Morin, Kichton, and Hartzell get Player of Month honours

Travis Morin, Brenden Kichton, and Eric Hartzell have taken home AHL Player of the Month nods for their performance in January.

Morin, the AHL’s leading scorer with 65 points (26-39), had his best month of the season to date, putting up ten goals and 11 assists en route to Player of the Month. The 30-year-old Morin has appeared in three games for the Dallas Stars this season, just the fifth, sixth, and seven games of his career in the bigs. A ninth-round pick of the Capitals in 2004 — back when the draft went that long — played his way up to the AHL after completing four years with the NCAA’s MSU-Mankato and two years in the ECHL with the South Carolina Stingrays.

An AHL veteran, Morin has racked up 272 points in regular season action in the AHL. Currently on a two-way deal with a cap hit of $550,000, Morin’s career has consistently seen the forward get to the next level, so he could be given some time to see if he can put it together in the NHL with Dallas next season.

St. John’s IceCaps defenceman Kichton, who received the Rookie of the Month honour, also set a career high for points in a month with 14 in January. The rookie defenceman’s three goals and 11 assists came on the strength of five multi-point contests, with a career-high three-point (1-2) game coming against Providence on Jan. 26.

Drafted in the fifth-round of the 2011 draft by the New York Islanders, Kichton went unsigned and re-entered the draft where he was selected in the seventh-round by the Winnipeg Jets. So far, the selection is paying dividends for the Jets, as Kichton made a good month better by earning a selection to the AHL All-Star team that will take on Farjestad in St. John’s next week.

Finally, Goaltender of the Month was awarded to Eric Hartzell of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Hartzell was signed by the Penguins organization after completing four years at Quinnipiac University. In his final season in the NCAA, Hartzell was awarded ECAC Player of the Year, Goaltender of the Year, and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

January was one to remember for Hartzell, as he went 5-2 with a 1.33 GAA and .944 SV%. As for the season, in 18 games with the Baby Pens, the rookie goaltender has posted a 1.85 GAA and a .925 SV%.


AHL Today: A look at the PPL Center, Utica goes for five

AHL Today is a roundup of the night that was, the day ahead, and anything you may have missed. Your quick look at what’s going on around the league.


To Watch:

  • LAKE ERIE at UTICA: As Lake Erie heads into Utica, this isn’t just a battle of some basement dwellers, it’s a battle of teams heading in very different directions. Winless in their last eight games, Lake Erie has dropped seven games in regulation as the Comets have snapped their most recent skid, rattling off four straight wins. Joacim Erikkson, fresh off being named Player of the Week, will likely get the call for the Comets. Lake Erie will get goaltender Sami Aittokallio back from his recall with the Colorado Avalanche. Only nine points out of a playoff spot, it’s a bit too early to really write off the Comets, but they’re going to need to extend this win streak and have many more like it to get back in the race.
  • CHARLOTTE at NORFOLK: The Admirals have points in six straight heading into their game with the visiting Checkers. Charlotte has won the last three meetings between the two clubs, but needed overtime and shootout to do so. On a four game winning streak themselves, the Checkers are going to be without leading scorer Aaron Palsuhaj, who just earned himself a call to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. The Ads’ best bet is to keep the Checkers off the powerplay, as the team is moving along at nearly a 25% clip.


Sami Aittokallio (G) From: Colorado Avalanche To: Lake Erie Monsters
Aaron Palushaj (F)
 From: Charlotte Checkers To: Carolina Hurricanes
Petr Mrázek (G) From: Detroit Red Wings To: Grand Rapids Griffins
Cody Beach (F) From: Kalamazoo Wings To: Chicago Wolves
Colton Sissons (F) From: Milwaukee Admirals To: Nashville Predators
Danny Hobbs (F) From: Elmira Jackals To: Binghamton Senators
Thomas Heemskerk (G) From: Worcester Sharks To: Quad City Mallards
Jordan Szwarz (F) From: Phoenix Coyotes To: Portland Pirates
Connor Murphy (D) From: Portland Pirates To: Phoenix Coyotes
Olivier Roy (G) From: Alaska Aces To: Abbotsford Heat
Drew MacKenzie (D) From: Alaska Aces To: Abbotsford Heat
Zach McKelvie (D) From: Abbotsford Heat To: Alaska Aces
Jordan Kremyr (F) From: Abbotsford Heat To: Alaska Aces
Jordan Schroeder (F) From: Utica Comets To: Vancouver Canucks
Nicholas Rioux (D) From: Iowa Wild To: Quad City Mallards
Brandon Pirri (F) From: Rockford IceHogs To: Chicago Blackhawks
Anders Nilsson (G) From: New York Islanders To: Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Matt Donovan (D) From: New York Islanders To: Bridgeport Sound Tigers

News & Notes:

  • Really nice work by 100DegreeHockey’s Stephen Meserve on the Texas Stars league leading powerplay. [100DegreeHockey]
  • The AHL Power Rankings for Week 17 have gone live on Chirps From Center Ice. Jason has been doing a great job with these, so go take a look. [ChirpsFromCenterIce]
  • After nearly a month on the road, the Rochester Americans are back on home ice. [WHEC]
  • The Milwaukee Admirals are hosting a, get this, Jamaican Vortex Night. Three fans will get a trip to Jamaica, and there will be a Bob Marley tribute band. You think you’d see this in the NHL? C’mon. [Milwaukee Admirals]
  • The brand new PPL Center is on its way to completion. (s/t @breakground, @Ike_Richman)
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    (Click to enlarge)

AHL Today: IceCaps, Bears extend streaks, Barberio making mark in Tampa

AHL Today is a roundup of the night that was, the day ahead, and anything you may have missed. Your quick look at what’s going on around the league.


To Watch:

  • Empty schedule tonight. Falcons fans can watch Tim Erixon, who has been recalled from the Springfield Falcons, and will suit up tonight for the Columbus Blue Jackets as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.

Last Night:

  • ST. JOHN’S 3, PROVIDENCE 1: For the fourth game in a row, Michael Hutchinson got the call between the pipes. His third start in three nights, the 23-year-old Barrie, Ont. native stopped 34 shots, the only chink in his armour being a Matt Lindblad goal halfway through the first period. With the win, Hutchinson and the IceCaps extended their winning streak to four games, and will put the streak on the line on Friday when they take visit Lewiston to take on the Portland Pirates.
  • HERSHEY 2, WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 0: The Bears, without head coach Mike Haviland, pushed their win streak to five. Before the game, Scott Stuccio tweeted that Haviland would be unavailable due to a medical issue, but we’ve yet to discover what exactly kept Haviland away from the team. Here’s hoping it’s nothing serious. As for the game, let’s turn it over to Chirps From Center Ice:
    The Penguins lose 2-0 to the Hershey Bears in a game which, if a power play goal here or there go in, then maybe the result is a little different. The Pens were 0-for-7 on the power play tonight, 0-for-15 for the weekend.”


Alex Petrovic (D) From: Florida Panthers To: San Antonio Rampage
Tim Erixon (D) From: Springfield Falcons To: Columbus Blue Jackets

News & Notes:

  • A positive story from Haviland being unavailable: Bears defenceman Patrick Wellar, who was sidelined after taking a shot from Syracuse’s Eric Neilson during a fight on Saturday, was patrolling the bench as an assistant. []
  • Former Crunch defenceman Mark Barberio is making his mark with the big club, and it’s turning some heads, including Jon Cooper, Tampa’s head coach, who wants the young defenceman in the lineup. []
  • Heat fans shouldn’t expect to see Michael Ferland back in the lineup. [FAN960]


AHL Today: Muse posts 31-save shutout; top spot in West on the line

AHL Today is a roundup of the night that was, the day ahead, and anything you may have missed. Your quick look at what’s going on around the league.


Weekend Watch:

  • GRAND RAPIDS at TEXAS: Tops in the Western Conference, the Grand Rapids Griffins head into Cedar Park tonight with their sights set on putting some distance between themselves and the Texas Stars. With the injuries to Detroit, the Griffins roster has been picked over, but the Stars have been moving along at a steady clip and could have their offence bolstered by Dustin Jeffery as soon as tonight.
    – In all likelihood, Tom McCollum will get the call between the pipes for the Griffins, going up against the Stars’ Josh Robinson, who made ten saves in a relief appearance for injured Christopher Nilstorp, who went down in the Stars 4-3 shootout victory over the Iowa Wild.
    – The Griffins are won both meetings with the Stars, outscoring Dallas’ farm team 10-5 in a weekend set.
    Notables: Robinson hasn’t suited up against the Griffins this season. Travis Morin has eight points over the last three games, and rookie Curtis McKenzie has points in three straight, including a four assist night on Jan. 17 when the Stars took on the Checkers. Jordin Tootoo comes into the game riding a three-game point streak, and scored the game winner in the Nov. 29 meeting between these two.

Full schedule, news, and notes after the jump. Continue reading

AHL Today: Lake Erie looks to snap skid, Texas loses Nilstorp in W

AHL Today is a roundup of the night that was, the day ahead, and anything you may have missed. Your quick look at what’s going on around the league.


On the schedule tonight:

Rochester heads into Lake Erie as both teams move in different directions. Lake Erie has dropped its last five, while Rochester has picked up a win in its last two outings. Lake Erie, only five points back of second spot in the division, needs a win to bring themselves two points closer to third place Rochester.


  • Lake Erie: Mark Olver (9-19-28), Bryan Lerg (12-15-27), and Andrew Agozzino (9-17-26) are all clustered within two points of each other.
  • No goaltender has been confirmed for tonight, but Calvin Pickard and Sami Aittokallio have split time all season, and with Pickard between the pipes for Lake Erie’s last contest, look for Aittokallio to get the call.
  • Rochester: Top point getter Phil Varone (8-25-33) got the call to Buffalo yesterday, so he won’t be in the lineup tonight. Luke Adam (15-10-25), who is scoring at a more torrid pace with over a point per game, will have all eyes on him as Lake Erie looks to stop their slide.
  • Nathan Lieuwen has had the net for three of the last four, so expect Hackett to get the call tonight.

Oklahoma City and Charlotte meet up tonight in Carolina, both with two game win streaks on the line. Oklahoma stands to slide up the standings in pursuit of the final playoff spot. The win would put them two points out of the final spot in the Western Conference.


Evening round-up:

     – Colton Sceviour had his bobble head night last night in Cedar Park. The resemblance? Suffice to say Sceviour wasn’t thrilled.

     – Threw together a Storify of the action on Twitter during the hubbub over the possibility of the St. John’s IceCaps and Winnipeg Jets affiliation agreement possibly ending with a new AHL team landing in Thunder Bay. Click the image below.

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Wolves unveil anniversary logo, Pens don new threads

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Chicago Wolves will both have some new designs this season.

The Wolves, entering their 20th season in the Windy City, have unveiled an anniversary logo that will be Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 12.31.49 PMfront and center at Allstate Arena. The logo (pictured) isn’t a far cry from the current mark, but features the Roman numeral for twenty.

No changes have been made to the colour scheme, either. The Wolves will continue using the maroon and beige in the logo, colours that have been featured in the team’s pallet almost since the team’s inception in 1994.

It won’t just be the Wolves who have something new to show off, as the Penguins unveiled a new jersey set for the upcoming season.

The three jerseys — a white road jersey, dark home jersey, and gold alternate — aren’t a far cry from what the Penguins have worn in past seasons, but the alternate stands out. Using the gold colour that’s been a part of the colour scheme for the past fifteen years, the Penguins are also debuting a 15th anniversary logo, much in the same vein as the Wolves celebratory logo.

You can take a look at the new Penguins threads below:

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 12.32.30 PM

Griffins let us back Between The Benches

The Grand Rapids Griffins, and their fantastic media staff, are bringing us another instalment of their web series that ran throughout the Calder Cup playoffs.

Their six part series, titled “Between The Benches”, ran for the duration of the playoffs, but just because the Calder Cup champion Griffins are currently in off-season mode doesn’t mean we can’t have a little more fun with the team. The newly released video follows the team as they ramp up for the playoffs.

From the Griffins:

With the regular season wrapping up, Jeff Blashill and the Griffins look to put their first stamp on the Griffins organization by clinching the Midwestern Division title for the first time in seven years, and still keep the pedal down going into what is sure to be a tough playoff series against the Houston Aeros.

This is the prologue of our six part series following the team with never-before-seen access on a playoff run.

Devils, Phantoms announce preseason tilt

The Adirondack Phantoms and Albany Devils have announced a date for their first preseason matchup.

Both teams will get their preseasons underway on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Glen Falls Civic Center, according to a Devils release. Puck drop will be shortly after 7 p.m. The teams will announce the remainder of their schedules at a later date.

During the 2012-13 season, the Phantoms and Devils met 12 times, with Albany winning the season series 8-3-0-1.

Tickets have not yet been released.