Rheault makes NHL preseason debut.

Former Reign forward Jon Rheault skated Tuesday night for the Calgary Flames against the visiting Vancouver Canucks in the preseason opener for both teams, a 3-2 Flames win.

Rheault put three shots on goal (one, reportedly, requiring a big save late in the first period) and was whistled for tripping but was held scoreless.

Rheault, who finished last season with the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat, is vying to become the first Reign player to reach the NHL. Here are a couple pictures of Rheault in action last night.

Also of note: Seal Beach native Mitch Wahl picked up two assists for the Flames in the win. Wahl, a second-round 2008 draft pick by Calgary, is expected to turn pro this year after spending the last four seasons in the Western Hockey League.

Briggs: ‘I knew if I was going to be in the East Coast League, I wanted to be in Ontario.’

Kellen Briggs had a uniquely weird experience as member of the inaugural Ontario Reign team in 2008-09. He was injured in the team’s second preseason game, didn’t play again until January, then was called up to the American Hockey League a month later and never returned to California.

Yet, Briggs’ affection for Ontario was enough to eliminate the other ECHL offers he received this summer. The goaltender spoke about a variety of topics in a telephone interview from Minnesota on Monday …
Continue reading “Briggs: ‘I knew if I was going to be in the East Coast League, I wanted to be in Ontario.’” »

Catching up with Bud Holloway.

Bud Holloway played only 30 games as a member of the Ontario
Reign, but they were rather memorable.

He was nearly a point-per-game player (14 goals, eight
assists in 23 games) after being sent down by the Manchester Monarchs late in
the 2008-09 season; he added another five goals and 14 assists in seven games
against the Stockton Thunder in that year’s playoffs.

Along the way, in a February 2009 game against the Phoenix
Roadrunners, Holloway scored the prettiest goal in the history of Citizens
Business Bank Arena. That’s an unofficial honor, mind you, but if ESPN or
YouTube ever got hold of film footage of the zigzagging, one-on-one, backhand
breakaway, it would be accepted knowledge.

Holloway spent all of last season with the Monarchs and put
up good numbers — 19 goals and 47 points in 75 regular-season games – plus
another seven goals and seven assists in 16 postseason games. He helped
Manchester go on a deep run, scoring several game-winning goals, before eventually losing to the Hershey Bears in the Eastern Conference

If there was one disappointment, it was that Holloway’s name was
passed over for an NHL promotion several times during the season when injuries
to various Kings forwards necessitated an AHL recall. Corey Elkins, Marc-Andre
Cliche, Rich Clune, Scott Parse, Oscar Moller and Brandon Segal all got the nod
at various points during the season; even spare defenseman Peter Harrold shifted in on the wing
before Holloway could get a shot at making his NHL debut.

The 22-year-old, in the final year of his
entry-level contract, is taking it in stride.

Continue reading “Catching up with Bud Holloway.” »

Kellen Briggs returns.

Kellen Briggs, one of the original members of the inaugural 2008-09 Reign squad, is returning to Ontario.

Briggs spent all of 2009-10 in Germany with the Dresdner Eislöwen of the second-tier Bundesliga. He went 23-22-0 with five shutouts and a 2.81 goals-against average in 46 games.

As a rookie with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads in 2007-08, Briggs went 17-11-2 with a 2.36 goals-against average and was named to the National Conference All-Star team. He signed with the Reign the following summer but was quickly shelved by a serious groin injury, which he suffered in the team’s second preseason game.

Briggs didn’t make his Reign debut until January 2009, but proceeded to go 7-5 with a .927 save percentage and 2.43 goals-against average. His save percentage and goals-against average – albeit over just 12 games – are still the lowest by a Reign goalie in a single season.

Briggs’ time in the ECHL ended with a call-up to the American Hockey League’s Portland Pirates in February 2009. Briggs went 3-3 with a .903 save percentage and 2.85 goals-against average for Portland.

I spoke briefly with Briggs by phone this afternoon; he was driving to his family’s home in Colorado and said that he was “excited to be back.” Expect a longer interview in this space sometime Monday.

With Briggs in the picture, it will be interesting to see who ends up sharing the goaltending duties. The Reign have already signed free agent Garrett Zemlak for the upcoming season, and could still receive Kings prospect Martin Jones.

What’s next for Nolan, Pelech?

Three players who ended last season with the Reign will skate with the Kings when NHL training camps open Saturday. One, Colten Teubert, won’t do much more than skate on his own as he recovers from a scaphoid fracture.

The other two, Jordan Nolan and Michael Pelech, have quite a bit at stake.
Continue reading “What’s next for Nolan, Pelech?” »

Taylor on Shawn Collymore.

Shawn Collymore’s game can be summed up in one word: Speed. Karl Taylor, who coached Collymore for parts of two seasons with the Reading Royals, brought the 27-year-old forward back to America to play for the Reign in 2010-11.

Here’s what Taylor had to say about Collymore following the Kings’ rookie practice this morning in El Segundo:

Continue reading “Taylor on Shawn Collymore.” »

Collymore signs with Reign.

The Reign gained some experience Wednesday, announcing the signing of 27-year-old forward Shawn Collymore for the 2010-11 season.

A veteran of 107 ECHL games, Collymore previously played for Reign head coach Karl Taylor during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons with the Reading Royals. A former fifth-round draft pick of the New York Rangers (139th overall in 2001), the Quebec native has bounced around since turning pro in 2004-05.

The 6-foot, 190-pound forward has also played for the Toledo Storm (ECHL), Danbury Trashers (UHL), Binghamton Senators (AHL), Hershey Bears (AHL) and spent last season in Denmark. In his last ECHL stint, Collymore had seven goals and 21 points in 13 games for Reading in 2007-08.