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.