Anthony Duclair doesn’t want to go back to junior. Even if it means playing a much smaller role with the New York Rangers than he’d get with the Quebec Remparts. And, yes, even if it means the odd healthy scratch.
“I’d rather be here than in juniors playing first line, that’s for sure,” Duclair said today, per NHL.com.
“I think it’s better for me to stay up here. To be honest, it doesn’t matter if I’m not playing every game. Practicing with these type of players every day and being around a pro environment definitely will help me in the future. I think if I go back to junior I don’t have much to prove there anymore.”
The Rangers have already burned the first year of Duclair’s contract, so that’s not an issue. What is an issue, though, is the fact he’s been a healthy scratch the past three games, ever since that “unacceptable” loss to Edmonton.
But Duclair will be back in the lineup tonight versus Tampa Bay. Can he convince coach Alain Vigneault to keep him there?
“For myself, I have to make sure when I’m in there I have to make an impact,” he said.
Duclair has one goal and five assists in 12 games this season, but no points, and just two shots, in his last three outings.
Related: Rangers make trade, open spot for preseason star Duclair
Mirco Mueller played in five of San Jose’s first six games of the year, but will be a healthy scratch for the second straight time tonight when the Sharks host the Jackets.
For those wondering if Mueller, 19, will be sent back to junior prior to playing nine games at the NHL level, head coach Todd McLellan had a pretty blunt reply:
Mueller, San Jose’s first-round pick (18th overall) at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, is one of the club’s young cornerstones on defense thanks in part to his size — 6-foot-3, 205 pounds — and . He’s currently parked in the press box in the wake of a bad outing against the Rangers and, while the Sharks do have the option to send him back to WHL Everett, it sounds as though the club will stick with the “tomorrow team” philosophy and keep Mueller in the mix for the duration of the campaign.
San Jose Sharks associate coach Larry Robinson has been traveling with the team, but he might scale back his road trips as the season progresses. At the age of 63, the Hall of Fame defenseman is interested in slowly reducing his role as a coach.
“I’m just getting tired,” he admitted to the Bergen Record. “I still enjoy the game, but it’s not as much a passion maybe as it used to be. I still enjoy the hockey part and being on the ice with the guys.”
He wants to spend more time with his family too, which is one of the reasons he left the New Jersey Devils in the first place. His daughter and grandchildren live in the Los Angeles area, so he had hoped working for a team closer to them would allow him to visit more frequently. Unfortunately with the compacted schedules resulting from the lockout and then Olympics, things haven’t played out that way over the previous two campaigns. He’s hoping this season will be different.
Even if he cuts back on his duties as an associate coach though, he’ll still be contributing to San Jose in other ways. He accepted the title of director of player development when the Sharks retained his services for the 2014-15 campaign.
“I’m hoping to be able to spend a little more time going down to see our farm system,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of good, young kids down there and just seeing how they’re developing and who knows? Maybe even getting over to see a couple of our kids that are playing in junior as well.”
The idea is that he’ll mostly shed his duties as an associate coach in 2015-16 and instead focus primarily on the team’s player development.
He’s a nine-time Stanley Cup champion, with six of those victories coming as a player and another three as a coach.
Vancouver Canucks anthem singer Mark Donnelly was doing what he does best Friday night belting out O’Canada during a junior hockey game.
However, Donnelly added a slight twist to his routine, skating around the ice while singing. He was going fine until he failed to notice the red carpet rolled out for a pre-game ceremony.
Donnelly fell mid-anthem, but didn’t miss a beat despite struggling to get back to his feet.
Have a look:
I guess the players aren’t the only ones in preseason form at this time of the year.
BUFFALO — Connor McDavid will get a chance to show fans in Buffalo what he’s all about… Just not as a member of the Sabres. Not yet, anyway.
The Sabres announced they’ll be hosting an Ontario Hockey League game between McDavid’s Erie Otters and the Niagara Ice Dogs on October 22. McDavid was on hand at First Niagara Center for the announcement along with Otters GM Sherry Bassin as well as coach Kris Knoblauch.
“I’ve been to a couple Sabres games,” McDavid said. “I was here last year and it’s a pretty nice spot. The fans are crazy here – they’re great. I’m really excited to play here with my team.”
McDavid said it’s crossed his mind about what it might be like to play for the Sabres, but said his focus for now is on the season ahead with the Otters.
“Right now it’s all about getting back with the Erie Otters and having a good training camp, preseason, and a good start to the year,” McDavid said. “That’s what it’s all about and you’ve just got to worry about yourself. Then maybe when we get a little closer to the draft and the season’s over I think you start picturing which organization you’ll play with. But right now it’s all about having a good year.”
Both McDavid and Jack Eichel will have a chance to play in Buffalo this year. Eichel will be part of the USA All-American Prospects game in September. You can’t beat having both of the top prospects in next summer’s draft get a chance to see what it’s like to play in Buffalo when the Sabres could wind up with one of the top picks.