After over 30 years, Bruce Landon steps away from Springfield Falcons

After over a quarter-century in the front office of Springfield hockey, Bruce Landon, the Springfield Falcons president, part-owner, and general manager, has decided to step away from the game.

In a press conference this afternoon, the 64-year-old London, Ont. native spoke to the media, fans, and friends who had assembled to hear what the Falcons were calling a major announcement. Landon, who won a Calder Cup as a member of the Springfield Kings during the 1970-71 season, has been a steadfast figure in the hockey landscape of Springfield. After suffering a career-ending injury as a member of the Springfield Indians in 1977-78, Landon, then 28, was brought on to work the Kings broadcasts and work in an executive role with the team.

Landon would be honoured as the league’s top executive in 1981, and would go on to become the franchise’s general manager the following year, a role he held until today.

When the Indians, in 1994, were sold to a new ownership group that had intentions to move the team out of Springfield (they became the Worcester Ice Cats), Landon rallied together an investment group that secured ownership of an expansion team. That team, now known the Falcons, will celebrate their 20-year anniversary next season.

At the conference, Landon said he will remain on with the team as the director of hockey operations, but won’t maintain any other roles with the team, instead working with them during the transition period. Katharine McCarthy, who was on hand at the event, tweeted that Landon cited “hitting a brick wall a couple months ago and not being able to give what he felt was his all.”

According to McCarthy, management from Springfield will conduct a search for a new president, but filling the position is not of paramount concern.

From MassLive.com:

“(Owner) Charlie Pompea accepted the challenges of making this franchise successful. I feel comfortable in the direction this franchise is going to go,” Landon said in a true torch-passing moment.

Pompea has owned the team since late 2010. But the face of the franchise has always been Landon.

Landon said he will devote more time to his family. He cited at least one Christmas morning that he spent working when he could have been home.

His successor, at least on an interim basis, said filling Landon’s shoes will be a challenge.

“There is a lot to do, but the goal is still for us to keep moving forward,” said Sarah Pompea, whose role to this point has been highlighted by her supervision of the Falcons’ growing charitable foundation.

Charlie Pompea reiterated the team’s commitment to a city that has hosted AHL hockey for most of the last 78 years.

“The Springfield Falcons will be there for you, just as Springfield has been there for us,” Pompea said.

(Cover image courtesy BusinessWest.com)

AHL Today: St. John’s goes for seven, Albany and Springfield battle for Northeast Division

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:

  • PROVIDENCE at ST. JOHN’S: The IceCaps host the Baby B’s in an attempt to win their seventh straight. The Bruins and ‘Caps, only separated by three points in the standings, are fighting for positioning in the Eastern Conference. Michael Hutchinson, formerly of the Bruins, hasn’t relinquished the goaltending duties since this run began, and posted a .932 SV% through January. Brenden Kichton is coming off Rookie of the Month honours, and looks to carry the hot hand into the game. Niklas Svedberg has started the last three games for Providence, but Malcolm Subban could see a spot start.
  • ALBANY at SPRINGFIELD: In a divisional battle, the Devils roll into Springfield to take on the Falcons. Albany walked away with a shutout win the last time the two met, but aside from the win/loss columns, the two teams are almost eerily evenly matched. Goals for? Springfield 136, Albany 139. Goals against? Springfield 119, Albany 120. Springfield comes in losing four of its last five in regulation, so Albany can gain some ground in the division if they take advantage of the sliding Falcons.

Last Night:

  • No games on the schedule.

Moves:

Abbotsford Heat
Joni Ortio (G) To: Calgary Flames
Ben Street (F) From: Calgary Flames
Thomas Heemskerk (G) From: Quad City Mallards
Chicago Wolves
Dmitrij Jaskin (F) To: St. Louis Blues
Hamilton Bulldogs
Christian Thomas (F) To: Montréal Canadiens
Norfolk Admirals
Chad Painchaud (F) From: South Carolina Stingrays
Sami Vatanen (D) From: Anaheim Ducks
Toronto Marlies
Gregg McKegg (F) From: Toronto Maple Leafs
Jerred Smithson (F) To: Toronto Maple Leafs
Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins
Nick D’Agostino (D) From: Wheeling Nailers
Harrison Ruopp (D) From: Wheeling Nailers
Worcester Sharks
J.P. Anderson (G) To: San Francisco Bulls

News & Notes:

  • AHL linesman Chris Woodworth is taking his craft global: working the lines in Sochi. [Democrat & Chronicle]
  • The Texas Stars posted an amazing time-lapse clip of the changeover in Cedar Park as they go from basketball court to ice surface. [Texas Stars]
  • An interesting opinion piece by Clare Austin at Puckology supporting Riku Helenius and positing that the situation may have been the result of some mismanagement. [Puckology]

AHL Today: Glens Falls close to finding out future, Utica win streak halted

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:

  • CHICAGO at ROCHESTER: Rochester puts its four-game winning streak on the line when they take on the Wolves. Over their last four games, the Amerks have outscored their opponents 16-8. The tandem of Nathan Lieuwen and Matt Hackett have been formidable for Rochester. The teams haven’t faced each other this season, but they’re meeting each other as they both start to roll. Chicago is on a two game streak of its own. Should be a great game. Of note, the Amerks will be without top point-getter Phil “Don’t Call Me Joe” Varone who is up with the Buffalo Sabres.
  • SAN ANTONIO at TEXAS: The Stars host the Rampage at home, where they’re 21-3-0-3 against San Antonio in the last five years. Texas has picked up a point in each of the seven contests between the two teams so far this season, and a single point will draw them into a tie for first place in the West. Texas will still be without goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp, so expect Josh Robinson to get the call. The last time the two teams met was Dec. 28, when the Stars walked away with a 5-2 victory.

Last Night:

  • LAKE ERIE 3, UTICA 2 (SO): Benn Ferriero continued his hot streak, picking up a goal and an assist, but it wasn’t enough as the Comets dropped the game to the Monsters in a shootout. Calvin Pickard picked up the win for the Monsters, making thirty saves and stopping every shot in skills competition. Joey Hishon’s shootout tally proved to be the winner.
  • CHARLOTTE at NORFOLK (ppd.): Due to weather, the Admirals and Checkers had their tilt postponed to March 4.
    (Moves, news, and notes after the jump.) Continue reading

Goloubef signs one-year deal with Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets have come to terms with Cody Goloubef.

Goloubef, a 23-year-old blue liner who was drafted by the Jackets in the second round of the 2008 draft, has signed a one-year deal with the team.

A University of Wisconsin product, Goloubef has spent the last three years in the Blue Jackets system, and suited up in a career high 11 NHL games last season. In his AHL career, which spans 143 games, Goloubef has potted 11 goals and 33 assists.

In just 38 games with the Springfield Falcons last season, the 6-foot-1 defenceman tied a career high with five goals, and fell four points short of tying his career high in points (17).

Joudrey re-signs with Springfield

29-year-old AHL veteran Andrew Joudrey has signed a one-year AHL deal with the Springfield Falcons.

Joudrey, who was drafted in the eighth round of the 2008 draft by the Washington Capitals, is entering his seventh year in the pros, and his third with the Falcons. In his previous two seasons as a member of the Blue Jackets top affiliate, Joudrey has registered 24 goals and 26 assists in 152 games. The Falcons alternate captain since joining the team in 2011-12, Joudrey has proven he’s a leader on and off the ice, getting the nod to captain the legendary Hershey Bears in the 2010-11 season, and wearing a letter in his final two seasons with the University of Wisconsin.

A two-time Calder Cup champion with the Bears and NCAA Champion with the Badgers, Joudrey isn’t a breathtaking player or one to do anything fancy, but he’s the kind of player teams need in order to win titles. A contributor when it matters most, Joudrey’s AHL totals are a respectable 68 goals and 96 assists in 495 games.

(Cover image by Bridget Samuels)

Machacek brought back by Jackets

Spencer Machacek, who finished last season as a member of the Springfield Falcons, has signed a new deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Machacek, 24, had spent the bulk of the previous five seasons in the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets organization, but was dealt to the Jackets late last season in exchange for Tomas Kubalik. An AHL All-Star in 2010-11, Machacek has been a proficient scorer in the AHL, but has never had the opportunity to take a full-time role in the NHL. His new deal in Columbus will likely be more of the same, with the Lethbridge, Alta., native spending the majority of his time in Springfield with the Falcons.

In 2011-12, while still with the Jets organization, Machacek suited up for 13 games with the Jets and potted two goals and seven assists, but was sent down three months after being recalled. In his 389 AHL contests, Machacek has racked up 105 goals and 153 assists.

A member of the Vancouver Giants Memorial Cup winning team in 2006-07, Machacek was a WHL standout, putting up 209 points (97-112) in his junior career.

Savard re-signed by Blue Jackets

David Savard is back with the Blue Jackets for at least one more year.

The St-Hyacinthe, Que., native has signed a one-year, two-way deal with the organization, that will likely see him spend a fair amount of time in Springfield.

Savard, who spent his junior with the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats, came to the pros after playing three seasons in the ‘Q’. During his final season in the ‘Q’, 2009-10, Savard was showered with accolades. Named the CHL Defenceman of the Year, a CHL First All-Star, QMJHL Best Defensive Defenceman, QMJHL Defenceman of the Year, and a QMJHL First All-Star, Savard came to Springfield and lit it up from the blue line.

In 2010-11, his first pro season, Savard tallied 11 goals and 32 assists in 72 games, and parlayed it into a stint with the big club the following year. In 2011-12, Savard split time between the AHL and NHL, playing 31 games with the Jackets and another 44 in the minors.

Last season, however, Savard had a difficult time cracking the Jackets lineup once the lockout ended, only appearing in four games. During his time with Springfield last season — 60 games — Savard registered five goals and 26 assists.

This contract could, realistically, be make or break for Savard. If Columbus is unwilling to lock him up long term, there is a possibility that Savard could get a look from another club when his deal expires next year.

(Cover image by Bridget Samuels)

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.

AHL veteran Amadio hangs them up

Greg Amadio, who began his professional hockey career in 2003-04, has decided to retire after a decade in the minors.

Amadio, who went undrafted after finishing his four year career at Michigan Tech (NCAA), played 459 games in the AHL, amassing 1325 PIM over that time.

Over his almost nine full seasons in the AHL, Amadio suited up for the Manitoba Moose, Grand Rapids Griffins, Iowa Stars, Portland Pirates, Binghamton Senators, Hershey Bears, and ended his career as a member of the Springfield Falcons. His career highs came in 2009-10 while a member of the Hershey Bears, where the journeyman defenceman scored two goals and added eight assists in 57 games. Amadio also helped out with one assist in 15 playoff games en route to a Calder Cup with the Bears.

It was announced that Amadio will take the position of Defence Development Coach with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

A mainstay in the AHL for nearly a decade, the Sault native and former Griffins alternate captain will head back home to start a new venture.

(Cover image by PennLive.com)

St. Denis leaves Bulldogs for Falcons

After four seasons in the Montreal Canadiens organization, Frederic St. Denis has signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Unable to crack the Canadiens roster for more than 17 games, St. Denis goes to Columbus where an extended stint in the bigs could be a possibility. At 27 years old, the 5’11” defenceman is entering into his prime, but is coming off of a season in which his point production fell off.

In 63 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs last season, St. Denis only managed 18 points (7-11), a drop in production from his 28 points (3-25) in 58 games the year prior. A veteran of nearly 300 games in the ‘A’, St. Denis brings an effective two-way game to the rink, but he’s not a lock to make the jump into the NHL with the Jackets.

In his career, St. Denis has scored 19 goals and 69 assists, producing at .33 points per game at the AHL level.

The contract in Columbus is a one-year, two-way deal.