San Jose Barracuda: great name, but how do the jersey and logo look?

Matt Larkin
San Jose Barracuda.

The San Jose Sharks are all but Shark fin soup in the Western Conference playoff race. The organization should thus seek enjoyment elsewhere. That’s why Thursday was an ideal moment to announce the Sharks’ new AHL affiliate, the Barracuda, which will play in the freshly designed Pacific Division starting next season. More on that here.

Great name, great division setup, great travel situation for parent and child clubs. But do the new logo and jersey sink or swim? Let’s have a look.

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Calvin Pickard made an insane glove save on Kevin Fiala

Jared Clinton
Calvin Pickard (via Lake Erie Monsters/YouTube)

For much of November, Calvin Pickard was suiting up in the NHL and staking his claim to the starting job for the Colorado Avalanche. But once Semyon Varlamov was back in the lineup, it was back to the AHL for Pickard. While he would love to be back in the NHL, we’re thankful he’s not because it allowed him to make this jaw-dropping save.

In Wednesday night’s outing against the Milwaukee Admirals, Pickard made a glove stop that needs to be seen to be believed. With his defense allowing an odd man rush low in the zone, Milwaukee’s Viktor Arvidsson found Kevin Fiala alone at the side of the net. Fiala had the whole net to shoot at, but was absolutely robbed by Pickard’s outstretched glove. Check out the stop: Read more

Bakersfield Condors unveil worst logo ever in awesome April Fool’s prank

Matt Larkin
CondorFakeLogo

Clap, clap, clap.

The Bakersfield Condors continue to set the standard for comedy and creativity among pro hockey franchises. Their wacky promotions this season have included everything from Star Wars jersey night to a Hairiest Back contest. Seriously. Last week a guy named Eric Oldes won $75 gift card to a burger joint and four seats at the glass for another game thanks to his man mane. His daughter and fiancee submitted him. A clip from the 2014 contest, to give you an idea of what it entails:

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Prospect Hot List: Zach Senyshyn running with the big dogs

Zach Senyshyn (photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

The Frozen Four tournament may be the most deadly in hockey. It’s not long, but that’s the danger: it’s one-and-done, so even titan teams can get grounded in the first round, as top seed MSU-Mankato found out against RIT. But in the end, we have two teams from the two best conferences in the semifinal: Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota from the NCHC and Hockey East’s Providence College and Boston University. Major junior playoffs are in full swing now too, so let’s look at the kids making noise in the prospect world right now.

Zach Senyshyn, RW – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

They’re going for it all in the Soo this year and with the team adding players such as Justin Bailey, Anthony DeAngelo and Nick Ritchie before the trade deadline, it’s almost easier to name the Hounds who haven’t been drafted by NHL franchises at this point. Senyshyn is one, but that’s because he’s not eligible until this summer. In the meantime, he’s been happy to soak up lessons from his elder peers.

“It’s a great learning process every day,” he said. “Working with guys like Jared McCann and Darnell Nurse in practice is a special experience.”

This is actually Senyshyn’s first full year with the Hounds. The skilled, swift skater played most of last year with the Jr. A Smiths Falls Bears near Ottawa. He had his eye on playing NCAA, with Penn State, Princeton and nearby Clarkson all on his radar. But the siren sound of the Hounds drew him to the OHL and he signed with the squad in December, playing a handful of games before returning to the Bears to work on his defense and round out his game. There was a Hounds-Bears link, too.

“The assistant coach in Smiths Falls was Walt Dubas,” Senyshyn said. “He’s Kyle Dubas’ uncle. It’s pretty cool the way things worked out.”

Kyle Dubas of course, was the Hounds’ GM last year and now works for the Toronto Maple Leafs. But it’s a member of the Colorado Avalanche that Senyshyn counts as a role model.

“I’d say Matt Duchene,” Senyshyn revealed. “He plays the game at such a high pace and uses his creativity to create offense.”

With three points in his first two playoff games, Senyshyn’s not doing too bad in that category himself. Draft eligible in 2015.

Michael Mersch, LW – Manchester Monarchs (AHL)

The former University of Wisconsin Badger tied a franchise record by notching five points in a win over Hershey on Friday, but he didn’t stop there. The sturdy Mersch, who doesn’t mind heading to the front of the net, also collected points in his next two games. Drafted 110th overall by Los Angeles in 2011.

Nicolas Roy, C – Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)

When you’re 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds, it pays to use your frame and that’s what Roy has been doing in the Sags’ first-round series against Moncton. Despite being the underdogs, Chicoutimi has the showdown tied 1-1 in part due to Roy’s four points. Defensively responsible, it’s good to see his offense busting out. Draft eligible in 2015.

Mike Robinson, G – Lawrence Academy Spartans (Mass. HS)

A big goaltender who comes in at 6-foot-4, Robinson had to stop a lot of pucks for the Spartans this season and even though it didn’t result in team success, he did catch the eyes of scouts. Along with his size, the University of New Hampshire commit has great technique and quickness. Draft eligible in 2015.

Travis Konecny, RW – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

The 67’s got Konecny back from injury right in time for the post-season and he has rewarded them with his presence. The highly skilled heart-and-soul captain has come out guns a’ blazing with seven points in the first three games in what has been a high-scoring affair versus Niagara. Draft eligible in 2015.

Joel Ek Eriksson, C – Farjestad (Swe.)

A 200-foot player with size and a good shot, Ek Eriksson couldn’t get Farjestad past the quarterfinal in Sweden’s under-20 playoffs, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. The big pivot had five goals and 10 points in six games for Farjestad, who dropped their second post-season series to Djurgarden. Draft eligible in 2015.

John Quenneville, C – Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

The Wheaties have aces all through their lineup, but early on in Brandon’s playoff series against Edmonton, Quenneville has been a driver with five points in three games. The sturdy pivot has a great shot, skates hard and really competes. Drafted 30th overall by New Jersey in 2014.

Jake Walman, D – Providence College Friars (Hockey East)

The Friars had the benefit of playing their regional games in Providence, but they still had to beat two very good NCHC teams and Walman was key against Denver in the final. The offensively talented blueliner notched three assists in the 4-1 win over the Pioneers. Drafted 82nd overall by St. Louis in 2014.

Nick Boka, D – U.S. NTDP (USHL)

A noted gym rat, Boka has pretty good size ay 6-foot-1, 197 pounds and generally plays a physical, defense-first game. But the University of Michigan commit can also wheel when he wants to and has a nice offensive upside, even if it’s not his go-to skill. Draft eligible in 2015.

Vaclav Karabacek, RW – Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)

Baie-Comeau has taken care of business at home, winning both games in their opener against Saint John, with Karabacek doing a lot of damage. The gifted Czech, who plays at a high pace and has some dazzling skill, has four assists already in the series to lead the Drakkar. Drafted 49th overall by Buffalo in 2014.

David Pastrnak has been way ahead of schedule for the Bruins

David Pastrnak celebrates his OT winner (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins need some heroes right now. Tenuously holding on to the final wild card slot in the East, there is little margin of error for the B’s, which is why David Pastrnak’s overtime goal against lowly Carolina was so crucial Sunday night.

That tally, plus an Ottawa loss, gave Boston a bit of breathing room, but it also illustrated just how great the Bruins did in plucking Pastrnak 25th overall this past summer in the draft.

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Prospect Hot List: Casey Fitzgerald’s deep hockey roots

Casey Fitzgerald (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

Since I did a big NCAA dig on Monday, it’s time to focus on some other circuits. Major junior playoff brackets are set and there will be some barnburners – Quebec vs. Cape Breton is intriguing, while a potential second-round match between Erie and the Soo Greyhounds is dizzying to think of. But the big story right now is Youngstown of the United States League. The Phantoms just broke a USHL record by winning 17 straight – and Chicago gave them a good game in that last one. But enough about teams, here are the players making noise in the prospect world right now.

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AHL’s Wolf Pack to wear jerseys with fans’ names on Anti-Bullying Night

Jared Clinton
The Hartford Wolf Pack will wear a special jersey on Friday to honor fans who took the Kindness Pledge. (via Hartford Wolf Pack)

Professional and minor league teams have employed many strategies when it comes to themed jerseys. But few have been as interesting or inclusive as the Hartford Wolf Pack’s threads for Friday night’s game, which will be decorated with the names of hundreds of fans who took part in Hartford’s “Kindness Pledge.”

The specialty jerseys, which will be worn on Anti-Bullying Night, are closely tied to the Wolf Pack’s Kindness Campaign because the organization believes that in order to stop bullying, overall kindness must be promoted.

“Anti-bullying and being respectful is definitely a growing issue with social media and things of that nature,” said Adam Goldberg, the Wolf Pack’s director of business development. “We thought that it would be a good opportunity for us to have this issue brought to more light with the Anti-Bullying Night.” Read more