Brad May is having fun in the AHL

I have to admit I was a bit amused when I heard the Red Wings had
sent Brad May down to the AHL. How would a player like May, who hasn’t
played in the minors ever, react to going from the glam lifestyle of
professional sports to the much less comforting life an AHL player
lives?

More importantly, would he ever find his way back to
Detroit?

Brad May represents a dying breed in the NHL, players
who’s sole purpose was to be an instigator, bodyguard and gladiator
while getting 5-10 minutes per game. They would make some big hits,
fight a couple of times and generally be used to send a message to the
other team.

Yet the NHL is turning into a much more offensive
league and the ‘goons’ are on their way out. Teams need players that can
score and do more than just chuck fists. The fact that the need for
‘protection’ of the top players has dwindled has played a role as well,
as even some of the top scorers in the NHL can lay the wood along the
boards themselves.

In the meantime, while May waits for what he
hopes is an eventual callup, he’s
having fun just playing hockey.

“I definitely
want to keep playing and obviously contribute, but with
the ultimate goal of getting back to Detroit, no question,” May said.
“But, yeah, I’m definitely enjoying myself with these guys. Honestly,
it’s fun.”

“You have to have a different mindset, a different
role. The whole
thing, it’s different,” May said. “However, you can’t forget who you are
and what makes you the player you can be.

“But I’ve got to keep
working on my legs. Hadn’t played that much, got a little tired in the
legs. I’ve got to get in better condition.”

It’s
certainly a situation where a player can just focus on the hockey and
nothing else. There’s a good reason that teams send players down to the
AHL level to get their heads back on straight, as it affords them an
opportunity to have fun with the game again.

Sort of like what
happens in nearly every sports movie Hollywood as ever made: the team is
bad, they learn to have fun again and instantly they’re winning.

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    Video: Chris Kreider doesn’t just fight Cody Eakin, he hits him with his helmet

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    Tuesday’s Dallas Stars – New York Rangers almost seemed destined to be a wild affair, and so far, the two teams aren’t disappointing.

    For one thing, Chris Kreider and the Rangers were open about “not forgetting” Cody Eakin‘s hit on Henrik Lundqvist, something Eakin realized heading in. The Stars had their own irritations coming into this game, as they clearly weren’t happy with their loss to the Buffalo Sabres and their shaky play overall.

    So, yeah, plenty of reason for this to be a rowdy affair.

    Kreider is delivering in particular, with the most memorable moment being his strange fight with Eakin, which you can see above. SBNation’s Pat Iversen points out that Kreider probably should have been ejected for hitting Eakin with a piece of his equipment, a violation of Rule 53.

    As many know, Kreider has even more of a reputation for “interacting” with goalies, as he did once again with Antti Niemi:

    The Stars currently lead the game 5-3, so it’s been a busy one on the scoreboard, too.

    Video: Maple Leafs lose Morgan Rielly after fall into boards

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    Down 2-0 to the Buffalo Sabres, the Toronto Maple Leafs are off to a shaky start on Tuesday. Still, their concerns likely revolve the most around the health of defenseman Morgan Rielly.

    As you can see from the video above, the young Buds blueliner was shaken up by an awkward spill into the boards.

    It’s too early to know if he avoided injury or might miss some time, but there’s at least some concern that he might have aggravated an issue from before his NHL days:

    We’ll need to wait and see, but with his offensive skills and overall importance in mind (average just under 23 minutes a game this season, more or less in line with his breakthrough year in 2015-16), the Maple Leafs are crossing their fingers that this isn’t anything major.

    WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche

    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 23:  Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck as he turns against Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center on December 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Avalanche defeated the Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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    The Chicago Blackhawks need to put a tough weekend behind them; maybe the Colorado Avalanche are just what the doctor ordered.

    Colorado is clearly ranked last in the league, whether they believe they have some assets in the likes of Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog or not. Perhaps there will be a few scouts on hand to see how such potential Avs trade targets perform against a contending team?

    It’s rarely a dull night when the Blackhawks roll out talented players like Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Jonathan Toews – among others – so it should be a good time on NBCSN on Tuesday.

    You can watch online or via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.

    Short-lived return? No Tyler Ennis for Sabres tonight

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 25:  Tyler Ennis #63 of the Buffalo Sabres takes a shot on goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center on October 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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    Tyler Ennis‘ return to the Buffalo Sabres lineup on Monday after a 30-game absence seemed like a breath of fresh air. Tuesday, then, represents letting the air out of the balloon.

    The Sabres announced that Ennis wasn’t out for warm-ups heading into tonight’s Sabres – Toronto Maple Leafs game. It certainly gives the impression that his groin injury isn’t fully healed.

    Ennis contributed a goal to Buffalo’s 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Monday and nearly scored another in “lacrosse” style:

    When healthy, he’s been a 20-goal, 40+ point player for Buffalo lately, so he was missed. The team tweeted out Ryan O'Reilly‘s comments about Ennis’ return mere hours ago, so you get the impression that it was a surprise for many:

    Maybe it’s just a minor setback?

    Update: The Sabres deem it a “precautionary scratch,” according to John Vogl of the Buffalo News. So maybe file this under minor setback. We’ll see.