New York took care of some internal paperwork to help officially set their future in motion today signing a pair of recent first round picks. 2009 first round pick forward Ryan Bourque and 2010 first rounder defenseman Dylan McIlrath both signed their first-year entry-level contracts with the team today.
Bourque you may recall from the Team USA World Junior Championships the last two years. Bourque helped lead the USA to gold in 2010 and is currently playing in the QMJHL with the Quebec Ramparts. This season with the Remparts, Bourque has 26 goals and 31 assists in 47 games played. The Rangers are hoping he can slot in and be a more successful pro player than his brother Chris who left North America to play in the KHL this season. If Ryan can be even half the pro his father Raymond was, he’ll be an outstanding player for years to come with the Rangers.
McIlrath is a bruising and physical defenseman who plays with an edge and a guy the Rangers foresee as a future bruiser. While playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors this year, McIlrath has five goals and 18 assists as well as 141 penalty minutes through 59 games in the WHL. Being physical and unafraid to drop the gloves when need be makes him a potentially scary player to face off with if he makes the NHL. At 6’5″ 215 pounds and just weeks shy of turning 19 years-old, the Rangers will give him time to develop further.
The Rangers hope that McIlrath can develop into a shutdown defenseman otherwise people will look back on this draft as the one the Rangers passed on Cam Fowler to pick a guy that wasn’t as effective.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.