Brian McGrattan

NHL is ‘never going to be a soft, skilled league,’ says McGrattan


Brian McGrattan liked what he saw Sunday night in Toronto. For the Calgary Flames’ enforcer, the line brawl between the Leafs and Sabres was proof that players of his ilk would always be needed in the NHL.

“Everybody thought the skill game was going to take over two or three years ago, but the game found itself again,” McGrattan said, per the Calgary Sun.

“The league is never going to be a soft, skilled league like so many experts thought. It’s never going to happen. There’s always going to be big, tough, strong guys who are going to play to hurt you, which is why every team has to have one and every team is going back to the old ways.”

McGrattan need only look up the road to the Flames’ Alberta rivals for more support for his theory. On Monday, Edmonton picked up Steve MacIntyre off waivers in a move that general manager Craig MacTavish admitted was directly linked to a preseason game against the Canucks in which Vancouver’s Dale Weise took a run at one of the Oilers’ young stars, Taylor Hall. That same contest also saw Zack Kassian break Sam Gagner’s jaw with his stick.

While both Weise and Kassian were disciplined by the NHL, the Oilers are clearly hoping MacIntyre will offer his own brand of deterrence. And if not that, at least retribution.

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.