Author: Joe Yerdon

Ryan Pulock

Islanders sign 2013 first-round pick Pulock


You can officially add another youngster to the New York Islanders’ stockpile on the blue line.

The team announced the signing of 2013 first-round pick Ryan Pulock to his three-year, entry-level contract. He was the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft.

Pulock joins 2012  fourth overall pick Griffin Reinhart and 2009 first-rounder Calvin de Haan in the stable of prospects on the Isles defense. Throw in Travis Hamonic (2008 second round) who’s already established himself in the league and you begin to understand why people like where the team is headed.

With those guys on the blue line and forwards like John Tavares, Michael Grabner, with Brock Nelson on the way, youth is and will be king on Long Island.

Report: Bissonnette suspension reduced to three games (Update: It’s official)

Paul Bissonnette

Paul Bissonnette’s 10-game suspension is reportedly about to get a lot shorter.

Damien Cox of the Toronto Star reported his ban for leaving the bench to fight L.A. Kings forward Jordan Nolan during a preseason game last week was to be cut in half or more. John Shannon of Sportsnet confirmed the report saying the suspension will go from 10 games to just three.

Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet reports the reduction in games comes as a negotiated deal between Bissonnette and the NHL.

With the lack of video of how things played out and everyone having to go by word of mouth to figure things out, this doesn’t come as too big of a surprise. The fact he’ll still have three games to serve, however, is a bit of a head-scratcher.

If he had left the bench on a legal line change and fought, the only punishment he would’ve received would be five minutes in the box.

Then again, without there being much, if any, evidence as to what happened neither side can really prove their case. Bissonnette getting seven games back was probably the best he could hope for.

When it comes to appealing a suspension, this is as close to a “win” as a player can get.

UPDATE (6:58 p.m. ET): It’s official from the NHL – his suspension is reduced to three games. The league cites the lack of video evidence as the main reason for the reduction. Bissonnette will be eligible to return to action on October 10. He’ll give up $11,346.15 in salary to  the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund because of the suspension.

Tampa Bay’s Malone (upper body) should be ready for opener

Ryan Malone
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Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone is battling injury yet again, but it looks like he’ll be ready for the season opener.

Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports Malone is working through an upper body issue that will keep him out of their preseason finale tonight against Florida. Coach Jon Cooper says, however, that Malone should be ready for the season opener on Thursday against Boston.

Malone tells Missy Zielinski of the Lightning website it’s all about making sure he’s good to go for the regular season.

“We just thought it was best to kind of relax and make sure everything’s still good,” Malone said. “There’s really no concern, it is just part of the plan to make sure you’re ready for game one.”

Malone is a key component of Tampa Bay’s forward attack but staying healthy has always been an issue in his career.

Last season he missed 24 games, half of the schedule, and has missed a total of 91 games in his five seasons with the Lightning. If missing a preseason game helps keep him in the lineup when the games count, the team will take it.

Report: Canucks rookies Horvat, Shinkaruk to start year with team

Phoenix Coyotes v Vancouver Canucks

Canucks fans don’t have to wonder anymore about which of their 2013 first-round picks will start the year with the team.

John Shannon of Sportsnet reports both Bo Horvat (9th overall) and Hunter Shinkaruk (24th overall) will start the season in Vancouver with the big club.

Both players have seen a lot of action so far in the preseason and both have shown they’ve got enough game to stay with some of the NHLers, but whether they’ll stick around for more than nine games before being sent back to juniors is another question.

Vancouver is currently dealing with injuries and suspensions at forward with Jordan Schroeder out with a hairline fracture in his foot and Zack Kassian suspended for the first five games of the season for high-sticking Edmonton’s Sam Gagner. David Booth has returned from his ankle issue but he’s working off the rust of being out of action for so long.

It may just be a short stay for the Canucks’ prized picks, but they’ve shown so far they’ve got the skills to earn a further look from coach John Tortorella.

Senators owner says team is ‘over budget’ for this year

Eugene Melnyk, Daniel Alfredsson

It seems questions about the financial status of the Ottawa Senators and owner Eugene Melnyk aren’t about to go away.

In speaking with the press at the opening of “Sens Mile” in Ottawa, Melnyk spoke about his ongoing battle with the city’s mayor over the location of a new casino as well as how the team is doing with money. As Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen reports, it sounds a bit dicey at the moment.

Though only four NHL clubs have more salary cap space than Ottawa’s $8.2 million, beyond a payroll of about $57 million, Melnyk said his team is “already over budget, I just found out (Thursday).”

He stressed the point he believes Ottawa is a “price-sensitive market” but also shooed away questions about possibly relocating the team to help fix that “problem.”

Winning on a budget appears to be the Senators’ aim now and with the team set up how they are now, many prognosticators like their chances of success this season. In the end, Melnyk said he believes teams have to be in the top-half of spenders to be competitive.

For the record, has Ottawa ranked 26 out of 30 in payroll at the moment. Maybe numbers do lie sometimes.