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Last night was a busy one in the AHL. Here are some of the more relevant news and notes to pass along:

 

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Sean Couturier had two assists last night for the Flyers AHL affiliate. Couturier is right around the PPG mark, as he has been playing more of an offensive role with the Phantoms than he did with the Flyers last year. I like his offensive upside a lot, but it depends if he gets "stuck" in the third line C spot or if he is able to move up in the lineup once Daniel Briere's contract expires.

 

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Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a goal and an assist for Portland. He continues to make easy work of the AHL.

 

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Tim Erixon and David Savard have both been very impressive in Springfield, and both would have a great shot at earning a roster spot in Columbus if/when a season starts up in the next little while.

 

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Another player enjoying success in the AHL is Ryan Johansen. This lockout could be great for him in the long run - he is near a PPG, and hopefully will be able to carry that confidence over into a top six spot with Columbus once the NHL returns. Johansen is a lot bigger and stronger than he was in junior - he is close to 225 pounds, and at 6-3, he's quite a presence on the ice.

 

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And finally, Cam Atkinson's strong season continues for Springfield as well. Columbus fan(s) have to be excited at the collection of young talent that is playing together in the AHL right now. There may not be any potential superstars, but Johansen and Calvert both have a lot of upside (and there are secondary talents like Matt Calvert kicking around as well).

 

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Canucks GM Mike Gillis and assistant GM Laurence Gilman were on the radio yesterday to discuss almost everything related to the team. I pulled some of the more interesting quotes in this piece here. Topics include Kassian, Edler, Ballard, Kesler, and more. 

 

On Kassian:

 

"Like any young player, the thing they don’t understand is the level of consistency you need. AHL and NHL is a fine line for a number of players. What separates them is consistency that coaches can rely on."

 

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I’d expect lockout talk to be quiet over the holidays – the fact that a lot of players are returning home is a good sign. I thought we’d have hockey by now (wrong), and I still think the puck drops on a 40-50 game season. If for no other reason than that hockey wouldn’t survive a full season lockout. Based on team financials, I’d wager at least two or three teams would have to fold up shop without significant financial assistance from the league.

 

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How have you been using your additional free time thanks to the lockout? I have been following the NBA and NFL a lot more closely (the NBA in particular). I have also used the free time to study for the GMAT exam (business school). As boring as that has been, it trumps reading daily quotes from Bettman, Daily, and the Fehr brothers.

 

Oh, and who in Canada isn’t excited about the Blue Jays?

 

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PM Bouchard is “pretty much” symptom free. Love the confidence there. I’ve given up hope that he can return to the NHL – it’s a shame, as he’s a great fit with all of the big scoring forwards the Wild have.

 

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Here is a WJC Pool that is getting set up on the DobberHockey forums.

 

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DownGoesBrown scouts the WJC tournament. As always, a hilarious read from DGB.

 

Craig Leipold saw the word "ufa" and immediately offered the tournament a 14-year contract he had no intention of honoring


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DefendingBigD ranks the Dallas prospect group at the midseason mark. Impressive performances from Jamie Oleksiak and Brett Ritchie bump them up the list, while Jack Campbell’s struggles in the AHL continue.

 

Brett Ritchie


It seems that every season one of the Stars top prospects puts together a magical year; this time, it's Ritchie's turn. The 2011 second round pick is one of the top scorers in the OHL and has all but locked up a top six forward spot for Team Canada. A superb blend of size and skating ability, Ritchie needs to show these offensive outburst is more than just a hot streak.


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Alex Edler (back) and Jason Garrison (groin) are both cleared to play. Great news for the Canucks and their fans, but not for the players. Why? Well both of them are now officially locked out, which means they stop receiving biweekly paychecks. Garrison and Edler (along with injured teammate Ryan Kesler and other injured NHLers) had been receiving their full NHL salaries thanks to their injury status.

 

There is some concern regarding Edler’s back – some speculate it may never be 100%.  I’ve got news for you – most NHL players have chronic injuries that will never be perfect – the key is training around the injuries to minimize the risk of a chronic problem. The nature of a contact sport like hockey is that it leads to injuries.

 

Edler has only one year left on his contract and the Canucks weren’t in any sort of rush to sign him to a long term deal this past summer – it will be interesting to see how this situation plays out, as he is obviously an important part of the team.

 

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Sidney Crosby, ball hockey goaltender? This is a really cool story – I remember seeing some clips of Crosby in goal before – he’s quite good (naturally).

 

A group of dek hockey players from Pittsburgh experienced that last Friday, when Crosby made an unannounced and anonymous appearance at Dek Star for a rec league ball hockey game.


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Breaking news – Seth Jones is good.

 

When asked for his assessment of Jones, who many project to be a top-two selection in the 2013 NHL Draft, the veteran mentor smiled and shook his head.


"I'm kind of speechless," he said. "He's got that wonderful combination of athletic ability, hockey sense, size, and character. When you get all of that in one package, it's pretty hard to find a better prospect. I know this kid very well, know his leadership abilities and calmness under pressure, his confidence level and upside. He's a very rare U.S. talent."


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One significant downside of the lockout (to go along with a million others) has been the charities that rely on NHL donations throughout the season. One of these is Canuck Place. Canuck Place Children's Hospice provides specialized pediatric palliative care for children living with a life-threatening illness and support for their families throughout British Columbia.

 

It’s one of the best charities you will ever come across. The work they do is incredible. I have been lucky enough to be able to raise money for them in recent years. I know there are countless other charities like them across North America that are also feeling the pinch from the NHL lockout.

 

So if you are trying to think of a gift to give to a friend, or you are thinking of something that you would like to receive, try donating money as a gift, or asking for a donation for your own gift.

 

An example of the fallout:

 

“We’ve received calls from 23 different businesses, mostly sports bars who last year collected food for Sun Youth and this year, because of the strike, they have to lay off people,” said Tommy Kulczyk, director of emergency services at the Sun Youth community centre in Montreal.


“They’re not in the mood to do any kind of collection.”


He also noted that wives of Montreal Canadiens players had in past years organized a successful food drive at a Habs game tapping a potential 21,000 donors.


“It’s not going to happen this year.”


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We should be watching Brian Burke and Pavel Datsyuk on HBO right now. Shame.

 

 

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My latest fitness post – my gym “essentials” – clothing, shoes, and more.

 

I tend to wear the compression gear put out by 2XU, which is an Australian company. 2XU is starting to enter the hockey market a bit, and they rep Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. I have also worn compression gear from Under Armour and Nike, and the 2XU stuff lasts a lot longer (which is a huge benefit considering most compression gear is expensive).


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After the last lockout, the NHL painted the message “Thank You Fans” on the ice in each of their 30 rinks. What do they paint this time? “Oops?”

 

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A WJC preview for the 2012 champs:

 

 

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shingy said:

shingy
Ramblings
Great read, thanks.
December 20, 2012
Votes: +0
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