Mukhamadullin Joins Comets as Utica Prepares for AHL Playoff Run

Amanda Stein reported yesterday that the Utica Comets will have an addition to their roster when they kick off their quest for the Calder Cup tonight against the Rochester Americans.

Twenty-year-old defenseman Shakir Mukhamadullin was assigned to the Comets from Yulaev Ufa of the Kontinental Hockey League and is expected to make his North American debut with Utica in their North Division Semifinal Calder Cup Playoff series.

Stein did say that he will practice with the Comets in the meantime, but at the moment, “game play is yet to be determined.”

Stein referenced Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald saying in his end-of-season press conference “that Mukhamadullin had [received] his visa, and would join the Comets as they prepare for their Calder Cup run.”

Fitzgerald wants the 6-foot, 4-inch blue liner to get familiar with the North American-style of hockey before fully throwing him into a game situation.

The Devils GM was quoted by Stein as saying: “He’ll go down to Utica, he’ll watch. Will he get in some games, depending on the series. We just want to make sure that we put him in a situation that he’s comfortable with, that he’s comfortable with that he’s growing, but with language barrier, North American type of hockey, it should be a [sic] great seeing him on the ice with our prospects.”

Mukhamadullin signed his three-year Entry Level Contract back on December 21, 2021 as Stein mentioned in her article.

The Comets get things started in the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs in the North Division Semifinals against the Amerks as they play game one in Utica tonight. I will have some coverage of that here on the blog along with the NHL Draft Lottery, which is being shown on ESPN and ESPN+ tonight.

In other news reported yesterday regarding a springtime tournament, Catherine Bogart is reporting that Devils defenseman Ryan Graves has been added to Canada’s roster for the 2022 World Hockey Championship.

He will join fellow Devils d-man Damon Severson as well as Devils forward Dawson Mercer on the Canada roster for the tournament.

Bogart mentioned that this will be Graves’ first time representing Canada at the World Championship.

Overall, Graves will be the eighth Devil to participate in this year’s Worlds, as in addition to the three on Canada’s roster, Nico Hischier and Jonas Siegenthaler will also play for Switzerland while goaltender Jon Gillies will suit up for the United States and Tomas Tatar will appear for Slovakia.

In addition, Devils defensive prospect Luke Hughes will also play for Team USA.

The 2022 IIHF World Hockey Championship will begin on Friday, May 13 in Finland. Again, I will attempt to keep up with results here as best as I can.

Also, speaking of Devils defensemen, PK Subban has been working as a studio analyst for ESPN’s Stanley Cup Playoff coverage. He appeared on the intermission reports of the Rangers loss to the Penguins last night along with anchor John Buccigross and fellow analyst/former NHL defeneman Chris Chelios. He joins Bryce Salvador, who has been an ice-level reporter and analyst for TNT and TBS – working the Panthers overtime win over the Capitals yesterday and Erika Wachter, who has been reporting for the Flames-Stars series for Turner as well.

And finally, as we round out the news being reported on the Devils app, Sam Kasan recently talked about the newest addition of the “Speak of the Devils” podcast – the team’s in-house produced podcast.

This week’s guest is Greg Wyshynski, the hockey analyst and reporter for ESPN. Wyshynski grew up in Matawan, New Jersey and as a Devils fan.

He spoke on the podcast about how he became a fan of the Devils – his father was an Islanders fan when young Greg was just starting his hockey fandom – which coincided with the Devils’ unlikely playoff run in 1988 that concluded only with a seven-game loss to the Boston Bruins in the Wales Conference Finals.

He also related the story about how he and his father ended up at the Meadowlands Arena for game four of the 1995 Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings and got to witness the Devils complete the sweep of the powerhouse Wings and hoist the Cup for the first time.

In addition to all of that, he goes over how he brought his fandom to his journalism once he broke into the sports writing business, something that was simply not done at the time.

Kasan listed some other topics that came up on the podcast episode including, looking at the 2021-22 Devils season, why Wyshynski feels optimistic for the Devils’ future, how he feels Hischier is underrated, Dougie Hamilton’s first season with the Devils, what the Devils will need for 2022-23, his overall Devils fandom and his favorite players over the years, how he became a journalist, the “emergence of blogging” and his current career at ESPN.

I would certainly recommend giving it a listen as Wyshynski is always entertaining and is someone does tend to wear his fandom (both of the Devils and of hockey in general) on his sleeve.

Jay Pandolfo Named Head Coach of Boston University Terriers

Devils alumni Jay Pandolfo was named the new head coach of the Boston University men’s hockey team. Pandolfo played for the Terriers – graduating in 1996 with a degree in sociology according to BU’s athletic website – and serving as captain of the team and helping lead them to a national championship in 1995.

In his time with BU, the Terriers also appeared in “four straight NCAA Frozen Fours” won “two Beanpot titles, and two Hockey East championships” according to Rich Barlow of BU Today at

The announcement of Pandolfo being named head coach was made by Drew Marrochello, Boston University’s athletics director last Thursday. He replaces Albie O’Connell.

Pandolfo had previously served as an associate head coach with the Terriers’ program for “less than a year.”

Pandolfo was quoted by Barlow as saying: “It was a thrill to return here last year, and to now lead a program that holds such a special place in my heart is a dream come true. Choosing to play at BU was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I hope that the players I coach feel the same when they complete their careers here.”

Marrochello, who Barlow noted will introduce Pandolfo as new coach later this morning (11 AM Monday, May 9) “at a press conference at Agganis Arena,” added: “Jay was an elite player during his four years at BU and then proved to be a consummate professional during a decorated NHL career. He understands the tradition of BU hockey and how important it is to our University, our alumni, and our fans.

“Our student-athletes learned a lot from Jay during his first season here, and we look forward to having him prepare them for future success while guiding us to championships. He certainly knows what it takes to win, and we’re excited to keep him home at BU, leading our program for years to come.”

Barlow said that the Terriers had a bit of a strange season in 2021-22, as they won the Beanpot tournament (the annual fight between BU, Boston College, Harvard University and Northeastern University for Boston college hockey supremacy) but were not ranked in the top-20 in men’s Division I hockey. They did, however, finish with a winning record within the Hockey East conference at 13-8-3.

That was under O’Connell, but Pandolfo was in the mix. He had been named an associate coach last summer, in July.

Previously, he had served as an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins for five seasons. Barlow mentioned the Bruins’ success during his time with the team as they made the Stanley Cup Playoffs four out of his five seasons with the team as a coach, including going to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, where they fell to the St. Louis Blues.

He also spent time as “the Bruins’ player development coach and director of player development.”

Pandolfo was drafted by the Devils 32nd overall in the 1993 Draft and won the Stanley Cup as a player with the Devils in 2000 and 2003.

In college, Pandolfo finished with 79 goals and 90 assists (169 points) and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in 1996 – his senior year.

In the NHL, he played for the Islanders and Bruins in addition to the Devils and finished with 100 goals and 126 assists, totaling 226 points over 899 regular season games.

Congratulations to Pandolfo as he looks to lead his alma mater to NCAA success.