Willie Desjardins is the newest coach of the Vancouver Canucks and he certainly has his work cut out for him. The Canucks went from one of the top teams in the West to a basketcase franchise in an almost inconceivably short period of time and one of the reasons was based on structure.
The American League’s Calder Cup championship was decided in a similar way the Stanley Cup was at the end of last week.
Tuesday night the Texas Stars and St. John’s IceCaps played Game 5 of the Calder Cup final and it went into overtime. With the Stars holding a 3-1 series lead, they had a chance to close out the championship on the road.
And that they did. The Stars took a 2-0 lead in the game before the IceCaps roared back to take a 3-2 advantage. Texas tied it up again with less than 10 minutes to go in the third period. And, in the dying minutes of the first OT period, Texas’ Patrik Nemeth scored the championship goal with this nifty move. Hey, that looks like a Patrick Kane backhander. Read more
By Sean Shapiro
It was like being the new kid at school – if you arrived just in time for exams. With the exception of a morning skate, Brett Ritchie didn’t even have a chance to practice with the American League’s Texas Stars before making his 2014 Calder Cup Playoff debut in Game 6 of the second round against the Grand Rapids Griffins May 18.
Nursing an injured ankle back to health, the second-round pick (Dallas, 44th overall in 2011) missed the Stars’ first eight playoff games and hadn’t played since April 13 against the San Antonio Rampage.
Not knowing how the ankle would hold up or how he’d feel jumping into a playoff series against the defending Calder Cup Champions, Ritchie shook off some early jitters and scored in a 7-1 series-clinching victory. “It’s good, it gives you some confidence around the net,” Ritchie said. “I didn’t feel very comfortable around the net at the start of the game, but for that one (goal) to go in, it kind of bounced me back to where I was before I got hurt.”
Ritchie, recapturing his pre-injury form, provided a much-needed boost for Texas as it battled through a seven-game series with the Toronto Marlies to reach the Calder Cup final and a five-game series against the St. John’s IceCaps to win the AHL title. The Orangeville, Ontario native had 11 points in 13 post-season games, two of which came in Tuesday’s 4-3 Game 5 OT win that clinched the Calder Cup for Texas. Read more
This year’s Stanley Cup final series is one of the most geographically challenging we’ve seen in a while. Los Angeles and New York are separated by 2,450 miles and three time zones.
But the two finalists in the American League are a little farther apart. Cedar Park, Texas, home of the Texas Stars, and St. John’s, Newfoundland, home of the St. John’s IceCaps, are separated by 2,648 miles.
The farm teams for the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets begin their playdown for the Calder Cup Sunday in Texas. Here are the top five NHL prospects to watch in the AHL championship series.
The only downside to the Dustin Tokarski story at this point, at least from a personal financial perspective, is that it’s not happening during the regular season.
You see, Tokarski is on a two-way deal, which is really good if you’re playing in the NHL during the regular season, not so good if you’re playing in the playoffs when players do not pick up paychecks. Tokarski’s NHL salary is the league minimum $575,000 and he spent 23 of the 195 days of this season on the Canadiens roster. That means he picked up $67,821 in NHL salary, but spent the bulk of the season pulling down $80,000 in the minors. The good news for Tokarski is that if he plays in the minors next season, his salary goes up to $135,000 and in 2015-16 his contract becomes a one-way deal, which means he’ll make $575,000 regardless of whether he plays in the American League or the NHL. Read more
When Toronto residents Sean and Erin-Marie Boulton were married this past Saturday, they had all that really matters: each other, and their families. But thanks to the American League’s Toronto Marlies, the couple also received a wonderful wedding present – the gift of hockey.
The Boultons originally were slated to tie the knot in September of 2015, but family health concerns caused them to move their wedding date up to May 24 of this year. The change in plans drained their financial resources and meant the diehard hockey fans and Marlies season ticket holders not only wouldn’t be able to renew their tickets for next season, but also prevented them from enjoying Toronto’s current AHL playoff run. However, their friends began making inquiries with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment management members – and after the wedding ceremony ended Saturday, one of the gifts awaiting them at the reception was a leather box with a blue ribbon around it.
Right above the urinal in the washroom of the Norfolk Admirals dressing room. That’s where coach Jon Cooper placed The Hockey News’ American League predictions from our Oct. 17, 2011, issue before the start of 2011-12. We had Norfolk finishing 13th in the Eastern Conference. They ended up finishing first overall and cruising to the Calder Cup championship in a record-shattering season thanks to a remarkable run of 28 conescutive victories.
“Everybody had to stand and stare at it every day, so you can thank yourselves for being part of the motivation for our streak,” Cooper joked. “As soon as I saw it, I brought it in and said, ‘Look at where the biggest hockey magazine has put you guys.’ ”