A lot has happened in the hockey world. Time to catch up.
- The IBJ catches up with Fuel owner Jim Hallett, who gives a great glimpse of the team’s first season on the business side.
- The South Carolina Stingrays – who come into Indy this weekend – have put up an incredible run with 21 straight wins. Jeff Jakaitis’ ECHL record shutout streak was snapped at 321:46 on Saturday, but he did win his 13th straight game, tying a mark set by Daniel Berthiaume in 1994-95.
- The Fuel made a roster move last week, adding Notre Dame and former Indiana Ice forward Peter Schneider, who had a goal and an assist in his second game.
- Organizationally, the Chicago Blackhawks also signed Notre Dame forward Vince Hinostroza, a former USHL star with Waterloo who came out of college two years early. He has a three-year ELC. He has yet to be assigned, but it is expected he will start in AHL Rockford.
- Former Ice goaltender Scott Darling earned his first career NHL shutout last week, blanking the Rangers 1-0 in Madison Square Garden while playing for the Chicago Blackhawks.
- A Washington Capitals fan blog makes the argument that John Carlson should win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defender.
- Former Ice forward and USHL Player of the Year Blake Coleman had a hat trick to lead Miami University to a 3-2 win over St. Cloud State in the NCHC tournament final. Coleman was named the tournament MVP. Four former Ice players – Coleman, Sean Kuraly, Alex Gacek and Alex Wideman – are part of the Miami team.
- Nick Mattson was named the No. 1 star for Blackhawks prospects last week after leading regular-season champ North Dakota into the semifinals of the NCHC tourney.
- Jon Gillies was named the Hockey East First-Team goaltender and has led Providence into the NCAA Tournament. Gillies is a Calgary Flames draft pick. He went 20-13-2 with a 1.95 GAA this season.
- Two players who were part of the Clark Cup title last year – Penn State’s Scott Conway and Michigan State’s Josh Jacobs – were named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
- Alexander Kuqali of RIT was named to the Atlantic Hockey conference’s third team.
- The NCAA hockey tournament starts up this weekend. The bracket is here. Eleven of the 16 teams have former Ice players participating. They are Alexander Kuqali (RIT), Austin Ortega (Nebraska-Omaha), Blake Coleman/Alex Gacek/Sean Kuraly/Alex Wideman (Miami), Jon Gillies/Brian Pinho (Providence), Emil Romig (Denver), Robbie Baillargeon (Boston University), Ryan Obuchowski (Yale), Nick Mattson (North Dakota), Justin Agosta/Alex Barron/Bo Pieper/Canon Pieper (Quinnipiac), Matt Roy (Michigan Tech), Jarrod Rabey (St. Cloud State). Action gets underway Friday.
Other Indy hockey-related news
- Congrats to the state high school hockey champs Carmel, Hamilton Southeastern, Penn, South Bend Riley and the Fort Wayne Summit City Panthers.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets’ captain was born in Central Indiana – Jack Johnson. He’s part of a Fox Sports Ohio story looking at deadline deals.
- Carmel native Zach Trotman is back in the NHL, as he was called up by the Bruins Sunday to replace injured Dougie Hamilton in the Boston lineup.
- The NHL is looking at some rules changes. One is substantial support for 3-on-3 overtime to reduce shootouts. The debate is over the format – either go straight to a five-minute 3v3 OT or use the hybrid AHL format of a 7-minute overtime, with half played 4v4 and then dropping to 3v3 at the first whistle after the clock shows 4:00. The NHL is also looking at changes to the faceoff rules. Instead of the visiting player putting his stick down first (thereby giving an advantage to the home player), the player closest to his own goal would put his down first in all blueline and end zone faceoffs, thereby giving a slight advantage to the offense. An expanded replay/coach’s challenge system is being considered. Good timing, too, given a couple of days after the meetings wrapped up, an NHL game ended on a goal scored with a broken stick, which would likely have been disallowed and overturned if replay existed. Why is this all important? The ECHL often follows NHL rule changes – the two major differences between the two rulebooks is shootout procedure (the ECHL uses 5 rounds, the NHL uses three) and replay (which the ECHL does not use).
- A minor affiliation swap in the AHL – the Florida Panthers moved their affiliation from San Antonio to Portland (Maine), displacing the Arizona Coyotes. There are rumors that is part of a multi-team shuffle coming from Rochester that would see the Coyotes move their affiliation to Springfield (Mass.), displacing the Blue Jackets, who would move to Cleveland, while the Colorado Avalanche would move their affiliation to the open San Antonio team. While all of that would ultimately make sense, especially for the Blue Jackets – who would have their prospects in Ohio and be able to further develop a fanbase in Cleveland – and for the Avs, who would have their prospects closer to Denver – Springfield is denying those rumors, stating that it has a year left on its affiliation agreement with Columbus (and in turn, the Cleveland-based Lake Erie Monsters have a year left on their agreement with Colorado). That movement could mean some movement in the ECHL, too.