The season is early, but the score looks good: Reign 2, Europe 1.
Travis Gawryletz was suspended by the team on Monday after the defenseman headed to the Czech Republic to play for HC Energie Karlovy Vary. Wikipedia notes that Karlovy Vary is “a spa city situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplám,” so good for Travis.
In addition to defenseman Philippe Seydoux, who is already on the roster but still waiting for his B-1 (work) visa, the Reign added another European import. Defenseman JP Cote comes to the Reign via the DEL, the highest league in Germany, where he split the last two seasons between the Hamburg Freezers and the Kassel Huskies. The 29-year-old returned to the American Hockey League this season for a training-camp tryout with the Abbotsford Heat, but was recently cut.
Cote played in the AHL from 2003-09 before heading to Europe, interrupted only by an eight-game stint with the Montreal Canadiens in 2005-06. If he appears in a game with the Reign he will become the first player with prior NHL playing experience, excluding preseason games, to suit up for the franchise. Listed at 6-foot-2, 213 pounds, he’ll be hard to miss.
More on his NHL time in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.
One other newcomer to practice Tuesday: Center Matt Tassone, a 2008 draft pick by the Dallas Stars who wasn’t given a qualifying offer after taking part in the Stars’ NHL camp this year. Tassone was limited by injuries to 32 games last year with the Idaho Steelheads, the Stars’ ECHL affiliate, scoring seven goals and 10 points.
A few more notes:
- The new lines and defense pairs in practice:
Jordan Morrison-C.J. Stretch-Derek Couture
J.D. Watt-Francois Brisebois-Geoff Irwin
Chris Cloud-Bill Bagron-Brady Calla
Shayne Neigum-Matt Tassone-Jeff MacPhee
Dylan Yeo-Mike Montgomery
JP Cote-Steve Tarasuk
Iain McPhee-Philippe Seydoux
- All four goalies (J-F Berube, Darcy Kuemper, Jase Weslosky and Dustin Carlson) took part in practice, but coach Jason Christie concedes it’s a temporary situation. “Obviously there’s got to be some moves but we can’t do something just to do it,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure it’s the right thing. We’re definitely trying to find a good fit (for Weslosky and Carlson) for sure. It’s a tough situation to have.”
- Christie said he wants to get Jordan Morrison and C.J. Stretch on the scoresheet (neither has a point in two games) by putting them on the same line. Stretch has been good in the faceoff circle so far, which may be why he was skating at center, and Morrison at left wing, in practice today.
- Tassone’s agent, Darryl Wolski (who also represents Cloud, Watt and Irwin), said that Tassone plays an aggressive style. That may have contributed to back and shoulder injuries in recent seasons, but Tassone is “100 percent healthy for the first time in a long time,” Wolski said.
- The Reign are practicing at Ice Town in Riverside this week (open to the public) with Skate America invading CBBA.