Wednesday, December 30, 2009

AHL All Star Game: Team Planet USA

Yesterday, the Canada Roster for the American Hockey League All Star Game was reveled. Today, the Planet USA All Star Team was revelled for players that are from the USA and Europe.

The 3 Texas Teams will be sending 3 players (1 each) which includes Texas Stars Defensemen Ivan Vishnevskiy who was named one of the starting defensemen for the Game. Also going to the Game for Planet USA are Anton Khudobin who's a goaltender for the Houston Aeros and San Antonio Defensemen Sean Sullivan who's the only player from the Rampage who will be making the trip to Portland, Maine next month.

I will take about Vishnevsiky in a minute, but first some info on Anton Khudobin of the Houston Aeros and Sean Sullivan of the San Antonio Rampage.

G: Anton Khudobin (Houston Aeros)
Basically spliting time between himself and fellow Aeros goalie Wade Dubielewicz. The Aeros goal tending was selected by being one of the most durable goalies in the AHL with a 1.98 GAA which ranks him in the top 5 overall in the AHL by playing 20 games thus far this season with a 9-8-1 record.

He probably have a better record if the teams offense had more support. Currently, the Aeros are out of the playoff picture but not be much as the Aeros currently sit in 5th place out West just 2 points back of 4th place Rockford, but the Aeros have 3 games in hand on the Icehogs. The native of Kazakhstan was a big factor in the teams run all the way to the league Semifinals when he got an 8-8 record with a 2.70 GAA and is looking to get the team back to the playoffs.

If Houston doesn't make the playoffs this year, then he could be looking at a trip to IIHF World Hockey Championships in Cologne and Mannheim, Germany coming up in May as the Kazakhs will play in Group A against Russia, Belarus and Slovakia as the Kazakhs were promoted last season from the IIHF World Championship Division 1 Tournament along with Italy.

D: Sean Sullivan (San Antonio Rampage)
For the Rampage Defensemen, he's the only player from the team heading to next month's All Star Game. As the Rampage look to turnaround a really bad start which included having the coach fired. Sullivan has been fantastic by being among the league leaders among defensemen scoring (4G 19A) for 23 points. Sullivan is typically a stay at home defensemen, but is starting to increase his scoring output which saw a break out year with just 8 points in 34 games in the 2007-08 season, to 32 points in 65 games last season.

He's hoping to increase those totals and a strong All Star Game could mean a shot of being called to the Phoenix Coyotes. The native of Boston will look to make a name for him self and to help the Rampage out of the West Division Basement and have a shot of getting back to the Calder Cup Playoffs in April.

This year's AHL All Star Game will take place on January 18-19 in Portland, Maine at the Cumberland County Civic Center (Home of the Portland Pirates). Where the Skills Competition will take place on 1/18 and then the game it self on 1/19.

Here's the full Team Planet Team USA Roster


X-Michal Neuvirth, Hershey Bears

Anton Khudobin, Houston Aeros

Alexander Salak, Rochester Americans


X-Mike Weber, Portland Pirates

X-Ivan Vishnevskiy, Texas Stars

John Carlson, Hershey Bears

Jonas Junland, Peoria Rivermen

Bobby Sanguintti, Hartford Wolfpack

Sean Sullivan, San Antonio Rampage

Viatcheslav Voynov, Manchester Monarchs

Andy Wozniewski, Providence Bruins


X-Keith Aucoin, Hershey Bears

X-Brandon Bochenski, Norfolk Admirals

X-Nathan Gerbe, Portland Pirates

Mark Cullen, Rockford Icehogs

Lars Eller, Peoria Rivermen

Dan Fritsche, Syracuse Crunch

Christian Hanson, Toronto Marlies

Mikko Lehtonen, Providence Bruins

(C) Mink Graham, Rochester Americans

Patrick Rissmiller, Grand Rapids Griffins

Sergei Shirokov, Manitoba Moose

Jack Skille, Rockford Icehogs

Brett Sterling, Chicago Wolves

Head Coach: Mark Morris, Manchester Monarchs

Assistant Coach: Scott Pellerin, Manchester Monarchs

Info on the All Star Game Starters.

G: Michal Neuvirth (Hershey Bears)
2nd year pro Michal Neuvirth ranks among the AHL's top 5 goaltenders in both GAA (1.99) and SV% (.929) while going 10-5-0 for the Hershey Bears this season. The 21 year old captured all AHL Playoff MVP Honors last spring as a rookie, leading the Bears to their league record 10th AHL Calder Cup Championship over the Manitoba Moose with a 16-6 mark and recording 4 shutouts. A native of Czech Republic, Neuvirth was drafted in the 2nd round by the Washington Capitals and is 5-3-0 in 10 career NHL Games with the Washington Capitals.

D: Ivan Vishnevskiy (Texas Stars)
Selected in the 1st round (27th overall) of the 2006 NHL Draft, Ivan Vishnevskiy scored goals in each of the teams first 3 games of the season and has gone on to post 13 points (4G 9A) in 35 games played this season. The 21 year old native of Russia, has factored in the scoring of 11 of the teams 25 power play goals this year and is also 2 for 3 in shootout attempts. Vishnevskiy has been recalled by Dallas twice already this season and shows two assists in 5 career NHL Games.

D: Mark Weber (Portland Pirates)
Tied for third in the AHL with a plus 16 rating, Mark Weber has played all 34 games for Portland this season and has scored 10 assists, including a helper in four straight contests from December 2-6. The third year pro from Pittsburgh, PA is already just 4 points shy of the career high 14 assists he registered in 59 games from his rookie season during the 2007-2008 season. Weber, 22, was drafted in the 2nd round by the Buffalo Sabres in 2006 and has registered 3 assists in 23 career NHL Contests with the Buffalo Sabres.

F: Keith Aucoin (Hershey Bears)
Keith Aucoin is making his 5th consecutive AHL All Star Appearance, but has been voted into the starting lineup by the fans for the first time. One of the top offensive players in the AHL during the decade, Aucoin is tied for first in goals (16) and ranks 2nd in points (36) in 27 games this season, and also shows a goal and 4 assists in 5 career NHL games with the Washington Capitals. Aucoin has totaled 564 career AHL Points and has finished in the top 10 in scoring four times in the last 7 seasons.

F: Brandon Bochenski (Norfolk Admirals)
Brandon Bochenski has led Norfolk's offense with nearly a point a game pace, putting up 16 goals (tied for the AHL Lead) and 16 assists in 34 outings. The 6th year pro has registered three or more points on 4 occasions and put together a six game scoring streak from December 5-19. Bochenski was previously an AHL All Star during his rookie season in 2005, and was voted to the starting lineup in 2007 but missed the event due to injury. Bochenski has 268 points in 248 career AHL games, along with 55 points in 128 NHL Games.

F: Nathan Gerbe (Portland Pirates)
The AHL's rookie of the year in the 2008-09 season, Nathan Gerbe has picked up where he left off with 20 points (5G 15A) in 23 games for Portland this season. A native of Oxford, Michigan was voted a starter for last year's All Star Classic but was injured and missed the event. The 22 year old was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 2005 and appeared in 2 games for the Sabres this year, scoring his first career NHL Goal vs. the Washington Capitals on December 9. Gerbe won an NCAA Title at Boston College in 2008 and lead the nation in scoring with 68 points.

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