Red and Black Hockey
On Thursday, the Hurricanes trimmed their training camp roster to 24 by sending 12 players to Charlotte of the American League. The group of twelve includes Zach Boychuk, who was projected to make the final round of cuts. Instead it was former Oilers first round pick Riley Nash who has ended up as the thirteenth forward on the depth chart.
Although the league allows a roster of up to 23 players, Carolina will not carry more than 22. The final cuts will be from the blue line.
Boychuk played in 23 games for the big team last season and in 31 the season before that. He was expected to make the big team out of camp last fall, but Jeff Skinner exceeded everyone’s expectations and stole the roster spot from him. Boychuk would later say that he wasn’t as prepared as he should have been. He worked hard this summer and he arrived to training camp early, hoping to get up to speed and impress the coaches. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to impress the coaches. From what I’ve heard and read, he didn’t look good in any of the scrimmages or pre-season games.
Over the summer, the Carolina Hurricanes added a lot of pieces. By now, they’ve definitely shored up the blue line, and they even have a log jam. Barring a trade, no matter how well a certain 2011 first round draftee plays in camp, there just isn’t any space for defensemen. On the other side, there’s going to be plenty of competition for forward spots.
The way I see it, there are two forward positions up for grabs and the leading contenders are Zac Dalpe, Zach Boychuk, Chris Terry, Jerome Samson and Drayson Bowman. In that order. I’ve been asked whether I think Dalpe will make the Canes and how big of an impact he’s going to have. The first part of that question has a simple answer: without a doubt. The second part is anybody’s guess. My guess is that he’ll put up Chad LaRose-type numbers. Somewhere in the vicinity of 13 goals and 15 assists. If he plays on the right wing. As third line center, he won’t get those kinds of numbers, but I think he will if he’s allowed (asked?) to play right wing.
On Friday evening, the Hurricanes announced that they have come to terms with 2011 first round draft selection Ryan Murphy. The 18-year old defenseman, who was selected with the 12th overall pick this July, has become the second straight Kitchener Rangers player signed by the Hurricanes out of the Traverse City prospects tournament. Like Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner before him, he has signed a standard Entry Level two-way contract, but he isn’t old enough to play in the American League. He can be returned to Kitchener or he can play with the big team.
The particulars of the contract are pretty standard. Three years. $832,500 at the NHL level or $70k at the AHL level in all three seasons. He also gets a $277,500 signing bonus. Again, the American Hockey League requires North American players to be at least 20 (or turning 20) years old, but the NHL allows 18-year olds to play.
Murphy has a ton of offensive upside, and he finished last season with 79 (26/53) points in 63 regular season games with Kitchener. He also added 11 (2/9) in seven post-season games. Everyone who’s watched him play agrees that he’s a very exciting and very special player. He’s piled up a ton of awards along the way. He made the OHL first team all-rookie team in 2009-10. He was an OHL first-team all-star in 2010-11. He was named the best defenseman at the 2011 IIHF World U-18 Tournament. And now he’s put himself in a position to earn a roster spot on the big team. That’s a tremendous accomplishment for any 18-year old, but especially because he’s a defenseman.
The Carolina Hurricanes lost a family member in the tragic plane crash last week, which wiped out the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team. Josef Vasicek, who played 347 regular season games and 37 Stanley Cup playoff games with the Canes, was among the dead.
When the Hurricanes were a very bad team, he was playing his best hockey, leading the team in goals (19) and points (45) in the 2003-04 season. He always gave his best, and although he was scratched for most of the 2006 playoffs, he was there and he got his name etched on Lord Stanley’s Cup. He was never the most talented player, but he worked hard and he never complained His attitude on and off the ice endeared him to the fans and players.
Now, he’ll be honored by the team where he spent the bulk of his NHL career. Before the home opener on October 7, fans will be treated to a Josef Vasicek video tribute. There will also be a tribute to him in the players’ lounge. In addition, the players will wear a patch in his honor all season long. This presumably, will be similar to the patch players wore on their left shoulder in the 1999-2000 season to honor defenseman Steve Chiasson, who was killed in a car crash. That patch was simply a red 3 in a black circle. This will likely be a red 63 in a black circle.
On Wednesday, the Hurricanes made a depth signing by inking veteran defenseman Mathieu Roy to a one-year, two-way contract. He will most likely play in Charlotte, where he will make an AHL salary of $125k. At the NHL level, Roy’s salary would be $600k. He is guaranteed $150k.
Roy (WAH) was drafted by Edmonton in the seventh round of the 2003 draft. He has played in that organization, and also for the minor league teams of Columbus, Florida and Tampa. Last season, he played four games with the Bolts and 45 with their American League Norfolk Admirals.
It’s a horrible day in the neighborhood. It’s already been a brutal summer for hockey fans. Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak, known for their roles as enforcer, all died this summer. All had played as recently as the 2010-11 season. Today, there was a huge tragedy when the entire KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl were lost in a Russian plane crash. Two passengers survived the crash, which occurred shortly after takeoff. All but one Lokomotiv player died. The surviving player, Alexander Galimov, is in serious condition, with burns to over 80% of his body. This is, by far, “the darkest day in the history of our sport”, said Rene Fasel, president of the IIHF.
Today was opening day in the KHL. Only one game was on the docket, and it was in progress at the time of the crash. The league suspended the game and will postpone games scheduled for tomorrow.
Among the dead are several former NHL players. Closest to home, this list includes Josef Vasicek, who would have turned 31 on Monday. He played the majority of his career with the Hurricanes. The entire hockey-loving world is in shock, and I’d be a fool to suggest that this hits us any harder. While we mourn the loss of 43 people, we knew and loved Josef Vasicek, so we mourn especially for him.
Things have been slow around here. Not much hockey news. The players are slowly starting to come back to the City of Oaks, the new guys are showing their faces. The unofficial workouts, “Camp Rosey” are underway, and everyone was shocked (literally) yesterday when the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in NoVa was felt all the way down here.
Today, though, some longtime Canes fans got some sad news.
David Martin, better known as “Chopper Harrison” has, according to Canes beat writer Luke DeCock, passed away at the age of 59.
At this summer’s NHL Research, Development and Orientation camp, they’re testing out a bunch of things that might change our game. Every summer, dozens of things get tested and few ever make their way into the game. There are a few from this batch that RBH can stand behind, a few we hate, and some that we’d like to see in future RDO camps.
First, I’ll start with the things that aren’t being tested, but should be.
There isn’t much going on this summer, but Anthony Stewart, one of the newest Canes, is keeping us entertained. Between appearing on TSN’s “Off the Record” and his tweeting, I don’t know if he has time to do any training. He is, however, giving us Caniacs a good look at who he is off the ice. And in one of his recent appearances on OTR, he revealed a somewhat surprising outlook on race-based trash talking. If you don’t follow the Southeast division, you might not know that Anthony Stewart is black.
Yesterday, Stewart was part of a panel on OTR discussing the growing number of black players in the NHL and racial “chirping” on the ice. Here’s the video clip of it. The panel consisted of Stewart, Joel Ward, Wayne Simmonds, Kevin Weeks, Stewart’s dad and Weekes’ dad. They all agreed that what goes on in the locker room is one thing but on the ice is another. When Stewart was asked directly if “chirping” about a player’s race is off limits, he gave an answer that was a bit of a surprise:
After the Canes finished signing their own UFAs both at the NHL and AHL levels, things have gotten kind of slow around here. Yesterday, the Charlotte Checkers announced that goaltender John Muse has signed a two-way American League contract.
There’s really not much to see here.
Muse won two national championships (2008, 2010) with the Boston College Eagles. He played and was the clear #1 goalie all four seasons, and set school records for games played and saves. At BC, he played alongside Hurricanes 2009 second round draft pick, defenseman Brian Dumoulin. After completing his fourth season this past spring, Muse signed an amateur tryout contract with the Portland Pirates (then affiliated with Buffalo). He appeared in one game, earning a shootout win over the Albany Devils.
It’s pretty clear that Justin Peters is being demoted to Charlotte and that Mike Murphy has already established himself as the starter there. This leaves no room for Muse at the AHL level, so he’ll be shipped down to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.
About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.