Leafs, Habs, ‘Hawks draftees plead guilty to party-related charges

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Three NHL draft picks have plead guilty to charges of supplying alcohol to minors at a team party last September.

University of North Dakota captain Andrew MacWilliam, Toronto’s seventh-round pick at the 2008 draft, assistant captain Danny Kristo (Montreal, 2nd round 2008), defenseman Joe Gleason (Chicago, 7th round 2008) and forward Carter Rowney (undrafted) all reached plea agreements last week and were given deferred sentences.

The players — along with Hobey Baker hopeful Corban Knight — found themselves in hot water last year following a Sept. 15 team party.

Details of what transpired were unknown at the time, but MacWilliam (pictured), Kristo, Knight and Rowney were suspended for UND’s season-opening game, followed by this press release from the North Dakota athletic department:

“The behavior in this situation was unacceptable,” [UND Director of Athletics Brian] Faison said. “Measures taken by the athletics department do not preclude possible additional measures by the department, or actions by the University or local and state authorities.”

“Recent actions by our team are not a good representation of our place as role models within our community,” said UND head men’s hockey coach Dave Hakstol. “We have young men of high character in our locker room, but our players, and in particular our leaders, must be accountable for their actions.”

In addition to the suspension of the team captains, Faison also announced several additional team disciplinary measures including, but not limited to:

  • Athletics Department-issued team probation under which any further violations by a team member could result in immediate reduction of scholarship, suspension from competition, or expulsion from the program.
  • The implementation of a mandatory team community service program
  • Weekly team alcohol education programming

Gleason wasn’t part of the original UND suspension, but has since been charged.

The charges against Knight were dropped after Grand Forks County prosecutor David Jones told the Associated Press there was no evidence he was involved in the case.

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In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron

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Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.