Kevin Hayes

Hayes sees opportunity with Rangers

30 Comments

With the New York Rangers losing forwards Brad Richards, Benoit Pouliot, Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett newcomer Kevin Hayes believes there’s an opportunity to be had at training camp.

The Boston College product, who chose to sign a two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Rangers earlier this month, spoke to the Rangers website about his decision.

“At the end of my BC career we sat down with my family and thought that it was best to explore other options,” he said. “It wasn’t really hectic cause I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone until Aug. 15 so I basically had a free three months to train, hangout and relax. But ever since Aug. 15, it’s been pretty hectic.

“Ultimately I chose the Rangers and I’m extremely excited about it.”

Hayes admitted former Boston College teammate, and current Ranger, Chris Kreider called him to sell him on New York while he was making his decision.

“He called me Aug. 15 late and kind of just broke down everything about the city the good, the bad and stuff,” he said. “I only talked to him a couple times on the phone.

“Kreids was my line mate the year we won the national championship and it’s always nice to have one of your good buddies on the team. Hopefully he can show me the ropes.”

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound left-handed shot scored 27 goals and 65 points in 40 games during his final season at Boston College. In total, he appeared in 142 games for the Eagles scoring 44 goals and 132 points.

Hayes, 22, was originally a first-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks (24th overall in 2010).

According to the Massachusetts native, Alain Vigneault’s style in addition to talking to Kreider and Boyle is what helped him settle on the Rangers.

“The coach… I really like the style the coach plays so I figured this would be the best opportunity for me,” he said.

Hayes says his ultimate goal is to crack the Ranges lineup this season. Despite the aforementioned departures, the Rangers did bring in NHL veterans such as Tanner Glass, Lee Stempniak and Matthew Lombardi so Hayes will have competition as he tries to make the jump from college hockey to the NHL.

Related: Rangers win Kevin Hayes sweepstakes

Hockey tough: Mark Stone shakes off skate to face, scores

Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone celebrates his game winning goal during overtime against the Boston Bruins during an NHL hockey game in Ottawa, Ontario, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016.  The Senators defeated the Bruins 2-1. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
Leave a comment

You’d think the reaction to taking a skate to the face would be something like “Not coming back to that game, getting some ice and maybe do some soul-searching.”

Nope, not in the NHL, at least.

In this league, the real reaction is almost always to come back to the same game … and barely miss a beat.

Ottawa Senators Mark Stone provides the latest example of hockey toughness, as he bounced back almost immediately from this.

What did he do? He scored a nice goal in the Senators’ 6-1 blowout of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
AP
2 Comments

It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

12 Comments

Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

13 Comments

Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.