Monthly Archives: March 2018

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The New York Rangers were without assistant coach Lindy Ruff for the team’s Wednesday night game after he suffered a concussion during Tuesday’s practice.

Ruff was injured when he fell and hit his head on the ice. In addition to the concussion, the veteran coach had a large cut on the back of his head.

“We’re not sure if he stepped on a puck or a puck hit him, but he hit his head on the ice,” Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said. “We had to take him off the ice. He went to the hospital. He’s got a pretty big gash with some stitches in the back of his head. He’s been diagnosed with a concussion, so he’s going to be out for a couple of days. He should be back [Thursday] and fine. I talked to him [Tuesday] night. I talked to him again [Wednesday].

“He’s back to his perky self. He was just a little dazed yesterday. It was just an unfortunate accident.”

Ruff, a defensive assistant with the Rangers, had previously spent 15 years as the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres and four years as the Dallas Stars’ head coach.

The Rangers lost at the Washington Capitals 3-2 in overtime.

New York will return home for Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning before closing out the regular season on a four-game road trip.

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The Arizona Coyotes didn’t realize they had scored a goal against Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward on Thursday night. Then again, Ward had no idea, either.

In one of the most bizarre scoring sequences in NHL history, the puck became lodged in Ward’s right skate before he stuck his leg entirely inside the net to position himself to make a save. Play was stopped when the puck was clearly missing. A linesman came over and poked the puck from Ward’s skate.

The Coyotes were awarded a goal at 8:27 of the first period in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The sequence was reviewed by the NHL situation room, and a goal was awarded to the Coyotes.

“Upon review of the play, the puck is caught in the goaltender’s skate. His skate crosses the line completely. So we have a goal,” referee Dan O’Rourke announced.

Defenseman Alex Goligoski was credited with the unassisted goal, having sent the puck around the boards before it became wedged in Ward’s skate.

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Not missing a beat from his starring roles with the U.S. Olympic team and Harvard University, Ryan Donato had a goal and two assists Monday night in his NHL debut for the Boston Bruins, who fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-4, in overtime.

Donato’s slap shot at 14:19 of the second period tied the game at 1-1, as he one-timed a pass from Torey Krug.

Ryan Donato celebrates after assisting Riley Nash's goal.

Ryan Donato celebrates after assisting Riley Nash’s goal.

Donato then got his first career assist on Riley Nash’s power-play goal later in the second period, and added another on David Krejci’s third-period goal that tied the game at 4-4 just 20 seconds after Columbus had taken a lead.

“During warm-ups, it kind of felt like a dream,” said Donato, who played left wing on the No. 2 line alongside Krejci and right wing Danton Heinen. “I didn’t really get that warmed up because I was too focused on everything else and just kind of the whole situation.”
He had originally been penciled in for third-line duty, but when right wing Rick Nash was scratched with an upper-body injury, Donato was moved up to the second line and Anton Blidh was recalled from Providence.

“It was so much faster than what I’ve ever seen,” said Donato. “But at the end of the day, it’s something you can get used to. When you’re playing with great players like that, it’s something that will come along fast.”

Coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t pleased with the game result but had no complaints about Donato’s debut.

“What’s not to like tonight?” said Cassidy. “(He was) on the puck, making plays as advertised.”

Donato finished with six shots on goal and played 19:40, third most among Bruins forwards behind Brad Marchand and Riley Nash.

A 2014 second-round draft pick, Donato, 21, is from the Boston area and is the son of former Bruin and current Harvard coach Ted Donato, who didn’t score his first career goal until his second game with the Bruins.
Ryan Donato, who signed a two-year contract Sunday, tied for the lead in goals among all Olympians with five goals in five games and led Team USA with six points. Coincidentally, the Bruins honored US Olympians from New England before the game, with Donato taking part in a ceremonial puck drop.

As a junior, Donato led Harvard with 26 goals and 43 points in 29 games this past season and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s top player. He became available to sign after the Crimson were eliminated in the ECAC semifinals by Clarkson 5-4 in overtime Friday night.

Patrice Bergeron, out with a broken foot, said he remembers beginning his career playing with Ted Donato.

“Doesn’t make me feel any younger. When I was an 18-year-old coming in I was playing with his dad,” said Bergeron, 32. “That first year (Ryan) was skating in practice out there as a young kid. Now he’s in the locker room and he’s gonna be part of the team; it’s definitely different.
“Comes from a great family . . . his dad was so nice to me from training camp on. I felt pretty lucky to have great veterans like I did and I’ll try to do the same thing for them.”

The Bruins have been hit hard with injuries, with several forwards sidelined in addition to Nash and Bergeron, who was back on skates at Monday’s practice and could travel with the team on the upcoming road trip.

Jake DeBrusk has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury. David Backes took 18 stitches to his right leg after being hit by a skate blade Saturday night.

The Bruins, who are second in the Eastern Conference with 99 points, have also been missing rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy (knee injury) and captain Zdeno Chara (upper-body injury). Another defenseman, Adam McQuaid, left Monday’s game in the third period with an injury.

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with his second concussion in less than a year.

Okposo was hurt when he and Senators forward Bobby Ryan didn’t see each other and collided early in the second period of Buffalo’s 4-3 shootout victory at Ottawa on Thursday.
Coach Phil Housley on Friday said he was encouraged by how Okposo looked on the team’s flight home.

“Just seeing him last night, I thought he was in a good place,” Housley said. “Obviously there’s things that can happen down the road. But from my perspective, he was in good spirits, so that was a good sign.”

A head injury was an issue for Okposo last year when concussion-related symptoms nearly derailed his career. Okposo lost weight and had difficulty sleeping and spent a week in the hospital after sustaining a concussion during what he called a routine hit in practice.

The 11-year veteran is tied for third on the Sabres with 38 points (11 goals and 27 assists) in 65 games this season.

Center Ryan O’Reilly described seeing Okposo lying on the ice as “awful,” understanding what his teammate went through last year.
“You’re just praying that he’s OK,” O’Reilly said. “It’s tough. He’s been through a lot, and hopefully it’s a speedy recovery and he’s back soon.”

The injury is the latest to affect the Eastern Conference’s last-place team. Leading scorer Jack Eichel has missed nearly a month with a sprained right ankle.

The Sabres, who host Vegas on Saturday, filled Okposo’s roster spot by recalling forward Justin Bailey from their AHL affiliate in Rochester, New York.

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NEW YORK — The Rangers face an unfamiliar challenge after stockpiling picks for the June draft: maximizing a franchise-record 10 selections, including three in the first round.

Rebuilding means keeping options open for trades while also targeting players who best fit the team’s goals.

Assistant general manager Chris Drury says the team’s priorities are adding young, competitive players with speed and skill and “a premium on high character.”

“It’s one thing to have all these great picks … you have to be ready and be prepared to make the right picks,” Drury said.

The 10 picks are a high for the Rangers under the draft’s current format of seven rounds. The team also has nine picks in the 2019 draft, including a conditional first-round selection from Tampa Bay it received in a trade-deadline blockbuster for defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

New York also dealt Nick Holden and Rick Nash to Boston, plus Michael Grabner to New Jersey in four separate deals, bringing back eight players and six draft picks.

General manager Jeff Gorton said the picks give the Rangers flexibility and currency.

“We have to look at both scenarios,” he said when asked if he would be willing to trade picks for current NHL players.

“We’ll look at different positions and see what’s available. When you have three first-round picks and you’re on the draft floor, opportunity will be there,” Gorton said.

The playoffs and draft lottery will shape the value of the first-round selections. Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is the consensus pick among experts as the top overall draft pick this year, and New York’s other first-round picks will depend on how Boston and Tampa Bay perform in the playoffs. Both could be serious Stanley Cup contenders.

Team officials like the early returns, even for an organization that has been known to sacrifice its future for the present.

“Certainly a lot of energy moving forward to prep between now and getting to the stage in Dallas,” Drury said of the site of June’s draft.