Mike Halford


Dan Boyle says he got an ‘overwhelmingly positive’ response to ripping reporters


At Rangers’ clear-out day last week, veteran d-man Dan Boyle made quite the spectacle, demanding that the New York Post’s Larry Brooks and Brett Cyrgalis — who, unbeknownst to Boyle, wasn’t actually there — leave his interview scrum in a profanity-laced tirade.

Now, Boyle is addressing the incident.

There’s no apology coming for Brooks and/or Cyrgalis and, what’s more, Boyle insists players across the league are thanking him for doing what he did.

Some excerpts from Boyle’s Sunday appearance on SportsTalkNY.

(H/T to Yahoo for the transcript):

“Thank god for unlimited texting, because my phone has blown up in the last few days … and it’s been overwhelmingly positive in my favor.

“To rewind a little bit, of course Larry and Brett – or whatever – and there’s probably one more guy in there … I think over the course of the two years that I’ve been here I’ve never seen such negative covering of the game and negative destruction of individuals. So yes, I was upset about some of the stuff that was said about me, but more importantly, I felt like I needed to be a voice for my teammates.”

“And I can tell you that from teammates to ex-teammates to guys from other teams, that have come through here and have dealt with these individuals, it’s overwhelming how many ‘thank you’s’ I got for what I said and what they didn’t have the courage to say or couldn’t say.”

Brooks — whose reporting style has been described as “cantankerous” — has been on the Rangers beat for ages, so this isn’t his first rodeo. There were those infamous showdowns with John Tortorella, his torching of the Wade Redden contract and countless other incidents — so in terms of corroborating Boyle’s story, yeah, there are probably a few players out there with an axe to grind that loved what transpired.

Boyle, though, has some regrets.

He wishes he didn’t blow up in front of the rest of the media — “I would bet every dollar that I own that I have zero problems with 99.9 percent of them,” he said — and suggested his tirade probably should’ve happened behind closed doors.

But when it comes to his intended targets, Boyle has no remorse.

“I do not, for one second, take back what I said to Larry and Brett,” he explained. “I do not take that back for one second.”

Related: Here’s video of Dan Boyle’s profanity-laced rant

Columbus, armed with No. 3 pick, has ‘at least a hundred reports’ on Laine, Puljujarvi

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 26:  (l-r) John Davidson and Jarmo Kekäläinen of the Columbus Blue Jackets attend the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 26, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Everybody was talking about the two big winners from Saturday’s draft lottery — Toronto, which won the No. 1 pick and Winnipeg, which made the biggest move up and finished with the second overall selection.

There was a third team that had itself a good draft lottery, too. Columbus came into the night holding the No. 4 spot, with the possibility of dropping as low as No. 7.

So it came as welcome news when the Blue Jackets moved up one spot — to No. 3.

“It’s a good draft, and we moved up one spot,” Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said, per the Dispatch. “That’s much better than it could have been. Much better. It’s really good. We’re happy to move up, period.”

Getting into the top three was crucial because, as draftniks have espoused over the last few weeks, there’s a definitive upper echelon of this draft comprised of Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi.

All three are predicted to be impact players and in the NHL next season.

For Kekalainen and the Jackets, this is welcome news. Though the club would ideally like to land a quality young center — remember, Columbus dealt away Ryan Johansen in the Seth Jones deal — it is more than happy to add a talented winger.

Puljujarvi and/or Laine would compliment the club’s existing stable of young talent on the wings — Brandon Saad, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Sonny Milano, Kerby Rychel — and, possibly allow Kekalainen to address the lack of depth at center by trading one of his veteran forwards.

(Right now, Columbus is looking at Brandon Dubinsky, Boone Jenner and Alex Wenneberg down the middle.)

Whatever the case, though, this much is clear — Kekalainen is excited about the possibility of adding a fellow Finn to the organization. To say Columbus has done its homework on both Laine and Puljujarvi would be a big understatement, as Keklainen quipped Blue Jackets scouts have filed “at least a hundred reports on each of them.”

“They’ve been on the radar a long time,” he said.

Avs’ Hishon signs in KHL

DENVER, CO - MARCH 04:  Joey Hishon #38 of the Colorado Avalanche warms up prior to facing the Pittsburgh Penguins at Pepsi Center on March 4, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Joey Hishon, the 17th overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has left the Colorado organization to sign overseas with Finnish-based KHL team Jokerit, the club confirmed on Monday.

Hishon, 24, was taken by the Avs in ’10 but was plagued with concussion issues from the start of his time with the organization. He missed the entire 2011-12 campaign for OHL Owen Sound, and had his first professional season cut short (in 2013) when he suffered a second concussion playing for the Avs’ AHL affiliate.

Though he did recover to eventually suit up for Colorado — appearing in 13 regular-season and three playoff games — Hishon spent the majority of his career in the American League.

Those early health issues seemed to really set his development back, costing him the opportunity to grown alongside the club’s other draftees from that time (Matt Duchene was Colorado’s first-round pick in 2009; Gabriel Landeskog was the first-rounder in 2011.)

Hishon wasn’t the only NHLer opting to sign with Jokerit on Monday, either. Blueliner Rasmus Rissanen, who appeared in six games for Carolina last season, has also agreed to join the club.


Shanahan: Leafs earned No. 1 pick ‘the hard way’


It’s been 31 years since the Toronto Maple Leafs had the No. 1 overall pick at the draft.

And, to hear team president Brendan Shanahan explain it, getting back to that top spot wasn’t easy — on anybody.

“We earned this the hard way,” Shanahan told Sportsnet on Saturday, moments after winning the draft lottery. “It wasn’t a whole lot of fun this year, but our guys and our coaching staff and our management staff did a lot of really good things here in Toronto.

“This [the No. 1 overall pick] will certainly help.”

It’s easy to see why optimism is high within the organization.

The last time Toronto had the No. 1 pick it selected Wendel Clark, who went on to become a revered player. He played for the Leafs on three separate occasions, served as team captain and now works for the organization in a public relations and community ambassador role.

This year, the opportunity to make a similar impact is there.

Auston Matthews, viewed as the odds-on favorite to go first overall, possesses the elite-level talent that could turn a franchise around. And there are few teams in more need of a turn than Toronto — as Shanahan alluded to, this was a very difficult year, as the Leafs finished dead last in the standings and were the only NHL club not to crack the 30-win plateau.

Part of that was by design. The Leafs dealt away Phil Kessel prior to the season, Dion Phaneuf during it and jettisoned a host of other productive players: James Reimer, Roman Polak, Nick Spaling, Daniel Winnik and Shawn Matthias, to name a few.

By the end of the year, the Leafs were a mishmash of AHLers, spare parts and a few future pieces.

Speaking of the future…

Assuming the Leafs go the Matthews route, it’s expected he’ll make an immediate impact on the lineup. TSN already has him penciled in as the No. 2 center — playing the middle on a line with the club’s other top prospect, William Nylander — and Matthews’ head coach in Switzerland this season, Marc Crawford, used L.A. Kings star Anze Kopitar as a potential comparison.

Of course, there is a chance Matthews isn’t the pick.

Finnish sensation Patrick Laine has been making waves recently, thanks in large part to capturing SM-liiga playoff MVP honors this week. Laine has the kind of goalscoring ability and booming shot that would translate well — and, immediately — to the NHL level, though he is a winger.

Not a center, like Matthews.

Regardless of who the Leafs pick, this much is clear — they bottomed out this season with the intention of getting a high draft pick and, while the process was very painful at times, everything worked out in the end.

“When you have an opportunity to pick first overall, it’s an important moment for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it’s an important moment for our fans,” Shanahan explained. “Our ownership group has given us the support to do this build the right way.”

Marquette, Michigan is your Kraft Hockeyville 2016 winner


Huge congrats to the community of Marquette, MI and the Lakeview Arena — after an exciting voting process, Marquette has been named the winner of the Kraft Hockeyville 2016 competition.

As a result, Lakeview will receive $150,000 in arena upgrades, and will host an Oct. 4 preseason game broadcast on NBCSN between the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes.

More, from the NHL:

Marquette is rich in hockey heritage and Lakeview Arena stands as a pillar of the community, stimulating the local economy since it opened in 1973. Lakeview Arena’s semi-pro Marquette Iron Rangers signed the first female professional hockey player in North American history, Karen Koch.

Lakeview Arena will prioritize energy efficiency updates with the grand prize money in addition to other arena upgrades to ensure future generations of Marquette players are able to enjoy skating at Lakeview Arena for years to come.

“We’ve seen amazing participation across the country in Kraft Hockeyville USA’s second year,” said Nina Barton, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kraft Heinz. “This year’s contest led to millions of votes from passionate hockey fans, and we’re so proud America has chosen the spirited, well-deserving community of Marquette as Kraft Hockeyville USA 2016.”

Marquette was just one of more than a thousand communities across the country that submitted stories showing their hockey spirit and passion.

The runner-up, Rushmore Thunderdome of Rapid City, S.D., will receive $75,000 to use toward arena upgrades.

For more on this year’s Kraft Hockeyville competition, click here.