9/20/2012: Hockey Today

— Finally, actual hockey.  The OHL and QMJHL got started today, so let’s catch up on that and other news around the game.

Oscar Dansk, the first pick of the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft, made his OHL debut today (Photo: OHL)

— The OHL’s Erie Otters lost, 4-2, in their opener against the Niagara IceDogs.  Goaltender Oscar Dansk, a Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick, made 26 saves in his OHL debut.  Highly touted Connor McDavid also made his debut, but did not register a point. 

— Buffalo fans will have a game to go to next month…just not a Sabres game.  With the Rochester Americans and Buffalo Sabres now affiliated once again, the teams are able to work together on things such as moving an Amerks game to First Niagara Center (formerly the HSBC Arena), home of the Sabres.

Rochester’s home game against the Hamilton Bulldogs, originally scheduled for October 21, has now been moved to the NHL arena and is now set to be played on October 23 at 7:35 PM.  In a nice move by the Americans staff, they are not charging season ticket holders anything additional for this game, as it was already included on the schedule.

— The AHL’s Connecticut Whale inked defenseman Sam Klassen to a contract.  Klassen has split his first two pro seasons between the Whale and Greenville of the ECHL, and played in a career high 36 AHL games last year.

Former MSU goalie Drew Palmisano was one of two players added by the Orlando Solar Bears today (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

— The ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears have signed veteran league defenseman Ryan Blair, and added goaltender Drew Palmisano.

Blair played with Cincinnati, Toledo and Reading last season, notching four points in 56 games between the three.

“Ryan is a solid stay-at-home defenseman who was able to get valuable experience in the ECHL last season,” said head coach Drake Berehowsky in a team release. “His size is a great asset, and he will fit in well with the other big bodies we have on the roster.”

Palmisano played four seasons at Michigan State University, and put together his career year during his sophomore season, posting 15 wins along with a 2.44 GAA and .917 save percentage.

“Drew is a quick goalie who has a ton of athleticism,” Berehowsky said. “His numbers in college are a testament to his ability.”

Palmisano and also recently-signed netminder Brooks Ostergard may be fighting for a roster spot, given that the Minnesota Wild may need to send a contracted goalie to Orlando to play.

— The ECHL’s Colorado Eagles are bringing back Riley Nelson and Aaron Schneekloth…straight from their release:

Nelson, the team’s all-time leading scorer (743 points in 565 games), is the only player remaining from the club’s inaugural season.  Last year was the 13-year veteran’s first in the ECHL and he adjusted nicely, registering 60 points (25-35-60) in 66 games to rank as the team’s third-highest scoring forward.  In 2010-11, the 5-foot-9-inch, 180-pound forward was voted the Central Hockey League’s MVP.

Schneekloth is coming off of arguably the best season of his standout career — one in which he was voted the ECHL’s Defenseman of the Year; it was the third time he’s garnered such an award (he was also voted the CHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman in 2008-09 & 2009-10).  Like Nelson, Schneekloth is the club’s all-time leader in points at his position, posting 322 points in 342 games from the blue line.

— The WHL’s Kamloops Blazers announced that three players will serve as alternate captain this year: Dylan Willic, Tyler Hansen and Colin Smith.

— Brock Hirsche was named captain of the Prince George Cougars today. 

“To be named captain of the Prince George Cougars is surreal. I’m so happy and so blessed,” Hirsche said in a team statement. “I think we’ve got a really exciting team with lots of young talent, and some veterans who are going to help lead the way too. I think this team can do a lot of great things this season.”

— The Portland Winterhawks named Troy Rutkowski as their captain.  “I’m humbled to be named team captain, and I’m looking forward to trying to lead the Winterhawks to a WHL championship this season,” said Rutkowski in a team press release.

The Winterhawks list of former captains contains future NHL’ers Adam Deadmarsh, Brenden Morrow and Braydon Coburn.

— Colton Sissons will wear the “C” for the second straight year for the Kelowna Rockets.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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