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Royals giving coach another chance

by Lindsay Kramer
Larry Courville has a chance this season to bring closure to some unfinished business.

And maybe start sleeping at nights again as well.

The Royals recently announced that Courville will return in 2010-11 for his second full season as head coach. The last time Courville and his team were on the ice they slunk off it after blowing a 3-0 series lead to Cincinnati in the American Conference finals.

"There's only so many chances you get to win a championship. We let one slip," Courville said. "There hasn't been a day that's gone by when I haven't thought about that series, especially at night, when you're trying to sleep. You always think as a coach, what could you have done better?"

Until the series against the Cyclones, the answer was not much. Courville led the Royals to a team-record 47 wins and Reading then won more playoff games (10) than any team in the franchise's nine-year history.

"There was a lot of positives, and some negatives," said Courville, 35. "Sure, you can see a lot of success during the season, but the goal is to win. Until we win (a championship), I won't be satisfied."

That makes for a restless offseason. Courville said he's been focusing his early scouting efforts on adding some defensive toughness to round out the fancy offense-oriented squad that crashed
in the playoffs.

"That was probably the biggest learning curve for me, making sure we are better defensively next year," he said. "I think I'll be a little more prepared. It starts in the summer by recruiting players who you think will fit in your system. To make you a better coach, you want to correct the things that went wrong. There's definitely some work to be done."

Glass back at it for Hartford -- For the second straight season, Hartford is taking it on faith that defenseman Trevor Glass can contribute to the organization.

The Wolf Pack has picked up the option year on the AHL pact it gave Glass last year, when he joined the team from Spokane of the WHL. The typically routine move carried an added uncertainty because Glass missed the entire 2009-10 season with a stress fracture in his back.

"It was definitely on my mind for what was going to happen next year," said Glass, 22. "I never got a chance to prove myself as a player. I wasn't too sure what was going to happen for this year. It makes all that training and rehab easier."

Any little motivation will help. Glass hasn't been on the ice since January, when he decided that pushing to hurry back from the injury was too risky and that he should take off the whole season. He isn't sure what caused the ailment, but it initially started bugging him in Hartford and then became worse when he was sent down to Charlotte of the ECHL.

"As it progressed it was hard to do laundry or carry groceries," he said.

The good news is that a recent scan of the problem area seemed to indicate that the fracture has mended.

"Once the bone is all healed, it's back to 100 percent," said Glass, who won a Memorial Cup with the Chiefs in 2007-08. "I'm taking things slow now. You are so used to skating all the time. When you get shut down for that many months, it's a different lifestyle for you."

ECHL influencing AHL -- The ECHL has left a bigger handprint on the AHL's Calder Cup than ever before.

Seventeen of the 28 players who skated for champion Hershey have ECHL experience. That surpasses the 15 players from the ECHL who played for the Bears in their title season of 2009-10.

Sixteen of the 24 players on runner-up Texas had ECHL experience. There have been 58 former ECHL players on the last four AHL winners and 76 former ECHL players on the last six champions.
"There's only so many chances you get to win a championship. We let one slip.  There hasn't been a day that's gone by when I haven't thought about that series, especially at night, when you're trying to sleep. You always think as a coach, what could you have done better?" -- Larry Courville

Hershey coach Mark French is a former ECHL assistant and Bears assistant Troy Mann is an ex-ECHL player. Former Las Vegas head coach Glen Gulutzan, who was named ECHL Coach of the Year in 2006 and led the Wranglers to the 2008 Kelly Cup Finals, is in his first season as the Stars’ head coach.

French is the sixth ECHL coaching alum to win the Calder Cup, joining Peter Laviolette (Providence, 1999), Jim Playfair (Saint John, 2001), Claude Noel (Milwaukee, 2004), Bruce Boudreau (Hershey, 2006) and Bob Woods (Hershey, 2009).
Staying together -- Manitoba and Victoria have kept their marriage of convenience and mutual benefit going by extending their affiliation for the 2010-11 season. It will be the fifth year of partnership between the organizations.

Among the players Manitoba has loaned to the Salmon Kings throughout the affiliation are Dylan Yeo, Matt Kelly, Olivier Labelle, Scott Howes, Adam Keefe, Travis Ramsey and Todd Ford.

"I never thought of making a change," said Salmon Kings head coach and GM Mark Morrison. "Manitoba has been especially good here. They've shown us how to be a professional hockey club here in all sorts of ways, on the ice, off the ice. How we treat the players, just little things, just to be a classy organization."

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