Cleveland, at last, can lay claim to a professional sports championship. And, no, it’s not the NBA’s Cavaliers – at least, not yet.
The Lake Erie Monsters won the AHL’s Calder Cup on Saturday night as they swept aside the Hershey Bears thanks to a 1-0 overtime victory. Right winger Oliver Bjorkstrand jammed a loose puck past Bears goaltender Justin Peters with 1.9 seconds left in the first extra period to secure the historic win.
Bjorkstrand’s championship-winning goal was scored in front of 19,665 fans at Quicken Loans Arena – home of the Cavaliers, who trail the Golden State Warriors 3-1 in the NBA Finals. According to the AHL, it was the largest crowd to see a pro hockey game in Ohio and the second-largest post-season attendance total in AHL history.
SAN JOSE – Things got so bad for Justin Schultz that he had to set up a fake Twitter account to keep up with the news of the day and read links to stories that interested him. That’s because his real Twitter account was so filled with vitriol and hate that he couldn’t stand looking at it.
So when a player tells you that he doesn’t read anything that’s written about him or that he’s impervious to the criticism, it isn’t always true. Some players can dismiss it, but others take it to heart. One win away from winning the Stanley Cup, Schultz can laugh about it now. But when he played with the Edmonton Oilers, he was hardly living the dream he’d spent so much of his life anticipating.
“It’s not a lot of fun getting booed in front of your home fans,” Schultz said. “It’s pretty tough to enjoy yourself when that’s happening.”
In the four seasons since he began his professional career, Max Reinhart hasn’t been able to find himself a steady role in the NHL. And after spending the entirety of the 2015-16 campaign in the AHL, Reinhart has decided to take his game overseas.
The DEL’s Kolner Haie announced they have signed Reinhart to a contract for the 2016-17 season. Reinhart’s deal comes following what was arguably the most disappointing campaign of the 24-year-old’s career. In 73 games with the Milwaukee Admirals, the Nashville Predators’ AHL affiliate, Reinhart managed 23 goals and 38 points in 73 games, but that made for his lowest-scoring season since his rookie campaign. That didn’t scare the German club off, though.
“Max Reinhart is a young, dynamic player who can be used on both the center and on the outside position. He is strong on the offensive and has a good shot,” said Kolner sports director Mark Mahon. Read more
The first time AHL teams from Cleveland and Hershey played in a Calder Cup final was 75 years ago, when the Barons beat the Bears in five games. Now, during the league’s 80th anniversary celebrations, the Cleveland-based Lake Erie Monsters will try to take the glory over Hershey again – but it won’t be easy.
The Hershey Bears may have to play Game 5 of their Calder Cup playoff series on Sunday without the services of defenceman Madison Bowey.
Bowey was ejected from Game 4 on Friday night after catching Toronto Marlies forward Kasperi Kapanen with an elbow to the head.
The 21-year-old Washington Capitals prospect was assessed a five-minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct.
Pascal Vincent has been a mainstay of the Jets since the franchise moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta, and now the 44-year-old Quebec native is turning his assistant coaching gig with the Jets into a spot as the bench boss for the Manitoba Moose.
The Jets announced Friday that Vincent has been named the AHL club’s eighth coach and second since the club returned to Manitoba from Newfoundland.
The position with the Moose opened up following the somewhat surprising release of Keith McCambridge following this past season. McCambridge’s contract was up, and the Jets announced they would not be renewing McCambridge’s contract following the 2015-16 season. Manitoba finished with the third-worst record in the AHL in 2015-16, but also had one of the youngest and most inexperienced rosters in the league. That’s not to mention that McCambridge lost starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to the big club early in the campaign. Read more
It’s hard not to see a bitter irony in the fact that Madison Bowey is still playing hockey, while the Washington Capitals are not. After all, the Caps are the dream for Bowey, a physical two-way defenseman currently enjoying his first year of pro with the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
But if Bowey can help the Bears get five more playoff wins, it will be the perfect ending to an excellent year of development for Washington’s most promising blueline prospect. And perhaps a glimpse of the Capitals’ future.
The London Knights are steamrolling the competition at the Memorial Cup and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mitch Marner is leading the way, just as he did in the OHL playoffs. All told, the right winger has 57 points in his past 21 games (13 in three Memorial Cup wins). Add in the 116 points he had during the regular season and you’ve got a weaponized threat on the ice.
The Knights have already clinched a spot in the Memorial Cup final thanks to a 3-0 record (in which they have outscored their opponents 20-5), so with one game left on the docket for the team, it’s hard not to speculate what Marner’s future holds next season.
So let’s speculate, shall we?