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): Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
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:
Four folding chairs sat in a row leading into the Reign locker room Tuesday, the makeshift “lockers” painting a plain picture that space was suddenly at a premium.
Locker-room space, of course, relates directly to salary-cap space and roster space, and that meant Dustin Carlson’s stay as the Reign’s third goalie ended Tuesday. Carlson was released in advance of tonight’s game against the Stockton Thunder, in which Darcy Kuemper is expected to start and J-F Berube to back up.
“Practice time is huge, and it’s tough having three goaltenders,” Reign coach Jason Christie said. “Sometimes you have to adjust. We’re getting players healthy here, so it comes down to cap space and having guys active. That’s the reality we’re looking at.”
Carlson went 0-1 with a 4.16 goals-against average and a .857 save percentage in two appearances this season. Both appearances came last weekend in Alaska, coming off the bench after the Aces had a big first period against Berube and the Reign.
A longshot to make the team after joining camp on a tryout, Carlson was retained as an unofficial emergency backup in case of injury or promotion to Berube or Darcy Kuemper. The Wild recalled Kuemper to the NHL last weekend, giving Carlson his lone, brief opportunity in the crease before Kuemper returned to Ontario (more on that in a future blog).
So who are the injured players and when will they come back? The latest updates, ranked by this beat writer’s predicted order of return (soonest to farthest away): Continue reading →
Goalie Darcy Kuemper was back for practice Tuesday, after
spending the weekend with the Minnesota Wild for games against the Kings and
the Ducks. Kuemper didn’t play for the Wild but he got to experience the NHL
for two days, and will “probably” get the start tomorrow against Stockton,
Reign coach Jason Christie said.
Philippe Seydoux (flu) was the only player not on the ice.
Apparently the flu has hit a few players, as road trips to Alaska always have
potential to turn a slight cough into a mild epidemic. No word yet on Seydoux’s
availability for tomorrow.
Got our first look at Tristan King, the Dallas Stars prospect
who was assigned to the Reign prior to the Alaska trip. King, who had one goal
and two assists in the three-game series, “is a player that has just got to
push himself a little bit, Christie said. “His skill is something that he’s –
that’s what he’s got, but he’s got to come in and play both ends of the ice
King skated with Brady Calla and Matt Tassone over the
weekend, but not Tuesday.
Dylan Yeo was wearing a red (non-contact) jersey and
participated in nearly all aspects of practice, but it doesn’t look like he’ll
be back tomorrow. If that’s the case, expect defenseman JP Cote to wear a
letter again – just not the captain’s “C” he wore in Alaska. The team didn’t
have an “A” to stitch on the road sweaters; otherwise Cote would have worn one.
He’ll get one tomorrow with the Reign at home.
Pick up tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin if you want to read about the emergence of the team’s leading scorer.
Here were the line rushes and defense pairs in practice:
There wasn’t much to complain about after a 4-1 win that saw four players score goals, a perfect 7-for-7 effort on the penalty kill and a 2-for-4 power play performance. Darcy Kuemper made 22 saves and didn’t have to be spectacular in improving to 4-0-0 on the season.
Matt Tassone, C.J. Stretch, Chris Cloud and Bill Bagron scored the goals. Steven Tarasuk had two assists, while Shayne Neigum, Brady Calla, Francois Brisebois and Bagron had one each. Bagron also finished a plus-2 on the evening.
The win was the Reign’s third straight (during which they’ve outscored opponents 14-4) and their fourth in the last five games (a 4-0-1 stretch).
No home games for another eight days, but the Reign are in Alaska Friday, Saturday and Sunday for three games against the Aces.
Election night meant early deadlines, which meant I didn’t have as much time as usual after this game for quote- and information-gathering, but here’s a few items that won’t make tomorrow’s game story:
Here’s how a 3-1 lead turns into a 4-3 overtime loss:
1. A short pass goes off a Reign stick and onto a Colorado stick. Shot, goal. 2. A hard pass goes off a Reign skate (possibly a body) and into the net. 3. An ill-timed line change results in an odd-man rush the other way for Colorado. A long, high shot — the Eagles’ only shot of overtime — goes into the top of the net.
Plenty of bad luck was involved in the final outcome, but it’s easier to say the Reign squandered a point Saturday than gained one. Leading 3-1 going into the third period, Colorado converted back-to-back power plays on a pair of good bounces to tie the game at 3. Luck aside, the same stifling defense that the Reign used in the first two periods (and in Friday’s win over Stockton) was conspicuously absent from the third period Saturday.
“We’re not stepping into the shot. Sticks weren’t into the lanes,” head coach Jason Christie said when talking about the overtime goal, but he may as well have been discussing the third period too.
Catch all the game details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. The Reign will visit the scrappy first-year ECHL franchise Friday and Saturday in Colorado, their first back-to-back road games of the season.
The Reign had a full week off since their last game and the practice seemed to pay off. They never trailed in their 4-2 win Friday, getting goals from Steven Tarasuk, C.J. Stretch, Matt Tassone and Francois Brisebois. Darcy Kuemper allowed a pair of breakaway goals to Ian O’Connor but made all the routine saves, and one amazing save in the final minute, among his 21 stops.
The power play finished 2-for-4 on the goals by Tarasuk and Stretch — the first goal of the year for both players — after going 2-for-22 to start the season. Dylan Yeo had two assists and Tassone, Tarasuk, Brisebois, Stretch, Brady Calla and Chris Huxley (making his Reign debut) had one assist each. Huxley was paired with Vincent LoVerde and both defensemen finished plus-2 for the game.
Christie had words of praise for Huxley, as well as a strong overall forechecking effort that stifled Stockton at even strength.
Derek Couture fought Garet Hunt in the first period (advantage: Couture), Shayne Neigum fought O’Connor in the second period (advantage: O’Connor), and Stretch nearly came to blows with Jordan Fulton late in the first period. A scrum just after the final horn sounded was broken up before it could fully materialize.
Vincent LoVerde is the Reign’s newest defenseman. The rookie out of Miami (Ohio) University averaged 1.5 goals and 7.5 assists in his four-year college career, which ended when the top-seeded RedHawks were upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament in March.
LoVerde wasn’t at practice Thursday but Jason Christie said he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow night in Las Vegas. Eddie DelGrosso, who was claimed off waivers Wednesday, wasn’t at practice either and was still awaiting a physical. Christie is hopeful that DelGrosso can play, too.
Just to recap, then:
Jason Fredricks, Pat Bowen, Dylan Yeo, Chad Starling, Jordan Hill and Adrian van de Mosselaer signed over the summer. Jeff MacPhee, Iain McPhee and Travis Gawryletz signed during training camp. Steven Tarasuk, Mike Montgomery, Philippe Seydoux, JP Cote, Eddie DelGrosso and Vincent LoVerde either signed or were acquired through trade since the regular season began.
So even though the Reign have skated the same six defensemen in their first two regular-season games, 15 different blueliners have been under contract to the team since July 1.
Defenseman Dylan Yeo was named the third captain of the Reign today, and forwards Derek Couture and Geoff Irwin will wear the alternate captain’s “A”s tonight when the season opens against the Bakersfield Condors.
Yeo, 25, last captained the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League in 2006-07, a team that included future NHLers Karl Alzner, Ryan White, Alex Plante and Brodie Dupont, and current Kings prospects Martin Jones and Brandon Kozun. Among his unique duties in Calgary: Singing the national anthem.
The defenseman has never been a captain in his four professional seasons. Christie said that a team ballot was used to choose the captain and both alternates.
The head coach also said that Couture, a seventh-year pro, will be named a permanent alternate, while Irwin’s “A” could be rotated as players are added to the team. Irwin, 26, was only a rookie last year, but “he’s the type of hard-working guy that we like,” Christie said.
Jon Francisco (2008-09, 2009-10) and David Walker (2010-11) were the previous captains.