Monday, December 31, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Bobby Taylor

As we are on the eve of a new year...there's really no theme to this one. This week's AGM had quite the travel log when all is said and done, going up and down one coast after going to and from both coasts. All in all, he got a lot of flyer miles, while getting some playing time with the Flyers. This week, the profile of Bobby Taylor.

To start his career, Taylor played with his hometown Calgary Buffaloes for the 1962-63 season and 1963-64 season before moving out to Ontario to play with the OHA's St. Catherines Black Hawks for the 1964-65 season where he would play in 18 games. During the 1965 playoffs, Taylor was loaned to the Edmonton Oil Kings for four playoff games (1-3) and then into the Memorial Cup for three appearances (2-1).

In the 1965-66 season, Taylor was signed by the St. Louis Braves, but never played with the team. For the 1966-67 season, Taylor went home to play in the Western Canadian Senior League for the Calgary Spurs for 16 games, helping them to the Allan Cup-- where he would go 6-4, but lose out in the Finals. Taylor stayed with the Spurs for the 1967-68 season for 27 games and three in the playoffs (1-2). Taylor would go on to be with the Canadian National Team at the end of that season, but wouldn't appear in any exhibitions.

The Philadelphia Flyers would sign Taylor in the summer of 1968 and then assign him to the Eastern League Jersey Devils, where he would go 25-38-7 record in 70 games. It was an adventure for Taylor in the 1969-70 season, where Taylor would play eight games for the Devils, then go to the Western League to play for the Seattle Totems in five games, then ending up playing 14 games with the AHL's Quebec Aces, where he would also play two playoff games (1-1). Taylor would setting down with the Aces in the 1970-71 season, posting a 13-15-8 record in 39 games.

For the 1971-72 season, Taylor would stay in the AHL, but play for the Richmond Robins for 26 games for a 7-14-4 record, but also appear in six games with the Flyers (1-2-2). The Flyers would be Taylor's destination for the bulk of the 1972-73 season behind Bernie Parent-- going 8-8-4 in 23 games, as well as spending six games in Richmond.

It would be a split season for Taylor starting in the 1973-74 season, playing in 11 games with Richmond (4-4-3), then eight games with the Flyers (3-3-0) and would be a part of the Stanley Cup team with Philadelphia in those playoffs. It was another split season in the 1974-75 season, playing in five games for Richmond (3-1-1) and three for the Flyers (0-2-0) and once again along for the ride in another Flyers Stanley Cup victory. Third time was a charm for Taylor in the split, this time only appearing in four games for the Flyers (3-1-0) and then four for the Robins (0-2-1) before finally getting some reprieve.

In March of 1976, Taylor and Ed Van Impe were traded from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh for Gary Inness. Taylor would only play in two games for the Penguins (0-1-0), then spend the rest of the time in the AHL with the Springfield Indians for 23 games and go 7-14-0 before hanging up the pads at season's end.

Post-hockey, Taylor would go into the broadcast booth, joining the Flyers broadcasting team from 1976 until 1992. He would then join the Tampa Bay Lightning broadcast team, where he is the color commentator for the TV side.

Though he had a rocky side of junior hockey, then sat out a season-- Taylor made a pretty decent career for himself. Granted, the trips up and down Interstate 95 in the 70's probably took it's toll, but at the same time he was able to experience two Stanley Cup runs, even if he didn't appear in a game.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Expansion Stat Pack for 12.30.12

Since we last left you-- the Fort Wayne Komets seem to be the only consistent team out there. Many of the other teams have slipped just a bit, though their standings don't necessarily say as much. However, one surprise is that the Sherbrooke Phoenix are playing pretty well and after the Christmas break should have healed them up-- they'll make a run at the last spot of the QMJHL playoffs, as they are just behind the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

(Stats before the games on 12.30.12; Does NOT include members not on active roster)

Orlando Solar Bears: 14-15-2-2; 5th in South Division, 11th in Eastern Conference
     -Matthew Sisca: 8g, 18a, E
     -Michael Wilson: 2g, 19a, +1
     -Dan Gendur: 10g, 9a, -7
     -John Curry: 12-7-2-0, 2.61 GAA, .913 Sv%

San Francisco Bulls: 10-14-1-2; 3rd in Pacific Division, 8th in Western Conference
     -Dean Ouellet: 16g, 12a, -9
     -Peter Sivik: 11g, 17a, -7
     -Justin Bowers: 8g, 19a, -14
     -Thomas Heemskerk: 11-12-1-2, 3.26 GAA, .899 Sv%

Evansville IceMen: 11-19-0-3; 5th in North Division, 14th in Eastern Conference
     -Josh Beaulieu: 13g. 16a, -11
     -Todd Robinson: 1g, 22a, -22
     -Dylan Clarke: 10g, 12a, +1
     -Paul Karpowich: 4-7-0-1, 3.49 GAA, .890 Sv%

Fort Wayne Komets: 16-13-1-1; 3rd in North Division, 6th in Eastern Conference
     -Brandon Marino: 10g, 28a, +8
     -Josh Brittain: 13g, 14a, +10
     -Brett N. Smith: 6g, 13a, -8
     -Ken Reiter: 8-6-0-1, 2.90 GAA, .911 Sv%

Denver Cutthroats: 18-11-2, 3rd in Berry Division/Conference/League
     -AJ Gale: 18g, 22a, E
     -Brad Smyth: 16g, 23a, +10
     -Troy Schwab: 9g, 26a, +7
     -Kent Patterson: 10-5-0, 2.87 GAA, .911 Sv%

Sherbrooke Phoenix: 10-21-2-3, 6th in Telus West Division, 17th in QMJHL
     -Michael McManee: 9g, 19a, -14
     -Denis Kamaev: 8g, 18a, -1
     -Alexandre Comtois: 10g, 15a, -24
     -Jacob Gervais-Chouinard: 9-12-1-2, 4.06 GAA, .882 Sv%

Friday, December 28, 2012

Reinforcement Rules at Spengler Cup

The Spengler Cup is the often forgotten relative in the holiday tournament scene. Though it is the oldest European club tournament, founded in 1923 as a way to help German speaking Europeans after World War I and started by Dr. Carl Spengler. It's hosted by HC Davos in Davos, Switzerland at the fantastic Valliant Arena, but it wasn't until 1979 when the tournament went indoors. HC Davos is there as the host and usually there's a representation from Hockey Canada that plays; as well as four other teams that are brought in by invitation only.

With the NHL lockout, the tournament has brought a lot of big names, especially with Canada actually making their team a mix of NHLers who may not have played yet this year (Ryan Smyth, Devan Dubnyk), NHLers who are playing Switzerland (John Tavares, Tyler Seguin), and other Canadians who play in Switzerland (Josh Holden, Micki Dupont). On top of it all the likes of Joe Thornton and Patrick Kane have graced the roster of HC Davos, Cory Schneider and Max Talbot on Fribourg, as well as Jason Pominville and Dennis Seidenberg on Mannheim.

The interesting part about this is not only the cavalcade of Canadian players that come from Switzerland and Europe to make up the Canadian team, nor is it the referee jerseys looking like a cow; but the fact that there's plenty of guys from other teams in the same league in order to play for one of the invited teams. One of which is Patrick Kane, who doesn't play for Davos, but is coming over from another Swiss League team: EHC Biel. Also going to Davos from Biel is Reto Berra, who was supposed to help the Davos goaltending situation. Max Talbot goes to play for Fribourg after spending the season so far with the Finnish League's Ilves, while Cory Schneider plays for HC Ambri-Piotta, but is in net for Fribourg.

Teams are allowed to bring in three skaters and a goalie for reinforcements, but often times teams don't do that. Davos is a team who puts it into a big effect in order to put on a great show for the home crowd. For me, I often wonder why a team would want to bring in other players from their opposition to play for them, even though this is an invitational tournament and you want to have the best players on the roster in order to win it all.

Even with that, one would think that it would be an issue and hope that you don't get your "secrets" stolen because you bring in "spies" from other teams to play in a chance to win it all. While you can imagine that the neutrality of the Swiss nature is there, it still is a risky venture and something that makes me scratch my head as an outsider. More over than that, the team the loans out their players have to hope that in some aspect-- they don't get hurt because often it's their best players that are transferred out.

Espionage storyline that I've made up in my own head aside-- the practice is something that is a very fun thing to see, especially when a short tournament like this happens and some guys who wouldn't have gotten to experience it otherwise. It's a high-tempo week with only a guarantee of three games and is one of the more prestigious, if not little known, championships that not many get a shot at. Not only that, but you wonder why there's not more of these kind of invitational tournaments in North American pro ranks. For me, the Spengler Cup is one of the better tournaments out there because of it's exclusivity and little rules such as the reinforcements, plus it's played at one of the most badass arenas out there.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Jacques Cloutier

This week's AGM is a goalie who was able to be a workhorse in the junior leagues, but was never able to stay healthy enough in the pros to show off his talents. Of course, it could be a harder transition for him, but he did what he could and then moved to a teaching role after learning so much. This week, the profile of Jacques Cloutier.

Cloutier started his trek in the QMJHL with the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs starting in the 1976-77 season, playing in 25 games and posting an 11-6-2 record. Starting in the 1977-78 season, Cloutier became a workhorse for Trois-Rivieres, playing in 71 games of the team's 72-- compiling a 46-17-7 record, then going 12-1 in the playoffs, helping them win the QMJHL Championship. Cloutier would go 1-3 in the Memorial Cup that season. Cloutier played all 72 games for Trois-Rivieres in the 1978-79 season and had a 58-8-6 record, then 12-1 in the playoffs again, then 2-2 in the Memorial Cup. After the Buffalo Sabres drafted Cloutier in 1979, he had his workload cut down, playing only 55 games in the 1979-80 season, finishing with a 27-20-7 record-- then 3-4 in the playoffs.

Turning pro for the 1980-81 season, Cloutier would head to the AHL with the Rochester Americans; getting into 61 games and coming up with a 27-27-6 record. In the 1981-82 season, Cloutier went 14-7-2 in 23 games in Rochester, while being called into duty for the Sabres and putting up a 5-1-0 record in seven games. Cloutier stayed with Buffalo for the bulk of the 1982-83 season as a back-up (10-7-6), but the Sabres traded for an experienced back-up; putting Cloutier back in Rochester-- where he would go 7-3-1 in 13 games, then posting a 12-4 playoff record lifting Rochester to the Calder Cup.

The 1983-84 season, Cloutier was back in Rochester playing in 51 games with a final count of 26-22-1 and then going 9-9 in the playoffs. In the 1984-85 season, Cloutier would play 14 games in Rochester (10-2-1) and one game in Buffalo (0-0-1) before he tore some of his knee ligaments, putting him out for the rest of the season. The injury would keep Cloutier out until midway through the 1985-86 season, but he would get into 14 games with Rochester (10-2-2) and then 15 for Buffalo (5-9-1); then playing five games for Canada in the World Championship, helping the country get bronze.

Thanks to injury and inconsistent play for Tom Barrasso, Cloutier was able to stay up with Buffalo for the 1986-87 season, going 11-19-5 in 40 games, but the 1987-88 season saw Cloutier get into a logjam in Buffalo, playing only 20 games and posting a 4-8-2 record in that time. In the 1988-89 season, Cloutier was still in the logjam, but injuries and a horrific moment to Clint Malarchuk would put Cloutier in the spotlight. Cloutier would have a 15-14-0 record in 36 appearances and would go 1-3 in the playoffs. Also, Cloutier spent 11 games in Rochester, but with a lackluster 2-7-0 record.

Before the 1989-90 season, Cloutier was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks, where Cloutier would be a starter in that season for 43 games and compile an 18-15-2, then going 0-2 in four playoff games. Cloutier was hung up in another logjam in Chicago during the 1990-91 season-- being pushed out by Ed Belfour and then Dominik Hasek-- only getting on 10 games with a 2-3-1 record.

During January 1991, Cloutier was traded to the Quebec Nordiques and would finish the season there, appearing in 15 games with a 3-8-2 record. As a back-up in 1991-92, Cloutier appeared in 26 games and posted a 6-14-3 record. Cloutier was the third goalie during the 1992-93 season for Quebec, only appearing in three games and going 0-2-1. The 1993-94 season, brought more games for Cloutier-- but finishing with a 3-2-1 record in 14 appearances. After that season, Cloutier would retire from playing.

Cloutier stuck to hockey, but hired by the Nordiques as an AHL assistant coach with the Cornwall Aces from 1994 until 1996, then being promoted to assistant/goalie coach of the Colorado Avalanche-- winning Stanley Cup rings in 1996 and 2001. He was let go by the Avalanche in 2009, but would go over to Switzerland to help coach with Bob Hartley and help the Zurich Lions win a league championship and moved with Hartley from Switzerland to Calgary to be the assistant coach of the Flames whenever the lockout ends.

Junior stand-out that got hampered by injury and during a time where goalies were plentiful, Cloutier was part of the casualties that, but did make a good enough name for himself and had his mind for hockey-- transitioning it to a solid coaching career.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Airing of Grievances

In the "Seinfeld" tradition of Festivus, it's time for the airing of grievances. AND I GOT A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH YOU PEOPLE.

NHL and NHLPA: Let's get it together. Enough about seeing who's junk is bigger and talking all this noise and actually maybe put that energy to better use. In a world that seems to be all about who "wins" and who "loses," sport is usually the getaway from that...but it's not. It's the same high school drama we've had to deal with for years and you're making an already niche sport less relevant.

NHL-Only Fans: I get that you miss the league, but please let's stop actually saying that all of hockey is over. Sure, the main league is a big loss, but the expansions of horizons about the game as a whole is not a bad thing. Sad that Nike only increases that stereotype that just because the NHL is gone, all of hockey is gone.

Minor League Fans: Let's not push the agenda that there's actual hockey out there because of course it is. It's not for everyone and it's not supposed to be for everyone. Why are you trying to blow up your little secret you have only to get interlopers in there and ruin the fun for everyone else when they say that it's not as good as the NHL. It only gets you down and make the minor leagues look that less credible.

Silly Twitter Accounts: It's great to laugh at these little nuances that happen during the Lockout, but the fact that the NHL podium (or lectern if you're a proper jerk) had a Twitter account and people got excited about it shows that NHL fans will flock back easy and almost makes the fans look silly to other sports out there.

Punditry: Enough with the bi-polarness of your reporting. The emotional rollercoaster you put everyone on is almost sickening and makes me believe that you're masochistic and enjoy getting everyone up to let them down-- enough of you.

Lip-Synching Songs: It was cute at once, but much like alternate jerseys-- the oversaturation of the marketplace has made it horrific to even watch the cringe-inducing nature these players put themselves though. I understand this world is all about going viral because everyone wants to be famous-- but come on. Christmas songs are depressing and there's so few that are any good. We all love Mariah Carey, but it doesn't mean you need to keep going on and on with her song. Enough.

I'm sure there's some more, but I've lost my train of thought. Now...the feats of strength.

Monday, December 17, 2012

On the Topic Of NHL Contraction

As I've tried to avoid lockout talk, I did see something that should be a discussion point and should have been a discussion point for this lockout-- the idea of contraction, something that hasn't happened since the Cleveland Barons in 1979. Luckily, someone much smarter and more well-known than I has made that a new discussion point-- especially with all that legal wrangling going on right now. Here's what Pierre Lebrun had to say in his latest article:
"I'm not sure the NHL returns with 30 teams on the other side of a lost season. Can the weaker markets truly survive this? That's damage both sides would feel."
Even Forbes has made the argument for contraction, thinking it could be the best hope and saying Western and Southern teams aren't hockey markets and the "fans" are "fans" at all. They know something about money, but I don't know about pleasing the masses.

If that were to happen, it could do much more damage to the revenue stream and how it is divided or proposed to be divided in any projection that comes out. Sure, the lower teams wouldn't bring in much revenue; but any hit would skew the boat one way or another.

Of course, the question becomes-- how many teams do you cut to make the league healthy again?? Is it two, four, 10?? The question will vary depending upon what people believe from their own view. And while the lower market teams would take away some money-- those teams could be the ones bleeding the money, as well-- thus making their elimination something that could keep the league healthy under whomever terms and conditions the NHL and NHLPA agree on.

That said, that's going to hurt the NHLPA as well for the obvious reason of jobs being lost by the players. Even if two teams are gone, that makes 64 players without jobs (based on the 23 players per roster ideal) and you can bet Don Fehr won't like that one bit...which means that Bettman and the Board of Governors could be touting this as a possibility soon.

Which is what makes this whole lockout posturing insane. But we all knew that.

In any case, the idea of contraction is something that could make the league better off than it is right now because it could cut cost of travel, lessen the amount of money lost, and while losing revenue in some sorts; it'll be for the greater health of the league and revenue sharing if something were to happen. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing a couple teams taken out for the health of the league, but the fans who would suffer would probably revolt as it were-- though when has the NHL thought of the fans, am I right, folks??

Expect this to be the new talking point as this battle goes around and around into possibly the New Year. Unless there's a Christmas or Festivus Miracle, this thing will go on and on with teams, players, and fans hurting-- but maybe some other leagues reaping the benefits-- hockey or otherwise.

A Look At The Minor League Lifer

In the course of a week, there has been two different articles talking about players being the "Crash Davis" of minor league hockey. talked about Darren Haydar's time in the AHL, while Adrian Dater was all about Brad Smyth's cross-continent approach when playing.

Haydar has played 23 NHL games over four seasons over an 11-year career and Smyth has 88 over eight seasons over an 18-year career; so I would give an edge to Haydar when it comes to the Crash Davis tag since he has much more of a "cup of coffee" status rather than Smyth.

The idea of having two Crash Davis's confuses me because, much like the Highlander, there must only be one. Aside from the 1980s movie references, it got me thinking who could be the most minor league of minor league players. There has been many lifers in the lower leagues without getting the most notoriety when all is said and done.

You have to go to the record books, obviously, to see who has the most games played and how they go about the minor league approach. The AHL has the types like Willie Marshall, who played in the 50's and 60's where the AHL itself was a very competitive league and had talent almost like the NHL, but were hooped because of the limited amount of teams in the NHL. Marshall did play 33 games with the Maple Leafs over four seasons, his last game during the 1958-59 season and didn't retire until 1971-72, finishing with a record 1,205 games in the AHL.

Harry Pidhirny could be the biggest proponent of the Crash Davis tag, playing only two games in the NHL and 1,071 in the AHL. Fred Glover was in the older era as well, but played 93 games in the NHL and 1,201 in the AHL; as well Mike Nykoluk who played in 1,069 in the AHL and 32 in the NHL. More recently, Jody Gage and Bryan Helmer are over the 1,000-game plateau in the AHL, though Helmer did see 145 NHL games to Gage's 68.

The ECHL has a lot of older soldiers of the minor league lifers, Cam Brown playing 789 ECHL, one NHL game, two IHL seasons, and 15 in the AHL; almost making him very much the lifer of all lifers. That is, until you see Louis Dumont's stat line, having him play 771 in the ECHL and only 10 games above the "AA" league system (5 AHL, 5 IHL) and 318 in the CHL, plus 14 in the British Leagues. Wes Goldie only played 697 games in the ECHL and only two AHL games to show for his career, as well as a stint in the Quebec Semi-Pro League.

On the horizon, Boyd Kane is at 891 games (as of 12.17.12); but probably won't catch the 1,205 of Marshall, but could top the 1,000-game mark. You have Sam Ftorek chasing Brown's ECHL record and only 36 games away from surpassing Goldie's games played, while Randy Rowe would be on the list if he didn't have extended stints in the AHL a couple of times. Tyler Fleck is chasing Travis Clayton's CHL record of 880 games, but Fleck is at 733 and has Scott Wray (646) and Sebastien Thinel (591) on his tail-- though Thinel could be a little more set-up to overtake Clayton as he is a bit younger-- but injuries can halt many things.

There's plenty of lifers in the minors that people don't know about, but all it takes is a lockout and need for news that makes these names come to light and makes people take notice to guys who have led a vibrant career in the minors, but may never get the chance to take NHL ice for a long time, if at all.

Absurd Goalie Monday: Martin Prusek

For most of the AGMs, they aren't that successful and fade away after the hype. However, this week's was probably one of the more solid back-ups in recent memory, but just seemed to get shuffled out. Along with his ability to succeed back in his native country-- he decided to not play the logjam game and take it away from the NHL. This week, the profile of Martin Prusek.

Prusek began his career in his native Czech Republic with HC Vitkovice in the 1994-95 season and would play 256 games for them from the 1994-95 season until the 2000-01 season, as well as having stints with the Czech national team as a spare goal in the World Hockey Championships in 1997 through 1999, where he received two Bronze medals and a Gold.

During his time playing in his homeland, Prusek was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the 1999 Draft and he would come over to North America for the 2001-02 season. During that season, Prusek spent most his time with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins, posting a 18-8-5 record in 33 games, then going 2-3 in the post-season. Prusek's first season in North America was great as he was AHL First Team All-Star, shared the Hap Holmes Award for fewest goals against with Simon Lajeunesse and Mathieu Chouinard, as well as winning the Baz Bastien Award for AHL's Outstanding Goaltender. The only game that Prusek played in Ottawa that season was a loss.

Trying to match the success in 2002-03 would mostly be done in Ottawa, as Prusek compiled a 12-2-1 record in 18 games as Patrick Lalime's back-up, while then going 1-2-1 in four games with the AHL's Binghamton Senators. Prusek's only full season in Ottawa would be in the 2003-04 season and he would put together a 16-6-3 record in 29 games.

During the 2004-05 lockout, Prusek went home to play with HC Vitkovice for 14 games before he was loaned out to HC Znojmo for eight games. In those 22 games, Prusek combined for a 2.44 GAA during that time, though no records have been put out there.

When the NHL return, Prusek returned to the NHL but with the Columbus Blue Jackets, whom he signed with in the summer of 2005. However, a logjam in Columbus' net caused Prusek to play in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch, finishing 12-7-1 in 23 games, while when he got up to Columbus-- he put up a 3-3-0 record in nine appearances.

Seeing himself getting pushed out, Prusek opted for the Russian Super League in the 2006-07 season with SKA St. Petersburg for 22 games that season, before returning to his home club in HC Vitkovice in the 2007-08 season for 45 games. In the 2008-09 season, Prusek joined the newly renamed KHL and played for 22 games with Spartak Moscow and 20 games for Dynamo Riga, while playing the 2009 World Championships with the Czech and went 2-1-0 in three appearances. Prusek returned to Dynamo Riga in the 2009-10 for 28 games before he would move back home.

During the 2010-11 season, Prusek started to suffer some ailments in his chest and it was revealed that Prusek had carditis, which is an inflamation of the heart and the muscles around it. Prusek only played two games with HC Vitkovice that season before retiring.

Prusek immediate was offered and took the goaltending coach position for HC Vitkovice, where he is today. He also has his hand in a European equipment company called M4G Hockey.

One of the more incredible back-ups for his time, it seemed that while he could have had a spot-- Prusek went to the familiar of overseas and knew he'd actually be able to find a spot and succeed in that position. With a 19 game over .500 record in the NHL, who knew what he could have done with a solid starting chance.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Expansion Stat Pack for 12.14.12

Since we last left you, the Denver Cutthroats have made HUGE strides in the CHL, going from 9th in the League all the way up to 3rd on the back of AJ Gale and Brad Smyth. Even the Sherbrooke Phoenix have made some impressive strides to get into the playoff chase, but still have a lot of ground to make up. The ECHL has the steady up and down of Orlando and San Francisco while the Fort Wayne Komets are the only playoff team out of the four new ECHL teams thus far.

(Stats before the games on 12.14.12)

Orlando Solar Bears: 10-11-2-2; 5th in South Division, 9th in Eastern Conference
     -Nick Petersen: 11g, 13a, E
     -Matthew Sisca: 5g, 13a, -3
     -Ryan Cruthers: 8g, 7a, -5
     -John Curry: 9-5-2-0, 2.64 GAA, .911 Sv%

San Francisco Bulls: 10-14-1-2; 3rd in Pacific Division, 6th in Western Conference
     -Dean Ouellet: 14g, 11a, -6
     -Justin Bowers: 6g, 19a, -9
     -Peter Sivik: 10g, 13a, -5
     -Thomas Heemskerk: 9-10-1-1, 3.41 GAA, .897 Sv% 

Evansville IceMen: 10-14-0-2; 5th in North Division, 12th in Eastern Conference
     -Josh Beaulieu: 11g. 10a, -7
     -Todd Robinson: 1g, 17a, -15
     -Nathan Moon: 9g, 7a, -7
     -Rod Madore: 4-7-0-0, 3.11 GAA, .905 Sv% 

Fort Wayne Komets: 12-9-0-1; 3rd in North Division, 8th in Eastern Conference
     -Brandon Marino: 9g, 20a, +7
     -Josh Brittain: 10g, 9a, +7
     -Colin Chaulk: 2g, 15a, +2
     -Ken Reiter: 5-4-0-1, 2.78 GAA, .919 Sv% 

Denver Cutthroats: 14-8-1, 3rd in Berry Division/Conference/League
     -AJ Gale: 13g, 18a, -2
     -Brad Smyth: 13g, 16a, +7
     -Troy Schwab: 7g, 18a, +3
     -Kieran Millan: 7-4-1, 2.25 GAA, .929 Sv% 

Sherbrooke Phoenix: 8-20-2-2, 6th in Telus West Division, 17th in QMJHL
     -Michael McManee: 9g, 17a, -10
     -Cole Hawes: 8g, 17a, -5
     -Alexandre Comtois: 6g, 14a, -25
     -Jacob Gervais-Chouinard: 7-12-1-1, 4.19 GAA, .878 Sv%

Monday, December 10, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Doug Dadswell

While a college career is often useful for some for a short time, others need a longer time. This week's AGM appeared to give the old college try for so long before the NHL came calling-- and it could have been a bad decision. He did have himself a hiccup while playing, but got back to it only to finally call it a career not long after. This week, the profile of Doug Dadswell.

Dadswell moved in and out of the Ontario Junior A and B scene, playing for the St. Michael's Buzzards, Thronhill Thunderbirds, and Pickering Panthers in Junior B and the Richmond Hill Rams in Junior A from the 1980-81 season until the 1983-84 season.

Going to the NCAA route, Dadswell played at Cornell University for the Big Red starting in the 1984-85 season, playing in 28 games and finishing with a 17-10-1 record, then a 20-7-3 record in 30 games during the 1985-86 season. Dadswell received ECAC Second All-Star Team honors and NCAA East First Team All-American during that season, as well.

Foregoing his last two years of eligibility, Dadswell signed with the Calgary Flames before the 1986-87 season, playing mostly in the AHL with the Moncton Flames, posting a 23-12-0 record in 42 games, then going 4-2 in the playoffs. Dadswell also played in two games with the Flames, going 0-1-1. During the 1987-88 season. Dadswell backed up Mike Vernon and went 8-7-2 in 26 appearances with the Flames.

However, the Flames got experience back-up Rick Wamsley for the 1988-89 season, sending Dadswell to the IHL's Salt Lake Golden Eagles and he put up a 15-10-0 record with Salt Lake and also spent time with the Indianapolis Ice, going 4-15-0 in 24 games there.

Dadswell took off the entire 1989-90 season, coming back in the 1990-91 season with the Canadian National Team were he would post a 16-6-1 record in 20 games. The 1991-92 season saw Dadswell start with the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones for 24 games (14-9-1) before getting a call up to the AHL's Utica Devils for 22 games (7-9-2) and appearing in two playoff games-- both losses.

For the 1992-93 season, Dadswell returned to the Cincinnati Cyclones-- who now played in the IHL-- and going 5-11-1 before he moved to the ECHL's Birmingham Bulls for eight games with a 3-3-0 record. Dadswell returned to Calgary in the summer of 1993, but it was to play for the Roller Hockey International team, the Calgary Radz, where he would go 5-4-0 in 10 appearances before he would hang up the pads for good.

While Dadswell college accomplishments were good enough to get him into the Cornell Hall of Fame in 2000, I'm sure he'd much like to be considered for his professional career-- but it was much too short to register for some people. While he was unceremoniously shuffled out of the Flames line-up, it seemed taking time off to regroup didn't do him any favors when all was said and done.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

On the Topic Of the QMJHL's Player Support Program

On Monday, the QMJHL started their week-long awareness week of their Player Support Program entitled "Let's Talk." The deal is that the QMJHL has representatives to every team and it allows the players to come forth with whatever problems they may be having in their life-- on the ice or off-- and give them the help they need in order to actually get better. The program was started in 2009, but seems to be made public just this week.

(Ed. Note: If it has been brought up before and I missed it, I apologize.)

Such a great idea that is long overdue, especially in Major Junior hockey. For a group of 16-20 year olds to be away from their family and face the rigors of a professional life at a developing age; problems are sure to develop to some, if not the majority, of players. While the WHL and OHL have yet made public their programs of the like, I'm sure they will have some players come forth to get something done.

Though is has come in like a lamb, the idea of this from the QMJHL is fantastic. While the QMJHL is fairly centrally located and the travel not too horrible, the fact these kids now have an outlet to talk about and not have to worry about being outed or shown as overly weak is a good thing and a step in the right direction. Especially with mental health and well-being being at the forefront of hockey in the past few years-- it's pretty solid to have a program like this available.

Granted, most teams and leagues may have such a thing in place already, the fact the QMJHL has made it public puts them to the forefront and puts it at a team-by-team level rather than a broad-stroke availability for the players in the league. This will be more personal for the players and allow them to adapt as they play and not have to get out of a groove or alienate them by having the player leave the team for personal reasons and start up rumors by media and fans alike.

Hopefully, some other leagues will come out publicly with their own outline of their support system-- but if they don't have it already, the QMJHL has laid out a great blueprint for those who want to follow their lead.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Philippe Sauve

With many family lineages, the goaltending position is one that is the hardest to have success from top to bottom. This week's AGM is a guy who's father blazed a trail for the Buffalo Sabres and was one of their first great goalies. Although, in the end-- the son couldn't make the same impact and shouldn't have been expected to. This week, the profile of Philippe Sauve.

Sauve started with his midget AAA team in Laval-Laurentides and post a 9-10-0 record in 25 appearances and then 7-8 in 15 playoff games. In the 1996-97 season, Sauve moved to the major junior ranks for Rimouski Oceanic in the QMJHL, putting up an 11-9-2 record in 26 games, while in the 1997-98 season, Sauve went 23-16-0 for Rimouski and then 0-5 in seven playoff appearances. The Colorado Avalanche drafted Sauve in the 2nd Round of the Draft and then in the 1998-99 season, Sauve posted a 16-19-4 record for Rimouski and then 6-4 in 11 playoff games.

During the off-season, Sauve moved to Drummondville to play for the Voltigeurs for the 1999-2000 season and would go 12-12-2 in 28 games, then was traded to the Hull Olympiques mid-season and would go 9-7-1 in 17 games and 6-6 in the playoffs. Sauve also played for the USA in the World Juniors and go 0-1-1 in two games.

Embarking on his professional career, Sauve went to the Hershey Bears of the AHL in the 2000-01 season and finish 17-18-1 in 42 appearances, then 0-3 in the playoffs. The bulk of the starts went to Sauve in the 2001-02 season when he played in 55 games and compiled a 25-20-6 record with six shutouts and then a 3-5 record in the playoffs. Sauve would play 60 games in the 2002-03 season for the Bears, finishing there with a 26-20-12 regular season record and 2-3 playoff record.

In the 2003-04 season, Sauve was the back-up for the Colorado Avalanche behind David Aebischer and play in 17 games, putting up a 7-7-3 record, but would be sent down to Hershey for the end of the season and play in 10 games, finishing with a 3-7-0 record. During the lockout season of 2004-05, Sauve signed with the ECHL's Mississippi Sea Wolves and would go 13-4-4 in 21 games while going 1-3 in the playoffs.

In the summer of 2005, the Avalanche traded Sauve to the Calgary Flames for future consideration, but Sauve would only play for eight games in Calgary (3-3-0); then he would be traded in February to the Phoenix Coyotes with Steven Reinprecht for Brian Boucher and Mike Leclerc; though Sauve would go 0-4-0 in five appearances for the Coyotes.

The 2006-07 season was a whirlwind for Sauve. At first, he reported to the Coyotes' AHL affiliate-- the San Antonio Rampage-- for 10 games (4-5-0), but he would get traded to the Boston Bruins for a prospect. Sauve appeared in only two games for Boston, but didn't have a win-loss record. Sauve did go to the Providence Bruins in the AHL and go 10-11-1 in 23 games and then would be loaned out to the Hamilton Bulldogs for six games and post a 2-3-0 record.

In the 2007-08 season, the Iowa Stars called Sauve to play for them and he would play for 12 games and have a 5-5-0 record to show for it. Mid-season, Sauve went to Germany to play for the Hamburg Freezers for 13 games and have a 9-4-0 record, then 3-4 playoff record. At the end of that season-- Sauve hasn't been heard from.

Though it was hard to deal with the shadow that his dad casted over him with his name, Philippe did what he could to make his own mark. Whether it was mismanagement by those who tutored him or his skill being overvalued, Sauve seemed to just never reach the brass rings set out for him.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

An Ode to the Minor League Super Teams

During the lockout of 2004-05, the minor leagues saw a little bit of a boon when you had some select NHL players dropping down the rank to keep in shape for a season that never happened. This lockout, we're seeing a bit of the same thing-- but with a couple more teams.

Of course, this doesn't include the AHL teams that have the young prospects-- like the Oklahoma City Barons-- who are tearing up the league because they have experience in the NHL, but I'm more talking about the AA leagues like the ECHL who have been doing well enough for their teams to thrive, but not overly dominating the league.

For example, in the 2004-05 season, the United Hockey League's Motor City Mechanics were the darling of the minor league world, as they had a roster than included Chris Chelios, Derian Hatcher, Bryan Smolinski, and Sean Avery, while Kris Draper was signed, but never played. It was a team that looked very good on paper, but none of those players played more than 24 games (Hatcher) and Avery was the leading scorer of all of them with 15 goals, 11 assists, and 149 PIMs in only 16 games. The Mechanics didn't make the playoffs and dissolved after the next season.

This lockout, the ECHL has been quite the travel adventure for NHLers, with the Alaska Aces really sporting the names of the NHL. While Brandon Dubinsky, Joey Crabb, and Nate Thompson have played all season, Scott Gomez just signed on to play after training for the longest time with his hometown team. Crabb has really flourished with the team with 8 goals and 21 points leading the team and 13th in the league in scoring.

Another Western ECHL team with a good amount of NHLers is the Ontario Reign who have Paul Mara, Devin Setoguchi, and Kyle Clifford are on the roster, despite none of them really turning the league upside down. Only Mara has played the entire season, while Setoguchi (6 games) and Clifford (3) are still working their way into the line-up.

Ryan Clowe has also been around the ECHL, practicing and coaching with the San Francisco Bulls, but won't play until he knows that the NHL is either coming back or going away outright. Plus, it's not like these NHLers are tearing up the scoring chart, as three Colorado Eagles-- Chad Costello, Jack Combs, and Michael Forney-- lead the ECHL in scoring.

While some in the ECHL are upset about teams stockpiling this talent when this is supposed to be a development league, I've pointed out elsewhere that the number of teams using their ECHL teams is few and far-between-- granted this is different circumstances where the NHL teams could utilize their ECHL teams more-- but still, very few really have.

There's plenty of people out there who don't like the minor leagues because it's not the NHL and won't check out minor leagues because the games there aren't as smooth (which isn't a bad thing and understandable), it seems that the longer the lockout turns on, the better the talent could get domestically rather than them going overseas.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Jiri Crha

There have been many times where European goalies have under the radar of the NHL general managers and actually got signed to have some so-so results despite their hype. This week's AGM was one of the first guys who were actually involved in such a bidding war. This week, the profile of Jiri Crha.

Before coming over to North America, Crha spent many years over in his native Czechoslovakia; starting with the club team Dukla Jihlava in the 1969-70 and 1970-71 season, playing in 51 total games and posting a 2.42 GAA in those games (no record online).

Beginning in the 1971-72 season and ending in the 1978-79 season, Crha would go on to play with Tesla Pardubice. During that time, Crha also represented the Czechoslovakian team in four World Championships-- winning bronze in 1973 (2-0-0), silver in 1974 (3-1-0), 1975 (0-1-0), and 1978 (1-0-0)-- and during the 1976 Olympics-- winning a silver medal in playing two games.

Crha decided that at age 29 he wanted to move over to North America and try out his hand in the NHL. There was actually a bidding war between the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and Philadelphia Flyers in the summer of 1979, in which the Maple Leafs would eventually in out and give him a contract to come over.

The first season in North America, Crha spent most of that adjusting to the North American rinks and style of play by just being the third goalie on the Leafs and watching incumbent goalie Mike Palmateer and talking to Leafs' great Johnny Bower about how to play the NHL style. Mid-season, Crha went to the AHL to play for the New Brunswick Hawks and went 4-1-2 in seven games. When Palmateer went down with injury, Crha was called up to the Leafs and posted a 8-7-0 record in 15 games and 0-2 in the playoffs.

After Palmateer was traded when disagree with Leafs' management, Crha was given the starting role for the 1980-81 season and played in 51 games, compiling a 20-20-11 record for those games and another 0-2 playoff record.

The 1981-82 season had Crha play only two games in the Central League with the Cincinnati Tigers, with a 1-0-0 record, then in the 1982-83 season, Crha played one game with the AHL's St. Catharines Saints with no record to show for it.

Crha went back to Europe following that season, heading over to Germany for the 1983-84 season, playing with SV Bayreuth, then taking a year off in the 1984-85 season, only to return in the 1985-86 season with EHC Freiburg until the 1992-93 season before he would retire.

Crha has stayed in the game, becoming a player agent after his playing career ended. He has represented NHLers like Alex Hemsky and Rostislav Klesla.

The Leafs have been known to bid on free agent talent, some of which panned out and some not. While Crha did well enough during a dark time for the Leafs, they didn't think it was enough and didn't give him a second change for just a .500 goalie. Who knows what they could have done if they gave him a chance to play more, but at his older age-- it may have still been not enough.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Expansion Stat Pack for 11.23.12

(These stats are for before the games of November 23rd)

While some things change, some things stay the same. Most teams have been standing pat when it comes to positioning, but there's other teams who make small advances and making up ground. The San Francisco Bulls seem to be the most bi-polar of teams, trying to find their identity in the ECHL and the Pacific Division.

Orlando Solar Bears: 8-7-2-1; 3rd in South Division
     -Nick Petersen: 9g, 11a, +1
     -Olivier Fortier: 8g, 9a, -1
     -Matthew Sisca: 5g, 12a, -1
     -John Curry: 7-5-2-0, 2.82 GAA, .907 Sv%

San Francisco Bulls: 6-10-0-2; 3rd in Pacific Division
     -Justin Bowers: 5g, 12a, -4
     -Dean Ouellet: 6g, 7a, -5
     -Sacha Guimond: 5g, 8a, -1
     -Thomas Heemskerk: 5-7-0-1, 3.65 GAA, .893 Sv%

Evansville IceMen: 5-11-0-1; 5th in North Division
     -Todd Robinson: 1g, 15a, -16
     -Josh Beaulieu: 7g. 5a, -7
     -Patrick Kennedy: 4g, 6a, -3
     -Rod Madore: 3-6-0-0, 3.23 GAA, .899 Sv%

Fort Wayne Komets: 8-5-0-1; 3rd in North Division
     -Brandon Marino: 7g, 15a, +6
     -Colin Chaulk: 2g, 13a, +5
     -Josh Brittain: 6g, 4a, +6
     -Charlie Effinger: 4-3-0-0, 3.63 GAA, .891 Sv%

Denver Cutthroats: 6-7-0, 9th in Berry Division
     -AJ Gale: 9g, 11a, -5
     -Brad Smyth: 6g, 9a, +3
     -Troy Schwab: 3g, 11a, -4
     -Kieran Millan: 4-3-0, 2.36 GAA, .926\Sv%

Sherbrooke Phoenix: 4-18-1-1, 6th in Telus West Division
     -Cole Hawes: 8g, 15a, -3
     -Michael McManee: 8g, 14a, -9
     -Alexandre Comtois: 6g, 8a, -28
     -Jacob Gervais-Chouinard: 3-11-0, 4.80 GAA, .859 Sv%

Monday, November 19, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Fern Rivard

This week's AGM is one who was able go use the juniors to get to the pros, then back to juniors, then back slowly into the pros. Though the expansion era did allow him to get some NHL time, the teams he played behind didn't do much to help him out in the long run. This week, the profile of Fern Rivard.

Rivard started in the Quebec Junior League with the Quebec Citadelles for parts of three seasons from the 1961-62 until the 1963-64 season (no record indicated), while playing one game in the AHL with the Quebec Aces, which was a win. Rivard was named to the QJHL's First All-Star Team in the 1962-63 and 1963-64 season.

The 1964-65 season saw Rivard play in the Quebec Juniors again with the Thetford Mine Aces and finish there with a 12-7-0 record before moving to the Ontario Hockey Association with the Montreal Junior Canadiens for 26 games and then seven in the playoffs (no records provided). The OHA was where Rivard was again in the 1965-66 season, playing 15 games for the Peterborough Petes.

Rivard went professional full-time in the 1966-67 season with the IHL's Muskegon Mohawks for 68 games (no record), while in the 1967-68 season, Rivard went back to the Quebec Aces and played 46 games, compiling a 19-16-7 record together.

The Flyers held Rivard's rights, but would lose them to the Minnesota North Stars in the 1968 intra-league draft held in the summer. Rivard would play for the North Stars for 13 games in the 1968-69 season, but would not fair well with a 0-7-4 performance. Rivard spent the rest of that season in the Central League with the Memphis South Stars for 29 games. The 1969-70 season saw Rivard back in Minnesota, but he would only appear in 14 games and put up a 3-5-5 record, while he went back to the CHL with the Iowa Stars and go 9-5-4 in 18 games there, then 3-4 in seven playoff games.

Rivard went to the AHL with the Cleveland Barons in the 1970-71 season, finishing with a 15-14-4 record in 36 games and lost his only playoff game he was in. The 1971-72 campaign had Rivard play in 40 games, but would finish 12-19-5 and then he would go 1-2 in four playoff games. The Barons would move to Jacksonville and Rivard would play 65 games, but no record is available.

For the 1973-74 season, Rivard would play in Minnesota for 13 games and finish with a 3-6-2 record, while he would also play for the New Haven Nighthawks in the AHL for 12 games and post a 7-3-2 record. It was another split season for the 1974-75 season, where Rivard would play in 15 games for Minnesota (3-9-0) and seven games for New Haven (1-4-1) before he would hang up the pads for good.

Though with an expansion team, Rivard tried to stick around, but was unable to have a good foothold on the NHL. Though he would get some kind of minor league recognition, but even then it was a breeze by at the best for more casual historians.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Branding Endeavor of the University of North Dakota

Photo: KFYR

On June 14th of 2012, the North Dakota Board of Higher Education voted to discontinue the use of the Fighting Sioux moniker for the University of North Dakota, ending a long-term debate on whether or not the school will go on with using the name. This came after the 2005 NCAA ruling of sanctions being laid to teams who still held the nickname of tribal people which the NCAA deemed to be hostile and abusive.

After numerous debates, injunctions, and lawsuits-- the ruling was laid down in June and UND would be without a nickname until 2015, by amendment on the BoE's ruling.

UND Athletic Director Brian Faison felt the craziness on going when it came to going without a nickname for the better part of 18 months.

"We were prepared to make the transition, stop the transition, make the transition, stop the transition four times in the last year and a half with lawsuits and legislations," said Faison when I sat down with him last week. "We had one of the great brand identification in college sports, but you just don't replace that overnight. It'll be a process that'll take time."

And time was something that UND needed more of in some aspect. While they did get an invitation to the Big Sky Conference in other sports aside from hockey, it was during the transition away from the Sioux name. Yet, when the debate started again-- the Big Sky members were worried about what the name could bring in a controversial way and raised concerns about UND being into their conference.

The Big Sky Conference is an important part to the UND athletic program, as Faison states, saying that without a conference, it could have been doom.

"I don't think we could have survived as independent. It's difficult enough in transitioning from Division II to Division I to get games anyway, especially from where we're located geographically, it was a very concerning time for us."

Below is the 14-minute interview I had with Mr. Faison in which we tackle the ins and outs of the name change and new branding to come, what it means for the Ralph Engelstad Arena, what it means for the school, the future of the name, and why it won't be called the school's old name-- the Flickertails.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: John Adams

Many goalies crave for the chance to actually get to the championships, but to do it for four straight seasons is amazing-- more amazing that a guy would go 0-for-4 in those appearances. Even so, the small-town guy was able to get his chance in the NHL and would bounce around from minors to minors. This week, the profile of John Adams.

Adams stayed close to home while starting his journey, playing for the hometown Port Arthur North Stars in the Thunder Bay Junior League in the 1963-64 season, helping them to the Memorial Cup tournament and went 3-3 in six games at the Memorial Cup. In the 1964-65 season, Adams went 13-8-1 in 22 games, against going to the Memorial Cup tournament and going 1-3 in five games. The 1965-66 season saw Adams play the regular season with Port Arthur and compile a 18-6-2 record in 26 game, but was loaned out to the Port William Canadiens for another Memorial Cup, but go 6-4 in 11 games played.

The North Stars changed their name to the Marrs, where Adams would play in the 1966-67 season, having a 20-8-2 record in 30 games, then 4-1 in five playoff games-- going to yet another Memorial Cup, as Port Arthur would lose in the Finals in five games, but Adams would go 11-8 in 19 tournament games. Adams is one of the few players to reach the Memorial Cup for four consecutive tournaments.

During the summer of 1967, Adams signed with the Boston Bruins, but would be assigned to the Dayton Gems of the IHL for the 1967-68 season for 45 games and for 32 games in the 1968-69 season (no records given), though Adams did share the James Norris Memorial Trophy for the fewest goals against with Pat Rupp.

In the 1969-70 season, Adams went to the Central League to play for the Oklahoma City Blazers and would go 18-26-7 in 51 games with five shutouts. Adams was also called up for the Bruins Stanley Cup run and despite not playing a game, his name is engraved on the Stanley Cup-- being one of the few players to have their name on the Cup before playing a NHL game.

Adams returned to Oklahoma City for the 1970-71 season and play 57 games and finish with a 25-22-10 record and 1-4 playoff record, while in the 1971-72 season; Adams went 15-15-3 in 41 games, being named to the CHL First All-Star Team and letting in the fewest goals against in the CHL.

The Bruins would use the services of Adams 14 games in the 1972-73 season, as he would post a 9-3-1 record, but he would be sent to the AHL's Boston Braves after that for 23 games (no record) and eight playoff games (4-4).

In the summer of 1973, Adams would be sent to the WHL's San Diego Gulls as the player to be named later in the Ken Broderick trade that happened in March of 1973. In the 1973-74 season with the Gulls, Adams would post a 38-26-4 record in his 69 appearances, then 0-4 in the playoffs.

The Gulls would trade Adams to the Washington Capitals in the summer of 1974 for cash, while Adams would go 0-7-0 for the first-year franchise in Washington. The Caps would send Adams to the AHL's Richmond Robins where he would play in 28 games and post a 7-13-3 record.

Adams would leave the pros to be a player/coach for the Thunder Bay Twins in the Ontario Senior League and would play from the 1975-76 season until the 1979-80 season before retiring. It was almost a decade before Adams got back into the hockey landscape, becoming an assistant coach for the Colonial Hockey League's Thunder Bay Thunder Hawks in 1991.

Adams has stepped out of the big limelight for hockey, but still gets around the Thunder Bay area. In fact, Adams still keeps in touch with the Bruins organzation, even talking to Tim Thomas when he was in a slump and lost his starting job.

Though he was able to get to the championships for four straight seasons-- it was the season he didn't play a game in which he would be forever remembered for. After that, it was a lot of shuffling and a lot of bad opportunities before Adams would finally go where his heart was-- home.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Karl Goehring on Coaching College

In college hockey, you have a lot of goalies, most carrying three goalies just in case. For University of North Dakota's Karl Goehring it's an interesting season for him. With transferring Clarke Saunders and rookie Zane Gothberg complimenting the senior stalwart Tate Maris-- it's been quite the juggling act.

Goehring has done a great job with goalies in his previous three seasons with UND and has kept it going with his troops this year, adapting what he can to the style of play that these goalies bring to the program.

"You got to apply it to the individual and make sure your message is appropriate of who you're talking to."

Of course, Goehring himself brings a lot of experience to the team. A graduate of UND, Goehring guided the then Sioux to a National Championship in 2000 and to the title game in 2001. On top of holding a lot of records for UND in wins (80), shutouts (15), and win percentage (.765)-- Goehring also spent time in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch (whom he also coached) and other various spots along the minor league path.

While some guys don't have the ability to actually move behind the bench, Goehring sees it as a learning experience.

"It's always an interesting transition as a player . You think you know a lot of things, then you go behind the scenes and do them. At least for myself, it opens your eyes. It's a blast. I've been very fortunate to have the opportunities I've had."

In the one-on-one below, Goehring talks about his team, coaching in a three-goalie system, the role of the third goalie, and the transition of playing into coaching.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Clarke Saunders on Transition and New Beginnings


"I don't think too many people know too much about Alabama. They're some people that do a lot of really good things for that program. I honestly wish them the best. They gave me two years of my life that I wouldn't trade anything for."

Despite leaving for the University of North Dakota, goalie Clarke Saunders has very fond memories when it comes to his time at Alabama-Huntsville, who became the darling of the college hockey world when they had been a contender and were put in conference limbo because of their location.

Saunders played for the Brockville Braves in the CJHL, finishing there with a 78-33-3 record over three-plus seasons-- not to mention scoring a goal, breaking a single-season win record, and setting a franchise win record. Yet, Saunders did have some struggles at UAH, playing in two years there with a 6-37-1 record in two seasons, though he would often get peppered with 40-50 shots a night, also setting a school record for most saves in regulation.

However, when UAH's hockey program was up in the air, Saunders and other players were given the green light to look for opportunities elsewhere in their college hockey career. During a road trip, Saunders went to the UND to affirm his commitment and was able to be eligible for the next season without missing a year-- which is where he's at now.

And it seems it's been a solid transition for Saunders going from Alabama to North Dakota.

"It's been unbelieveable. I was sad to leave (UAH), had a lot of good friends on that team and was treated very well down south. But the transition has been unbelievable, everyone has been amazing here and have treated me real well. How could you complain about coming here??"

It's been so far, so good for Saunders-- posting a 2-1-1 record this season with a 1.73 GAA and .933 saver percentage going into this weekend's action against St. Cloud State University.

The audio below is rest of the one-on-one with Saunders where we talk about the season so far, the nuances that UND hockey brings, and senior goalie Tate Maris's new CD coming out.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Back to School, Hockey Style

On Friday, November 2nd; I was able to take in a hockey game. However, this is something I hadn't experienced before, in that it was a college hockey game. Luckily for me, I planned a getaway around the University of North Dakota men's hockey team's schedule and decided to take in the weekend match-up between UND and Boston University.

Thankfully Jayson Hadju and his staff at the media office, I (along with the NHL History Girl, Jen Conway) was able to take in the game from the press box to get a bigger view of the scene...and what a scene.

Being in the Maryland area most my life, the college hockey scene was still blossoming, even though they were at a club level. They had some fanatical followers, but it was a very small sample size of people. The UND community embraces hockey as a life-blood and are very proud of the hockey stars they have groomed and have become champions after attending the school.

In my eternal ability and need to arrive to things early, Jen and I got to the rink about two hours before puck drop to get in and just have myself walk around Ralph Engelstad Arena, which is just impressive from the outside-- who knows what could be around each corner on the concourse. It had started snowing earlier in the day and created a nice slush by the time we trekked out to the arena. Even with the conditions, once we parked the car, we were greeted with throngs of UND student wrapping around The Ralph, braving the conditions in order to see UND take on Boston University in Grand Forks for the first time since 1996.

Once we got out of the cold and into The Ralph, it was just as marvelous as the people have said it was. There was plenty of stuff around the arena for alumnus who have played for UND in the past were honored and remembered in the halls and those who have won the Stanley Cup had a giant portraits hanging on the walls holding the Cup.

About halfway through the mini-concourse tour, the students came piling into the building since the section is general admission, which created for a hell of a stampede to get to the seats. Once we got around the concourse, we decided to make our way up to the press level and get situated in that aspect. The press boxes themselves are a little better than most NHL facilities I've been to, which added to the praise that the arena has gotten. Most of the arena interior is fantastic and top-notch with a bar for VIP members at each end of the rink-- adding a little class and comfortable nature to the setting.

The game itself was a hard-hitting affair with UND coming out on top 4-2 on the power of Connor Gaarder's hat trick and in spite of captain Andrew MacWilliam being ejected due to a shot to the head of BU's Ahti Oksanen (where Oksanen scored on the only shot of the five-minute PP).

More over, I was experiencing the student section, boosters, and hardcore UND fans that were chanting and singing along like it was a college basketball or European hockey game-- a very welcoming atmosphere and bringing everyone in the UND family into the game and getting in the video below.

Of course, UND is without a mascot until 2015, but that doesn't mean that the Fighting Sioux moniker and logo aren't around town. As the picture of the floor shows, the Sioux logo is still around the area and on the medallions on the seats. Even the fans shout, "SIOUX!!" when UND is introduced. While a name has yet to be thought about for UND, you can bet that people will be hard to forget the Sioux name.

As a first college hockey experience, it was a great one. It's something that will make me want to go back to it, as it seemed like something that could be an enjoy time for a weekend getaway and a cheaper alternative to whatever could be around. It's not the pros, but it's something that people could easily get into and start to follow a certain school-- for one reason or another. If you have the chance, leap at it and get to a game and soak it all in.

Absurd Goalie Monday: Ron Scott

Not many guys are able to move from Major Junior to the NCAA, no matter how hard the CHLPA tries to make you think they have the power to. However, this week's AGM was a bit of a nomad in the start-- going from major junior to NCAA to a team with no home at the end of the season. He wasn't lost in the shuffle there, but later on in his career. This week, the profile of Ron Scott.

Scott started his trek with the Cornwall Royals of the QMJHL in 1978-79 and would play in 56 games and compile a 21-24-6 record, while then going 3-4 in the playoffs. During the 1979-80 season, Scott played in 41 games with a 19-11-3 record, then went 11-5 in the playoffs to help Cornwall win the President's Cup for league champion. In the Memorial Cup, Scott went 3-2 to help the Royals win the Memorial Cup.

In a time were the NCAA still allowed major junior players to be eligible for college hockey, Scott moved to the Michigan State Spartans to play in the 1980-81 season, posting an 11-21-1 record in his first season, which was able to get WCHA Freshman of the Year honors and WCHA First All-Star Team. Scott vastly improved to 24-13-1 in the 1981-82 season. The 1982-83 season had Scott go 29-9-1 in 40 games. In both the 1981-82 and 1982-83 season, Scott was awarded CCHA First All-Star Team honors and NCAA West First All-Amercian Team honors.

In the summer of 1983, Scott signed with the New York Rangers and would play in nine games with the Rangers in the 1983-84 season (2-3-3), but he would spend most his season with the Tulsa Oilers; going 13-13-3 in 29 games and would help the Oilers win the Adams Cup for CHL champion-- despite the Oilers not having a home rink to play in during the last six weeks of the season. Scott and John Vanbiesbrouck would share the Terry Sawchuk Trophy for fewest goals against on the season.

Scott spent the 1984-85 season with the New Haven Nighthawks, playing in 38 games and finishing with a 13-18-4 record. Back in New Haven for the 1985-86 season, Scott would only play in 19 games (8-8-1), while also appearing four games with the Rangers (0-3-0). Another split season in the 1986-87 season, playing in New Haven for 29 games with a 16-7-0 record, while appearing in one game with the Rangers, which was a tie.

The 1987-88 season saw Scott all over, playing 17 games in New Haven (8-7-1), eight games with the Central League's Colorado Rangers (3-4-0; 1-4 playoff), and two games with the Rangers (1-1-0). The 1988-89 season had Scott stay in the Central League with the newly named Denver Rangers, playing in 18 games with a record of 7-11-0.

The Rangers opted not to re-sign Scott, so he was a free agent until the Los Angeles Kings signed him in January 1990, where he would play in 12 games with the Kings and go 5-6-0; as well as go back to New Haven to play 22 games and post a 8-11-1 record. Scott stayed in New Haven for the 1990-91 season, finishing the season with a 5-15-4 record before hanging up the pads for good.

From champion in the major juniors to a solid college career-- Scott made his name for a solid player, but was also lost in a deep shuffle of prospect in the Rangers ranks, while not being able to make his way into the mainstream for the Kings later on in his career.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Expansion Stat Pack for 11.04.2012

Another couple weeks have past and some of the expansion teams have gotten better and worse. It's interesting the bit of a slump that the San Francisco Bulls have had, while the Denvet Cutthroats have really come on from their start of the season in the CHL. One big consistent is that the Sherbrooke Phoenix are floundering and floundering well.

Orlando Solar Bears: 5-3-1-1, 2nd in South Division
     -Nick Petersen: 8g, 9a, +3
     -Matthew Sisca: 2g, 9a, -2
     -Ryan Ginard: 2g, 8a, -1
     -John Curry: 5-2-1-0, 2.70 GAA, .908 Sv%

San Francisco Bulls: 2-6-0-2, 5th in Pacific Division
     -Justin Bowers: 4g, 6a, -4
     -Dean Ouellet: 4g, 5a, E
     -Jordan Clendenning: 2g, 6a, E
     -Thomas Heemskrek: 1-4-0-1, 3.99 GAA, .892 Sv%

Evansville IceMen: 2-6-0-1, 5th in North Division
     -Todd Robinson: 1g, 8a, -10
     -Brett Sonne: 3g, 4a, -1 (Recalled to AHL)
     -Patrick Kennedy: 2g, 4a, +2
     -Rob Madore: 1-4-0-0, 2.85 GAA, .903 Sv%

Fort Wayne Komets: 5-2-0-1, 2nd in North Division
     -Brandon Marino: 5g, 9a, +3
     -Colin Chaulk: 0g, 10a, +3
     -Thomas Beauregard: 5g, 2a, +2
     -Charlie Effinger: 3-1-0-0, 2.88 GAA, .918 Sv%

Denver Cutthroats: 3-3-0, 7th in the Berry Conference
     -AJ Gale: 5g, 7a, -2
     -Troy Schwab: 2g, 8a, -1
     -Brad Smyth: 4g, 5a, +1
     -Kent Patterson: 2-1-0, 3.52 GAA, .879 Sv%

Sherbrooke Phoenix: 3-14-1-1, 6th in TELUS West Division
     -Michael McNamme: 8g, 10a, -8
     -Cole Hawes: 6g, 12a, E
     -Alexandre Comtois: 6g, 4a, -24
     -Jacob Gervais-Chouinard: 2-9-0-0, 5.03 GAA, .845 Sv%

Monday, October 29, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Terry Richardson

While this week's AGM shares a name with an interesting photographer, his work wasn't as provocative as the photog. As a first round pick, there were high hopes-- but they were dashed by stalling out in the minors and not getting a fair shot at the NHL spot. This week, the profile of Terry Richardson.

Richardson started in the BCHL with the New Westminster Royals in the 1970-71 season before he would move to the WHL's New Westminster Bruins for the 1971-72 season for 49 games (no record), while going 1-4 in five playoff games. In the 1972-73 season, Richardson would play again for the Bruins for 69 games and finish with a 31-22-15 and play five playoff games (no record).

The Detroit Red Wings would draft Richardson in the first round of the 1973 Draft. Richardson would start off with the Red Wings, playing in nine games with a 1-4-0 record, then he was sent to the AHL's Virginia Wings-- compiling a 5-7-2 record in 14 appearances; then Richardson would go to the British League, playing in 14 games for the London Lions (no record). The 1974-75 season, Richardson stuck with Virginia for most the season, appearing in 30 games and put up a 10-13-3 record, while moonlighting with Detroit for four games and posting a 1-2-0 record.

During the 1975-76 season, Richardson spent most his time with the Springfield Indians of the AHL, playing in 20 games and putting up a 6-10-1 record, while also spending four games with the New Haven Nighthawks and having a 1-2-1 record, then playing in Detroit for a game, which was a loss.

It was a big 1976-77 season for Richardson. Even though he played five games for Detroit (1-3-0), Richardson had a big year in the IHL for the Kalamazoo Wings; playing 65 games (no record). played 10 games in the playoffs (5-5), and would win the James Norris Memorial Trophy for fewest goals in the league and was named to the Second All-Star Team. Richardson spent the entire 1977-78 season in the Central League with the Kansas City Red Wings, going 27-32-2 in 63 games and was named to the Second All-Star Team.

Richardson signed with the St. Louis Blues in the summer of 1978. The Blues then assigned Richardson to the Central League's Salt Lake Golden Eagles, going 30-7-3 in 40 appearances, taking home the Terry Sawchuk Trophy for fewest goals against (shared with Doug Grant), and would lose the only game he would play in for the Blues.

In the summer of 1979, the Blues traded Richardson to the New York Islanders, who would then trade him to the Hartford Whalers. Richardson found himself with the Springfield Indians for the 1979-80 season, playing in 46 contests and finishing out with a 15-22-7 before he would retire from the game.

Currently, Richardson is an amateur scout for the Washington Capitals.

Though he didn't live up to the 1st round pick status, he did find a groove in the minors, but never seemed to get a shot in the big time during a time where you're first game could be your last if it's not good enough. Though, he landed on his feet

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bridging the New York Hockey Gap

The Islanders are moving to Brooklyn.

This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. The fact that the team and the town/county couldn't figure out a deal for a new arena in the Long Island area is what really pushed the team out the door once their lease is up at the end of the 2015-16 NHL season.

However, with this and the posturing around the Edmonton Oilers right now-- the last two great dynasties threatening to move out of their current position to a possible new position is a sad state of affairs for those who have grown to love and support their teams, even if they were terrible. While the Oilers move is really presumptuous and not something that will happen in the long-run, it's a chilling thought that really not many teams are safe from relocation-- especially if their owners play hardball or the city they're housed in do the same.

That said, this should be a good move for the Islanders. The Barclay Center only holds 14,500 for hockey, but in the new "smaller is better" trend we've seen in the NHL (read: MTS Centre), this should be perfect for a team still trying to get their footing underneath them. Canadian Press reporter Chris Johnston mentioned that the last time the Isles reached that average attendance was in 2002-03 when they hit 14,930. Plus, it's much closer to Madison Square Garden by 20 miles, which should be a nice little option for Rangers fans to see a game.

Yet, this all being said-- something about the old mausoleum will be missed by some. Many of the old Islanders probably will be a bit miffed if there is a name change or there's a logo change (despite the Fisherman logo that peek it's head out there), because that's been the identity of the team and what made the team famous.

In the end, this is something that's going to possible attract some players to the team and actually build up a winner. They get the shiny building they wanted and didn't have to put out much money to do so. I'm sure the lease contract could be an interesting one and whether or not the Barclay's will actually put more seats in for hockey remains to be seen. Bottom line is that Charles Wang actually following through on his promise to move the team, even if it's only 20 miles south west.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Frank Caprice

The success in this week's AGM was only hampered by fate and injuries. One injury begot another and made him lose his spot in the NHL due to others in the pipeline that were bypassing him. Even with that, he did find his way overseas and still chugged along into the new millennium. This week, the profile of Frank Caprice.

Caprice started in Junior B with the Hamilton Kitty B's in the 1978-79 season before making the jump to the OHL's London Knights in the 1979-80 season where he would go 3-7-3 in 18 appearances; then going 1-1 in three playoff games. During the 1980-81 season, Caprice appeared in 42 games for the Knights, but only go 11-26-0. However, the Canucks would draft Caprice in the 1981 Draft in the ninth-round, which would lead to a bounce-back for Caprice in the 1981-82 season would compile a 24-17-2 in 45 games, then 1-3 in four playoff games, while also going 3-0-0 in three WJC games for Canada-- helping the Canadians take their first WJC titles.

Also during the 1981-82 season, Caprice would move to the Central League for the Dallas Black Hawks and go 0-3-0 in his three games.

Caprice would join the Canucks organization for the the 1982-83 season, but spend most of his time in the AHL with the Fredericton Express, playing in 14 games with a 5-8-1 record, then appearing in one Canucks game in relief, but didn't figure in the decision. For the 1983-84 season, Caprice would split his time between Fredericton for 18 games (11-5-2) and then appearing in 19 games for the Canucks (8-8-2).

Incumbent goalie Richard Brodeur would be sent to the minors for the 1984-85 season, which gave Caprice the chance to take over the top spot. Yet, Caprice struggled at the start, then tore his hamstring-- making him miss three months-- and in 28 games, Caprice would finish up with a 8-14-3 on the year.

The 1985-86 season had Caprice once again split time between Vancouver (0-3-2) and Fredericton (12-11-2), with a knee injury in between. For the 1986-87 season, Caprice would spend more time in Vancouver, posting a 8-11-2 record in 25 games, while turning over a 5-5-0 record in 12 games with Fredericton. Caprice would back up a young Kirk McLean for the 1987-88 season, playing in 22 games and post a 7-10-2 record for this troubles.

Caprice was sent to the IHL for the 1988-89 season, playing for the Milwaukee Admirals while going 24-12-0 in 39 games. The 1989-90 season saw Caprice traded to the Boston Bruins and placed in Milwaukee for 20 games (8-6-3) and then being moved to the Maine Mariners of the AHL for 10 games and finishing with a 2-6-1 record, a bounce back from a broken hand he suffered in training camp.

After taking a few years off, Caprice would resurface in Europe, playing from the 1992-93 season until the 1995-96 season with the Italian League's HC Gardena where he would play 77 times in that span. During that time, Caprice would return to Vancouver....but with the Voodoo of Roller Hockey International for two games, going 0-0-1. For the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons, Caprice would head to Britain and play for the Cardiff Devils, helping them to the 1997 British championship and a third place finish in 1998.

The 1998-99 season, Caprice would come back to North American to play in the Central League's Corpus Christi Ice Rays for 15 games and post a 9-5-1 record, but would relocate back to the British League with the Ayr Scottish Eagles, going 2-5-0 in seven games, then 0-3-1 in four playoff games. After that, aside from  an appearance in the 2001 Allan Cup to help out the Dundas Real McCoys, Caprice retired from hockey.

Thanks to one major injury, it changed the career of Caprice and may have changed his career and the history of the Canucks if he was able to grasp the chance at taking over the #1 goalie spot. However, his loss was Kirk McLean's gain and helped the Canucks build themselves up to a contender-- who knows what could have been if Caprice was in that spot.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Expansion Stat Pack For 10.19.2012

With me, I enjoy running bits and this one will be no different. Rather than get hung up on the NHL scuttlebutt, it's time to keep up with the new teams in the minor league ranks. Overall, the expansion teams have budded up over the ECHL this year, while the CHL had some teams taken and introduced a new team to their fold of teams. On this, we'll put the records, placement, and top scorers/goalie on their team. Something to expand your mind about the place of expansion teams.

Orlando Solar Bears: 0-1-1-0, 3rd in South Division
     -Nick Petersen: 2g, 2a, -2
     -Ryan Cruthers: 2g, 1a, E
     -Matthew Sisca: 1g, 1a, -4
     -John Curry: 0-1-1, 4.00 GAA, .881 Sv%

San Francisco Bulls: 1-1-0-1, 2nd in Pacific Division
     -Justin Bowers: 2g, 5a, +1
     -Sacha Guimond: 2g, 2a, +1
     -Jordan Clendenning: 1g, 3a, +2
     -Thomas Heemskrek: 0-1-0-1, 3.86 GAA, .893 Sv%

Evansville IceMen: 0-1-0-0, 5th in North Division
     -Brett Sonne: 1g, 1a, E
     -Tyler Shattock: 1g, 0a, E
     -Jason Dale: 0g, 1a, E
     -Rob Madore: 0-0-0-0, 1.57 GAA, .875 Sv%

Fort Wayne Komets: 1-1-0-0, 4th in North Division
     -Brandon Marino: 3g, 2a, +2
     -Colin Chaulk: 0g, 3a, +1
     -Eric Giosa: 2g, 0a, -2
     -Ken Reiter: 1-0-0-0, 1.50 GAA, .958 Sv%

Denver Cutthroats: Season starts tonight, October 19th

Sherbrooke Phoenix: 2-8-0-1, 6th in TELUS West Division
     -Cole Hawes: 3g, 7a, E
     -Michael McNamme: 5g, 4a, -9
     -Alexandre Comtois: 4g, 2a, -16
     -Jacob Gervais-Chouinard: 2-6-0-0, 5.22 GAA, .835 Sv%

Monday, October 15, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Doug Keans

They say it's hard to pull yourself away from you passion. Most times, people try it out and then can move on easily. Other times, people just can't break themselves away-- even from the playing aspect of things. This week's AGM left and came back and left and came back and still was decent enough at the end of it all. This week, the profile of Doug Keans.

Keans started his career with the minor midget Oshawa Legionnaires in the 1975-76 season, then moving the OHL's Oshawa Generals for a single game. Keans stayed with Oshawa, playing in 90 games between the 1976-77 season and the 1977-78 season, though the records for those years are not readily available.

The Los Angeles Kings selected Keans in the 1978 Draft in the 6th Round and they played him in the IHL with the Saginaw Gears for the 1978-79 season, playing in 59 games, then spent 22 games with Saginaw in the 1979-80, but would be called up to the AHL's Binghamton Dusters for eight games (3-3-2), as well as going to the Kings for 10 games and finished up there with a 3-3-3 record, plus 0-1 in the playoffs. Keans primarily spent the 1980-81 season in the Central League, playing for the Houston Apollos (3-4-4) and Oklahoma City Stars (3-5-0), while getting in nine appearances for the Kings (2-3-1).

The 1981-82 season had Keans spend most the time as a back-up in Los Angeles, getting into 31 games and posting a record of 8-10-7 on the year (0-1 in two playoff games), while playing in 13 games with the AHL's New Haven Nighthawks and finishing there with a 5-5-1 record. More of the same with the split situation in the 1982-83 season, seeing Keans spend 30 games in New Haven with a 13-13-2 record while playing in only six games in Los Angeles, going 0-2-2 for his troubles.

The Kings put Keans on waivers in the summer of 1983, in which the Boston Bruins would pick him up and have him back-up Pete Peeters for the 1983-84 season, posting a 19-8-3 record in 33 appearances, despite having knee surgery in the middle of the season. Keans got into 25 games in the 1984-85 season with a record of 16-6-3 (2-2 in four playoff games), while in the 1985-86 he went 14-13-3 in 30 games. During the 1986-87 season, Keans saw a record number of games in the NHL, appearing in 36 while finishing with a 18-8-4 record, but going 0-2 in two playoff appearances.

During the 1987-88 season, Keans played in 30 games with Boston (16-11-0), only to be sent down to the AHL's Maine Mariners when the Bruins acquired Andy Moog. With the Mariners, Keans went 8-2-0 in 10 games and 5-5 in 10 playoff games.

The 1988-89 season saw Keans in the AHL again, playing in 32 games with the Springfield Indians, posting a 11-16-2 record, while also spending four games with the Baltimore Skipjacks, compiling a 1-2-0 record. After that season, Keans would retire.

Yet, retirement only lasted a few years, as Keans would suit up for the Minnesota Iron Rangers of the amateur ranksin 1992-93, going 2-6-0 in eight games, while also playing for the Jacksonville Bullets of the Sunshine League, going 8-5-0, then 2-2 in the playoffs. He was listed for the Bullets in the 1993-94 season, but didn't play. After a year off, Keans returned during the 1995-96 season for the Bullets, going 5-3-0 in nine games and rostered for the ECHL's Jacksonville Lizard Kings in the 1996-97 season, but never saw action. This time, his retirement was for good.

That's when you know you have the bug and passion to play. The ability to not really get too far away from the game and still be able to play at a decent level when returning, albeit in a lower minor league.