Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dallas Stars Goalie Spotlight

John Tranchina who's one of the main writers for the Dallas Stars Website did a pair of features on the who's expected to be the Goaltender Duo next season on Kari Lehtonen and Brent Krahn go under the spotlight.

By John Tranchina of the Dallas Stars Website:

Kari Lehtonen Profile

Brent Krahn Profile

Kari Lehtonon preparing diligently for upcoming season.

While Marty Turco leaving the org. as an unrestricted free agent, 26 year old Finnish Netminder Kari Lehtonen takes over as the top man in the Dallas Stars Crease.

Lehtonen, who was acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Thrashers on Feb. 9 and signed a three year contract extension on May 11, will become the franchise's new number one since 2002-2003.

His stellar performance over the final month of last season proved to the Stars that Lehtonen would be a worthy successor to Turco and earned him a contract extension, which will pay him 10.65 Million Dollars (3.55 Million Average per season) over the next three years.

Over the final 14 games, of which he started 9, Lehtonen sparkled, fashioning a 6-3-0 mark, including his 100th career victory, with a 2.44 GAA and a .926 SV%

"We're moving forward with Kari," Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said. "We've had a long tradition here of having premium goaltenders. Marty Turco was a solid number one here for over a decade now and has done some great things on and off the ice. But I just felt for the long term success of the franchise, we needed to acquire Kari Lehtonen. I think the way he played in the last 10-12 games, his performance showed that with a good summer of training, we hope that he can be an elite goaltender once again like he was early in his career."

Lehtonen, who has had trouble with injuries throughout his career, has been working hard this summer to make sure he continues re-gaining his form that led him to the selection by the Thrashers with the 2nd overall pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Last season, Lehtonen missed the first four months of the year (leading up to his trade with Dallas) recovering from multiple back surgeries, and after working his way back into shape, finished the year strong.

"When I came year, I started from zero," said the 6'4", 215 pound native of Helsinki, Finland, of his fitness level. "I had no clue if my body could handle playing and all that stuff." The last maybe eight games, I felt very comfy. I think it also helped that the games went well, and with me starting to get comfortable being with the new team. It was great to see that I was able to do it and that gives me a lot of confidence going into the next year."

To that end, Lehtonen is determined to remain healthy this season. In an attempt to keep his conditioning level up and prevent future injuries, Lehtonen altered his summer program a bit from what he's done in the past.

"I probably started in past years doing things (in early July) and this year, I started things almost right away," said Lehtonen, who still has a house in Atlanta. "These guys in Dallas hooked me up with a strength coach in Atlanta and I started going there five days a week and doing specific things with my back and for my hips and groins and just kind of getting those parts stronger. Now we're starting to do more regular things, like carido things and stuff like that. I've done a lot more and realize that's very important."

To See the Full Article, Click Here

Brent Krahn looking to take advantage of opportunity.

It's been a long time coming for Brent Krahn and he's excited at the opportunity.

This September at Dallas Stars Training Camp, for the first time in his professional hockey career, Krahn will have a chance to compete for a NHL Roster Spot.

As a 28 year old former first round choice (Ninth overall to Calgary in 2000), the significance of this should not be understood, as Krahn has overcome numerous obstacles, including several knee surgeries, to get to this point.

After leading the Stars minor league affiliate, the Texas Stars (AHL), to the Calder Cup Finals in June, Krahn signed a one year two way contract extension to remain with the organization.

He will battle recently signed free agent Andrew Raycroft for the NHL Backup slot behind Kari Lehtonen.

"It's exciting," said Krahn, whose only NHL Action came in a 20 minute relief outing with Dallas back in 2008-2009. "This is going to be my third year in the organization. I think they gave me a chance after my knee surgery and they've just been so good to me, they've offered my an opportunity every year and this year's no different. There's I think even more of an opportunity now to prove to them i'm committed. It's up to me. I was pretty excited to get the deal done and i'm looking forward to training camp."

Initially, the Stars planned on having Krahn battle it out with Texas Crease mate Matt Climie, for the Dallas back-up job, but Climie opted to leave the organization as a free agent, so they brought in Raycroft to provide added depth, as well as healthy competition for ice time.

"Matt Climie decided to explore other options, so we made the decision that we wanted to get a veteran backup in here with Austin or with our club," Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said regarding the Raycroft signing on July 1. "Our number one goal is to have competition for our backup role here and that's what we've created - not just in training camp, but throughout the year."

"We didn't resign Climie, so I think the opportunity is equally as good between Raycroft and Krahn with who's to grab that backup position," added Dallas Goaltender Coach Mike Valley. "That competition becomes so important because it just makes each guy push that much harder."

While Raycroft has considerably more NHL Experience, Krahn certainly impressed Dallas management with an outstanding season in Texas, posting a 17-4-0 record, with five shutouts, a sparkling 1.83 GAA and a stellar a .945 SV%. Krahn GAA & SP numbers would have each led the AHL if he had played enough games to qualify for the league's season ending list, but an injury in late November cost him 40 games before he returned in late March.

He resumed his role as number one goaltender for the AHL Playoffs, leading Texas into the second round before suffering a concussion in Game 6 of that Series against Chicago. Climie stepped up in his place and helped guide the club into the Calder Cup Championship Series.

To see the Full Article, Click Here

TXA 21 joins the Dallas Stars Television Team

After a successful stint with MY 27 for nearly the last decade, MY 27 is out of televising the Stars Games and TXA 21 is in as they started doing Texas Rangers games as well when the new season started.

The plan is televise games that would be on FSN Plus that not all Cable and Satellite Customers get when looking to watch Stars Games, especially early on in the season when FSN Southwest is busy televising College Football on Saturday's and some HS Games as well.

It will be a four year deal and all games will be on HD.

From the Dallas Stars Website:

TXA 21 has entered into a four year contract with the Dallas Stars to broadcast 15 regular season games per season, plus a few playoff games as well, beginning in the 2010-2011 season. All of the telecasts will be in High Definition (HD).

Dallas Stars will broadcasts will air primarily on Saturday Nights on TXA 21 and will include 30 minute pre game and post game coverage. The games to be aired on TXA 21 for 2010-2011 will be announced on a later date.

"The Stars are a terrific addition to TXA 21's Sports Lineup," said CBS 11 and TXA 21 President and GM Gary Schneider. "They brought the thrill of a Stanley Cup to North Texas and play an exciting brand of hockey. We're looking forward to bringing that excitement to the fans and viewers with Saturday Night Stars Games."

"The Dallas Stars are excited to enter into this agreement with TXA 21," commented Team President Jeff Cogen. "It is very important for us to maintain a strong over-the-air television presence for our fans and TXA 21 is the preeminent sports carrier in our market."

Forming the broadcast for the 15th consecutive season will be Ralph Strangis and Darryl Reaugh. Strangis begins his 21st season as a Stars Broadcaster while Darryl Reaugh will serve his 15th season as the Stars Color Analyst.

For more on info on TXA 21 Sports, log on to

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Seattle Thunderbirds Tentative Schedule

With a huge year for Collin Jacobs coming up as he will get looked for the 2011 NHL Draft, the Seattle Thunderbirds Tentative Schedule is now out as the home games are now scheduled while they waiting on the road games and any last minute changes due to media engagement to make the schedule final for the 2010-2011 season which begins in late September.

Last year, Jacobs had a decent year with 13 goals and 26 points in all 72 games played last year in his first full year of Juniors in the Western Hockey League. Currently, he's the only Southwest player in the Western Hockey League, however, 2 other players have WHL Rights with one who's planning to be a long term player in Seth Jones who's going to be with the USNTDP in the USHL, his rights are with Seattle's Local Rival Everett Silvertips

Also Connor Richards who was selected by the Portland Winterhawks who is going to at least play most of this season with the Detroit Honey Baked team which plays Travel Hockey in Michigan, don't be surprised if he may get some playing time later in the season.

Seattle opens the season with a 3 game weekend with a home game against Portland, plus road games against the defending Western Conference Champion Tri-City Americans and the Everett Silvertips.

Here's the Tentative Schedule, the Full Schedule should be out on August 10.

Seattle Thunderbirds Website

Seattle Thunderbirds Schedule

Collin Jacobs Profile

Seattle Thunderbirds on Twitter

Promoting the NHL Winter Classic

As the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh to promote the 2011 NHL Winter Classic next season. Some of the players were they to participate in a weird deal by shooting pucks through the NFL Goal Posts.

In addition to the NHL Winter Classic, you also have the NHL Heritage Classic which will be between the Montreal Canadians and the Calgary Flames coming up in February.

2011 NHL Winter Classic Announcement

Sidney Crosby Shooting through the Goal Posts:

Video Part 1

Sidney Crosby Part 2

Sidney Crosby Part 3

NAHL Blane Showcase Schedule

Here's a look at the NAHL Showcase Schedule as many of the league's 26 teams will open the season in Blane, Minnesota which is part of the Twin Cities area which is a part of the NAHL's Blane Showcase. This event will get many players exposed to NCAA & Professional Scouts during the 4 day event where all 26 teams will play 4 games against teams outside of their division.

For the Texas Tornado, 2 games will be played against Central Division Teams against the Coluee Region Chill and Austin Bruins. Plus Games against the West & North Divisions as the Tornado will play against the Motor City Metal Jackets and Kenai River Brown Bears as well in the early part of the showcase.

Wichita Falls will start the weekend before with a weekend series in New Mexico against the Mustangs. After those 2 games will be matches against Chicago, Wenatchee, the defending Champion Bismarck Bobcats and will wrap up the showcase by playing first game of the day on Saturday against the expansion Aberdeen Wings.

After hosting the Wichita Falls Wildcats, the New Mexico Mustangs open the showcase against the Janesville Jets and Fairbanks Ice Dogs before wrapping it up with with games against the Springfield Jr. Blues & Alexandira Blizzard.

Amarillo got a bunch of the league's new teams as they will faceoff against first year franchises in the Fresno Monsters and Pt. Huron Fighting Falcons. Prior to those games it's a matchup against the Michigan Warriors to open up Showcase and will wrap it up on Saturday against League Powerhouse St. Louis Bandits.

Look for more details on this event as we draw closer to the start of the regular season in Mid September.

Here's a look at the NAHL Showcase Schedule which will be in Blane, Minnesota. All Games are at the Blane Super Rink and start Times are CDT.

Teams in Colors are the Colors of the Logos.

September 15

Alaska Avalanche VS. Aberdeen Wings 10:00 AM

Corpus Christi Icerays VS. Traverse City North Stars 10:15 AM

Fairbanks Ice Dogs VS. Austin Bruins 10:30 AM

Michigan Warriors VS. Amarillo Bulls 1:15 PM

Bismarck Bobcats VS. Fresno Monsters 1:30 PM

Wichita Falls Wildcats VS. Chicago Hitmen 1:45 PM

Pt. Huron Fighting Falcons VS. Coluee Region Chill 2:30 PM

St. Louis Bandits VS. Dawson Creek Rage 4:30 PM

New Mexico Mustangs VS. Janesville Jets 4:45 PM

Springfield Jr. Blues VS. Kenai River Brown Bears 5:00 PM

Owatonna Express VS. Wenatchee Wild 7:45 PM

Topeka Roadrunners VS. Alexandria Blizzard 8:00 PM

Texas Tornado VS. Motor City Metal Jackets 8:15 PM

September 16

Coluee Region Chill VS. St. Louis Bandits 10:00 AM

Bismarck Bobcats VS. Springfield Jr. Blues 10:15 AM

Chicago Hitmen VS. Corpus Christi Icerays 10:30 AM

Janesville Jets VS. Alaska Avalanche 1:15 PM

Motor City Metal Jackets VS. Topeka Roadrunners 1:30 PM

Traverse City North Stars VS. Austin Bruins 1:45 PM

Amarillo Bulls VS. Fresno Monsters 2:30 PM

Pt. Huron Fighting Falcons VS. Owatonna Express 4:30 PM

Dawson Creek Rage VS. Alexandria Blizzard 4:45 PM

Kenai River Brown Bears VS. Texas Tornado 5:00 PM

Aberdeen Wings VS. Michigan Warriors 7:45 PM

New Mexico Mustangs VS. Fairbanks Ice Dogs 8:00 PM

Wenatchee Wild VS. Wichita Falls Wildcats 8:15 PM

September 17

Topeka Roadrunners VS. Alaska Avalanche 10:00 AM

Springfield Jr. Blues VS. New Mexico Mustangs 10:15 AM

Kenai River Brown Bears VS. Michigan Warriors 10:30 AM

Wichita Falls Wildcats VS. Bismarck Bobcats 1:15 PM

Alexandria Blizzard VS. Chicago Hitmen 1:30 PM

Texas Tornado VS. Coulee Region Chill 1:45 PM

Fairbanks Ice Dogs VS. Aberdeen Wings 2:30 PM

Traverse City North Stars VS. Wenatchee Wild 4:30 PM

Owatonna Express VS. Corpus Christi Icerays 4:45 PM

Austin Bruins VS. Janesville Jets 5:00 PM

Fresno Monsters VS. St. Louis Bandits 7:45 PM

Amarillo Bulls VS. Pt. Huron Fighting Falcons 8:00 PM

Dawson Creek Rage VS. Motor City Metal Jackets 8:15 PM

September 18

Aberdeen Wings VS. Wichita Falls Wildcats 9:00 AM

Austin Bruins VS. Texas Tornado 9:15 AM

Michigan Warriors VS. Owatonna Express 9:30 AM

Motor City Metal Jackets VS. Bismarck Bobcats 9:45 AM

St. Louis Bandits VS. Amarillo Bulls 12:15 PM

Janesville Jets VS. Topeka Roadrunners 12:30 PM

Wenatchee Wild VS. Pt. Huron Fighting Falcons 12:45 PM

Alaska Avalanche VS. Traverse City North Stars 1:00 PM

Alexandria Blizzard VS. New Mexico Mustangs 3:30 PM

Chicago Hitmen VS. Fairbanks Ice Dogs 3:45 PM

Fresno Monsters VS. Springfield Jr. Blues 4:00 PM

Coulee Region Chill VS. Kenai River Brown Bears 4:15 PM

Corpus Christi Icerays VS. Dawson Creek Rage 6:45 PM

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What is the CHL thinking with it's new Playoff Format?

Talk about letting everybody in on a grand scale, the Central Hockey League recently announced the new playoff format for the 2010-2011 season when it gets underway in October. What they doing is just downright BS that you would probably see something you would see in the NCAA & Junior Hockey Ranks.

CHL Announces Playoff Format

2011 CHL Playoff Format

The format was announced that 16 of the league's 18 Teams will be making the playoffs next year with basically everyone excpt the last place teams of both conferences where they will have 2 Conferences of 9 teams.

The top 8 in both conferences will make the playoffs, usually this wouldn't be something I would a big deal with, considering that half of the Teams in the NHL & AHL make it every year, that means 89% of the teams will be making the playoffs. This will make the Regular Season almost useless for the most part. By doing this, the CHL is basically letting everyone who has basically played a game, the only way your going to miss the post-season is that if your so bad that your team won't challenge for a playoff spot which will basically be impossible.

The post season is spouse to be something that you earn to get to go. Regardless of your battling for the Conference/Titles, Home Ice, or one of the last teams that means the difference between playing for a league championship and ending your season way to soon.

If the CHL is looking for more money, this could backfire if they is a team like the Wichita Thunder who won just 9 games and acclimated 23 points last year, a whopping 40 points back of 6th Place Tulsa and 45 points back of the Missouri Mavericks who made the playoffs in their first year. This will provide little excitement and little drama as the league will say to the 7th & 8th place teams that will have little shots of advancing to be a punching bag for one of the championship contenders.

If I would have had an idea for the playoffs, the most teams that I would have advocated would have been 12 where 2/3 of the teams would make it. I would have the same format as the NFL with the #1 & #2 Seeds getting 1st Round Byes and the #3 VS. #6 & #4 VS. #5.

At least by doing it this way you would have 4 rounds, but you take out that punny little Best-of-3 Play In Round where since it was introduced in 2008 has turned out to be useless for the most part. With the exception of the Texas Brahmas in 2008, everybody else has gotten sweeped in the Conference Semifinals.

Here's a look at the Opening Round Teams in the Playoffs since 2008.


Play In: Odessa Jackalopes VS. Austin Ice Bats: Odessa Wins Series 2-1

Conf. SFS: Laredo Bucks VS. Odesssa Jackalopes: Laredo Wins Series 4-0

Play In: Texas Brahmas VS. Mississippi Riverkings: Texas Wins Series 2-1

Conf. SFS: Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs VS. Texas Brahmas: Texas Wins Series 4-0

Conf. Final: Colorado Eagles VS. Texas Brahmas: Colorado Wins Series 4-3


Play In: Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs VS. Rocky Mountain Rage: Bossier-Shreveport Wins Series 2-1

Conf. SFS: Colorado Eagles VS. Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs: Colorado Wins Series 4-0

Play In: RG Valley Killer Bees VS. Corpus Christi Icerays: RG Valley Wins Series 2-1

Conf. SFS: Texas Brahmas VS. RG Valley Killer Bees: Texas Wins Series 4-0


Play In: Mississippi Riverkings VS. Missouri Mavericks: Missouri Wins Series 2-1

Conf. SFS: Rapid City Rush VS. Missouri Mavericks: Rapid City Wins Series 4-0

Play In: Texas Brahmas VS. Corpus Christi Icerays: Texas Wins Series 2-0

Conf. SFS: Odessa Jackalopes VS. Texas Brahmas: Odessa Wins Series 4-2

So that shows you that the Play In Round was basically a shame with just one exception and i'm glad that part is gone, but having where almost everybody makes the playoffs is a shame for the Professional Ranks. I would expect this from the NCAA where nearly everybody makes it to the Conference Tournament expect for Hockey East where the bottom 2 regular season teams are eliminated.

As for the different Junior Ranks, they is a lot of major violators. The NAHL had it for the last couple of years where 4 of the 5 teams in all the divisions made the playoffs. In fact, last year in the West, all 4 teams played in the postseason basically because they was no one else in the League. The Kenai River Brown Bears had the worst record of the 16 playoff teams with just 30 points, all 3 5th place teams missed the playoffs all with better records (Alepna with 46, Wichita Falls with 42 & North Iowa with 36). Because these teams finished 5th, they all missed the post-season.

The Major Juniors have 16 teams make the playoffs. The worst violator is the QMJHL where only the bottom 2 teams with the worst records make it, regardless of how they fared in their division.

Perhaps the worst though are the Alberta & Saskatchwan Jr. A Leagues as only the bottom ranked teams in both divisions miss out on the playoffs. This is bad stuff that the Central Hockey League is getting into and it's something you would see in low level Juniors or the ACHA which is Group of College Club Hockey Teams that are not in the NCAA.

So if the CHL/IHL Merger is going to work to get higher level talent, send more players to the higher ranks and have the fan base want to come to these games. Making the playoffs tougher to make should have something that the league should have thought of.

Earlier this month, Greg Wyshynski who does the Puck Daddy Blog on Yahoo, did an article about the playoff format with some notable quotes from different reporters in the CHL Cities.

Ben Smith of the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette called the format "Totally ridiculous," while offering more of a Franke's explanation we excerpted at the top:

"The Though Process is the way the economy is going right now, it probably would make sense if all the teams coming into those last six weeks of the season had an opportunity to make the playoffs," he said. "There are so many other things people can do right now, and if teams are way out of it in late January, are they gonna continue to come to the games? No 2., we looked at it from the prospective that we believe the league is going to grow two or three years, and be more then 18 teams. So why not institute a 16 team format now, rather then switch it around every year?
So the regular season for the most part with the exception of the last part of the season to determine the playoff seeding will be a crap shoot and is such a joke. This is how Greg Rajan who covered the Corpus Christi Icerays for the Caller Times before the recent move to the Junior Ranks in the North American Hockey League. He mentions the format as "What A Joke" and followed up with a couple of specific reasons on why the format stinks.
What exactly is the purpose of the regular season, and extending it two games, to boot? So two cellar dwellers can be formally eliminated? The Regular Season has lost pretty much any importance it had. What's the reason for the casual fan can go to a game if it really has little to no meaning in the big picture? And what sports league allows 88.8% of it's teams to make the playoffs?
Contrary to what some people think, putting more teams in the playoffs won't help many teams financially. In my years of covering the CHL, I'd say only a handful of teams actually made money during the playoffs. Why? Because it's so hard to sell playoff tickets. You have to resell your entire season-ticket inventory and there's a little lead time to go out and sell groups or plan for games. Plus, many playoff games fall on less then attractive nights, such as mid-week days and Sunday's. Combine low box office numbers and the player salaries and it's not a pretty financial picture.
He also mentioned of the 4 Rounds, the first 2 will be a best-of-5 which could create issues from a competitive standpoint as well.
So this just proves that if the CHL wants to remain viable to hopefully grow from 18 teams in the next few years. They need to rethink their playoff structure by basically giving everybody a trophy for making the playoffs and to dilute the chase for the Ray Morin Presidents Cup Championship.

Mike Heika's Player Profiles

As the long hot Texas Summer continues and with Late July and August is the slowest time of year for hockey news. Mike is working on a series of Player Profiles on everything on how much money their making to what expanded roles could be coming, or in some cases, what needs to be done to keep their NHL Jobs for some players like Fabian Brunnstrom and who could ultimately become Kari Lehtonen's Backup Goalie next year.

So far he's got two of the major forwards in last year's leading scorer Brad Richards and Team Captain Brendan Morrow.

Be sure to look for more links to these as they become available on the Dallas Morning News Website by Dallas Stars Insider Mike Heika.

Kari Lehtonen

Brenden Morrow

Brad Richards

Mike Ribeiro

James Neal

Jamie Benn

Steve Ott

Matt Niskanen

Adam Burish

Loui Eriksson

Tom Wandell

Stephane Robidas

Trevor Daley

Nicklas Grossman

Krys Barch

Mark Fistric

Karlis Skrastins

Toby Petersen

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dallas Stars agree to a one year deal with Fabian Brunnstrom

After a shaky year for the Stars as Fabian Brunnstrom has experienced both sides of success. In the first year, he provided with an unexpected spark for the Stars. However last year, he was hardly a factor as he was wasting space at times and was in Austin with the Texas Stars at a few parts of the season as well.

Now with a one year deal, he needs to provide to be a big factor for the big Swede, or he could see his Dallas Stars Days numbered.

From the Dallas Stars:

Fabian Brunnstrom Profile:

The Dallas Stars announced today that the club and left wing Fabian Brunnstrom have agreed to terms with a one year, one way, contract for $675,000. The agreement was made prior to a scheduled arbitration hearing this morning in Toronto.

"We're pleased that we were able to an agreement with Fabian," said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. "We are looking forward to having him to come to training camp in September and battle for a spot on our roster."

Brunnstrom, 25, appeared in 44 games last season with the Stars, scoring two goals and 9 assists with 10 penalty minutes. The 6'2", 215 pound left wing signed as a rookie agent by Dallas on May 8, 2008. Brunnstrom played in 55 games in his rookie year of 2008-2009, scoring 17 goals and 17 assists with 8 penalty minutes.

Puck Podcast: July 24 Episode

This week we had IIya Kovalchuk's contract signed to a 17 year deal where the NHL voided and the guys talk about sending a message and the long term effects from this both for the rest of the off-season and the rest of the year. Also all the updates on the trades and free agent signings from the past week including the continuing cuting of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Plus news on this year's class of the USA Hockey Hall-of-Fame which includes former Dallas Stars Captain Derian Hatcher, and the boys go to the time machine as the Podcast celebrates the shows 4th anniversary.

July 24 Episode:

Puck Podcast Website:

In addition to the show, Eddie Garcia was on the Team 1260 in Edmonton this week to talk about the LA Kings Off-season.

Team 1260 Interview:

Former Redhawk has big presence in Allen's first Year

In addition to the recent announcement of Chris Whitley's Return, a former Miami Redhawk Nino Musitelli had a huge year who scored 63 points and had an impressive 40 assists during the Americans first year as a team.

The Miami Redhawks Hockey team website had an interesting story on their former player recently.

From the Miami of Ohio Redhawks Website:

Often times in sports an expansion franchise struggles in their inaugural campaign, but thinks to the efforts of former Redhawk hockey Player Nino Musitelli, the Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League found great success in their first year on the ice.

Musitelli was a three year letterwinner for Miami from 2006-2008, played in 62 of 64 regular season games for the Americans, which became a franchise in April of 2009 and are an affiliate of the NHL's Dallas Stars. The Macomb, Michigan native played on Allen's first line and totaled 63 points by tallying 23 goals and 40 assists. The 63 points and 40 assists both ranked third on the team while his 23 goals were tied for 2nd.

Behind Musitelli's offensive prowless, the Americans finished 2nd in the Southern Conference with a 42-17-5 record and earned a playoff birth in the first season. Just making the playoffs were not enough for the undersized (5'8") forward and the rest of the Allen Americans teammates however, as the Americans held off the Laredo Bucks in seven games in the Southern Conference Semifinals and again won a seven game series over top seeded Odessa in the Conference Finals to claim the Southern Conference Championship.

Allen ultimately fell to the Rapid City Rush, the top seed in the Northern Conference, in six games for the Ray Morin Presidents Cup Finals, but the 25 year old Musitelli finished the playoffs tied for second in the league with 26 points while playing in 20 playoff games. The former Hawk registered 13 postseason goals with three of his tallies serving as game winners.

"Nino was a huge part of our success. He is an exciting, dynamic player that can break open a game," said Americans Head Coach and GM Dwight Mullins."

At one point during the 2009-2010 campaign, Musitelli had a 17 game point streak, the longest of the season by an American, as he racked up 21 points during that stretch. He was also the Oakley CHL Player of the Week the final week of the regular season after scoring five goals and adding four assists in just three contests.

To see the Entire Article

Chris Whitley will stay with the Americans

One of the biggest decisions was decided for the Americans over the off-season was one of relief for Allen as standout goalie Chris Whitley has decided to stay with the Americans for the 2010-2011 season.

After a strong expansion season that saw them finish 2nd in the Southern Conference during the regular season, a trip to the CHL Presidents Cup Championship capped off an incredible season for the Stars CHL Affiliate.

Now with many of the important pieces still intact, they hoping that a 2nd helping will be just as good as the first as the 2010-2011 CHL Season will get underway in mid-October.

Chris Whitley Profile:

Allen Americans Website:

Netminder Chris Whitley called into a live show today at the Allen Event Center to announce his much anticipated decision to re-sign with Allen for the 2010-2011 season.

"Allen was always the team I was going to return to if I didn't persure my teaching career. I had a few offers in Europe, but I didn't get an offer that was better then Allen in my opinion," Whitley said. "The decision was also made easy with some key guys re-signed like Graham, Yellow, Nino, and Tobias, so that was another thing that factored into my decision."

The backstop return from an exceptional rookie season with the Americans. Whitley set CHL Playoff Records, played in the American Hockey League, earned accolades and took the Americans all the way to the Ray Morin Presidents Cup Finals.

During the regular season, Whitley went 31-8-1, only two wins shy of the rookie record for wins in a season in the CHL. His GAA and SV% were 2.60 and .914, respectively. The netminder started all 20 playoff games and posted a 10-10 record. The 27 year old broke three playoff records for a single postseason: most saves 636, most appearances (20) and most minutes (1205).

The backstop is anxious to get between the pipes for the Americans. "I'm hoping to complete what we almost did last year, which is win a championship. We were so close, and I still think quite often how close we were to winning in our first year as a team."

The netminder was also named the Goaltender of the Week three times (11/23, 1/4 and 1/22). He was also a finalist for Outstanding Goaltender and Rookie of the Year.

"Chris' return is really important to our team. He's an all star on and off the ice," Americans head Coach and GM Dwight Mullins said. "I know he feels we have some unfinished business to take care of."

Hailing from Oshawa, Ontario, Whitley stands at 6'1" and weighs 215 pounds. He attended the Detroit Red Wings rookie development and training camp last year, and he hopes to receive an invite to the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) Training Camp.

Whitley also points to Allen's fan base as a reason for his return. "I feel really comfortable with the city of Allen. The city really took us in with open arms last year and showed tremendous support through the season and in the playoff run as well. I know this season will be better then last and can't wait to get back on the ice. at the AEC."

Season Tickets for Allen's second season are now on sale. Ticket Prices start as low as $9 per game with free parking at the Allen Event Center. For more info, call 972-912-1000.

Friday, July 23, 2010

2010-2011 Central Hockey League Schedule Announced

The schedule for the 2010-2011 season was just released moments ago as the CHL Regular Season will get underway on October 15 to start the 66 game season. One of the major highlights of opening weekend will be the D/FW Rivalry as the Allen Americans & Texas Brahmas will kick off with a Weekend series in Allen.

Other interesting matchups involving the Southwest Teams during opening weekend will be the South Texas Rivalry as the Laredo Bucks & Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees will hook up from Rio Grande City.

As for teams other in Odessa, Bossier-Shreveport and Tulsa. The Jackalopes who were ousted for the 2nd straight year in the Southern Conference Final will open up against the Missouri Mavericks and Quad City Mallards. This is part of a busy road schedule early on where 8 of the first 10 games will be on the road, the only exception will be a pair of home games against the Laredo Bucks on October 28 & 30.

Bossier-Shreveport will open with a home-and-home against the Mississippi Riverkings while the Tulsa Oilers will do the same thing against the Wichita Thunder on opening weekend.

Just like in previous years, a majority of the games will be on the weekends early on in the season. Then later on the league adds more week night games as we close in on the playoffs which begin in late March.

Some other interesting matchups starting out will be the Rapid City Rush playing in Ft. Wayne, Indiana playing the Komets and league power house Colorado taking on the Arizona Sundogs who finished last in the South last season.

Overall, the 66 game season will kick off on October 15 and will finish up on March 27. The Playoffs will have everyone except the last place teams in both conferences make the post-season which will begin in early April (More on why I don't like this idea in a later commentary).

Here's the Links for the Master Schedule & the Southwest Team Schedules.

CHL Website:

League Master Schedule:

Allen Americans:

Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs:

Laredo Bucks:

Odessa Jackalopes:

RG Valley Killer Bees:

Texas Brahmas:

Tulsa Oilers:

Darryl Sydor discusses Hockey on Houston Sports Radio

Former Dallas Star Darryl Sydor who recently ended his playing career will be entering the coaching ranks with the AHL's Houston Aeros this season. Recently, he was on with Joe O'Donnell and John Wessling on SportsRadio 610 in Houston to discuss his new job, his playing career and living in Edmonton, Alberta.

Here's the Link:

Look for the Click Here Link to listen to the Interview.

Other Darryl Sydor Links

Darryl Sydor Career Stats:

Sydor Hired as Aeros Assistant Coach:

Houston Sports Radio 610:

New Poll Question: Favorite Level of Hockey

Every Hockey fan knows that the NHL is the most popular and is where the best players in the world are. But this poll question is about other forms of hockey.

I would like to hear what is your next favorite level of hockey to follow outside the NHL. This can also help me find out what forms of hockey I should follow more for my website as well.

Let's get your comments as well on this topic on this as we go through the off-season and get ready for the 2010-2011 Hockey Season this fall.

In addition to comments on the website, you can also tweet me at

Outside the NHL, what is your next favorite level of Hockey?

Minor Leagues



International Events

Derian Hatcher voted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame

Earlier this week it was made official that former Dallas Stars Defensemen and Captain Derian Hatcher will be enshrined into the USA Hockey Hall-of-Fame as a member of the 5 member class. Others joining him include Ex NHL'ers Jeremy Roenick, Derian's Older Brother Kevin Hatcher who are being enshrined.

Also joining them will be Art Berglund who has been part of international hockey for nearly five decades and Dr. V. George Nagobads who has served as the team doctor for the Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Team for 35 years.

Derian Hatcher played 16 seasons in the NHL and had accumulated 331 points including 251 assists. After getting drafted in 1990, he spent a majority of his career with the then Minnesota North Stars turned Dallas Stars from 1991-2003 was a major part helping out some of the Stars Greats from the early years like Neal Broten, Shane Churla and Andy Moog in helping to build and popularize the sport of hockey in the DFW Area.

He was also the first American Born Captain to win the Stanley Cup when the Stars won the Cup back in 1999. This was a major part that ending the stereotype that American Born Players couldn't lead on big time teams. After he left the Stars, he also played for the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers before retiring

Perhaps his most memorable moment not just in his career but in the Stars History came in the first Round of the 1998 Playoffs between the Dallas Stars & Phoenix Coyotes where Hatcher had a long suspension in the early portion of the playoffs on the road to the Western Conference Final before losing to eventual Champion Detroit before retiring in 2008.

Here's the Video:

His international presence was huge for Team USA where he was also part of the Gold Medal Winning Team that won the 1996 World Cup of Hockey Tournament by scoring 5 points in that event. Hatcher was also a member of Two Olympic Teams and played in the Ice Hockey World Championships twice.

He was another major part of the USA's Golden Generation which included the 2002 Olympic Silver Medal, and helped the Americans rise at the Junior Ranks which currently includes being the defending Champions at the U20 & U18 Levels right now.

Here's a link to the Full Story and Bios of this years Class. The Induction Ceremony will be taking place in Late October in Buffalo, NY.

USA Hockey Hall-of-Fame 2010

Derian Hatcher Bio

Kevin Hatcher Bio

Jeremy Roenick Bio

Dr. V George Nagobads

Art Berglund:

Allen's Chris Whitley to announce his 2010-2011 Plans & CHL Schedule Release

Allen Americans Goalie Chris Whitley will be announcing at a team Open House Event on Saturday to officially announce where he will be playing the 2010-2011 season. The Americans goaile who was a first year pro was a corner-stone of a team that finished 2nd in the regular season. Then in the playoffs, the Americans beat the Laredo Bucks and the Odessa Jackalopes to win the Southern Conference Title before losing to the Rapid City Rush for the 2010 CHL Presidents Cup.

Chris Whitley Profile:

From the Allen Americans Website:

Chris Whitley, the Allen Americans Number One Goaltender last year, will be doing a live show Saturday, July 24, at the open house at the Allen Event Center. Whitley will call in at noon with Tommy Daniels, the voice of the Americans, and revel his plans for next year. Fans unable to attend the Open House can listen on the Internet at

The netminder had an exceptional rookie season with the Americans in 2009-2010. Whitley set three playoff records, won his first game played in the American Hockey League, earned numerous accolades and took the Americans all the way to the Ray Morin Presidents Cup Finals.

The Americans are partnering with the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede and Allen Event Center to host the Open House this Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Allen Event Center. Attendees will be able to win an Americans Jersey by 2002 Stanley Cup Champion and Americans Owner/President Steve Duchesne, as well as the Tom Thumb Texas Stampede Prize Packages. They will be free popcorn and bounce houses. Available seats for the 2010/2011 season, as well as Stampede two day event, will be tagged and available for purchase.

Season tickets for Allen's second season are on sale now. Ticket Prices start as low as $9 a game with free parking at Allen Event Center. For more info, call 972-912-1000.

2010-2011 CHL Schedule

The League will reveal the schedule for the 2010-2011 season in the new look Central Hockey League on Friday as the league has grown from 15-to-18 with the CHL/IHL Merger and will be slightly increased from 64-to-66 games this season.

The Official names of the Conferences will be named after legends of the two leagues.

Here's a reminder of the Conferences with 2 Conferences of 9 teams each.

Northern Conference
Bloomington Prairie Thunder
Colorado Eagles
Dayton Gems
Evansville Icemen
Ft. Wayne Komets
Missouri Mavericks
Quad City Mallards
Rapid City Rush
Wichita Thunder

Southern Conference
Allen Americans
Arizona Sundogs
Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs
Laredo Bucks
Mississippi Riverkings
Odessa Jackalopes
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees
Texas Brahmas
Tulsa Oilers

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Puck Podcast: July 17 Episode

Back on the July 17 episode of the Puck Podcast, Eddie and Doug take a look at the on going saga of IIya Kovalchuk as well as some big decisions that have already have been made or have been made by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Also the news that former Dallas Stars Defensemen Darryl Sydor who's going to be on the Houston Aeros Coaching staff and Ottawa's Mike Fisher officially getting married to Singing Star Carrie Underwood. In addition to that, a big interview with Sean Ramjagsingh who's the Producer for the EA Sports NHL 2011 Video Game that will be coming out in September.

July 17 Episode:

Puck Podcast Website:

In addition to the regularly schedule Puck Podcast Episodes on Saturdays, you can get updated through the offseason with the Puck Podcast Hockey Minute which is done 3 times a week during the offseason.

This week IIya Kovalchuk made his decision to play for New Jersey, however, shortly after he signed the deal, the NHL Voided the contract saying that underminded the Salary Cap where he signed for a 17 Year 102 Million Dollar Deal.

July 19 Hockey Minute:

July 21 Hockey Minute:

Passing Out Flyers for Jr. Hockey Camps

The last few days I have been passing out flyers for the upcoming Jr. Hockey Prospect Camps. I would like to think places like Sportsclips and the Flower Mound YMCA where some of the flyers have been past out already.

With just one day left till the camps get underway in Grapevine and Valley Ranch, time is running out for my to pass them out. So if you would like to get one so you can help promote the camps, please email or twitter me so I can get one to help promote these events this weekend.

To get a hold of me, you can email me at or you can catch me on twitter at

Here's the schedule in case you haven't seen it.

Omaha Lancers @ Polar Ice at Grapevine Mills Mall

Friday 7/23

3:00 PM: Camp Check in and Team Assignments

5:00-6:15 PM: Game 1

6:30-7:45 PM: Game 2

Saturday 7/24

10:00-11:15 AM: Game 3

11:30 AM-12:45 PM: Game 4

1:00 PM: Player Q&A & League Presentation

4:00-5:15 PM: Game 5

5:30-6:45 PM: Game 6

Sunday 7/25

9:00-10:15 AM: Game 7

10:30-11:45 AM: Game 8

Corpus Christi Icerays @ Valley Ranch Starscenter

Friday 7/23

9:00 AM-1:00 PM: Practice

4:00-5:15 PM: Red VS. Grey

5:30-6:45 PM: Blue VS. Gold

Saturday 7/24

9:00-10:15 AM: Red VS. Gold

10:30-11:45 AM: Blue VS. Grey

4:00-5:15 PM: Red VS. Blue

5:30-6:45 PM: Gold VS. Grey

Sunday 7/25

9:00-10:15 AM: Red VS. Grey

11:00 AM-12:15 PM: Blue VS. Gold

4:00-6:00 PM: All Star Game

Friday, July 16, 2010

2010-2011 "Unofficial USHL Divisional Alignment"

With the United States Hockey League basically dragging their feet when it comes down to announceing the Divisional Alignment for the 2010-2011 season. A majority of reports and even a couple of the teams like the Des Moines Buccaneers have basically said that the Alignment will have a 3 division Format with the East & Central Division's having 5 teams, while the West will have 6 Teams.

Eventhough they are no teams in the Southwest USA, it's still importanat to follow the league as a growing number of players are getting chances to play in the USHL to eventually move on to the NCAA & The Professional Ranks in the future. They were several Texas Based Players that were chosen in the USHL Entry & Futures Draft.

Two of the most notables include G Christian Frey who was selected by the Des Moines Buccaneers and Michael Hill who played for the Topeka Roadrunners (NAHL) was selected in the 1st Round by the Waterloo Blackhawks. Also for the future, Cole Martin who currently plays for Team Illinois in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League was selected in the Futures Draft by the Lincoln Stars.

In the East, it will be the 2 Michigan Teams with the USNTDP & Muskegon Lumberjacks coming into the league as they will be joined by the Chicago Steel, Youngstown Phantoms and the Indiana Ice who were the 2009 USHL Clark Cup Champions.

The Central Division will intensive in the state of Iowa as 4 of the 5 Iowa teams are being bunched up as Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Des Moines and Waterloo will be bunched up along with the defending Champion Green Bay Gamblers in the Central Division.

Finally out West will have 6 teams as the 3 Nebraska Teams in Omaha, Lincoln and Tri-City will be joining the Sioux City Musketeers, Sioux Falls Stampede and the Fargo Force who have been the West Division Champions the last 2 years will be battaling out West.

Things like the Playoff Format and the schedule are still yet TBD. Look for those later in the summer with a 60 game schedule being intact.

My Playoff Format Idea: I would keep the 8 Team Format with an open ended Bracket as the teams would be ranked 1-8. The Division Champions would be ranked 1-3 with the other 5 teams being ranked 4-8. This is basically a 3 Round Playoff Format with the Playoff Series' being extended form Best-of-5 to a Best-of-7.

The USHL is getting to the point where they are getting a lot stronger from a high % of players going to the NCAA to more-and-more players getting noticed by the NHL. Like C.J. Ludwig who was invited to the Dallas Stars Prospects Camp as an undrafted Free Agent.

Here's the Division Alignment

East Division
Chicago Steel
Indiana Ice
Muskegon Lumberjacks
Youngstown Phantoms

Central Division
Cedar Rapids Roughriders
Des Moines Buccaneers
Dubuque Fighting Saints
Green Bay Gamblers
Waterloo Blackhawks

West Division
Fargo Force
Lincoln Stars
Omaha Lancers
Sioux City Musketeers
Sioux Falls Stampede
Tri-City Storm

Is Modano to Detroit only a matter of time?

Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock told the NHL Website late last night that the Detroit Red Wings are close to signing the Stars Legend to a deal that would take him back to his home town. Growing up in nearby Livonia, Michigan.

Modano going to Detroit was something that I thought would really get his interest and with the team looking to get back to the Cup after having one of their worst seasons in 20 years, he would eventuality bring experience and leadership to a fantastic Red Wings team.

It would be really bizarre and weird to see him in a Red Wings uniform knowing the huge rivalry that the Stars & Red Wings have. Surprisingly I don't have a problem with him going to the Red Wings as that is his hometown and a chance to end his career and possibly win one last Stanley Cup Chance would be a great end to a historic career for the Stars.

Just a reminder everyone, the Stars play Detroit in the Team's Opener on October 14.

Here's part of an article written by George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press written earlier today.

Mike Modano is going to play for the Detroit Red Wings next season, and the season after that - at least if you believe Wings Head Coach.

"This is a no brainer for Mike Modano - the highest scoring American Player of all time to comeback to play for your hometown, play in Hockeytown," Babcock told the National Hockey League Website. "It's not about the cash, it's about the legacy and the fit. He'll fit, and he'll be excited to play. I look forward to him signing. I think that's inevitable. I think that's what is going to happen."

Of Course, Babcock could be 100% wrong. Modano, 40, is being courted by other teams, too.

"I think this is all going to work out; I'm pretty certain of that for us. But I've been around here before, and if you told me that Jiri Hudler was leaving for Russia, I wouldn't have believed it," Babcock said. "I've been wrong. Some people think I have the market cornered on being wrong."

Check this Link to see the Full Article:

In addition to the Detroit Free Press Article, Jean-Jacques Taylor wrote about how Modano needs to keep his ego out of the Decision of finding out where he will play in the 2010-2011 season.

Here's part of the Jean-Jacques Taylor Article:

Mike Modano should wear the hated Detroit Red Wings Red Sweater this season as long as he's playing because he can't imagine life without hockey - not because his ego needs some TLC. It's easy to see why Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk made the difficult, but correct, decision to inform Modano that he'd played his last season for the Dallas Stars.

Like most superstars, especially those who spend the bulk of his career with one team, Modano feels a certain sense of entitlement. Talk to enough people within the organization and they'll tell you that Modano, while still likable, has become a curmudegon over the last couple of seasons. In Dallas, he's the face of the franchise, the best player to ever wear a Stars Sweater. Here, every forward gets compared to Modano.

Here, he's the standard.

That's why Modano could never be a role player with the Stars. It's too hard on his ego. It's no different then why running back Eddie George took the same money in 2004 to be a backup for the Cowboys instead of the same role in Tennessee, where he had been the face of the franchise.

No former great player wants to hear ever wants to be told his role is changing. They always see themselves the way they always have been - and it doesn't matter whatever its Modano, Emmitt Smith, Ken Griffey Jr. or Michael Jordan.

The Great ones rarely believe their skill has diminished. Or they're not capable of dominating. They usually wind up complaining about the system or the coach in a never-ending quest to explain why their performance has slipped.

Still, just like Brett Farve, Modano has earned the right to decide whetever he wants to play another season, even if it'centerning the third line in Detroit between a couple of talented wingers such as Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler on a team with six players at least 35. If Modano wants to play for Minnesota, San Jose or Anaheim, teams that have also expressed interest, that's cool too.

Frankly, players should never listen to fans or management tell them when it times to retire.

Fans are fickle, their opinions tend to sway based on the athletes last performance, and management always puts the team first. Every single time.

To see the Full Article:

Updates for the upcoming D/FW Junior Hockey Prospects Camps

With just a week left till the Junior Hockey Prospects Camps coming up in D/FW Area as both the Omaha Lancers & the Corpus Christi Icerays are making their final preps for both camps. I have been in contact with both teams about any major changes and to see how many open spots are left for possible players to grab some of the final spots.

Here's a look at some of the updates

Omaha Lancers

They will be 2 games in each of the 4 sessions as they will be 4 teams in the Prospects Camp instead of 5 as what they planning on for the last couple of months. That means the 3rd Game in each session has been called off. Here's a look at the games that have been cancelled from the Friday Night and Sunday Morning Sessions.

  • 8:00-9:15 PM on Friday Night
  • 12:00 PM-1:15 PM on Sunday

They will also be a Q&A Session where players, parents, media members, etc can ask questions about the league, the team and how they operate. They maybe a couple of former/current players from the Omaha Lancers that could be coming to talk about the Experience of playing for the Omaha Lancers and in the United States Hockey League as general.

I just got off the phone with Omaha Lancers Head Coach Bliss Littler that they are some spots left as they are about 5-to-10 spots left for forwards. Also about 3-to-4 spots left for defensemen, while he's full on the goaltending.

So here's the updated schedule for the Omaha Lancers Camp.

Friday 7/23

3:00 PM: Camp Check in and Team Assignments

5:00-6:15 PM: Game 1

6:30-7:45 PM: Game 2

Saturday 7/24

10:00-11:15 AM: Game 3

11:30 AM-12:45 PM: Game 4

1:00 PM: Player Q&A and League Presentation

4:00 PM-5:15 PM: Game 5

5:30 PM-6:45 PM: Game 6

Sunday 7/25

9:00 AM-10:15 AM: Game 7

10:30 AM-11:45 AM: Game 8/Camp Ends

Corpus Christi Icerays

The Corpus Christi Icerays camp over at the Dr. Pepper Starcenter in Valley Ranch won't be making any changes to their schedule as they are nearly almost full for their spots.

As for the remaining open spots left, they are about 5 forward spots left and about 2-to-3 defensemen spots left for the Camp that gets underway on Friday Morning.

Their has also been no word on anything like Q&A or League/Team Presentations on the players talking to the possible players that will be working out in Valley Ranch Next Weekend.

C0rpus Christi Icerays Schedule

7/23 Friday

9:00-9:45 AM: Red Practice

10:00-10:45 AM: Grey Practice

11:00-11:45 AM: Blue Practice

12:00-12:45 PM: Gold Practice

4:00-5:15 PM: Red VS. Grey

5:30-6:45 PM: Blue VS. Gold

7/24 Saturday

9:00-10:15 AM: Red VS. Gold

10:30-11:45 AM: Blue VS. Grey

4:00-5:15 PM: Red VS. Blue

5:30-6:45 PM: Gold VS. Grey

7/25 Sunday

9:00-10:15 AM: Red VS. Grey

All Star Game Listings Afterward

11:00 AM-12:15 PM: Blue VS. Gold

All Star Game Listings Afterward

4:00-6:00 PM: All Star Game

Dallas Stars Sign a Quartert of Minor Leaguers

The Dallas Stars are looking to shore up the D-Line for the Texas Stars down in Austin as players like Andrew Hutchinson and Scott Mcculoch have left the organization as players continue to look to move on the NHL.

The Stars have resigned defensemen Maxime Fortunus and Trevor Ludwig as Ludwig split time between Idaho and Texas last season but really did well in the playoffs while Fortunus was a great offensive defensemen as he scored 23 points (11G 12A) in 72 regular season games. In addition to the playoffs he was huge in the post season by scoring 9 points.

While another player from the time machine will make its return to the Dallas Organization as Brad Lukowich returns as he was one of the players that helped the Stars win the Stanley Cup in 1999 and was also a teammate of the recently retired Darryl Sydor on the Cup Winning Team with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In addition to the trio of defensemen, the organization also signed forward Raymond Sawada as he played a handful of games for the Dallas Stars as well this season.

NHL Player Profiles

Maxime Fortunus

Trevor Ludwig

Raymond Sawada

Brad Lukowich

From the Dallas Stars Press Release:

The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has agreed to terms with defensemen Maxime Fortunus on a two year, two way contract through the 2011-2012 season and defensemen Trevor Ludwig and Brad Lukowich each to a one year two way contracts through the 2010-2011 season.

Fortunus, 26, made his NHL Debut with Dallas last season, recording four penalty minutes in 8 games. He spent the majority of the season with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League (AHL), skating in 72 games and recording 23 points (11G 12A).

The 6'1", 198 pound defensemen helped Texas reach the Calder Cup Finals in the clubs inaugural season in the AHL, playing 24 games and tallying nine points (2G 7A). The La Prairie, Quebec Native was originally signed as a free agent by Dallas on July 3, 2008.

Ludwig, 25, split time last season between the Idaho Steelhounds of the ECHL and the Texas Stars of the AHL. He finished the season with Texas, collecting 8 points (3G 5A) and 62 penalty minutes in 47 games.

The 6'0", 205 pound defensemen also appeared in 19 playoff games in Texas, recording one assist and 18 penalty minutes. The Rhinelander, Wisconsin native was the Dallas Stars sixth round pick (283rd overall) at the 2004 NHL Draft.

Lukowich, 33, has spent 653 career NHL Games and helped both the Dallas Stars (1999) and the Tampa Bay Lighting (2004) to win the Stanley Cup. Over his NHL Career he has accued 113 points (23G 90A) and 369 PIM. Lukowich has dressed in 71 career NHL Playoff Games notching six points (1G 5A) and 22 penalty minutes.

The 6'1", 200 pound defensemen played 224 games for the Dallas Stars from 1997-2002. Last season he split time with Vancouver and the Texas Stars, skating 13 games for the Canucks, collecting two points (1G 1A) and four PIM. The Cranbrook, BC Native appeared in 29 games with Texas, tallying 18 points (3G 15A) and 10 penalty minutes.

The Dallas Stars announced today that the club agreed to terms with right wing Raymond Sawada on a one year two way contract through the 2010-2011 season.

Sawada, 24, spent the majority of last season with the Texas Stars, appearing in 60 games and tallying 19 points (8G 11A) and had 92 penalty minutes. He also played five games for Dallas in 2009-2010 recording two shots. The 6'2", 207 pound right wing has played 122 AHL Games, collecting 49 points (16G 33A).

The Richmond, BC Native, was Dallas' second round selection (52nd overall) at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Todd Nelson hired as Oklahoma City Barons Head Coach

As it was confirmed by numerous sources including the The Daily Oklahoman, the Edmonton Journal and the The Pipeline Show, it was officially announced yesterday that the Edmonton Oilers Org. announced that Todd Nelson will be the team's first ever Head Coach at the Cox Convention Center where they are in the late stages of the Reinvention Project as the Barons get ready for the team's first season to start in October.

Nelson was a member of the Atlanta Thrashers Coaching Staff for the last two seasons before Team Ownership Group Atlanta Spirit, LLC cleaned house just after the regular season where the Thrashers once again missed the playoffs by just 5 points behind 8th Place Montreal and the Philadelphia Flyers who later made the Stanley Cup Finals.

Joining Nelson in Oklahoma City for the team's first season will be Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith.

As for Buchberger, he was the Head Coach of the old Edmonton Oilers Affiliate in Springfield, Mass. While Smith was a scout for the last two years for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Edmonton Oilers Ast. GM Ricky Olczyk officially introduced Nelson and Fleming at the Cox Center and will be overseeing operations while its unclear who will be the FM for the Oklahoma City Barons who will be the big man in OKC.

Quotes from Nelson in the Daily Oklahoman:

"Our Goal is to win the Calder Cup," Nelson Said. "And there's no better time then the first year."

"I knew that I'd have to come back to the American Hockey League to be a head coach and move back up," Nelson said. "It was a lot of pressure up there to win. If you don't win, you don't have a job for very long and I lived that. It was a great time in Atlanta. I enjoyed my time there but right now i'm looking for a fresh start somewhere else and looking forward to coaching in Oklahoma City."

"Our job as a staff is to develop players for Edmonton and help them win the Stanley Cup as well as develop a winning culture in Oklahoma City," Nelson said. "I think winning is a part of the development." You want both cities to prosper."

Other Notable Quotes

Edmonton Oilers Assistant GM Ricky Olczyk

"He's had success at entry level he's been at," Olczyk said. "He understands our two principles that we want to achieve our winning and development. The other thing is he's highly motivated. He gets the most out of every player."

"We think he'll compliment Todd really well and deliver on the plan that were expecting to implement moving forward.

Oklahoma City Barons Assistant Coach Gerry Fleming

"This organization, I feel, is moving in the right direction," Fleming said. "The Players, the free agent signings, it's just a great time to part of the Edmonton organization, so it was a no brainier for me."

Other Postings

Full Story from the Daily Oklahoman

The Pipeline Show

From the Oklahoma City Barons Website:

GM Steve Tambellini announced today that the Edmonton Oilers have appointed Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith as assistant coaches to Tom Renney and named Todd Nelson Head Coach of the Oklahoma City Barons in the AHL.

Buchberger, 43, spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach to the Edmonton Oilers. Prior to that the former Oilers Captain was Head Coach of the Springfield Falcons, the Oilers former AHL Affiliate where he guided the team to a 35-35-10 record. Under Berchbergers guidance, the Falcons showed a 21 point improvement over their record of 28-49-3 in 2006-2007.

A veteran of 18 National Hockey League Seasons, including 13 with the Edmonton Oilers, Buchberger began his coaching career in 2004-2005, serving an assistant coach with the AHL's Edmonton Roadrunners. He held the position of the Oilers Development Coach in 2006-2007.

Smith, who spent the past two years as a scout of the Chicago Blackhawks, re-joins the team that drafted him back in 1981.

The 47 year old from Glasgow, Scotland native had a solid career in the NHL playing 804 games recording 375 points (72G, 303A) and 2,139 penalty minutes. He won three Stanley Cups while the Oilers and made it to the Finals twice more with the Blackhawks. In 134 post season games Smith had 52 points (11G 41A).

"Steve was an integral part of the Oilers on the blue line," said Tambellini. "He will be playing an important role in developing our young defense group."

Smith also served as an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames during the 1997-1998 season but elected to return to the ice playing three more seasons with the Flames before retiring.

Nelson, who spent the two previous seasons as an assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers, is the Barons first head coach since becoming Edmonton's AHL Affiliate this summer.

"Todd demonstrated a winning record and attitude throughout his professional career and we know that he will be a very valuable asset mentoring and developing our players in Oklahoma City." said Tambellini. "He has a wealth of experience both as a player and a coach in the NHL & AHL, which will be an added benefit to our organization. We are extremely excited to have him as our coach."

Prior to being with the Thrashers, Nelson was also an assistant coach with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL from 2006-2008. In the last season with the Wolves the team won the Calder Cup, had an impressive regular season record of 46-25-9 and broke or matched 30 franchise records.

Nelson, who hails from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, spent three seasons (2003-2006) as Head Coach of the Muskegon Fury in the UHL. In the first two seasons with the Fury the team was a Colonial Cup Champions. Nelson is the all time winningest coach in Fury Club History was 149-58-25 record.

Nelson was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 4th round, 79th overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft following a solid Junior Career with the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL.

Gerry Fleming, who was an assistant coach with the Springfield Falcons the last two seasons, will continue the same role under Nelson's Leadership.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Live Chat with Dallas Stars Play-By-Play Man Ralph Strangis

Dallas Stars Broadcaster Ralph Strangis is currently getting ready for a Live Chat with fans on the Dallas Morning News Site which gets underway in about 10 minutes. Here's a rare chance to ask questions on the team's offseason moves, where Modano is heading next and so much more.

Dallas Morning News Link:

San Antonio Rampage Make Ray Edwards Their Head Coach

After a successful stint as the team's Interim Head Coach during the 2nd half of the AHL Season last year, the Phoenix Coyotes Org. has officially announced that they will keep Ray Edwards as the head coach of the San Antonio Rampage going forward since he took over just before Thanksgiving last season.

In 59 games for the Rampage last season, he went an impressively 30-23-9 to get the Rampage back after a bad start to the season that Greg Ireland took them to.

Unfortunately his turnaround didn't help the team make the playoffs as the Rampage finished 7 points back of 4th Place Milwaukee in the West Division Last Season. He's going to have a tough job looking to turnaround a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2008 where they lost to the Toronto Marlies in the opening round. In addition, the Rampage have never won a playoff series in their history going back to its current form in 2002.

From the San Antonio Rampage Website:

Phoenix Coyotes Assistant GM and GM of the San Antonio Rampage Brad Treliving announced today that the Phoenix Coyotes have officially named Ray Edwards as head coach of the Rampage, the Phoenix Coyotes AHL Affiliate. In addition, Treliving also announced that Jeff Truitt has been hired as an assistant coach.

Edwards, 40, helped guide the Rampage to a 30-23-9 record last season after being named interim head coach on November 23, 2009. Under Edwards leadership, San Antonio finished the 2009-2010 campaign tied with the Hershey Bears for the best PP % in the AHL at 20.7% and led the AHL in home power play percentage at 25.6%, both of which were franchise record.

In addition, he helped several of the Coyotes prospects shine include Kyle Turris and Brett Maclean. Turris collected 49 points (19G 30A) in his last 56 games and 32 points (13G 19A) in his last 30 games while Maclean registered 51 points (22G 29A) in his last 58 games.

Edwards, who changed the coaching staff as assistant coach on August 21, 2007, helped coached the Rampage to their most successful season in franchise history with 42 wins and 94 points during the 2007-08 campaign. Prior to joining the Rampage, Edwards coached in both the Central Hockey League (CHL) and the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) for seven seasons and guided the CHL's New Mexico Scorpions to the Conference Finals in the 2006-2007 season.

A native of Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Edwards began his coaching career at the age of 28 as one of the youngest coaches in professional hockey when he took the reins of the ECHL's Huntington Blizzard (WV) in 1998. The following season, he led the Blizzard to their most successful season with a 35-25-10 record.

As a player, Edwards recorded 174 points (83G 91A) and 1,253 PIM in 309 games over seven seasons in the ECHL. He attended National Hockey League Training Camps with Los Angeles, Chicago and Ottawa.

Truitt joins the Rampage after spending the 2009-2010 season as Director of Hockey Operations for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Prior to working with the Warriors, Truitt spent the past two seasons in the AHL with the Springfield Falcons. On June 17, 2008 Truitt was promoted from assistant coach to head coach, becoming the 10th head coach in the history of the Falcons Franchise.

Truitt entered the pro ranks following an outstanding junior coaching career with the Kelowna Rockets (WHL). The native of Rosetown, Saskatchewan left Kelowna after seven seasons as a member of the team's coaching staff, including three seasons as head coach. Truitt joined the Rockets Staff in 2000-2001 and served four seasons (2000-2001 to 2003-2004) as an assistant coach.

In his three seasons as the Rockets Head Coach, Truitt complied a 113-76-27 record, winning one WHL Championship in and advancing to the Memorial Cup Tournament in 2005. During the 2004-2005 season, Truitt guided the Rockets to a 45-13-14 record and finished 2nd place in the league's BC Division, before going 16-8 in the post-season to win the WHL Championship. With the victory, Truitt and the Rockets advanced to their 3rd straight Memorial Cup Tournament.

During his seven seasons on the Rockets Coaching Staff, Truitt helped guide the Rockets Kelowna to 2 WHL Championships (2003, 2005), two WHL Regular Season Titles (2003, 2004), three straight trips to the Memorial Cup Tournament (2003, 2004 & 2005) and one Memorial Cup Championship.

Truitt also has international experience with Team Canada. He served as video coach for the Silver Medal Winning winning 2004 Canadian National Junior Team, was an assistant coach with Canada's Gold Medal Winning U18 Team in August 2006 in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and most recently, he was an assistant coach with Canada's World U18 Team that placed 4th at the 2007 World U18 Championships in Finland.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dallas Stars sign Scott Glennie to Entry Level Contract

Even though the plan for the Stars' top Prospect Scott Glennie is for him to stay with the Brandon Wheat Kings for the 2010-2011 season, Glennie has other plans which includes getting into the NHL Starting next season.

Even though his contract doesn't go into effect until his pro career starts, the Stars are confident that he will make a big impact early on as Scott Glennie signed to the Standard 3 Year Entry Level Contract yesterday.

Glennie has been the team's top prospect since he entered the Stars System when he was drafted last year.

The last 2 seasons for the Brandon Wheat Kings have been very successful which includes 2 trips to the WHL Eastern Conference Finals and getting to host the CHL Memorial Cup back in May where the team reached the Memorial Cup Championship game before losing to the powerful Windsor Spitfires where they became the first team in 15 years to win Back-to-Back Memorial Cups.

BTW, the last time that feat was done was the Kamloops Blazers back in 1994 and 1995.

Scott Glennie WHL Profile:

Scott Glennie NHL Draft Video Profile:

Scott Glennie @ the Memorial Cup:

Dallas Stars Press Release:

The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has signed right wing Scott Glennie to a three year entry level contract.

"We are excited to reach an agreement with Scott (Glennie)," Nieuwendyk said. "He is a skilled player that we have seen develop very quickly over the past year. We are expecting great things from him as he continues progressing toward the NHL."

Glennie, 19, spent last year with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Skating in 66 games and collecting 89 points (32G 57A) and 50 PIM. The Winnipeg, Manitoba Native also added 10 points (3G 7A) in 15 playoff games in 2009-2010.

The 6'1", 185 pound right wing has played in 182 WHL Games, recording 217 points (86G 131A) over three seasons for the Wheat Kings. Glennie finished in the top 30 in WHL Scoring in each of the past two seasons and finished 5th in rookie scoring. He has also helped the Brandon Wheat Kings reach the WHL Eastern Conference Final each of the last two seasons and has tallied 29 points (7G 22A) in 33 WHL Playoff Games.

Sources: Todd Nelson to be the Oklahoma City Barons Head Coach

According to several reports in the Edmonton Journal Newspaper today, it has been reported that the Edmonton Oilers will announce that Todd Nelson will be the Oklahoma City Barons First Head Coach when the new team starts the season in early October.

The team did announce a press conference for 2:30 PM tomorrow afternoon at the Cox Convention Center where they will officially announce the full coaching staff tomorrow.

Other names that could be part of the staff include Wayne Flaming, Gery Flaming (No Relation) and Kelly Buchberger from the Daily Oklahoman's Ryan Aber who's the beat writer for the Oklahoma City Barons for the news paper.

Todd Nelson was with the coaching staff of the Atlanta Thrashers this past season until the team cleaned house shortly after the NHL Season ended back in Mid April.

According the Edmonton Journal, he was also interviewed to take over the Major Junior Team in Edmonton called the Edmonton Oil Kings where they looking to rebuild after a very disappointing season where the team finished dead last in the Eastern Conference and had the 2nd worst record overall only ahead of the Prince George Cougars where they won just 12 games out of 72 this past season.

Edmonton Journal:

Oklahoma City Barons Press Conference Link:

Oklahoma City Barons Website:

Central Hockey League Playoff Format

The Central Hockey League has continued laying out the groundwork for the 2010-2011 season as the playoff format has been announced. For the CHL, unlike staying put or even contracting the number of teams I thought it should have been from 10 to 8.

Instead, the Central Hockey League has announced that the format will be extended to have 16 of the league's 18 teams make the playoffs basically having the same format as the National Hockey League.

Only the 9th and last place teams will end up missing the playoffs this upcoming season as the league will slightly increase the season from 64 to 66 games and the seasons runs from October 15 to March 27. The 2011 Playoffs will begin the week of March 28 this season.

I don't like because this basically guarantees every team a spot in the playoffs unless if your really really bad and they will be to many nothing games throughout the season which can make it dull and not interesting on some nights.

What would I have recommended is no more then 12 teams in the playoffs with the top 6 making the playoffs. The 1st and 2nd Seeded Teams would go automatically through to the Quarterfinals while the #3 VS. #6 & #4 VS. #5 Teams would play each other in the 1st Round. This is basically the same format as the Junior A League in B.C.

With the Conference Alignment and Playoff format now set. The league announced that the 2010-2011 league schedule is set to come out on Friday.

Here's the official CHL Playoff Format from the CHL Website:

  • The Playoffs will have 4 rounds to them. Conference Quarterfinals and Conference Semifinals will be a best of 5 series. While the Conference Finals and Presidents Cup Championships being a Best of 7.
  • The Brackets will remain constant with no re-seeding at any point in the playoffs (Just like in the NBA).
  • Should 2 or more teams be tied at the end of the regular season. Here's how the Tie Breaking Format will go: Most Wins, Head-to-Head between the two teams, then if needed, goals for and goals against.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Darryl Sydor retires and joins the Aeros Staff

Darryl Sydor recently announced his retirement, only to get an offer to help coach the Minnesota Wild's AHL Affiliate in the Houston Aeros as he ends a very strong 18 year career where 10 of those years were with the Dallas Stars, also which included stops in Tampa Bay, Los Angeles, Columbus and Pittsburgh. Included in that was a stellar 1,291 games played as well as 155 playoff games and 2 Stanley Cup Championships with the Dallas Stars (1999) and the Tampa Bay Lighting (2004).

Joining him in Houston will be Brian Wiseman who was the head coach at the University of Priceton and was the team's video coordinator for the Dallas Stars before coming to the Aeros.

Darryl Sydor Profile:

Press Release from the Minnesota Wild and Houston Aeros:

Darryl Sydor apparently can't enjoy retirement. After ending a stellar 18 year career, 1291 game, 507 point career that included two lifts of the Stanley Cup, Sydor is wasting no time to start his coaching career.

Sydor and former Houston Aeros Brian Wiseman were named Assistant Coaches on the Aeros' Coaching Staff on Tuesday. Both are expected to arrive at the Wild Development Camp this week.

After two months of the Aeros being without a single coach, there is a championship pedigree at the Wild's Top Developmental affiliate. In addition to Sydor's Two Stanley Cup Championship Rings, Yeo has one after winning one as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009. Wiseman was a member of Houston's Turner Cup winning team in 1998-99. His Aeros career followed a decorated college career at the University of Michigan, in which he lead the Wolverines to two Frozen Four Appearances.

"We were looking for people that were passionate about the game, had great character and great work ethic," said Yeo. "These two guys fit that bill perfectly, and both bring in a different degree of experience."

"I had the great opportunity to coach him, and I got to see firsthand his professionalism," explained Yeo. "The way he conducted himself as a player is something that will be invaluable to our guys. I knew back when I coached him that he would be a great coach, and this is a great opportunity for him to get started."

Yeo acknowledged that it probably wasn't easy for Sydor to walk away from the game after such an illustrious career.

"You're letting go a big part of your life," said Yeo. "I think it helps that he's staying in the game and he'll get to have a big impact on each and every game."

In addition to resumes, the Houston staff now boasts quite a bit of youth with Yeo (36), Sydor (38) and Wiseman (39) all under 40. Sydor has never coached, and Wiseman spent one year each as an assistant coach at the University of Princeton (ECAC), and as a video coach for the Dallas Stars.

"That's not something that we set out and said "we want to be young," said Yeo. "But I think it's beneficial to the players, in particular Darryl who isn't far removed from the game and he'll know what those players are feeling each and every day."

With two new assistants in Texas, an offseason of change in the Wild org. - albeit much smaller in scale compared to a year ago - is nearing an end. The only coaching item left on the agenda is to find a replacement for Wild assistant coach Mike Ramsay, who stepped down after 8 seasons behind the Wild Bench.

Here's some great Darryl Sydor Videos:

Darryl Sydor's Injury in 2000 Stanley Cup Finals:

Jim Mckenzie and Darryl Sydor in the infamous fight night against Anahiem in October of 1999.

Sean Avery VS. Darryl Sydor