9/26/2012: Hockey Today

— Lots of hockey happenings today. Always a good day when that’s the case. In case you missed it in yesterday’s post, I did speak with Denver Cutthroats forward Brad Smyth this morning…Smyth signed with the CHL expansion team after a lengthy stay in Europe, and I’ll be able to give you a lengthy feature on the NHL and AHL veteran.

Also, I may get to check out Albany Devils camp in Newark on Friday, and I’ll be sure to get a crapload of content for you if that’s the case. That is, of course, a technical term.

The ECHL’s Ontario Reign have signed veteran NHL defenseman Paul Mara (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

— The ECHL has got the lead story today, and you’ll see why.  The Ontario Reign have signed long-time NHL defenseman Paul Mara to a contract.  The 33-year-old has played in 734 NHL games, encompassing 13 seasons.  The veteran blueliner has suited up for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Phoenix Coyotes, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks over his lengthy career.

The Ridgewood, NJ has played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs five separate times, reaching the second round twice with the Rangers.  After splitting the 2010-11 campaign between Anaheim and Montreal, Mara did not play last season.

“Mara’s experience will definitely help us on the back end this year,” said Reign Head Coach Jason Christie in a team statement.  “With Paul coming in, he has a pretty calm demeanor about him and he has played at the highest level possible; it’s good for guys sitting in the locker room to have that kind of presence.” 

Michel Ouellet, who has 190 games of NHL experience, is one of a few intruging names to pop up as a tryout invite on the Hamilton Bulldogs roster (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

— The Montreal Canadiens released the final list of 42 players who will be participating in Hamilton Bulldogs camp, most of which I’ve addressed on here before. However, many players have been brought in on a tryout basis, including Wheeling Nailers forward Zack Torquato, who was the subject of the first-ever 5FW Original story.

The complete list of tryout players is as follows…

F: Spencer Bennett, Bobby Farnham, Stephen MacAulay, Michel Ouellet, Brendan Ranford, Kyle Rank, Zack Torquato
D: Antoine Corbin, Kevin Gagne, Sebastian Owuya, Cody Wild
G: Scott Darling, Cody Reichard

A few interesting names on that list. Michel Ouellet has a lot of NHL experience, primarily with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning, and he was in the AHL with Norfolk last year. Wild is a former Oilers draft pick who was with the Penguins organization last year. Reichard is fresh out of Miami (OH) and is slated to play with ECHL Stockton this year.

The Canadiens also announced that they are moving two Bulldogs games from Hamilton to the Bell Center in Montreal; November 9 against Syracuse and February 22 against Rochester.

Connor Knapp, pictured here making a save during the 2012 NCAA Tournament, should see a lot of playing time in Rochester this year (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

— The Rochester Americans will be holding the first two days of their camp at First Niagara Center in Buffalo before returning to Blue Cross Arena. 34 players are scheduled to attend camp, among them are Luke Adam, Marcus Foligno, Corey Tropp, Brayden McNabb and Connor Knapp.

— The Milwaukee Admirals, AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators, have also released their camp roster. Gabriel Bourque and Mattias Ekholm are the only two players with NHL experience listed among the 27 players.

— Many players continue to sign AHL contracts so that they’re not subject to waivers and can play at the AHL level this season. Wilkes-Barre Scranton has signed goalies Brad Thiessen and Jeff Zatkoff, defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Brian Strait and forward Eric Tangradi to AHL deals.

Sebastien Piche has signed an AHL contract with the Connecticut Whale (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

— Defenseman Sebastien Piche was a somewhat surprise name to appear on the AHL Connecticut Whale’s training camp roster. Now, the team has announced they’ve signed the former ECHL’er to an AHL deal.

Piche, who was signed as a free agent by the Red Wings in 2009 after his QMJHL career was over, has split the last three years between AHL Grand Rapids and the ECHL; the first two seasons in Toledo and final year in Florida. Piche had his best ECHL years with the Walleye, and was a talented offensive defenseman who posted a career-high 33 points in 2010-11.

Denver University goaltender Sam Brittain was named to the All-WCHA Preseason team today (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

— The WCHA released their preseason poll today, and not surprisingly, the Minnesota Golden Gophers came out on top. Only a first place vote for North Dakota kept Minnesota’s number one ranking from being unanimous. Nick Bjugstad was named the Preseason Player of the Year and was a member of the Preseason All-WCHA Team, where he was joined by Denver’s Joey LaLeggia, St. Cloud State’s Nick Jensen, Wisconsin’s Mark Zengerle, St. Cloud State’s Ben Hanowski while Denver’s Sam Brittain and Colorado College’s Josh Thorimbert split the goaltender votes.


1. Minnesota (24 first place votes) … 11.92 poll average
2. North Dakota (1) … 10.76
3. Denver … 9.92
4. Wisconsin … 7.8
5. Minnesota Duluth … 6.88
6. St. Cloud State … 6.84
7. Colorado College … 6.08
8. Nebraska Omaha … 5.48
9. Michigan Tech … 5.2
10. Minnesota State … 3.6
11. Bemidji State … 2.48
12. Alaska Anchorage … 1.04

Nick Bjugstad, forward, Minnesota (16 votes)
Others receiving more than one vote: Erik Haula, forward, Minnesota (4); Mark Zengerle, forward, Wisconsin (3)


Rocco Grimaldi, forward, North Dakota (8 1/2 votes)
Others receiving more than one vote: Nic Kerdiles, forward, Wisconsin (5); Jordan Schmaltz, defenseman, North Dakota (2 1/2); Brady Skjei, defenseman, Minnesota (2); Andy Welinski, defenseman, Minnesota Duluth (2)


Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota (20 votes); Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin (17); Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State (8)
Others receiving more than one vote: Danny Kristo, North Dakota (7); Erik Haula, Minnesota (6); Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College (5); Corban Knight, North Dakota (3)

Joey LaLeggia, Denver (20 votes); Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State (9)
Others receiving more than one vote: Nate Schmidt, Minnesota (7); Wade Bergman, Minnesota Duluth (3)

Sam Brittain, Denver and Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College (7 1/2 votes each)
Others receiving more than one vote: Juho Olkinuora, Denver (3), Joel Rumpel, Wisconsin (2)

— The ECAC released their preseason coaches and media polls as well…

Troy Grosenick, who returns to the Dutchmen after leading the team to the Frozen Four in his sophomore season, was named to both the coaches and media All-ECAC preseason teams. (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

Preseason Coaches Poll1) Union (8)                118

2) Cornell (3)             110

3) Harvard (1)             98

4) Quinnipiac              93

5) Yale                         77

6) St. Lawrence          61

7) Dartmouth    58

8) Rensselaer             46

9) Colgate                   45

10) Clarkson              41

11) Princeton              25

12) Brown                  20

 Coaches Preseason All-League Selections:

G-Troy Grosenick – Jr. – Union

D-Danny Biega – Sr. – Harvard

D-Mat Bodie – Jr. – Union

F-Daniel Carr – Jr. – Union

F-Kyle Flanagan – Sr. – St. Lawrence

F-Connor Jones – Jr. – Quinnipiac 

Preseason Media Poll

1) Union (18)              343

2) Cornell (11)           330

3) Harvard                  293

4) Quinnipiac              246

5) Yale  (1)                  236

6) St. Lawrence          159

7) Clarkson                155

8) Colgate                   148

9) Rensselaer              144

10) Dartmouth           140

11) Princeton              108

12) Brown                  41


Media Preseason All-League Selections:

G-Troy Grosenick – Jr. – Union

D-Danny Biega – Sr. – Harvard

D-Mat Bodie – Jr. – Union

F-Daniel Carr – Jr. – Union

F-Greg Carey- Jr. – St. Lawrence

F-Connor Jones – Jr. – Quinnipiac

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


2 Responses to “9/26/2012: Hockey Today”

  1. ursus arctos Says:

    I’d love to know who picked Yale for number 1.

    They don’t even have a J-school . . .

  2. toms shoes Says:

    This video post 9/26/2012: Hockey Today | 5 For Writing by Mike Ashmore is actually enormous, the sound quality and the picture quality of this video post is actually awesome.

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