Five AHL players to watch the rest of the season

(Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

Every season, there are a few players who tear up the AHL and shock the big league when they finally make the jump. Last season, it was Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist. This season, Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman is making a name for himself.

So who are the players to watch from North America’s second best league? One of them, Teemu Pulkkinen, will likely make his debut tonight as a member of the same Red Wings Nyquist broke in with last season. Another, Teuvo Teravainen, worked his way in to the Chicago Blackhawks lineup following Kris Versteeg’s injury, but he was scratched on Thursday before drawing back in on Friday.

Another AHL notable, Pittsburgh’s Derrick Pouliot, is up with the big club, though he hasn’t seen game action since Jan. 2. Were he in the AHL at the moment, he, too, would make the list. But here are the five AHL players to watch in the latter half of 2014-15. Read more

Big Bert’s back: Todd Bertuzzi signs PTO with Ottawa Senators’ AHL team

Jared Clinton
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, there was a report the Ottawa Senators’ AHL team, the Binghamton Senators, had signed veteran Todd Bertuzzi to a pro tryout contract. While that initial report was proven false, there may have been something to it as Binghamton inked Bertuzzi to a tryout on Friday.

Bertuzzi hasn’t played all season, and last saw game action on April 24, 2014, in Detroit’s game four playoff loss to the Boston Bruins. The big-bodied winger skated in less than 13 minutes of the game, and didn’t dress for game five in which the Bruins would eliminate Detroit. Read more

Guess Who? It’s the Grand Rapids Griffins, and they’re ready for ‘80s night

Jared Clinton
(via Grand Rapids Griffins/YouTube)

The AHL and ECHL pull things off that would never fly in the NHL, and that’s part of the fun of the minor leagues. Case in point, the Grand Rapids Griffins are hosting an ‘80s night, and they’ve gone to the trouble of making not one, but two videos to get fans excited.

The first video harkens back to a time when video editing was quite possibly at its absolute worst. Tacky sound fills (hipcheck!), weird overlays, a lot of in your face action, and way too much going on in one frame were all staples of the ‘80s. The Griffins’ hype video for their themed night will take you back to a time when Gretzky was still tearing up the NHL. Read more

What makes a great fan base? It’s a lot more than just noise

WC Crowd

When we were building the formula for our NHL Fan Rankings, the notion of noise was tabled. Should we try to concoct a volume measurement and weave that into the calculations?

The suggestion fell on deaf ears, for a couple reasons. For starters, we couldn’t think of an objective methodology. There is no decibel-per-game average available anywhere. Secondly, and more to the point, loudness doesn’t necessarily equal good fandom. Read more

Demotion from Ducks could spell end for Dany Heatley

Jared Clinton
Dany Heatley (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

In 2005-06, the top five goal scorers in the NHL were, in order, Jonathan Cheechoo, Jaromir Jagr, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Ovechkin, and Dany Heatley. If you had to pick a player that wouldn’t be able to cut it in the league eight years later, the two easiest answers don’t include a then 25-year-old Heatley.

As of noon Tuesday, however, Heatley’s days in the NHL look like they’re all but through. After a few consecutive seasons of dwindling numbers for far-too-much money, including zero points in six games with the Anaheim Ducks this season on a $1 million deal, Heatley is finds himself demoted for the first time in his career. Read more

No one took care of the garbage like Wally Hergesheimer

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After walking out on the Rangers coaching job for a similar stint with the Bruins in 1950, Boston coach Lynn Patrick never failed to zing his former team nor its stars.

One of Patrick’s favorite foes was an unobtrusive little guy who wore No. 18 for the Rangers and never caused trouble, except to enemy goaltenders. Wally Hergesheimer, who died at age 87 on Sept. 27, was that target. “Hergesheimer,” snapped Patrick after the diminutive right winger had potted a pair, “is nothing but a garbage collector.”

By contrast, Wally’s manager, Frank Boucher, smelled nothing but roses, laughing off Patrick’s rip during the 1952-53 campaign with the perfect squelch: “ ‘Hergy’ was my leading scorer (26 goals) last year and will do it again. I’ll take that ‘garbage.’ ” Read more

World Juniors: Dandy Danes stifled by Sweden

Sweden's Jacob De La Rose (Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Make no mistake: Swedish goaltender Linus Soderstrom earned his keep against Denmark. Even though his squad eventually won easily with a final score of 5-1, the New York Islanders prospect actually faced more shots than his Danish counterpart in the first period – and some of those attempts were dazzling.

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