Reign coach Jason Christie was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount Tuesday by the ECHL. The coach was hardly surprised, after he grabbed the shirt of linesman Steven Walsh late in the third period of Sunday’s 2-0 loss.
Assistant Mark Hardy will be the only coach behind the Reign bench Thursday in Las Vegas. It’s the first time Hardy has been in that position since 1995, when he was on injured reserve as a defenseman for the IHL’s Detroit Vipers and then-Vipers coach Rick Dudley asked Hardy to coach 19 games.
Christie hasn’t been suspended by the ECHL since receiving a three-game ban in 2001 when, as head coach of the Peoria Rivermen, he was involved in an altercation with the opposing coach during a game.
Plenty more from Christie in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.
A few more notes from practice:
It’s been an unusually busy week in hockey, both locally and nationally, keeping this reporter on his toes a tad more.
Then Jason Christie grabbed a linesman’s shirt Sunday night.
There was no word out of the ECHL offices Monday whether or not Christie will face supplementary discipline. Expect that decision to be handed down tomorrow or Wednesday. The Reign visit the Las Vegas Wranglers on Thursday.
One bright spot in the Reign’s 2-0 loss Sunday was the continued progression of goalie Chris Carrozzi, who will be the focus of tomorrow’s notebook on Page 2 of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. In short, dude’s had a rough start to the season. Somewhat reminiscent of Beau Erickson last year.
Here are a few things that won’t make the notebook (but are still newsworthy):
… Chris Carrozzi.
Who, you might ask?
Carrozzi is a Winnipeg Jets prospect and a 2008 sixth-round draft pick (154th overall) of the former Atlanta Thrashers. He was assigned to the Colorado Eagles to start the season but wasn’t getting much playing time, appearing in only one of the Eagles’ first 17 games. Coincidentally, that game was a 6-2 victory by the Reign in Colorado on Nov. 5.
Reign coach Jason Christie said that the Jets will assign Carrozzi to Ontario and Dustin Carlson will back him up against the Stockton Thunder. Jean-Francois Berube remains sidelined by an upper-body injury and did not practice Tuesday; Christie said that Berube will resume skating tomorrow.
Not much stands out about Carrozzi on the surface. The 21-year-old was stuck with a 6.00 goals-against average in his only appearance this season. Last season, he backstopped 47 games for the Gwinnett Gladiators, going 16-20-2-4 with a 3.23 GAA, which ranked 21st in the league.
But considering the Gladiators missed the playoffs altogether, Carrozzi’s 2010-11 numbers — which included two shutouts — aren’t awful. His junior career with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors culminated with OHL Goaltender of the Year Honors in 2009-10, after a 19-10-5/2.36/.916 season. Carrozzi signed his entry-level contract with the Thrashers after that season.
On the same day the Minnesota Wild officially re-assigned him to AHL affiliate Houston, Darcy Kuemper has been Named Reebok Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week for November 21-27.
The 21-year-old was 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and a .961 save percentage. Kuemper stopped 38 shots in a 4-2 win at Bakersfield on Saturday and carried the momentum into Sunday, when he turned aside 35 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Condors in Ontario. He backstopped a Reign penalty-kill unit which denied the Condors on 13 of 14 odd-man chances. Bakersfield’s only power-play goal came during on a 6-on-3 attack with 1:02 left in Sunday’s game.
The last Reign netminder to win goalie of the week honors was Kellen Briggs, for the week Nov 8-14, 2010.
The Minnesota Wild have re-assigned Darcy Kuemper to the Houston Aeros, their American Hockey League affiliate. It’s the second promotion for the rookie goalie this season, who spent one weekend with the NHL club but did not play.
Kuemper is leading the ECHL in goals-against average (1.74) and save percentage (.941) while going 7-1-0, accounting for all but two of the Reign’s nine wins.
While his first promotion was brief, Kuemper could be up for a while longer this time. According to a report on the Finnish website iltalehti.fi, the Aeros are losing their backup goalie, Dennis Endras, to HIFK of the Finnish League. Endras had been backing up Matt Hackett. The Aeros are planning to issue an official release tomorrow.
The Reign host the Stockton Thunder on Wednesday. Goalies Jean-Francois Berube and Dustin Carlson remain on the active roster, though Berube missed two games against the Bakersfield Condors over the weekend with an “upper-body injury.” The injury is not believed to be a concussion, and coach Jason Christie said that Berube is day-to-day.
More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.
Matt Tassone and Geoff Irwin scored the goals and Darcy Kuemper was Darcy Kuemper, making the easy saves look easy and the hard saves look easy while barely missing out on a shutout. He stopped 35 of 36.
Kuemper and the Reign should be glad they survived a night in which they were short-handed nine times, including all of the final 1:58. Bakersfield cashed in during a 6-on-3 shift when Justin Pender scored with 1:02 left but that was it for the Condors, who have lost eight in a row.
Check out the game story in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Bulletin. A few notes that won’t make the print edition:
Thanksgiving came a day early to at Citrus Park in Upland.
Reign players pitched in at the Passion of Christ homeless ministry’s annual Thanksgiving feast. Here are a few photos from the event:
Four days after JP Cote became the first Reign player recalled to the American Hockey League, defensemen Dylan Yeo and Mike Montgomery found out they will be joining him soon. On Tuesday, Yeo was loaned to the Oklahoma City Barons and Montgomery to the St. John’s IceCaps.
When healthy, Yeo and Montgomery skated on the same pair and played significant minutes for the Reign. Yeo, the team captain, provided the speed and the offense (one goal and eight assists in eight games). Montgomery added size and the physical presence around the net. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound rookie was scoreless with a minus-4 rating through 14 games.
Kevin Baker knocked in the game-winning goal off a rebound at 11:45 of the third period, and Olivier Roy’s 40 saves buried the Reign in a game they dominated for the better part of 60 minutes.
Stockton scored twice in the third period to erase a 2-1 Reign lead. Jean-Francois Berube made 24 saves in his first start since recording a shutout last Saturday in Alaska. He couldn’t be blamed for the defensive-zone giveaway that led to Milan Kytnar’s game-tying goal, nor the lack of a backcheck that gave Baker ample time and space on the doorstep to put back Cameron Abney’s shot and break the 2-2 deadlock.
Geoff Irwin and Derek Couture scored the Reign’s only goals, both on 5-on-3 power plays. That’s about what it took to beat Roy, who raised both arms and jumped (a little) after the final horn sounded. It’s only November, but he played well enough to earn it. Talking to Dylan Yeo after the game, the biggest disappointment for the Reign was not cashing in on their many chances.
More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. A few more notes:
Stockton Thunder center Gabriel Levesque remained in a hospital Thursday morning, and could face season-ending hip surgery after being hit into the boards in the Reign’s 4-2 win Wednesday.
Thunder coach Matt Thomas said that “they’re still trying to figure out exactly the overall seriousness of it but the early diagnosis doesn’t look promising.” Levesque is expected to be released sometime today and then will meet with his team doctor to determine if surgery is necessary.
“The good thing is it’s not something that required emergency surgery,” Thomas said. “That’s a positive thing, in terms of the ability to heal from it.”
Levesque left Citizens Business Bank Arena on a gurney, lying on his left side — not his back – and looking dazed, if not unconscious. Thomas said he didn’t know if Levesque lost consciousness, only that the 21-year-old center “was in a lot of pain. Serious pain.”
Thomas also said that a video review showed that the initial high-stick that clipped Levesque in the face came from Reign left wing Geoff Irwin, not that of right wing Derek Couture, who received a high-sticking penalty on the play. Couture delivered the hard hit immediately after Levesque was high-sticked and let go of the puck.
Asked if it was a clean hit, Thomas said: “I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t think it was just because it was more of a — it wasn’t a body check. It was like he pushed him. Is it a dirty hit? I don’t know. It’s a push. I’m sure Couture didn’t want to hurt him, but Levesque was in a bad spot when he got pushed.”