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AHL Update

Oleksiak living large in AHL as top D-man for Texas

Friday, 05.10.2013 / 3:35 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

When Jamie Oleksiak is on the ice, there's no missing him.

At 6-foot-7 and 254 pounds, the young man they call "Big Rig" is a beacon on the Texas Stars' roster and among the biggest players in the American Hockey League.

"In the AHL, I've played with big guys and they're used to the competition and know how to handle dealing with guys that are bigger than them," Oleksiak said of his size. "They're good at using their strength to their advantage."

The rookie defenseman's prospects for NHL success are just as big.


Grand Rapids' Ferraro following in father's footsteps

Friday, 05.03.2013 / 1:42 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

For Landon Ferraro, it's all in the family.

The son of Ray Ferraro, an 18-year NHL veteran and current TSN hockey analyst, Landon has spent the past two years with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, forging his own identity as a player and a force to be reckoned with.

"It's always a steady flow of advice," Landon said of his father, who honed his skills in the AHL with the Binghamton Whalers before playing more than 1,200 games in the NHL. "He'll ask if I need anything or give some pointers here and there.

"He said now that we're in the playoffs to elevate it a little bit and take it a step up. Just go do what you've done all year and make sure you're ready when it starts."


Fearless Brown bursts onto AHL scene for Portland

Friday, 04.26.2013 / 12:10 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Portland Pirates rookie Chris Brown summarized his team's attitude toward the postseason in succinct fashion:

"You can call us underdogs, you can call us anything you want, but we're ready for the challenge," said the 22-year-old draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes.

As the American Hockey League's 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs begin this weekend, Brown and his Pirates will face the Syracuse Crunch -- a squad made up of several players who won the Calder Cup last year in Norfolk, before an offseason affiliation change moved Tampa Bay's prospects to New York state.

"We're looking forward to it," Brown said. "We might as well play the best team in the league first and get it out of the way."


Audy-Marchessault helps end drought in Springfield

Friday, 04.19.2013 / 12:48 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

In a city with a rich hockey history dating back to Eddie Shore, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault is helping to revive local interest in the sport with his Springfield Falcons squad.

With two games remaining the 2012-13 regular season, the Falcons -- the primary affiliate for the Columbus Blue Jackets -- have clinched a playoff berth for the first time in a decade and are division champions for the first time since Danny Briere and Shane Doan helped the club to a first-place finish in 1998.

"There are a lot of people in the organization who have been there a while, and they were thrilled to win the Northeast Division," Audy-Marchessault said. "It's really fun for the city of Springfield, too. They've been waiting for a good hockey team to get behind.

"We might be the team to go far in the playoffs, and we might be the team to win it."


Wild prospect Zucker finding success as AHL rookie

Friday, 04.12.2013 / 12:50 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

The old adage in sports is big players make big plays in big games.

Jason Zucker is proving to be one of those players. The American Hockey League co-leader in game-winning goals with eight, Zucker knows how to get the job done.

And now he’s set his sights on another target -- the Calder Cup.

The first major honor for the Houston Aeros forward was his selection to play in the AHL All-Star Classic in Providence in January.


Svedberg just keeps winning for Providence Bruins

Friday, 04.05.2013 / 12:31 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

It's every goaltender's job to avoid goals.

Maybe that's why Niklas Svedberg only has one: "You play hockey because you want to win hockey games."

And win he has. The Providence Bruins rookie has amassed a 32-8-2 record in his first season in the American Hockey League, with no signs of slowing down.

"There's no reason to have any other goal than winning," he said. "That's the mindset to have."

Signed by the Boston Bruins last May, the 23-year-old Swedish netminder has been winning in Providence ever since. Now almost a year later, the P-Bruins are comfortably at the top of the Atlantic Division and on the brink of their first trip to the AHL postseason since 2009.


Lightning prospect Connolly honing game in AHL

Friday, 03.29.2013 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Remember this name: Brett Connolly.

The 20-year-old right wing has raised eyebrows with his first-place Syracuse Crunch, taking the American Hockey League by storm and distinguishing himself as one to watch.

His season would be a great start for a young player looking to work his way to the NHL, but for Connolly, the route has been a little more circuitous.

Selected by Tampa Bay with the sixth pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, the Campbell River, British Columbia native made the leap straight from juniors to the NHL last season. He appeared in 68 games with the Lightning, scoring four goals with 11 assists.

"I learned a lot last year and it was a lot of fun," Connolly said of sharing time with Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. "Whenever someone gets to play in the NHL, it's a great accomplishment and a great experience. It was a very good year."


Marlies' Hamilton shines at AHL All-Star Game

Monday, 01.28.2013 / 11:26 PM / AHL Update

Toronto Marlies forward Ryan Hamilton completed a hat trick with 11.2 seconds remaining in regulation, breaking a tie and sending the Western Conference to a 7-6 win against the Eastern Conference in the 2013 American Hockey League All-Star Game at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., on Monday night.

Hamilton, who was named the Dunkin' Donuts All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, scored the final three goals of the night for the West to record the seventh hat trick in All-Star Game history. Mark Arcobello of the Oklahoma City Barons tallied three assists and rookie forwards Drew Shore of the San Antonio Rampage and Jason Zucker of the Houston Aeros notched a goal and an assist each for the West.


Eakins, Richardson reunite at AHL All-Star Game

Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

Like any mid-season exhibition, this weekend's 2013 Dunkin' Donuts AHL All-Star Classic is a unique opportunity for some of the game's best prospects to congregate in a relaxed environment.

For opposing coaches Dallas Eakins and Luke Richardson, it will be a fun reunion that has been a long time coming.

"I'm honored to go represent our team," Eakins, the Toronto Marlies coach who will appear in the game for the second consecutive year, said. "But selfishly, I haven't been able to see Luke a whole lot lately. I'm really looking forward to hanging out and catching up."

The American Hockey League's All-Star Game, which takes place Jan. 28 in Providence, RI, should be the perfect place for the two longtime defensemen to rekindle a friendship that began almost 30 years ago with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League.


AHL to discontinue hybrid icing rule

Tuesday, 01.15.2013 / 4:01 PM / AHL Update

The American Hockey League's Board of Governors has voted to discontinue its current test of the hybrid icing rule, effective with Friday's games.

"We believe that 564 games has been a sufficient test period for 'hybrid icing,' and that the application of the rule has been positive for the most part," AHL president Dave Andrews said in a statement Tuesday. "But because we have more than 300 players recalled to the National Hockey League each season, it is our view that these players should have the benefit of a consistent application of the icing rule in both the AHL and NHL."

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Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter