Hamilton Bulldogs continued to prepare for the American Hockey League season by going “ski-ing” yesterday. Forward Mikhail Grabovski and defenseman Dan Jancevski were among six players assigned by the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens to their farm team.
Joining them are forward Andrei Kostitsyn and blueliners Ryan O’Byrne, Jean-Philippe Cote, and Andre Benoit. Of the six, Grabovski and O’Byrne are newcomers to the Bulldogs and the AHL.
O’Byrne, Benoit, Kostitsyn, Grabovski were to report Friday, with Cote arriving today, and Jancevski coming here on Monday.
The 22-year-old Grabovski played last season for Dynamo Moscow where the native of Potsdam, Germany, had 10 goals and 17 assists in 48 games. He also picked up 28 penalty minutes in the Russian Super League. Although born in Germany, Grabovski, a 5-11, 180-pound centre, has played for Belarus where he has lived for almost 20 years.
He was a fifth round (150th) draft pick by the Canadiens
O’Byrne comes to the Bulldogs from Cornell University where he played National Collegiate Athletic Association hockey last season. In 28 games, the Victoria, B.C. native totalled 13 points (7-6) and had 68 penalty minutes. A Canadiens’ third-round draft pick (79th overall), the defenseman brings size to the Bulldogs – 6-5 and 225 pounds.
Cote, 24, a native of Quebec City, suited up for 61 games with Hamilton last season and had 11 points from three goals and eight helpers. He also appeared in eight NHL games with Montreal.
A Bulldog rookie last season, the 22-year-old Benoit registered 26 points (7-19) in 70 games. The St. Albert, Ont., native played his junior hockey with the Kitchener Rangers where he had 77 points (67 games) in his final year.
Kostitsyn played well enough in Hamilton last year that he got into 12 games with the Habs, scoring two goals and adding one assist, along with two penalty minutes. While with the Bulldogs, the 21-year-old native of Novopolotsk, Belarus had 18 goals and 29 assists. and 76 penalty minutes in 64 games.
Jancevski, 25, split last season in the AHL between the Bulldogs and the Iowa Stars. He appeared in two games with the Dallas Stars who made him a second round (66th overall) draft selection in 1999. Signed by Montreal this year as an unrestricted free agent, the native of Windsor played the 2004-05 season with the Bulldogs and had six goals and 20 assists in 80 games.
Last year, he had nine goals and 29 assists with Iowa in 77 games.
Bulldogs open the regular season at home on Oct. 6 against the Manitoba Moose.