AHL Today: Bears back in win column, Crunch’s Dolgon “confident” in new home

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:

  • No games on the schedule.

Last Night:

  • HERSHEY 3, NORFOLK 1The Bears, just one day after having their six-game winning streak snapped, got back in the win column. With a 3-1 win over the Admirals, the Bears moved within a point of the St. John’s IceCaps and Albany Devils who sit in sixth and seventh place in the Eastern Conference respectively. The win also gets the Bears some ground on the Ads — currently in fifth place — as the league heads into the All-Star break.


Worcester Sharks
Matt Tennyson (D) To: San Jose Sharks
Grand Rapids Griffins
Cory Emmerton (F) From: Detroit Red Wings
Syracuse Crunch
Jordan Henry (D) To: Florida Everblades
Utica Comets
Guillaume Lépine (D) From: Evansville Icemen

News & Notes:

  • 19-year-old Jared Doyon wanted to get behind the mic for his hometown Hartford Wolfpack as the public address announcer. He’s getting that chance Tuesday, when the Wolfpack take on the visiting Adirondack Phantoms. [Record-Journal]
  • Mark Cundari, the newest Chicago Wolves defenceman, is already feeling at home on his new club’s blue line thanks to familiarity with a lot of the team. [Howlin’ Wolves]
  • The Syracuse Crunch are looking to get out of the War Memorial, and owner Howard Dolgon said he was confident that the Crunch could be getting a new venue. [Syracuse.com]

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]

Crunch goaltending conundrum as they get set to play Norfolk

It all started with the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into Ottawa to face the Senators.

Early in the first period of Tampa’s loss to the Senators — nearly two minutes in, to be exact — Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop was clipped in the back of the head by a teammate’s skate. Nikita Kucherov, the offending player, was forced to leap the downed Bishop after the goaltender sprung from his crease to attack a 50-50 puck that careened off the boards toward him.

And then it was up to Anders Lindback, Tampa’s backup, to fill the net.

Later in the game, Lindback was barrelled over by Senators forward Cory Conacher. He would finish the game, but now? Now he’s on the sideline. This leaves the Lightning in the unfortunate position of having to call up both their starting and backup goaltenders from the Syracuse Crunch.

Cedrick Desjardins — he, who just recently took a puck to the face while sitting on the bench — and Kristers Gudlevskis have both been recalled to the Lightning, and may both be called upon to suit up when the Lightning play the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal on Saturday.

Normally, the situation in this case would be a trickle down effect. However, the Crunch find themselves in an almost impossible spot: they’ve had to take a goalie on loan, and need to sign another on a tryout just to fill the backup position.

Riku Helenius, who had just finished spending some time in Florida of the ECHL, may have been the next in line for the crease. If — you know — he hadn’t been suspended for breach of contract.

SyracuseHockey.com got in touch with Julien Brisbois, the Crunch general manager, who said Helenius left Florida after the team’s game on Wednesday. Subsequent phone calls from Brisebois went unanswered, and the Syracuse GM told SyracuseHockey he was “disappointed” and that the decision was “obviously. . . his decision, not ours.”

To fill the net, BriseBois has called on Allen York. The 24-year-old York has been a journeyman since breaking into the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011-12. Since appearing with the Jackets, York has spent 19 games in Springfield with the Falcons, 11 games with ECHL Evansville, one with Charlotte, six with Texas, one in Rockford, and another six in ECHL South Carolina, where he comes from to make his appearance for the Crunch.

There has yet to be word on who will start for the Crunch, but one could assume it will be York. BriseBois has yet to sign a backup to a tryout to appear in Syracuse as the Crunch host the Norfolk Admirals tomorrow night.

UPDATE: From SyracuseHockey.com, the backup goalie for the Crunch on Saturday is expected to be Grant Rollheiser. He’ll be brought in on a tryout from the Central Hockey League’s Brampton Beast. In 20 games with Beast, Rollheiser has gone 10-9 with three shutouts, a .914 SV%, and 2.99 GAA.

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. [PennLive.com]
  • 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. [Syracuse.com]
  • Heat fans shouldn’t expect to see Michael Ferland back in the lineup. [FAN960]


Loose Pucks: AHL Headlines

After a busy beginning to the month, the frantic signings that were happening through the first two weeks of free agency have slowed down. You may want to check out some of these stories to see what you’ve missed in the past month:

  • Bob Hartley spoke to Tim Leone about his five most memorable Hershey Bears moments.  [PennLive]
  • John Buccigross wrote this outstanding piece about Blake Geoffrion and his retirement. [ESPN]
  • Some Notes From Paul Fenton, via Ryan at Admirals Roundtable [Ads Roundtable]
  • Lindsay Kramer over at Syracuse.com spoke with newly re-signed Crunch defenceman Mark Barberio [Syracuse.com]
  • Marlies.ca is giving an overview of the prospects. [Marlies]

Barberio signs one-year deal with Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they’ve come to terms with defenceman Mark Barberio on a one-year deal that will keep the 23-year-old with the organization in 2013-14.

A Montreal native, Barberio has spent the last three seasons with the Lightnings top affiliates in Norfolk and Syracuse. In a combined 215 regular season games between the two clubs, the offensive defenceman has tallied 30 goals and 104 assists.

Described by EliteProspects as having a heavy shot and the tools to become a talented offensive defenceman, the scouting and statistics site also cites a need for the 2012-13 AHL All-Star to improve on his own end of the ice.

In 18 playoff games with the Crunch last season, Barberio thrilled Syrcause fans with an outstanding 15 points (3-12). While the Crunch came up short of having their roster repeat as Calder Cup Champions — the team had done so before, under the Norfolk Admirals banner — Barberio was still able to give them something to cheer about and look forward to, as he lead all defenceman in scoring in the playoffs.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the contract is a two-way pact that will see Barberio in the AHL for a good amount of time.

BoltProspects gives potential Crunch lineup

Our friends over at BoltProspects.com have put together an amazing look at what Syracuse Crunch fans could be looking at.

A note on the lineup, from the site:

JT Brown would be an excellent NHL checker today if there was a game, but he has offense to offer and that is only developed in a scoring line role in Syracuse. This was one of the reasons Connolly was playing top-6 minutes in Syracuse last year rather than a checking role in Tampa.

By being with the Lightning, Tyler Johnson provides another center if Jon Cooper wishes to move Filppula to wing at any point (which he has played frequently). Johnson is also an excellent penalty killer and faceoff man. He has also had two full seasons of prime AHL ice time, therefore this is the next step in his development. I expect him to move up a line at some point in the season and could move Filppula to wing full time in a year or two. He’s listed here with two bangers, but like Guy Boucher, Cooper doesn’t always use a fourth line, instead choosing to run three lines with the two extra forwards used situationally. It’s extremely likely Johnson gets the odd scoring line shift in between PK shifts and key faceoff shifts.

The entire depth chart, as put together by the hard working gentlemen over there, can be found here.

Don’t forget to follow them on Twitter (@BoltProspects) for up to date news about all things Syracuse, as well.

JT Brown gets new deal with Crunch

JT Brown has signed a one-year, two-way deal that will keep him with the Syracuse Crunch through next season.

Brown, who came to the Crunch last season, gets a new deal on the heels of a season that saw him put up ten goals and 18 assists in 51 games with the Lightning’s top affiliate. At 23 years old, Brown signed a two-year deal with the Lightning in March 2012 after his NCAA career came to an end.

In two seasons in the NCAA, both spent with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, Brown tallied 84 points (40-44) in 71 career games. In his first season with the Bulldogs, he helped the team win the NCAA Championship.

Brown’s last contract paid him $70,000 in the AHL, and saw him get a hefty pay raise — he made $925,000 with Tampa Bay — in the NHL. Terms of his new deal have not been released.

Crunch to add Geoff Walker

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they have signed forward Geoff Walker to a one-year, two-way deal.

Walker has spent the last four seasons bouncing around the AHL, spending time with the Manchester Monarchs, Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, and Lake Erie Monsters. In his 226 career AHL games, Walker has scored 36 goals and registered 69 assists.

At 6’2″, 225 lbs., Walker has good size and a scoring touch that is just beginning to really develop. The 25-year-old, Charlottetown, PEI product has produced at every level to get him to this point. After breaking into the ECHL in 2008-09 with the Ontario Reign as an undrafted free agent, Walker put up 48 points (21-27) in 68 games. He would make the jump to the AHL’s Monarchs the following season, and has since been a fixture on AHL rosters around the league.

Walker adds to a list of Crunch signees, including Eric Neilson and Joey Mormina.

Holzapfel signs on with HV71

After five seasons in the AHL, Riley Holzapfel has decided to pack his bags and head to Sweden.

It was announced today that the 24-year-old center has signed a deal with Jönköping, Sweden’s HV71. The deal will keep Holzapfel in the Swedish Hockey League (formerly Elitserien) for the next two seasons. According to HV71’s release, Holzapfel is expected to join the club at the end of this month.

Drafted in the second round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers, Holzapfel was never given a shot with the big club, and never had a breakout year in the AHL. A two-way center, Holzapfel’s point production had always been steady, but his totals never eye-popping.

In 335 career AHL games with the Chicago Wolves, St. John’s Ice Caps, Syracuse Crunch, and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, Holzapfel tallied 69 goals and 101 assists. As a member of the Penguins last season, the Regina, Sask. native had a career-high 51 points (21-30).

One is left to wonder if Holzapfel is a casualty of the veteran restrictions on the AHL clubs. While he’s been in the AHL for five full seasons, he is still only 24 and could still be considered a work in progress. However, sitting at a handful of games over 320 career pro contests, Holzapfel takes one of only four or five veteran roster spots.