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AHL Update

AHL youngsters are rookies in name only

Friday, 10.12.2012 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

Near the end of each hockey season, there is an infusion of young talent at the American Hockey League level as players in junior leagues and the NCAA finish their seasons and have the opportunity to join AHL clubs for a brief look at life as a professional.

For the college guys, it means they signed a pro contract and are done with school. For the junior players, it is possible their brush with pro hockey is not permanent, as those who are eligible end up back with their junior teams the next season -- unless they make it in the NHL.

This specific collection of players often makes up a portion of the AHL's rookie class, and because of the NHL lockout, that group will be a little bigger this season when the league opens play Friday.

Those players have an advantage over other rookies because they've spent time with AHL teams in the past and know what to expect, and in a few cases they actually have NHL experience, as well.

Numerous top prospects to make AHL debuts

Friday, 10.12.2012 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The American Hockey League is a training ground for future stars, but the amount of young talent available to AHL clubs when the league begins play this weekend has expanded because of the NHL lockout.

Not only will there be players who have had NHL success, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but many of the top prospects for the 30 NHL clubs will be playing for their AHL affiliates when the regular season opens Friday.

Several top prospects will be making their professional debuts, while a handful of European phenoms will get their first taste of pro hockey on the smaller North American rinks.

Here's a look at some of the prospects who will make their North American professional debuts. There are plenty of other exciting young talents who already have made cameos in the AHL or NHL who will be playing this weekend, and a list of those players can be found here.

Capitals president Patrick growing game in D.C.

Wednesday, 10.10.2012 / 5:07 PM / AHL Update

John Kreiser - Columnist

This is George McPhee's 15th season as general manager of the Washington Capitals, meaning he's been with the franchise exactly half as long as his boss, team president Dick Patrick, who will receive the Lester Patrick Trophy for his service to hockey in the United States during the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony Monday night in Dallas.

While the Capitals have made the playoffs in 23 of Patrick's 29 seasons with the organization, McPhee said the real measure of Patrick's influence has been the growth of hockey in the Washington, D.C., area during the past two decades.

"He's lived it," McPhee told "He grew up with it in the area with his son Chris playing -- Chris and Jeff Halpern played together all the way up, and Dick was able to coach them."

Perhaps the most impressive statistic is the growth in the number of high school hockey teams in the area. In 1990, according to the Capitals, there were 15 high school teams and 250 players. By last season, that number had grown to 110 teams and 2,300 players.

"He knows the grass-roots level of hockey in Washington very well, having experienced it," McPhee said of Patrick. "He's always donated a lot of resources for growing the game at that level."

Back in Albany, Henrique honing leadership skills

Wednesday, 10.10.2012 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Like a veteran back in his element, Adam Henrique strides across the familiar bright red carpet inside the dressing room, with an air of confidence about him. This is a player who recognizes exactly where he is, has precise goals of what he wants to achieve in hockey and totally understands how this bump in the road he's come to can't stop him from becoming the player he's determined to become.

Henrique, a Calder Trophy finalist last season, wants to be a captain in the National Hockey League. He wants to be the player young guys look to for guidance. He wants to be the voice of a team -- the pulse, the guy the coach leans on.

"A few years down the road I want to be in the position that Zach Parise is in -- that's how I look at it," Henrique told after playing in an American Hockey League preseason game for the Albany Devils. "Hopefully a few years down the road, some kid will be sitting in my spot and I'll be teaching him things."

Playing in the AHL, for however long it may be as a result of the ongoing work stoppage, will give Henrique the chance to flex his leadership muscles.

Norfolk completes sweep to win Calder Cup

Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 6:24 PM / AHL Update

The Norfolk Admirals completed a sweep of the Calder Cup Finals on Saturday by beating the Toronto Marlies 6-1 to win the first AHL championship in franchise history.

Mike Kostka, whose fluke goal in overtime gave the Admirals a 1-0 win in Game 3, scored the first of his two goals at 4:26 of the second period to break a 1-1 tie. Tyler Johnson made it 3-1 at 16:45, and the Admirals blew the game open with three goals in the third period.

Admirals goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped 18 of 19 shots, allowing only a first-period goal by Mike Zigomanis. Tokarski won all four games in the series, allowing only four goals.

AHL admits incorrect rules interpretation on OT goal

Friday, 06.08.2012 / 1:31 PM / AHL Update

The American Hockey League admitted Friday that there was an incorrect rules interpretation on the only goal in Thursday night's Game 3 of the Calder Cup Final, a 1-0 overtime victory by Norfolk that put the Admirals one win away from the championship.

Mike Kostka broke up a goaltending battle between Norfolk's Dustin Tokarski and Toronto's Ben Scrivens when he got to the red line and dumped the puck in off the glass along the right wall. Scrivens went behind the net to play the puck, only to watch in horror as the shot hit a stanchion near the goal line and skittered sideways into the net for the only goal of the night.

However, the AHL admitted in a statement Friday morning that a Norfolk player was offsides and the goal should not have counted.

Norfolk halfway to Calder Cup after Game 2 win

Sunday, 06.03.2012 / 1:39 AM / AHL Update

The Norfolk Admirals are two wins away from their first AHL championship.

Alexandre Picard broke a 1-1 tie in the second period and the Admirals beat the Toronto Marlies 4-2 in Game 2 of the Calder Cup final Saturday night. The win gives the Admirals a 2-0 lead in the AHL final, which moves to Toronto for games on Thursday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday.

Norfolk wins opener of Calder Cup Finals

Friday, 06.01.2012 / 10:29 PM / AHL Update

The hottest team in hockey didn't let a nine-day break in the schedule cool off its drive toward its first AHL championship.

The Norfolk Admirals, the AHL's regular-season champions, got 23 saves by goaltender Dustin Tokarski and killed off all 11 Toronto power plays as they beat the Marlies 3-1 in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals on Friday night.

Cory Conacher had a goal and an assist for the Admirals, the Tampa Bay Lightning's top affiliate, who ended the regular season by winning their last 28 games, the longest streak in the history of professional hockey. They are now 12-3 in the playoffs, meaning that Norfolk has won 40 of 43 games since a loss on Feb. 5.

Norfolk advances to Calder Cup Finals

Tuesday, 05.22.2012 / 8:44 PM / AHL Update

The Norfolk Admirals won the AHL’s Eastern Conference championship on Tuesday by beating the St. John's Ice Caps 4-0 at Mile One Centre in St. John's Nfld., to complete a four-game sweep.

Norfolk goaltender Dustin Tokarski made 28 saves for his second consecutive shutout. The Admirals set an AHL record for fewest goals allowed in a four-game playoff series, outscoring St. John’s 14-2 in the sweep.

AHL Norfolk concludes season with 28 straight wins

Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 10:47 PM / AHL Update

Cory Conacher netted his first career hat trick as the Norfolk Admirals finished off the 2011-12 regular season with a 4-2 victory against the Adirondack Phantoms in Glens Falls, N.Y., on Sunday night.

Remarkably, Norfolk (55-18-1-2) concluded the regular season with a North American professional hockey record 28-game winning streak. The Admirals haven't lost since Feb. 5.

Conacher broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of goals -- including his AHL-leading 39th goal of the season -- in the final two minutes of regulation. Brandon Segal notched his 18th goal of the season and added three assists. Norfolk goalie Jaroslav Janus made 16 saves to extend his personal winning streak to 15 games.

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