Author: Mike Halford

Colorado Avalanche v Minnesota Wild - Game Three

O’Reilly’s impaired driving hearing pushed back to September


From the Associated Press:

Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly’s court case in connection with an impaired driving charge has been continued to Sept. 10.

The decision was made Thursday morning during O’Reilly’s first hearing in London, Ontario, court. The 24-year-old player was not required to attend, and was represented by his lawyer, David Humphrey.

The court case stems from an incident in mid-July, in which O’Reilly reportedly drove his truck into a Tim Horton’s restaurant.

Back on July 13, the Ontario Provincial police announced O’Reilly had been charged with driving a motor vehicle while impaired and, under the Highway Traffic act, failing to remain at the scene.

More, from Ontario’s AM 980 radio:

According to Middlesex County OPP, a green Chevrolet pickup truck struck a commercial building on Richmond St. last Thursday morning (July 9) just after 4:00am. An employee of the Lucan Tim Hortons confirmed to AM980 that there had been a motor vehicle incident, but was unaware of the driver’s identity.

After the collision, police say a suspect drove the vehicle southbound on Saintsbury Line, before abandoning it and traveling by foot with another, unnamed, male occupant.

Two weeks prior to the incident, O’Reilly signed a seven-year, $52.5 million deal with the Sabres, after he was acquired from Colorado at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Veteran tough guy Janssen signs in England

Cam Janssen

Cam Janssen, a longtime enforcer that’s appeared in 336 games with the Devils and Blues, has taken his game overseas and joined Nottingham of the Elite Ice Hockey League, the club has announced.

Originally selected by New Jersey at the 2002 draft, Janssen broke in with the Devils before moving to St. Louis in 2007, spending four years with the club. In 2011, he returned to Jersey and appeared in a handful of big-league games, spending most of his time — including all of last season — with AHL Albany.

A noted pugilist — per HockeyFights, he’s scrapped over 90 times in his career — Janssen, 31, is just the latest enforcer to join the EIHL, which is made up of teams from Scotland, England and Wales.

Kevin Westgarth spent last season with the Belfast Giants while Paul Bissonnette signed with Cardiff, only to return to the Coyotes organization days later.

Ex-NHL enforcer Purinton arrested for burglary

Rangers v Kings

Dale Purinton, a defenseman that played nearly 200 games for the Rangers from ’00-04, has been arrested in New York for first degree burglary, a Class-B Felony.

More, from Yahoo:

The arrest stems from an assault investigation by the Sheriff’s Road Patrol in the Village of Sylvan Beach that occurred on August 11, 2015. The investigation indicated that Purinton broke into a residence and caused physical injury to the sole occupant in the residence. Purinton fled the scene prior to police arrival and the victim was taken by ambulance to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in the City of Utica, for medical treatment, the victim was later released.

During the course of the investigation, the Criminal Investigation Unit developed information that Purinton may be staying with relatives in Otsego County, NY. The Otsego County Sheriff’s Office located Purinton at a residence in the Town of Laurens and he was taken into custody without incident.

Purinton’s playing career ended with an AHL stint in Lake Erie during the 2007-08. From there he went into coaching, most recently with the Kerry Park Islanders of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

Report: Prospect Ehlers mulling Swiss league if he doesn’t make Jets

Nikolaj Ehlers

Nikolaj Ehlers will be one to watch at Winnipeg’s training camp this fall.

Ehlers, the Jets’ first-round pick (ninth overall) at the 2014 draft, is reportedly open to playing in the Swiss league should he not make the Jets roster out of the preseason, per news agency Sportinformation.

More (courtesy Swiss Hockey News):

“I honestly do not think about this now,” the 19-year-old Dane says to the Sportinformation. “But Switzerland is at the top of my list if I’m not going to play in the NHL in the upcoming season.”

As Ehlers is still too young for the AHL and another year in the QMJHL would not make any sense for him, playing in Europe would be the best solution.

Ehlers is coming off a dominant Quebec League campaign — 101 points in just 51 games — but isn’t big (5-foot-11, 176 pounds) and will be in tough to crack a Jets team with good depth up front. While the forwards Michael Frolik, Lee Stempniak and Jiri Tlusty are all gone, Alex Burmistrov is back from Russia and some other youngsters, along with Ehlers, will push for just a handful of spots.

“It’s going to be tough coming back here and trying to get that spot on the team,” Ehlers told this summer, during Winnipeg’s prospects camp. “There is a lot of excitement, and I think that on the ice there are a lot of things I can improve on, and I’m going to try to do that this summer.”

It makes sense that Ehlers would target Switzerland in the event he doesn’t make the Jets. Aside from having little to prove at the junior level, he has experience playing in the Swiss National League A — during the ’12-13 campaign, he appeared in 11 games for HC Biel.

Antropov confirms comeback plan: ‘I have a year or two in me for sure’

Nik Antropov

Last month, we passed along word that veteran NHLer Nikolai Antropov was mulling a comeback.

Now, he’s made it’s official.

“I have a year or two in me for sure,” Antropov told the Toronto Sun this week, while attending the BioSteel camp. “We’re talking to a couple of teams, who I won’t name. My experience is huge.”

Back in late July, Antropov’s agent, Shumi Babaev, said his client was mulling a NHL comeback rather than re-sign with KHL club Barys Astana.

The 35-year-old scored 21 points in 39 games last year for Barys, his second season with the team.

If a team ultimately gives Antropov a look, presumably by way of a training camp PTO, he’ll be an intriguing figure to watch. He’s still 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, with nearly 800 games of NHL experience. What’s more, his last full year with the Jets in ’11-12 was pretty decent — 15 goals and 35 points in 69 games. (Antro had 18 points in 40 games during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign.)

All that said, he’s well on the wrong side of 30 and wasn’t the quickest skater prior to leaving for Russia.

“I know the game has gotten a lot faster, which is why I’m at this camp,” he explained. “We’ll see where I end up.”