LaBarbera traded to Vancouver; Zatkoff to stay in Manchester?

In case you missed it, the Kings traded goalie Jason LaBarbera to the Vancouver Canucks today, which could mean that former Reign goalie Jeff Zatkoff stays in the AHL for a while.

Zatkoff, you may recall, was assigned to Manchester by the Kings when Erik Ersberg went down with a groin injury a couple weeks ago. Jon Quick was called up to the NHL, and he responded with two shutouts in his first five starts. Apparently Quick passed the audition (rather quickly, I might note) and LaBarbera got traded to a team that could use a goalie.

For his part, Zatkoff allowed three goals and took the loss in his lone appearance with the Monarchs.

G. Walker, Zatkoff, Kraus named all-stars.

The Reign will send three players to next month’s ECHL all-star game and skills competition in Reading, Pa.: Forwards Tim Kraus and Geoff Walker, and goalie Jeff Zatkoff.

Zatkoff is in Manchester and there’s a good chance he won’t be back in a Reign uniform when the all-star game is played, but he is still among the league’s statistical leaders following his Dec. 12 promotion.
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Karl Taylor gets props in Manchester.

Manchester Monarchs head coach Mark Morris gave Ontario Reign coach Karl Taylor a shout-out after the Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate, beat Springfield 4-2 this afternoon.

Jon Rheault and Dusty Collins both scored goals, and here was Morris’ quote (from http://manchestermonarchs.com/fullstory.php?id=3276):

“We have to give a lot of credit to our ECHL affiliate’s coach Karl Taylor (Ontario Reign) for picking players for us to call up,” said Morris. “Their (Rheault, Collins) continuous effort were key factors in tonight’s win. We continue to find a way to win.”

More Fresno Falcons.

The Fresno Bee tells a very sad account of the Fresno Falcons’ decision Monday to cease operations.

Among the key points:

- It’s possible the Falcons could return for a 42nd season in 2009-10, but ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna told the newspaper “a great deal of damage has been done.”
- 27 players, three coaches and “up to seven” staff members will lose their jobs.
- Because many of the players and coaches are Canadians and here on work visas, they cannot get unemployment benefits and may face deportation.

Andrew Martens is back.

After recording five assists in the first six games of his American Hockey League career, defenseman Andrew Martens was back in an Ontario Reign uniform during warmups at Citizens Business Bank Arena. The Reign and Stockton Thunder drop the puck in about 5 minutes. The Reign now have five defensemen on the active roster; Dan Knapp is in street clothes and remains on IR.

Reign reunion (Reignunion?) in Winnipeg.

In the Inland Empire’s most anticipated hockey game ever played in Winnipeg … the Manitoba Moose beat the Manchester Monarchs 4-2 on Tuesday night. Three players who were members of the Ontario Reign last week took part in this game: Jon Rheault and Dusty Collins for Manchester, and Andrew Martens for Manitoba.

Collins had the best game, scoring a goal in his first AHL game of the season. Martens picked up an assist (bringing his total to four assists in the first two games of his AHL career). Rheault was held without a point and was a minus-2. The game sheet is here and a game summary is here.

They play each other again at 7:30 p.m. tonight, when Jeff Zatkoff is expected to join the Monarchs; no word yet whether he’ll start or back up Jonathan Bernier.