Rupert twins turn full focus on London Knights and hockey
The twins are on the loose.
London Knights brothers Ryan and Matt Rupert are done their studies at Saunders Secondary School.
“It felt good,” said Matt — through a toothless grin — referring to the completion of his last exam on Tuesday. “School is not my favourite thing to do, so it’s a really happy day for me.”
The scrappy pair from Grand Bend doesn’t plan on pursuing post-secondary education in the near future. Which means more time to dedicate to fulfilling their gritty roles on the 39-9-1-2 Knights.
Ryan was sidelined this past weekend after the Ontario Hockey League handed him a three-game suspension for verbal abuse of an official. Matt picked up the family slack, however, scoring a couple, including the game-winner in a 3-2 victory in Kingston on Sunday.
The Knights demolished the Ottawa 67’s, 11-1, in the opening game of its three-game eastern swing, but dropped a 3-1 decision to the Belleville Bulls on Saturday.
“Sitting in the stands is tough, but two out of three we will take,” said Ryan, a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick. “Our work ethic and play wasn’t where we want it to be, so we’ll fix that up this week.”
The last two times London has been on the positive side of a blowout — a 10-5 win over Ottawa on Jan. 11, and the whooping of the same team last Thursday — they’ve stumbled the next time out. This includes the loss to Belleville, a game in which the squad mustered a mere 23 shots on Malcolm Subban.
“Realistically, we’re in first so it would be easy to coast. But, we want to turn it around,” said Matt of the club’s mediocre 3-4 record since the trade deadline. “We had a bad January, so we want to start pumping it up before playoffs.”
London got 15 goals from eight players in three games last week. Now at 208, the Knights are the first team to hit the 200-goal plateau this season.
Unlike the beginning of the year, they’ve been getting plenty of production from its secondary scoring lines lately. The truculent Ruperts are a huge part of that, having recorded 15 (Ryan) and 12 (Matt) points each in their last 10 times in the lineup.
Olli Jokinen’s First Goal with the Jets
Seguin scores twice in Shootout
Galchenyuk, Gallagher bring promise, excitement to Canadiens (Larionov)
The Hockey News
MONTREAL – When Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk both cracked the roster of the Montreal Canadiens this season, it presented the players with an intriguing problem. NHLers will never be accused of being hyper creative in nicknaming their teammates, so having two players nicknamed ‘Gally’ created a vexing dilemma.
Luckily, they were able to work it out without any gunplay or hard feelings. The way Gallagher sees it, he’s the older guy so he has proprietorial rights to the moniker.
“I’ve kind of self-proclaimed that I’m taking it already,” Gallagher said, “and (Galchenyuk) has accepted it and he’s going to take ‘Chuckie’. It was very nice of him to accept that and he didn’t put up a fight, so I appreciate that.”
After just five games, the ‘Gally and Chuckie Show’ is playing to rave reviews in Montreal, no more so than Tuesday night when Gallagher was named first star and Galchenyuk second star in the Canadiens 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. With a combined age of 38, they’re one year older than veteran defenseman Francis Bouillon. Galchenyuk is so young that he’s the only player in Canadiens history since they won their first Stanley Cup in 1916 to not have been alive for a single Canadiens championship. After the game against the Jets, Galchenyuk headed to the team bus for the trip to Ottawa with nothing but a Nike knapsack on his back. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think he was a kid from McGill or Concordia going to Sociology 101.
But that youth of both players has been vital in injecting some real energy in the Canadiens lineup, to go along with a high modicum of skill.
After a game in which Gallagher scored his second goal of the year on a shot that no goalie in the league could have stopped, he was standing in the Canadiens dressing room directly under a photograph of Hall of Famer Steve Shutt. The irony was inescapable, at least to these eyes. You watch how quickly Gallagher gets the puck off his stick and it looks an awful lot like the way No. 22 used to do it.
“For me, my shooting used to be a weakness and it’s something that I’ve been working on and I need to continue to work on,” Gallagher said. “To score on these goalies, you need to be a good shooter and find a way to get your shots through. That was one of the things I learned last year playing those exhibition games. You don’t have a lot of time in this league.”
If the two players continue to develop at the same rate, there is certainly the possibility they could develop into a dangerous scoring duo, with Galchenyuk playing the part of set-up man and Gallagher taking the shots. To be sure, the two have developed a real chemistry together, dating back to when they roomed together during training camp.
“We’re obviously the youngest guys on the team and we’re good friends off the ice,” Galchenyuk said. “And that maybe translates a little to on the ice. He’s a young guy, I’m a young guy and we have fun out there. We’re excited to play every new team because we’ve never played against them.”
Five games is certainly not a huge body of work and the road will undoubtedly get much harder, but it wasn’t supposed to come this easily this quickly for them. Just last season, Galchenyuk was limited to two games in the Ontario League because of a serious knee injury and it was thought he would probably need another junior year to continue his development. Even though Gallagher had an outstanding training camp in 2011 and is a three-time 40-goal scorer in the Western League, this is only his first pro season.
The real test for these two will be when Canadiens coach Michel Therrien begins to lean on them more heavily and give them more and harder minutes. The Canadiens have done a good job of shielding their third line from opposing shutdown units and have placed both players in situations where they can succeed. In fact, they were going so well against the Jets, that Therrien moved Erik Cole onto the unit to replace Brandon Prust.
But Prust has been a valuable member of that third line, both providing some veteran experience and some protection for two players who are neither particularly big or physical – although Gallagher doesn’t seem shy about hitting above his weight class.
“I told them, ‘Play physical. Go to the net hard and hit guys,’ ” Prust said. “ ‘While I’m out there with you, I’ve got your backs. Maybe they’re playing a little bigger than usual.’ ”
Figuratively speaking, their impact on the Canadiens has been enormous. And it should keep growing.
Yakupov’s OT Winner (Larionov)
Game Day: David Savard (1-31-13)
Thiessen named Goaltender of the Month
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Brad Thiessen of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins has been selected as the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for January.
In seven appearances during the month, Thiessen was 5-2-0 with a 1.36 goals-against average, a .940 save percentage and three shutouts for the Penguins.
Coming off a winless December (0-4-1), Thiessen allowed two goals or fewer in six of his seven starts in January, beginning the month with a 30-save blanking of Worcester on Jan. 5, his first shutout since Nov. 4, 2011. Following a 2-0 loss to Connecticut on Jan. 6, Thiessen earned another shutout, this time with 23 saves in a 1-0 decision over Hershey on Jan. 11. He was on the winning end of a 2-1 decision vs. Adirondack on Jan. 12 and a 4-2 win at Norfolk on Jan. 15, and he posted his third shutout of the month with 26 saves in a 3-0 triumph over St. John’s on Jan. 23.
A 26-year-old native of Aldergrove, B.C., Thiessen has made 18 appearances for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season, going 8-8-1 with a 2.62 goals-against average, a .903 save percentage and three shutouts. A fourth-year pro out of Northeastern University, Thiessen has a career record of 80-45-5 with 16 shutouts in 135 games with the Penguins, and was the winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender in 2010-11. Thiessen made his National Hockey League debut with Pittsburgh last season, going 3-1-0 in five appearances.
In recognition of his achievement, Thiessen will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Penguins home game.
Lane MacDermid Ready, Willing To Answer Bell For Bruins
WILMINGTON – Now that he’s healthy, Colton Orr – all 6-foot-3, 222 pounds of him – has become a fixture in the Toronto lineup again. If the Leafs really want to beef up their squad Saturday night against the Bruins, they could dress recent waiver claim Frazer McLaren, who bests Orr’s bulk at 6-foot-5, 222 pounds.
Boston forward Lane MacDermid, the man most equipped to pick up the slack for the injured Shawn Thornton, has already fought McLaren twice in the American Hockey League this season. Orr, a veteran of nearly 400 games, would be a whole different beast for MacDermid to handle. Nonetheless, Boston’s 6-foot-3, 205-pound fourth-liner says he’s not worried. There might be just one person a little concerned heading into the Bruins-Leafs tilt.
“Maybe my mom worries if there’s a big guy on the other team, maybe she won’t want me to fight him,” MacDermid said after practice Friday at Ristuccia Arena.
MacDermid’s mom has gotten used to worrying. From his junior days into his pro career, he’s been a consistent 100-PIM guy with double-digit fight totals. With Thornton around, MacDermid could be a secondary option for opponents that want to rile things up or for the Bruins to look to for a life. Now even on a team with several ruggedindividuals, MacDermid should be the focal point of those situations that would normally include Thornton.
MacDermid broke into the NHL last season with a bout against New York Rangers giant Mike Rupp in his NHL debut. MacDermid survived to tell the tale, and this season he cracked the Bruins’ opening night roster after a solid season with the Providence (AHL) farm club. His fight totals have decreased every season since he turned pro – from 21 as a rookie to 20 the next season to 13 last year – but that’s not due to any drop-off in his aggressiveness.
“It’s just the way it goes sometimes because I’m not really planning on it. … As a young guy, guys might not know you as well, so they maybe thought I was an easier fighter,” said MacDermid, who had seven AHL fights this season. “And when I was younger I guess I was trying to prove myself a bit. So I was asking guys a little bit more. It’s always going to be part of the game.”
Thornton’s concussion could be a cautionary tale for guys in his and MacDermid’s line of work. However, MacDermid said he’s not letting the risk get in his way of living his dream in the NHL.
“It’s just part of the game,” he said. “Fighting or not fighting, head injuries are just part of the game. It’s just a matter of being smart and taking care of those injuries.”
While his mom might admit to worrying about him, MacDermid’s dad Paul – a NHL lunch-pail player for more than a decade – accepts the non-hockey aspects of his son’s job. MacDermid, however, said his dad limits his advice to the hockey and not the punching.
MacDermid might need a tip or two heading into the showdown with the Leafs, who will want to flex their muscle after the Bruins swept the season series last season. He might lean on his teammates for advice, but he’s also not shy about checking out the videos on hockeyfights.com to devise a scouting report. Orr and McLaren might both have a size edge, but they might also be completely different types of pugilists.
“You have to change your approach to each fighter,” he said. “Each fighter’s different. Even two guys that are the same size, they’ll fight different. You have to approach that in a different way.”
After making his season debut in a game that lacked any fighting after Thornton was downed by John Scott, MacDermid will have to change his approach starting against the Leafs. As part of the game, challenging the biggest guy with the largest PIM total will always be on opponents’ to-do lists, and that puts MacDermid at the top of that list.
Forward Peter LeBlanc Acquired for Mathieu Beaudoin
HERSHEY, Pa. – The HERSHEY BEARS, in conjunction with the Washington Capitals, announced today that the club has acquired forward Peter LeBlanc from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Mathieu Beaudoin. The announcement was made by BEARS President/GM Doug Yingst.
LeBlanc, 24, has appeared in 34 games with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs this season, and has recorded 12 points (four goals, eight assists). 2012-2013 was LeBlanc’s third season with the club. The 5-11, 200-pound native of Hamilton, ON is coming off of his best year on offense last season, in which he led the IceHogs with 24 goals and finished second with 44 points.
Prior to turning pro, LeBlanc finished a four-year career at the University of New Hampshire (HE), where he racked up 85 points (34 goals, 51 assists) in 153 career games.
LeBlanc was originally selected by the Blackhawks in the seventh round (186th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Beaudoin, 28, was in his second stint with HERSHEY, having also played seven games with the club during 2007-2008. The 5-11, 178-pound native of Rock Forest, PQ appeared in 32 games this season and recorded 10 points (three goals, seven assists) along with a plus-six efficiency rating.