Forming the ECHL all-decade team.

The ECHL is taking nominations from fans for its all-decade team, the league’s best players and coaches from 2000-01 to 2009-10.

Here’s the process: Fans may nominate players for team from now through Sept. 24 by e-mailing with the subject line containing “All-Decade Team Nominations.” The ECHL will present a list of qualified nominees in early October and fans will have the opportunity to take part in a final vote on to determine the All-Decade Team. The League will announce the team in November.

The criteria for nominees, per the ECHL: “Players or coaches must have made a significant impact on the ECHL from 2000 through 2010. An individual must have played or coached in parts of at least four seasons from the 2000-01 season through the 2009-10 season to be eligible for the All-Decade Team. Only those accomplishments, statistics, awards, honors and achievements earned during ECHL play should be taken into account when nominating players or coaches for the All-Decade Team. Final nominations will be based on voting and the meeting of certain criteria.”

So, who in the brief history of Reign hockey has the best chance of meeting those criteria?
Continue reading “Forming the ECHL all-decade team.” »

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
the list of 20 by extending a qualifying offer no later than July 1. Of
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
required to extend a qualifying offer to players who sign a contract
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 “Reign announce protected list.” »

Retirement plans, Part III.

Todd Jackson’s ability to calculate odds is probably better than
yours or mine. So take him seriously when he says he is “better than 50
percent” retired.

The speedy forward, an original member of the
expansion Reign club, saw his production take a step back in 2009-10. After
posting 14 goals and 29 points in 57 games in 2008-09, Jackson had two
goals and six points this season as injuries limited him to just 18
games. Jackson broke his nose in practice during the season’s first
month and didn’t make his debut until December. All told, it was
the toughest of his six professional seasons.

Continue reading “Retirement plans, Part III.” »

Reign 5, Stockton 3.

First the good news.

The Reign power play came alive; officially they were 2-for-8 with the man advantage, but Tony Voce’s first goal came two seconds after a 5-on-4 shift expired.

The penalty kill was equally impressive, killing 4 of 5 – including a total of 1:37 while down two men late in the third period.

Todd Jackson came back into the lineup and was officially awarded two assists in his debut game. That could be changed upon review; Michael Pelech insisted that he did not touch the puck that Jackson deposited on the goal line in the first period, even though the goal was credited to Pelech, who followed Jackson’s shot to make sure it counted.

The other goals were more clear-cut — Voce scored twice, Jon Francisco and Sean O’Connor scored once, and Curtis Darling stopped 29 of 32 on less than 24 hours’ rest.

Now the bad news: James McEwan was taken to a hospital after his first-period fight with Stockton’s James Bates. McEwan injured his hand in the fight and did not return to the game.

Prior to the game, defenseman Mike Egener went on three-day injured reserve with what Karl Taylor called a “lower body injury,” and was replaced on the blue line by Brian Kilburg. Taylor said there is no timetable yet for Egener to return from Friday’s injury, but 3-day IR certainly leaves more room for optimism than the 7- or 21-day IR.

Peter Lenes, who has not scored a goal since Dec. 12, was scratched for the first time all season in order to make room for Jackson.

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

Las Vegas 2, Reign 1.

Todd Jackson returned to the Reign lineup and scored Ontario’s only goal, but the Reign lost 2-1 to the Las Vegas Wranglers at Orleans Arena on Saturday night.

Jackson could do nothing about the eventual game-winning goal by the Wranglers — he was in the penalty box for tripping at 4:48 of the third period when Shay Stephenson scored to put Las Vegas up 2-0. It was the only power-play goal in nine man-advantage shifts for Las Vegas. The Reign also survived a 40-second long, 5-on-3 penalty kill in the first period.

With 4:15 left in the third period, Jackson halved the Wranglers’ lead with his first goal of the season, taking a pass from Chris Curran, taking advantage of a Michael Pelech screen and firing past Michael Ouzas. It was Jackson’s sixth game of the season and his first since Dec. 11 in Idaho.

Friday night in Ontario, the Reign also fell behind 2-0 early in the third period but were able to come back and tie; they never got the second goal Saturday, even after Curtis Darling (30 saves) was pulled for an extra attacker in the final minute. Ouzas stopped 22 of 23 for the Wranglers (10-14-2-1), who still trail the Reign (13-13-2-1) by six points for second place in the Pacific Division standings.

Reign forward Tony Voce missed his 11th straight game with a strained MCL, and defenseman David Walker did not play a night after suffering a scary head injury.

The Reign have a week off before facing the Wranglers in Las Vegas again on Dec. 26. 

Reign make final cuts, set opening-day roster

Forwards Joel Irving, Tyler Mugford and Doug Spooner, and defenseman Cameron Cepek, became the Reign’s final training camp cuts Wednesday when the opening-day roster was submitted to the ECHL

Forwards Tony Voce (7-day), Todd Jackson (21-day) and Robert Pearce (21-day), and defenseman Dan Knapp (3-day), will begin the season on injured reserve.
Continue reading “Reign make final cuts, set opening-day roster” »

Reign at Las Vegas, 7 p.m. tonight. Update.

As with any sport, the value of an ECHL preseason game lies less in getting a win as much as assessing the team’s talent, deciding who to keep and who to cut.

“We’ll try to get everybody in and if not, oh well. That’s life,” Reign coach Karl Taylor said.

In a way, this is an even more delicate exercise in the ECHL, with so much turnover from year to year (although the Reign have a particularly high retention rate — 12 of the 30 players who appeared in a game last season are back). But for more than half of his 27 players, Karl Taylor has no frame of reference for how they’ll execute for him in a game. On the other hand, there can be as much turnover during the ECHL season as the off-season because of AHL recalls, injuries, trades, and the occasional roster cut. Maybe none of the players on tonight’s roster will make it through to the end of the season in Ontario.

That said, here they are:
Continue reading “Reign at Las Vegas, 7 p.m. tonight. Update.” »

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.