Paul Bissonnette, a veteran of 202 games in the National Hockey League, is now on the hunt for a Calder Cup championship with the Manchester Monarchs.
The final series, between the Monarchs and Utica Comets, minor-league affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, begins Saturday. Bissonnette has that to look forward to, however at the start of the season, he was without a job, before eventually signing an AHL deal with Portland.
He didn’t last long there — only eight games — before gaining employment with the Monarchs.
However, he admitted in a lengthy and candid interview with TSN 1040 radio on Friday, when asked about his plans for the future outside of hockey, to suffering from “a little bit of depression at the start of the year” prior to signing with a team.
He then expanded on his personal battle, but said it was not related to his history with fighting.
“It’s weird. I’ve never dealt with it before but it’s amazing what the mind can do to the body,” he said.
“I’m sure people have dealt with way worse cases. But I actually reached out to the NHL doctors. I was doing regular training … and it just seemed like I was really sore, it’s like I ran a marathon. I couldn’t get off the couch. I was kind of curled up in a ball.”
Detroit Red Wings prospect forward Dylan Larkin is coming off a brief but impressive showing in the American Hockey League playoffs with the Grand Rapids Griffins, but will he be able to make the jump to the NHL next season?
Is he ready?
Larkin, selected 15th overall in last year’s draft, opted to sign an entry-level deal with the Red Wings and join the Griffins in their Calder Cup playoff run, ending his time at Michigan after one year.
He entered into the AHL Western Conference final series against the Utica Comets, however Grand Rapids was eliminated in six games.
“It doesn’t matter what I think,” Michigan coach Red Berenson told the Detroit Free Press. “I think Dylan is going to play in the NHL. I told him that. I don’t know that he’s ready at this point to compete for a regular job in the NHL.”
Larkin, still only 18 years old, finished the series with three goals, including two in the second game, and it sounds like he made a strong impression on the man believed to be taking over the head coaching job in Detroit next season.
“Dylan is continuing to assert himself out there and be a real impact player for us,” Griffins coach Jeff Blashill told MLive.com during the series. “And he’s got to be because he’s getting big minutes as well.”
Where will Auston Matthews play hockey next season?
A decision has yet to come from the highly touted prospect from Scottsdale, Arizona, who could be the top pick overall in the 2016 NHL Draft.
From the report on NHL.com, which cites agent Pat Brisson:
Brisson said playing for ZSC in Switzerland’s top professional league or for the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League are the two destinations. Brisson said Matthews has ruled out going the NCAA route.
“It’s been discussed and we have been exploring Europe and have narrowed it down to Switzerland and the WHL,” Brisson said. “It’s looking at the moment that the scale is leaning towards Europe.” ZSC is coached by former NHL coach Marc Crawford.
For a while now, there has been plenty of curiosity about where Matthews would play in his draft season, which follows a 116-point campaign with U.S. National U-18 team.
Last month, Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson had expected a decision from the Matthews camp within a week. That was almost three weeks ago.
A few days after that report, the aforementioned Crawford weighed in, calling the Swiss National League a “perfect training ground” for a young player.