AHL-to-California rumor rekindled.

A report on TSN.ca Thursday rekindled a long-simmering rumor that the American Hockey League is heading to the West Coast. Here was the crux of the news, as reported by Darren Dreger:

Sources tell TSN several NHL western conference teams are involved in
ongoing discussions to improve the geographic challenges some teams face
in trying to develop their players from afar.
Los Angeles,
Anaheim, San Jose, Phoenix, Colorado, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary
attended a private meeting with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly
earlier this month, where the group conceptually talked about the
introduction of a western wing to the American Hockey League to ease the
burden of travel on prospect players, as well as provide NHL teams with
a more hands on approach in day to day development.
Most in
that group are content with their existing AHL partnerships; however,
there are some who who like to see change and are considering a more
extreme approach if necessary.

Citing sources, Dreger says the next step for the interested NHL clubs is “to get a clear view of how realistic such a drastic move is, within the next 2-3 years.”

How does this affect Ontario? Right this second, it doesn’t.
Continue reading “AHL-to-California rumor rekindled.” »

The skinny on Adam Henrich.

Adam Henrich was in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ training camp a year ago. Now he’s in a Reign jersey. What a difference a year (and two injuries) can make.

Released from a pro tryout agreement four days ago with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, Henrich signed an ECHL deal with the Reign and is set to go in tomorrow’s season opener.

“I thought coming over here could be something different and could be good for me,” Henrich said. “I got released from Springfield, and this was my next option.”

Continue reading “The skinny on Adam Henrich.” »

Henrich completes Reign’s opening-day roster.

Left one name off the Reign’s opening-day roster: Adam Henrich.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound forward was playing for the AHL’s Springfield (Mass.) Falcons as little as four days ago, but was released from his Pro Tryout Contract on Tuesday. Henrich has split his first five pro seasons between the AHL and the ECHL, where he was almost a goal-per-game player (10 goals, 20 points in 12 games) during his last stint in Wheeling (2007-08).

He spent all of last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, scoring 3 goals and 11 points in 37 games.

Here’s some Adam Henrich links to get introduced:

– His Wikipedia entry
– A recap of his one-goal, one-assist debut game this season in Springfield
– His career stats

Reign: Martens on season, defense.

Andrew Martens is somewhat of a focal point for the Reign defense — as long as he’s here, at least. Martens and P.J. Atherton were the team’s top two offensive defensemen last season, so much so that each spent significant time in the American Hockey League but still ranked first and third, respectively, in scoring among Reign blueliners.

Atherton is now playing in Europe. There was no guarantee that Martens would be here either, after he began training camp in Manitoba with the Moose of the American Hockey League.

His thoughts on the group he found when he arrived in Ontario…
Continue reading “Reign: Martens on season, defense.” »

Reign: Training camp, Day 3.

The Reign, back on the ice Monday at Center Ice Arena for Day 3 of training camp, are starting to look ready for an actual game. In fact, two of them came to camp ready, Karl Taylor said.

“Dwight King and Mike Pelech have been in camp for several weeks now, so they’re way ahead of everybody based on their skating, their energy and the fact they’ve been in training camp for so long,” Taylor said. “A lot of our guys, this is their first camp and they’re just trying to catch up.”

Both forwards began the preseason with the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, and came to Ontario when they failed to make the Manchester Monarchs’ opening-day roster.

King, 20, was a fourth-round draft pick by the Kings in 2007 and signed his entry-level deal in May. Pelech, who turns 20 on Tuesday, was a sixth-round choice in 2009.

As for the rest of the group, Taylor said he might not have the luxury of letting all the players “on the bubble” play at least one preseason game before he begins making roster cuts. There are 27 in camp, and the active roster has to be down to 20 on opening day.

“I haven’t really given it much thought,” Taylor said. “We’re waiting for people to fall out. You’re starting to see a little bit of separation by day three or four. The old guys get their legs under them and start to catch up.”

Reign camp notes, Day 1.

Here are some quick hits from this morning’s practice at Center Ice Arena. Look for more in tomorrow’s editions …

— The returning players we spotted on the ice: Jon Francisco, Jon Rheault, Todd Jackson, Mike Howe, Tim Kraus, Doug Spooner, Chris Curran, Shawn Germain, Chad Starling, Andrew Martens and David Walker.

— Twenty-three players were on the ice in total, including Curran, who doesn’t look like he’s been cleared for contact. Tony Voce, who spent the past two seasons in Europe following a promising start in the AHL, is also under contract but in an AHL camp. Geoff Walker is still in Manchester. Another three players were held out due to various injuries.

— Generally speaking, the team is bigger and in better shape than it was a year ago. All the returning players seem physically trim; combine that with a few haircuts (notably Chad Starling, Shawn Germain and Doug Spooner), and this is a team that should be flying up and down the ice.

— Huntington Beach native Cameron Cepek, a defenseman who was selected in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL draft by Montreal, was a late roster addition.

— The team has a full day of off-ice events planned for Saturday, including some time at the beach and at the Kings’ game against the Phoenix Coyotes.