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Game Day Blog Archive

January 30: Game Day

01/30/2009 7:49 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies will look to extend their unbeaten streak (2-0-3-3) to nine games tonight which would tie a team high since they joined the ECHL in 2005 when they won nine-straight games from October 29-November 24, 2005.

Mike Sgroi will make his Utah re-debut tonight for the first time since playing 45 games during the 2003-2004 season. Since, last playing with the Grizzlies, the 6-foot-5 power forward has played in Idaho, Wheeling, Wilkes-Barre Scranton, Albany, Syracuse, Elmira, Binghamton, Pensacola and Johnstown. Sgroi at 30, becomes the oldest Utah player beating out Tim Verbeek by just under 14 months.

Wanted to take a second to promote a fellow blogger as former Utah forward and current Steelhead Justin Bourne checked in to let us know of his blog; http://jtbourne.wordpress.com/. Make sure to scroll down and read "Chemistry Experiment #39" which is about Travis Rycroft.

Well after a stretch of six games in less than a month versus Idaho, the Grizzlies now open four-straight games against Phoenix and eight of ten games against Phoenix or Bakersfield who currently sit in last place in the West and Pacific Division respectively. Though we certainly saw how last place Reading faired against Utah and Idaho last month.

The Phoenix RoadRunners are playing their best hockey of the year after taking two-straight games from the red hot Stockton Thunder last Friday and Sunday as they handed new coach Matt Thomas his first regulation losses as coach in his ninth and eleventh games behind the bench.  Phoenix did lose 2-1 at Las Vegas Tuesday night but goaltender Craig Kowalski continues to play the same hockey that earned him goaltender of the week last week.

Send me your comments and own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com

January 25: Game Day

01/25/2009 8:31 AM - Adrian Denny
With 17 goals in the last three games and 30 scores in their last five games, just about everyone on the Grizzlies roster has dramatically padded their offensive stats over the last two weeks.

Ryan Kinasewich is always the easy one and you can analyze his stats all day long and just keep coming up with new trends and information. But staying strictly with scoring streaks; he is the only Utah player who has scored in every game of this seven-game unbeaten streak tallying seven goals and 13 assists in the last seven games. But he’s not the only one who has been on a tear.

Other Grizzlies players with scoring streaks entering today’s action:

Rob Hennigar, five games (one goal, nine assists)
Evan Kotsopoulos, 4 games (two goals, four assists)
Tom May, 3 games (three goals)
Tyler Wooddisse, 2 games (three assists)
Jordan Hart, 2 games (one goal, one assist)
Andy Sertich, 2 games (one goal, one assist)
Tim Verbeek, 2 games (two goals, one assist)

That is eight of Utah’s 16 skaters that have a scoring streak entering tonight. Very impressive, though now the Grizzlies really must focus on their own end and protecting Mike Mole who starts his third-game-in-three-nights for the third time this year.

Hard to believe, but the Grizzlies won’t see Idaho now for nearly a month when they travel to Boise February 24 and 25 to open an eight game road trip. The Grizzlies and Steelheads have met now six times in less than a month going back to December 26 and 10 times since December 3. Idaho meanwhile is probably equally sick of Utah. They haven’t played a home game against another National Conference opponent besides the Grizzlies since December 20 when they hosted Bakersfield.

To me tonight’s keys to the game from Kevin Colley, will probably be the same as wrapping up a long road trip as the Grizzlies complete three-games-in-three-nights in which they have exerted quite a bit of energy in the last two games: Keep it simple and limit mistakes.

As heartbreaking as the last two nights have been, two points tonight by the Grizzlies give them four points out of six for the second-straight weekend, despite still battling the one-point overtime/shootout loss blues.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

January 24: Game Day

01/24/2009 8:36 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies certainly have found their offense with a team-high 24 goals in their last five games. It has also been a complete team effort as 14 of Utah’s 16 regular skaters have at least a point in the last three games.

The team has proven to score in a bunches too with at least a three goal period in four of their last five games.

Obviously the Grizzlies and Steelheads continue to play close games with five of nine games now going past regulation and six of nine total being decided by one goal. In four of nine games this year, a team has blown a third period lead (last night each team did) and six of nine have been tied at some point in the third period.

The Grizzlies were on the right track last night as it was the first time all year that Idaho has won a game when allowing three goals or more.

Tom May continues to ride the momentum of his all-star appearance in his rookie year. Including a goal in Wednesday’s all-star game in Reading, Pennsylvania, May has a goal in six-straight games.

Utah has definitely made a considerable amount of progress over the last 17 games going 7-3-4-3. The goals have begun to come and the special teams have begun to click. Rob Hennigar, who is always very honest and upfront was quoted this morning in the Salt Lake Tribune noting the team’s progress. “Unfortunately, I don't think we have as much confidence as we should. It's an ongoing process. We've come tenfold since the last couple weeks. We've got to have that winning attitude. It just starts with the little things," Hennigar said about Utah's road to improvement. "Once we start stringing a few wins together, it will come. If we could pull out some overtime wins, we'd have a lot more points."

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!

January 23: Game Day

01/23/2009 9:10 AM - Adrian Denny
The last two times the Grizzlies and Steelheads have played, 60 minutes hasn’t been enough to decided the contest. In fact, four of eight games this year between the two have gone past regulation.

Then again, it hasn’t just been an Idaho thing. Three-straight contests, four of five and  eight of Utah’s last 13 games have gone into overtime or a shootout. The Grizzlies have been in every game and have lost just two games in regulation since the first of the year.

Just to keep you posted on Ryan Kinasewich, he is on another tear with three goals and five assists last week in three games. Overall, he leads the ECHL in scoring with six goals and 13 assists in nine games in 2009.

And what’s the deal with Kinasewich and the last week before the all-star break? He is on the verge of being named the league’s player of the week for the week before the all-star break for the third-straight year. January 10-14, 2007 Kinasewich had five goals and four assists in four games as Utah went 3-1. Last year, before the all-star game in Stockton, he had one goal and 10 assists in three games as the Grizzlies went 2-1.

So with the Grizzlies and Steelheads meeting for a record 15 times on the year, I just have kind of a weird feeling that the two teams will meet in the playoffs and why not the first round? Last year, Utah played 11 games against Las Vegas, more than any opponent and then saw the Wranglers in the conference finals for four more games.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!

January 20: All-Time Grizzlies ECHL Team

01/20/2009 11:04 PM - Adrian Denny
So I said, just prior to the all-star break that I would soon name an all-time Grizzlies ECHL All-Star team consisting of three forwards, two defensemen and a goaltender. However, I have decided to make it three forward lines, three defensive pairings and three goaltenders to make it as fair and accurate as possible on the eve of the ECHL All-Star game in Reading, Pennsylvania.

So here it is.

Number-One Line
Ryan Kinasewich, Best Player in the ECHL the last four years.
Trevor Smith, NHL debut December 31, first NHL goal less than a week later.
Tyler Haskins, Sleeper that will be on Island soon.

Number-Two Line
Louis Dumont, All-Time leading scorer in ECHL history.
Scott Burt, Solid year in Utah last year. Could play forever if he wants. Then will undoubtedly coach.
Olivier Labelle, In any other organization, other than Vancouver, would be in AHL now. No idea how there's not room for him in Manitoba.

Energy Line
Micheal Haley, Exactly what the Islanders need. When he gets there he will stick and be a longtime New Yorker.
Travis Rycroft, The example of a perfect Utah Grizzlies player on and off the ice.
Brad Herauf, Got first AHL call-up earlier this year. Unfortunately, he's hurt again.

D-Pairing #1
Andy Sertich, “Serty’s Serty”, Grizzlies Assistant Coach Jeff Dwyer
Andrew MacDonald, Will he become the 2nd Utah ECHL skater to get an NHL call-up? Guaranteed! I think.

D-Pairing #2

Jeff Dwyer, Could be everyday AHL player with NHL call-up possibility. Best Assistant Coach in ECHL without question and he’s only 28 and 37 games into his coaching career. He’s a pure genius.

Scott Ford
, Only saw “Fordo” for two months last year and there’s a reason for that.

D-Pairing #3 (The Big Guys)

Ian Forbes, Never got enough credit here. Worst luck of any human being I have ever met.
Chad Starling, Still doing his thing like he did here for a year and on ANOTHER winning team in Ontario. Won Kelly Cup last year in Cincinnati.

Goaltenders (No necessary order)
Mike Mole, All heart and starting 33 of 37 games with his numbers is no fluke. It’s not easy playing tandem goaltenders like he did last year and early this season.

Alfie Michaud,
A born goaltender with all the bells and whistles. Takes a loss harder than anyone and prepares for a game unlike any other without question. Just don't talk to him on a gameday

Nathan Lawson, From being cut by the RoadRunners last November to the number-three goaltender in the Islanders organization right now.

I think this is a pretty solid comprehensive list but always welcome your thoughts at adenny@utahgrizz.com or on the team’s message board.



January 17: Game Day

01/17/2009 11:20 AM - Adrian Denny
November 2, 2005 was a day that could go down as one of the top three best days in Grizzlies history next to winning back-to-back Turner Cup Championships in 1995 and 1996. That was the day the Grizzlies and then coach Jason Christie made the best trade in team history without question.

It was on November 2, 2005 that the Grizzlies acquired Ryan Kinasewich from the Reading Royals and current Ontario coach Karl Taylor in exchange for future considerations.

Since then, Kinasewich has gone on to score 100 goals and tally 139 assists for 239 points in 174 games. He is currently just 39 points behind Chris Taylor to become the all-time leading scorer in Grizzlies history. Taylor had 278 points in 278 games played with Utah. Last night, the fourth-year Utah player tacked on four assists marking the second time in three games he has put up four points. He has two goals and nine assists in his last four games overall. What an unbelievable player he has been to watch in a Grizzlies uniform.

What a difference 48 hours made on the Grizzlies special teams effort last night as Utah went from 0-8 on the power-play Wednesday to 3-9 last night. The penalty-kill which went from allowing three power-play goals in just five situations Wednesday to 7-7 last night. All I have to say about that is COACHING. Things like that just all of a sudden don’t fix themselves.

Defenseman Tyler Wooddisse made a very impressive debut last night for the Grizzlies after being acquired in a trade from Dayton Tuesday. He said he wasn’t 100-percent happy with his play but definitely had some great shifts on both ends of the ice and looks like a fine addition.

With the All-Star break coming up next week and thanks to an emailer last night on Grizzlies Radio Interactive, I will be officially coming up with an all-time Grizzlies All-Star starting lineup through four years in the ECHL and I welcome you to do the same. Email me at adenny@utahgrizz.com your top goaltender, two defensemen and three forwards since 2005 and I will put them in my special edition all-star blog during the middle of next week.

GO GRIZZLIES!

January 16: Game Day

01/16/2009 12:27 PM - Adrian Denny
It’s good to be back in Southern California where in 2007-2008 the Grizzlies didn’t visit for the first time in three years following the exit of the Long Beach Ice Dogs from the league after the 2006-2007 season and before that the San Diego Gulls who closed shop after the 2005-2006 season.

This is Utah’s first trip to California this season and their first visit to the Golden State since closing out the then Fresno Falcons in six games in the first round of the playoffs on April 21 after playing their first 17 road games in Boise (6), Victoria (3), Anchorage (3), Las Vegas (3) and Phoenix (2).

Ontario is located less than an hour from Los Angeles and the team has a brand new building in the Citizen’s Business Bank Arena which is located in a great area.

Defenseman Jason Wooddisse met the team yesterday as they flew in from Boise at the Los Angeles International airport and will be in the lineup tonight after being acquired in a trade from Dayton on Tuesday.

After flying in late yesterday morning, the Grizzlies had a rare day to take a break and just relax. Head Coach Kevin Colley, Assistant Coach Jeff Dwyer and I were able to secure passes at the last second to the Los Angeles Kings/Detroit Red Wings game taking place at Staples Center, rented a car and successfully made it through rush hour traffic to arrive at the arena in plenty of time.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me kind notes and emails in regards to my trip to the 2009 ECHL All-Star game. I really appreciate hearing from fans and listeners and look forward to every single Grizzlies game like it is my first!

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

January 14: Game Day

01/14/2009 10:04 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies are back in foggy Idaho for the fourth time this year and will play their sixth game at the Qwest Arena tonight as they complete the first-half of the season prior to next week’s all-star festivities in Reading, Pennsylvania.

As I mentioned, it is extremely foggy in Boise, unlike Salt Lake where yesterday when we left it was bordering on shorts and t-shirt weather. I understand that the Boise Airport also closed last night just ten minutes after the team arrived last evening. In, what is currently a slow news city, fog is definitely the main story here in the “City of Trees.”

I haven’t heard anything from the ECHL yet but you would have to think that Ryan Kinasewich would be one of the top contenders for the league’s “Player of the Week” award. The Grizzlies captain led the team and the league last week with three goals and six assists for nine points. (Editor's Note: Stockton's Cory Urquhart won the award with five goals in two games.)

Also, it looks like Vladimir Nikiforov, who is currently in Bridgeport, will be replaced by a Utah teammate at the ECHL All-Star Game next week. An easy favorite would be fellow rookie Tom May who is second on Utah in rookie scoring.

An Idaho team of former Grizzlies at one time, is now not so much. Garett Bembridge (2007-2008) is currently in Iowa. Steve Gainey (2000-2004), who’s father Bob is General Manager of the Montreal Canadians, is currently with their AHL affiliate in Hamilton. Justin Bourne remains on 30-day IR.

The Grizzlies look to avenge their Snow Day Mishap that took place here December 26 in a 5-1 loss. Of course, that was the 21-hour-trip here and back to Salt Lake due to horrific winter weather Christmas night.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!

January 10: Game Day

01/10/2009 10:22 AM - Adrian Denny
We keep looking for a game to get the Grizzlies jump started and on a roll. But honestly they’ve been motoring forward on a pretty consistent basis for the last month or so.

Utah is 5-3-3-1 in their last 12 games dating back to December 12, which coincidentally enough is when Ryan Kinasewich returned back to the Utah lineup. So really the only part of this year that the Grizzlies were in a funk was the ten games when Kinasewich was out when they went 1-7-1-1. So with their 6-3 start and the last 12 games, Utah is 11-6-3-1. While we’ve all be looking for something dramatic to start a winning streak, but the team has held pretty steady as they still look to find themselves.

Last night hopefully gets Utah started offensively as they scored two goals in the final 5:24 of regulation after 121:26 without a goal. Kinasewich has two multi-point games in the first three games of this home stand and tonight Utah will look to finish the four-game in five-night set 2-1-1-0 for five of a total of eight points. Tonight is obviously a huge game as the team heads on the road for three-straight games next week heading into the All-Star Break.

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about the status of Vladimir Nikiforov, who is currently in Bridgeport and whether or not he will play in the All-Star game January 21 in Reading, Pennsylvania. You’ll remember Justin Bourne reported to Stockton last year for All-Star festivities while on recall to Bridgeport. However, the Sound Tigers play the night of the All-Star game in Albany. Last year Bourne was able to play because Bridgeport had a week off. Either way, the Grizzlies will be represented. I would expect Tom May to replace Nikiforov on the roster if he is a no-go. The ECHL All-Star game really should be called the future’s game because it is almost exclusively first and second year players with the exception of the captains and assistant captains.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

January 9: Game Day

01/09/2009 8:37 AM - Adrian Denny
About a month ago, the Grizzlies shook off a disappointing midweek loss to Idaho at home by rattling off two-straight wins versus the old-look pre-Matt Thomas Stockton Thunder before hitting the road for Phoenix.

Tonight, Utah will look to duplicate that after Wednesday’s tough loss to Reading 3-0. The two conference finalists in the Grizzlies and Wranglers from last year currently have a combined record of 27-28-3-5 as they both still look to roll off a series of wins in a row. It has been another chess match this year between the Grizzlies and Wranglers, with each team currently 2-2-0-1 versus the other as three of the total five games have been decided by one goal and each team winning a game by three.

After starting 27-straight games, and being off for two, Mike Mole didn’t lose a beat returning to the lineup Wednesday stopping 25 of 27 shots from Reading. Mole will get both starts this weekend, with goaltender Robert Gherson being recalled to Chicago after giving Mole a quick breather and going 2-0 Saturday and Tuesday. Kevin Colley indicated Wednesday on Grizzlies Radio that is was possible that Gherson could return as early as next week.

As we have entered into 2009 and the all-star break quickly approaches, we will start to examine the standings a little closer and also thank the Stockton Thunder for their efforts this week in Phoenix. The Thunder defeated the RoadRunners last night 8-2 in downtown Phoenix to win their second-straight game at US Airways Center to keep the Grizzlies still two points above their rivals to the south in the West Division standings.

With Fresno gone, the Grizzlies released a revised schedule for the rest of the season yesterday which will definitely be a plus for those of us who religiously track frequent flyer miles but that’s about it. The new schedule features increased travel and game frequency for all teams and the second-half of the season will definitely go fast and could possibly become a blur. See what I mean by viewing the new schedule here on www.utahgrizzlies.com and doing some simple travel math between games and the Utah travel schedule.

So the next question now becomes what is the playoff format. Originally, it was the top four teams in each division, but now there are only four teams in the Pacific Division and it wouldn’t seem fair for all of those teams to have already clinched a playoff berth. So probably expect the ECHL’s Board Of Governors to change the format to eight of the top nine teams in the conference to qualify. To me that would only make sense, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!

January 7: Game Day

01/07/2009 8:30 AM - Adrian Denny
We talked yesterday about Ryan Kinasewich getting ready to breakout. Well he did last night with two goals and one assist. It always seems like around the first of the year he just starts piling up the points. Last year on January 16 versus Phoenix, he set an all-time Grizzlies record with one goal and five assists and followed it up two nights later with a four-assist performance. During a three-game stretch from January 12-14 of 2007, the scorer tallied five goals and three assists and Utah rolled off three-straight road wins.

The Grizzlies last night battled back from two separate two-goal deficits marking the fourth time this year that they have trailed by two goals in a game and rallied back to win; including their last two home games.

The Grizzlies gained two points last night by battling back while their arch-rival in the Phoenix RoadRunners blew a 3-0 lead and fell 5-4 at home. Stockton’s Cory Urquhart tied the game with 1:20 left in regulation then added the game-winner with three seconds left to give the Thunder the regulation win. With that and the Grizzlies victory, Utah moves above Phoenix in the West Division standings.

Kevin Colley told us yesterday on Grizzlies Radio that he is going to go with the goaltender with the hot hand while he’s got Chicago’s Rob Gherson and Mike Mole both on the roster. Gherson arrived to Utah just in time with the Grizzlies currently in a stretch of six games in nine nights. As well as Mole played during his 27-straight starts, that certainly would have been an emotional test of the stamina.

Send me your comments and own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.


January 6: Game Day

01/06/2009 8:36 AM - Adrian Denny
Now home for four games in five nights and with a relatively full roster for the first time since the second game of the year, this is a golden opportunity for the Grizzlies to get things going as they wrap up the first half of the season. Going 2-0-1-0 in their last three home games is a nice start for the Grizzlies and they will look to continue that.

The combination of Robert Gherson and Mike Mole immediately becomes one of the top two goaltending tandems in the ECHL as we saw with Rob Saturday and Mike in 27 previous starts before that. Utah has allowed three goals or less in nine of their last ten games.

Offensively, Captain Ryan Kinasewich is due for a breakout game of three-six points. He can tie a season-high by extending his scoring streak to four games tonight, but has gone six-straight games without a multiple-point game after four multi-point games in the first nine contests of the year. Utah is 4-0-1-0 this year when Kinasewich scores a goal. While, it is essentially irrelevant with the exception of the team name, this is Kinasewich’s first game against Reading since being traded to Utah for future considerations the first month of the season in 2005. In his rookie season, he tallied 16 goals and 22 assists with the Royals in 48 games while also logging 29 games in Manchester of the AHL. Irrelevant, because Reading has a different affiliation, they are now with Toronto after being with Los Angeles at that time and his former coach in Pennsylvania Karl Taylor is now with Ontario. He was however a teammate of Reading Assistant Coach Larry Courville during the 2004-2005 season. He is the only remaining holdover from that season.

Grizzlies newcomer Rob Hennigar was a college teammate of Reading goaltender Michael Ouzas at the University of New Brunswick where the two won a championship in 2007 and finished as the CIS runner-up last year.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!

January 3: Game Day

01/03/2009 10:50 AM - Adrian Denny
Never on a professional sports team have I seen so many players with the same first names. Just this week, the Grizzlies lost a James, picked up one and added two players named Robert. Four common first names make up nearly half of the hockey club.

What’s In A Name


Players Named Evan

Evan Kotsopoulos
Evan Stoflet

Players Named Robert

Robert Gherson
Rob Hennigar

Players Named James
James Sanford
James Sixsmith ( Currently in Bridgeport)
James Brannigan

Player’s Named Mike
Michael Walsh
Michael Mole

Though what would really put us over the top would be for Kevin Colley to acquire another Vladimir or two!

Robert Gherson will start tonight for Utah in what will be Mike Mole’s first scheduled day off since the Grizzlies beat Alaska 7-3 opening night at the E-Center on October 24. Seven goals would be nice, I would even settle for three, for a Grizzlies team that has scored seven times in their last five games. Goals against Las Vegas are never easy though, as the Grizzlies have just eight in four games this year and that includes five in one game November 22. Las Vegas historically has some of the league’s best goaltending, penalty-killing and a great defensive system all together; even this year with the team struggling as much as they have since the 2004-2005 season.

Making their Utah debuts last night, Rob Hennigar and James Brannigan were both two of the best offensive players for the Grizzlies and I expect both of them to make more impact after another day or so with the team.

The Grizzlies have won in every building in the ECHL’s National Conference since the last time they won a game at the Orleans Arena here in Las Vegas on November 2, 2007. Las Vegas clearly hasn’t taken very kindly to that 8-5 whipping they took from Utah that night as Ryan Kinasewich and Micheal Haley each had hat tricks.

Send me your comments and your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

GO GRIZZLIES!

January 2: Game Day

01/02/2009 10:34 AM - Adrian Denny
As the Grizzlies pulled into Las Vegas for games tonight and tomorrow, there were some new, VERY TALENTED faces on the bus with them.

Rob Hennigar, who set all kind of scoring records at the University of New Brunswick and had solid numbers in this his rookie season in Bridgeport will replace James Sixsmith (called-up Tuesday) on the Grizzlies number-one line. Players who have been assigned from Bridgeport over the last couple of years to make their Utah debuts have established some pretty solid track records as Grizzlies as well as made the best of their opportunities here in the ECHL before moving back up. Trevor Smith made his NHL debut Tuesday, Andrew MacDonald has put himself into a similar position with solid play this year in Bridgeport and Olivier Labelle, who is currently playing solid with the Manitoba Moose, all got assigned to Utah to get more playing time, made excellent contributions and are now back primed for great careers.

For the first time since the fourth game of the season, Mike Mole finally has company at his position with the assignment of goaltender Robert Gherson from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. Gherson, who has five years of pro experience, mostly in the AHL, is also another probably overqualified ECHL goaltender who is here to get some good minutes which means Mike Mole’s consecutive games started streak will end at either 27 or 28 this weekend. Enjoy your day off Molesy!

Though as we have seen before, it sometimes takes a game or so for a player joining a team to get acclamated and some times their legs, so be patient, if Hennigar doesn't get a hat trick or Gherson a shutout in their first games.

I don’t like reading message boards for any sport because it gives me high blood pressure. Don’t get me wrong, 90-percent of the people on message boards are well thought out and attempting to bring something constructive to the forefront. The other 10-percent are frustrated fantasy league owners who think being the GM of a team, especially an ECHL one, is the same as being the owner of “Romolicous” or whatever they call their fantasy team on yahoo.com, where you can just dump players and pick new ones up all day long because there is always 200-300 names available and there are no realistic factors involved whatsoever. As I’ve said all year, getting a quality ECHL goaltender in the middle of a season is next to impossible, and the people who have been suggesting that Kevin Colley needs to go out and bring Dominik Hasek here because Mike Mole is “tired” need a reality check. The fact that Gherson is now in Utah is a huge testament to Kevin’s unbelievable dedication to getting a second goaltender that started when Nathan Lawson was called up to Bridgeport on October 28. The last two years, Malcolm Cameron in Texas, had one goaltender for probably 50-60 games each season and that guy makes more transactions than any coach in history, not to mention no one over the last three years has won more games than him. While it did give him extra salary cap space, chances are he would have snagged a goaltender out there had one become available. Living dangerously is usually unavoidable when coaching in the “Premier AA Hockey League.” Also, the people that think Bridgeport needs to go sign Evgeni Nabakov and bring him to Utah because the Grizzlies are their affiliate need to take a deep breath as well. The Islanders and Sound Tigers have five goaltenders in their system and you never anticipate your franchise player in Rick DiPietro going down for at least the first half of a season, even given his injury issues last year. He was forecasted as 100-percent entering training camp, which would have kept Lawson or someone under AHL or NHL contract in Utah all season joining Mike Mole, who is under an ECHL contract with the Grizzlies, but never exempt from going back to Bridgeport.

The Grizzlies are in a stretch of five of nine games against Las Vegas that started December 20 and ends January 10. Both teams are still looking to break out and hopefully 2009 starts on the right foot for the Grizzlies!

Go Utah!

Send me your comments or your own blog entries at adenny@utahgrizz.com.

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