Bobby Walls update.

Thanks to comrade Woods for helping out on a heavy day of hockey in Southern California


Reign head trainer assaulted Sunday but recovering

RANCHO
CUCAMONGA – The Ontario Reign’s head trainer was hospitalized early
Sunday after being assaulted outside a restaurant in this city.

Bobby Walls and the Reign’s massage therapist were attacked by a
man with an unknown object as they walked in the parking lot of the BJ’s
restaurant at 11520 4th St.

The two members of the minor league hockey team’s training
staff had witnessed four males burglarizing two vehicles prior to the
attack.

Walls suffered serious injuries and was transported to
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. The therapist sustained
lesser injuries.

Walls was “obviously in some pain,” Reign President Justin
Kemp said. “He’s expected to make a full recovery. Our thoughts are with
him and his family.

Read the full story: http://www.dailybulletin.com/ci_17505240

Teubert heads to Edmonton in Penner trade.

Former Reign defenseman Colten Teubert won’t be coming back to Ontario this season.

The Kings ensured that much by sending the 20-year-old prospect to the Edmonton Oilers, along with a first-round 2011 draft pick and a conditional third-round pick in 2012 for Dustin Penner.

Teubert, a 2008 first-round draft pick by the Kings, was assigned to the Reign late in each of the past two seasons.

Read the full story here at Inside the Kings.

The Reign didn’t make any transactions Monday, but the ECHL trade deadline is March 11 and that could impact the team. Check out tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin for more on that.

Karl Taylor said Monday that trainer Bobby Walls is recovering nicely under supervision in a local hospital, but isn’t expected to make next weekend’s road trip to Utah.

Stockton 4, Reign 3.

Make all the excuses you want – and there are some valid ones – but the Reign lost a game they needed to win Sunday.

Alex Bourret, Kyle Kraemer and Jordan Hill scored goals, and Mike Zacharias stopped 34 of 38 in his third start in as many nights. The Reign looked drained, and so did the Thunder, but the Reign couldn’t bury the equalizer after Hill’s power-play goal at 5:24 of the third period.

The standings picture is looking even more dire after the Reign gained only one of a possible six points this weekend. Mathematics dictates it’s too soon to write an epitaph, but … if it was going to take a miracle for the Reign to make the playoffs after their month of November (4-6-0), December (3-9-0), or January (4-8-2), they’ll need something more than that following a 6-6-3 February.

Realistically, they will need healthy returns from David Walker, Shawn Collymore, Justin Taylor and Chad Starling in March. Aside from the fact that all four are veteran leaders, that’s two of the team’s top three scorers (Walker and Collymore), the top-line left wing (Taylor) and one of two shutdown defensemen (Starling). 

Collymore can be activated before the Reign’s next game, Friday in Utah, but I don’t know how serious his “lower-body injury” is. Walker has tried to fight through a host of injuries already, and probably will again. So has Taylor. Starling is expected to be back by the third week of March.

In the meantime, they’ll need to bring in some quality reinforcements.

“We’re trying,” head coach Karl Taylor said. “We’re looking at different options. We have a lot of injuries right now. It’s not good timing, but it’s part of the game, part of the sport. It’s my job to find people to replace them.”

More from Taylor, as well as Zacharias, in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Here are a few notes that won’t make the paper:

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Idaho 4, Reign 3, SO.

The Reign played more in character with the team that entered the weekend on a 6-3-1 run than the team that lost 7-2 a night earlier.

It still wasn’t enough. Idaho pulled out the win in the skills competition (they went 2-for-3; the Reign went 0-for-4) and scored in the closing minutes of the first and third period to pull out the shootout victory.

Alex Bourret, Jordan Hill and Chaz Johnson scored, and Zacharias stopped 33 shots between regulation and overtime. David Walker missed the game with a lower-body injury, and forward Justin Taylor left midway through the game due to an undisclosed injury. Considering the Reign also played without regulars Shawn Collymore and Brett O’Malley, it was a gutty and well-deserved point in the standings.

But will it be enough? The Victoria Salmon Kings won the shootout, pulling nine points ahead of the Reign in the standings with 15 games to play.

The Stockton Thunder visit at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Idaho 7, Reign 2.

Here are the season totals for Aki Seitsonen, Geoff Irwin and Bear Trapp before Friday:

Seistonen: 8 goals, 11 assists, minus-10
Irwin: 9 goals, 5 assists, minus-3
Trapp: 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-1, 1 sweet name.

Not exactly eye-popping statistics. But put together, the trio were the primary beneficiaries of a lackadaisical effort by the Reign. Their totals Friday:

Seitsonen: 2 goals, 3 assists, plus-4
Irwin: 1 goal, 3 assists, plus-4
Trapp: 1 goal, 1 assist, plus-4, 1 fight.

The net result of their efforts was the Reign’s most lopsided loss since Jan. 21. Just when you thought they were turning a corner …

Here’s how Karl Taylor broke it down: “I thought we had a good first period. They got the late goal on a mental letdown there. We shouldn’t have given up that opportunity. It was 4-2 going into the third, we weren’t playing the way we needed to. They played better, but off the rush we gave them too many odd-man looks. In the third period it got away from us obviously.”

The Reign fell to eight points behind Victoria in the Western Conference standings with 16 games to go. Grabbing a playoff spot still isn’t impossible, but with any more games like Friday’s, they won’t deserve it.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

A couple notes that didn’t make the paper:
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Reign 4, Idaho 3.

The Reign’s 3-2 deficit in third period wasn’t too much to overcome on Wednesday, and they can only hope their six-point deficit in the standings isn’t too large, either.

Clearly, the Reign are a team in the mood for comebacks. Jordan Morrison’s goal with 4:50 left in the third period, and an overtime goal by Kyle Kraemer, lifted them to a 4-3 win over Idaho before an announced crowd of 6,644 at CBBA. Mike Zacharias (10-11-3-3) stopped 36 of 39 shots to win his second straight start.

Kraemer also scored a power-play goal in the first period and Justin Taylor scored at 7:25 of the second to give the Reign a 2-0 lead. Idaho went ahead on unanswered goals by Cody Purves, Mark Derlago and Junior Lessard.

The Reign went 2-for-3 on the power play and also killed off a pair of third-period power plays after Purves scored on the Steelheads’ first man-advantage shift of the game.

The Victoria Salmon Kings (24-27-1-2, 51 points) still hold the seventh and final playoff position in the Western Conference, six points ahead of the Reign (20-30-2-3, 45 points). The Salmon Kings have one game in hand, but the pressure is on them now to beat Utah in their next game Friday.

A few more notes:
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Walker’s streak could end, more from morning skate.

David Walker’s ironman streak looks like it will end tonight against the Idaho Steelheads.

“If I were a betting man,” he said, “I’d say yes.”

The captain skated on his own for about five minutes prior to the team’s morning skate, but reported afterward that his lower-body injury was still “a little tender.”

Walker, the only Reign player who has appeared in all 54 games this season, said that the injury is a recurring one that finally caught up to him.

“It’s just the buildup of one of the lower-body injuries that hadn’t gotten to this point until now,” he said. “You try to force yourself (to play), even with bumps and bruises.”

Walker could be replaced in the lineup by Jordan Hill, who is eligible to come off IR and took part in the full morning skate. Hill has missed the last seven games with a leg injury he suffered Feb. 9 against Stockton. The Reign could also skate five defensemen, a tactic that Karl Taylor hasn’t been afraid to employ recently.

The Reign have leaned heavily on Walker this season. He leads the team in assists (25) and game-winning goals (3), is second in shots (118), third in points (30) and penalty minutes (100), and tied for fourth in power-play goals (4). Minutes per game aren’t recorded by the ECHL, but it’s a safe bet that Walker would lead the team in that category, too.

Forward Brett O’Malley (lower body) also took part in the morning skate. Alex Bourret (head) did not.

Mike Zacharias is expected to get his second straight start in goal.

One other note: 10 days after leaving Ontario, the Elmira Jackals fired head coach Malcolm Cameron. The Jackals have three wins in their last 16 games despite a roster laden with NHL prospects from the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators. General manager Robbie Nichols, interviewed here by a local TV station, will take over. Here’s the official release on ECHL.com.

Jerseys, jerseys and more jerseys!

As noted here before, it’s not easy for Reign fans to purchase jerseys online. Team President Justin Kemp said at the team’s most recent fan forum that he would like to change that, and any developments in that mini-drama will be posted here.

In the meantime, the ECHL has made 28 different retro jerseys available for purchase online for some of its defunct teams. That includes the Long Beach Ice Dogs, whose white jerseys are “out of stock” at the time of this blogging, but whose black jerseys are currently retailing for $100. For the record, I love anything retro-but-good, and was always curious what the Greenville Grrrowl had to wear on gameday (but glad my mind wasn’t warped by having to type the word “Grrrowl” thousands of times).

If you subscribe to the team’s weekly newsletter you’ve probably already seen the microsite, as well as the announcement that the next postgame jersey auction is March 12, when the Reign will wear green University of La Verne sweaters with black trim.

Bottom line: there’s going to be a lot more gear floating around in the near future.

Check back for hockey updates here tomorrow following the team’s morning skate.

Some random off-day updates.

The Reign didn’t practice Monday, probably a wise decision after a stretch of three games in three days in Bakersfield that saw its share of injuries and illness sweep through the team.

For tomorrow’s notebook Jordan Morrison discussed his recent hot streak – 14 points in his last nine games, and 29 points in his last 29. He’s a natural center and simply wasn’t as comfortable playing the wing; he believes switching back to the middle was the key to his turnaround.

That raised an interesting point: There are a lot of natural centers on this team who have played a ton of wing this season. Aaron Lewadniuk, C.J. Stretch, Justin Taylor, Brett O’Malley and Michael Pelech come to mind. Shawn Collymore has basically split the season at center and left wing and it hasn’t seemed to affect his production. Other natural centers have filtered through the roster – Jon Francisco, Tim Kraus, Pierre-Andre Bureau, Luke Popko – and probably all of them had to shift over at some point. Dusty Collins may be the only natural center who never seems to move.

That might help explain why the team has been better at faceoffs this season. At the same time, Morrison acknowledged that switching from center to wing isn’t necessarily easy, especially for a rookie transitioning from junior to pro.

More on that in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. A few more tidbits from my interview this morning with Karl Taylor:
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Reign 4, Bakersfield 2.

Playing their third game in three days, the Reign turned in their only win of the weekend in Bakersfield.

Aaron Lewadniuk, Shawn Germain, David Walker and Chaz Johnson scored goals on Josh Tordjman (20 saves), and Reign goalie Mike Zacharias stopped 49 shots to match Beau Erickson’s season-high total from two days earlier.

Jordan Morrison had three assists, including pretty feeds to set up Johnson and Germain on the breakaway. Justin Taylor had a pair of assists, and Kyle Kraemer and Michael Pelech had one helper each.

Playing his first game of the weekend, Zacharias succeeded against the same barrage of shots that Erickson saw Friday and Saturday. The Condors had their share of odd-man rushes (while also surrendering a few to the Reign), but Zacharias didn’t seem to face the same amount of net-front pressure that kept Erickson from seeing the puck in a 7-3 loss the night before.

Considering Bakersfield registered 157 shots on goal this weekend, the Reign were lucky to escape with three points. By going 1-1-1, the Reign (19-30-2-3, 43 points) lost a
point in the standings to sixth-place Bakersfield (26-24-2-1, 55 points)
but gained a point on seventh-place Victoria (24-27-1-2, 51 points).

The Salmon Kings were shut out 4-0 in Stockton on Sunday.

A few more notes:
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