Chris Cloud gets first AHL call-up.

The Reign lost their second forward in three days to the Manchester Monarchs on Wednesday.

Left wing Chris Cloud, who leads the team in major penalties, signed a pro tryout contract with the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, joining linemate J.D. Watt at the next level. Cloud has five goals, 10 points and 84 penalty minutes this season, appearing in all 22 games. He is tied for second in the ECHL in major penalties with 10.

The Monarchs recently lost center Cam Paddock to a four-game suspension, so Cloud and Watt could conceivably return to the Reign soon.

Still, it’s quite an opportunity for Cloud, who spent the last two seasons in the Central Hockey League and has never played in the AHL before.

The Reign could be without two-thirds of their toughest line Friday in Alaska. Count on Shayne Neigum seeing plenty of time at forward, and Kevin Estrada getting a long look in his debut game, with Bill Bagron centering the line.

Watt recalled, injury updates, other notes from practice.

J.D. Watt became the first Reign forward recalled to the American Hockey League on Monday, when the 24-year-old right wing found out mid-practice that he was headed to the Manchester Monarchs. Watt was scheduled to catch his flight east this afternoon.

Watt, who came to Ontario on an AHL contract, has seven points (one goal, six assists) and 66 penalty minutes in 22 games this season. What he lacks in skill — his 1.7% shooting accuracy is the lowest among all Reign players with at least 20 shots on goal — he makes up for in controlled aggression. A familiar presence in the opponent’s crease, Watt mostly racked up penalty minutes with his fists, drawing nearly as many minors as he committed.

He’s the first Reign forward to be promoted this season. Defensemen JP Cote, Mike Montgomery, Dylan Yeo and goaltender Darcy Kuemper are all currently playing in the AHL. The Reign’s forward core has been remarkably consistent this season. Without Watt, here’s how they are expected to skate Friday in Alaska:

Geoff Irwin-CJ Stretch-Derek Couture
Kevin Estrada-Francois Brisebois-Kyle Kraemer
Chris Cloud-Bill Bagron-Matt Tassone
Shayne Neigum (forward or defense)

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

Reign 4, Stockton 2.

The Reign probably won’t frame Tuesday’s victory and hang it on a wall, but it could serve as a good jolt in the arm. (The team actually has some framed photographs of victory scenes hanging around their locker room, so the cliche works.)

Despite getting pushed around for the better part of three periods, and playing sloppy, turnover-prone hockey on occasion, they left CBBA with a series-opening 4-2 win. Chris Cloud had a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” — a goal, assist and fight — and the line of Geoff Irwin, C.J. Stretch and Derek Couture dominated the Thunder all night, combining for three goals, four assists and a plus-4 rating.

Stretch in particular was being draped all night, but still managed to shed the defense for a goal and two assists — both primary assists from behind the net on goals by Irwin.

“It’s frustrating for him,” Couture said. “Teams are going to look at his stats, see that Stretch is leading the team in points and play hard on him. … He fought through it.”

On a night when the Reign were outshot 37-23, the final score could have been quite a bit higher. But Darcy Kuemper heated up as the game went along, stopping 35 of 37 shots – including 16 in the final 20 minutes.

J.D. Watt had two assists, defenseman Chris Huxley played a solid defensive game and finished plus-3, and Shayne Neigum delivered a spirited bout with Stockton’s Jordan Foreman in the third period.

Plenty more details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. A few notes that won’t make the paper:

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Van de Mosselaer debuts in a calm day of practice.

No sparks flew at Center Ice Arena this morning — literal or metaphorical — which must have been a welcome change of pace after yesterday’s on-ice dramatics. Both J.D. Watt and Francois Brisebois were back on the ice. Business as usual, it appeared.

Practice was uptempo again, with an emphasis on breakouts and offensive-zone puck movement. Jason Christie is looking for improvement from a power play that ranks 20th (last) in the ECHL and a penalty-kill that ranks 19th.

Adrian van de Mosselaer was present from start to finish for his first full practice of the season. The defenseman, who didn’t arrive in Ontario until this week, was huffing and puffing at times. He’ll need to get back in shape after being bedridden by mononucleosis for a full week not long ago; the good news is he’s got time.

The Reign will have seven active defensemen for the weekend; Christie will decide tomorrow which seven. Either Pat Bowen or Philippe Seydoux will make the trip to Colorado this weekend. Seydoux will go if he gets his P-1 visa approved in time. If not, count on Bowen making the trip.

Kyle Kraemer skated for about 40 minutes today. He isn’t engaging in contact yet, but that’s the next step. And that’s encouraging.

More from Van de Mosselaer in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Odds, ends, and a scrum in practice.

Dylan Yeo called it a couple weeks ago.

“I’m sure
later on in the year there will be a couple fights like any family will have,” the Reign captain said.
“It comes with being a hockey player. It’s something to push through. When
you’re on the ice, it’s all business and you’re a family again.”

J.D. Watt, Francois Brisebois and the rest of the Reign can spend the afternoon pushing through an on-ice scuffle between the two players that got Watt kicked out of practice immediately, and saw Brisebois hobble off the ice a bit later with what can only be described at a glance as a “lower-body injury.”

Coach Jason Christie’s assessment: “It’s intense and that stuff happens. We’ve got to see how to approach it and how to deal with it. Hopefully Bris is all right. But you have those emotions run high. Especially the practices we’re doing here, running and gunning. The way it happened, I wasn’t a big fan of it. Especially how it did happen. Bris was not in the wrong there. We’ll cross that bridge here. We’ll go back, have a meeting about it, and go from there.”

Watt, to his credit, was willing to talk about it after practice.

“It happens,” Watt said. “Guys get intense. It was a heat-of-the-moment practice kind of thing. You never want to hurt anyone. I think Brisebois’ all fine. I talked to him afterwards. … Everyone does things they probably wish they wouldn’t do. Teams win games because they’re competitive, and you practice like you play. … Not to say you go out there to do that kind of stuff, but in the heat of the moment it happens.”

We’ll see how this plays out. If Yeo is correct, they’ll all be one big happy family before long.

A few more notes:
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Camp notes: Beefing up on ‘D’, the plan for Saturday, etc.

If this were the regular season, it wouldn’t be a story. But since it’s training camp, a time when coaches are supposed to have more players than locker stalls, the fact that the Reign still only have five defensemen on the ice is sticking out like a sore knee (Jason Fredricks), a case of mononucleosis (Adrian van de Mosselaer) or an unexpected immigration hang-up (Chad Starling).

The group grew by one today, to five, when Travis Gawryletz was cleared to join on-ice activities. Gawryletz (pronounced GAR-lits) came from the Manchester Monarchs’ camp and becomes the fifth player in Ontario with at least 30 games of AHL experience over the two last seasons (Dylan Yeo, J.D. Watt, Brady Calla and Derek Couture are the others).

Gawryletz was beaten out for an AHL roster spot by Jordan Hill, who re-signed with the Reign over the summer, but was whisked away when the Monarchs signed him to an AHL contract yesterday. Both defensemen were in the Monarchs’ camp on tryouts.

Fredricks and van de Mosslaer aren’t expected to be ready until November, while Starling’s arrival date remains up in the air. That means that Jason Christie has some work to do if he wants three defense pairs in time for Saturday’s exhibition opener against Las Vegas.

“We have to take a different avenue now because we had (Hill) penciled in,” Christie said. “Gotta work the phones. Got two days to get it done.”

Some more notes:
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Lines taking shape, cuts coming, Kyle Reed’s local connection.

No major developments emerged from today’s training camp session. J.D. Watt took part in his first practice with the team, but center Francois Brisebois and defensemen Travis Gawryletz (both awaiting physicals) did not.

The forward trios are actually skating consistently as trios now that Jason Christie is running lots of system-oriented drills. The line of Kyle Kraemer at left wing, Jordan Morrison at center and Derek Couture at right wing has had a few days of practice to get acclimated. Given their shared inclination for scoring, we’ll tab this group as the early frontrunner for a No. 1 line in Saturday’s preseason opener.

Geoff Irwin (LW), C.J. Stretch (center) and Brady Calla (RW) have stayed together for a couple days now, too. That group could be another potential keeper.

Wednesday’s other lines:

Chris Cloud-August Aiken-J.D. Watt
Shayne Neigum-Bill Bagron-Dean Yakura/Kyle Reed.

Some more notes:
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Fredricks out 4-6 weeks, reinforcements on the way, camp cuts. Update.

Bad news for defenseman Jason Fredricks, who will miss 4 to 6 weeks with a knee injury sustained in practice Sunday. Fredricks was one of only four defensemen on the ice to begin camp; Chad Starling is dealing with an immigration issue, Adrian van de Mosselaer is recovering from mononucleosis, and two other signed defensemen are still in the Manchester Monarchs’ training camp.

Fredricks’ injury briefly left the Reign with three defensemen. With the first exhibition game looming Saturday, head coach Jason Christie signed defenseman Jeff MacPhee (no relation to defenseman Iain McPhee) to a pro tryout contract. MacPhee, 26, appeared in four games with the Bloomington PrairieThunder last season after spending most of the year in the Southern Professional Hockey League.

Christie said he’s also signed Travis Gawryletz, a fourth-year pro who is still in camp with the Monarchs. That makes two defensemen hung up in Manchester, along with Jordan Hill.

Update: The Monarchs announced that they’ve cut Gawryletz, so he should be en route to Ontario soon. The 25-year-old spent the majority of the last two seasons in the AHL with Lake Erie; last season he put up four goals, 18 points and 46 penalty minutes in 69 games. He has size (6-2, 200) and the distinction of being drafted in the now-nonexistent eighth round (253rd overall) of the NHL Entry Draft in 2004 by Philadelphia — ahead of Pekka Rinne (258), Mark Streit (262) and Luke Beaverson (283), but behind Alex Ovechkin (1), Yutaka Fukufuji (238) and Dusty Collins (163).

There were two new arrivals at camp Tuesday.

Right wing J.D. Watt amassed an impressive 86 penalty minutes in only 37 games last season between the Abbotsford Heat and San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. Watt was in Manchester on a tryout. In his last full AHL season, 2009-10, the 24-year-old had 267 penalty minutes in 70 games, along with eight goals and 13 points.

Watt played 18 games for the Las Vegas Wranglers in 2008-09 and one game for the Utah Grizzlies in 2009-10, but has otherwise spent his entire three-year professional career in the AHL. Listed at 6-foot-2, 196 pounds, Watt was a fourth-round draft pick (111th overall) by the Calgary Flames in 2005.

Forward Francois Brisebois also joined the Reign after being released from his AHL tryout with the Chicago Wolves. The 23-year-old Montreal native finished a four-year career with Colgate University last season with a 17-goal, 17-assist campaign in 42 games. He also appeared in three regular-season games with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators.

To make room for the new arrivals, three players were cut. Forward Andrew Monesi of Simi Valley and goalie Darren Yount of Alta Loma earned their spots out of the team’s open free agent tryout. Forward Mike Thomson of La Habra Heights was in camp on a pro tryout contract.

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