AHL Today: Texas blasts Toronto, AHL linesman heading to Sochi

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:

  • NORFOLK at HERSHEY: The Bears had their six-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Adirondack Phantoms, but look to start anew as they take on the streaking Norfolk Admirals. The Ads have won two straight and picked up at least a point in each of their last eight games, helped along in part by the league’s second pest penalty-kill. The Ads PK is moving along at an 88.4 per cent clip, allowing a league low 22 powerplay goals against.

Last Night:

  • NORFOLK 3, SYRACUSE 2 (SO): It was the most memorable AHL contest in the history of the league for John Parks. Parks, a 46-year-old practice goaltender who has filled in for the Crunch during a few pre-game skates, was called upon to man the backup role for Syracuse. After Grant Rollheiser, the goaltender Syracuse inked to a tryout deal, was unable to make it to the game in time, Parks got the call, $300, and his game jersey. Not a bad Saturday. As for the game, the Crunch took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Jon DiSalvatore, fell behind on goals by Admirals forward Norm Ezekiel and defenceman Steve Eminger — both firsts of the season — then clawed back to tie it on a shorthanded goal by Dana Tyrell. Crunch goaltender Allen York stopped 29 of 31 shots in the loss, helping Syracuse to a single point in his debut for the team.
  • TEXAS 6, TORONTO 0: This may be the rare case where the game sheet does tell the story. Outshot 49-19, the Marlies were shorthanded 11 times, allowed three powerplay goals, and Texas absolutley poured it on. Cristopher Nilstorp was back in action for the Stars, stopping all 19 shots that came his way in the victory.


Albany Devils
Mike Sislo (F) From: New Jersey Devils
Charlotte Checkers
Cam Ward (G) To: Carolina Hurricanes
Milwaukee Admirals
Simon Moser (F) To: Nashville Predators
Norfolk Admirals
David Steckel (F) To: Anaheim Ducks
Oklahoma City Barons
Mark Arcobello (F) From: Edmonton Oilers
Providence Bruins
Paul Kenny (G) To: ——
San Antonio Rampage
Drew Shore (F) From: Florida Panthers
Springfield Falcons
Tim Erixon (D) To: Columbus Blue Jackets
Syracuse Crunch
Kristers Gudlevskis (G) From: Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Marlies
Gregg McKegg (F) To: Toronto Maple Leafs
Worcester Sharks
John McCarthy (F) From: San Jose Sharks

News & Notes:

  • Very cool story about Chris Carlson, a part-time AHL linesman, who is heading over to Sochi to work the lines for the Olympic tournament. [Edmonton Sun]
  • Adam Clendening is having a great season with the Rockford IceHogs, and waiting patiently for his shot at the NHL with the Blackhawks. [ESPN Chicago]
  • Saturday night’s game between Portland and Binghamton was a parade to the penalty box. The Pirates set a franchise record, racking up 134 PIM. The previous record? 119, set nearly twenty years ago on Nov. 20, 1996. [Pirates Radio]

Blackhawks fans rejoice: Pirri gets recalled by Chicago

If you follow any Blackhawks fans on Twitter, I’m sure by now you’ve seen the calls for Brandon Pirri to make his way back up to the big club. Those prayers — of which there have been plenty — have finally been answered.

Pirri, a second round pick by the ‘Hawks in 2009, spent 24 games with Chicago this season, but after an eight-game point drought was sent back to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. Now, after racking up four goals and six assists through 13 games in with Rockford, Pirri has earned his call back up to the bigs.

When Pirri was sent back to the IceHogs in December, he told the media that the situation wasn’t ideal, but he had to “play well and do his best and work hard wherever.”

The interview with Hogs TV, which you can see below, is an exercise in Hockey Interview 101.

Lalonde leaves IceHogs, heads to DEL

After spending the last three seasons with the Rockford IceHogs, Shawn Lalonde has decided to ply his trade elsewhere.

Lalonde, a third round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2008, was expected to be able to eventually crack the roster in the Windy City, but it never quite came to fruition. The 23-year-old from Ottawa, Ont. instead spent the last three full years — sans a single game with the Blackhawks — with their minor league affiliate in Rockford.

In his three seasons, Lalonde suited up for 207 games in the ‘A’, and talled 13 goals and 57 assists.

Lalonde’s contract, a one-year deal with Eisbaren Berlin of the DEL, will see the defenceman join former AHLers Matt Foy and Casey Borer in Germany.



Nightingale an IceHog in 2013-14

Jared Nightingale has signed a one-year AHL deal with the Rockford IceHogs.

The 6’3″, 205 lb. defenceman spent last season with the Syracuse Crunch, but is moving on after just one year. In 56 games with Tampa Bays top affiliate last season, Nightingale potted two gaols and five assists, as well as racking up 121 PIM.

A veteran of 339 AHL games — regular season and playoffs combined — Nightingale had spent the majority of the previous five seasons with the Hartford Wolf Pack and Connecticut Whale. Nightingale’s career high in points came in 2011-12, while a member of the Connecticut Whale. While an alternate captain with the Rangers farm club, Nightingale posted one goal and nine assists.

A Michigan State University product, Nightingale has tallied 13 goals and 33 assists in his AHL career.

Blackhawks reach terms with Kostka, Peckham, Leblanc

The Chicago Blackhawks have inked Theo Peckham, Mike Kostka, and Drew Leblanc to two-way deals.

Leblanc, the 2012-13 Hobey Baker Award winner after a stellar season with the NCAA’s St. Cloud St., came to the Blackhawks on a one-year deal at the end of his NCAA season, but when the season came to a close, the ‘Hawks targeted him for re-signing. Stan Bowman, the Blackhawks general manager, had said on numerous occasions that the 24-year-old forward would be brought back, and the result is a two-year deal.

In all likelihood, Leblanc will get the opportunity to get some seasoning in the AHL before he makes the jump to the NHL, if he makes the jump at all. Next season, Leblanc is expected to start with the Rockford IceHogs, and while the terms of his two-way deal have not been disclosed, it is expected he will make somewhere in the $700,000 range in the NHL.

Last season, in 42 NCAA games, the St. Cloud St. captain tallied 13 goals and 37 assists, and suited up in two games with the Blackhawks. Leblanc also suited up in the World Championships for Team USA, registering three assists in six games.

Peckham, 25, is a big bodied defenceman that most will recognize from his playing days in Edmonton. At 6’2″, 216 lbs., Peckham is known for throwing his weight around and his proclivity for dropping the gloves.

Over a combined 307 games in the NHL and AHL, Peckham has registered 804 PIM, and contributed by putting up 56 points (16-40). While he only suited up in 12 games all last season — four in each the NHL, AHL, and ECHL — Peckham comes to the Blackhawks to likely play a swing role between the NHL and AHL.

Kostka, who spent last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, will also likely have a hard time cracking the Blackhawks roster, and could see himself playing a swing role between the big club and the Rockford IceHogs.

In 35 games in the AHL last season, the 27-year-old defenceman scored six goals to go along with 28 assists, putting him at an outstanding point-per-game pace from the backend. Up in the NHL, Kostka was a revelation to begin the season, but slowly tapered off, sometimes drawing the ire of Maple Leafs faithful.

In his 35 games in the NHL last year, Kostka posted eight assists. In his career, Kostka has played 365 AHL games, registering 44 goals and 150 assists.


Beach and Brookbank back in Rockford

Wade Brookbank and Kyle Beach will be back with the Rockford IceHogs next season.

Brookbank, who has spent the last three seasons with the IceHogs, signed a one-year AHL deal with the team this afternoon. The contract will see the towering defenceman back on patrol for the IceHogs for at least a portion of next season.

Over the past three years with the team, Brookbank, 35, has only suited up for 101 games with the Blackhawks top affiliate. Over that time, the tough guy has only contributed three goals and five assists, but has racked up a mind boggling 287 PIM over that same span.

Brookbank’s AHL career, which spans over 11 seaons, has seen the 6’4″, 220 lb. defenceman suit up with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Binghamton Senators, Milwaukee Admirals, Binghamton Senators, Manitoba Moose, Providence Bruins, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Albany River Rats, and Norfolk Admirals. I suppose you could call him a journeyman.

In total, Brookbank has played in 443 AHL contests, tallying eight goals and 29 assists.

Beach, who signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Blackhawks, was a first round draft pick of the club back in 2008.

He’s never cracked the Blackhawks lineup, but Beach has appeared in 167 games for their AHL affiliate in Rockford, tallying 40 goals and 35 assists, and amassing 418 PIM over that time. While he may have, at one time, been viewed as the top prospect in the organization, Beach has been long surpassed by the likes of Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri. However, Beach is still a useful player at the AHL level, and if he continues to develop he could — eventually — see some NHL action.

Blackhawks and Stanton reach deal

The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to terms with Ryan Stanton on a one-year deal that will bring the IceHogs all-time games played leader back to the ‘Hawks top affiliate.

Stanton, who will be entering his fourth season with the IceHogs, was an alternate captain for the Blackhawks farm club, and the blue liner comes back to the Hogs after a 25 point season.

At 6’2″ and 205 lbs., Stanton has good size and EliteProspects praises his game, saying he has the ability to play effectively in all three zones without putting defence on the back burner. Over the past three seasons in the ‘A’, Stanton has appeared in 222 games with the IceHogs, registering 60 points (9-51).

Before joining the Blackhawks organization, Stanton spent four seasons with Moose Jaw of the WHL, appearing in 242 games, tallying 19 goals and adding 83 assists.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it is a two-way contract.

Lavin inks deal with Falcons

Joe Lavin, who has spent the last two seasons with the Rockford IceHogs, has signed a deal with the Springfield Falcons.

Lavin, a 23-year-old defenceman from Shrewsbury, Mass., played in 112 AHL games with the IceHogs where he amassed four goals and 23 assists. Before turning pro, Lavin spent time with the Omaha Lancers (USHL), Providence College (NCAA), and the U.S. National Development Program. Before joining the IceHogs, Lavin spent two seasons with the NCAA’s University of Notre Dame, captaining the Fighting Irish in his last season with the club.

Over 110 games in the NCAA, Lavin scored nine goals and added 29 assists.

Still young, and standing at 6’1″ and weighing 196 lbs., Lavin has room to develop into a solid defenceman at the professional level. Not an offensive defenceman by any stretch, Lavin contributes by being steady at both ends of the ice and playing a responsible game.

The contract with Springfield is a one-year deal.

IceHogs peg Osiecki for assistant job

Former International Hockey League defenceman and Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Mark Osiecki is headed to Rockford.

The Blackhawks announced on Tuesday that they had hired Osiecki on as an assistant coach with their farm club, the Rockford IceHogs.

Osiecki comes to Rockford after a three-year tenure as the head coach of the men’s hockey program at Ohio State. During his time in the Buckeye State as a head coach, Osiecki coached the team to a 30-33-9 record. His previous experience behind the bench came at the University of Wisconsin as an assistant to longtime  coach Mike Eaves, where he helped guide the team to a National Championship in 2006.

As for minor league experience, Osiecki played four games in the AHL with the New Haven Senators in 1992-93 and another 104 contests in the IHL before it amalgamated with the ‘A’. During his time in the minors, Osiecki had five goals and 17 assists.

In his career, Osiecki suited up for 93 NHL contests, and would score three goals and add 11 assists. His playing career ended in 1994-95 as a member of the Manitoba Moose.

Shortly after hanging up the skates, Osiecki landed with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers, where he would coach and manage the team for seven seasons, winning a Clark Cup as league champions in 2000.