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Game Day Blog Archive

March 27: Game Day

03/27/2009 10:16 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies look to get back on track following a 4-2 setback Wednesday versus Phoenix. It’s a Utah team that recently has rebounded well though following a tough loss. The Grizzlies haven’t gone two games in a row without a win in their last 12 games.

However it is going to be tough despite the fact that Utah is 5-1-0-1 versus the Thunder this year and has held them to one goal twice, two goals three times and three goals once this year. Stockton is also battling for playoff position and won’t easily forget the beating that Tom May and Utah put on them last Thursday here.

Rob Hennigar definitely deserved finally getting the call back to the AHL after leading the ECHL in virtually every statistical category possible since coming to Utah at the first of the year. Congratulations to Rob and I would be surprised if we see him back at this level again. At the end of the day, there’s really no point for him to be here. He has proven to be above this level of play.

With Hennigar and also Walsh getting called-up to Grand Rapids yesterday, Andy Sertich will go back up front and play forward. I got the feeling last time that Kevin Colley really wished it was possible to play Sertich “on both sides of the ball” after his two game stint as a forward last weekend. Not to mention, I also think he is the best penalty-killer in the league and always valuable on the power-play. You never know, Andy could now transition back into a forward after becoming a fulltime defensemen his second pro game in 2006 after being drafted as a forward by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Mike Mole, who left the game versus Phoenix in the second period Wednesday is not on the one-game trip for Utah and is listed as day-to-day. Robert Gherson will get the start tonight and looked just fantastic in place of Mike Mole Wednesday. He stopped all nine shots he saw after coming into the game in mid-sentence after keeping Trainer Mike Plandowski company for the first half of the game on the far side of the bench.

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


March 25: Game Day

03/25/2009 8:45 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies look to officially punch their ticket to the post-season tonight with a win in regulation over the Phoenix RoadRunners.

Looking at the Grizzlies potential first round opponent, it is either going to be Alaska or Idaho. The Aces lead Idaho by seven points entering tonight but the Steelheads have three games in hand. Alaska finishes the year with still four games left on their eight-game road trip, two of which will be in Utah. The Aces will be in Las Vegas again tomorrow and Phoenix Saturday. Alaska has won three-straight and nine of their last ten.

Meanwhile, Idaho is home for seven-straight to complete the year starting tonight with Ontario opening a three-game series followed by a four-game series with Phoenix next week to wrap up the year. So while a seven-point Alaska lead looks pretty strong, a lot could still change and the Grizzlies can control their own destiny next weekend versus Alaska.

Just to give you a “blog entry game day” exclusive, it looks like if Utah opens in Alaska the playoffs will begin Thursday, April 9 or Friday, April 10 in Idaho.

It’s a Utah team that all of a sudden has 22 skaters on the roster and last night had four actual healthy scratches.

It’s also a Utah team that is starting to really excel playing on E-Center ice. Utah is 4-0-0-1 in their last five home games and has allowed just five goals during that stretch. Utah is 14-10-5-4 overall at the E-Center this year with points collected in 23 of their 33 games.

A win tonight also guarantees that Utah will finish March at .500 or better and will give them their fourth such straight-month and their fifth of six this year.

The Grizzlies have three of the ECHL’s ten leading scorers during the month of March with Hennigar leading the entire league with five goals and 17 assists. Tim Verbeek is seventh with five goals and nine assists in 12 games and Tom May leads the league with 11 goals in March and is tenth overall in scoring with 14 points.

March 24: Game Day

03/24/2009 7:46 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies and Kevin Colley will be in a position tonight that they have only been in 19 times this year in 68 games played. They have two goaltenders with at least a year of professional experience.

With Mike Mole returning from Bridgeport for the stretch run along side Robert Gherson, Colley  won’t have to rely on goaltenders making stretches of 27,9,9,8 or seven starts in a row as Utah heads into the playoffs.

Looking at tonight’s game at Phoenix presents Colley with an intriguing situation when comparing his two goalies. Gherson is 2-0 at home and has only allowed three goals or more in two-straight games this year and the Grizzlies lost 4-1 in Bakersfield Friday. Mike Mole is 2-0-0-1 with a 1.95 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage versus Phoenix this year whom he played for during the 2005-2006 season.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Grizzlies have scored six goals each in their last two games against Phoenix with a player collecting Utah’s first two hat tricks of the year in James Brannigan on February 7 and Tyler Woodddisse on March 8.

While Utah recently acquired the RoadRunners rookie leading scorer from last year in Peder Skinner and of course has 2005-2006 Phoenix rookie goaltender phenom in Mike Mole, the RoadRunners have three former Grizzlies defensemen. 06-07 Utah d-men Gord Burnett and Brian Deeth, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Charlotte, join T.J. Campbell who was with Utah late last season after completing his college career.

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

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

March 20: Game Day

03/20/2009 9:53 AM - Adrian Denny
If you missed any of the first 7:39 of the first period last night in Stockton, Tom May wasn’t going to wait around for you as he started his four-goal performance just seven seconds into the contest and completed his hat trick with goals two and three in a one minute and 21 second span.

With the team’s leading goal scorer in Tim Verbeek missing just his second game of the year, May tied him at 28 with goal three and took the team lead with his 29th of the year scoring into an empty-net late in the third period. May became just the third player in the 15-year history of the Grizzlies to have a four-goal night with Brad Herauf (November 3, 2007) and Garett Bembridge (February 1, 2008) also reaching the historic four-goal plateau. And of course Tom Shattered the all-time team record for fastest goal to start a game set by Paul Kruse 9 seconds into a contest March 25, 2000 at Houston.

While May scored four of the five goals and Jordan Hart, Peder Skinner, Rob Hennigar and Andy Sertich were the only players to make it to the scoring column, it was definitely a fantastic team effort. The Grizzlies jumped to the 3-0 lead and then put the focus on protecting Robert Gherson, who again made some great saves to improve to 5-2. Obviously a big swing in the game was when referee Shane Warschaw waved off a kicked in Stockton goal less than a minute before Andy Sertich scored to give Utah a 4-1 lead halfway through the third period; which again setoff the often excitable Stockton bench led by Head Coach Matt Thomas. Though after the game on Stockton Thunder radio, color commentator Derek Eisler came to the defense of Warschaw saying he was in the perfect position and made the right call.

Back in Bakersfield the Grizzlies wrap up five games here in the last 17 days, which has encountered four different trip into “Condors Town.” Overall during this stretch, the Grizzlies will have spent eight of the last 19 nights here in Kern County and only five nights in their own beds during that stretch. After being here over the last three weeks, I can tell you the shifts, schedules and idiosyncrasies of every single employee that works at this hotel and could also point out their strengths and weaknesses in the hospitality industry.

The Grizzlies are finally on the downhill slide for the 2008-2009 regular season. After tonight, Utah will have the next two Saturday and Sunday’s off and complete the year with four of the final five games at home which will take place over the next 16 days. This, after playing 26 games over the last 44 days. 15 of those 26 games have been played on the road meaning 24 nights in hotels over the last 44 days and just five nights at home since February 23. Also tonight completes a stretch of nine games over the last 23 and nine games in 38 days against the Condors.

March 19: Game Day

03/19/2009 9:49 AM - Adrian Denny
Early in 2007, I proclaimed Ryan Kinasewich to be without question, the best player in the ECHL. Well ladies and gentlemen here comes another proclamation: Rob Hennigar is currently the best player in the ECHL hands down.

I made my decision last night by watching Rob being a human penalty-killing unit after registering an assist and a point in his 27th of 34 games since joining the Grizzlies on January 2. 17 of his 34 games have been multi-point contests and eight have been evenings of three points or more.

I am sure Florida Everblades fans would tell me that I am ignorantly discounting Kevin Baker who Tuesday became the first ECHL player since 2000-2001 to score 50 goals in a season. However, I am looking more than just scoring. Hennigar and linemate Tim Verbeek are tied for the league lead with a  plus-19 since Rob came to Utah. Baker is a plus-one overall this season and an even since January 2. Baker is also on without question on a team that has been the most talented group in the ECHL all season. Hennigar from, February 6-March 8, was on the scrappiest most pieced together team in the league and they managed to stay at .500 or better the entire time. Hennigar is averaging 1.55 points-per-game during that stretch since 1/2/09, Baker is at 1.52.

I think the real debate will start if, as currently hoped for Ryan Kinasewich, rejoins Utah for the playoff run.

We’ll talk exclusively about players named Robert in this blog; as I encourage you to visit robgherson.com for the complete ins and outs on 4-2 Utah goaltender Robert Gherson. There are a lot of great pictures from the early years of his hockey career, including some of his masks and a lot more; so check it out!

As the Grizzlies get reloaded, it was amazing to watch Jordan Hart and Andy Sertich last night as they played together for the first time in Utah since February 4. Those two are in a league of their own, especially when they are paired up.

The Grizzlies made pretty good time last night coming up from Bakersfield. The projected four hour trip from Bakersfield took less than three and a half hours and after unloading the gear at the arena, the team was at the hotel and checked-in by 2:15 a.m. Meanwhile, Stockton was in Ontario last night and pulled in around 4:30 a.m. following their six-hour ride from the Inland Empire. The Grizzlies look for their third-straight win on a travel day as they play on the same day as travel for the fourth time in 12 days.


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

March 18: Game Day

03/18/2009 9:12 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies return to Bakersfield where the Condors have been idle since losing 4-3 to Utah Saturday in regulation.

Utah is going for their third-straight win as goaltender Robert Gherson has improved to 4-1 with the club this year following his first shutout of the season at any level on Sunday.

Bakersfield is never easy and tonight will be another challenge for Utah after taking two rare days off and winning their second-straight dramatic game Sunday to keep things going in a positive direction.

Taking a look at the standings, Utah remains ten points above Phoenix in the West Division for fourth-place following the RoadRunners 1-0 loss last night in Las Vegas. While Utah has reloaded and put together a 4-2-0-1 stretch in the last 13 days, Phoenix has gone 0-6-1-0 as the Grizzlies have stretched their lead from two to ten points.

Just like clock work, Kevin Colley got word that defenseman Andy Sertich would be returning from Bridgeport yesterday as the team boarded the plane for California. Colley got an identical call last Thursday with news that Jordan Hart would join the Grizzlies in Bakersfield Friday. Sertich returns to Utah exactly two weeks after heading to Connecticut for the second time this year as his teammates traveled to Bakersfield for the first time and will be in the lineup tonight.

The Grizzlies will be without Scott Thauwald tonight who has returned to Minnesota following a death in his family. We hope all the best for Scott during this difficult time and he plans to rejoin Utah in California later this week.

Peter Mannino got some love from ESPN.com in their latest NHL power rankings for his big win on Sunday. The bad news was that they ranked New York 29th out of 30 teams. The good news was their only comment about the Islanders was “Peter Mannino!”

Also while surfing the web, check this out: Former Grizzlies forward Justin Bourne is now writing for maxhockey.com and has started a seven-part series about being a hockey player.




March 15: Game Day

03/15/2009 7:48 AM - Adrian Denny
Generically speaking, splitting a two-game series on the road is acceptable and Utah will definitely take two of a possible four points this past Friday and Saturday versus Bakersfield.

Not only did Utah avenge one of the toughest losses of the season Friday when they led 3-2 going to the third period but they also got two points against a Bakersfield team who has been the hottest in the ECHL over the last month and a half. Last night, Kevin Colley clearly had the Grizzlies regrouped as they held an explosive Bakersfield team, that had scored four or more against them in six-straight games, to just three goals.

So far so good on the trade that brought Peder Skinner and Chris Brooks to Utah. Skinner has scored in each of his first two games with Utah and Brooks collected his first assist last night in a Utah uniform.

For the Grizzlies, it’s another Sunday of travel and a game. Utah’s bus left the hotel in Bakersfield at 4:45 a.m. this morning to begin the journey to Los Angeles for a 9 a.m. flight before tonight’s 5 p.m./ 4 p.m. Bakersfield time face-off against Idaho.

The Steelheads also have to travel back to Salt Lake today after being outscored by a combined score of 7-1 this past Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas. The Steelheads are probably in the closest thing to a slump that they’ve been in all year. And when you add just the one goal that they scored Wednesday through overtime, Idaho has just two goals in their last three games; both of which have come on the power-play.

Meanwhile up in Alaska, the Grizzlies have already gained a point this weekend over Phoenix in the West Division playoff race to lead the RoadRunners by eight entering tonight. The RoadRunners led 3-1 and 4-3 in the third period Friday before Alaska won in overtime. Last night, the RoadRunners led 1-0 and 2-1 before falling with 19 seconds left as Matt Stefanishion blasted a shot from the circle past Phoenix goaltender Kyle Jones. Utah obviously knows how the RoadRunners feel. The Grizzlies went 0-5 in Anchorage this year and would be six games above .500 on the season when you minus the games that the Grizzlies have played at the Sullivan Arena against the Aces.

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

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

March 14: Game Day

03/14/2009 9:22 AM - Adrian Denny
With ten games left to go in the regular season; five at home and five on the road, the Grizzlies look to leave last night behind and start 0-0 to finish the year.

You can’t really blame last night on having four new guys. After watching the game film with Kevin Colley and Jeff Dwyer after, most of the crucial errors were made by guys that have been so solid as the team has been short the last month and a half. I would say that fatigue may have been a factor as Utah continues in this unbelievably busy stretch. With the four new players, that will definitely help matters for those guys who won't be playing the amount of minutes they were before. It was the first time all year that the Grizzlies have picked up a regulation loss when leading after two periods. So definitely a tough one to swallow but the upside definitely outweighs the negative at this point for Utah as we move forward.

With the new bodies, players that have or possibly will return from the AHL and the ones making their way back from injuries, the Grizzlies have gone from a playoff team with 12-13 skaters to a playoff contender just by refreshing their roster. I wrote a couple of weeks ago that Kevin Colley probably would not be given a whole lot of contention for coach of the year despite his unbelievable job especially, as of late, due to the fact that he is a 30-year-old rookie coach and those things usually go to guys that have been around awhile. However, in the last week and a half, at least three other ECHL broadcasters have remarked to me what a great coach Colley must be to get the output he’s gotten from this group. So we’ll just have to wait and see. I think Kevin will finish third in coach of the year voting with now Idaho’s Derek Laxdal winning the award.

The five-foot-eight Peder Skinner made his Grizzlies debut last night just hours after he, new defenseman Chris Brooks and Jordan Hart arrived on a late afternoon flight into Bakersfield. He scored a goal in his Utah debut and I think will remind a lot of Grizzlies fans of Vladimir Nikiforov, which is definitely a positive thing.

Minus the three breakaway goals, a power-play goal and a total breakdown in their own end, none of which you can blame on Robert Gherson; the Utah goaltender again reminded us how above average he is for the this level by the fact that the game wasn’t 5-1 going to the first intermission. He is so fundamentally sound and will make saves for you, the five guys in front just have to keep their ends of the bargain.

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

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

March 13: Game Day

03/13/2009 11:24 AM - Adrian Denny
Well just when it looked like the Grizzlies were back to two AHL caliber goaltenders, with yesterday’s addition of Robert Gherson from Chicago, an injury in New York opened the door for Peter Mannino to be called-up to the Islanders and in turn gave Mike Mole his first AHL call-up of the season.

Mole will see action this weekend as he and 2009 ECHL All-Star with Johnstown Kris Mayotte split time with Joey MacDonald  scratched last night for New York with a knee issue. Bridgeport visits Springfield tonight, Hartford tomorrow and Hershey Sunday so Mole is definitely set for some AHL action.

The Grizzlies will have the newly acquired Peder Skinner and Chris Brooks in the lineup tonight along with Jordan Hart as all three players will join Utah in Bakersfield this afternoon.

Obviously a fan and locker room favorite departs in Evan Kotsopoulos with yesterday’s trade. However, Kevin Colley’s number one responsibility is to win hockey games for the Utah Grizzlies and that is where his number one priority lies. While it was easily the toughest decision of his coaching career, he feels that it is the right thing for the team and other confidants in professional hockey strongly echoed the same sediments. However, that did not make it any easier for Kevin to tell Evan the news. It was an extremely emotional day for everyone to say goodbye to a man with the heart and character of Evan Kotsopoulos. He will be a friend of the organization forever and his work here on and off the ice could not be more appreciated.

While it will be a game time decision, the Grizzlies hope to have Rob Hennigar and Vladimir Nikiforov back in the lineup tonight. And obviously, the Grizzlies welcome back goaltender Robert Gherson for the stretch run after a very impressive two-game set in January that ended Mike Mole’s 27-game starting streak. However, Mike Walsh is not on the trip for Utah with an undisclosed injury.

With the transactions, Andrew McBride has headed home after one game and Jim Jensen will return to Twin City in the SPHL.

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

March 11: Game Day

03/11/2009 8:20 AM - Adrian Denny
Home for one game with yet another meeting with Idaho; and then back to Bakersfield for the Utah Grizzlies. The Grizzlies look to take advantage of their first home game in 19 days with their second win in a row against Idaho.

For Utah, while they are back home for the first time in 19 days; being back in Salt Lake for less than 48 hours, the team will be gone in less than 24 hours to head back to “Condors Town.”

Utah has their third chance at their first three-game home winning streak this year along with their first winning streak against the Idaho Steelheads of the season. Idaho on the other hand has won three-straight games after sweeping now struggling Victoria out of Boise last weekend.

While Utah is headed to Bakersfield Friday and Saturday before meeting the Steelheads back here Sunday, Idaho will be in Las Vegas for Friday and Saturday contests with the scuffling Wranglers.

So you can comment about the differences between the towns of Las Vegas and Bakersfield, but they are also two contrasting hockey teams at this point as well. The Condors are a league best 12-3-1 in their last 16 while Las Vegas has just one win in their last 13 games.

The power-plays have been very active in the last four Grizzlies/Steelheads matchups at the E-Center with Utah going 7-22 (31.8-percent) but just 22-30 (73.3-percent) on the penalty-kill.

If you’ve lost count, this is meeting number 14 between the two teams who are currently also slated to meet in the first round of the playoffs.

Probably stay tuned to utahgrizzlies.com today as potentially five new players will be added to the roster before tonight’s face-off. Two defensemen, in a soon to be announced trade, two forwards and a backup goaltender.

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


March 8: Game Day

03/08/2009 7:54 AM - Adrian Denny
For the first time this year, the Grizzlies are doing something that they seemed to do bi-weekly in the spreadout unregional AHL: play three games in three nights in three different cities. Not to mention the fact that tonight wraps up the team’s eight-game, 15 day, six hotel and seven airport road trip.

Today the Grizzlies had a 6 a.m. bus from Stockton to Oakland to catch an 8:55 a.m. flight to Phoenix. I’ve drawn a lot of comparisons on this trip to previous trips. In 2005-2006, Utah continued an eight-game road trip by wrapping up the first five-game leg that took them from Phoenix to San Diego to Long Beach back to San Diego and back to Phoenix for five games in six nights, with the final three games in that set being Friday, Saturday, Sunday in Long Beach, San Diego and Phoenix. After a 2-1 overtime loss in San Diego February 25, 2006, the Grizzlies took an all-night bus ride to Phoenix arriving at 6 a.m. then playing that night at 5 p.m. I wouldn’t have gone into this long detailed diatribe if it didn’t have a happy ending right?

It did have a happy ending as the Grizzlies and Alfie Michaud blanked Phoenix 4-0.

This year, the Grizzlies wrap up the three-in-three-in-three as they invade U.S. Airways Center to take on a RoadRunners team that has been off since surrendering a 3-2 third period lead to Stockton on Wednesday and falling 5-3 to the Thunder. Since Phoenix last played, Utah has had two games and traveled from Bakersfield to Ontario to Stockton and Oakland before finally getting into the Valley of the Sun.

The good news is that the Grizzlies will still be ahead of Phoenix in the standings and fourth place in the West Division no matter what after tonight. The bonus is that if the Grizzlies can muster out two points, they will be six commanding points ahead of the RoadRunners and one game above .500 heading back to Salt Lake City for ONE HOME GAME. What a ride it has been for Utah the last month as they have battled call-ups, injuries, a packed schedule and unbelievable travel. Kevin Colley has definitely continued to get the maximum from this shorthanded hockey club and I don’t think it can be completely appreciated. I relayed on the air Friday night what veteran Bakersfield broadcaster Kevin Bartl said to me prior to Wednesday’s game as he perused the Utah biographies: “how does Kevin Colley have this team above .500 with this group of players.” Bartl also threw in several expletives in that sentence but that would not be blog appropriate. This team has grown on and off the ice every day and it still is truly amazing what they have been able to accomplish.

The Grizzlies today will be without Vladimir Nikiforov for a second-straight evening with a lower-body injury.

Mike Mole has strived against his former team this year going 1-0-0-1 with a 0.96 goals-against-average.

If I do say so myself, there have been a couple different interviews during our broadcasts this weekend that you WILL want to checkout if you have missed.

Friday, Jeff Dwyer talked in depth about Grizzlies player development and the team’s ability to grow and advance players to the NHL. Click here to listen

Yesterday, our dear dear dear dear friend and ECHL Official Supervisor Mike Pearce and I substituted for Chris Haggin during the first intermission and talked about the league’s officiating among several other things. Click here to listen

Today, during the first intermission, I will try to track down RoadRunners broadcaster Dan Weiss to join me for some playful banter as Grizzlies Radio tries to soldier on as Haggin continues his weekend off.

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

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

March 7: Game Day

03/07/2009 10:39 AM - Adrian Denny
I mentioned last night on the broadcast that the 2006-2007 Grizzlies struggled through a long road trip going 1-2 through Anchorage and losing 7-2 in Bakersfield on a Wednesday before rebounding to win their final three-games-in-three nights.

The Grizzlies are step one into repeating that process after going 1-3 through Idaho and Alaska and suffering an 8-4 setback Wednesday in Bakersfield.

The Stockton Thunder are definitely going to remember two weeks ago when Utah defeated them 5-2 February 20 and 2-1 February 21 with a shorthanded group. That second game was very emotional and physical though the Grizzlies were definitely able to overcome the pushy Thunder.

Chris Haggin and I have mentioned all year and in previous seasons the tremendous amount of respect that we both have for Stockton Head Coach Matt Thomas. He has won everywhere he has been (Atlantic City, Fresno and now Stockton). However, the Grizzlies have definitely had his number especially as of late. Utah is 2-0-0-1 against the Thunder with Thomas as coach and of course eliminated his Fresno Falcons last year in the playoffs; dispatching of Fresno in six games. Overall, the Grizzlies 16-11-5 against Thomas all-time who will have 42 or more wins in four of his five seasons coaching by the time this season is done with and five-straight winning seasons as a coach.

The Grizzlies will look to stay just about perfect against the Thunder as well. Utah is 4-0-0-1 against them this year as they make their second trip to the Stockton Arena. The Grizzlies lost 2-1 here in a shootout in their first meeting on February 13 competing with just 14 skaters. Utah has also had success against the Thunder over the last four years going 16-7-3 against them and 5-3-2 in Stockton.

Well the Grizzlies certainly had a tumultuous night of travel. Here is a timeline:

10:30 p.m. Leave Ontario after 5-2 win
10:45 p.m. DVD player on bus doesn’t work
10:50 p.m. Grizzlies Assistant Coach Jeff Dwyer fixes dvd player
1:00 a.m. Driver pulls off curved freeway exit at full speed sending everything, including coolers of ice everywhere. Grizzlies trainer Mike Plandowski happened to be up and about attending to players during this time and I’m sure he went flying too. The driver said he hit something 10 miles back and exited the bus to remove it from the bottom of the vehicle
1:20 a.m. Driver pulls off road again just past Bakersfield with an alleged blown tire that is later confirmed
2:40 a.m. Tire store employees show up to fix tire
4:30 a.m. Bus finally departs for Stockton
8:00 a.m. Bus arrives Stockton on what should have been a five hour trip, driver does not get tip

Fan Blog From Germany

03/07/2009 10:17 AM - Adrian Denny
Adrian, Hi...
 
I haven't sent you a message in awhile and thought now would be a good time.

It is typical German weather today - mid 40's and rain.  Thanks for all of the work you do in broadcasting the games and your blogs.  The call-ups that the Grizzlies have been seeing is crazy and cool at the same time.  I was looking at the roster and I don't know any of the boys anymore.  There are only three players left that returned from the team last season.  How is Mole holding up?  He has been really awesome this year for the team. 
 
I was able to make a trip last week to the east coast and was able to watch Bridgeport play two games and an Islanders game.  That was my first NHL game and awesome.  The level of play between the three leagues is noticeable.  Our boys in Bridgeport were awesome, especially Nathan Lawson - ranked second in the AHL.  He will definately make the NHL one day.  It was a quick family trip to get our hockey fix and I am ready for a Grizzlies game.  I will be back in Utah at the end of this month and will be at the last two games of the season against Alaska.  Kinda cool that I watched the first two home game and get to watch the last two home games.  I am counting down the days...
 
I saw your blog about this crazy road trip the boys are on.  I don't have a name to call the trip ,but I do have a song for the trip "I'm With The Band" by Little Big Town.  Have a listene...
 
Good luck in Ontario, Stockton, and Phoenix this weekend.  I will be burning the midnight-oil listening to the game and rooting for the Grizzlies here in Germany!!
 
Go Grizzlies!
Melissa

Uncle Alex Checks In With Ryan Kinasewich Update

03/06/2009 9:50 PM - Adrian Denny
Had to work nights this week, the graveyard shift, but I am back listening tonight. Ryan's recovery is going better than expected and keeping the fingers crossed that he will be back in time for the playoffs. He says he watched the game the other night and Joel (Rechlicz) did pretty well in the game. Hoping for a good grizzlies game tonight. Grandma is in Edmonton with her lap top recovering from eye surgery this past week, she is also listening. Have a great evening. Go Grizzlies Go!!!!!!! Alex

March 6: Game Day

03/06/2009 11:16 AM - Adrian Denny
One common thing I’ve heard from fans the last four years in the ECHL is that these players will never make it to the NHL compared to when the Grizzlies were in the AHL. That is clearly not true.

In less than a year, four ECHL Grizzlies have gone to the NHL and three have had their tickets punched in the last three months. Joel Rechlicz made his NHL debut last night for the Islanders and recorded an assist and a plus-one. Ironically enough, the assist was changed back and forth a few times between him and former Utah defenseman Andrew MacDonald who made his NHL debut on Saturday. And of course Trevor Smith played in his first NHL game December 31 and scored his first NHL goal on January 8. All of these players have one thing in common, their all very young and have very bright NHL careers ahead of them. Smith is 24, Rechlicz is 21 and MacDonald is 22. They also have another thing in common; they were all sent to Utah at one point or another to fine tune their game. All of them then proceeded to make it to the NHL in less than a year.

The Grizzlies coaching staff deserves a great deal of credit especially in the cases of Rechlicz and MacDonald. Rechlicz was considered a project (and still is) when he arrived here and Kevin Colley and Jeff Dwyer spent an amazing amount of time with him. MacDonald, from what I hear, was also close to starting the year in Utah before sticking in Bridgeport.

Don’t forget Peter Mannino, who made his NHL debut in November and spent ten games here in Utah in February. The rookie will surely get back to the National Hockey League at some point. Also, the next question is, when does Nathan Lawson get the call-up? He was signed to an NHL contract by the Islanders earlier this week possibly foreshadowing a promotion before the end of the season. Though it does end all speculation that he will ever come back to Utah.

Utah has definitely become one of the premier player development stops in the ECHL. And we haven’t even mentioned the eight current Grizzlies who are right now in the AHL, not including Mike Walsh who returned from Grand Rapids after a month on Wednesday.

We’ve talked about it before and on Wednesday mentioned all of the current players who have advanced their game as the team went shorthanded; but all of this will certainly be a plus in Kevin Colley’s first recruiting season. Knowing Kevin, he may spend even more time recruiting than he has working during the regular season which is impressive. I see Kevin as a coach who will be on the phone probably 12 hours a day minimum this summer. His work ethic is untouched by anyone.

Not to change the subject, but there is also 15 big games left in the regular season including three-games-in-three-nights in three different cities this weekend. Wednesday was not fun at all and the Grizzlies look for a completely different outcome tonight.

No help on the way yet and probably not until the AHL trade deadline passes next week. After that, I might expect a little trickle down.

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

March 4: Game Day

03/04/2009 11:42 AM - Adrian Denny
While the Grizzlies were shorthanded during the month of February and still remain slim on the defensive end; they did get significantly deeper during the month by promoting from within.

We saw several Grizzlies players nearly double their offensive statistics during the second month of the year while the team competed with anywhere from 12-16 skaters. It was a Utah team that was extremely shorthanded but still managed to finish with their third-straight winning month and their fourth out of five this season.

They had a 6-3-0-2 stretch going before two tough losses in Alaska this past weekend. The Aces have the best home record in the ECHL for a reason and pulling out any kind of points there is always a challenge. Though Kevin Colley could not have been more dissatisfied with his team regarding Sunday’s third period.

Back to the individual performances, Tom May nearly doubled his best professional month thus far with nine goals and five assists to total him at 32 points, while also setting an all-time Grizzlies record with a goal in ten-straight games (1/16-2/16) and tying a Utah ECHL-high with a point in twelve-straight games (1/16-2/20).

Mark Pavli, who entered the month with four points total this year had four goals and five assists in February including two two-point nights in four games February 20 and 25.

James Brannigan had his first ECHL hat trick February 7 and had eight points despite missing the final two games of the month with an injury.

With Utah shorthanded on the blueline, Tim Maxwell had two goals and four assists doubling his point total from 6 to 12 in one month.

With today being the NHL trade deadline, it will be the first step of being able to speculate about final rosters from the ECHL to the NHL. So far nothing big on the Islanders front other than where is captain Bill Guerin? Guerin was pulled off of the ice during warm-ups Saturday and a trade has been speculated though nothing has been announced. (Editor's note: Guerin was just announced as being traded to Pittsburgh)

Also conspiracy theorists might be questioning Nathan Lawson’s sore shoulder that kept him out of the Sound Tigers lineup last night a day after being signed to an NHL contract by New York implying that a sign and trade may be on the way.

Also another interesting story out of Bridgeport as Jon Gleed gave up his #20 last night to Andy Sertich, giving Sertich back the jersey he had worn in his previous trips to Bridgeport.

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

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

March 1: Game Day

03/01/2009 1:36 PM - Adrian Denny
As the Grizzlies spent an off day in Anchorage, Alaska, word came around noon that a former Utah defenseman had earned his first NHL call-up.

22-year-old Andrew MacDonald became the second member of last year’s Grizzlies team to make a trip to the Island. Trevor Smith made his NHL debut December 31.

Upon hearing the news, the Grizzlies coaching staff and myself promptly made the trip to the Peanut Farm in Anchorage to catch MacDonald’s debut on Center Ice. A 7 p.m. start in New York meant a 3 p.m. start here in Alaska. It was definitely a positive debut for the young d-man who will wear #43 in New York. On his first shift less than three minutes into the game, he took the puck from his own end to the left wing circle and blasted a cannon on Buffalo netminder Patrick Lalime. MacDonald got regular shifts in the first and essentially the second before spot duty in the third. However, he was on the ice with an empty-net in the final seconds but was never able to gain control of the puck as New York held on for the 2-0 win.

The Grizzlies definitely played a great road game on Friday but again when playing Alaska ran into the league leader in essentially every goaltending category in  J.P. Lamoureux and a full stocked Aces team with the league’s best home record. Tonight won’t get any easier, though Utah would have to feel good if they can duplicate Friday’s performance of giving up only two goals on 43 shots. While  Lamoureux was impressive, so was Mike Mole drawing the attention and respect of the standing room only crowd in Alaska for his efforts.

The Aces do such a great job of clogging up the slot area and don’t allow the opposition to get to the net. Though minus a questionable five-on-three situation awarded in the third period on two minors, the game is 1-0 and who knows what would have happened down the stretch.

Here’s to another battle and the Grizzlies fourth-ever win in Anchorage in their 21st game.

GO GRIZZLIES


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