Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rush Snap Allen 11 Game Home Win Streak, Game Recap, Martinson Comments, Jersey Auction & More

Spencer Asuchak returned to the Allen line up after 15 AHL games - photo by Lauren Lyssy


- The Rapid City Rush flipped the script on Allen last night beating the Americans 6-3 before one of the largest crowds (5022) of the season at the Allen Events Center. After a scoreless first period Allen took a 2-0 lead early in the second period on goals by Gary Steffes (28) and Kevin Young (6) only to have the Rush score four unanswered goals to take a 4-2 lead midway through the third period. A Gary Steffes (29) power play goal with just under four minutes remaining in the game gave Allen hope but two Rapid City empty net goals squashed any chance of a comeback to make the final score 6-3.

- The loss was the first regulation loss for the Americans at home since November 9th and it also snapped Allen's eleven game home win streak. To make matters worse three former Allen Americans played a big role in the Rush victory. Daniel Tetrault and Kale Kerbashian each had a goal and an assist and Dallas Ehrhardt had an assist on one of Jesse Schultz's three goals. Kerbashian and Ehrhardt along with Jesse Schultz led Rapid City in plus/minus as they were all +3 for the game.

- The Americans will now have three days off as they delayed their All-Star break because they had to travel during the scheduled All-Star break. It would have been much better to go into this three day break with a win but all good things must come to an end.



MARTINSON POST GAME COMMENTS

- With the jersey auction scheduled right after the game (more on that later) there was no post game press conference with season ticket holders. On these occasions I visit with coach Martinson in his office for a few minutes to get his thoughts on the game. Win or lose, good or bad, Steve is always willing to share his thoughts.  It was with some trepidation I knocked on his office door last night and it was apparent the loss had him not in the best of moods. What was fascinating is ten minutes after the game ended he was already reviewing video to determine in graphic detail what went wrong. His assessment of the game was concise and to the point, "Horrible in front of our net, terrible in our defensive zone, bad coverage in front of our net, bad coverage in the slot, forwards out of position, defensemen out of position. We were just soft, soft in our defensive zone. On offense we turned the puck over way too many times at their blue line, we didn't get the puck in deep. When you get the puck in deep you create mistakes but we were trying to do everything cute. We were trying to fly the  zone or take short cuts coming out of our zone to create scoring opportunities and we got burned and we got burned several times."

It is safe to say Martinson was not happy with the score, the effort or the officiating. It was not a good way to end an eleven game home win streak and start the three day All-Star break.


OTHER COMMENTS

- A couple of bright spots in a losing cause included Gary Steffes scoring two more goals. Gary has a goal in six of the last seven games and has eight total goals in the last seven games. His 29 goals leads the ECHL and he now has a four goal cushion over second place.

- Chad Costello had an assist to continue his streak of fifteen games with an assist dating back to December 28. Chad now has 69 points on the season to lead the ECHL scoring race by 22 points.

- The Americans have had a spectacular season thus far no matter how you measure success but many have predicted they will go through a rough patch as all teams do during any season. In the past, January and February are typically tough months for Allen. Can't define this as a rough patch yet but the Americans have lost three of their last five games. With the next four games on the road it will be a tough test.

- Even with the loss last night Allen maintains their 18 point lead in the Central Division standings over Wichita and Tulsa who are tied for second place.

The Americans will leave Tuesday for the long (1344 miles) bus trip to Brampton where they will play on Thursday and Friday. They will bus back to Allen for a day and then fly to Ontario, CA for two games on Wednesday and Thursday (February 10 & 11).

- Greger Hanson was loaned to Oklahoma City (AHL) yesterday and made the most of his opportunity as he scored with Oklahoma City trailing Lake Erie 3-0 to spark a comeback. The Barons ended up winning the game 4-3 in overtime. The teams play again tonight.

- Congrats to Jarret Lukin who had a goal and an assist and was named the #1 star of the game last night as he led his Evansville IceMen to a 4-1 win over Gwinnett.

- Have to say the jersey auction last night was a resounding success. Heard so many positive comments about how good the specialty jerseys looked. The average price for the jerseys was just over $900 and two of them went for over $2000. Here are the jerseys that went for at least $1000:
$2100 - Schaafsma
$2000 - Costello
$1550 - Schultz
$1200 - Lyon
$1000 - McMillin


Specialty jerseys were a big hit - photo courtesy of Lauren Lyssy

- With the 5022 in attendance last night Allen has gone over the 4000 mark in average attendance again with an average of 4021. The crowd of the night in the ECHL went to the Tulsa Oilers who had 10,794 fans watch them beat the Brampton Beast 4-2.


DID YOU KNOW: Allen is one of only three teams that has not been in a shootout at home all season. (Colorado and Evansville are the others).


Friday, January 30, 2015

Allen Wins 6-2 Game Recap, Martinson Comments, Asuchak Plays Tonight, ECHL Announcement Today

Ian Schultz with two goals and an assist was named the games #1 star - photo by scenebykimberly.com



It was a familiar script last night in the Allen Americans 6-2 win over the Rapid City Rush before an announced crowd of 3177 at the Allen Event Center. As has been the case many times this season Allen got off to a slow start allowing Rapid City to get a 1-0 lead at the 1:42 mark of the first period on a goal scored by Kale Kerbashian. It was Kale's first game with the Rush after being traded by Evansville and it was good to see him get a goal on his first shot of his first shift with the Rush. That was the extent of the scoring in the first period with shots on goal even at eight a piece. The typical Allen script calls for a big second period after a slow first period and explosion would be the right word to describe the second period for the Americans. Two goals by Ian Schultz (18&19) and one each by Gary Steffes (league leading 27), and Jamie Schaafsma (9) all by the 12:40 mark of the period spelled doom for Rapid City. The period would end with Allen out shooting the Rush 24-7, a 4-1 lead and the starting goalie on the bench. Allen added two more goals in the third period on goals by Nolan Descoteaux (2)  and Tyler Ludwig (10).

The offensive firepower of this team can be intimidating at times like the second period last night. When they combine that with solid defensive play by being aggressive but not cheating they are almost impossible to beat. The win last night was the eleventh in a row at home dating back to  December 20. It is the longest home win streak in the league this year. The Americans have now won 18 of their last 19 home games. The two teams play again tonight and the Americans will be wearing specialty jerseys for the 1st Annual Autism Awareness Night. There will be a live post game jersey auction immediately following the game.

The Autism Awareness specialty jerseys will be auctioned off after the game tonight


- It was a well played game by the Americans as they raised their record against the Rush to 5-1. It was the most shots (41) on goal Allen has had against the Rush, they gave up the fewest shots (28) they have given up to the Rush all season, and they took fewer penalties than Rapid City (Allen 14 minutes - Rapid City 16 minutes). The Americans were 1-3 on the power play and the Rush were 0-2. If Allen can repeat that performance tonight you have to like their chances to extend the win streak.



STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS

- I thought we had good puck possession in the first period but didn't shoot the puck enough. In the second period when we started to shoot the puck, it was the obvious difference in the game. It was a great second period with the four goals and it really took the pressure off of us.

- We talked about the game in Kalamazoo at practice the other day and we have to learn from experiences like that. Our offense will take care of itself. It is important for our team to think and make better decisions on defense. The second goal that Rapid City scored tonight was when we left a guy all alone in front of the net.

- Spencer Asuchak had been released from his PTO in Providence and will land in Dallas tonight. He will be in the line up tomorrow night (Friday).

- I will not have to release anyone to make room for Asuchak. We can have 20 guys on the active roster plus two on reserve, plus an unlimited number of players on the 21 day injured reserve. With Asuchak will have 21 guys plus Brian McMillin on IR.

- Garrett Clarke has not played any shifts at defense for a couple of months so when we got the lead in the third period I just wanted to get him some shifts at defense. As far as the fight at the beginning of the game when I saw who Rapid City started it was obvious they wanted to get back at Clarke so when they started with toughness I did the same thing. Clarke is a pretty tough guy.

Rapid City challenged Garrett Clarke :04 seconds into the game - photo by scenebykimberly.com


- I have been using local goalies for the past few games for a couple of reasons. I am not sure how long Aaron Dell will be with Worcester so that factors in. It also saves money so there is a salary cap benefit as it it expensive bringing in a goalie when you know Gill will be starting all of the games. There is a risk if Gill were to get hurt and if we were in a very tight race I would sign a goalie.

- The changes in the AHL that were announced today establishing a Pacific Division should not change our relationship with San Jose. It has been a great relationship even though not many players have come our way yet. With all of the new AHL teams out west it should provide opportunities for affiliations for Tulsa and Wichita who currently are not affiliated. I have heard the lease arrangements in Oklahoma City are expensive so whether an ECHL team ends up there is questionable. It would be disappointing to us if there is not a team in Oklahoma City so hopefully something can get worked out.

- The travel arrangements for Brampton and Ontario will have us taking the bus round trip to Brampton and back and then flying to Ontario from DFW.


OTHER COMMENTS

- With the win over Rapid City Allen has extended its Central Division lead over second place Wichita to eighteen points with one game in hand.

- Tommy Daniels had to turn over his play by play microphone to Maurice Fitzgerald for the last part of the radio broadcast last night as he was not feeling well and his voice was giving out. Hope Tommy is feeling better and is back in the broadcast booth tonight. Having spent quite a bit of time in the radio booth to see all that takes place a huge stick tap to Maurice for stepping in so seamlessly. It is a lot more difficult than you might think just listening on the radio.

- With two assists in the game to go along with being +2 Chad Costello not only increased his ECHL points lead to 22 points he also took over the ECHL lead in plus/minus at +30. Chad has at least one point in every home game since November 16 which is a nineteen game home point streak. It is the longest home point streak in the ECHL this season.

- With his 27th goal last night Gary Steffes now has a three goal cushion over second place for most goals in the ECHL. Gary has a goal in in five of the last six games. 

-  Had the chance to visit with Kale Kerbashian's parents (Tim & Janne) after the game last night. Nice that they could be in Allen to witness Kale's first game with Rapid City and to top it off he got a goal on his first shift. Tim and Janne live in Thunder Bay, Ontario and were planning a trip to watch Kale play when he was still with Evansville. All the arrangements for travel, hotel, etc. were made when Kale let them know he had been traded. So everything had to be cancelled and they started over from scratch. It worked out they could come to Allen an reacquaint themselves with those they had met when Kale played here.

- Zak Blazic (#9) will be the referee again for the game tonight and the linesmen will be Alex Black and Brian Bull.

- The ECHL will make a major announcement today at 2:00 pm (CST) regarding league membership and its roster of teams for the 2015-2016 season. It is unknown if the announcements will be more than what has already been reported from the AHL announcement yesterday.  



DID YOU KNOW: The Allen Americans have won eleven home games in a row. The ECHL record for the longest home win streak is 18 set in the 1994-1995 season by the South Carolina Stingrays.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Allen vs Rapid City Game Preview, Big AHL Announcement Today, Some ECHL Changes Already Approved

 ***FOR SOME REASON THERE IS SOME PRINT OVER PARTS OF THE BLOG POST THIS MORNING THAT I CAN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO REMOVE. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE IF YOU HAVE THIS PROBLEM VIEWING THE POST!  Barry

It is game day in Allen as the Americans take on the Rapid City Rush in one of only two games in the ECHL tonight (Brampton is at Tulsa in the other). It is a rare Thursday night home game for Allen with only two scheduled all season. The other one is also against the Rush on April 9.

After a less than stellar road trip last weekend the Americans are looking to get back to their winning ways in the friendly confines of the Allen Event Center (AEC) where they have won ten games in a row and seventeen out of eighteen.

Rapid City arrives in Allen in fifth place in the Central Division standings twenty five points behind league leading Allen. The Rush have won three of their last four road games and are 5-4-0-1 in their last ten games. It will be the first time Daniel Tetrault, Dallas Ehrhardt and Kale Kerbashian will be back to the AEC as teammates and it will be Kerbashian's first game for the Rush since being traded by Evansville this past week.

This will be the sixth time these two teams have met this season with Allen holding the 4-1 edge in the five previous games. They have split two games played in Rapid City and the Americans have won all three games at the AEC. If you look at cumulative stats these teams have played much closer than the record might indicate. Cumulative goals are 18-11 in favor of Allen but Rapid City has had some mediocre goaltending in some of the games. In the five previous games Rapid City has out shot Allen 160-139, have scored more power play goals (Rapid 6-31, Allen 3-18) and taken fewer penalties (Allen 126 minutes, Rapid 76 minutes). If the Rush can get a good performance from their goalie and win on special teams they will have a good chance.



- A statistical comparison of Allen and Rapid City shows an advantage for Allen. Here are a few examples:

Points: Allen (62) - Rapid City (37)
Goals For: Allen (164) - Rapid City (113)
Goals Allowed: Allen (102) - Rapid City (122)
Goal Differential: Allen (+62) - Rapid City (-9)
Team Plus/Minus: Allen (+206) - Rapid City (-93)

Allen is ranked #1 in league standings. Rapid City is ranked #22.
Allen is #1 in average goals scored per game (4.21). Rapid City is #22 (2.76).
Allen is ranked #2 in average goals allowed (2.62). Rapid City is #12 (2.98).

- Special teams will most likely be a key to the game especially with Allen leading the league in minor penalties (265). Allen has a better overall power play and penalty kill than Rapid City but if you look at home and road stats it tells a different story. At home Allen is ranked #15 (17.6%) on the power play and #5 (87.7%) on the penalty kill. On the road Rapid City is #22 (13.3%) on the power play and #4 (88.5%) on the penalty kill.

- Scoring the first goal of the game is always important as Allen wins 85.4% of the time when they score first and Rapid City wins 70.6%. Allen actually scores the most goals in the second period while Rapid has scored the most goals in the third period. Here are the goals scored by period for both teams:
Allen:  43 - 69 - 50
Rapid: 35 - 33 - 41


OTHER COMMENTS:

- The on ice officials scheduled for the game are referee Zak Blazic (#9) with linesmen Brian Bull and Mike Anderson.

- Another food and beverage promotion for both games against Rapid City with $2 hot dogs, $2 beer and $2 sodas. And what I am told is the best deal of the night, 24 oz. Miller Lite and Coors Lite Tall Boys for just $5.

- With a full roster of twenty players, two will have to sit out tonight on reserve. One will be Patrik Valcak who will not play in either game against Rapid City. The other question to be answered is whether Garrett Clarke will be back in the line up after completing his suspension last weekend.

- The roster changes for Missouri continue as yesterday they waived Sebastian Geoffrion, suspended Kris Hogg (probably headed to Europe) and traded for Dylan Hood from Ontario. That puts the Mavericks at around 45 different players on the roster this year. As a comparison Allen is at 30. Bringing in and releasing players is an expensive proposition in most cases so hats off to Missouri who has the resources to continue to try and improve their hockey team.

- If you are on Facebook there is a new group called ECHL Diehards that was just established to discuss all things about ECHL hockey. There are several of these groups and they all vary as to how much serious hockey discussion takes place. If you are looking for more places to read about or discuss your favorite ECHL team you might want to check out ECHL Diehards on Facebook.

- By now you have probably heard the official announcement about the AHL creation of a Pacific Division will take place today in San Jose at 2:30 pm (CST). Here are the details from the AHL.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League will be making a major announcement related to the 2015-16 season on Thursday, January 29, at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.

WHO:
David Andrews, President and Chief Executive Officer – American Hockey League
Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner – National Hockey League
Michael Schulman, Chief Executive Officer – Anaheim Ducks
Bob Murray, Executive Vice President and General Manager – Anaheim Ducks
Brad Treliving, General Manager – Calgary Flames
Kevin Lowe, Vice Chair, Oilers Entertainment Group – Edmonton Oilers
Luc Robitaille, President, Business Operations – Los Angeles Kings
John Tortora, Chief Operating Officer – San Jose Sharks
Doug Wilson, General Manager – San Jose Sharks


WHEN:
Thursday, January 29, 2015 – 12:30 p.m. PT

WHERE:
Rinkside Room – SAP Center
The press conference will be streamed live on theahl.com as well as on the websites of the participating teams.


- The AHL changes that will be announced today will obviously have a big impact on the ECHL. As a reminder here are the moves anticipated.

The Los Angeles Kings move their AHL Manchester Monarchs to Ontario, California. Ontario moves to Manchester as an ECHL team.

The Edmonton Oilers move their AHL affiliate from Oklahoma City to Bakersfield, California. It is possible Oklahoma City moves to the ECHL but it would not be the Bakersfield team.

The San Jose Sharks take their AHL team in Worcester and move them to San Jose where they will play in the same arena (SAP Center) as the San Jose Sharks until another suitable place is found. Worcester will become an ECHL city.

The Norfolk Admirals have just reached an agreement to be sold to the Anaheim Ducks and will be moved to San Diego. The ECHL team in Bakersfield that is owned by Edmonton would move to Norfolk and still be owned by Edmonton.

The Calgary Flames move their affiliate (Adirondack Flames) out of Glens Falls, NY to Stockton, CA. The Flames buy the Stockton ECHL franchise and move it to Glens Falls.

The Vancouver Canucks are not part of the AHL migration west as they will maintain their AHL affiliate in Utica, NY. where they have a long term lease.

One of the big impacts of all of these changes will be on the Alaska Aces who are definitely staying in the ECHL. According to reporting by the Alaska Dispatch News the Aces schedule will change dramatically as 38 of their 72 games this year are against the three ECHL teams (Bakersfield, Stockton, & Ontario) that are moving to make way for AHL teams. According to one of the managing members of the Alaska Aces, at the ECHL Board of Governors meeting last week they voted that each ECHL team remaining in the West (Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Colorado) will travel to the East at least one time each year for three to five games. Also, he said, each East team would travel West at least every third season for a road swing. So, at least once every three years you can look for Allen to travel West and yes that will include trips to Alaska.

Obviously these are just some of the changes that will take place over the coming year with many other moving parts to a giant jig saw puzzle. It should be exciting to watch.
DID YOU KNOW: The driving distance from Allen to Anchorage is just over 4000 miles. Luckily that will be a flying trip. In seven days between February 5-11 Allen will play two games in Brampton, Ontario which is 1344 miles from Allen and two games in Ontario, California which is 1419 miles from Allen. Travel arrangements for those trips are still being finalized.



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Practice Observations, Allen Players Dominate League Stat Leaders, AHL Move West Announcement

- It is always dangerous predicting the mood of the team just by observing practice so you can take this with a grain of salt but when the Americans took the ice yesterday it was obvious they were still not over the loss in Kalamazoo on Sunday. From players to coaches it was more intense than you might expect for a team on a ten game home win streak and the best record in the ECHL. Don't think there is any chance of complacency setting in with this team. No doubt they will be ready tomorrow night when the Americans take on the Rapid City Rush.

- As is always the case this time of year players are dinged up and playing with injuries. A couple of players did not practice but would assume everyone will be available to play against Rapid City. 

- Had the chance to spend a few minutes with newly signed Patrik Valcak who just arrived in Allen Monday afternoon. If you noticed the ECHL transactions on Sunday it was reported Patrik had been signed by Allen and placed on reserve. Valcak was injured in his last game in Poland so he will not be in the line up against Rapid City. He is really happy to be in Allen and looks forward to playing for the Americans. Patrik shared he has relatives who live in Plano and also that he and Josef Fojtik have known each other since they met playing hockey at age twelve.


- When you consider there are 28 teams in the ECHL, if a player is in the top fifteen in any statistical category that is quite impressive so to see the numerous categories that are dominated by Allen players is amazing. Will try to illustrate this below by listing the top three players on the team with their stat and then where they rank in the league in that stat. Have included Jack Combs even though he is no longer with the team.

Points - Costello 66 (#1), Combs 56 (#2), Steffes 40 (#13)
Goals - Steffes 26 (#1), Combs 22 (#4), Costello 21 (#6)
Assists - Costello 45 (#1), Combs 34 (#2), Gens 25 (#12)
Power Play Goals - Steffes 10 (#1), Schultz 8 (#2), Combs 4 (#35)
Power Play Assists - Costello 14 (#1), Combs 11 (#5), Gens 10 (#8)
Shorthanded Goals - Hanson 3 (#2), Six tied with one
Game Winning Goals - Combs 6 (#2), Steffes 5 (#6), Hanson Schultz, Costello 4 (#9)
Penalty Minutes - Lyon 214 (#1), Gens 123 (#10), Schultz 86 (#22)
Plus/Minus - Costello +28 (#3), Combs +24 (#4), Trevor Ludwig +22 (#6)
Shots On Goal - Steffes 145 (#4), Combs 135 (#8), Costello 117 (#26)
Points By Defenseman - Gens 30 (#1), Young & Baker 26 (#6), Tyler Ludwig 24 (#12)
GAA - Gill 2.40 (#5)
Save Percentage - Gill .918 (#6)
Goalie Wins - Gill 20 (#2)



- Yesterday's post had some information about the AHL/ECHL silly season and the rumored creation of a Pacific Division in the AHL which would have a big impact on the ECHL. It appears these decisions have already been made and the official announcements will start happening this week. Here is an article written by the staff at the New Hampshire Union Leader (unionleader.com) which provides some specific details on the moves on how they will be rolled out.

The Manchester Monarchs scheduled a news conference for Friday at 3 p.m. to announce their imminent departure from New Hampshire.

As first reported last week in the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Monarchs will begin next season in Ontario, Calif., as one of five members of a new West Coast division in the American Hockey League.
Brian McKenna, commissioner of the East Coast Hockey League, will attend the news conference at Verizon Wireless Arena. He will be joined by Luc Robitaille, president/business operations of the Los Angeles Kings; Matt Welch, executive vice president of the Manchester Monarchs, and Darren Abbott, president of the Monarchs. Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas will also be at the press conference.
On Monday in Utica, N.Y., site of Monday night’s AHL All-Star Game, league president Dave Andrews wasn’t about to confirm Manchester’s or any other team’s move.

The Monarchs, along with four other AHL teams, are moving West to be closer to their NHL affiliates for efficiencies and cost savings. Moving Manchester makes sense to the Kings’ organization since Ontario is about 30 miles away from the Staples Center. Now, if the Kings want to recall a player, it requires a cross-country airline trip.
On Monday, the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., reported that “a source close to the American Hockey League Board of Governors confirmed Sunday that it voted to approve a West Coast Division ... The AHL swore team officials to silence Sunday, threatening fines for leaks.”
Ontario is currently home to the Ontario Reign of the East Coast Hockey League. The Reign and the Manchester Monarchs are both owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), along with the Kings. As reported, Manchester will be part of a simple swap, with the Reign replacing the Monarchs next season at the Verizon Wireless Arena. In essence, the Reign will become the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL, currently a league below the AHL.
The AHL’s Andrews on Monday gave the five AHL franchises affected by the vote — Manchester, Worcester (San Jose Sharks), Norfolk, Va. (Anaheim Ducks), Oklahoma City (Edmonton Oilers) and Glens Falls, N.Y. (Calgary Flames) — the opportunity to break the news to their local fans later this week. The AHL is scheduled to hold a press conference Thursday.
Andrews and the AHL’s board of governors met at Turning Stone Resort Casino in nearby Verona, N.Y., on Sunday, but Andrews would not confirm that the board approved a West Coast division during his news conference on Monday.
“We’re still not across the line on a Pacific Division launch this year,” he said. “There are still unresolved issues.”

Andrews at first said he would not take questions on the possible moves, saying he was not at liberty to speak on them, then answered roundabout questions in roundabout ways. “I need the grace of some bit of time to cross the T’s and dot the I’s,” he said.
The creation of a new division would result in a new alignment of the AHL’s Western and Eastern conferences and six divisions. Andrews said that would have to be done by the league’s spring meeting May 11, and that in practical terms everything would have to be set by the first week in April.”
Then Andrews did talk about “strengthening” and “stabilizing” the AHL which suggested some markets are going to lose their AHL teams.

“We’re going through a process we’ve never been through before,” Andrews said. “It is difficult for some markets, but it is something we have to do. It will strengthen the league. It is not something fans in some markets will feel good about, but strengthening the league and stabilizing the league is important to the fan base overall.”
Some markets that lose AHL franchises, if not all of them, will have professional hockey next year, Andrews said, a reference to the ECHL.
- See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150127/SPORTS0702/150129186/1003/sports#sthash.9hREyilj.dpuf

The Manchester Monarchs have scheduled a news conference for Friday at 3 p.m. to announce their imminent departure from New Hampshire. As first reported last week in the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Monarchs will begin next season in Ontario, Calif., as one of five members of a new West Coast division in the American Hockey League. Brian McKenna, commissioner of the ECHL, will attend the news conference at Verizon Wireless Arena. He will be joined by Luc Robitaille, president/business operations of the Los Angeles Kings; Matt Welch, executive vice president of the Manchester Monarchs, and Darren Abbott, president of the Monarchs. Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas will also be at the press conference. On Monday in Utica, N.Y., site of Monday night’s AHL All-Star Game, league president Dave Andrews wasn’t about to confirm Manchester’s or any other team’s move. The Monarchs, along with four other AHL teams, are moving West to be closer to their NHL affiliates for efficiencies and cost savings. Moving Manchester makes sense to the Kings’ organization since Ontario is about 30 miles away from the Staples Center. Now, if the Kings want to recall a player, it requires a cross-country airline trip.

On Monday, the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., reported that “a source close to the American Hockey League Board of Governors confirmed Sunday that it voted to approve a West Coast Division ... The AHL swore team officials to silence Sunday, threatening fines for leaks.”

Ontario is currently home to the Ontario Reign of the East Coast Hockey League. The Reign and the Manchester Monarchs are both owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), along with the Kings. As reported, Manchester will be part of a simple swap, with the Reign replacing the Monarchs next season at the Verizon Wireless Arena. In essence, the Reign will become the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL, currently a league below the AHL.

The AHL’s Andrews on Monday gave the five AHL franchises affected by the vote — Manchester, Worcester (San Jose Sharks), Norfolk, Va. (Anaheim Ducks), Oklahoma City (Edmonton Oilers) and Glens Falls, N.Y. (Calgary Flames) — the opportunity to break the news to their local fans later this week. The AHL is scheduled to hold a press conference Thursday.

Andrews and the AHL’s board of governors met at Turning Stone Resort Casino in nearby Verona, N.Y., on Sunday, but Andrews would not confirm that the board approved a West Coast division during his news conference on Monday. “We’re still not across the line on a Pacific Division launch this year,” he said. “There are still unresolved issues.” Andrews at first said he would not take questions on the possible moves, saying he was not at liberty to speak on them, then answered roundabout questions in roundabout ways. “I need the grace of some bit of time to cross the T’s and dot the I’s,” he said. The creation of a new division would result in a new alignment of the AHL’s Western and Eastern conferences and six divisions. Andrews said that would have to be done by the league’s spring meeting May 11, and that in practical terms everything would have to be set by the first week in April.” Then Andrews did talk about “strengthening” and “stabilizing” the AHL which suggested some markets are going to lose their AHL teams.  “We’re going through a process we’ve never been through before,” Andrews said. “It is difficult for some markets, but it is something we have to do. It will strengthen the league. It is not something fans in some markets will feel good about, but strengthening the league and stabilizing the league is important to the fan base overall.”

Some markets that lose AHL franchises, if not all of them, will have professional hockey next year, Andrews said, a reference to the ECHL.



On Monday in Utica, N.Y., site of Monday night’s AHL All-Star Game, league president Dave Andrews wasn’t about to confirm Manchester’s or any other team’s move.

The Monarchs, along with four other AHL teams, are moving West to be closer to their NHL affiliates for efficiencies and cost savings. Moving Manchester makes sense to the Kings’ organization since Ontario is about 30 miles away from the Staples Center. Now, if the Kings want to recall a player, it requires a cross-country airline trip.

On Monday, the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., reported that “a source close to the American Hockey League Board of Governors confirmed Sunday that it voted to approve a West Coast Division ... The AHL swore team officials to silence Sunday, threatening fines for leaks.”

Ontario is currently home to the Ontario Reign of the East Coast Hockey League. The Reign and the Manchester Monarchs are both owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), along with the Kings. As reported, Manchester will be part of a simple swap, with the Reign replacing the Monarchs next season at the Verizon Wireless Arena. In essence, the Reign will become the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL, currently a league below the AHL.

The AHL’s Andrews on Monday gave the five AHL franchises affected by the vote — Manchester, Worcester (San Jose Sharks), Norfolk, Va. (Anaheim Ducks), Oklahoma City (Edmonton Oilers) and Glens Falls, N.Y. (Calgary Flames) — the opportunity to break the news to their local fans later this week. The AHL is scheduled to hold a press conference Thursday.

Andrews and the AHL’s board of governors met at Turning Stone Resort Casino in nearby Verona, N.Y., on Sunday, but Andrews would not confirm that the board approved a West Coast division during his news conference on Monday.

“We’re still not across the line on a Pacific Division launch this year,” he said. “There are still unresolved issues.”

Andrews at first said he would not take questions on the possible moves, saying he was not at liberty to speak on them, then answered roundabout questions in roundabout ways. “I need the grace of some bit of time to cross the T’s and dot the I’s,” he said.

The creation of a new division would result in a new alignment of the AHL’s Western and Eastern conferences and six divisions. Andrews said that would have to be done by the league’s spring meeting May 11, and that in practical terms everything would have to be set by the first week in April.”

Then Andrews did talk about “strengthening” and “stabilizing” the AHL which suggested some markets are going to lose their AHL teams.

“We’re going through a process we’ve never been through before,” Andrews said. “It is difficult for some markets, but it is something we have to do. It will strengthen the league. It is not something fans in some markets will feel good about, but strengthening the league and stabilizing the league is important to the fan base overall.”

Some markets that lose AHL franchises, if not all of them, will have professional hockey next year, Andrews said, a reference to the ECHL. - See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150127/SPORTS0702/150129175#sthash.7FxS4Jns.dpuf

The Manchester Monarchs scheduled a news conference for Friday at 3 p.m. to announce their imminent departure from New Hampshire.

As first reported last week in the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Monarchs will begin next season in Ontario, Calif., as one of five members of a new West Coast division in the American Hockey League.

Brian McKenna, commissioner of the East Coast Hockey League, will attend the news conference at Verizon Wireless Arena. He will be joined by Luc Robitaille, president/business operations of the Los Angeles Kings; Matt Welch, executive vice president of the Manchester Monarchs, and Darren Abbott, president of the Monarchs. Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas will also be at the press conference.

On Monday in Utica, N.Y., site of Monday night’s AHL All-Star Game, league president Dave Andrews wasn’t about to confirm Manchester’s or any other team’s move.

The Monarchs, along with four other AHL teams, are moving West to be closer to their NHL affiliates for efficiencies and cost savings. Moving Manchester makes sense to the Kings’ organization since Ontario is about 30 miles away from the Staples Center. Now, if the Kings want to recall a player, it requires a cross-country airline trip.

On Monday, the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., reported that “a source close to the American Hockey League Board of Governors confirmed Sunday that it voted to approve a West Coast Division ... The AHL swore team officials to silence Sunday, threatening fines for leaks.”

Ontario is currently home to the Ontario Reign of the East Coast Hockey League. The Reign and the Manchester Monarchs are both owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), along with the Kings. As reported, Manchester will be part of a simple swap, with the Reign replacing the Monarchs next season at the Verizon Wireless Arena. In essence, the Reign will become the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL, currently a league below the AHL.

The AHL’s Andrews on Monday gave the five AHL franchises affected by the vote — Manchester, Worcester (San Jose Sharks), Norfolk, Va. (Anaheim Ducks), Oklahoma City (Edmonton Oilers) and Glens Falls, N.Y. (Calgary Flames) — the opportunity to break the news to their local fans later this week. The AHL is scheduled to hold a press conference Thursday.

Andrews and the AHL’s board of governors met at Turning Stone Resort Casino in nearby Verona, N.Y., on Sunday, but Andrews would not confirm that the board approved a West Coast division during his news conference on Monday.

“We’re still not across the line on a Pacific Division launch this year,” he said. “There are still unresolved issues.”

Andrews at first said he would not take questions on the possible moves, saying he was not at liberty to speak on them, then answered roundabout questions in roundabout ways. “I need the grace of some bit of time to cross the T’s and dot the I’s,” he said.

The creation of a new division would result in a new alignment of the AHL’s Western and Eastern conferences and six divisions. Andrews said that would have to be done by the league’s spring meeting May 11, and that in practical terms everything would have to be set by the first week in April.”

Then Andrews did talk about “strengthening” and “stabilizing” the AHL which suggested some markets are going to lose their AHL teams.

“We’re going through a process we’ve never been through before,” Andrews said. “It is difficult for some markets, but it is something we have to do. It will strengthen the league. It is not something fans in some markets will feel good about, but strengthening the league and stabilizing the league is important to the fan base overall.”

Some markets that lose AHL franchises, if not all of them, will have professional hockey next year, Andrews said, a reference to the ECHL.


- See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150127/SPORTS0702/150129175#sthash.7FxS4Jns.dpuf
 DID YOU KNOW:  The Calder Cup is the trophy awarded annually to the champions of the American Hockey League. It is the second oldest actively awarded professional ice hockey playoff trophy after the NHL's Stanley Cup. The Calder Cup was first presented in 1937 to the Syracuse Stars. The trophy is named after Frank Calder, who was the first president of the National Hockey League. The cup is made of sterling silver mounted on a base of Brazilian mahogany. In its current shape, the trophy has a two-tiered square base with commemorative plaques for each of the AHL's 20 most recent champions - 12 on the bottom tier and 8 on the top tier. Each time a new championship plaque is added, the oldest plaque is retired and joins a display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
The AHL's Calder Cup



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rapid City Preparation, Valcak Arrives, Outside The Division Record, ECHL Silly Season, Young's Thumb

- With the weekend behind them the Americans are now looking forward to playing Rapid City. They will be back at practice this morning preparing for home games on Thursday and Friday against the Rush. Not much new to report this morning but will attend practice today and check things out. It will be the first practice for Patrik Valcak (val-chaak) who has made the trip from Poland where he and Josef Fojtik were playing when they were signed by the Americans. Should also be a second goalie at practice as Allen will have to sign someone to serve as the back up while Aaron Dell is in Worcester (AHL).

- Kale Kerbashian and Dallas Ehrhardt have been traded to Rapid City since the last time the Rush were in Allen so they will join Daniel Tetrault for a trio of former Allen Americans visiting the Allen Event Center this week.

- After several games this past weekend including three by the Allen Americans the overall record of the Central Division against teams outside the Central Division is now 9-24. Over half of the 24 games involved the last place Brampton Beast who are 3-12 against teams outside the division. Here is how the other teams have fared.
Allen - 1-2
Missouri - 0-3
Quad City - 2-2
Rapid City - 1-1
Tulsa - 1-2
Wichita - 1-2

- The days of "silly season" in the CHL are now long past but if you have been tracking all of the stories about the AHL's migration to the west coast you know "silly season" is in full swing in the ECHL. While nothing has been announced officially it appears both leagues have been dealing with the subject at their Board of Governors meeting in conjunction with their All-Star games. If teams are not going to operate next year in the league they are currently in, it requires a notification to the respective league so these notifications have already taken place. The consensus from the articles that have been written is the AHL will do everything possible to make this happen for the 2015-2016 season but there are many hurdles to still over come. As a reminder here are the moves anticipated.

The Los Angeles Kings move their AHL Manchester Monarchs to Ontario, California. Ontario moves to Manchester as an ECHL team.

The Edmonton Oilers move their AHL affiliate from Oklahoma City to Bakersfield, California. It is possible Oklahoma City moves to the ECHL but it would not be the Bakersfield team.

The San Jose Sharks take their AHL team in Worcester and move them to San Jose where they will play in the same arena (SAP Center) as the Sharks until another suitable place is found. Worcester will become an ECHL city.

The Norfolk Admirals have just reached an agreement to be sold to the Anaheim Ducks and will be moved to San Diego. The ECHL team in Bakersfield that is owned by Edmonton would move to Norfolk and still be owned by Edmonton.

The Calgary Flames move their affiliate (Adirondack Flames) out of Glens Falls, NY to Stockton, CA. The Flames buy the Stockton ECHL franchise and move it to Glens Falls.

The Vancouver Canucks are not part of the AHL migration west as they will maintain their AHL affiliate in Utica, NY. where they have a long term lease.

AHL league president Dave Andrews had this to say on Monday, "It's is a complex undertaking. There are an awful lot of moving parts,'' Andrews said. "We are looking at a complicated group of potential franchise relocations.We're looking at a number of other affiliation discussions within our league right now that are going to change the landscape of the league even further. We are looking at potential relocations of other teams in the league, not necessarily to the Pacific Division. "Our landscape is unsettled as of today. We are still not across the line in terms of the Pacific Division launch for next year. We are making significant progress. But there are still a number of unresolved issues.''



-  Kevin Young posted a picture of his injured thumb on Facebook yesterday and have to admit when Coach Martinson said at a post game press conference Kevin lost part of his nail this wasn't the picture that came to mind. Can't imagine getting stitches through your nail bed is very pleasant. Per Kevin it is not a lot of fun to play with either.

OUCH!


 - Here is some statistical info on Patrik Valcak courtesy of eliteprospects.com:



PATRIK VALCAK  Czech Rep.

BIRTHYEAR 1984-12-16 BIRTHPLACEOstrava, CZE
AGE 30 NATION Czech Rep.
POSITION F SHOOTS L
HEIGHT  6'2" WEIGHT  227 lbs



NHL DRAFT 2003 round 4 #129 overall by Boston Bruins




CAREER STATISTICS
 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM +/-      Postseas. GP G A TP PIM +/- 
 1999-00 HC Poruba U18 Czech U18 2 6 2 350
|            
 2000-01 HC Poruba U18 Czech U18 34 13 112428 8 |            
 2001-02 HC Poruba U20 Czech U20 33 4 81232 -5 | Relegation 12 5 81312 -1 
  HC Poruba Czech3 8 1 236
|            
 2002-03 HC Poruba U20 Czech U20 31 10 1222100
| Playoffs 7 4 61031  
 2003-04 Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL 35 2 91128 -2 |            
  Kelowna Rockets WHL 22 0 1113 -4 | Playoffs 11 0 006 -2 
 2004-05 HC Poruba U20 Czech U20 5 2 354 -4 |            
  HC Poruba Czech2 26 1 6732 -6 | Playoffs 2 0 002 -2 
  HC Havirov Czech2 2 0 116 -2 |            
  Lincoln Stars USHL 4 1 232 0 |            
 2005-06 HC Vsetin Czech 3 0 000 -3 |            
  HC Poruba Czech2 15 1 454 -5 |            
  KLH Jindrichuv Hradec Czech2 15 2 4620 -3 |            
  SK Kadan Czech2 13 1 236 2 |            
 2006-07 TPS Liiga 2 0 002 0 |            
  Blues Liiga 8 0 118 0 |            
  Grenoble France 15 1 4530
| Playoffs 12 0 101018  
 2007-08 Grenoble France 26 10 354559
| Playoffs 6 1 3416  
 2008-09 HK Dukla Trencin Slovakia 45 6 253132 1 | Playoffs 1 0 000
 2009-10 HK Dukla Trencin Slovakia 24 4 172140 -9 |            
  HK 32 Liptovsky Mikulas Slovakia 12 2 468 -6 |            
 2010-11 Olofstr√∂ms IK Division 1 23 4 151950
|            
 2011-12 HC Trinec Czech 8 0 002 -2 |            
  HK Nitra Slovakia 18 1 7840 -6 |            
 2012-13 Cracovia Krakow Poland 38 15 415691 28 | Playoffs 14 2 81041
 2013-14 HC Vitkovice Czech 40 0 111148 -2 | Playoffs 2 0 002
 2014-15 Cracovia Krakow Poland 32 10 334377 8 |            
  Allen Americans ECHL - - ---
|  




DID YOU KNOW: Allen has won ten games in a row at home and has at least one point in eighteen straight games at home. With the exception of a 2-1 shootout loss to Wichita on December 19, Allen has not lost at home since November 9th.