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AHL Update

AHL: As Gelinas settles in, production has risen

Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 2:35 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to NHL.com

For Eric Gelinas, the numbers don't lie.

From his professional debut with the Albany Devils on Oct. 8 through Dec. 21, Gelinas registered 3 goals, 5 points and a minus-9 rating in 29 games.

Since Dec. 26, he has quadrupled his output, with 10 goals, 20 points and a plus-7 rating in 28 games.
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Change in approach earned Cornet first NHL games

Tuesday, 02.28.2012 / 2:29 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to NHL.com

With 22 goals and 32 points, Philippe Cornet already has surpassed his offensive output from last season. (Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI)
For Philippe Cornet, this has been a season of firsts.

His first NHL game, his first NHL point, his first AHL All-Star appearance, and his first … rodeo?

The Val-Senneville, Que., native, in his second season with the Edmonton Oilers organization after being drafted in the fifth round in 2008, has assimilated into the southern-cowboy culture of Oklahoma City while playing for the team's American Hockey League affiliate.

Spending some of his free time fishing and taking in the local entertainment, Cornet says he's well-established in his second home.

"I love it down here," he said. "The weather is great and the people are friendly and awesome. I've never lived in any other cities in the States besides this one, but I wouldn't go anywhere else."

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Calgary's AHL club set to get Saddledome experience

Thursday, 02.09.2012 / 5:01 PM / AHL Update

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Skating on Scotiabank Saddledome ice is nothing new for Paul Byron.

Doing so in an Abbotsford Heat jersey is.

Returning to the Stampede City as a member of the Flames' AHL affiliate, Byron will skate alongside his Heat teammates against the Oklahoma City Barons in a home game -- of sorts -- in Calgary. It will be the lone game Abbotsford plays in the Flames' rink this season.

'It feels good to be back," Byron said. 'I've played a few games here."

Eighteen, to be exact, and Byron isn't the only Abbotsford skater able to make that claim. He is one of nine Heat players to be recalled by Calgary at some point this season and see time in the NHL with the Flames. Four currently remain with the parent club. 
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Palmieri back in AHL -- just in time to be All-Star

Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 7:05 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to NHL.com

After wrapping up his second NHL recall this season and making the 2,300-miles trek from Anaheim back to Syracuse, N.Y., forward Kyle Palmieri is again a member of the AHL's Crunch -- and maybe just in time.

Earlier this month, the 2009 first-round draft pick was selected to represent the Eastern Conference Team in the AHL All-Star Classic, his second All-Star selection in as many seasons. But this year's event is scheduled for Jan. 29-30 in Atlantic City – a short drive from his hometown of Montvale, N.J.

"Being named to the All-Star team for the second year in a row and this being my second year pro, this is a big accomplishment for me and I'm pretty excited for it," Palmieri said. "It'll be a pretty cool experience for me and my family and friends to be a part of."
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Desjardins making name for himself in Lake Erie

Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 1:29 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to NHL.com

If you ask Lake Erie Monsters head coach David Quinn, goaltender Cedrick Desjardins is on the verge of becoming a household name.

"I think (some) people know who he is, but by the end of this year, I think everyone's going to know who he is," Quinn said. "There's no one better in the American Hockey League right now."

The numbers agree: Desjardins, in his first year in the Colorado Avalanche organization, leads the AHL in both goals-against average (1.49) and save percentage (.952). 
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Nyquist adjusting rapidly to North American game

Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 10:23 AM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to NHL.com

Playing over 4,000 miles away from his hometown of Halmstad, Sweden, Grand Rapids Griffins left winger Gustav Nyquist has to improvise when he's homesick.

"I think obviously me and Andy [Joakim Andersson] have been pretty close together," he said of the relationship with his Griffins linemate. "We're both from Sweden and he has a Swedish girlfriend here so it's kind of nice to sometimes go over to their place and be Swedish for a little bit."

His off-ice camaraderie with his fellow transplants has translated to impressive numbers for Nyquist. The 2008 fourth-round draft pick by the Detroit Red Wings has blossomed into the AHL's second-best rookie scorer, posting 9 goals and 27 points in 25 games this season.
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Whirlwind experience marked Fairchild's NHL debut

Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 6:12 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to NHL.com

Cade Fairchild almost missed his first NHL game.

The 22-year-old defenseman got the call at practice with his Peoria Rivermen the morning of Nov. 29. He drove himself the three hours to Chicago's O'Hare Airport, only to find out his flight was cancelled. After being re-routed to Chicago Midway Airport, the Minnesota native boarded a plane to Washington, D.C., to meet up with the St. Louis Blues as they prepared to take on the Washington Capitals that night.

He made it just in time to lace up his skates for warm-ups.

"It was kind of a whirlwind of a day, but it was certainly reaching a goal of my life that I've had for a long time, so it was pretty special," Fairchild said.
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Small in stature, Atkinson coming up big on the ice

Tuesday, 11.29.2011 / 5:50 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to NHL.com

It's easy to spot Cam Atkinson on the ice.

The smallest of the Springfield Falcons, the 5-foot-8 winger is recognizable as the blur regularly weaving through defensemen twice his size and beating out goaltenders with twice his experience.

At 22 years old, the Columbus Blue Jackets' prospect is ranked eighth among AHL rookies in scoring with 9 goals and 15 points in 18 games this season.

Though some would suggest his size could be a hindrance in his budding professional career, Atkinson disagrees.
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Goalie prospect Irving understands perseverance

Monday, 11.21.2011 / 7:12 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to NHL.com

At 6 feet tall and 23 years old, Calgary Flames prospect Leland Irving of the Abbotsford Heat is neither the biggest nor the youngest goaltender in the American Hockey League. But he's quickly becoming one of the best.

Newly minted as the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week, Irving is riding high with his Heat atop the Western Conference. Having started 18 of Abbotsford's first 19 games this season, Irving (13-5-0) leads the AHL in wins, minutes played (1,022) and shutouts (3) while ranking fourth with a 1.94 goals-against average and 10th with a .927 save percentage.

After being drafted by Calgary in the first round in 2006 (No. 26), Irving has spent the last four seasons backstopping the Flames' AHL affiliate. He said his game has changed dramatically since turning pro, thanks to intensive coaching and training.
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Return of AHL has St. John's celebrating

Friday, 11.18.2011 / 6:00 PM / AHL Update

Lindsay Kramer - NHL.com Correspondent

The city of St. John's, Newfoundland, casts different images depending upon the perspective of its viewers.

To visiting American Hockey League players, "The Rock" emerges from the ocean as their team plane lowers from the clouds and heads toward a landing. If they are lucky, that is. Should the land mass not come into sight, it probably means the team is touching down in a blizzard or the fog that seems to constantly shroud the island.

To the faithful who live there, the city is a warm, neighborly community bound by a long list of factors, of which passion for hockey ranks near the top.
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Quote of the Day

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun..

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday