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AHL Update

AHL: Conacher working on dream season in Norfolk

Friday, 04.13.2012 / 3:12 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Cory Conacher has registered 35 goals and 40 assists for 75 points, as well as 110 penalty minutes, in 72 games.

Fade in on a hockey rink. An undersized, underrated young player leads his team through a winning streak of historic length.

A classic underdog story, it's the stuff of which movies are made. And it's happening in right now Norfolk, Virginia.

The 22-year-old left winger, Cory Conacher, has become a star on a deeply talented Norfolk Admirals roster, joining them after an impressive training camp showing with the parent club Tampa Bay Lightning in September.

Undrafted, listed at 5-foot-8, a product of a humble Canisius College hockey program, Conacher knew from the start he was playing with something to prove.

"The coaching staff gave me such a great opportunity to play in a couple exhibition games," said Conacher, who also lives with type 1 diabetes. "That really helped my confidence as well, which made coming to Norfolk an easier transition."

Norfolk wins 24th straight, clinches AHL points title

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 10:33 PM / AHL Update

The Norfolk Admirals extended their professional hockey record by winning their 24th consecutive game, beating the Binghamton Senators 3-1 in Norfolk, Va., on Friday night to wrap up the AHL regular-season championship.

The Admirals (51-18-1-2, 105 points) earned the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy, given to the top finisher in the overall regular-season standings. The Tampa Bay Lightning's top affiliate will have home-ice advantage for as far as they go in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs, which begin following the conclusion of the regular season on Apr. 15.

AHL: Klingberg making solid transition in St. John's

Thursday, 03.29.2012 / 7:28 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Rookie left winger Carl Klingberg doesn't hesitate when asked about playing in St. John's, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador and the easternmost city in North America.

"It's just awesome. The fans are great," he said. "Everyone lives for hockey there."

The St. John's IceCaps, the primary affiliate for the Winnipeg Jets, have been welcomed with open arms into the city of just over 100,000 residents, selling out every home game this season at Mile One Centre.

Klingberg, a 21-year-old Swedish transplant, feels right at home in St. John's, which is back in the loop this season after six years without AHL hockey. The city was previously home to the Toronto Maple Leafs' top affiliate from 1991 to 2005.

"It's not that big of a difference," he said of the adjustment between European and Canadian living. "The town is awesome and people are friendly. The biggest difference is probably language, but my English is improving."

AHL: Monarchs' Vey transitioning well from juniors

Thursday, 03.22.2012 / 4:49 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Linden Vey recorded 6 goals, 14 points and a plus-9 rating to earn Reebok/AHL Rookie of the Month honors. (Photo: Steve Babineau)
Sixteen years ago in Wakaw, Saskatchewan, a 4-year-old named Linden Vey took to the ice for the first time.

A natural from the start, he never looked back.

"If you had told me then that I'd be playing pro hockey, I'd be pretty excited," said Vey, who roughly three feet and 140 pounds later is in the midst of his rookie year with the AHL's Manchester Monarchs, the primary development affiliate for the Los Angeles Kings.

The right wing was drafted by the Kings in the fourth round (No. 96) in 2009. After four junior seasons in the Western Hockey League with Medicine Hat and winning the WHL scoring title with 116 points in 2010-11, Vey joined the Monarchs at the beginning of this season and hasn't wasted any time making his mark.

AHL: In new city, Lack seeks longer playoff run

Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 10:26 AM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Eddie Lack (17-16-3) ranks seventh with a 2.28 goals-against average and third with a .927 save percentage. (Photo: Ross Dettman/Chicago Wolves)
Some say history repeats itself. Eddie Lack says otherwise.

With a trip to the conference finals on the line, Lack's rookie season with the AHL's Manitoba Moose in 2010-11 came to a sudden close in historic fashion -- a heartbreaking 2-1 triple-overtime loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the longest Game 7 ever played in the American Hockey League.

Though Lack made 55 saves and earned first-star honors in the effort, the loss still stung.

"It wasn't a lot of fun losing that game," he said, "but (looking back) it's a neat thing to be a part of."

The Atlanta Thrashers' move to Winnipeg in the offseason set in motion a chain reaction that saw the Moose leave Manitoba and the Vancouver Canucks hook up with a new AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.

Leafs see prospects' AHL experience as invaluable

Friday, 03.09.2012 / 10:45 AM / AHL Update

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TORONTO -- While the Maple Leafs stare down the prospect of their seventh straight silent spring, their baby club that plays just down the road is preparing to go to the Calder Cup Playoffs.
To Brian Burke, Dave Nonis, Dave Poulin and the rest of Toronto's braintrust, a Marlies playoff run is a worthwhile consolation prize if the Leafs fall short of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We want our players to experience AHL playoff success. We think that augers well for them in the future," Burke said. "I've told people this before, the miracle in Anaheim (in 2007) wasn't just that we won a Cup, we played in 14 playoff rounds in three years between the two teams. The big club played in eight and the American League team, the Portland Pirates, played in six. These were vital stepping stones for that franchise."

AHL: As Gelinas settles in, production has risen

Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 2:35 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

For Eric Gelinas, the numbers don't lie.

From his professional debut with the Albany Devils on Oct. 8 through Dec. 21, Gelinas registered 3 goals, 5 points and a minus-9 rating in 29 games.

Since Dec. 26, he has quadrupled his output, with 10 goals, 20 points and a plus-7 rating in 28 games.

Change in approach earned Cornet first NHL games

Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 2:29 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

With 22 goals and 32 points, Philippe Cornet already has surpassed his offensive output from last season. (Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI)
For Philippe Cornet, this has been a season of firsts.

His first NHL game, his first NHL point, his first AHL All-Star appearance, and his first … rodeo?

The Val-Senneville, Que., native, in his second season with the Edmonton Oilers organization after being drafted in the fifth round in 2008, has assimilated into the southern-cowboy culture of Oklahoma City while playing for the team's American Hockey League affiliate.

Spending some of his free time fishing and taking in the local entertainment, Cornet says he's well-established in his second home.

"I love it down here," he said. "The weather is great and the people are friendly and awesome. I've never lived in any other cities in the States besides this one, but I wouldn't go anywhere else."

Calgary's AHL club set to get Saddledome experience

Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 5:01 PM / AHL Update

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- Skating on Scotiabank Saddledome ice is nothing new for Paul Byron.

Doing so in an Abbotsford Heat jersey is.

Returning to the Stampede City as a member of the Flames' AHL affiliate, Byron will skate alongside his Heat teammates against the Oklahoma City Barons in a home game -- of sorts -- in Calgary. It will be the lone game Abbotsford plays in the Flames' rink this season.

'It feels good to be back," Byron said. 'I've played a few games here."

Eighteen, to be exact, and Byron isn't the only Abbotsford skater able to make that claim. He is one of nine Heat players to be recalled by Calgary at some point this season and see time in the NHL with the Flames. Four currently remain with the parent club. 

Palmieri back in AHL -- just in time to be All-Star

Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 7:05 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

After wrapping up his second NHL recall this season and making the 2,300-miles trek from Anaheim back to Syracuse, N.Y., forward Kyle Palmieri is again a member of the AHL's Crunch -- and maybe just in time.

Earlier this month, the 2009 first-round draft pick was selected to represent the Eastern Conference Team in the AHL All-Star Classic, his second All-Star selection in as many seasons. But this year's event is scheduled for Jan. 29-30 in Atlantic City – a short drive from his hometown of Montvale, N.J.

"Being named to the All-Star team for the second year in a row and this being my second year pro, this is a big accomplishment for me and I'm pretty excited for it," Palmieri said. "It'll be a pretty cool experience for me and my family and friends to be a part of."
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