Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
(Page 16 of 19)
AHL Update

Helmer writing new chapter in storied AHL career

Thursday, 03.10.2011 / 12:07 PM / AHL Update

Lindsay Kramer - Correspondent

The telltale ring usually comes early in the evening, cutting through Bryan Helmer's Oklahoma City hotel room like a siren call.

It originates in Westport, Ontario, where Helmer's wife Pam, 9-year-old son Cade and 5-year-old daughter Rylan still live. On the other end of the phone is usually one or both of the children, who like to say good night to their dad half a continent away before they go to bed.

"I've never been without my family this long," Helmer said. "The kids are in school back in Ontario. To pull them out of school in January would be pretty tough. It's hard when you call home and they ask, 'Where's dad?' They know I'm here playing hockey."


Dalpe making the most of his stint in Charlotte

Thursday, 03.03.2011 / 2:34 PM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

Charlotte Checkers rookie forward Zac Dalpe grew up less than two miles away from the hometown of Wayne Gretzky, heard stories about Gretzky everywhere he went, and spent much of his youth playing in a rink which was named after the hockey legend.

While there can be only one Wayne Gretzky, Dalpe is now well on his way to carving out his own spot in the National Hockey League.

The Carolina Hurricanes prospect is averaging a point per game in the AHL this season and sits atop the league's rookie scoring list with 43 points (18-25-43) despite playing in just 43 games. Dalpe has recorded multiple points in 10 of the 43 contests and has endured only one three-game scoreless drought all year.

Colborne's fast start has him popular in Toronto

Friday, 02.25.2011 / 11:21 AM / AHL Update

Lindsay Kramer - Correspondent

The welcome mat Toronto put out for Joe Colborne overwhelmed him.

Moments after the trade that sent defenseman Tomas Kaberle to the Boston Bruins for a package that included Colborne became official Feb. 18, Colborne's cell phone battery was worn out by greetings from various front-office personnel from his new organization.

"Every single person expressed the excitement they had," Colborne said. "It really helped me out personally. I can't say enough for how every single person in this organization has made me feel at home."

There was only one thing Colborne could do -- return the warm introductions in kind.

So in his first game for the Marlies, on Feb. 19, he scored a goal against Grand Rapids. Not bad, but the rookie center was capable of more. So two nights later he scored two against San Antonio.

Kadri readying for big role in hockey-mad Toronto

Thursday, 02.24.2011 / 3:19 PM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

Nazem Kadri knows all about the close relationship between the city of Toronto and the sport of hockey.

Born and raised in nearby London, Ont., Kadri grew up with a first-hand view of the way fans and media eat up the sport, and specifically the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.

So when Kadri fast-forwards to his present status as the most prized prospect in a Leafs organization looking to turn around its recent fortunes, he tries his best to take all the expectations and attention in stride.

"You try not to think about it that much, but it's always in the back of your head," Kadri said. "To be honest, I know people have high expectations for me, but I have high expectations for myself. I want to get better, I want to learn, and I want to become an impact player in the NHL. That's what I'm working for."

Helmer plays 1,000th AHL game

Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 2:37 AM / AHL Update

Defenseman Bryan Helmer skated in his 1,000th regular-season American Hockey League game Friday night as the Oklahoma City Barons took on the Abbotsford Heat at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

Helmer, 38, is the seventh player in the league’s 75-year history to reach that milestone, joining Willie Marshall (1,205 career games), Fred Glover (1,201), Harry Pidhirny (1,071), Mike Nykoluk (1,069), Jody Gage (1,038) and Rob Murray (1,018). He has also  appeared in 146 NHL games with Phoenix, St. Louis, Vancouver and Washington.

Grachev's game rounding into NHL form

Thursday, 02.17.2011 / 6:58 PM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

The Connecticut Whale practiced at Rentschler Field in East Hartford earlier this week in preparation for their outdoor game on Saturday night against the rival Providence Bruins. Despite temperatures in the 20s and wind gusts that made it feel even colder, forward Evgeny Grachev bucked the trend by taking the ice without wearing a toque under his helmet.

After all, what's the big deal about cold and wind in the middle of February when you grew up in Russia, a place where the winters have been known to be more than a little cold?

"A lot of the guys had the toques on, but it really wasn't that bad," Grachev said. "It was cold at the beginning, but once we got going and moving around, it felt pretty good out there.

"The ice is in great shape, and we can't wait to go," he added. "It's still a regular game for us. Hopefully there will be a lot of fans out there, a lot of excitement on the ice and a lot of energy. But it's still two points (up for grabs), and it's gonna be a good game."

Geoffrion starting to get a good read on AHL

Friday, 02.11.2011 / 2:25 PM / AHL Update

Lindsay Kramer - Correspondent

Milwaukee Admirals rookie center Blake Geoffrion is as much an entertainer as he is a hockey player.

So when he recently read the book "The Happy Day" to a local first-grade class, he meant it.

"It's about bears and squirrels and whatnot, having a great day," he said. "They (the students) were a little antsy, a little hyper at first. But they were pretty well-behaved."

With the type of roll that Geoffrion is on, it only follows that he'd have the right touch in every type performance. The Happy Day? Geoffrion doesn't have to read about it. He's living it, one of them right after another.

Last week, Geoffrion became the first AHL player to earn back-to-back player of the week awards since fellow Wisconsin alum Jim Carey in 1994. He's registered 17 points in his last seven contests after posting 16 in his first 31 games this season.


Butler leads East past West at AHL All-Star Game

Monday, 01.31.2011 / 11:14 PM / AHL Update

Some of the future's brightest young stars were on display in Hershey, Pa., on Monday night.

Bobby Butler of the Binghamton Senators had a goal, three assists and a plus-4 rating as the Eastern Conference earned an 11-8 victory against the Western Conference at the 2011 All-Star Game at the Giant Center.

Butler, an undrafted 23-year-old from Marlborough, Mass., has 21 goals and 11 assists in 44 AHL games this season. He's also appeared in eight games for Ottawa, which signed him after he racked up 53 points during his final season at the University of New Hampshire in 2009-10.

He was one of 34 first-time All-Stars on Monday. Five-time AHL All-Star Corey Locke, also from Binghamton, had two assists and now has a league-record 11 career All-Star points.

Hershey a perfect host for grand AHL celebration

Monday, 01.31.2011 / 9:03 AM / AHL Update

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

"It is such a great hockey town and there is so much history here that to bring an event like this here means a lot to the fans and a lot to the city in general. When you put 10,500 people in here for a skills competition in the minors, I think that speaks volumes for the caliber of people that are in this town and how much they love the game." -- Bears forward Andrew Gordon

This is the 75th season for the American Hockey League, and it was probably an easy choice for where to celebrate such an important anniversary for its All-Star weekend.

There is only one AHL city that routines welcomes more than 10,000 fans into its arena and only one franchise with 11 Calder Cup banners hanging from the rafters. That is why Hershey, Pa., home of the two-time defending Calder Cup champions and the franchise en route to posting the best attendance in the league for the fifth straight season, is where the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic will conclude with the All-Star Game on Monday night at Giant Center.

The celebration got under way Sunday afternoon with the 2011 Reese's AHL Skills Competition, and a sold-out arena welcomed a showcase for the league's top players.


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).
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Quote of the Day

It's not always going to be pretty, especially against a great goalie [Lundqvist] like that. My goals are never how you draw them up. It's just a matter of grinding it out and trying to create havoc in front and good things happen.

— Capitals forward Jay Beagle on scoring in their Game 3 victory against the Rangers on Monday