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AHL Update

Travis Green to coach Canucks' AHL team

Thursday, 07.11.2013 / 7:46 PM / AHL Update

The Vancouver Canucks on Thursday named former NHL center Travis Green coach of the Utica Comets, their new affiliate in the American Hockey League.

“We are very pleased to have Travis Green join our organization,” general manager Mike Gillis said in a statement. “Travis brings a wealth of hockey knowledge and a winning pedigree to the role. His experience as a player and immediate success as a head coach, guiding Portland to a WHL championship this past year, are tremendous assets to lead and develop our players and prospects in Utica.”

Green, 42, most recently served as assistant general manager and interim coach of the Portland Winterhawks, who won the Western Hockey League championship and advanced to the final of the Memorial Cup in May, where they lost to the Halifax Mooseheads. He joined the Winterhawks in October 2008 as assistant coach and assistant GM.


New division as AHL approves 2013-14 alignment

Thursday, 07.11.2013 / 12:53 PM / AHL Update

There will be a new division in the American Hockey League's Western Conference for the 2013-14 season to go along with two new teams, the league announced Thursday.

The West Division replaces the previously named South among the six divisions in the approved league alignment. The 15 teams in the Eastern Conference remain in the same division from 2012-13, but there will be some shuffling to accommodate two new franchises in the Western Conference.

AHL hockey will return to Utica, N.Y., for the first time in 20 years when the Utica Comets drop the puck on the 2013-14 season. The Comets, which will be the Vancouver Canucks' affiliate, are in the North Division along with Rochester, Lake Erie, Toronto and Hamilton. The Comets replaced the Peoria Rivermen as the league's 30th franchise.


Syracuse stays alive again in Calder Cup Final

Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 9:45 PM / AHL Update

The Syracuse Crunch won't give up the Calder Cup without a fight.

For the second straight night, the Crunch prevented the Grand Rapids Griffins from capturing the American Hockey League championship on their home ice. Richard Panik's power-play goal midway through the second period broke a tie as the Crunch beat the Griffins 4-2 in Game 5 on Saturday night, disappointing a packed house of 10,834 at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins, the Detroit Red Wings' top farm team, had two chances to win the championship in front of their home fans after capturing Games 1 and 2 in Syracuse, then winning Game 3 at home. But Syracuse, the Tampa Bay Lightning's AHL affiliate, stayed alive with a 3-2 victory on Friday night; this victory sends the best-of-7 series back to Syracuse for Game 6 on Tuesday.


Syracuse avoids sweep in Calder Cup Final

Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 1:51 AM / AHL Update

The Syracuse Crunch avoided being swept out of the Calder Cup Final as Richard Panik's goal late in the second period Friday night lifted them to a 3-2 victory against the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 4 of the American Hockey League's championship series.

Panik's deflection of Mark Barberio's point shot at 16:52 of the second period broke a 2-2 tie and spoiled the party for the sold-out crowd of 10,834 at Van Andel Arena. The Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, get another chance to wrap up the first championship in franchise history in front of their home fans on Saturday night.


Grand Rapids takes 2-0 lead at Calder Cup Final

Sunday, 06.09.2013 / 10:08 PM / AHL Update

The Grand Rapids Griffins are halfway towards winning the Calder Cup. They'll have a chance win the American Hockey League crown on home ice.

Landon Ferraro had a goal and two assists and was one of six players to score Sunday as the Detroit Red Wings' top minor-league affiliate earned a 6-4 victory against the Syracuse Crunch in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Final at War Memorial at Oncenter in Syracuse, N.Y.

The series now shifts to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., for the next three games. Game 3 is slated for Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.


Grand Rapids wins Game 1 of Calder Cup Final

Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 10:09 PM / AHL Update

Petr Mrazek stopped 27 shots as the Grand Rapids Griffins opened the Calder Cup Final by defeating the Syracuse Crunch 3-1 Saturday night.

"When I'm busy, I like that, so I felt great today," Mrazek told "Guys helped me stop a lot of chances and so that is important for us tonight."

Mitch Callahan's goal 6:45 into the game gave the visiting Griffins, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, a 1-0 lead. Riley Sheahan, Detroit's first-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, doubled the lead when he beat Cedrick Desjardins for an unassisted goal at the 12-minute mark of the third period.

"We wanted to set the tone first and not really wait to see what they do," Callahan said. "We wanted to control the game and we wanted to dictate the outcome and not wait back and see what they would do first."


Lightning prospects playing for another Calder Cup

Friday, 06.07.2013 / 4:02 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Tyler Johnson is all in.

To borrow another poker phrase, Johnson and many of his Syracuse Crunch teammates are looking to make it two of a kind -- as in Calder Cup championship rings.

After winning the American Hockey League championship with the record-setting Norfolk Admirals last year, Johnson and the rest of the Tampa Bay Lightning's top prospects moved 500 miles north to Syracuse, N.Y., in an affiliation change. Now, with a different crest on their jerseys, they’re heading into the Calder Cup Finals again.

"Last year we had an unbelievable year," Johnson said. "It was a dream come true to win the Calder Cup and have so much success. And going into this year, we wanted to repeat as champions. Having that success last year gave us that confidence.

"We've been through it all, so it's helped to keep us on track and motivated through this entire year."


Grand Rapids advances to Calder Cup Final

Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 10:08 PM / AHL Update

Tomas Jurco's unassisted goal with 6:12 remaining in regulation gave the Grand Rapids Griffins a 5-4 victory against the Oklahoma City Barons in Game 7 of the AHL Western Conference Final on Wednesday night, marking the first time since 1992 that a Detroit Red Wings affiliate has advanced to the Calder Cup Final.

Oklahoma City, the top farm team of the Edmonton Oilers, broke a 3-3 tie when Taylor Fedun scored 1:21 into the third period. But Jan Mursak tied it at 6:32 with his second of the game and eighth of the playoffs before Jurco beat goaltender Yann Danis for the winner.

Petr Mrazek stopped 33 shots for Grand Rapids, the North Division champion. Danis made 28 saves for the Barons, who lost the West final for the second year in a row.


AHL call-ups Krug and Bartkowski have aided Bruins

Friday, 05.31.2013 / 1:44 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Torey Krug is no fluke.

Though much of the hockey world is just now buzzing about the 22-year-old's breakout playoff performance with the Boston Bruins, nobody who has had an eye on the American Hockey League this season should be surprised.

Krug racked up 13 goals and 32 assists in 63 games for Boston's top affiliate, the Providence Bruins, good for fourth among all AHL defensemen.

Then in the Calder Cup Playoffs, Krug contributed three assists in seven games – helping Providence defeat the Hershey Bears in the first round and take a 2-0 series lead over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the second round – before being called up to Boston.


Kings well-stocked with talent from Monarchs

Friday, 05.24.2013 / 2:40 PM / AHL Update

Samantha Wood - Special to

Kings aren't born, they're made.

And in the case of the Los Angeles Kings, they're made in the Queen City: Manchester, New Hampshire.

No matter that they're 3,000 miles apart, the Kings and their primary affiliate, the American Hockey League's Manchester Monarchs, have discovered a winning formula for player development.

Bolstered by last year's Stanley Cup victory, this year's Kings roster is packed with AHL talent. Nearly every regular on the roster developed in the AHL, more than half coming through the Monarchs.

"We take a lot of pride in the success that our players are having at the NHL level," said Mark Morris, who has been Monarchs head coach since 2006. His players through the years have included 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick, and five current L.A. players who were in Manchester this season: Tyler Toffoli, Slava Voynov, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, and Jake Muzzin.

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Quote of the Day

He scores 50 goals, they go in, they go in, and they go in. And I think, 'Why can't I do that?'

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on teammate Alex Ovechkin, who scored his 50th goal of the season Tuesday in a 4-2 win vs. the Hurricanes