The Will Sports Group

The RIG 28 for July & August

July 1

Predators Add Irwin Via a One-Year Contract
Nashville Predators

Nashville, Tenn. (July 1, 2016) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Friday that the club has signed defenseman Matt Irwin to a one-year contract worth $575,000 at the NHL level and $150,000 at the AHL level in 2016-17.

Irwin, 28 (11/29/87), spent the 2015-16 campaign with the Boston Bruins organization, appearing in two games for the parent club, while posting 30 points (5g-25a) in 64 AHL games for the Providence Bruins. Since playing his first professional games at the end of the 2009-10 season, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound native of Brentwood Bay, B.C., has amassed 50 points (16g-34a) in 155 NHL games with San Jose and Boston, and 118 points (27g-91a) in 245 AHL contests with Worcester and Providence. He was an AHL All-Star Classic participant in 2011-12 with the Worcester Sharks.

Never drafted, Irwin played two seasons at the University of Massachusetts from 2008-09, posting 42 points (14g-28a) in 67 NCAA games. Prior to jumping to the collegiate ranks, he spent three seasons with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, being named Coastal Conference Defenseman of the Year and to the league all-star game in both 2007 and 2008.

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RANGERS COME TO TERMS WITH ADAM CLENDENING
New York Rangers

New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with free agent defenseman Adam Clendening.

Clendening, 23, skated in 29 NHL games with Pittsburgh and Edmonton this past season, registering one goal and six assists for seven points, along with a plus-six rating and 20 penalty minutes. In 20 games with the Oilers in 2015-16, he recorded six points (one goal, five assists) and posted a plus-three rating. Clendening established single-game career-highs with two points (one goal, one assist) and a plus-four rating on March 24, 2016 at San Jose. He also skated in six games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL) in 2015-16, tallying three assists and posting a plus-four rating.

The 6-0, 190-pounder has skated in 50 career NHL games over parts of two seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16) with Chicago, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, and Edmonton, registering two goals and nine assists for 11 points, along with a plus-eight rating and 30 penalty minutes. Clendening has posted a plus/minus rating of even or better in 37 of his 50 career NHL games. He registered his first career NHL goal/point and posted a plus-two rating while making his NHL debut as a member of the Blackhawks on November 20, 2014 at Calgary.

Clendening has skated in 202 career AHL games over parts of four seasons (2012-13 – 2015-16), registering 23 goals and 103 assists for 126 points, along with a plus-27 rating and 179 penalty minutes. He was selected to the AHL First All-Star Team in 2013-14, as he established AHL career-highs in games played (74), goals (12), assists (47), and points (59) with the Rockford IceHogs. Clendening was selected to the AHL Second All-Star Team and played in the AHL All-Star Game during his first professional season in 2012-13, as he led AHL defensemen in assists (37) and ranked third among AHL defensemen in points (46). He became the first AHL defenseman to make a postseason All-Star Team in each of his first two pro seasons since 2000. In addition, Clendening registered eight points (three goals, five assists) and posted a plus-seven rating in 23 games during the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs while helping Utica advance to the Calder Cup Finals.

Prior to beginning his professional career, Clendening played two seasons of collegiate hockey at Boston University (2010-11 and 2011-12), registering 59 points (nine goals, 50 assists) in 77 games. He was named a Hockey East First Team All-Star in 2011-12 and was selected to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team in 2010-11.

Internationally, the Niagara Falls, New York, native has represented the United States in several tournaments. Clendening registered five points (one goal, four assists) and posted a plus-two rating in six games while representing the United States at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship. In addition, he helped the United States earn a gold medal at the IIHF U18 World Championship in both 2009 and 2010. He was selected to the tournament All-Star Team during the 2010 IIHF U18 World Championship, as he led defensemen in the tournament in points (10) and tied for first among defensemen in the tournament in goals (three) and assists (seven).

Clendening was selected by Chicago in the second round, 36th overall, of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

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Capitals sign Thomas
Washington Capitals

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have signed goaltender Joe Cannata, defenseman Darren Dietz and forward Christian Thomas to one-year, two-way deals, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

Thomas, 24, registered two assists in six games with the Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens in 2015-16. He was traded from Montreal to Arizona on Dec. 15 in exchange for Lucas Lessio. Thomas earned an assist on Dec. 1 against Columbus and tallied an assist on Dec. 5 at Carolina. The 5’9”, 175-pound forward scored his first NHL goal on Feb. 12, 2015 against Edmonton and made his NHL debut on Feb. 23, 2013 at Montreal. He has earned three points (one goal, two assists) in 27 career NHL games with the NY Rangers, Montreal and Arizona. Thomas was drafted by the Rangers in the second round, 40th overall, in the 2010 NHL Draft. The Toronto native recorded 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 34 AHL games with Springfield and St. John’s last season. He has earned 107 points (52 goals, 55 assists) in 219 career AHL games with Connecticut, Hamilton, St. John’s and Springfield.

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Almari at Penguins Development Camp

Ho-Sang at Islanders Camp

July 6

SETBACK DOESN’T DERAIL MITCHELL STEPHENS’ SEASON
Bryan Burns
Tampa Bay Lightning

The year was shaping up to the best of Mitchell Stephens’ young career.

After completing his second full season with Saginaw in the OHL, finishing as the Spirit’s second-leading scorer (22 goals, 26 assists), Stephens was picked with the 33rd overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who were coming off the franchise’s second-ever appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. A responsible, two-way centerman, Stephens drew comparisons to the Bolts’ Ryan Callahan on draft day from Tampa Bay director of amateur scouting Al Murray.

Through the first seven games of the 2015-16 season with Saginaw, Stephens scored five goals, including a hat trick in game No. 4 versus Guelph. But in the seventh game, Stephens blocked a shot during a tie game against London, the puck striking his foot and breaking it.

Stephens could tell immediately there was a problem.

He also didn’t want to come off the ice.

“I kept playing,” Stephens recalled following a morning workout session during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Development Camp at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum.

“Honestly, I couldn’t put any pressure on it. I thought there was something wrong with it. I could obviously feel it, but, in a 1-1 game, you’re not going to be able to come out of that.”

The comparisons to Callahan it would appear weren’t without merit.

“If you want to be a sustainable player, you’ve got to have that toughness, that drive to not give up even if you’re hurt,” Stephens said. “Going through that shows your mental toughness is a lot higher than some people who would cave. It’s a leadership aspect too. I think if you show the guys you’re hurt but battling through for them, it’s something that is a great quality in a person.”

Following the game, Stephens learned the extent of the damage, a promising third season in Saginaw derailed by the first significant injury of his hockey career.

“Obviously, I was pretty mad,” Stephens said. “I thought it was going to be a setback, but I was very fortunate to have a good training staff in Saginaw and that helped me for the first couple weeks to stay on top of the swelling and things like that. I ended up going home and working with Dr. Robin Valliquette in Toronto, and I trained in my home gym in Peterborough.”

Stephens missed a month-and-a-half of the season. Upon his return, he scored goals in consecutive games.

“You always want to be on the ice no matter what,” the Peterborough, Ontario native said. “It was hard watching my team play when you weren’t able to help them out. And credit to them for battling through that and helping me keep my spirits up when needed so when I came back I didn’t miss a beat.”

Despite the injury, Stephens’ trajectory continued to trend upward. He averaged nearly a point a game for Saginaw in 2015-16, scoring 20 goals and adding 18 assists in 39 games, ranking fifth on the Spirit for points, tied for fourth for goals and earning the team’s Most Valuable Player award despite missing 29 games. Not all of the missed games were due to injury, however. Stephens was selected for Canada’s National Junior Team and competed at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki in late December and early January.

Following the season in Saginaw, Stephens signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Tampa Bay. He was assigned to the Lightning’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse on an amateur tryout and played in the final five games for the Crunch, scoring his first professional goal in his second game versus the Toronto Marlies.

Stephens said the size of the players and speed of the game are the two biggest differences between juniors and the AHL.

“You have to use your body a lot more,” he said. “You have to skate through checks a lot harder. It’s more difficult to put up points for sure. It was a good experience for me. I went in with an open mind and was fortunate enough to play five games.”

At 19 years old, Stephens will have to return to Saginaw unless he makes the Lightning out of training camp. During his fourth season at the junior level, Stephens has just one goal: dominate.

“I’m going to be one of the older guys in the league,” he said. “I’m going to come in with an attitude that I want to be one of the top players in the league. You want to help your team succeed.

“To get better throughout the summer and to come into Tampa Bay camp in August and make a big impression is a main priority for me.”

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July 8

Decade of ‘Dogs – Andrew Agozzino
Niagara IceDogs

Another Thursday means another Decade of ‘Dogs article, and in honour of his newly signed contract with the St. Louis Blues, this week we’re taking a look at Andrew Agozzino.

Agozzino grew up in Kleinburg, Ontario and spent two seasons playing Minor Midget AAA, first with the Vaughn Kings of the GTHL, before spending the following season with the Mississauga IceDogs, also of the GTHL.

After a successful pair of seasons that saw him accumulate 88 goals and 181 points over 125 games, Agozzino was drafted in the 1st Round, 15th overall by the Mississauga IceDogs in the 2007 OHL Priority Selection Draft.

The Mississauga IceDogs relocated to Niagara shortly after the draft and Agozzino never played a game for the Mississauga franchise. In his first season with Niagara, Agozzino flourished, accounting for 12 goals and 22 points. He ended his debut season with a selection to Canada’s Ontario U17 team for the 2008 World U-17 Hockey Challenge. Agozzino made significant strides in his second season, and was invited to St. Louis’ development camp at the conclusion of his sophomore campaign.

With two seasons under his belt, and some NHL experience, Agozzino continued to improve his offensive output while also showing his leadership abilities. When Alex Pietrangelo was traded midseason, Agozzino was named replacement captain in his place and held this title for his remaining two and a half seasons in Niagara, making him the longest serving captain in franchise history. Agozzino finished his career in Niagara with 159 goals and 306 points over 318 games and still remains as the franchise all-time leader in points.

Agozzino joined the Lake Erie Monsters, who at the time were the affiliate team of the Colorado Avalanche, at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season on a one year AHL contract. He experienced quick success at the pro level and was invited to the AHL All-Star Game midway through his debut season. His strong campaign was then rewarded with a new two-year entry level contract with the Avalanche. After another strong season with the Monsters, Agozzino received his first NHL call up on November 21st, 2014 against the Carolina Hurricanes, recording his first career assist in the process. Agozzino continued to bounce between the NHL and AHL for the remainder of the season and would play 10 career games for the Avalanche, registering 3 assists.

At the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season, Agozzino would leave the Colorado organization as a free agent, and on July 1st, 2016, he signed a one year contract with the St. Louis Blues, joining former IceDogs Alex Pietrangelo, Alex Friesen and Vince Dunn. Agozzino spent five years with the Niagara IceDogs, and as the longest tenured captain in team history, he continues to represent the IceDogs in the only way he ever has, through excellence.

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July 11

Joshua Ho-Sang promises to answer Islanders’ call
Brian Compton
NHL.com

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — When the New York Islanders held a mini-camp for their prospects in June, forward Joshua Ho-Sang knew he wouldn’t be able to dodge questions from the media about what happened last fall.

Perhaps that’s why he didn’t wait for reporters to ask. He brought it up himself.

Ho-Sang, New York’s first-round pick (No. 28) in the 2014 NHL Draft, overslept on the first day of training camp last September and immediately was returned to Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League by Islanders general manager Garth Snow. Ho-Sang had another solid season at the junior level (82 points in 66 regular-season games and 26 points in 17 playoff games) but admitted he still hasn’t gotten over a gaffe that may have cost him a chance to at least start the 2015-16 season with the Islanders.

“It’s tough. I think about it every day,” Ho-Sang said. “In a lot of ways, it helped me, and in a lot ways, it was hard. It’s part of the reason why I grew up a little more and have come a long way from my mistakes.

“For me, it’s just about moving forward. I’m really excited to start the next chapter of my hockey career.”

With his junior career over, Ho-Sang is set to turn pro and likely will play this season with Bridgeport of the American Hockey League. He’s looking forward to being one step closer to achieving his dream of playing in the NHL.

“It’s really exciting,” Ho-Sang said. “To be able to start the next chapter in anything, it’s really a big moment. For me to be able to step up and play with some of the bigger boys and some guys that I’ve known and played against, it’s really exciting.”

The Islanders obviously weren’t happy with Ho-Sang at the time of the incident, but they are pleased with the way he has conducted himself since.

“He’s focused in,” Islanders director of player development Eric Cairns told NHL.com. “He took some steps this year towards being a more reliable guy off the ice, as well as on the ice. He’s a mature guy, but he also needs to keep on learning the steps to do the right things at all time, which is normal for a lot of different young men. It’s not the first time anything like that has happened, it’s not going to be the last. But he seems to be in as good a place as I’ve ever seen him.”

The Islanders took a risk two years ago when they traded up at the draft to select Ho-Sang, a player with remarkable skill but a reputation for being a “me-first” player (Ho-Sang continued to try and put that reputation to bed with 63 assists last season). Was it difficult for Islanders brass to give Ho-Sang a second chance after what happened last September?

“No. Not at all,” Cairns said. “We believe in the young man and enjoy talking to him and obviously watching him play. He’s a great player. It was not hard at all. Young men make different mistakes and that’s OK, just as long as you learn from them.”

Ho-Sang swears he has.

“If you’re not growing, you’re not living,” he said.

One of Ho-Sang’s main objectives when the Islanders open training camp this fall is to try and regain any respect he may have lost from members of the NHL roster when he failed to show up on time for the first on-ice session of the season.

“It’s an opportunity to start fresh,” Ho-Sang said. “I know I still have a lot to prove to the NHL guys. I want them to respect me and know that I’m not there to waste their time. I think that’s the biggest thing.

“I’m sure I left a bitter taste in some people’s mouths, especially the fans. I want to show them I’m here and I’m committed.”

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July 14

Devils’ Mike Cammalleri ‘finally over the hump’ with wrist injury
Chris Ryan
NJ.com

NEWARK – The second half of the 2015-16 season was frustrating for Mike Cammalleri.

He battled through a wrist injury, trying to push his way back, but setbacks kept him off the ice for the rest of the season after last appearing in a game for the Devils on Jan. 26.

Now midway through the summer, Cammalleri finally feels like he is in a good spot.

“I think I’m finally over the hump. It’s been an interesting summer, trying to get to the bottom of, the root of what was going on,” Cammalleri told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday. “And I think we’ve found some interesting things and worked on them. I’ve skated the past few weeks without any recourse, so we’re in good shape.”

Losing Cammalleri was a big blow for the Devils last season, as the team was in the playoff hunt prior to his injury. He was one of the team’s top producers, logging 38 points through 42 games before missing the rest of the year.

Cammalleri said he would have made the same push to get back regardless of the team’s spot in the standings, but other factors played into the complex injury.

“I kept trying to come back and I kept re-injuring it, so it was really frustrating. It was challenging for a lot of reasons,” he said. “All players hate to be injured, but I thought we had a pretty good start, first half of the season last year, and I got hurt, we were in position for a playoff spot.

“Not being a part of that for the second half was just really disappointing.”

Now Cammalleri’s focus is shifted to helping the team make a similar push this season, and when he does take the ice again, he’ll be doing it with some new faces around him.

With the addition of Taylor Hall, plus the rest of the Devils’ free-agent moves, Cammalleri can see the potential.

“It’s been an interesting offseason. There’s obviously been some transactions that are very buzzy,” Cammalleri said. “As a player, you’re seeing coaching and management do everything they can in a meaningful way to make the team better.”

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Canes Agree to Terms with Ryan Murphy
Ken Preston
Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Ryan Murphy on a two-year contract. The deal will pay Murphy $750,000 in 2016-17, and $825,000 in 2017-18.
“Ryan is still a young player at 23, and has shown he can contribute offensively from the blue line,” said Francis. “He has developed through our system and we look forward to seeing his game continue to grow.”

Murphy, 23, split the 2015-16 season between the Hurricanes and the team’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers. The Aurora, Ont., native earned 10 assists in 35 games with the Hurricanes, and scored seven goals and earned 17 assists (24 points) in 32 games with the Checkers. Murphy (5’11”, 185 lbs.) has totaled 35 points (6g, 29a) in 124 career NHL regular season games with the Hurricanes since making his debut in 2012-13, and has earned 63 points (10g, 53a) in 82 career AHL games with the Checkers. Carolina drafted Murphy in the first round, 12th overall, in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

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July 18

Goodrow looking for more NHL time after roller coaster sophomore season
Chris Dawson
BayToday.ca

Barclay Goodrow learned how tough it can be to keep a full-time job in the National Hockey League.

After being signed as a free agent by the San Jose Sharks in the spring of 2014, the former Battalion captain surprised many by making the NHL squad that year where he dressed for 60 games.

Well 2015-16 was a very different story. After spending most of the year in the American Hockey League Goodrow was called up as a “Black Ace” for the Sharks drive to the Stanley Cup finals, where they fell in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I was there for the third and fourth rounds, around the team, warmed up a couple games,” Goodrow told the NHL.com.

“Right when your team reaches the pinnacle of your sport and you’re not in the lineup, it kind of just motivates you to do whatever it takes to make sure that if you have that chance again, you’re going to be playing and helping the team.

“I just wanted to play. You dream of playing in the Stanley Cup Final. I was staying ready just in case something did happen and I was thrown in. It was a great experience to be a part of and just to see what the Stanley Cup Final was all about, but obviously I wish I was playing. That motivates me in the summer to become a better player to make sure I’m there the next time.”

Goodrow made the Sharks roster in 2015-16 but after only registering three assists in his first 12 games, the power forward was shipped to the club’s AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda.

Goodrow started on the top line but by the end of November he was slotted on the fourth line.

But soon Goodrow picked it up and finished with 39 points (20 goals, 19 assists) in 57 AHL games and was named an AHL All-Star.

Now he’s to secure the spot on the roster he lost last season.

“I think it was good for my game overall to spend time at the American League level to kind of just get my game where it needs to be, develop some things with more ice time at the American level,” Goodrow said.

“I think it was big for my confidence, and I did improve on some aspects of my game that I look forward to bringing to my game for this season coming up.”

Mike Ricci, the Sharks development coach, told the NHL.com that Goodrow needs to learn how to use his big 6’2” 215 pound body more effectively on the ice.

“Your legs and your body have to protect the puck, you have to keep it moving,” Ricci said about Goodrow to NHL.com.

“Everybody defends so well. He’s still a young player. He’s got a lot to learn, but he’s put the work in and I feel like he’s gotten better, and he’s still got some more work this summer. He’s made the strides I think we want.”

And if Goodrow makes those strides the chances are he will be wearing the Sharks jersey full-time next season.

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July 20

Beeton native, former ‘AAA’ Barrie Colt likened to Sharks star
Gene Pereira
Barrie Examiner

When an injury struck on the Barrie Colts ‘AAA’ minor midget team halfway through last season, forward Connor Corcoran moved back on the blue-line.

Corcoran had been a defenceman early on his minor hockey career, but had played forward since his switch to Barrie minor hockey.

For Colts minor midget head coach Norm McCauley, asking one of his players to switch positions and take up a spot on the point was all too familiar.

McCauley, a few years back, had asked the same of current San Jose Sharks star Brent Burns.

“He actually coached Burns when he was our age and he would always call me ‘Burns’,” Corcoran said, “which was kind of cool.”

Burns has developed into one of the NHL’s best defencemen, recording an impressive 55 goals and 183 points in 453 career games over 12 seasons.

Last year, the former Barrie minor hockey product scored 27 goals and recorded 75 points en route to leading the Sharks to a berth in the Stanley Cup final.

“I started watching Brent Burns a lot,” said the 15-year-old, who was the 21st-overall pick of the Windsor Spitfires in this year’s OHL Priority Selection. “He’s a good player offensively and defensively. He can do both, so I like to watch him and how he deals with his game.”

The idea of switching positions in one’s draft year might scare some, but Corcoran didn’t give it a second thought, knowing McCauley had guided Burns through the same process.

“It felt good having a coach that had the same (kind of player) and he kind of knew how to treat me,” added the Beeton native, who had 15 goals and 25 points in 70 games with minor-midget Colts last season.

You can say Corcoran’s adjustment to the blue-line has gone pretty darn well. The Spitfires aren’t the only hockey program he’s caught the attention of with his play on the ice.

Corcoran is one of more than 100 under-17 players invited to take part in Hockey Canada’s National Teams’ Summer Showcase July 26 to Aug. 6 in Calgary.

A strong showing at the development camp could help him land a spot with the national team at the World Hockey Challenge later this fall.

“It feels great,” the six-foot-one, 170-pound defenceman said of getting the invitation. “It’s something you always dreamed of, playing for Canada. Hopefully, I can play good down there and impress the scouts.”

Corcoran will have some familiar faces with him when he makes the trek to Calgary. Barrie midget goaltender Jacob Ingham and defenceman Dennis Busby also earned an invitations.

“We all stay in touch,” Corcoran said of his Barrie teammates. “We’re all working out with each other this summer.”

With arguably the biggest training camp of his young career around the corner, Corcoran has changed his training routine this offseason by hitting the gym more.

“I have to get bigger and stronger, at least that’s what (the Spitfires) are expecting,” he said. “I’ve changed that a bit and I’m also on the ice a lot just getting ready for Calgary. It’s been going good so far.”

Corcoran, who has already signed a player contract with the Spitfires, is determined to make the club out of training camp, especially with the opportunity to suit up for a Windsor team that will be playing host to this year’s Memorial Cup.

Still, it won’t be easy with several returnees on the blue-line and a club that is certain to load up on veterans as it makes a run at winning the CHL championship.

“I don’t know what to expect,” Corcoran said of training camp. “I know it’ going to be really tough, especially with the Memorial Cup. Everybody’s going to be going 100%. I’m going to have to really earn my spot.”

Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel knows there’s a steep learning curve for any young defenceman coming into the OHL.

“He’ll have to fight for his ice time,” Rychel told the Windsor Star of Corcoran. “It’s so hard for a 16-year-old to play in this league, especially on defence, and there’s only one that’s been a major factor for us early and that was (Nashville Predators) Ryan Ellis.

“I think (Corcoran) can contribute, but not like when he’s an 18- or 19-year-old,” the GM added.

Limiting the mistakes in his own end will be key if Corcoran wants to play a bigger role as a rookie, which is why his focus for now remains on the defensive side of things.

“I’m thinking I’m going to be sticking back there,” he said. “There’s a lot of things I still need to work on and I’m hoping I can learn those things throughout the year and become a better player.”

As for any future changes in position, Corcoran is happy patrolling the blue-line. He never minded the change then and feels the same now.

“No, I love it. I almost like it better,” he said. “I just like creating the plays back there. Kind of quarterbacking them, so it was a good change.”

Brent Burns would most certainly agree.

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July 21

Maple Leafs sign Josh Leivo to two-year deal
Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today the hockey club has signed forward Josh Leivo to a two-year contract.

Leivo, 23, has collected eight points (seven goals, one assist) in 28 career NHL games, including five goals in 12 games with the Maple Leafs in 2015-16. Last season with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, Leivo was chosen to play in the AHL All-Star Classic while registering 48 points (17 goals, 31 assists) in 51 regular season games. He also led all Marlies forwards with 12 playoff points (four goals, eight assists) in 15 post-season games.

Leivo was originally selected by Toronto in the third round (86th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

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July 23

Former Oshawa Generals player Andy Andreoff to be honoured in Pickering July 24
Pickering Examiner

PICKERING — Andy Andreoff will be back home in Pickering Sunday, July 24, and will have his Los Angeles Kings jersey put on display in the lobby of Don Beer Arena, where his hockey career was forged.

Former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Glenn Healy, whose jersey stands alone in the arena for now, will be the master of ceremonies for the event, which is open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m.

Andreoff played his AAA hockey with the Ajax/Pickering Raiders before being drafted by the Oshawa Generals, where he spent five seasons and put up 81-126-207 stats in 281 career games.

Since being selected by the Kings in the third round of the 2011 draft, Andreoff has played in 78 NHL games, including 60 this past season, when he scored eight goals, added two assists and had 76 penalty minutes.

Andreoff will be available for autographs.

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July 26

Jeremie Blain Chats About his New Contract with the AHL’s IceCaps
Brampton Beast

Having spent the majority of the 2015-16 season patrolling the blue line as a member of the Brampton Beast, defenseman Jeremie Blain certainly made a name for himself.

The 24-year-old defenseman from Longueuil, Quebec put up great numbers in his 34 games with the Montreal Canadiens’ ECHL affiliate, including two goals and 22 assists for 24 points.

He spent the latter half of the season in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves where he continued to shine, but it was his impressive stint with the Beast that caught the eye of a couple of difference-makers within the Canadiens organization.

“I guess (Canadiens’ assistant General Managers) Rick Dudley and Larry Carriere liked what they saw of me in Brampton this past season,” said a modest Blain.

His strong performance in Brampton led Blain to sign a contract to join the AHL affiliate of his favourite childhood team, the St. John’s IceCaps.

“I knew that on their end they liked the kind of player I was,” Blain added. “Over the last few weeks, my agent had been in contact with them they put a deal together and that’s how it happened.”

It should be no surprise that Blain grew up as a fan of the Montreal Canadiens. Growing up in Longueuil on the South Shore of Montreal, he was immersed in the culture and history of the bleu, blanc et rouge from an early age and Blain is excited to sign a contract that puts him one step closer to playing for his hometown team.

“It means a lot to me,” he said of playing with the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate. “It weighed a lot in my decision to taking that deal. I know everything will go well there. I can’t wait until October.”

Blain will have to wait a little while to take that next step and don an IceCaps jersey, as training camp is still over a month away. In the meantime, Blain is enjoying his offseason at home, counting down the days until the 2016-17 season begins.

“I’ve just been working out pretty hard on the ice and off the ice,” Blain said of his offseason groove. “Just getting into a good routine and trying to enjoy life. I’ve been playing a lot of basketball lately actually. I’m getting pretty good. Just enjoying Montreal and the weather and everything summer has to offer.”

Fans in Brampton may wish to believe that Blain’s new AHL contract will result in him spending some time with the Beast during this upcoming season, but Blain hopes and believes this is the year he truly makes a lasting impression at the AHL level.

“I’m at the point where I’m 24 years old and my main goal is to be in St. John’s for the year and have a good run there and make an impact,” Blain said with confidence. “(Playing in Brampton again) has crossed my mind but I’m focusing on sticking there and making an impression at camp and making an impact for a full season up there.”

That doesn’t mean that Blain doesn’t have fond memories of his time in Brampton. He is quick to credit the Beast coaching staff for helping him grow to the next stage of his hockey career and admits that Beast fans, players and staff will always have a place in his heart.

“Playing in Brampton, I got tons of confidence playing under (Beast Head Coach Colin) Chaulk and (Beast Assistant Coach) Peter Goulet,” he said. “From a personal standpoint, just playing with my brother Luc was unreal for my family and for him and I,” Jeremie said in reflecting on his year in Brampton.

“I thought the group of guys we had last season in Brampton was unreal. Lots of fun. I thought we had a much better team than our record showed. I had a great time as a member of the Beast.”

Beast President and General Manager Cary Kaplan was thrilled to hear that a Beast graduate has taken the next step in his hockey career and feels it bodes well for future Beast prospects graduating within the organization.

“It’s very exciting for us when the Montreal Canadiens recognize that Brampton Beast players can be significant players in their organization,” Kaplan said. “Montreal’s commitment to Jeremie Blain is great for Jeremie but it’s also a proud signing for the Brampton Beast.”

Blain admits it’s tantalizing to look ahead in his hockey career to see himself dressed as a member of the Canadiens or even remaining a member of the club’s AHL affiliate which is set to move to Laval, Quebec in his neck of the woods following the end of the upcoming 2016-17 season.

For now, Jeremie remains focused on the task at hand and is already counting down the days until Opening Day in St. John’s.

“Hopefully I can make an impression and we can go from there,” he said. “It will be pretty cool to close the book in St. John’s and see what’s up next for me and for them.

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Aug 6

Tyler Seguin expects to return for World Cup
Stephen Hunt
NHL.com

RICHARDSON, Texas — Tyler Seguin is ready to play competitive hockey again, and his first opportunity likely will come next month at the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

Seguin, 24, was second on the Dallas Stars with 73 points (33 goals, 40 assists) last season, but an Achilles injury and then a calf injury caused him to miss all but one game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“[I’m] doing well,” Seguin said Saturday at an appearance for the Stars Hockey Academy. “[It’s been a] bit of a different summer as far as training-wise just coming off an injury, but feeling great and looking forward to the World Cup.”

Seguin played in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round against the Minnesota Wild but didn’t play in the second round against the St. Louis Blues. He has been rehabbing since mid-May and feels ready for the first practice on Sept. 5 with Canada prior to the World Cup beginning in Toronto on Sept. 17.

Stars captain Jamie Benn, who signed an eight-year, $76 million contract extension on July 15, likely will join Seguin at the World Cup for Canada provided Benn’s recovery from offseason surgery to repair a core muscle issue goes as planned.

Seguin is entering his fourth season in Dallas after being traded from the Boston Bruins on July 4, 2013. He said his time with the Stars has gone quickly, but he has learned a lot, forged a strong friendship with Benn, and is looking forward to playing with him at the World Cup.

“Being selected for this stuff is always obviously an honor and cool to go yourself, but to share that with a teammate is something pretty special,” Seguin said. “Even something like the All-Star Game last year, going with him for the first time, it’s just something special you can share. I’m sure the World Cup’s going to be pretty great.”

Seguin said he spoke to Benn after his teammate signed his extension, and said he is happy the Stars captain was rewarded for his accomplishments, which include winning the League scoring title in 2014-15 with 87 points and finishing second to Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks (106) with an NHL career-high 89 (41 goals, 48 assists) last season.

“[I] just said, ‘Congrats and save some for the rest of us,'” Seguin said. “I think he’s deserved everything. I think he’s a great leader, a great teammate and obviously a great linemate, so I was definitely excited for him.”

Seguin was 12 when the last World Cup of Hockey was played in 2004, so he doesn’t remember much about it but has seen plenty of highlights. He knows what a great experience this tournament will be for fans and players alike.

“I don’t know if many people know what to expect yet or if even the players know what it’s going to be like, but I’m putting expectations pretty high,” Seguin said. “I think it’s the best of the best and going to be a great tournament.”

Once the World Cup ends, which could be as late as Oct. 1, Seguin knows he will have to quickly shift gears; the Stars open the regular season Oct. 13 against the Anaheim Ducks at American Airlines Center.

Unlike past offseasons, including when general manager Jim Nill acquired Seguin in 2013, veteran center Jason Spezza in 2014 and forward Patrick Sharp in 2015, it has been a relatively quiet summer in Dallas, although veteran defenseman Dan Hamhuis was signed as a free agent

With a strong returning core, Seguin likes the Stars’ chances this season after finishing as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference last season.

“[It’s a] young man’s game now,” Seguin said. “I’m starting to feel a little bit old turning 25 with all of these changes, but I think our team has been great the last couple years. Our window really just opened, so that part’s exciting. Getting a veteran guy like [Dan] Hamhuis, it makes you even more excited for the season to start.”

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Aug 25

Tyler Seguin building on experience in hunt for second Stanley Cup ring
Chris O’Leary
Toronto Star

Tyler Seguin knows more than most 24-year-olds just how deceptive a window in sports can be.

He won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins as a rookie in 2011, and it looked like the team would stay on top for years to come with their young talent.

Two years later, he was a Dallas Star and today, the core of that Bruins team is fading into hockey’s ether, the Stanley Cup window firmly slammed shut.

He was a part of Stars team that won 50 games and had 109 points last season. He was the team’s second-leading scorer, with 73 points. An Achilles and calf injury kept him out of all but one playoff game in the spring as the Stars fell to the St. Louis Blues in a seven-game, second-round series.

Feeling fully healthy now, Seguin looks at what’s still a couple of months away. He’s a key part of a young, talented team and he sees the opportunity in front of it.

“I feel like our window has just opened now,” Seguin said Wednesday at the Biosteel camp. “I’m looking forward to a big season in Dallas.”

Bowing out as the top seed in the Western Conference hurt, especially for the injured Seguin, but he looks at it as a part of the Stars’ journey.

“I think a lot of it has to do with experience and getting that taste in your mouth of winning a playoff round, playoff game, of losing a playoff game and a playoff round and getting closer. Knowing what that feels like and knowing what that atmosphere is like,” he said.

“Our goal all along is to make playoffs this season and place ourselves properly to win a championship and I think we’ve got that taste in our mouths. I think that drove all the guys through the off-season and I’ve definitely felt that.”

Before he can begin the hunt for his second Stanley Cup, the Brampton native will suit up for Canada at next month’s World Cup of Hockey. Sharing the ice this week with Edmonton Oilers phenom Connor McDavid gave him an up-close glimpse of what teams could face from the North American team at the tournament, featuring Canadians and Americans under 23 years old.

“I think they’re the one team that I’m most interested to see,” said Seguin, who represented Canada last year at the 2015 world championship, winning gold.

“I’m six or eight months away from playing on that team but that’s the team that doesn’t have a lot of pressure and has a little swagger and a little bit of a chip on their shoulder.”

Seguin will take part in the tournament without his teammate and Stars captain, Jamie Benn. The 27-year-old is recovering from surgery to repair a core muscle injury. He should be ready for the Stars’ training camp, but had to opt out of the tournament. Benn was replaced on Team Canada by San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture.

“I know how much of an honour and how proud he is to wear his country’s colours and obviously going to the Olympics (in 2014) and I also know how committed he is to Dallas. That decision was a tough decision for him but I think he’ll be 100 per cent ready to go for the season.”

As for his own health issues, Seguin said he’s felt fully healed for the last “couple of weeks or so.”

“The thing I had with this injury and the injury I had last season was that it was frustrating because no one could give me a timeline,” he said. “No one had experienced it or could say what was going to happen or how it was going to go. Now I’m feeling 100 per cent and that’s exciting.”

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Aug 27

Josh Ho-Sang is wide awake
Luke Fox
Sportsnet

TORONTO — Josh Ho-Sang was late for the first day of New York Islanders training camp last fall and was told not to bother coming at all. General manager Garth Snow, who drafted the gifted prospect 28th overall in 2014, kicked him back to the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs.

Since then, not a day has gone by that the right wing with an eye-popping dangle for every disapproving word said about him hasn’t thought about his mistake.

Today, the 20-year-old Ho-Sang says the snap demotion was the best thing that could have happened to him.

He woke up.

Trainer Matt Nichol, who runs BioSteel Camp, has been working with the prospect this summer at St. Mike’s College Arena in Toronto. He’s noticed a significant change in Ho-Sang’s attitude heading into 2016-17.

“I’m sure all the people who sit at home and criticize other people, if they were reflective and they thought about themselves as young guys, everybody would like a do-over on a few things. I’m no exception to that,” Nichol says. “Josh has been exceptional this summer. He’s never been less than 10 minutes early for a workout. He works hard. He stays late. He does extra—everything asked of him and more. He’s shown a keen and honest desire to be the best he can be.”

Joining Nichol in Ho-Sang’s corner are NHL superstars Tyler Seguin and Connor McDavid. No one wants to see such talent go to waste.

During a lengthy rinkside conversation with us this week, Ho-Sang spoke about those friendships, a wake-up call that rang all year long, and how his love of hockey is different than yours. Oh, and outer space. We talked about space, too.

SPORTSNET.CA: This is your third year at BioSteel Camp. Why do you keep coming back?

JOSH HO-SANG: You see the calibre of players here: Connor McDavid, Tyler Seguin, Michael Del Zotto, Mike Cammalleri, Joel Ward. You saw him in the playoffs last year—the guy was on fire. All those guys keep coming back, so why shouldn’t I? It’s nice to be around them; the competition’s fun. I’ve been around a lot of the younger guys since I was, like, 10. Max [Domi] and Jordan [Subban]. Being able to see them. Connor and I used to be really good friends, and this is the only time I see him all year. It’s nice to see him. I talk to him a lot about the NHL season he had last year and things I can take from it. I feel comfortable asking him questions. I found that when we played together, we do a lot of things similar. He thinks the game the way I do, but faster obviously. What he’s learned can be beneficial to me. I want to be as good as him or better.

Does he know that?

I’m sure he does. But it’s not just Connor. Tyler Seguin—I talk to him, ask him questions. It comes from a place of wanting to learn, to take what they know and become more effective. I’m picking apart the mind of one of the best goal scorers in the world.

Is this on-ice or off-ice knowledge you’re seeking?

It’s all on the ice. There’s a lot of off-ice stuff I’ll have to learn on my own. I’ll ask Tyler how he scores so much. You see some of the goals he scores, they’re unorthodox. Like, Tyler will score from the goal line or the bottom of the circle, or he’ll rip a one-timer from a weird angle. He has the confidence to shoot from there because that’s something he practices.

For Connor, take the end-to-end goal he scored last year. It’s a beauty, but I don’t just see the speed. I see all the little things that he’s thinking about as he goes up the ice. It’s not easy to go end to end, and it’s not easy to beat three guys. He saw something in that play. He’ll have three or four dashes a game where he goes through a bunch of guys. I ask what he’s thinking about while he’s doing it.

What does he see?

I’m not going to give away the man’s secrets.

But he’s happy to share the secrets with you.

I really appreciate it. Connor is really nice. Anybody who gets a chance to talk to him can see he’s an exceptional young man. I’ve known Connor since he was about 13. Seeing him develop into the person he is now, it’s great. I have no fear asking him for help. I don’t care that he’s younger than me. He’s done things I’ve never done. I’ve never gone No. 1 overall. I’ve never averaged two points a game in the NHL.

Not yet.

I’m not there yet. I’ve been here pretty much the whole summer, and Tyler has been like a big brother to me. He picks on me: ‘Josh, pass the puck harder. Josh, why aren’t you shooting?’ We’ll be doing exercises and he’ll pull my shoulders back—’Make it harder!’— and it makes it 100 times harder. Little stuff like that, money can’t buy. I see Tyler getting flak from other people.

And you’ve gotten flak.

Yeah, but to me he’s been the nicest guy. He’s definitely made me better. Anything I go on to do this year, I can 100 per cent attribute to Tyler and the way he’s treated me since I’ve been here. Even when everything happened last year, he said, “What are you thinking?”

He called you or texted you?

We have the same agent. He didn’t want to come at me, but he passed messages through my agent, and my agent would show me the texts. He’s really treated me special. It seems like he tries to help everyone around him. Seeing that side of Tyler, it makes me laugh. It reminds me: People don’t know what’s really going on. People don’t really know how someone is. And it’s every day. He says hi. He corrects me on stuff I’m doing wrong. If he’s making fun of me or egging me on to be better, I like it.

I come to camp for the way Matt Nichol treats me. He’s a kind heart. I’ve known Matty for my entire life. This is the first summer I’ve worked out with Matty in a couple years, and he took me back with open arms. You want to give back to all the people who’ve been around through all the stupid stuff.

The stupid stuff: I read that you think about the sleep-in every day. Is that still true?

I never cared too much about the concept of time, but that had nothing to do with why I was late for camp. [In 2014] I wasn’t late to a single thing. My second year… it was a shitty situation. There’s no reason to talk about it. In junior, I’m not afraid to admit it: I had issues. 5:30 meeting? I might show up at 5:31. Report to the rink at 5 o’clock? I might get there at 5:05.

Did they care?

Yeah, they did. It was, like, once in a while. It happened maybe four or five times a year.

And other players were probably late occasionally, too.

Yeah, but it gets tedious. In junior I was the example. In New York I was the example. Last fall I felt l started a bad trend. [Alex] Ovechkin was late two weeks later. [Jonathan] Drouin was late three weeks later. Oh, God. I’m sorry, guys. I really felt like I cracked the top off that one.

And every time someone was late, I’d get a text message: “Too bad you’re not Ovechkin!” “Too bad you’re not Drouin!” It’s tough, right? But getting sent back was the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

Why? Because you could develop in junior further, or the Islanders’ message shook you up?

All of it. One thing people often mistake in life is when they get sent back to do something they’re not keen on, they stop learning because they think they’re past it. I really came back to learn: I’m not in the NHL this year. I want to be in the NHL next year. I have to get better where I am right now. How do I do that? So I’d stay at the rink longer. I’d stretch more. I created a routine. I talked to more people. Before I was introverted about my game: I play this way. I wouldn’t ask anyone why I had a bad game. I’d just go home pissed and wouldn’t do shit. Going back to junior, I became more open about that stuff. Some of my really bad habits, which I’m not going to talk about, I stopped all of them.

You’re talking about bad habits away from the rink.

Yeah. I know if I played in the NHL last year I wouldn’t have changed those things. Those would’ve stuck with me for life. I would’ve been an NHL player who did that stuff. Now, I listen to my body every day and do something. I stretch. Before, if I felt like shit, I felt like shit. That change is attributed to being sent back. It sucked at the time. The reason I think about it every day is, every time I get up, I’m like, f***. Because if I’m late, then people are saying, “Josh is late.” I don’t care about being late in the grand scheme of things, like for a family event or meeting friends. I’m five minutes late—suck it up, bro. [laughs] But for this [hockey] stuff… like, I was the first one here today. Before 7 o’clock.

I heard another player was late today.

Yeah, he’s stealing plays out of my book. I’m asking him questions, and he’s asking me the wrong ones. [laughs]

Your assist totals skyrocketed to 63 in 66 games, and another 20 in 17 playoff games. Was that a focus of yours?

It sounds weird, but I wasn’t too focused on scoring last year in junior. In the playoffs I cared about scoring. I scored, like, 10 goals, which is a lot compared to the season [19 in 66 games]. If I’d put those numbers up in the season, I probably would’ve scored 40 goals. I love hockey. It’s fun. That’s the struggle. Sometimes I have too much fun playing hockey, and it’s not the way they want to see me play.

In the shootout you dream up some ridiculous moves, and creativity is part of the game too.

It’s part of the game for fans but not for coaches. If I beat four guys and it looks amazing, I’m really happy about it, trust me. Inside I’m like: Oh! I just did that. That’s so cool! If I lose the puck to the fifth guy, yeah, I’m pissed about it, but I guarantee you I’m not as pissed as my coaches. That’s the problem. This year it was boring. I was changing my game into the game I need to play. I know I can play the other way. So it was kinda fun figuring it out. During the playoffs I was doing more skill stuff, the game I like. But during the season I was driving the net. I hate that, but I started doing it more. Standing in front of the net when the D has the puck. Hate it. Backchecking.

Why do you hate that stuff?

It’s not fun! But I finally got to the point where I decided this is what I want to do with my life. I had to switch my game up, and that’s what I’ve done. And I’ll keep doing that. If I lead the NHL in scoring one day, I’ll change my game the next year. The moment you stop getting better, you start getting worse. That’s a quote I’ve heard many times. Mike Cammalleri is a very powerful voice in the gym. He talks about that all the time.

The Islanders let some older forwards walk this off-season. Does this give you a greater opportunity to make it? What’s been the message from management?

I don’t know. Right now I’m like the girlfriend who cheated on them. I’ve got to earn their trust back. Like, “I promise. I won’t do it again.” [laughs] I feel I have to do that every day. Keep getting better. Keep showing them what I’m willing to do. There’s no day off. There’s not a practice I leave early. There’s not an optional skate I don’t skate at. It’s optional, but not for me.

You’re walking into camp feeling like you already have two strikes.

Oh, yeah. I’m at the plate with a full count, and that’s OK. I don’t mind that. I put myself in this situation. It has nothing to do with them. I would feel the same way if I was in their shoes. I’m sure there’s a lot of guys that would love to put me on the team but they’re thinking, “Is he gonna backcheck? Is he gonna show up on time?” Those are the questions you don’t want attached to your name, so it’s about cleaning that up. Every other player has a little more space than me, but they’ll all go through the same thing. I’m under the microscope.

So it’s good this happened early.

For all I know, I could’ve played in the NHL last year and four years from now no team would want to touch me because of all the stupid shit I did in my first year. That happens. I don’t want to speak on anyone’s stories, but you look at a guy like Evander Kane who’s bounced around and struggled to stay in one spot. He deals with a lot of problems; a lot of people talk shit about him. I don’t know if that’s rightfully so. I have no idea. I wish him the best. But I don’t want that.

Do you know him?

No, I don’t. Even a guy like P.K. [Subban]. He took a lot of shit in Montreal about how he was in the locker room and on the ice, but I don’t know [if it was warranted]. I don’t want that. It’s about staying away from that stuff.

Getting sent back, I got to go to the [OHL] finals with my friends. I know what it takes to win now. In my head, winning was just having the best team. I played on the Marlies when I was 15. It was me, Connor, Sam Bennett and Roland McKeown and three other first-rounders in the OHL draft. We won because we were better than everyone. This year we won because we loved each other. Now I know what it’s like to be part of a team as opposed to being The Guy, being the leading scorer. It wasn’t about that in the playoffs. I didn’t care; I don’t care.

If I go into New York next year and I put up four points and we go to the third round of the playoffs, I’ll feel like I contributed. I helped make that team better, no matter what line I’m on. That’s the way every player should feel. First line or fourth line—you’re doing something to get your team farther. I understand that now more than ever.

When I was younger, I always wanted to score. Who doesn’t? I wanted to put up points and be The Man. If that comes, great, but I don’t care about it.

So you’re fully confident you’ll make the team this fall?

I believe I have the ability to make the team. I have to play well, and it’s not easy, man. My version of playing well and their version of playing well could be two different sides of the spectrum. I’ve got to understand what the coaches want from me, what they expect. I’m going to push myself to play my game and do everything they said. Figure out my strengths and weaknesses and evolve from there. I skate with these guys all the time, fully aware they’re stronger than me. So I’ve got to be smarter.

After they sent you away, did the Islanders stay in contact with you during the season?

They didn’t talk to me all year, not until playoffs. They watched me play all year; they just wouldn’t tell me. They told my coach not to tell me. Shady, shady business. [laughs]

Why would they not tell you?

Honestly, I don’t want to speculate. It’s good. I went to rookie camp [in late June] and led rookie camp in points. I’ve done that the past three years, and that’s all the prospects. If I have to play in the AHL this year, I’ll come back the next year and do it again. That’s fine. Play better—that’s all I can do. If they want me to play in the AHL to work on my game, OK. What am I going to do? I’m not going to whine and complain. Just get better.

Until it’s undeniable.

Until it’s undeniable. If I get in at the beginning of the year, and I play unreal, I’ll be the happiest kid in the world. Nothing more, nothing less. I looooove hockey. I love to play for the big crowds. Gets me so fired up. I probably love it more than most, and for different reasons.

What does that mean?

Certain guys play hockey just because it’s their life. I don’t play hockey because it’s my life. I play hockey because it’s fun.

What would you do if you weren’t playing?

Probably be an astronaut. I want to go to space real bad. Like, real bad.

Have you investigated that?

If I play in the NHL, I’ll have enough money to go to space. Reach for the stars, literally.

Where would you go? The moon?

Wherever we can go by the time I’m ready to go into space. If there’s a space tour, that’d be unreal. Go to Mars, check out the moon. It’d be interesting, too, because I’m kinda claustrophobic, but I’ll get over it. I’ll do it. I’ll probably go insane. I read a lot of space books. I read The Martian before the movie came out because I was so excited to see the movie and couldn’t wait. I like space. Space is cool.

What else?

I’d probably travel, too. But I can’t do that if I don’t play hockey. I like hockey. I like helping people, too. The way I’m saying it, it might come across like hockey’s a hobby. But you know how there’s people who do yoga, people who drink alcohol? Hockey’s my yoga. Hockey’s my alcohol. I love it. I need it. It’s my fix, my clarity. When I’m on the ice, I don’t think about anything. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in my life: I play hockey, and everything’s great. I’m happy. I could be on the bench thinking about anything else, but the moment my foot hits the ice I’m a shark. Like when a shark smells blood—that clarity and excitement.

And you’re getting better.

Getting better is something to do. A lot of people say they don’t have time or they’re bored. Do something with your life. If I’m bored, I shoot pucks. I’ll do it in my driveway. Stickhandle. I used to sit at home and play video games. I’m really good at FIFA, Division 1. Put that in there, too. Any other questions?

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