Author: Mike Halford

2015 Beanpot Tournament - Championship

Eichel becomes first freshman Hobey Baker finalist since Parise


The 10 finalists for this year’s Hobey Baker Memorial Award were announced on Thursday and, to nobody’s surprise, Boston University’s Jack Eichel was among the nominees.

Eichel, 18, is the first freshman finalist for the Hobey in 12 years — in 2003, Zach Parise received the honor while playing at North Dakota — and looks to be the odds-on favorite to win; Eichel leads the nation in scoring with 61 points in just 34 games, and his plus-42 rating leads the country as well.

Considered a lock as one of the first two picks at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Eichel could become the first freshman to win the Hobey since Paul Kariya did it for the University of Maine in 1993.

As for the rest of the field, it includes:

— Union College senior Daniel Ciampini, who sits second in the country in goals (26) and power-play goals (nine) and recently inked an AHL deal with San Jose.

— Matt Garbowsky, a senior forward at RIT who sits fourth in the country in scoring and has more faceoff wins than any player in Div. 1.

— Zach Hyman, a senior forward from Michigan that ranks fourth in the country in points-per-game (1.44). Hyman is a Florida Panthers draftee.

— Michigan Tech senior Tanner Kero, who won WCHA Player of the Year on the strength of 45 points in 38 games.

— University of Denver senior blueliner Joey LaLeggia, who captured NCHC Player of the Year honors and is a draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers.

— Zane McIntyre, a junior goalie from the University of North Dakota who this year became UND’s all-time leader in career GAA and save percentage. He led the country in wins this season, with 27.

— Mike Reilly, a junior d-man from Minnesota who sits tied for second in the nation in assists, with 36. The highly-touted Columbus draftee captured the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year and is being pursued to sign an entry-level deal with the Jackets.

— Jimmy Vesey, a junior forward from Harvard that led the country with 27 goals. Vesey is a third-round pick of Nashville and captured this year’s ECAC scoring title, with 53 points.

— Cody Wydo, a senior forward from Robert Morris who became the school’s all-time scoring leader this season.

From this list of ten, three finalists will be selected and the Hobey Baker banquet will be held on May. 28 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sharks sign NCAA sniper Ciampini to AHL deal

2014 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championships

San Jose has inked former Union College scoring sensation Daniel Ciampini to a professional tryout with its AHL affiliate in Worcester, per the Times Union.

Ciampini, 24, finished second in the NCAA this season in goals (26) and tied a Union record for most points in a season, with 50 in 36 games. During his time at school, the Dutchmen captured three ECAC titles and the 2014 Frozen Four.

In Worcester, Ciampini will be reunited with ex-Union goalie Troy Grosenick, who made his NHL debut with San Jose earlier this season, appearing in two games in mid-November.

Rangers say Lundqvist to return in 7-10 days, ‘probably closer to 10’

Henrik Lundqvist

Looks like we’ll have to tap the breaks on Henrik Lunqvist returning for next Tuesday’s Stanley Cup rematch against L.A.

Lundqvist, cleared to return to practice yesterday after missing over a month with a vascular injury, will probably need more than a week to get back up to speed and ready for game action, Rangers GM Glen Sather told

“Just because he was cleared doesn’t mean he’s ready to return,” Sather said. “I’d say a week to 10 days, probably closer to 10 days.”

Lundqvist, who suffered the injury in late January and hasn’t played since Feb. 2, will begin skating with teammates soon. But prior to getting cleared, a report from The Hockey News claimed the 33-year-old netminder was targeting a Mar. 24 return against the Kings — a rematch of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, which L.A. won in five games.

Now, it looks as though King Henrik’s return looks like it’ll happen closer to Mar. 28 — which is when the Blueshirts take on Boston at TD Garden.

WATCH LIVE: ‘Hawks at Rangers

Cam Talbot, Jonathan Toews
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Tonight, NBCSN has an awesome matchup pitting two original six teams — the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers — against one another at Madison Square Garden. You can catch the game on TV, or online using’s Live Extra.


Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

Goalie nods: Talbot gets another start for the Rangers, who aren’t surprised he’s been so good

Tavares says slumping Isles ‘just not good enough’ against ‘Hawks

Report: No further discipline for Shaw after headbutting Nelson

NHL on NBCSN: ‘Hawks seek revenge for Rangers’ OT win

Video: Toews not ready to start thinking about his legacy — yet


At the ripe ol’ age of 26 — to be fair, he turns 27 next month — Jonathan Toews has compiled himself a pretty nice resume.

Two Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals, a Conn Smythe and a Selke. He also became the youngest-ever Blackhawks captain, a position he’s held since 2008.  It’s the kind of career most NHLers can only dream of having have yet Toews, who only cracked the 500 games-played plateau this year, isn’t ready to start thinking about it in those terms.

He discusses that and more with NBC’s Pierre McGuire, ahead of tonight’s Rivalry Night matchup against the Rangers: