Taking a break from checking the MLB Draft (only reason I pay attention is some of those players may be coming here for the summer next week…you’ll be hearing plenty about the Valleycats during the next 2+ months, trust me) and watching Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals to get an update out there…
-Tomorrow the Calder Cup Finals begin in Syracuse, as the Crunch take on the Grand Rapids Griffins for AHL bragging rights. I actually had the opportunity last Saturday to travel west to check out Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Crunch and the Penguins, just as a casual observer. And the fact I’ve never been to a hockey game in June before. I had noted in my last post not to count out the Pens just yet despite being down 3-1 in the series, considering their comeback against Providence in the previous round. Well…that theory was pretty much out the window by the middle of the second period, as Syracuse jumped all over Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff (a surprise starter considering how well his teammate Brad Thiessen had been in net during the comeback against the Bruins) and never looked back, winning 7-0. The Griffins survived a tornado scare and a 3-2 series rally by Oklahoma City to win the Western Conference finals in 7 games. Having not seen Grand Rapids play (since the only Western team I see is Rochester), it’s hard for me to really give a prediction as to how well they’ll fare against Syracuse. But it wouldn’t surprise me, at the rate this team is going, if by next Friday evening former River Rat Mike Angelidis will be participating in another post game center ice ceremony. My counterparts from the Power Play Post Show and Chairman How’s Glorious Army will have it covered as the Finals play out.
If you are so inclined, AHL Live will actually be showing video free of charge for the duration of the Finals, just use the code CALDER2013. Hopefully the video will be functioning well.
-According to multiple sources in the Mohawk Valley and in Vancouver, the league will approve the move of the Canucks AHL franchise to Utica by the end of next week, putting an end to a months long rumor. We’ll have to wait and see on a team name and how it will affect the divisional alignment since the move is from the Western Conference to an Eastern location (Utica sits roughly 50 miles east of Syracuse and 80 miles west of Albany).
-The only piece of Devils news? Nothing official out of New Jersey, but it appears that Andrei Loktionov, a restricted free agent, will return to the Devils on a one year contract. He did appear in 3 games for Albany after coming over from Los Angeles/Manchester in early February, but spent the rest of the season with New Jersey, scoring 8 goals in 28 games.