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AHL Update

Non-stop action has suited Henrique just fine

Thursday, 03.31.2011 / 4:54 PM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

"As a coach, I'm confident in his ability, and it didn't take long for me to gain that confidence in him. Coming right out of camp I could see that he's really smart, knew the game, and he's a reliable guy on both sides of the puck."
-- Albany Devils coachRick Kowalsky on Adam Henrique

It's a good thing Albany Devils forward Adam Henrique loves playing hockey, because that's pretty much all he's been doing for the past two-and-a-half years.

The rookie prospect for the New Jersey Devils is coming off back-to-back Memorial Cup runs with the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires, and while many of his peers were enjoying time off around Christmas in 2009, Henrique was busy helping Team Canada to a silver medal at the World Junior Championships.

Now, 68 games into his first pro season in the AHL and with the finish line in sight, some time to rest and recover is finally on Henrique's horizon.

Postma has dedicated himself to both ends of ice

Thursday, 03.24.2011 / 2:41 PM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

When Chicago Wolves defenseman Paul Postma is done with his hockey career, it's quite possible that he'll look back at the spring of 2010 as a major turning point in his fortunes.

Not because of any milestones, awards, or championships, but rather a postseason benching which jarred him into accepting what it takes to truly takes for a player like himself to succeed in pro hockey.

A native of Red Deer, Alta., Postma broke into hockey playing forward as a kid and never lost his offensive instincts after a summer-league coach switched him to defense around age 11.

He relishes the chance to jump up and contribute to a team's goal-scoring abilities, and for a period of time, that approach paid huge dividends.

Wellman stepping up to the plate for Aeros

Thursday, 03.17.2011 / 2:51 PM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

As a professional athlete and the son of a former Major League Baseball player, one might expect Houston Aeros rookie forward Casey Wellman to also be plying his trade with bats and gloves instead of sticks and pucks.

Wellman's father, Brad, spent much of the 1980s as an infielder in the majors, hanging up his spikes in 1989 when Casey was barely 2 years old.

And while Wellman did give baseball a try in his youth, the speed and excitement of hockey ultimately won him over.

"I played baseball, too, but I had quite a bit of energy in me when I was younger," said Wellman, a top prospect of the Minnesota Wild. "Baseball was just a little too slow and boring for me."

Teubert off to fast start with Oklahoma City

Thursday, 03.10.2011 / 2:55 PM / AHL Update

A.J. Atchue - Special to

Colten Teubert had just played three games in as many nights with the Manchester Monarchs and was enjoying a day off on Feb. 28, playing video games with a few teammates.

But the rookie defenseman's leisure time was abruptly halted with the news that he'd been dealt by the parent Los Angeles Kings to the Edmonton Oilers prior to the NHL's trading deadline.

What had begun as a day to catch his breath quickly evolved into a whirlwind of following the latest coverage on TSN -- standout forward Dustin Penner was going the other way in the deal -- and preparing to leave town.

"I wasn't really expecting it, but obviously it's part of the business,"Teubert said. "I knew L.A. was trying to grab one of the big names at the trade deadline, and for me to get the opportunity to come to the Oilers organization, I'm just super excited and it's a fresh start for me."

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."
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[Stamkos] is a great teammate and a great leader, that's why he's got the 'C'. He brings that tremendous work ethic to the rink and he's one of the top players in the game. I know if I put the passes where they are supposed to be, there's a very good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net.

— Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin on linemate Steven Samkos
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