Due to a myriad of factors (a very busy Fuel home schedule, family commitments, holidays, my day job), I haven’t had much time to put together a link roundup in the last few weeks, but there’s some interesting stuff to cover.
- ICYMI, the Fuel added three players via three separate trades this week – forwards Evan Vossen and Kyle Stroh and goaltender Shane Owen.
- Cue the Brass Bonanza Dagger! ESPN’s Steve Levy rocks an Indy Fuel jersey while Barry Melrose shows off Pucky the Whale. (seriously, I never turn down a chance to play this …)
- The Toledo Walleye played the first two outdoor games in ECHL history over the last two weekends, playing Kalamazoo on Dec. 26 and Fort Wayne on Sunday (a game postponed from Saturday due to weather conditions). Toledo lost both games, but crowds were great (also for non-hockey events) and the event deemed a success.
- The ECHL All-Star celebration is coming Jan. 19-21 in Orlando (haven’t you heard the announcements between periods of every Fuel home game so far!). The Stanley Cup will be in attendance, and former Checkers GM (and, I didn’t know this, Indianapolis Indians part-owner) Jim Devellano will be the keynote speaker for the Hall of Fame event. Starters were named Wednesday, and reserves/alternates will be named Thursday.
- The Evansville IceMen replaced coach Dwight Mullins with former Fort Wayne Komets coach and NHL player Al Sims last week.
- To say there has been a LOT of “silly season” rumblings with rumors/reports that the ECHL’s West Division could see several franchises go to the American Hockey League would be an understatement. In the last couple of weeks, they’ve become a bit more frequent.
- In the AHL, the Oklahoma City Barons will cease operations. The Edmonton Oilers own the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors, and in the California city, there’s already talk that the Condors might become the Oilers’ AHL affiliate. A report out of Edmonton corroborates that, and also states that the Calgary Flames are in the process of buying the Stockton Thunder (while this unsourced article connects San Jose and Stockton and also connects Las Vegas and the Phoenix Coyotes, although we’ve seen nothing else on that end). The Los Angeles Kings own the Ontario Reign. Anaheim is considering moving its AHL team to a currently-vacant market in San Diego.
- Once the Edmonton Sun mentioned Flames-to-Stockton, the Glens Falls, NY paper noted the Adirondack Flames (a team currently coached by former IHL Ice captain Ryan Huska) have an out clause in their deal. Also to note from this article, if Anaheim vacates Norfolk, it must find a replacement team (which, presumably, would be in the AHL).
- Several articles are noting a late-January announcement between the AHL & NHL. When/if this happens (and it certainly seems like it’s tilting to the former right now), there could be a dramatic swapping of cities between the AHL & ECHL. Currently, we know Oklahoma City is leaving the AHL. Other potentially-affected AHL cities are Manchester, NH (Kings), Glens Falls, NY (Flames), Portland, Maine (Coyotes), Norfolk, Va. (Ducks) and Worcester, Mass. (Sharks). A few of those could get replacement AHL teams, but keep your eyes on markets vacated by the AHL.
- 2011-13 Ice player Austin Ortega had a big December – leading the nation with seven goals and nine points in eight games, leading Nebraska-Omaha to a 5-2-1 record. As a result, he was named both the NCHC and national Player of the Month for December.
- 2013-14 Ice player & Clark Cup Champion Aidan Muir was named the NCHC’s Rookie of the Month for December. Muir had three goals, an assist and was +3 in four games in December for Western Michigan.
- Si vous pouvez lire le français, vous pouvez lire cette: Former Ice forward (and current Lightning prospect) Adam Erne scored his 100th QMJHL goal last week.
- Now playing for Sioux City, Sam Kurker had a hat trick last week against Fargo. His teammate, Adam Johnson, had nine points on the week and was named USHL Player of the Week. Johnson played six games for the Ice in 2012-13.
- Austin Ortega keeps tallying game-winners for Nebraska-Omaha.
- Jon Gillies is continuing his fine season in Providence (with teammate Brian Pinho).
Elsewhere in hockey
- An interesting link: The origins of all 30 NHL team names.
- The NHL All-Star Game is coming up in Columbus. The league is considering adding tracking chips to all players, which could make advanced stats even more interesting (and, for a statgeek like me, that would be tremendous).
- In Russia, the KHL is struggling, in part due to the collapse of the Russian ruble.
- The World Junior Championships ended Monday with Canada winning gold. The U.S. was eliminated by silver medalist Russia in the quarters, leading to questions about what happened to a talented team (and more questions), which was led by likely No. 2 2015 draft pick Jack Eichel.