Time for another look around hockey.
- More Fuel news coming across today with the team announcing it will have a radio broadcast partner with WXNT-1430. It will be the first year since 2005-06 that local hockey games will be broadcast on terrestrial radio. Tony Brown will handle the radio play-by-play.
- Blackhawks.com had a look at the team’s 2013 draft class a year later. First-round pick Ryan Hartman is signed and played in Rockford last year, while the rest of the draft class is matriculating in college or overseas. Each look at Blackhawks draft classes equals a look at players we might see on a Fuel roster in a couple of years. .
- Outside of Indy, it only took a week for the nearby Cincinnati Cyclones to fill their coaching vacancy. Matt MacDonald replaces Ben Simon, who took an assistant coaching job to Gord Dineen with the AHL Toronto Marlies last week.
- Boston.com has an analysis piece looking at Torey Krug’s role with the Bruins. He had a 40-point season as a rookie a year ago. Krug played for the Ice in the 2008-09 Clark Cup championship season.
- Speaking of the 2009 Clark Cup champs, Mike Cichy signed with the ECHL Florida Everblades last week. Cichy was the 2009 Clark Cup playoff MVP with 25 points in the postseason. Another former Ice player, Brandon Blandina, re-signed with Reading this week. Blandina was part of the 2007-08 division champs.
- Former Ice personnel continue to find new homes. Corey Wogtech, who was the team’s goaltending coach the past year, will take a similar position with the expansion Bloomington Thunder.
- Not Ice-related, but those of us who saw the USA U18 team come through last year saw how special of a player Jack Eichel can be. Eichel is projected to be a top-two pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and is considered the top U.S.-born prospect since Mike Modano. He was a personal favorite to watch up close last year, and one of the best junior talents I’ve seen. Yahoo has a nice feature on Eichel’s path to stardom.
Elsewhere in hockey
- The silly season went really nuts last week after the Darryl Wolski tweet about hearing the ECHL and Central Hockey League were in merger talks, which led to a slew of articles and posts with varying levels of accuracy or inaccuracy and informed (or uninformed) opinion. As one online commentator said after one of the stories, “this is the greatest game of telephone ever.” As I mentioned in my column last week, take everything you hear during this time of year with a shaker of salt. As it stands, the people who are talking in the 2 leagues are saying there’s no merger on the horizon.
- The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame has announced its 2014 class: Karen Bye Dietz, Brian Rafalski, Jeff Sauer and Lou Vairo. The induction ceremony will be Dec. 4.
- There will be two outdoor games in the NHL in 2014-15 (after six this past season). One is the Blackhawks-Caps Winter Classic in DC. The other will be a Sharks-Kings game at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. It will be played Feb. 21. The Kings will be playing in an outdoor game for the second straight year, having hosted the Ducks at Dodger Stadium in a Stadium Series game this past season.
- I’m a stats nerd, and so the concept of advanced stats in hockey certainly piques my interest. Sean McIndoe of Grantland (aka “Down Goes Brown”) takes a nice dive into the advanced stats pool on the heels of two NHL teams hiring advanced gurus.
Also of interest
- The Fairgrounds Coliseum has been one of the primary homes of hockey since it was built 75 years ago. But in-between its hockey tenants, it hosted the Indiana Pacers in their first seven years, including three ABA champions. Their coach, Bobby “Slick” Leonard was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last weekend. It’s a long-overdue honor, but congrats. Eleven championship teams have called the Coliseum home — eight of the nine Indianapolis hockey championship teams, and the three Pacers ABA titlists. Congrats, Slick.