Author: Mike Halford

Arizona Coyotes Prospect Development Camp

Coyotes praise Duclair’s ‘outstanding’ playmaking skill


Anthony Duclair’s making a solid impression on his new team.

Duclair, acquired by Arizona from the Rangers in the Keith Yandle trade, took part in the Coyotes’ prospect development camp this week and earned high praise from head coach Dave Tippett.

“Some of the plays he makes out there are outstanding,” Tippett said, per the Arizona Republic. “He’s a young player that he’ll still have to learn how to play without the puck, some coverage things, but his assets of skating and quickness and skill all are very high priority for us.”

Duclair, who turns 20 in August, figures to be on Arizona’s opening-night roster this season. He’s got NHL experience — seven points in 18 games with the Rangers last year — and is an integral part of the Coyotes’ youth movement.

What’s more, Duclair doesn’t have a ton of competition.

Though they made some moves at forward in free agency — bringing aboard (or, re-board) the likes of Antoine Vermette, Boyd Gordon, Steve Downie and Brad Richardson — the Coyotes are still pretty thin up front, especially on the wings. A left-handed shot that can play the right, Duclair’s in a battle with fellow youngsters Max Domi, Henrik Samuelsson, Jordan Szwarz, Lucas Lessio, Brendan Perlini and Christian Dvorak for minutes with the big club.

It’s a battle he’s ready to take on.

“They’re pushing younger, so what better scenario for me,” he said. “I’m pretty lucky to be here.”

Stars re-sign towering d-man Oleksiak: one year, $875,000

Vancouver Canucks v Dallas Stars

Dallas has re-upped with one of the largest players in the league — 6-foot-7, 250-pound rearguard Jamie Oleksiak.

Oleksiak, 22, agreed to a one-year contract extension on Thursday, the club announced. The deal comes after Oleksiak split time between Dallas and AHL Texas last year, scoring eight points in 36 games for the Stars.

The club’s first-round pick (14th overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Oleksiak took a one-year pact for $875,000 (per the Dallas Morning News), opting for less term and slightly less money than fellow Stars d-men Patrik Nemeth and Jyrki Jokipakka took. In June, that pair signed matching two-year, $1.8 million deals with average annual cap hits of $900,000.

Though he’s still relatively young, Oleksiak is heading into something of a “prove it” campaign. He was picked ahead of some other noteworthy d-men in ’11 — like Nathan Beaulieu, Connor Murphy and Oscar Klefbom — and all three of them have played more games at the NHL level than Oleksiak.


Ex-B’s enforcer Robins retires: ‘No way I was ever going to risk getting hit in the head again’

Boston Bruins Vs. Philadelphia Flyers At TD Garden

Bobby Robins’ colorful career has come to an end.

This week, the longtime AHLer — who made headlines this year for making the Bruins out of training camp at age 32 — announced his retirement, after missing nearly all of last season to a concussion suffered in his NHL debut.

Now recovered, Robins said the decision to walk away was easy.

“Hockey is what I know. It’s what I do. But after getting my head banged up like that, it was — no pun intended — a no-brainer for me,’” Robins said, per the Providence Journal. “I couldn’t do it anymore. After the lowest points that I experienced, to where I am now, where I feel like myself again, there was no way I was ever going to risk getting hit in the head again or going through that again.”

Robins, who also moonlit as a blogger during his professional career, suffered a concussion in this fight with Flyers d-man Luke Schenn:

He later admitted he played through a concussion without notifying trainers or medical staff of his condition.

“After that first game, looking back, obviously I should have said something and sat out, but I would have literally played through anything at that point,” Robins told the Journal. “I was almost in denial, thinking it would go away, and it never did.

“I’m pretty sure it happened in the fight with Schenn. I kind of felt like I got my bell rung or got dinged in the head — in my line of work it happens more often than not. That’s just kind of how I felt. I got right on the plane (after the game) and went to Detroit thinking it would go away in the morning, like it always had. Then that morning when I woke up in Detroit, it was still there. I was like, oh man, but I would have played right to the death.”

Robins, now 33, appeared in one more game after that Detroit tilt — a 4-0 loss to Washington in which he fought again, this time against Michael Latta — and was demoted to AHL Providence shortly thereafter. He appeared in a few games for Providence, then sat out entirely after facing Worcester on Oct. 18.

Robins spent most of his time away dealing with headaches and vision problems, but is now over those symptoms.

“I’m back to my old self, finally,” he said. “[Wife] Sam and [daughter] Libby are very happy to have their husband and dad back.”