Development key for new Maple Leafs prospect Tobias Lindberg

Tobias Lindberg  (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The Toronto Marlies have a luxury not many, if any, teams in the American League enjoy. When the parent team is out of town, the Marlies have access to two ice surfaces in the same building. And they use them. At one point during practice, coach Sheldon Keefe splits the groups up, with one going to one rink for skill development, the other on another sheet working on systems.

And what exactly does that have to do with the Toronto Maple Leafs acquiring prospect Tobias Lindberg in the trade with the Ottawa Senators for Dion Phaneuf? Actually, quite a bit. Because how Lindberg develops under the watchful eye of Keefe will go a long way to determining how good he’ll be as an NHL player. And how good he’ll be as an NHL player will go a long way to ultimately deciding how well the Leafs did in the trade.

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San Jose’s Roy Sommer becomes winningest coach in AHL history

Jared Clinton
Roy Sommer

Roy Sommer’s AHL coaching career spans 18 seasons and Wednesday night in San Jose, the longtime Sharks AHL bench boss became the league’s all-time winningest coach.

When Sommer’s San Jose Barracuda defeated the Ontario Reign 4-2 Wednesday, Sommer, 58, picked up the 637th win of his career, surpassing Fred ‘Bun’ Cook’s record 636 wins. Cook, who spent 19 seasons as an AHL coach, finished his coaching career in 1956 and his wins record has stood since then.

Cook’s mark of 636 games has stood for 60 years, but he’s held the all-time coaching wins record for 72 years. He moved into first place with his 153rd victory on Nov. 13, 1943, according to the AHL. While Sommer completed the feat in fewer seasons than Cook did, Sommer has coached 217 more games than Cook did due to an increased schedule and larger league size. Read more

Prospect Need to Know: Max Lajoie has stepped up in Swift Current

Max Lajoie (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Boston College won its 20th Beanpot tournament in 64 years last night, with Minnesota prospect Alex Tuch firing a seeing-eye shot in overtime for the only goal in a 1-0 overtime win over archrival Boston University. On the international scene, two Five Nations tournaments kick off this week – Finland hosts the under-18s and the U.S. hosts the under-17s. Needless to say, these will be marquee events and a lot of good evaluations will come from there. Here’s a look at some of the other kids making noise in the prospect world right now:

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Do you smell what LaBarbera’s cooking? Goaltender’s new mask honors ‘The Rock’

Jared Clinton
(via DaveArt)

Jason LaBarbera has yet step between the pipes for the Flyers this season, but if he does, he’ll be bringing the most electrifying mask in hockey history to the ice. LaBarbera’s new lid pays tribute to box-office superstar and professional wrestling legend Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

It’s well known that LaBarbera, 36, is a huge wrestling fan. With that in mind, it makes sense that when getting a new mask for a team that plays in the city famous for Rocky Balboa the veteran netminder would mix his love of the squared circle with another famous Rocky.

LaBarbera’s mask, which was designed by DaveArt’s Dave Gunnarsson, doesn’t show off too much of The Rock’s in-ring work, but it does feature the 10-time world champion posing for the camera. The entire left panel is dedicated to The Rock, with the right side featuring the Flyers logo sprawling into the cage: Read more

Update: Bruins’ Subban out indefinitely with fractured larynx after puck to throat

Jared Clinton
Malcolm Subban (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s been a rough couple weeks for Boston Bruins netminders. Jonas Gustavsson was hospitalized following the first period of a Jan. 26 game due to an elevated heart rate, and less than two weeks later, netminder Malcolm Subban was forced to spend his night in hospital after taking a puck to the throat ahead of Saturday’s AHL game.

During warmup ahead of the Providence Bruins’ game against the Portland Pirates, Subban was struck in the throat with a puck and had to head off ice. Once off the ice, he was transported to hospital by ambulance and held overnight. Read more

Prospect Need to Know: Alex DeBrincat can score anytime, anywhere

Alex DeBrincat (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The CHL Top Prospects Game and AHL All-Star weekend are both in the rearview mirror for the season, while the Beanpot tournament in Boston is now half-over. Boston College and Boston U. will duel for the city’s trophy, with Northeastern and Harvard in the consolation game. In other development news, the Los Angeles Kings have partnered with the United States League to put on a Pacific Region Showcase at the NHL team’s practice facility in El Segundo. It takes place in late March and will feature players from the 2000, 2001 and 2002 age groups. These are exciting times for the growth of the game. Let’s get caught up in the world of prospects.

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AHL’s IceCaps pay tribute to John Scott with clever change on social media

Jared Clinton
John Scott (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

As the rest of the All-Star Game competitors return to their NHL teams Monday, John Scott, the Pacific Division captain and All-Star Game MVP, will be boarding a flight and heading to Newfoundland to join the AHL’s IceCaps. But he may return to a brand new city, as the IceCaps hopped on board the MVP hype surrounding the lovable tough guy.

Following Scott’s two-goal MVP performance, the IceCaps were hit with requests to change the team name to something reflecting the success of their newly acquired enforcer.

“We hear your requests,” the IceCaps Tweeted. “But we don’t think we’re allowed to change to the ‘St. John Scott IceCaps’ or ‘St. John’s IceScotts’”

And while the IceCaps are probably right — only probably because, hey, fan-voting has done some great things this past weekend — in saying the AHL won’t allow the name change, they found a happy medium. Shortly after saying the change wouldn’t be coming, the IceCaps gave in to the requests by altering their Twitter account to reflect the fanfare surrounding Scott. Read more

Youngsters dazzle at the AHL’s All-Star skills competition

Eric Comrie (Photo by Graig Abel Collection/Getty Images)

While John Scott was being carried on the shoulders of his all-star teammates in Nashville (I can see the reports now: Joe Pavelski, day-to-day, hernia. Brent Burns, day-to-day, hernia…), the American League’s finest were having their skills competition at their all-star festivities in Syracuse. And there were some pretty nice performances for fans of a couple NHL franchises.

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