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Behind the Bench with Bednar

09/28/2007 3:20 AM -

You just returned from Washington and Hershey’s respective training camps.  How was the trip north?
It was good; it was a really good experience.  It was a chance to see some of the guys we’ll have in camp, as well as some of the Washington and Hershey guys.  They’ve got some decisions to make up there, obviously, but we should know in the next few days who is going to get sent down.  I’m hoping to get a guy or two [from Washington] by the time we open camp. 

What can you tell us about Paul McIlveen?

He played at Cape Breton [of the QMJHL], and he had a breakout season with 37 goals and 52 assists for 89 points in 68 games; and he was just over a point a game in the playoffs, with eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in 16 games.  He’s a right shot, and he can play right wing or center.  He’s got great speed, handles the puck really well, and he’s another talented guy that can make plays up front for us.  I think he’s going to be a good fit for our lineup.  I think he’s a guy that’s going to see ice time in all situations for us – power play and penalty kill.  I’m looking for big things.  After speaking with the coaches in the league, everyone has good things to say about it.

What about fellow rookie Pierre-Luc O’Brien?

He’s a center/left winger, and very talented.  He put up huge numbers in college for Sacred Heart University.  He’s a guy we’re going to look to for a lot of offense.  He’ll be a power-play guy for us, and I expect him to put up good numbers offensively.  He’s a 25-year-old, graduated from college, so he has a little bit of experience under his belt as well.  I really think he has the potential to play in the American League or above, from everything I’ve heard and all the people I’ve talked to.  We’re expecting big things out of Pierre-Luc.    

Michael Haley joined the Stingrays late last season following the conclusion of his junior career in the OHL.  What’s his status for 2007-08?

Michael Haley is definitely a guy we wanted back.  Basically, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the New York Islanders had a lot of interest in him, and they signed him to a two-way American Hockey League deal.  We had his rights, but in fairness to him and the request from the Islanders we let him go to be with them.  If he has to play in the ECHL this year he’ll end up in Utah.  He’s a guy we would’ve loved to have had back; he was a great fit for us.  He’s tough to play against, and he has a nose for the net.  He came into this league and proved that he can be an impact player.  Bridgeport and the Islanders took notice of that.

The NHL kicks off its regular season this weekend.  Who’s your pick to win the Stanley Cup this year?

(Laughing) I really couldn’t tell you.  There are so many good teams.  I think the Rangers are going to do alright again; I’ve always been a Rangers fan.  But now, obviously, I’m a Caps fan.  I always root for the Canadian teams as well.  I think there are so many teams now that are really competitive -- so it’s tough to say.  With the year the Rangers had last year I would expect them to be really good, especially with some of the free agents they signed.  I guess they’d be my pick at this point.

Come join the Stingrays for their 15th Anniversary Season! The 2007-08 season begins on October 20 at 7:05 p.m. as the Rays take on in-state rival Columbia Inferno! Don't miss any of the fast-paced, hard-hitting action!  For more information on how to enjoy South Carolina Stingrays hockey, including ticket benefits, pricing, and package options, please call the Stingrays front office at 744-2248 or view the information online at Stingrays Hockey – A Whole Lot Cooler!

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