A look into the world of the American Hockey League outside of just the normal game re-caps.
Flames shooting for profitability
By Amanda May Metzger | Post Star.com
GLENS FALLS — As the Adirondack Flames take the ice, they’re aiming not only for the net. They’re making a play for your discretionary spending in the competitive arena of family entertainment.
As Flames President Brian Petrovek explained, operating the Calgary Flames American Hockey League affiliate is like running other businesses, but with an uncommon product: a hockey team that takes the ice for its home opener Saturday at 7 against the Albany Devils.
“We define ourselves as a properly priced family entertainment option. What makes us unique is we have world-class athletes that can do things on blades of steel that not too many other people can do. And they do it so well they’re a phone call away from participating in the best league in the world, the National Hockey League,” Petrovek said.
The league includes 30 franchises, with 16 teams owned independently of NHL teams. The Portland Pirates, of which Petrovek was an owner, is one of those teams. Read More…
Springfield Falcons open with new coach and some young faces on offense
SPRINGFIELD – As the Springfield Falcons open their American Hockey League season Saturday night in Syracuse, they figure to be strong on defense, promising in goaltending and young on offense.
That’s how the 24-man roster looks as Jared Bednar starts his first season as coach. He comes to the job with considerable experience, including the last two seasons as an assistant with the Falcons.
Bednar follows Brad Larsen, who won Northeast Division championships over the last two seasons to earn a promotion to the staff of Springfield’s parent club, the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League.
Twelve of Larsen’s Springfield players were on the Columbus roster as the team opened Thursday night with a 3-1 victory at Buffalo. Ex-Falcons were involved in the scoring – goals by Cam Atkinson and Jack Skille; assists for Ryan Johansen and Michael Chaput. Former Falcons defenseman David Savard played 24:30 minutes, most on the team.
With five Blue Jackets out with injuries, it seems likely the Falcons eventually will get more players, depending on how the Columbus roster evolves. Read More…
Texas Stars OK with being the hunted
by Kinsey Janke || for NHL.com
Perhaps the only guarantee in the world of sports is that there are no guarantees. Players get injured, coaches get fired, and general managers trade away the past in order to make the future better.
In the American Hockey League, the stability of it all is often so precarious that many teams are unable to get out from under it. For the Texas Stars, a season removed from winning the franchise’s first Calder Cup, stability is something they have in spades.
Of the 28 names recently engraved on the Cup, 18 are returning to Cedar Park for the start of the 2014-15 campaign, which begins tonight. This core knows not only how to win, but how to win together, a luxury that not many other teams can tap into.
“It was a great experience for everyone last year, and it gives everyone that much more confidence and that much more experience getting to go on a big run like that,” said second-year pro Curtis McKenzie. “Now everyone knows we can be champions.”
McKenzie was Dallas’ sixth-round draft pick in 2009. He became a key piece of the Stars’ offense in 2013-14 primarily skating on the left wing with Travis Morin and Colton Sceviour, netting 27 goals and 65 points over 75 games. Read More…
New affiliations, longer overtimes, and familiar foes
By Brendan McCarthy | Telegram.com
Everyone expects a major westward move for the American Hockey League within the next two or three years as western-based National Hockey League organizations seek to have their AHL affiliates closer to the parent teams. However, the biggest change for the AHL in this past off-season actually involved a west-to-east relocation as the Abbotsford, B.C., Heat folded and the Calgary Flames transferred their farm team to Glens Falls, N.Y., where it will be known as the Adirondack Flames.
St. John’s IceCaps fans won’t get to see the re-coloured Adirondack entry; the AHL Flames aren’t on the IceCaps’ dance card for the 2014-15 regular season which begins tonight. However, one of St. John’s opponents will be a team that was minted in concert with the Heat-to-Flames transformation. In a move that had been anticipated for some time, but took longer than expected, the Philadelphia Flyers move their farm club from Glens Falls, where it had been located for five years, to new digs in Allentown, Pa., where the team will be known as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Phantoms and IceCaps will hook up in four games.
For fans throughout the league, the biggest changes will come through the AHL rulebook.
There have been over two-dozen rule changes, many of them of the minor variety or involving clarification or reinterpretation. But there are a quite a few notable alterations, almost all of them following recent changes to the NHL rule book. They include expansion of the trapezoid behind the net, enlarging the area in which a goalie can play the puck; an automatic game misconduct for a player who picks up two fighting majors or three majors of any kind in a game; provision for a full-ice dry scape in advance of overtime; elimination of spin-o-ramas in shootouts; and measures — including the possibility of a minor penalty — to curb delaying tactics in the face-off circle by teams that have just been hit with an icing call. Read More…
Few surprises in Marlies lineup as AHL looks to build on strong season
Dhiren Mahiban / The Canadian Press
TORONTO – After winning their third straight North Division title last season, the Toronto Marlies kept the changes to a minimum for their upcoming campaign.
As many as 14 players on the current roster spent some time with the American Hockey League club last season. Toronto had a young lineup that finished with a 45-25-6 record but fell one win shy of a berth in the Calder Cup final for the second time in three seasons.
The team’s coaching staff has a new look as Gord Dineen takes over from Steve Spott, who was promoted to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ coaching staff. Dineen, an assistant on Spott’s staff last season, last served as an AHL head coach with the Iowa Chops in 2008-’09.
“The names have changed a little bit, but I think our makeup is such that we’re going to play the same type of game,” Dineen said of his squad, which opens the season at home Saturday against Utica. “We want to have the puck. We’re going to be a puck possession team.”
The Marlies did lose a few significant players as veteran goaltender Drew MacIntyre moved to the Carolina Hurricanes organization and defenceman T.J. Brennan — the league’s top blue-liner last season — is now in the Chicago Blackhawks system. See More…