I’ve been so busy putting together my 3 part Season in Review that I have quite a few news items to catch up on. Even though it’s Offseason, Day 4, it’s been quite an eventful week. Time for me to play catchup…
-It appears that Albany (and Adirondack) will need to find a new ECHL affiliate for next season. For the second time in three years, a Trenton ECHL franchise has ceased operations. The Titans made the announcement on Tuesday, with the goal of returning to the league in 2014-15. This happens just two years after the Trenton Devils left the ECHL, with the Titans taking over just a couple of months later, but wound up with the same rumored financial woes.
-Also on Tuesday, Harri Pesonen, Eric Gelinas, and Mike Sislo were all recalled to New Jersey. This is the first callup for Gelinas and Sislo, and the third of the season for Pesonen, who had appeared in four games in his previous callups. Alexander Urbom finally got in some game action in Tuesday’s win at home over Montreal. Gelinas will be making his debut in the home finale against Pittsburgh, not sure if the other two will get in on Saturday for the season finale in New York City.
-Speaking of Devils…interesting story surrounding the whole saga with Stefan Matteau. For those that don’t know what happened, he had been benched during a QMJHL semifinal game over the weekend for basically taking a dumb penalty that cost his team (Blainville-Boisbriand) a goal. Instead of sucking it up and accepting it, depending on what story you read he essentially quit the team. But according to another source, he was released from the team after the game and was offered a plane ticket home. He chose to ride home on the fan bus (talk about an awkward situation…you’d likely never see that in the professional ranks). Here we have a 19 year old kid, first round draft pick, made his NHL debut during the season…but yet has a problem staying disciplined. I’m paying close attention to how this shakes out, because there is a good chance he may be playing here next season. Hopefully this is a lesson he can learn from as his playing career unfolds…just as long as it doesn’t turn into another Mike (Jefferson) Danton story.
-Per CapGeek, it appears that Seth Helgeson has indeed signed a two year entry level deal. He appeared in four games after signing an amateur try out agreement on April 5th, registering no points and finishing a +2.
-Per the AHL transactions, a formality today, as Helgeson, Reid Boucher and Jon Merrill were all released from their amateur tryouts.
-In AHL news, apparently the Connecticut Whale are about to be no more, as the team ownership has decided to return to the old Hartford Wolfpack after switching to the Whale two seasons ago. Does this mean the old introduction is coming back? Or how about a new Norelco commercial? The official announcement should come within the next week. Pucky the Whale, we hardly knew ye.
-As far as franchise silly season? Well, a rumor that first surfaced in late February never came to pass. It had been rumored that Calgary was planning on moving their AHL franchise in Abbotsford, British Columbia, to Utica, who last saw the AHL way back in the 1992-93 season when the Devils called the Aud home. It turned into a 3 way trade rumor: Peoria was being bought by Vancouver, who would then move the team to Abbotsford, paving the way for the Flames to go to Utica, while St. Louis (Peoria’s parent club) would take over Vancouver’s current AHL affiliate in Chicago. All came true this week, with the exception of the Utica move, as Calgary decided to stick with Abbotsford for at least one more season. Vancouver did buy the Peoria franchise, but without a chance of moving them to Abbotsford (negotiations met an impasse) they are first attempting to keep the team in Illinois. St. Louis and Chicago officially announced their affiliation agreement earlier this week. The only other move for sure is the Houston Aeros moving north to Iowa (who last saw the AHL in 2008-09 as the Stars, then the famous Iowa Chops), where they will be known as the Iowa Wild (sadly Chops sounds so much better in this case).
-And finally, you can find first round matchups for the Calder Cup Playoffs here. Sigh. Someday.