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(Page 12 of 20)
AHL Update

AHL weekend roundup: Schultz, Granlund shine

Monday, 10.22.2012 / 10:40 AM / AHL Update

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Each Monday, NHL.com will take a look back at the weekend that was in the American Hockey League with an emphasis on the young stars and top prospects that are continuing their development. Here are some of the highlights from the past few days in the AHL:

FRIDAY

FIRST STAR:

Justin Schultz, Oklahoma City

Schultz isn't wasting any time showing people why there was such a publicized bidding process before the Edmonton Oilers secured his rights this summer. The 22-year-old free agent defenseman from the University of Wisconsin had two goals, an assist and was on the ice for all five of Oklahoma City's goals in a 5-1 victory. He's playing with a few established NHL young stars, but Schultz has a team-leading four goals and six points in four games for the Barons to start the season.

Top prospect Justin Schultz had two goals and an assist in Friday's 5-1 win for the Oklahoma City Barons. (Photo: David Maxwell/Getty Images)

SECOND STAR:

Jordan Caron, Providence

Caron looked like a first-round pick from the 2009 NHL Draft on Friday night, scoring a hat trick in the Bruins' 4-3 victory. They were his first three goals of the season, but he is one of several Boston prospects that figure prominently in Providence's forward corps. Ryan Spooner had the other goal, and the 2010 second-round pick is tied for the team lead with four points with Boston's second-round selection from 2008, Maxime Sauve.

THIRD STAR:

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Portland

Ekman-Larsson played 15 AHL games in 2010-11, but he has as many goals in three contests this season. He had two tallies and an assist to help the Pirates collect a wild 7-4 win against Worcester. The future offensive potential for the Phoenix Coyotes' blue line was on display in this contest -- fellow 21-year-old David Rundblad had two assists and Maxim Goncharov, 23, added a pair of assists as well. Ekman-Larsson has three goals and five points in three games for Portland.

Bay Area's Acolatse climbing San Jose depth chart

Friday, 10.19.2012 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Dena Acolatse admits that "Slap Shot" is one of her favorite films. That's basically the only connection her family ever had to hockey. Dena grew up in the Bay Area and worked in Silicon Valley, and her husband, Connel, came to California from Ghana to study and eventually work.

There wasn't any reason for them to believe their son, Sena, had a future in the sport. But a year after Sena was born, the San Jose Sharks arrived in Northern California.

Now 21 years old, Sena Acolatse is on the cusp of being the first Bay Area native to play for the Sharks.

AHL youngsters are rookies in name only

Friday, 10.12.2012 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Near the end of each hockey season, there is an infusion of young talent at the American Hockey League level as players in junior leagues and the NCAA finish their seasons and have the opportunity to join AHL clubs for a brief look at life as a professional.

For the college guys, it means they signed a pro contract and are done with school. For the junior players, it is possible their brush with pro hockey is not permanent, as those who are eligible end up back with their junior teams the next season -- unless they make it in the NHL.

This specific collection of players often makes up a portion of the AHL's rookie class, and because of the NHL lockout, that group will be a little bigger this season when the league opens play Friday.

Those players have an advantage over other rookies because they've spent time with AHL teams in the past and know what to expect, and in a few cases they actually have NHL experience, as well.

Numerous top prospects to make AHL debuts

Friday, 10.12.2012 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The American Hockey League is a training ground for future stars, but the amount of young talent available to AHL clubs when the league begins play this weekend has expanded because of the NHL lockout.

Not only will there be players who have had NHL success, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but many of the top prospects for the 30 NHL clubs will be playing for their AHL affiliates when the regular season opens Friday.

Several top prospects will be making their professional debuts, while a handful of European phenoms will get their first taste of pro hockey on the smaller North American rinks.

Here's a look at some of the prospects who will make their North American professional debuts. There are plenty of other exciting young talents who already have made cameos in the AHL or NHL who will be playing this weekend, and a list of those players can be found here.

Capitals president Patrick growing game in D.C.

Wednesday, 10.10.2012 / 5:07 PM / AHL Update

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

This is George McPhee's 15th season as general manager of the Washington Capitals, meaning he's been with the franchise exactly half as long as his boss, team president Dick Patrick, who will receive the Lester Patrick Trophy for his service to hockey in the United States during the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony Monday night in Dallas.

While the Capitals have made the playoffs in 23 of Patrick's 29 seasons with the organization, McPhee said the real measure of Patrick's influence has been the growth of hockey in the Washington, D.C., area during the past two decades.

"He's lived it," McPhee told NHL.com. "He grew up with it in the area with his son Chris playing -- Chris and Jeff Halpern played together all the way up, and Dick was able to coach them."

Perhaps the most impressive statistic is the growth in the number of high school hockey teams in the area. In 1990, according to the Capitals, there were 15 high school teams and 250 players. By last season, that number had grown to 110 teams and 2,300 players.

"He knows the grass-roots level of hockey in Washington very well, having experienced it," McPhee said of Patrick. "He's always donated a lot of resources for growing the game at that level."

Back in Albany, Henrique honing leadership skills

Wednesday, 10.10.2012 / 9:00 AM / AHL Update

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Like a veteran back in his element, Adam Henrique strides across the familiar bright red carpet inside the dressing room, with an air of confidence about him. This is a player who recognizes exactly where he is, has precise goals of what he wants to achieve in hockey and totally understands how this bump in the road he's come to can't stop him from becoming the player he's determined to become.

Henrique, a Calder Trophy finalist last season, wants to be a captain in the National Hockey League. He wants to be the player young guys look to for guidance. He wants to be the voice of a team -- the pulse, the guy the coach leans on.

"A few years down the road I want to be in the position that Zach Parise is in -- that's how I look at it," Henrique told NHL.com after playing in an American Hockey League preseason game for the Albany Devils. "Hopefully a few years down the road, some kid will be sitting in my spot and I'll be teaching him things."

Playing in the AHL, for however long it may be as a result of the ongoing work stoppage, will give Henrique the chance to flex his leadership muscles.

Norfolk completes sweep to win Calder Cup

Saturday, 06.09.2012 / 6:24 PM / AHL Update

NHL.com

The Norfolk Admirals completed a sweep of the Calder Cup Finals on Saturday by beating the Toronto Marlies 6-1 to win the first AHL championship in franchise history.

Mike Kostka, whose fluke goal in overtime gave the Admirals a 1-0 win in Game 3, scored the first of his two goals at 4:26 of the second period to break a 1-1 tie. Tyler Johnson made it 3-1 at 16:45, and the Admirals blew the game open with three goals in the third period.

Admirals goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped 18 of 19 shots, allowing only a first-period goal by Mike Zigomanis. Tokarski won all four games in the series, allowing only four goals.

AHL admits incorrect rules interpretation on OT goal

Friday, 06.08.2012 / 1:31 PM / AHL Update

NHL.com

The American Hockey League admitted Friday that there was an incorrect rules interpretation on the only goal in Thursday night's Game 3 of the Calder Cup Final, a 1-0 overtime victory by Norfolk that put the Admirals one win away from the championship.

Mike Kostka broke up a goaltending battle between Norfolk's Dustin Tokarski and Toronto's Ben Scrivens when he got to the red line and dumped the puck in off the glass along the right wall. Scrivens went behind the net to play the puck, only to watch in horror as the shot hit a stanchion near the goal line and skittered sideways into the net for the only goal of the night.

However, the AHL admitted in a statement Friday morning that a Norfolk player was offsides and the goal should not have counted.

Norfolk halfway to Calder Cup after Game 2 win

Sunday, 06.03.2012 / 1:39 AM / AHL Update

NHL.com

The Norfolk Admirals are two wins away from their first AHL championship.

Alexandre Picard broke a 1-1 tie in the second period and the Admirals beat the Toronto Marlies 4-2 in Game 2 of the Calder Cup final Saturday night. The win gives the Admirals a 2-0 lead in the AHL final, which moves to Toronto for games on Thursday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday.

Norfolk wins opener of Calder Cup Finals

Friday, 06.01.2012 / 10:29 PM / AHL Update

NHL.com

The hottest team in hockey didn't let a nine-day break in the schedule cool off its drive toward its first AHL championship.

The Norfolk Admirals, the AHL's regular-season champions, got 23 saves by goaltender Dustin Tokarski and killed off all 11 Toronto power plays as they beat the Marlies 3-1 in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals on Friday night.

Cory Conacher had a goal and an assist for the Admirals, the Tampa Bay Lightning's top affiliate, who ended the regular season by winning their last 28 games, the longest streak in the history of professional hockey. They are now 12-3 in the playoffs, meaning that Norfolk has won 40 of 43 games since a loss on Feb. 5.

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Quote of the Day

That group is not satisfied until we win a Stanley Cup. When we do win that Stanley Cup, I don't think we'll be satisfied then either. We're going to want another one. We have the group to do it. We have all the pieces. We just need to put them together.

— Ducks forward Ryan Kesler after signing a six-year extension with Anaheim this past July