Reign sign Calla, Neigum; Lenes to Trenton.

Two late additions to the training camp roster:

Brady Calla, 23, is entering his fourth professional season. A former third-round draft pick by the Florida Panthers, he posted seven goals and 23 points in 35 ECHL games last season with the Cincinnati Cyclones.

The 6-foot-1 right wing also has 64 games of experience at the AHL level, all with the Rochester Americans, logging five goals and 10 points.

Shayne Neigum is listed as 5-11 and 185 pounds, but that didn’t stop him from engaging in 47 fights over the last four seasons in the Western Hockey League, according to the website hockeyfights.com.

The 21-year-old left wing also had 11 goals in 2010-11, his final junior season, split between the Regina Pats and the Kamloops Blazers. Neigum also played eight regular-season games for the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the end of last season.

A total of 18 skaters and four goalies were on the ice Friday morning. That doesn’t include defenseman Chad Starling, who said he might be held up at least a week due to an immigration issue. Adrian van de Mosselaer is battling illness and will be held off the ice until he’s well. That left the Reign with just four defensemen.

An intrasquad scrimmage is scheduled for 4 p.m.

One more note: Forward Peter Lenes, a fan favorite when he played here two years ago, was added to the Trenton Devils’ training camp roster today.

Francisco re-signs; qualifying offers sent.

The Reign’s 2010-11 roster began to take shape Friday, when Jon Francisco was announced as the first signing of the new season and eight qualifying offers were mailed out.

Francisco, 29, is the only captain in team history and a valuable two-way center. In 72 games, he had 15 goals and 45 points – both down from the previous season (20 goals, 48 points), when Francisco appeared in 63 games.

“He’s been one of our core guys,” Reign coach Karl Taylor said. “He had a decent season last year. We’re going to expect more out of him next year, and I know he’ll expect more out of himself.”

Qualifying offers were tendered to a league-maximum eight players: James McEwan, Greg Hogeboom, Jon Rheault, Geoff Walker, Curtis Darling, Peter Lenes, Mike Zacharias and Chris Curran.

None of the qualified players have re-signed with the Reign. The qualifying offer remains open until August 1, or until it is accepted by the player, during which time he cannot be traded.

The Reign will retain each qualified player’s ECHL rights for next season, regardless of whether or not he returns. For example, Taylor does not expect Peter Lenes back after the forward recently signed in Austria. But if Lenes decides to return to the ECHL, “maybe we’ll keep him, or maybe we’ll (trade) his rights.”

The complete list of qualified ECHL players can be found here.

Reign announce season-ending roster.

ECHL season-ending rosters were released today, the lists of up to 20 players from whom teams can qualify eight. The Reign’s season-ending roster included exactly 20:

Mike Egener, Chad Starling, Jon Francisco, Tim Kraus, Tony Voce, Peter Lenes, Curtis Darling, Chris Curran, Geoff Walker, Greg Hogeboom, David Walker, Sean O’Connor, Mike Zacharias, Jon Rheault, Dan Knapp, Luis Tremblay, Todd Jackson, Robert Pearce, Shawn Germain and James McEwan.

Of the players who finished 2009-10 on the Reign’s roster, five are missing:

• Defenseman Andrew Martens, who has signed in the Central Hockey League;

• Forwards C.J. Stretch and Jordan Nolan, who were playing on Amateur Tryout contracts, and therefore not eligible for the season-ending roster;
• Forward Michael Pelech and defenseman Colten Teubert, who were assigned to the Reign by the Kings.

In other words, the season-ending roster looks just as expected.

The next step in the process of whittling down who will be back next season is submitting qualifying offers.

Each team is entitled to qualify a maximum of eight players
from
the list of 20 by extending a qualifying offer no later than July 1. Of
the
eight qualified players, no more than four can be veterans (260 regular-season professional hockey games played as of the start of the 2010-11
season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded. Teams are
not
required to extend a qualifying offer to players who sign a contract
prior
to July 1.

Reign announce protected list.

There were no surprises on the Reign’s protected list, announced Wednesday:

Kellen Briggs, Dusty Collins, Chris Curran, Curtis Darling, Mike
Egener, Jon Francisco, Shawn Germain, Greg Hogeboom, Todd Jackson, Dan Knapp, Tim
Kraus, Peter Lenes, Andrew Martens, James McEwan, Sean O’Connor, Robert Pearce,
Jon Rheault, Chad Starling, Jason Tejchma, Luis Tremblay, Tony Voce, David
Walker, Geoff Walker, Mike Zacharias.
Continue reading

Lenes headed to Europe.

Peter Lenes appears ready to bequeath his title of “fan favorite.”

The 5-foot-4 forward told the Burlington (VT) Free Press that he has signed with the Graz 99ers, which play in the top league in Austria. The 99ers are coached by Bill Gilligan, whose brother, Mike Gilligan, once coached Lenes’ alma mater, the University of Vermont. Former Reign forward Tony Voce played one season (2008-09) in Graz.

Lenes had 13 goals and 23 points in 58 games in his rookie season with the Reign, but only two goals and one assist after Dec. 12. His ice time rose steeply after Jon Rheault and Geoff Walker were promoted to the AHL in late November, then dropped as his production fell off.

“My numbers went down and I think there were some things the coach and I
maybe didn’t agree on. That’s the way things go sometime, so you keep
working hard and work through those times,” Lenes told the paper. “I don’t truly know
all the things (leading to less time), but if you don’t play a game,
you’ve got to stay positive.”

Here is the full story.

Reign 7, Las Vegas 1.

Looking more relaxed than they had all season, the Reign exploded for seven goals, and got a 27-save effort from Mike Zacharias. However high of a note they could go out on, one day after missing the playoffs, the Reign found it.

It was a particularly good night for Chad Starling, Colten Teubert, Jordan Nolan and C.J. Stretch, each of whom scored his first goal of the season. Greg Hogeboom scored his team-leading 32nd, Geoff Walker scored his 7th and Mike Egener his 11th.

Tim Kraus picked up three assists and Walker added two helpers. Teubert and Starling both finished plus-4 and the Reign killed all five short-handed situations.

Jon Rheault – who would have been playing his eighth game in 10 days – was held out, as was Peter Lenes, who was ineligible to come off IR. Dan Knapp stepped in for Luis Tremblay on defense.

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

Update from Friday’s morning skate.

Today’s morning skate at the Orleans Arena was optional for the Reign, and 11 players took to the ice: Greg Hogeboom, Tim Kraus, Chad Starling, Andrew Martens, Mike Egener, Luis Tremblay, Dan Knapp, Peter Lenes, C.J. Stretch, Jordan Nolan, and Mike Zacharias.

Zacharias was the only goalie on the ice, which in most cases (barring injuries or other unforeseen circumstances) means that he’ll be the backup in the game. Expect Curtis Darling – who turned in a good performance in a losing effort Thursday – to get his second straight start.

I caught up with Nolan and Karl Taylor to discuss Nolan’s pro debut; more on that in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Here are the elimination scenarios for tonight:

- If the Reign lose in regulation, or Victoria beats Utah (7 p.m. Pacific start time in British Columbia), the Reign are eliminated from playoff contention.
- If the Reign lose in overtime or a shootout, they need Victoria to lose in regulation in order to avoid elimination.
- If the Reign win (either in regulation or in overtime/shootout), they need Victoria to lose (either in regulation or overtime/shootout) to avoid elimination.

Taking all of tonight’s nine potential scenarios into account, the Reign are eliminated in six of them. They need help.

Tonight and tomorrow, get used to the phrase “Go Grizzlies!”

Las Vegas 5, Reign 2.

The Reign allowed three power-play goals and had to kill 10 penalties at all, turning a close contest into a futile game of catch-up in the third period.

The standings picture is bleak. Not only will the Reign have to win their final two games, but they’ll need the Utah Grizzlies to win both of their final two games in Victoria and at least one win must be in regulation.

Otherwise, the Reign will be the only team in an eight-team conference to miss the postseason.
Continue reading

Morning skate: Tremblay out, Knapp in.

Defenseman Luis Tremblay was off the ice at Wednesday’s morning skate, the result of the same lower-body injury that kept him out of Sunday’s game against the Idaho Steelheads, head coach Karl Taylor said. Taylor said that Tremblay was in uniform Sunday “in case we needed an extra body.” Defenseman Dan Knapp took part in the morning skate and it appears he will be in the lineup against the Alaska Aces tonight.

Tim Kraus, who has missed back-to-back games with an undisclosed injury, was wearing the red practice jersey usually reserved for non-contact players. The center is eligible to come off IR, and Taylor said he has not decided whether or not Kraus will play. Peter Lenes skated again and looks ready to go if Kraus cannot.

Lenes, Pielmeier, etc.

In case you missed today’s story, including items on Peter Lenes and Chris Curran, click here.

Also, if you’ve been double-dipping in my Ducks blog, you will have noticed that Bakersfield Condors goaltender Timo Pielmeier is in Anaheim. The Reign host the Condors on Sunday, but Pielmeier is expected to be back by then; head coach Randy Carlyle said that Jonas Hiller is supposed to rejoin the Ducks in practice Sunday and he probably won’t need three goalies.