10/9/2012: Hockey Today

R.J. Umberger is making the most of the lockout, heading back to the Buckeyes to become a volunteer coach. (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

— Many NHL players are heading overseas during the lockout in an effort to try to recoup some of their lost wages.  Not R.J. Umberger.  The seven-year NHL veteran has joined the Ohio State men’s hockey team as a volunteer coach.

“With the NHL lockout in full force, I am looking forward to being more connected to the Ohio State hockey program once again,” Umberger said in a release. “I’m excited to spend time on the ice with the players keeping myself in shape and hopefully offering any advice and help I can to them.” 

Umberger played for the Buckeyes for three seasons, and returned to the school after leaving to pursue his professional hockey career, eventually earning his bachelor’s degree in marketing one year ago.

Kieran Millan makes up one half of a very formidable goaltending duo for the CHL’s Denver Cutthroats (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

— The Denver Cutthroats, expansion team in the CHL, will have quite a goalie tandem for their first season of play.  The team was assigned both Kieran Millan and Kent Patterson by their NHL affiliate, the Colorado Avalanche.

Millan, a fifth round pick by the Avalanche in 2009, was Boston University’s starter for all four years of his collegiate career and a won a National Championship three years ago. 

Patterson, Colorado’s fourth rounder in 2008, was a standout at the University of Minnesota.  The 23-year-old had a stellar senior season, posting 28 wins and a 2.32 goals against average en route to being named to the All-WCHA First Team.

— The Petr Mrazek tables have turned once again, as the Grand Raipds Griffins have sent the Red Wings goaltending prospect back to ECHL Toledo.  The 20-year-old, who played for the Ottawa 67’s last year, played well at the World Junior Championships for the Czech Republic.

The Griffins will start the year with Jordan Pearce and Thomas McCollum as their goaltenders.

Grand Rapids has also signed veteran forward Jeff Hoggan to a tryout contract.  The 34-year-old, who spent the last two seasons in Germany, has played in 107 NHL contests for the Blues, Bruins and Coyotes.

— The AHL’s Connecticut Whale have sent defenseman Steven Delisle and forwards Ryan Flanigan, Danny Hobbs and Jordie Johnston to ECHL Greenville.  Nine players were also released from their tryout deals, most notably Brent Henley and Scott Tanski.

— The Charlotte Checkers, AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, will host a regular season game in Raleigh this year.  Tickets for the game against Norfolk, scheduled for January 6, will go on sale to the general public on November 1.

— Plenty of ECHL moves made today…a few names that stood out:

Alex Bourret was let go by the Cincinnati Cyclones.  The Cyclones also added goaltender Brian Foster, who played in the NHL last season with Florida.

The Greenville Road Warriors added goaltender Nathan Lieuwen from the Buffalo Sabres organization, and signed from Bruins prospect goaltender Adam Courchaine to a contract.  The Road Warriors will not yet receive a Rangers-affiliate goalie since Cameron Talbot is injured and both Scott Stajcer and Jason Missiaen are needed in Connecticut.

— The OHL’s Peterborough Petes sent out a press release announcing that general manager David Reid has been relieved of his duties…

Straight from the release: “The decision was not an easy one but was based on a business decision taking all factors into consideration.  The Board of Directors has a responsibility to our season ticket subscribers, fans and sponsors and as a result, the action taken was necessary.” 

“In the interim, hockey operation responsibilities will be split between Head Coach Mike Pelino and Director of Player Personnel Mike Oke.  Business operations will be overseen by Petes President Jim Devlin.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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