Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Day for the WJC Preliminary Round

Two of the three Cats' prospects were in action yesterday and, as has been the case so far for all three teams, they won their games.

The early game set Russia against Slovakia and it marked the first game of the tournament where Evgeni Dadonov did not pick up a point. Despite this, he had his chances and was still very active in the Russian dominance, including four shots on goal. With the help of Nikita Filatov's hat trick, Russia easily handled Slovakia, 8-1.

Next up: Sweden.

Later on in the evening, the United States went up against Kazakhstan in a game that everyone imagined would be a blowout. And they were right.

Even though the Americans were sloppy for most of the first period (the game was scoreless through sixteen minutes) the goals did eventually come, and when they finally broke through, it just kept piling on.

The line of Tangradi, Rust and Palushaj was put out to start each period to set the pace, and even in the lackluster first period, they did a good job. Rust was a workhorse playing end to end, picking passes and setting up plays all night. His nose for the net led to a rebound goal in the final seconds of the game, and his play with Michigan teammate Aaron Palushaj helped Palushaj get his first goal of the tournament in a game where he'd score twice and pick up four points. The two points Rust would get move his tournament tally to four (3 goals, 1 assist).

During the game, Panthers' general manager Jacques Martin was interviewed and he looked, and sounded, like a kid in a candy store gushing over the quality and abundance of players in the tournament.

Tonight, the biggest (and last) game of the preliminary round will see the United States and Canada in action. The Canadians are outscoring opponents 28-2 through three games while the Americans are outscoring their opposition 24-5. There's a three-way tie for top spot in total points (9) with two Canadians (John Tavares, Cody Hodgson) and one American (Jordan Schroeder). It's going to be a great game.

As for the Russia-Sweden matchup alluded to above, that game is this afternoon while the Panthers are playing. The two teams are nearly identical in the standings:

Russia is 3-0, Sweden is 3-0. The goal differential for both teams is a +13. Russia has scored 17 goals in three games, Sweden has 16. To the contrary, Russia has allowed 4 goals to Sweden's 3.

Someone's got to lose.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Third Time's a Charm

Shawn Matthias is back with the Cats for the third time already this season due to the injury to Kamil Kreps.

In the ten games Matthias has played with the Panthers this season, he has one assist, which he picked up in his most recent game (December 14 against Vancouver).

With Rochester, Matthias has three goals and one assist through twenty-four games.

Cory Murphy for Conditioning

The Panthers are looking to use another conditioning stint to help one of their players get back in to game shape and maybe help out the Amerks at the same time.

That means Cory Murphy's headed north. Earlier in the season, Murphy was waived and went unclaimed, but there was no intention to send him to the AHL at that time.

Now, he's over his injury and he's got nowhere to go in the roster, so like Noah Welch, getting him the extra playing time could be a good thing. Of course the difference here is that Murphy is coming off an injury.

So we'll see what comes of this. Murphy could play up some trade value if he's able to get some confidence back. After his hot start last year was derailed by injury, he was never the same. This year has started no better than last season ended and he's been sidelined again due to injury.

Rochester desperately needs another spark to help out Brodeur and while Murphy's not quite Noah Welch in stature, if the player that put up nine points (eight on the power play) in his first month of NHL hockey shows up, maybe he can help them out for a couple of weeks. And by then, who knows what will have happened.

Panthers Lose Third Straight

Montreal came in to, basically, a home crowd and Florida just couldn't keep it together. The Panthers' inconsistency is amazing. If the same team that got embarrassed by Tampa and that gave up a shorthanded goal and couldn't score on a two-man advantage is the team that goes in to Long Island, right now, they'd lose.

Florida's been playing on their heels ever since the Friday game against the Lightning and someone needs to get them to slow down for a minute and get all the players back on the same page so they can start to move forward again.

Kamil Kreps is out for a few weeks and Rostislav Olesz is back skating in practices.




On the WJC side, Dadonov (Russia) and Rust (United States) both have games today. The Russians are taking on Slovakia at 2:30 PM while the Americans will go up against Kazakhstan at 7:30. Kazakhstan, if you didn't know, was thrashed by Germany 9-0 in their first game. But they had Canada after that and they were further destroyed: 15-0.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Big day for the WJCs

(Evgeni Dadonov watches as a shot gets past Harri Sateri on Sunday: Photo by Matthew Murnaghan - HHOF/IIHF Images)

There were three games today with Panthers' prospects involved and the first of those three saw the Russians roll to a 5-2 win over Finland.

For Florida, winger Evgeni Dadonov had an excellent game -- his line combined for nine points. Dadonov scored a goal and added two assists, moving his point total to four through two games. Russia will go up against Slovakia on Tuesday, looking to move to 3-0.

In the second game, Sweden was taking on the Slovakian team and the game was just dominated by Sweden through the first two periods, the Swedish defense limiting Slovakia to 14 shots through two periods. Things changed in the third and Slovakia showed some jump and caught Sweden on their heels a bit, striking soon after having the door slammed by Markström on numerous occasions. It would be the only goal scored for Slovakia, however, and Sweden skated off with a 3-1 win: 26 saves for Jacob Markström.

The United States, coming off of a big 8-2 win over Germany two nights ago, started about an hour after Sweden to go up against the Czech Republic. Matt Rust scored the go-ahead goal in the second on a deflection, pushing the USA out in front 2-1, and would create a few chances as the game moved along; his effort drawing a penalty for the Americans later on in the game. As time wound down and the Czech net was empty, Rust took a shot on an empty net, scoring what would have been his second goal of the game, however the goal was disallowed due to an offside call. An overhead replay during the broadcast seemed to indicate that there was no offside, and that the goal probably should have counted. Regardless, Rust would have a second chance at an empty net, a chance on which he was unable to capitalize. Still, the USA hung on to stave off a third period Czech rally, winning 4-3.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Panthers 4 | Lightning 6

Yuck. It's all covered in the game recap on the Cats' site.

“We got what we deserved tonight,” said Panthers’ coach Peter DeBoer. “Had we got anything more than that based on what we did, it wouldn’t have been justified.”
They're back in action Monday. No local TV, the game will be on RDS.

Panthers 3 | Lightning 4 (OT)

These Panthers sure know how to make things interesting. Despite a rough night from Tomas Vokoun, the Cats clawed back from a 3-1 deficit in the final seven minutes of the third period to tie the game at 3 with 13.9 seconds on the clock. When the game went to the shootout, though, Craig Anderson was beaten easily by Tampa's shooters and the Panthers would be forced to settle for a point.

Still, the shoddy goaltending helped mask the overall lousy play by the team tonight. Passes were sloppy or intercepted while shots were wide or never taken. Effort wasn't an issue tonight, though. I really just saw an amazing amount of inconsistency and just a general struggle from both clubs. One line would have a solid shift and then the next time out, they would look completely out of place. Can't really explain it, it was just a frustrating game even with the late rally.

I noticed a Rochester sweater tonight, which is quite a rarity. I can count the number of times I've seen one on one hand, so that was pretty neat. Which leads me to, of course, Rochester.

Hamilton was at the Blue Cross Arena to take on the Amerks and once again, Mike Brodeur stood tall, making 36 saves on 37 shots in the 2-1 Rochester victory. Chalk the goals up for Peter Aston and David Brine.

The World Junior Championships started today, as well. Team USA was in action early on in the afternoon against Germany, winning big -- 8-2.

Florida holds the rights to one of the U.S. players: college center Matt Rust. Rust (Florida's fourth pick in the 2007 Entry Draft) is in his second World Junior tournament and he most definitely made his first game in this year's WJC a good one.

His two-way play is teriffic and he's a great penalty killer. He did that today and he did it well, actually looking like one of the more impressive American players in the game, he's a hard worker and a big team player and beyond defensive responsibility, his all-around abilities are promising.

So, did he do anything else?

He scored a goal, and it was a beauty. With nine seconds left and Team USA already up 7-2, Rust picked up a loose puck deep in the defensive zone and carried out across center in to the offensive zone. He moved through two German defenders and threw a wrister blocker side high with one second left in the game, making the score 8-2 and making Panthers' fans proud in the process.

Two other Panthers' prospects were playing tonight: Evgeni Dadonov (Russia) and Jacob Markström (Sweden).

Dadonov is a small but chippy right wing playing in his third year with Chelyabinsk. The 19-year-old was Florida's third-round (71st overall) pick in the 2007 Entry Draft. recorded an assist in Russia's 4-1 win against Latvia, while Markström stopped 20 of 21 Finland shooters in goal, helping his team to a 3-1 victory.

Tomorrow night, the Panthers will be on Florida's west coast for game two of the home-and-home with the Lightning while the Rochester Americans take on the Albany River Rats at 5PM. As for juniors, there are two games (Slovakia-Latvia, Kazakhstan-Germany) and neither will feature any Panthers' prospects. The three nations (USA, Sweden, Russia) will all be back on the ice for games on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Quick Update

Last night, Florida put up their second consecutive shutout (Vokoun in net for both), beating the Predators 3-0 and Michael Frolik had the first two-goal game of his career (the second goal coming on an empty-net).

As for prospect updates, I guess I won't be getting to it this week. Good news, though. Hockey's Future covered the Cats' AHL/ECHL prospects yesterday, so if you want to read it, go check it out: Panthers 2008-09 AHL/ECHL prospects update.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Panthers 3 | Avalanche 0

Tomas Vokoun picked up a shutout tonight, while Jassen Cullimore left the game in the first period with an "upper body injury". Peltonen, Campbell and Dvorak had another great game together and Zednik and Frolik played quite well together, too. Frolik, by the way, took a puck to the face after getting beat out on an icing call, but he came back quickly and played a very strong game. And then Keith Ballard: the hip check is always risky and he pulled it off twice tonight, though the latter drew a 'clipping' penalty and an extra minor for unsportsmanlike conduct (Michael Frolik served that one). A few minutes after the hit and some pushing and shoving beside the Avalanche bench, Tarnasky and Ian Laperriere dropped the gloves.

Hits were even at 14 and shots were 24-23 for the Panthers, while the first two goals were notable for a couple different reasons: Brett McLean redirected a centering feed from Nick Tarnasky and put it into the net for his first goal of the season. It took him 32 games to get one in, but better late than never. As for the second goal, it was just a beautiful play by Richard Zednik skating in, cutting to his right and then as he skated past Budaj, he held the puck on his backhand to draw the goaltender out of position and then he roofed the backhand shot to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Rochester is taking on the 16-7-3-3 Grand Rapids Griffins at the moment. The Amerks are trailing 4-0 through two periods. Mike Brodeur has faced 21 shots, while Rochester has put up 26.


I'm going to be busier than usual over the next couple days, so any weekly prospect update (assuming I still manage to put one together) will probably be pretty short or maybe just limited to stats only. Sorry about that, but we'll see what happens.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sweden/Canada Exhibition @ 7PM

With the World Junior Championships only a week away, preliminary matches are getting started and tonight, it's a rematch of last year's gold medal game.

Sweden will take on Canada at 7PM and the game will be broadcast live on TSN, as well as online (though you're probably going to have to live in Canada or use a proxy to get it).

Jacob Markström, Florida's first pick of the 2008 Entry Draft (second round) will likely be the Swedish starter in the tournament, while the two potential top picks this year (Victor Hedman and John Tavares) will go against each other for the first time in their draft year.

When the tournament officially begins on December 26th, the NHL Network will air all of the USA games (and Canada's games) so you'll also have plenty of chances to watch Matt Rust in his second stint with the U.S. national team.

Amerks Release Classen, Fitzpatrick Named All-Star Captain

Well, the Greg Classen experiment is one that has now ended as today, Classen has been released from his PTO after turning down a contract offer to instead play in Germany. LetsGoAmerks has the full press release:
(Rochester, NY)… Rochester Americans General Manager Jody Gage announced today that the Amerks have released forward Greg Classen from his 25-game professional tryout (PTO) and has signed with the Iserlohn Roosters of the DEL.

"It's unfortunate to lose a player like Greg, but it's also extremely difficult to hold a player back from making a career decision," said Gage. "We did offer him a standard player contract, but what it came down to was Greg making a career decision that he believed to be within the best interests of his future as a player."

Classen had not yet played with the team.

The other news here is that defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick has been named as one of the two captains for the AHL All-Star game. Full release is here.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.... American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that Bryan Helmer of the Hershey Bears and Rory Fitzpatrick of the Rochester Americans will serve as playing captains for the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications, to be held January 25-26 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.

Captains for the American Hockey League All-Star teams are selected by the league president in recognition of their outstanding service and leadership to the AHL.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vokoun Tonight @ Carolina -- 7:00 PM (FSN)

Tomas Vokoun will get the start tonight in Carolina after Craig Anderson started to ease off of his tremendous pace. Vokoun started on Friday night against the Calgary Flames, stopping 35 of 37 shots and then after Cammalleri missed his shootout attempt, Vokoun stopped the remaining two Calgary shooters to ensure a fifth-straight Florida road victory.

Prior to that, Tomas only had one other appearance in the month of December and it came on the sixth against Boston. Patrice Bergeron collided with Craig Anderson and already down 3-0, DeBoer simply replaced Anderson to make sure that Andy hadn't suffered any injury that playing would aggravate.

Tonight, the Panthers will see Nathan Horton, David Booth, Richard Zednik and Stephen Weiss return to the lineup. Rostislav Olesz, however, appears to be a definite 'no' and his injury seems more serious than it was initially believed, while Jassen Cullimore may be scratched as he's sick. If he doesn't play, Noah Welch would take his spot.

On the other side, the 'Canes will be seeing the return of defenseman Frantisek Kaberle tonight. Kaberle, 35, has already missed significant time on two separate occasions this season, playing in only seven games -- the last on December 4th. He has three points on the year, two of which came against the Panthers in the first game of the season. Carolina will be without Anton Babchuk and Niclas Wallin and Wade Brookbank may be a healthy scratch for the fifth consecutive game.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

David Shantz to the ECHL

It's looking more and more likely that Mike Brodeur has a contract in his future with Rochester as today, the Panthers have sent David Shantz to the ECHL's Elmira Jackals.

Shantz will now be able to continue playing regularly instead of being the third goaltender on the Amerks' depth chart.

This summer, David Shantz is a restricted free agent.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Prospects: Week of 12.8.08

The Amerks had a big, big week thanks to goaltender Mike Brodeur. Brodeur's name isn't in the Panthers' organization yet, but if he keeps up his recent play, it will be.

Rochester won three of five games -- in six nights -- including back-to-back wins Saturday and Sunday against Lake Erie and Syracuse, respectively.

During the week, the Amerks were without Tanner Glass and Michal Repik due to NHL callups, and the team added veteran forward Greg Classen. Classen, however, has yet to play due to visa issues. As for Noah Welch, the defenseman was a huge addition during his seven game stay, providing solid defense in every situation and adding three assists as well. His presence will be missed up north.

The week started with a 3-2 loss to the suddenly red-hot San Antonio Rampage. Jason Garrison assisted on the two goals (Stefan Meyer - 7, Kenndal McArdle - 4) but the team only managed 15 shots and couldn't help out their goaltender. After a bus ride to Houston, the Amerks took on the Aeros for the second time (they beat Houston for their second win of the season on November 8th). Dan Collins' fourth of the year and Mike Brodeur's 26 saves on 27 shots took the game to a shootout. All three Amerks' shooters scored (Janis Sprukts, Jacob Micflikier, Karl Stewart) and the Amerks picked up a win.

A day off followed before Rochester was host to the Peoria Rivermen. Stopping 26 of 28 was Brodeur, but none of the Amerks' 17 shots got through and a terrific outing in goal was spoiled. The next night, Rochester fell behind Lake Erie early, but scored three unanswered goals (Mike Duco - 6, Micflikier - 2, David Brine - 2) to beat the Monsters for the second time this season, 3-1. Brodeur was strong in goal again, facing 21 and stopping 20.

Capping off a long week and the third game in three nights was a home victory against the Syracuse Crunch. Only one goal was scored in the game and it came off the stick of Kenndal McArdle. McArdle led the team with three points this week (2G, 1A) along with Garrison (3A) while Sprukts, Meyer, Duco, Brine, Micflikier and Welch each had two points in the five games and Franklin MacDonald, Dan Collins and Drew Larman each had one.

As for Brodeur, his play has earned him AHL player of the week honours. In five games, he posted two shutouts and stopped 130 of 137 shots (95%). The Amerks have won 4 of 6 since he arrived. Look to see one of David Shantz or Chris Beckford-Tseu (probably Shantz) getting moved sometime soon if/when they decide to give Brodeur a contract.


Tyler Plante and the Dayton Bombers took on the last-place Reading Royals and fell by a 5-4 score on Wednesday night. Plante faced 29 shots and 14 of those came in a four-goal Reading first period -- all four of those goals occurring within 3:22. Two of the goals came on power plays. Plante didn't play in either of the two weekend games, although Dayton won both.


A.J. Jenks had an assist in each of the Plymouth Whalers' two wins this week, but the Whalers' alternate captain was blanked, along with the rest of his teammates in a nasty 7-0 loss to Guelph in between. They've won seven of the past ten and have climbed back to .500. . . Corey Syvret played in the Guelph victory and was a comfortable +2. The Storm lost to Owen Sound on Saturday and shut out the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday, Syvret on the blueline for both. . . On Wednesday, Saginaw trailed Plymouth 3-0 in the third before Adam Comrie helped set up two quick goals in the period to draw the Spirit to within one. But the two assists wasn't enough and the Spirit lost, 3-2. Saginaw would lose in a shootout 2-1 on Friday, and Comrie added an assist to the third goal of a 3-2 win against Erie on Saturday. The three assists bring Comrie's count to 11, and a total of 17 points through 26 games. . . James DeLory received a misconduct during Oshawa's obliteration at the hands of the Ottawa 67's on Friday night. After a cross-checking minor late in the second, DeLory was called for cross-checking and slashing and handed a ten-minute misconduct all at once early in the third. Ottawa won the game, 10-0. DeLory scored his third goal of the year on Sunday, though, helping Oshawa to a 5-4 win against Peterborough. . . Colby Robak got involved in some of the rough stuff at the end of a 6-3 loss to Moose Jaw on Tuesday (Brandon led 2-0, then went in to the third tied at 3). Three Warriors goals sparked roughing calls, fights and the unsportsmanlike incidents at the end of the game. The next night, Brandon was beat further down by Saskatoon, losing 5-1, but the Wheat Kings won Friday's game (3-1) and Saturday's (5-4) with Robak adding an assist in each of the two games. . . Brady Calla had an assist on Tuesday as Kamloops defeated Lethbridge by a score of 3-1 and he assisted on one of the Blazers' three goals in their 8-3 loss to Kootenay on Wednesday. He also received a roughing penalty and a ten-minute misconduct in the game, and on Saturday (2-0 loss to Swift Current), it was a fighting major and ten-minute misconduct, giving Calla a total of 29 penalty minutes in the two games.


Ohio State defenseman Matt Bartkowski had three shots on goal and one assist in a 10-1 rout of visiting Bentley University and on Sunday, he played on OSU's top pairing, going a +2 in the 3-2 overtime win. The Buckeyes are still unranked, but they are now 11-6-1 and are receiving more votes this week, as well. . . Both Michigan and Western Michigan were off this week, with the Wolverines moving from #12 to #11 in the USA Today/USA Hockey poll.


The Denver Pioneers pulled a weekend sweep against Minnesota State, extending their win streak to seven games. John Lee was in the middle pairing for both games, going +3 on Saturday. Meanwhile, goaltender Marc Cheverie stopped 21 of 23 shots in each game (42 of 46 -- 91%) and improved his record to 13-5-1. Beyond that, the Pioneers have maintained their #5 national ranking. Denver doesn't play again until January. . . North Dakota Fighting Sioux defenseman Derrick LaPoint also played as a second pairing defenseman this weekend as the Sioux won both games against St. Cloud State. LaPoint even scored his first goal of the season in Saturday's game. The Sioux, however, remain unranked.

Hockey East

Matt Duffy (pictured) scored a goal Friday night as Maine defeated Union, 3-1. It was his second of the season, and only half of his offensive contribution for the weekend. Duffy added an assist in the second game on Saturday, another Maine victory (5-1). The senior now has five points (2G, 3A) on the year. Maine will play again on December 27th-28th on the west coast of Florida for the Florida College Classic in Estero (home of the Everblades). I imagine it's a good bet that former Black Bear Andrew Sweetland will be in attendance as he played with this team only a year ago. . . Brian Foster was replaced mid-game in New Hampshire's game against Holy Cross after allowing four goals on sixteen shots. The Wildcats, however, won the game by a score of 9-4.


Jacob Markström came in late in Monday night's game against Frölunda after Anders Lindbäck started to cramp up. Jacob faced five shots and turned them all aside, though Brynäs was on the losing end of a 4-2 final. On Thursday, they took on Victor Hedman and MODO, and Markström again played well enough to give his team a chance, but it was Hedman scoring the game winner in overtime, MODO winning, 2-1. On Saturday, Brynäs scored three goals on seventeen shots, but allowed thirty-seven shots to come against Markström. He turned aside 34 of the 37 shots and Brynäs played to a 3-3 draw with Djurgårdens. Brynäs doesn't play again until December 26th, but at that time, the IIHF World Junior Championships will be starting and Jacob will be in Canada representing Sweden.


I still haven't seen the final roster for Russia, but I would say the odds are pretty good that you can expect to see Evgeni Dadonov and Sergei Gayduchenko on the Russian national team at this year's tournament. They're both on the preliminary roster as it is now.

Repik and Matthias Back to Rochester, Sweetland Out

Shawn Matthias and Michal Repik have returned to the Rochester Americans after spending some time with the Panthers this season.

The moves mean that the Cats can expect to see most, if not all, of the injured forwards making their return for Thursday's game against Carolina.

Matthias, drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 2006 (47th overall), was in his second recall of the season, appearing in nine games. He picked up his first point of the year in last night's game against Vancouver (an assist), while centering Cory Stillman and Michal Repik.

Repik was drafted by the Panthers in 2007 behind Keaton Ellerby. He made his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators on December 8th and scored his first goal in the same game (pictured left) and played in all three games since then. He'll return to Rochester and look to add to his 14 points as the Amerks try to turn their season around in front of newcomer Mike Brodeur.

As for Andrew Sweetland, the 22-year old forward will head south, but not to the NHL. Instead, Sweetland will be joining the Florida Everblades to gain some confidence and get some more playing time. He left the Maine Black Bears this spring after agreeing to terms with the Cats in March, passing on his final three years of college hockey eligibility. In 21 games with Rochester, he has 1 assist.

Panthers 3 | Canucks 5

All good things come to an end, and even though tonight's game wasn't a good one, six of eight points on the road is a positive stride for this team.

Florida took the lead early tonight when Michael Frolik sent a pass up the boards to Nick Boynton, who in turn fired the puck on net, directing its way through Schneider's pads and into the net. Not long after, three Panthers came in on the Vancouver net, but the puck came loose and away from the crowd right to Jay Bouwmeester who skated in deep to chip in the loose puck.

Later in the period, with Keith Ballard hobbling around after taking a shot in the ankle, Darcy Hordichuk took a pass off a Panthers turnover, carried it to the far side and skated in on Anderson who had slid to the left and away from the net, allowing for a relatively easy Vancouver goal.

The Panthers were outplayed by the Canucks in the second, and after a sloppy fluke goal in which Karlis Skrastins lost the puck beside the net, they never really got back on track.

Vancouver would score three more goals in the game. One, a pass that bounced off of Bouwmeester's skate and directed past Anderson and another, a breakaway in which Kesler simply beat Andy.

Michael Frolik would pull the Cats to within three in the third, but it was too little, too late. For Frolik, though, it was his fourth consecutive game with a point, and in the last eight games, he now has nine points.

Cory Stillman wasn't worked too much in the opening frame, but his shifts increased each period. Never heard anything else about him, so hopefully everything went well for him physically in his return.

But injuries may not be over, yet. Stephen Weiss left the game early and was taken to an area hospital for x-rays after being hit in the first period. GR hasn't got anything beyond that, and as was said in the game broadcast, they're just calling it an 'upper body injury' for the time being. So cross your fingers.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Stillman, Welch Return -- Glass to Rochester

Short entry since I'm watching the game right now, but I just saw an update at that Noah Welch left after the Amerks' game this evening with all his gear. His conditioning stint is over and he'll be returning to the Panthers.

Stillman's back in the lineup tonight, and Glass was reassigned to Rochester he make room. He arrived in New York a couple hours before game time, and the Amerks eventually won the game, Brodeur with another shutout in a 1-0 final.

Someone said the scoreboard hasn't been updating, so while I try to get one that fits (and updates), I guess there won't be anything there. Hopefully I'll get that fixed soon.

Amerks Live Stream Tonight

Just a reminder that the Rochester Americans' game this evening against the Syracuse Crunch will be available for live streaming online. You'll likely have to register an account, but I did to do a couple of game PPVs and it didn't take long.

It's a chance to see Noah Welch playing a major role, since he has had limited time with the Cats, along with the Panthers' current top defense prospect, Keaton Ellerby, and forwards Mike Duco and Kenndal McArdle, to name a few.

Here's the direct link to AHL Live's console: AHL LIVE

Rochester's coming off of a 3-1 win last night against Lake Erie and since the arrival of goaltender Mike Brodeur, the Amerks have gone 3-2. Brodeur has allowed only seven goals in the five games, posting a 1.39 GAA and a .948 save percentage.

The team has been playing their best hockey of late, really going back to November 28th when they were able to snap an ugly seven game losing streak with Chris Beckford-Tseu stopping 27 shots in a 2-1 win, also against Lake Erie. But in the 19 games leading up to November 28th, Rochester was averaging 4.42 goals against per game -- only scoring, on average, 2 goals for themselves, in the process earning a 2-16-0-1 record. In the nine games since, goals against have dropped to 2.1 and although the offense has struggled, the Amerks have gone 4-4-0-1.

Looking at Syracuse for a moment, you'll see a team that has, after winning 12 of the first 13 games of the season, gone 2-8 in their last ten, due in part to injuries and NHL callups. The Crunch though, have dominated Rochester early on this season as they did most of last year.

In the first three meetings of the season, Rochester's been outscored 4-3, 6-1 and 6-1 again. All three games came in October, and all three games saw at least two fights. The Crunch boast one of the AHL's best fighters in Jon Mirasty, who after the second meeting of the season -- one in which McArdle and Duco, along with Mirasty and Tom Sestito received game misconducts for fighting off the playing surface (sticks swinging at the benches) -- called Duco a "little rat". Since then, the Amerks have added Wild prospect Riley Emmerson. At 6'8" and 248 pounds, Emmerson's got the size to be a fantastic enforcer, though Mirasty handled him easily the first time they fought (they'd fight twice in that game).

So now the Amerks will take on a struggling Crunch hockey team and the offense is going to need to click while the goaltending will need to be solid. But whether they do or they don't, these two teams don't like each other. Rochester is trying to keep the momentum going and build off of what Mike Brodeur has added while Syracuse has been extremely frustrated of late. The potential is there for this to be one of the more exciting games of the season, so if you're interested, check it out.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rochester Signs Greg Classen --
The first thing I noticed today when I sat down to watch practice was a new face on the ice.* Greg Classen is here!* I’m not sure if he is a PTO for the Amerks or if he is a Panthers’ signing for the year but, he is a vet that is severly needed on the front lines.

Classen has played 90 NHL games with the Nashville Predators.* He has also played in over 350 AHL/IHL games.* This season he played one game with the Providence Bruins and 19 games with the San Antonio Rampage.
Kevin Oklobzija is writing that Classen still has some work visa issues to get cleared up before he can actually play in a game, but it's unclear how long that will take. Moreover, apparently Classen and Stefan Meyer play hockey together in the summer up in Western Canada.

Classen's stats at

Panthers 2 | Oilers 0

Nice. Anderson played well tonight, faced a lot of shots and stopped them all. Some were challenging and the count is only a bit deceiving, as Andy did have to play well tonight.

The Cats' offense proved that quality > quantity on shots after Edmonton outshot them 41-16, but it was a power play goal from Stephen Weiss that put the Panthers ahead and an empty netter from Dvorak to wrap it up.

Vokoun should be in tomorrow, but it seems like Anderson's already the starter for Sunday, regardless of how Vokoun plays tomorrow. That's another discussion though, and I'm too tired right now.

9PM start time tomorrow night, no local TV.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

AHL Live Free Preview Sunday

Sunday's game between the Syracuse Crunch and Rochester Americans will be available live online, along with seven other Sunday AHL games, as the league offers the curious a one-day free preview of AHL Live.

It's the American Hockey League's version of Center Ice online, and even though it's not exactly cheap -- $6 if you want to watch one game -- it's not a bad quality.

They sync the in-house camera feed with a radio broadcast, and it generally works just fine.

So far this season, Rochester has played Syracuse three times, losing all three by a combined score of 16-5, but the games have seen quite a few fights. The Amerks have been playing much better of late, though, so with a new goaltender and a little renewed confidence from the recent performance, the game could be pretty exciting.

If you're interested, the full release is here.

Markström Featured in Article on

This morning, ran a story on Panthers' prospect Jacob Markström. I'll only have an excerpt of it here, but you can read it in its entirety at
Conventional hockey wisdom has it that goaltending is the sport's great equalizer. There is also a time-honored belief that goaltenders mature later than position players, and teenage goaltenders in particular are hard to project several years down the line.

Florida Panthers prospect Jacob Markström has been proving the experts half wrong.

There have been many nights this season where the Brynäs IF Gävle goaltender has been the best player on his team. Brynäs is currently in fifth place in the 12-team Elitserien (Swedish Elite League), despite being the league's lowest-scoring team (70 goals in 31 games) and having an average defense.

Thanks largely to Markström's outstanding play, BIF is just four points behind the second-place Frölunda Indians. Markström ranks second in the league in save percentage (.927) and goals-against average (2.17), and is tied for the league lead with three shutouts.

Speaking of which, I just ordered a Markström sweater from Brynäs' webshop. I have no idea when it will be shipped, or how long it will take, though.

That's pretty much all I've got today. I've been a bit busy, so I haven't been able to look for anything, but nothing so major happened that I found it without looking. I guess that counts for something.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Michal Repik Scores in Debut, Andy a Starter?

Congratulations to Michal Repik!

"Obviously, I will keep [the puck]. It's my first goal in the National Hockey League. It's my dream. I came to play in the NHL and I scored a goal."

The Panthers' offense battled back and responded to all three Senators goals and made up for their own mistakes -- all three goals against were the eventual result of turnovers -- to win in overtime, 4-3.

Anderson, though, has looked shaky the past two starts and I hope Vokoun can get back in for game one of the back-to-back starting on Thursday. To his credit, Anderson came up huge in overtime making an excellent stop in overtime, but it just wasn't his night. Big rebounds, struggling with positioning and sometimes not seeming to really know where the puck was at times.

If I had to make a guess, I'd say this is probably just because Andy's been overworked with the starter's type of workload lately. He's gone from limited appearances as a backup to playing just about every game, with no adjustment. Still, he's come up big when he absolutely needs to and the team plays well in front of him. The Cats have two very good goaltenders right now and that's not the worst of problems to have.

But, I'd like to see Tomas get a chance to reclaim his position Thursday night and start 2 of 3 on the trip to Western Canada.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Prospects: Week of 12.1.08

The Amerks only played twice this week, losing 4-1 on Friday and winning 4-0 on Sunday.

Friday night, Rochester hosted the Iowa Chops. The Amerks fell behind immediately, and within the first five minutes,
Jordan Henry took his regular penalty. After dropping to a 3-0 deficit, Janis Sprukts broke up the shutout on a power play midway through the second. Michal Repik and Rory Fitzpatrick picked up assists.

After the game, Sprukts was called up to the Panthers for Saturday's game. He logged 12:19 over seventeen shifts, and then returned to Rochester, along with
Kenndal McArdle, for the Amerks' game against the Albany River Rats on Sunday.

Mike Brodeur started the Sunday game with Chris Beckford-Tseu on the bench as backup.

Tanner Glass played a great game and there's a little recap of it a few posts down, but his performance (a goal, assist and a fight) earned him a recall to the Panthers for their game tonight in Ottawa. Michal Repik will be joining him.

Rochester has gone 2-2-1 over their last five games. . . Defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick has been playing with a nagging injury and will now sit out and recuperate from knee surgery.


Tyler Plante had a weak outing on Friday for Dayton, giving up five goals on twenty-two shots (77%). The Bombers, on the other hand, fired 45 shots on goal and scored only twice en route to a 5-2 loss. One night later, Plante stopped 46 of 47 and the Bombers rolled to a big 8-1 win - both games were against the Wheeling Nailers.

Plante's weekend save percentage was .913%. On the season with Dayton, he's now 4-5-0-1 with a 2.69 GAA and an overall save percentage of .911%.


Adam Comrie missed two games this week before returning from his injury on Sunday, picking up an assist in Saginaw's 6-3 win against Sault Ste. Marie. . . The Oshawa Generals won two of three games this week with James DeLory picking up one assist in both games (5-2 against Belleville on Thursday, 4-3 against Sudbury on Sunday) but went pointless and a -3 in Friday night's 4-2 loss to Plymouth. . . Corey Syvret played in three games this week with Guelph, setting up Peter Holland on the power play Friday night for an assist and added a comfortable +2 to his totals in Sunday's 6-2 win against Panthers head coach Peter DeBoer's former team, the Kitchener Rangers. . . A.J. Jenks had a very quiet week, ultimately going a +1 with no points and 2 PIM over the course of three games. The Whalers, however, won all three games. . . On Tuesday, Brady Calla was called for boarding, but not before squaring off with Saskatoon defenseman Ryan Funk. Calla would later take a hooking penalty, and finished with 9 PIM in a 4-3 overtime loss. He would go -1 over the next two games -- all losses. . . Colby Robak added no points, but has continued to play well defensively and finished a +2 with 4 PIM over the Wheat Kings' two wins this week.


Michigan took on Michigan State over the weekend with
Matt Rust centering the Wolverines' top line and as usual, killing penalties. In Friday night's game, Rust was a +2 but in the second period, was able to grab a loose puck and set up Chris Summers for a shorthanded goal. Saturday, he fired five shots on net but wound up a +1 without points. With the two wins, the Wolverines climb from #14 to #12 in the USA Today weekly rankings. . . Defenseman Matt Bartkowski was one of only three Ohio State players held without a shot on goal in Saturday's 7-4 win against Robert Morris, although he defense partner Corey Toy saw limited ice time. The Buckeyes, now 9-6-1, are starting to receive votes for the national poll, but they have yet to crack the top 15. . . Ryan Watson centered the third line for Western Michigan this weekend with #4 Miami (Ohio) in town. He threw a shot on goal in Saturday's game, but was a -1 in the eventual 4-2 defeat, while he picked up an assist in Sunday's game -- a 7-3 loss. WMU is now 2-10-4 on the season.


The Denver Pioneers have moved to #5 in the nation (previously #7) after their weekend sweep of Michigan Tech. Michigan Tech's not a very good team, so the Pioneers were expected to win and they delivered. Friday night,
Marc Cheverie (WCHA defensive player of the week last week) improved his individual record to 10-5-1 after recording a 25-save shutout in a 6-0 win, and he followed up with 21 saves on 22 shots in Saturday's 6-1 win. Defenseman John Lee only played in Friday night's game, going +1. . . Derrick LaPoint had an assist for North Dakota Friday as the Fighting Sioux obliterated Harvard, 10-1 (North Dakota was actually outshot 40-37). The two teams played a much closer game the following night and LaPoint was on the power play and the penalty kill for the Sioux.

Hockey East

Brian Foster was sharp in net on Friday, shutting out UMass Lowell on 29 shots, 15 of which came in the third period. Saturday, Foster gave up two goals on seventeen shots before a third period rally turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory for New Hampshire. . . Matt Duffy chipped in a goal for Maine, but it wasn't enough to help the Black Bears avoid a 3-2 overtime loss to nationally ranked Northeastern. On Sunday, Duffy took a pair of penalties in a 3-2 win against Merrimack. Maine is still unranked, but improving.


Jacob Markström played in the latter two of three games this week with Anders Lindbäck, playing in the first. Thursday, he backstopped Brynäs to a 2-1 overtime win against league-leading Linköpings, stopping 27 of 28 shots. He followed up with a stellar performance on the road against HV71, facing 40 shots and turning aside 38. The game ended a 2-2 tie. Lindbäck started today's game but Markström had to replace him in the third after Lindbäck got a cramp. Markström turned aside the five shots he faced in relief, although Brynäs lost, 4-2.

Repik to Make NHL Debut Tomorrow

On Tuesday, it was Kenndal McArdle making his first NHL start against the Washington Capitals, but tomorrow night, it's going to be Michal Repik's moment after the 19-year-old winger was recalled by the Florida Panthers.

Repik was drafted in the second round (40th overall) of the 2007 Entry Draft. Most of the 30 other players taken in the second round last year are still playing in junior or in college, and only two others have already made appearances in the NHL; Oscar Möller and Wayne Simmonds -- both for the Los Angeles Kings.

After representing the Czech Republic in an U-17 tournament in 2004, Michal was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the 2005 CHL Import Draft, 21st overall.

He went straight to the Giants as a 17-year-old and played through his first season scoring 52 points (24 goals) in 69 games and in the process, helped Vancouver to the playoffs.

His production was limited to just 6 points (3G, 3A) during the WHL playoffs, but the Giants won the league championship, and with it, a berth in the 2006 Memorial Cup, although they would eventually lose in the semi-final.

The following season, Repik missed a couple of weeks with Vancouver while playing for the Czech Republic in the WJCs, but he was held scoreless through the tournament. Nevertheless, Repik still improved his point totals from his rookie season, picking up 55 in 56 games.

During the 2006-2007 season, Panthers' prospect Kenndal McArdle was traded from the Moose Jaw Warriors to the Vancouver Giants, so although Repik was not yet in the Panthers' system, the two would eventually share great success with the Giants.

Vancouver, set to host the 2007 Memorial Cup, had advanced through to the WHL championship for a second consecutive season, so win or lose, their spot as Cup host was secured.

Repik and linemates Milan Lucic and Wacey Rabbit, along with an offensive explosion by newcomer Kenndal McArdle helped power Vancouver through the playoffs with Repik scoring 10 goals and picking up 16 assists. It was good enough to earn him the honour of leading point-scorer for the playoffs, and it carried through to the Memorial Cup as Repik scored the game-winning goal in the championship game against Medicine Hat. For his efforts, Repik won the Ed Chynoweth Trophy -- awarded to the leading point-scorer in the tournament.

During the summer, the Panthers made Michal Repik the 40th overall selection in the 2007 Entry Draft and signed him to his entry level contract soon after, although the winger would return to Vancouver for one more year of junior hockey.

The 2008 season saw continued improvement from Michal, but a big hit in early December sidelined him for nearly two months with a concussion. The injury kept him out of the WJCs and limited him to only 51 games. But again, he improved his point totals to 61 (27G, 34A), and once more, he set a new career high in still fewer games than in the previous season.

Now, Repik is in his first pro season with the AHL's Rochester Americans and through 24 games, he has six goals and eight assists for fourteen points.

Despite being only 5'10", Repik isn't afraid to play physical hockey, but beyond that, he's a fluid skater and confident puck handler that possesses an excellent wristshot.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Repik and Glass Recalled

After Rochester's big 4-0 win against the Albany River Rats, the Florida Panthers -- still waiting for some players to come back from injuries -- have made the next wave of recalls for tomorrow's game.

Michal Repik will make his NHL debut when the Cats take on the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night. Repik and Janis Sprukts have been the best forwards for the Amerks so far this season, with Repik having the team points lead with 14 (6G, 8A).

As for Tanner Glass, this will be his second trip to the NHL. Last year, Glass played in 41 games for the Panthers and although he only notched two points (1G, 1A), he played every shift as hard as you could ask of him.

Rochester's Best Friend: Mike Brodeur?

Janis Sprukts and Kenndal McArdle returned to the Amerks' lineup for this evening's game against Albany and Mike Brodeur (signed to a 25-game PTO) was in net.

From the start, Tanner Glass took charge of the game, playing with a mean streak and taking an immediate slashing penalty -- and then a roughing penalty, all within the first three minutes. Three minutes later, the gloves were off as he and the six-foot-six Patrick Bordeleau were fighting.

When Glass took the roughing minor, two River Rats' players went off with him, putting Rochester on the power play. Before it had ended, Stefan Meyer had scored his sixth of the year.

Late in the first, with Michal Repik in the box for hooking, Glass got the puck to Sprukts and Janis put the puck past Daniel Manzato. The shorthanded goal was Sprukts' sixth tally of the season.

Noah Welch got on the board in the second period while working on the power play, picking up the second assist on Sprukts' second goal of the game. Meyer had the primary assist.

In the third period, Tanner Glass completed a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight) when he scored his fourth goal of the season (Drew Larman, Mike Duco with assists). Not a bad night for the Amerks' alternate captain.

According to Kevin Oklobzija, Panthers GM Jacques Martin was in Rochester today for a meeting with Amerks' management. Plus, the Cats are in Ottawa for a game tomorrow night, so I would think he probably stayed to watch the game.

Rochester will now prepare themselves for Tuesday night's epic clash with the San Antonio Rampage.

The two teams have traded places in the league basement and are a combined 8-38-0-2. Misery loves company.

McArdle, Sprukts Sent Back

Janis Sprukts and Kenndal McArdle are heading back to the Amerks. It may just be so that Rochester isn't short for their game tomorrow, so they could be back depending on who's ready to go in Ottawa.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cats Recall Sprukts

Another Amerk is Florida-bound for tonight's game against the Bruins.

Janis Sprukts, 26, will be with the Panthers after being recalled due to yet another injury - this time, it's Rostislav Olesz.

Olesz injured his groin against Buffalo and didn't practice yesterday. With Sprukts being recalled, I imagine Olesz is a 'no' for tonight.

Sprukts has played in 17 games for the Amerks so far and after a slow start, has started to contribute regularly. The Latvian native has 10 points (4G, 6A) on the season.

In the 2006-2007 season, Sprukts played in thirteen games for the Panthers while on recall from Rochester. That same season, he put up 59 points in 58 games with the Amerks.

One thing I was a little worried about was waivers, but I'm pretty sure that won't be an issue here. Sprukts signed his first SPC when he was 23 years old (2005), but he didn't come over to North America until the following season, so it wasn't until the start of the 2006-2007 season that his contract went into effect.

The CBA states that a player signing his first NHL contract at 23 years old will be exempt from regular season waivers for three years, or 60 NHL games -- whichever comes first. I was nervous, because this is the fourth season since Sprukts signed his contract, but here's what the CBA (13.4) says:
"The first season in which a Player who is age 20 or older plays in one (1) or more Professional Games shall constitute the first year for calculating the number of years he is exempt from Regular Waivers and Re-Entry Waivers."

Professional games include the AHL in this case, and Janis didn't play there until the 2006-2007 season, which means he will remain waiver exempt through the 2008-2009 season.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Amerks Add Brodeur, Micflikier

A week after the ECHL's Augusta Lynx folded mid-season, the Rochester Americans have offered one of their players a professional try-out (PTO).

That player is goaltender Mike Brodeur.

Brodeur was a seventh round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2003, but he's spent most of his career in the ECHL, with a total of 19 AHL games to his credit, going 6-7-0 with a saves percentage of around .890.

The other move was to recall Jacob Micflikier.

Micflikier had 6 points (1G, 5A) in 13 games with Rochester before being returned to the ECHL's Florida Everblades shortly before Thanksgiving. He caught fire immediately and now has 21 points (9G, 12A) in only eight games.

Rochester hosts the Iowa Chops tonight. Face-off is at 7:35.

Sabres 1 | Panthers 2

Gregory Campbell has continued to play great hockey lately and Craig Anderson held strong against a barrage of shots - but to a point you can credit the Panthers for keeping the quality of those shots down.

Frolik looks better every game and he's just a lot of fun to watch, and Olesz.. I hope he can get going soon. I just did the math on him and he's now gone nine games without a point, and in those nine games he has had a total of 135:09 in ice time. Hopefully playing with Frolik can be the boost he needs.

There was a little kid in front of me that got hit with a puck in the second period. Neither he nor his dad were paying attention. The puck hit him in the arm and he was okay, but those seats are dangerous. Pay attention!


Individual Stats


The Panthers are off 'til Saturday when the red-hot Boston Bruins come to town. Tied for the conference lead, Boston holds a four point edge in the Northeast division and they've gone 8-1-1 in their last ten games. The last time the two teams met, Milan Lucic gave Nick Boynton a concussion in a fight, but since that game, the Panthers have won four of six (three in a row) and they've earned at least a point in each of those games, effectively climbing out of the league basement.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Noah Welch to Rochester

Today, Noah Welch accepted a conditioning assignment to the AHL's Rochester Americans.

Due to waiver rules, generally the only way the Cats could have sent Noah to the AHL would have been if he cleared waivers. Conditioning loans, so long as the assignment can be justified, are a very brief way around this.

Any player assigned for conditioning first has to accept the assignment. Assuming he does, he remains on the club's active roster while the loan is active. How long that loan can last is clear in the CBA (13.8), "Such Conditioning Loan shall not extend for more than fourteen (14) consecutive days," so he won't be gone long.

The league has the right to investigate the assignment to be certain that the team isn't simply trying to evade waivers or re-entry, but I think in Welch's case, the Panthers will be alright.

Although he's appeared in 14 of the Cats' games this season, Welch is averaging a meager 6:26 -- or a whopping 8.9 shifts per game. You can make a pretty good claim that a defenseman being dragged along like that has fallen out of game shape.

In Rochester, Welch will get to log some big minutes at least for the weekend, so hopefully the move will keep his spirits up and help boost his confidence.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rust, Cheverie Making News

For the second year in a row, Matt Rust will be representing the United States in the World Junior Championships.

Rust is in his second season with the University of Michigan and through fifteen games, has seven points (2G, 5A).

The 19-year-old native of Michigan (Bloomfield Hills) was taken by the Panthers in the fourth round of the 2007 entry draft, 101st overall.

This year's IIHF World Junior Championship is being held in Ottawa and the tournament kicks off December 26th. If you have the NHL Network, you'll be able to watch all of Team USA's games.

For the full U.S. roster, head over to USA Hockey's website.

In November, Sweden's roster was announced, with Florida's top selection, goaltender Jacob Markström listed as the expected starter.

Shifting gears a bit, Denver Pioneers' goaltender Marc Cheverie has been named the Red Baron® WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for the second time (he was also named defensive player of the week on November 11th).

From the WCHA:
A 6-3, 180-pound sophomore from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Cheverie backstopped the host Pioneers to a pair of home-ice victories over Colgate and No. 10 Air Force over the Thanksgiving weekend. He stopped 67 of 69 shots on goal in the two wins for a .971 saves percentage and posted four shutout periods in 114:43 of action as Denver won 6-1 over Colgate last Friday (Nov. 28) and 4-1 over Air Force last Saturday (Nov. 29). He stopped 29 of 30 shots against Colgate and then 38 of 39 vs Air Force and led DU's penalty-kill to a perfect 4-of-4 effort for the weekend. He was also named the game's first star last Saturday.

On the season, Cheverie sports a 9-5-1 record between the pipes, with a 2.43 goals-against average and a .922 saves percentage over 887:31 of play. He is a NHL draftee of the Florida Panthers.

North Dakota defenseman Chay Genoway, often Derrick Lapoint's defense partner was among the players nominated for the week.

Panthers 5 | Capitals 3

Florida handed Washington their first home regulation loss of the season last night and while you're reading that Washington was without seven of its regulars, don't overlook the part where it says Florida was without five -- David Booth, Nathan Horton, Cory Stillman, Richard Zednik and Bryan Allen.

I went out and played last night, so I missed the game (which was radio only, due to VS exclusivity rules), so I have nothing more to add except the scorescheet and recap. Sorry.


Brynäs has a big game tomorrow as they'll be hosting league-leading Linköping. At present, Brynäs is fifth in the Elitserien in the standings, but their 44 points, in reality, is tied for second, while Linköping sits up top with 49.

At home,
Brynäs is undefeated in their last five games (ties included) while Anders Lindbäck played exceptionally well in net in their last game (on the road against Skelleftea), stopping 37 of 39 shots in a 2-2 draw. The offense provided a total of 19 shots.

Jacob Markström didn't play due to injury, and I'm not sure if he'll be playing tomorrow.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Kenndal McArdle Moving Up

With David Booth's injured shoulder likely to keep him out Tuesday in Washington -- and maybe longer -- the Florida Panthers have touched up Rochester for another recall.

This time, it's left winger Kenndal McArdle.

McArdle, 21, was drafted by the Panthers in the first round in 2005 - 20th overall.

Between 2004 and 2006, McArdle posted back-to-back 70 point seasons with the WHL's Moose Jaw Warriors and appeared in the CHL's Top Prospects game before being traded to the Vancouver Giants midway through the 2006-2007 season.

After a modest 22 points in his first 37 games with Vancouver, McArdle caught fire in the post-season, scoring 11 goals and tallying a total of 20 points in 22 playoff games, second only to a player that the Panthers would draft a month later - Michal Repik.

The Giants went on to win the Memorial Cup with the help of Repik, McArdle and current-NHLer Milan Lucic and the following season, Kenndal turned pro.

McArdle broke his jaw in a fight in his rookie season with Rochester and later in the season, broke his foot, hampering his progress and limiting him to 10 points (5G, 5A) in 36 games.

When he recovered, he was re-assigned to the Florida Everblades to get some games under his belt and move on to the ECHL playoffs, saying, "Anytime I have a chance to play in the playoffs, I'm not going to pass up the opportunity, no matter what level that it's in."

He went on to score 3 goals in 6 games during the regular season, but in three playoff games, McArdle and his teammates were shut down and the 'Blades made an early postseason exit.

Currently, McArdle is second in points for Rochester with 10 (3G, 7A) through 22 games and third on the team in penalty minutes (51).

McArdle is one of the Panthers' top forward prospects and he mixes skill and a good awareness with a good balance of grit and aggression.

You'll have to listen on the radio though. Tomorrow's game isn't even on Center Ice.

Prospects: Week of 11.24.08

It's tough to say that this was a good week for the Amerks, but compared to the rest this season, it was their best.

Rochester played four games this week, including a late-morning game on Wednesday in Toronto, and they wrapped up the week with another road game in Toronto with two home games in between (Lake Erie, Grand Rapids).

The Amerks acuired Randall Gelech from the Grand Rapids Griffins, and when injuries mounted, recalled Kevin Baker (third in ECHL scoring) from the Florida Everblades. Jacob Micflikier, who had a goal and five assists through thirteen games in Rochester, has remained with the Everblades and since being sent down, has put up eighteen points in only seven games, while Baker skated in one game before returning to the ECHL.

As for the games, Rochester went with Chris Beckford-Tseu against the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday and he played well, stopping 33 of 36 shots, but the offense was only able to get 18 shots off and only one of them made it past Justin Pogge. The lone goal came in the second period, Rochester trailing at the time, 1-0: Franklin MacDonald, while shorthanded, took a feed from Karl Stewart and fired the puck into the net -- his first of the season. Kenndal McArdle added an assist on the goal, as well. After the game, the Amerks made the move to add Gelech, the Panthers recalled Shawn Matthias and Luke Beaverson was sent down to the Everblades.

Despite the minimal offense, the team played a good game and that momentum carried them on to Friday night's game against Lake Erie. The Monsters, by most accounts, played a poor game while Rochester played well enough to skate to a 2-0 lead and then hang on in the third to win, 2-1. It was Beckford-Tseu getting the 'W' while stopping 27 of 28 with Dan Collins (3) and Michal Repik (5) supplying the goals. Mike Duco and Andrew Sweetland assisted on Collins' go-ahead goal and for Sweetland, it was his first pro point, while Repik's power play goal was set up by Stefan Meyer and Keaton Ellerby. It was also Gelech's first game with Rochester.

Saturday night, the Amerks went to Grand Rapids to play the Griffins and as has become the norm, took an almost immediate penalty. The team killed it off, but through twenty minutes and a missed penalty shot by McArdle, the Amerks eventually skated to their dressing room down 2-0 after one. Beckford-Tseu was relieved by David Shantz, and Grand Rapids added another goal before Stefan Meyer scored his fifth (assists: Repik, Ellerby). CBT wound up taking the loss while Shantz turned aside 20 of 21. Grand Rapids prevailing, 3-1.

Sunday afternoon's game was a good one. Back in Toronto, the Amerks took their customary early penalties and the Marlies capitalized, scoring on their first power play, but Rochester took advantage of their own power play chances, scoring twice in the opening frame. First, while on a 5-on-3, Jason Garrison scored his second of the year from Janis Sprukts and Repik, and five minutes later, Repik scored his sixth -- from Ellerby and Jordan Henry. Toronto tied the game in the second and Sprukts gave the lead back to Rochester 18 seconds later. It was his third -- unassisted. It stayed 3-2 until a bit past the midway point of the third when Toronto tied the game and eventually took it to a shootout. Rochester scored on three of their chances, Toronto on four and in the eighth round of the shootout, the game went final: 4-3 Toronto.

Rochester is now 3-17-0-2.


Tyler Plante played in all four of Dayton's games this week, going 2-1-1 and stopping a little over 91% of his shots. On Tuesday, he faced 40 shots and stopped all but three, including a 21-save second period. An empty net goal in the third made the final 4-2 Cincinnati. He allowed two goals on twenty shots Friday night and stopped only one of four in the shootout, though Dayton picked up a point in the 3-2 loss. The following night, Plante played well and stopped 30 of 32, earning the second star of the night for his efforts. He wasn't too good on Sunday, but Dayton scored four and that was enough to come away on top, 4-3. Plante stopped 19 of 22 in the win.


James DeLory added one assist (2) in three games while going +3 with four penalty minutes. Oshawa has been playing well of late, winning six of their last ten and picking up at least a point in nine of ten. DeLory has four points in eight games since returning to the OHL. . . Plymouth won two of three, but remains at the bottom of their conference. A.J. Jenks picked up the second assist on Wednesday's game-winner against the league-leading Windsor Spitfires and on Friday, scored once (7) in a 4-3 road win at Sarnia. Saturday's game was a 6-1 loss and tempers flared late, with Jenks involved in one of the fights against the much smaller Derek Holden. He picked up an extra roughing minor, while Holden had an additional high-sticking penalty, and Jenks finished the game with 7 PIM. . . Adam Comrie was ineffective in Saginaw's 4-2 loss against Windsor on Friday, going even in plus/minus but only adding a slashing minor to the scoresheet -- Windsor fired 52 shots, compared to Saginaw's 20 -- but Comrie didn't play on Saturday, while Saginaw beat Sarnia 7-1. . . Corey Syvret had two assists on Saturday and one assist on Sunday, but Guelph only managed to come away with one win in their three games. As for Syvret, he now has 12 points in 27 games. . . Brady Calla scored his first goal since returning to the WHL on Friday night, although the goal came on an empty net. He was a +3 on the night (an 8-5 win against Regina) but limited to a roughing minor on Saturday. He has four points in five games. . . It was a tough week for Colby Robak who, in three games was unable to help the Wheat Kings win more than once, going without points and finishing a modest -3. . .


Matt Rust was back to the second line for the Michigan Wolverines, but Rust was without points through each of the Wolverines' games this week. He's been a top penalty killer, however, and he's quite an aggressive forechecker which should bode well for him as he moves through the organization. Anyway, the Wolverines shocked the top-ranked Golden Gophers -- in Minnesota -- with a decisive 6-3 win on Friday yet Michigan followed it up with a frustrating 3-0 loss against Wisconsin on Saturday. The way the Florida Panthers are playing in front of Craig Anderson (and the way Anderson's responding) is pretty similar to what's going on with the Wolverines' goaltenders right now. Billy Sauer has had no offensive support and when he gets beat, the team doesn't rebound, while the Wolverines are a fantastic team in front of Byran Hogan. . . Unranked Ohio State hosted #14 Nebraska-Omaha for two games this weekend and upset the visitors by winning both games. Freshman defenseman Matt Bartkowski played on the top pairing in the Saturday game and added an assist (his sixth point), but he was a +2 in both games. The Buckeyes have won six of seven. . . Western Michigan was in South Bend for two games against #2 Notre Dame and on Friday, fell by a 4-1 score. Ryan Watson made it into the lineup for Saturday's game centering the fourth line. Watson was witout points, but WMU managed to take the game as a 3-3 regulation tie through to a shootout where they eventually lost in five rounds, 2 goals to 1. . .


Derrick LaPoint started Friday night's game against Cornell on a pairing with defenseman Chay Genoway, but by the time the game had ended, Genoway had five points and LaPoint had none. The Sioux won the game 7-3, but on Saturday, again even and without points, LaPoint and North Dakota skated to a 2-1 loss. . . John Lee picked up the third assist of his college career Friday against Colgate while putting three shots on net and on Saturday, Lee finished a +1 to finish +2 over the weekend, but it was teammate Marc Cheverie who had the big weekend. Friday night, Chevy stopped 29 of 30 Colgate shots en route to a 6-1 Denver victory and on Saturday, the Pioneers hosted 13-0-0 Air Force. In front of a sellout home crowd, Cheverie made 38 saves on 39 shots, earning first star honours and handing Air Force their first loss of the year. . .

Hockey East

New Hampshire only played once this week, but the Wildcats lost and should fall further off the charts after losing to Merrimack, 4-3. Brian Foster allowed four goals on twenty-seven shots and the goaltender is now 5-4-2, with a 2.43 GAA and a save percentage at .924%. . . Matt Duffy was a +1 with three shots on goal in Maine's 3-2 loss to Vermont on Saturday. . .


Jacob Markström picked up a shutout last Monday in impressive fashion, stopping 40 shots against Södertälje in a 1-0 win. He gave up four goals on twenty-eight shots Thursday in a 4-3 loss againt Rögle, but on Saturday, he was in top form to take on Timrå and made 29 saves as Brynäs picked up a 2-1 win. . .


Martin Lojek remains with "Havířovská hokejová společnost" and played in two more games this week. . . Václav Nedorost added another assist and has twenty points (8G, 12A) through 28 games, good enough for second on his team (Bílí Tygři Liberec). . .


Sergei Gayduchenko made 36 saves on 39 shots last Monday in Russia's 3-2 loss to Team OHL. Against the WHL, Gayduchenko faced 40 shots and stopped 35. The offense, however, was stagnant and Russia fell to Team WHL, 5-0. The following night (Thursday), Gayduchenko sat as backup. The Russian Selects scored only once, losing 2-1, and spoiling a stellar 44-save effort by Alexander Pechurskiy. . . Evgeny Dadonov played in all six games, scoring two goals and two assists. . .