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AHL Update

AHL celebrates past, present during All-Star Classic

Saturday, 01.29.2011 / 8:48 PM / AHL Update

The American Hockey League is celebrating its 75th season, and this weekend the league will honor its past and its current crop of stars during the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic weekend in Hershey, Pa.

The 2011 Reese's AHL All-Star Skills Competition is set for Sunday at 3 p.m. Both the skills competition and the 2011 AHL All-Star Game (Monday at 7 p.m.) at Hershey's Giant Center will be broadcast live on TSN (the game will also be live on NHL Center Ice).

Jones undrafted but not unappreciated by Manchester

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 5:22 PM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

At first glance,when examining the AHL's top five goaltenders in 2010-11 as measured by goals-against average,one name doesn't seem to fit with the others in the group.

Atop the list is 108-game NHL veteran Curtis Sanford of Hamilton. Then there's Milwaukee's Mark Dekanich,a third-year pro who made his NHL debut earlier this year for Nashville; Braden Holtby,a 2010 Calder Cup champion with Hershey who is currently in the NHL with Washington; Jake Allen,a second-round draft pick and top rookie prospect of the St. Louis Blues; and Martin Jones,an undrafted 21-year-old coming off four seasons in the Western Hockey League.

If you picked Jones as the outlier,you're probably not alone. The rookie goaltender has seemingly flown under the radar for his entire hockey career to date,but the Los Angeles Kings' prospect is now opening many sets of eyes with his play in the AHL though the first half of 2010-11.

AHL All-Star Game set for Jan. 31

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 3:17 PM / AHL Update

The AHL is marking its 75th anniversary with the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., on Jan. 30 and 31.

The AHL Skills Competition will take place on Jan. 30 at 3 p.m., to be followed by the AHL Post-Skills Party from 6-10 p.m. at the Hershey Lodge.

The AHL Hall of Fame Induction & Awards Ceremony kicks off the activities on Jan. 31 at 11 a.m., with the AHL All-Star Game to be played at 7 p.m.


Cheechoo connects with former bench boss in AHL

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 11:41 AM / AHL Update

Lindsay Kramer - Correspondent

The connection between forward Jonathan Cheechoo and coach Roy Sommer, which dates back more than a decade, briefly fell to pieces this preseason.

That was the state of Cheechoo's cell phone after the Dallas Stars released him from training camp. A frustrated Cheechoo half-flipped, half-threw his phone at his bed. In line with the way his luck was going at the time, he missed the target and the cell phone splattered on the floor.

"I was not happy. Anytime someone gets let go, you're not happy," Cheechoo said. "I thought I played pretty well there. They explained to me they were going in a different route."


Springfield's Moore developing two-way game

Thursday, 01.06.2011 / 12:15 PM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

Springfield Falcons defenseman and top Columbus Blue Jackets prospect John Moore spent last summer living and training in Columbus in preparation for his rookie season, and several items were on the to-do list.

The former first-round draft pick hoped to build up his strength and endurance, become comfortable with the organization's conditioning program, familiarize himself with the pro lifestyle and living on his own, and learn how to cook.

Three out of four isn't bad, but that last one didn't go over quite so well.

"It was pretty ugly at first," Moore said. "I was cooking some things where you kind of plug your nose and force it down your throat, but I've gotten better. I'm still no culinary expert, but I get the job done."


Tangradi embracing ability as power forward

Thursday, 12.30.2010 / 9:17 AM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton forward Eric Tangradi may only be 21 years old, but he's already experienced a rollercoaster ride's worth of emotions in his young hockey career.

For someone who was raised just outside of Philadelphia and grew up as a Flyers fan, not least among those emotions was the February 2009 trade which sent him from the Anaheim Ducks organization to the Flyers' bitter cross-state rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

It isn't easy getting people back home to turn in their Flyers orange for Penguins black and gold, but Tangradi is giving it his best shot anyway.

"My parents and family were pretty easy to turn over to the Pittsburgh side, but my friends in Philly, I still haven't gotten them on board quite yet," he said. "Hopefully if I can make Pittsburgh a permanent home, that might get them to change their minds."

Five AHL rookies to participate in World Juniors

Thursday, 12.23.2010 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

The holiday season is one to give thanks and enjoy the happiness that comes with spending time with family and friends. For a handful of young American Hockey League players, though, this holiday season also brings with it the opportunity to show off their skills on an international stage.

The annual World Junior Championship begins in Buffalo on Dec. 26, and five AHL rookies are set to represent their countries in the prestigious tournament.

Four of the five will suit up for the United States: Jerry D’Amigo from the Toronto Marlies; Nick Leddy and Jeremy Morin of the Rockford IceHogs; and the Syracuse Crunch’s Kyle Palmieri. In addition, Binghamton Senators goaltender Robin Lehner has been named to Sweden’s squad.


Butler's hockey career is a family affair

Thursday, 12.16.2010 / 9:13 AM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

"All in the Family" most commonly is known as the title of a famous 1970's television show, but Bobby Butler could take that phrase and apply it directly to his progression as a hockey player.

The 23-year-old Butler is making quite an impact through the first two months of his pro career with the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators, leading the club with 15 goals -- tied for third in league -- and adding eight assists through 26 games.

Among first-year AHL players, his 15 goals rank first and his 23 points second. It's been an impressive beginning, to be sure.

As the son of a longtime Massachusetts high school hockey coach, though, sticks and skates have been in his blood from the start.


Life-long love of hockey has driven Pirri to succeed

Thursday, 12.09.2010 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

Like many kids from the Toronto area, Brandon Pirri grew up watching the legendary Don Cherry and the rest of the Hockey Night in Canada crew as his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs took the ice on Saturday nights during the winter.

And while Brandon's rooting interest had to change once he became a second-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009, it might not be too long before he's the one earning attention from Cherry and other high-profile media types.

"My parents have told me that I was walking around the house holding a mini-stick almost all the time when I was little," Pirri said. "And then once I was able to start skating, they had a pretty good idea that this is what I wanted to do."


Peoria goalie Allen taking AHL shooters to school

Wednesday, 12.01.2010 / 4:43 PM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

School has been in session for Jake Allen over the past two months, and for a guy who wound up missing high school graduation to attend his NHL draft day in 2008, he's got this education thing down pretty well.

Allen, a rookie goaltender with the AHL's Peoria Rivermen and promising top prospect of the St. Louis Blues, is learning the ropes as a professional with remarkable early returns.

The 20-year-old posted a 36-save shutout in his second outing of the season on Oct. 23, followed that up with three more whitewashes over his next six outings and currently sits with a league-high four shutouts through only nine appearances overall.

Named the Reebok/AHL Goaltender of the Month for November on Wednesday, he's 8-1-0 on the season and also leads AHL netminders in both goals-against average (1.27) and save percentage (.962).

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Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday