Game Day Blog
Summer Blog Entry: June 30
06/29/2012 2:15 PM - Adrian Denny
If you watched the NHL draft closely last weekend, you may have noticed Utah Head Coach Kevin Colley somewhere in the background in Pittsburgh. It is general practice for most professional coaches to be at the draft as Kevin met with the team’s NHL affiliate the Calgary Flames.
The Idaho Steelheads named Brad Ralph their new Head Coach last week. Ralph is a year younger than Colley and the two were teammates with the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League from 1997-99. In fact, while Ralph was coaching in Augusta of the SPHL the last few years, Kevin recommended some recently released Grizzlies players to him. Given that Utah and Idaho have completed four trades since 2010, we will see if those two parallels intersect with the new settings.
The ECHL’s Board of Governors met last week in Las Vegas. The group decided to wait on finalizing this upcoming season’s playoff format until their fall meeting. In addition, they also decided to cap the league’s membership at 26 total teams, with the goal of adding three teams in the Western Conference. There are currently 23 teams in the ECHL.
Monday, the Grizzlies will announce eight qualifying offers issued to non-veteran players from last year’s team. The offers were sent to the qualified players and confirmed by the ECHL last week well in advance of Sunday’s July 1 deadline. In addition, there will also be some player signing announcements shortly for American players that have already re-signed that will not appear on the qualifying list.
Summer Blog Entry: June 15-29
06/15/2012 12:30 PM - Adrian Denny
The summer is getting into full swing as far as player movement/announcements go. On July 2, the team will announce up to 8 qualifying offers that have been issued to players from last year’s team.
That means that those players will play with Utah if they return to the ECHL, unless of course that they are traded.
Before the qualifying offers, though business must be completed for the previous year. As we discussed last week the Grizzlies had to complete three “future considerations trades.” You see “future considerations” trades all of the time and probably wonder what that means. Future considerations can mean anything, it just depends on what the two teams have agreed upon. For instance when the Grizzlies acquired Ryan Watson from Idaho in December, they merely wrote the Steelheads a check for cash to complete the deal. How much cash? It just depends and every deal is different. Sometimes a deal will be completed in which “future considerations” means a team will get a player at or by a set date. For instance, in 2010-2011, the Grizzlies made a trade with a team and were awarded future considerations. In that trade, the player that they were getting was already decided on and put into the trade agreement at the time of the trade. However, Utah agreed to receive that player by a set date instead of immediately for reasons known to the two teams. Maybe the trading team needed that player to get though a few weeks or Utah was full at the time and not in need of players. Other times, it is not decided who the player will be but stipulations are established. The Grizzlies acquired last year’s leading scorer Paul McIlveen in 2011 to complete a future considerations deal in which Utah knew that they were going to get one of Cincinnati’s top forwards, they just got their pick of who with stipulations written into the original trade agreement. A lot of times future considerations trades for players won’t be completed until after the season. I told you last week that I would explain why these deals can be like playing with “house money.” You get a player, but then don’t have to pay up until after the season. Furthermore, ECHL teams changeover so much from year to year that rarely does 30-percent of the team even return. So if you lose a player in a future considerations trade after the season, chances are, based on the percentages, that they would have probably not returned to the team anyway, whether he went to the AHL, Europe or retired. Each of the last two seasons, only six players have been on the initial training camp roster from the previous year’s team. Utah completed trades this week that brought Derick Martin, Cody Lampl and Ryan Turek to Utah before last season for future considerations. So in other words, Utah received three solid defensemen for really nothing during the course of the season. That being said, the Grizzlies knew that they would lose something eventually and that happened this week. But given the percentages listed before, it was something that they were prepared to deal with.
Toledo received the rights to Cody Lampl to complete the Derick Martin trade from last August. Idaho acquired the ECHL rights to Patrick Cullity who hadn’t played for Utah since December 14 after an AHL call-up to complete the Lampl trade from last summer. And finally Reading received the ECHL rights to Jeff LoVecchio to complete the Derick Martin trade from training camp.
The ECHL Board of Governors will meet next week in Las Vegas. This is when any changes to divisions or playoff format changes for the upcoming season will be decided, in addition to any other rule changes. As I will be in Las Vegas next week, I will analyze the aftermath of those meetings in the blog on June 29.
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THERE WILL NOT BE A SUMMER BLOG NEXT WEEK.
Summer Blog Entry: June 8
06/08/2012 12:25 PM - Adrian Denny
The Utah Grizzlies will complete three trades in the next week or so with the Toledo Walleye, Idaho Steelheads and Reading Royals. The deals will complete transactions that brought Ryan Turek, Cody Lampl and Derick Martin to Utah. When the trades are completed, I will explain the parameters of all three and why making a future considerations deal is like getting something for free, unless you have to pay cash considerations instead; which some trades are and it’s not a lot of money anyway, so nevertheless.
Around the league, the Idaho Steelheads and expansion Orlando Solar Bears are on the clock to hire head coaches. Maybe next week at this time, we can give an up and down analysis of the new individual coaching the Grizzlies closest regional rival in Boise next season. We’ll see him in his first two games with the Steelheads on October 12 and 13, and then 11 more times throughout the year.
The Grizzlies will not have a former member winning a Stanley cup this year for unfortunately the fifth-straight year after back-to-seasons in 2006 and 2007 when Ray Whitney, Scott Niedermayer and Ric Jackman won the NHL championship with Carolina and Anaheim.
One thing that differentiates hockey from other sports for the better is the post-game handshake line after a playoff series. Watching the NBA over the course of the playoffs and most recently the conclusion of the San Antonio/Oklahoma City series Wednesday night, the playing surface becomes such a circus after the game. Some players leave the court, others wander around and pay their regards to select opponents. You also have reporters and everyone else on the playing surface, just as you do a football game. Hockey does it right and it looks professional in the process. Each team forms a line, everyone shakes everyone’s hand and they all enjoy the moment or the agony of defeat with their teammates on the ice and without the company of hundreds of others who have no business being on the playing surface at that time.
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Summer Blog Entry: June 1
06/01/2012 1:33 PM - Adrian Denny
The Utah Grizzlies also have a former player tied to Utah’s Trevor Lewis currently competing in the Stanley Cup Final with Los Angeles.
Former Utah forward Marcus Carroll, who missed the 2011-2012 season with an injury, was a teammate of Lewis in Owen Sound of the Ontario Hockey League during the 2006-2007 season.
Let’s look at the newly released 2012-2013 schedule from a player/coaching standpoint. These guys are going non-stop for six months and there is one thing that is looked at first each year when the schedule comes out; Christmas Break. The ECHL and PHPA have mandated three days without games for Christmas so players can get home to their families for one of maybe two times all year; the all-star break being the other. And with the help of Grizzlies management, the team will indeed get just about another full week off for the holidays. It marks the second-straight year of a nice Grizzlies Christmas Break after a couple of
seasons in which the team was only able to get the mandatory three days.
I think it’s a pretty good schedule for Utah, and with the adding of San Francisco making 9 teams in the conference, it took some creativity on the league’s part to insure weekend games for teams were not affected; even with one team seemingly being open every night a full slate was scheduled. There will be a lot more weekend movement during the year. For instance, Colorado plays here October 26 and then heads to Las Vegas for a game on the 27th. We haven’t seen much of that over the last couple of years in terms of weekend shuffling, with the exception of California locations, which are closer than the western outposts and make for easier day-to-day travel on road trips.
The schedule has several drafts, with the first one being looked at by teams in early April. The teams then look at their draft, come up with a list of grievances , if you will, and send the proposed issues back to the league, who goes back to work and sends out a second draft a week or so later. The process continues until the league is satisfied and sends each team their final draft. From that point on, if a team needs to make a change, it must agree with another team to do so.
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