Mike Halford

Drouin benched for AHL game after missing team meeting


Another twist in the Jonathan Drouin situation.

On Wednesday, AHL Syracuse announced that Drouin would be held out of tonight’s game against Utica after he missed this morning’s pre-practice team meeting.

More, from Syracuse Hockey:

BriseBois is Tampa Bay assistant GM Julien BriseBois, who serves as Syracuse’s GM. He’s been a central figure in the Drouin saga, which began earlier this year when the former No. 3 overall pick had his trade demands made public — not long after being demoted to the American League.

What followed was a club-imposed suspension in mid-January, after Drouin failed to report for a Syracuse game. The 20-year-old sat out roughly six weeks as Bolts GM Steve Yzerman explored trade possibilities, only to eventually retain Drouin and lift his suspension in early March.

Drouin has been quite productive since returning to the Crunch lineup, scoring five goals and six points in six games.

That’s important, because Yzerman is on record saying the Lightning may recall Drouin in time for the playoffs, calling a return to the club “very realistic.”


‘Hawks indefinitely suspend prospect facing revenge porn charges

Chicago Blackhawks left wing Garret Ross (61) is congratulated by teammate Mark McNeill after scoring during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The Chicago Blackhawks have suspended AHL Rockford forward Garret Ross, after Ross was charged with one count of nonconsensual dissemination of a sexual image, also referred to as revenge porn.

More, from the club:

On Saturday afternoon, March 19, 2016, the Chicago Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs learned of a legal proceeding against IceHogs player Garret Ross.

At that time, we excused Garret from team activities pending our preliminary review of the matter.

After further review, we have determined to suspend Garret indefinitely pending the outcome of the legal process.

Because this is a pending legal proceeding, we will have no further comment at this time.

Ross, 23, was a fifth-round pick in 2012 and has spent the last three seasons with Rockford. On Tuesday, IceHogs head coach Ted Dent told WREX13 Ross had been excused from practice due to “personal reasons,” though WREX noted Ross had been removed from the team’s lineup over the weekend.

Per CSN Chicago, the charge Ross faces is a Class 4 felony, which could be punishable by up to three years in prison. Revenge porn became illegal in Illinois last year, and the new law took effect on June 1, 2015.

Agent: ‘No truth’ to rumor Matthews re-signs in Switzerland if he dislikes draft lottery winner

Pavel Zacha, Auston Matthews

We’ve got a new rumbling to pass your way.

And with it, an emphatic refute.

Apparently, there’s a rumor going around that Auston Matthews, the consensus No. 1 overall pick at this June’s draft, could potentially re-sign with his current club — Zurich, of the Swiss League — if he’s not happy with the NHL club that wins the draft lottery.

What makes this rumor especially juicy?

Well, all seven Canadian teams will be in this year’s lottery, thereby increasing the odds that Matthews — an Arizona native, and the latest USA Hockey prodigy — lands north of the border.

Unlike Patrick Kane, who landed in Chicago.

Or Jack Eichel, who landed in Buffalo.

Insert foreboding music here.

To put this rumor to bed, though, here’s TSN Insider (and noted Canadian) Bob McKenzie:

Like most internet/Twitter rumours, there isn’t a shred of substance to it. But it has nevertheless created some angst amongst the fan bases of the seven Canadians teams.

The big centre from Scottsdale, Ariz., wants to play in the NHL next season, wants to be the No. 1 pick in the draft and isn’t going to jeopardize either of those for the sake of geography or appearing petulant.

Matthews’ agent Pat Brisson totally dismissed the rumour with a “really?” and a laugh.

“No truth,” Brisson said.

Matthews has long been tied to the Coyotes, who would no doubt love to market a franchise-type player that grew up in their back yard. But Arizona’s surprisingly solid campaign has diminished its chances of winning the No. 1 overall pick — per TSN, the Coyotes’ chances currently sit at just six percent.

As such, Coyotes GM Don Maloney and the rest of the hockey world will have to sit and wait on the next chapter of the Auston Matthews story — one that’s expected to occur this spring, when Matthews will reportedly be named to the U.S. team for the 2016 Worlds in Russia.

Goalie nods: Slumping Isles turn to Berube to stop skid

New York Islanders goalie Jean-Francois Berube (30) misses the save on a goal scored by Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)
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Jean-Francois Berube‘s last outing was pretty good — stopping 33 of 34 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss to Pittsburgh — and with Thomas Greiss having lost three straight, tonight seems like as good a night as any to get Berube back in the mix.

So that’s exactly what the Isles will do, as Berube starts against the Senators.

Berube, now New York’s backup with Greiss having replaced injured starter Jaroslav Halak, will look to build upon the solid numbers he’s posted in an admittedly small sample size this season: 1-1-1, 2.52 GAA and .924 save percentage.

The former L.A. Kings farmhand has a pretty good matchup this evening, all things considered. Berube will face an Ottawa team that lost 4-2 to Washington last night, but will be up against Andrew Hammond — who, in his last outing, posted a 30-save shutout against the Canadiens.

If Berube can help the Isles secure two points tonight, the club will be just one back of Pittsburgh for third in the Metropolitan Division.


— It’s a quiet night on the schedule with just two games. At MSG (and on NBCSN), Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers while it appears likely Tuukka Rask is in goal for the Bruins.

Pens-Flyers outdoor game moved to primetime

Winter Classic Hockey

The NHL has bumped the 2017 Stadium Series game between Philly and Pittsburgh by a week, in order to get the coveted primetime evening setting.

More, from the league:

The Pittsburgh Penguins will play host to the Philadelphia Flyers outdoors at Heinz Field, home of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017 as part of the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, the National Hockey League (NHL) announced today.

The new date of the event allows for a night-time setting that will be broadcast in primetime on NBC in the United States and on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada at 8 p.m. ET.

This will mark the second outdoor game to be played at Heinz, following the 2011 Winter Classic between the Penguins and Capitals.

As the NHL notes, the ’17 Stadium Series game will mark the first time that the Keystone State Rivalry between Pittsburgh and Philly will be played at the home of the Steelers.