Al Dorich will make his Reign debut tonight, wearing Tim Kraus’ (and Jon Rheault’s) old number 12 on the blue line.
The 24-year-old rookie, acquired Thursday from the Gwinnett Gladiators for future considerations, will wear his fifth different uniform of the young season. The Orland Park, Illinois native almost made bouncing around sound easy.
“That’s the way it is in pro hockey,” Dorich said. “I’m just happy to be here in Ontario
now. I don’t think you ever get used to it. You have to find your niche
somewhere, hopefully it’s here. It’s been interesting the whole way
through here in this process, but you learn with each step you go.”
Even though Dorich has been living out of a suitcase since the season began, he said finding playing time wasn’t a problem in Wheeling (where he played two games), Kalamazoo (three) or Gwinnett (one). He would have played two games in Gwinnett if the Gladiators’ game Tuesday had not been canceled when a puck got caught in the Zamboni prior to the game.
Coach Karl Taylor doesn’t believe that Dorich’s frequent presence on the transactions wire reflects his ability – or the lack thereof.
“It’s more reflective of different rosters than him,” Taylor said. “Dusty (Collins) played with
him at Northern Michigan, said he’s a great kid, a defensive defenseman.”
Playing Dorich means that Chad Starling will have to wait at least another day to come off injured reserve.
Taylor said he would have preferred to add an offensive-minded defenseman to a team that’s struggling to score, “but the market bears what it bears.”
“There isn’t a power-play guy out
there,” Taylor said. “We only have five healthy guys. We were happy to get Alan, don’t
get me wrong, but we were looking for more of a power-play guy.”
Instead, the Reign get a defense-first blueliner who has scored two goals – both in junior – since he first suited up for the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers as a 17-year-old in 2003-04.
“I’m a defensive player,” Dorich said. “As far as strengths, one-on-one defensive play,
penalty kill – I love playing the penalty kill. That’s where
I make my money, my bread and butter, the thing I enjoy the most,