AHL Read This: Grand Rapids Down to Texas, D’Amigo Dominating, Dean Arsene Retiring, Matt Marquardt

A look into the world of the American Hockey League outside of just the normal game re-caps.

Grand Rapids Griffins have work to do, down, 2-0, in AHL playoff series

Grand Rapids Down to Texas

The defending Calder Cup Champions, Grand Rapids Griffins are down 2-0 in the series to the Texas Stars, but can you count them out?
(Picture By Christina Shapiro | Texas Stars)

By George Sipple

The Grand Rapids Griffins are looking to fix a lot of things in practice Monday, after dropping the first two games in their American Hockey League playoff series against the Texas Stars.

The Griffins host Game 3 at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at VanAndel Arena.

Despite having some Detroit Red Wings players on their roster, the Griffins have struggled to score against Texas.

“We gotta go to work Monday and we gotta work at fixing the things we’re not doing good enough,” Grand Rapids coach Jeff Blashill said after a 4-0 loss in Game 2 on Saturday. “We don’t, obviously, have a lot of time, but we’ll use Monday’s practice to work on fixing those things.

“You have to have a ‘what’s next’ mentality. We lost two games. We’re not playing good enough.” Read More…

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Marquardt’s NHL Dream Still Alive

by: Liam Berti

Matt Marquardt isn’t used to watching playoff hockey from his home in North Bay.

But after winning only one game in their last seven, Marquardt and his team, the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League, were eliminated from post-season contention, marking just the second time in his pro career he hasn’t played in the post-season.

And now, with a well-rounded CV and a storied pro hockey career at just 26 years-old, Marquardt may find himself looking for a new place to play come September.

Thanks in large part to the developmental nature of the AHL, Marquardt’s acclaimed leadership and energizing role on the squad might not fit into the Checkers’ puzzle moving forward.

“It’s tough, but at the same time hockey is a business now. The sooner you understand that, the sooner it becomes a little easier to deal with when the times get tough,” Marquardt explained.  “It’s tough having to deal with the uncertainty, but like I do during the hockey season, I just try staying level-headed and keep a good attitude about it. I feel like I’ve done a lot over the course of my career and I feel like I’ve got a good résumé.” Read More…

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NHL: Ryan Johansen’s contract is top priority for Jackets

By Aaron Portzline

It’s easy to forget how the Blue Jackets thought about center Ryan Johansen at this time last year. Frustration was the prevailing emotion, and concern was creeping in.

Johansen was sent to minor-league Springfield after the 2013 season ended so he could continue to develop. But he had played so poorly in the American Hockey League playoffs that Springfield coach Brad Larsen made him a healthy scratch.

Johansen, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 draft, went from finishing the season in a minor-league press box to finishing 11th in the league — the NHL, that is — in scoring a year later.

He led the Blue Jackets with 33 goals and 63 points, almost doubling his numbers from his previous two NHL seasons and becoming only the third Blue Jackets player to have 30-plus goals and assists in a season. Read More…

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Tradition-rich Glens Falls, N.Y., remains in AHL

By Tim Leone | tleone@pennlive.com

The Adirondack Phantoms are moving to Allentown and becoming the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in 2014-15, but Glens Falls, N.Y., will still have an AHL team next season.

The Calgary Flames’ Abbotsford Heat franchise is relocating to Glens Falls Civic Center, which was home to the Phantoms since 2009 and before that was the home of the Adirondack Red Wings.

“I think it’s great that Calgary is going in there,” Hershey Bears President-GM Doug Yingst said. “I hope it ends up to be more than one year. If it’s only one year, I hope there’s another team that would go into the Glens Falls area just because of the history and tradition that it has. They’re a major part of the history of the American Hockey League.”

Amid the franchise movement, divisional realignment looms for 2014-15. The Phantoms, who have been in the Northeast Division, figure to join Hershey and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the East Division. Read More…

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Weinstein: Playoff star Jerry D’Amigo deserves real NHL shot next season

Written by Matt Weinstein @PSBSens

He might not be getting the attention of the city he plays in, but Johnson City native Jerry D’Amigo is the face of Toronto’s lone current professional playoff team.

The Maple Leafs missed the Stanley Cup playoffs for the eighth time in nine years and the Raptors were bounced from the first round of the NBA playoffs last week. For the third consecutive postseason, however, the Toronto Marlies are rolling along.

And the 23-year-old D’Amigo, looking like a grizzled veteran with his thick playoff beard, is one of the main reasons why as he tries to prove to Maple Leafs management his worthiness of a full-time role in the National Hockey League.

The best way to prove that? Dominate. Read More…

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Cheek adjusts to life in pro hockey

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

Trevor Cheek was just starting to find his stride in professional hockey, getting some consistent minutes with the Lake Erie Monsters and gaining confidence.

Then — for the second time in as many years — a freak injury ended the season prematurely for the Vancouver native.

In his rookie season with the Colorado Avalanche’s Cleveland-based farm team in the American Hockey League, Cheek appeared in 46 games. He scored three goals, had five assists, and experienced competing against adult men for the first time.

“It was a lot different, and it was definitely an eye opener for me at the start of the year,” Cheek said. “I thought that I progressed throughout the year and hopefully I can take that into next year.”

Last season, an injury kept Cheek from playing for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League finals against the Portland Winterhawks. This time, a torn hamstring ended Cheek’s season several weeks early. Read More…

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Former Hershey Bears D Dean Arsene, a heart-and-soul hockey warrior, heads into retirement

By Tim Leone | tleone@pennlive.com

When Dean Arsene gets inducted into the Hershey Bears Hockey Club Hall of Fame sometime down the road, there is a perfect picture to use to model his plaque.

Arsene, the embodiment of a heart-and-soul player, holds the Calder Cup aloft with blood streaming down his left cheek after the Bears clinched the 2008-09 AHL title at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“He’s not only a super, super person, he’s an ambassador for the game,” Bears President-GM Doug Yingst said. “What he did for the Hershey Bears – I think it was John Waltonwho titled him the Mayor of Hershey – he was your ultimate player. He was a warrior. Just as important, he was the same way in the community.

“If you try to compare him to other professional athletes, he would be at the top. He would be a model. We knew about his character. His drive and will to get the most out of his ability was outstanding.” Read More…

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Bob Howard

About Bob Howard

Owner/Host of the Power Play Post Show for 10 + years. Credentialed media member in Binghamton with the B-Sens. I have also done color commentary on the B-Sens & Manchester Monarchs radio broadcasts.

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