 collegiate campaigns, with the other one coming with the now-defunct NCAA Division I men's program at Fairfield University in 1999-2000. He served as an assistant coach at Princeton University before going on to Fairfield, and then worked as an assistant at the University of Massachusetts before taking the reins at Merrimack in 2005-06.

Dennehy's tenure in North Andover with the Warriors included a No. 1 national ranking, plus the first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament berth in school history in 2011 after they notched 25 overall victories and played in the Hockey East Championship game that season. He also guided them to six seasons of 15 or more total wins. Merrimack went 12-21-4 in 2017-18, winning at defending NCAA champion Denver during the regular season before falling to Boston College in the first round of the Hockey East postseason tournament.

A native of Dorchester, Mass. and a four-year letterman on the BC blueline as a player (1987-1991), Dennehy helped the Eagles to three NCAA Tournament appearances, the 1990 NCAA Frozen Four, and the 1990 Hockey East championship. He then skated one season with the Ayr Raiders in Scotland (1991-92) before turning to coaching.