• AHL Logo Ranking: No. 17 – San Diego Gulls

    Jared Clinton
    San Diego Gulls logo (via SportsLogos.net/Chris Creamer)

    (The AHL has undergone a season of change and one-third of the league has changed locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new season, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise. See the rest of the rankings in our AHL feed.)

    The San Diego Gulls are preparing for the inaugural season, but it doesn’t appear as if it’ll be an incredibly successful one for the Gulls.

    San Diego is inheriting the former Norfolk Admirals, which would have been quite the story were these the Admirals of the early-2000s. Unfortunately, the Admirals of the past eight seasons haven’t quite been the same club. Sure, the change in affiliation from Chicago Blackhawks to Tampa Bay Lightning to Ducks has had something to do with it, but the Gulls roster hasn’t been a top for any of its three seasons as the Anaheim affiliate.

    In 2014-15, there was realistically only one team worse than the then-Admirals — the 50-point, basement-dwelling Iowa Wild. But no team was as offensively stunted as the Admirals, who scored only 168 goals over the course of the season, and were it not for netminding efforts Jason LaBarbera the season could have been much, much worse.

    There are some new pieces that should make fans in San Diego feel a bit more hopeful, however. Anaheim scooped up Chris Mueller, Harry Zolnierczyk, Joe Piskula, Shane O’Brien and Matt Hackett this off-season, who will fight for starts in the AHL with either John Gibson or Anton Khudobin — whichever doesn’t land an NHL backup gig this season.

    Mueller is coming off of a 40-point campaign with Hartford, which would have tied him as the leading scorer in Norfolk this past season, while Zolnierczyk’s 44 points would have made him the team leader. Piskula, 31, and O’Brien, 32, are veteran presences — and the only players to have celebrated 24th birthdays — on a very young D-corps that includes Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour.

    Realistically, things can’t get much worse for the franchise after what was their worst season since affiliating with the Ducks. Or we hope not, at least. Read more

  • Utica Comets unveil green and blue third jersey for 2015-16

    Jared Clinton
    Utica Comets 2015-16 third jersey. (via Utica Comets)

    After an incredibly successful 2014-15 campaign, the Utica Comets aren’t afraid to hit the ice with a bold, new look.

    In time for the 2015-16 season, the Utica Comets have unveiled a brand new third jersey, one which is a departure from the club’s Vancouver Canucks-style look. In a YouTube video posted to the team’s website Wednesday, the club unveiled their new third jersey for the upcoming campaign — a green, blue and white beauty that looks more like Hartford Whalers colors than it does Canucks. Read more

  • Blues’ Berglund needs shoulder surgery, out four months. Who steps in for St. Louis?

    Jared Clinton
    Robby Fabbri (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    When the St. Louis Blues kick off the 2015-16 season, one player who certainly won’t be in the lineup is center Patrik Berglund.

    The Blues announced Thursday afternoon that Berglund, 27, will undergo surgery on his right shoulder following an injury suffered during training for the upcoming campaign. The injury, the Blues announced, stemmed from a shoulder dislocation Berglund had suffered during the 2013-14 season.

    Making matters worse for the Blues, though, is that the recovery time for the surgery is lengthy: once the procedure is performed, Berglund will have to wait four months to be re-evaluated, meaning he could miss more than half the season. Read more

  • Daniel Carcillo says he’s ‘98 percent ready’ to retire

    Jared Clinton
    Dan Carcillo

    With more than 400 games under his belt and two Stanley Cup championships to his name, Daniel Carcillo may be ready to walk away from the professional game.

    In an interview on WGN radio’s Kap & Haugh, Carcillo said he has been considering moving on from the game. Currently an unrestricted free agent following a one-year, $555,000 contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, Carcillo, 30, isn’t sure what the future will hold.

    “This year has kind of been a little bit different,” Carcillo said. “I’ve prepared myself the past two or three years to kind of do some different things. I’ve always had the vision of leaving the game on my own terms, so, not necessarily that I’m going to do that, but it’s definitely in the forefront of my mind these days.” Read more

  • Mike Richards charged with possession of a controlled substance

    Jared Clinton
    Mike Richards is headed to free agency after a buyout by the Los Angeles Kings. (Getty Images)

    Former Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards has been charged with possession of a controlled substance by the RCMP.

    According to a release from Manitoba RCMP, Richards was stopped at the border June 17 while crossing back into Canada and was formally charged with possession of a controlled substance Tuesday. Richards, 30, is scheduled to appear in court in Emerson, Man., on Sept. 10. Read more

  • Watch KHL defenseman score on Blackhawks draft pick from center ice

    Jared Clinton
    Ivan Nalimov after surrendering a goal from center ice. (via KHL/YouTube)

    There aren’t many goalies who get through their entire career without surrendering a goal they would desperately like to have back, but when it comes to goals from center ice, usually a bouncing puck is to blame. Unfortunately, Ivan Nalimov can’t blame bad ice or a dipping and diving puck.

    During a Wednesday night tilt pitting Slovan Bratislava against Nalimov’s Admiral Novokuznetsk, everything was going well for Nalimov. He had stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first frame and was halfway through the second period before a neutral zone faceoff gave him some trouble.

    After a scrambled draw, Slovan’s Andrej Stastny threw the puck back to defenseman Michal Sersen who saw some daylight in the bottom right corner past Nalimov. The 29-year-old blueliner wound up and fired a cannon of a slapshot that blew right past Nalimov and into the bottom corner. Check it out: Read more

  • The incredible story of Team USA’s Randy Hernandez

    Ryan Kennedy
    Randy Hernandez (photo courtesy of the player)

    Randy Hernandez isn’t the son of a famous NHLer. He didn’t grow up playing on backyard ponds and his first words weren’t the name of his favorite hockey team.

    “Actually, I didn’t watch hockey at all when I was little,” he said. “I didn’t watch until I was 12.”

    Hernandez just completed his first full season of AAA hockey, in fact. But this year, he’ll be a member of one of the most exclusive teams on the continent, the U.S. National Team Development Program’s under-17 squad. How he got there is remarkable.

    Read more

  • Let’s predict Phil Kessel’s goal total as Sidney Crosby’s linemate

    Matt Larkin
    Phil Kessel in his new Penguins jersey. (via Pittsburgh Penguins/Twitter)

    Phil Kessel has escaped the media madness of Toronto. He’ll soon settle in the considerable shade cast by Sidney Crosby’s shadow. The Toronto effect won’t wear off instantly, however. Kessel’s performance this season will be scrutinized like crazy as he joins the sport’s highest-profile player on a line.

    That’s right. It’s confirmed Kessel will open the Pittsburgh Penguins’ camp on Crosby’s wing. Coach Mike Johnston told the team website to expect Kessel “on the right side with Sid to begin with.” Could Kessel end up with a different center? Sure, but it would only be Evgeni Malkin, an equally plum partner. And it’s highly unlikely the Pens break camp with news “Kessel and Crosby just couldn’t get on the same page.”

    It’s thus time to ask a fun question. Assuming Crosby is his center, how many goals will Kessel score in his first season with Pittsburgh?

    Read more