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Game Day Blog Archive

Jill Roberts: Vice President of Business Operations/CFO

04/29/2009 9:23 AM - Brett Parnham
Not to sound redundant, but I am also very excited to be moving forward with the Grizzlies. The thing I’m looking forward to most is getting to know all of the fans and season ticket holders that I have yet to come in contact with. While I have been with the Grizzlies since 1997, I have been more involved with hockey operations/accounting and behind-the-scenes during the games. It was great during the playoffs to be able to get out into the arena to talk and listen to fans. I also encourage them to telephone, email, or stop by the E-Center to introduce themselves.

I also am exited to have Jared back and know he will be successful in adding to our attendance with his staff. Jared has a great knack for anything involving people and is the ideal person for his current roll.

I really got to know Adrian several years ago during a business trip and soon realized how dedicated he was to the organization. Growing up in Utah, he feels true ownership of the Grizzlies and is working for the team 24/7/365.

Again fans, please feel free to let me know is there is anything I can assist you with and we look forward to the future.

Jill

jroberts@utahgrizz.com
(801) 988-8800.

Adrian Denny: Vice President of Communication/Broadcasting

04/28/2009 12:51 PM - Adrian Denny
Jill, Jared and I are very excited to be reunited especially in this situation where we will be running the day-to-day operations of the hockey club.

When I started as an intern with the Grizzlies in 2002, Jared was the team’s Director of Community Relations. A big part of my internship was helping him in the community and going along to elementary school assemblies. We soon developed a great working relationship. In 2005, when I was named the Grizzlies Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations, Jared had just been named the team’s Director of Ticket Sales and our chemistry continued to blend together on the Grizzlies senior staff. When Jared left for Iowa, I always had a feeling he would be back and fortunately he was only gone for a year and a half. I have never worked with anyone in the Grizzlies office as passionate as Jared about both the hockey team and succeeding as a front office.

Jill on the other hand, is someone who I have always gone to when I needed help in any area because I know, selfishly, that she will drop whatever she is doing and immediately focus on me. For the last several years, she has been very involved in our community relations efforts and putting the Grizzlies organization first in everyway. Our players know Jill as the person who takes care of everything involving their personal lives in Utah. She has been the primary contact for our player apartments the last four years and has been amazing in making our guys feel comfortable in Utah while they are here allowing them to focus strictly on hockey.

This being said, we have a tremendous team and are excited for our new rolls as the Grizzlies enter the 2009-2010 season. Just like a hockey team, there needs to be chemistry in all areas and we feel we have the best combination possible moving forward in all aspects of our organization. Kevin Colley has done a fantastic job and we look forward to continuing to support him as the Grizzlies aim towards the Kelly Cup.

Please feel free to contact us at anytime with any questions or comments.
adenny@utahgrizz.com


GO GRIZZLIES!!

Jared Youngman: Vice President

04/28/2009 12:19 PM - Matt Sorteberg
I'm so excited to be back working with the Utah Grizzlies!  My passion for the team and those involved never left me while I was away.  I looked forward to visits back to Utah so I could enter the E-Center and watch our Utah Grizzlies in action, as well as see my many friends, our dedicated hockey fans.  I was excited when I recieved the call from Kevin Bruder telling me that I was wanted back home, as much as I enjoyed being away I knew that it was time to return.

It was great to be welcomed back with open arms from the Grizzlies faithful!   I've been back with the team for two weeks and know that we have a great group of people who are dedicated and passionate about wanting to work hard everyday and see our team succeed, starting with our fabulous owners Dave & Donna down to Kevin Bruder, myself, Jill, and Adrian, as well as our front line ticket sales staff,  corporate sales department and the coaches with Kevin Colley and Jeff Dwyer.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I know that with the passion, dedication and excitment coming from all involved, I am confident that we will acheive our goals and get attendence back to where it used to be!  We need help from you our supporters!  Please know that we want to know your thoughts. Please call or stop in and talk with us, we need your help!

"Individual Commitment to a Group Effort"

GO GRIZZLIES

April 17: Game Day

04/18/2009 8:53 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies will look to move the series back to Alaska with a victory tonight against the Aces who will be aiming to finish the series without at least another game back in Anchorage.

Last night the Grizzlies clearly had a frustrating evening not only against goaltender J.P. Lamoureux but the rest of the Aces defensemen too. Alaska held Utah to just 26 shots. Once again, the Aces didn’t allow a whole lot to even reach their goaltender and the Grizzlies certainly never had any second chances on rebounds when they did get a shot on him. The Aces already strong on the blueline, got even stronger starting with game three when T.J. Fast and Tyson Marsh both joined them from the AHL. Meanwhile, the exact opposite occurred in the Utah end with Mike Mole receiving virtually no support the last two games.

The Aces have scored the first goal in all four games of this series, which really puts them in a good position. Utah has just one win since February 7 when the opposition scores first but is 7-0-0-1 since March 4 when they score first.

The line of Mike Walsh (four assists), James Sixsmith (two goals, one assist) and Vladimir Nikiforov (two goals, one assist) have accounted for four of Utah’s five goals the last two nights. Meanwhile Brett Beauchamp has been on the ice and collected points in two of Utah’s last three goals.

Tonight, the Grizzlies will look for more passengers to help steer the ship, instead of just passengers along for the ride.

The Victoria Salmon Kings now await the winner of this series following their four-game dispatch of the Idaho Steelheads with a 2-1 come from behind overtime win last night. Victoria outscored Idaho 16-4 over the four games. The Steelheads are now 0-8 since winning the 2007 Kelly Cup as last year they were swept by Alaska in the first round.

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

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

April 16: Game Day

04/17/2009 7:44 AM - Adrian Denny
A pivotal game four tonight between the Grizzlies and Aces as in 24 hours the Grizzlies will hopefully be tied 2-2 or be down to 3-1.

On Wednesday, for the first time since February 7, they won a game when the opposition scored first.

This series through three games, appears to be one where the first team to two or three goals will win. You would have thought that two would have been enough again when the Aces scored their second to go up 2-1 Wednesday with 8:03 left in the contest but the Grizzlies came back with two goals in 8:33 to complete the comeback and the 3-2 overtime win. Obviously, this is all largely in part to the goaltending tandem of Mike Mole and J.P Lamoureux, or “JPL” or “that guy” depending on which Grizzlies fan or player you ask. Speaking of Lamoureux, his two actual nicknames are J.P. and Phil.

These two teams both have had strong play from their defensive units though the Grizzlies definitely had their weakest game in their own end of the playoffs Wednesday and fortunately Mike Mole was there to prevent any more than just the two goals.

Wednesday we told you of an obcure stat that did hold up. The Grizzlies are now 3-0 against the Aces at the E-Center when scoring at least a goal. Well here’s one with a little more substance: The Grizzlies have 45 and 43 shots respectively in their last two wins against the Aces outshooting them 88-54 during that stretch. That has definitely been a huge key.

The Grizzlies got a huge name back in the lineup Thursday in James Sixsmith. The Grizzlies have just one regulation loss in the last five games (1-1-1-2) that he has been apart of dating back to December 27. Sixsmith has two goals and two assists in his last three games. Tonight, the Grizzlies return the services of Dan McDonald who has been back at the University of Ottawa finishing up six finals and missed the first three games of the post-season. McDonald scored four goals against the Aces here in the regular season finale April 4. Utah also gains a defenseman tonight in Evan Stoflet who is expected to return after missing five-straight games.

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

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

April 15: Game Day

04/15/2009 7:41 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies look to battle back from a 2-0 series deficit starting tonight when they host Alaska.

After going into Alaska and dropping two-straight 2-0 games, in which the Grizzlies really competed and mostly held the Aces in check, I came up with a matching theory that any team going into Anchorage is basically down 2-0 before the puck is even dropped. The Aces, who held the league’s best record at home during the regular season at 28-7-1-0 were 17-17-0-2 on the road or in the “lower 48” as Alaskans call it during the season; including 2-2 at the E-Center.
   
The Grizzlies return two big faces to the E-Center tonight for the first time since February 4. Ryan Kinasewich, who rejoined Utah for games one and two in Alaska and James Sixsmith, who returned to Utah for one game March 27 in Stockton with one goal and one assist returned from Milwaukee yesterday. Rookie forward Dan McDonald ,who had four goals against Alaska in the Grizzlies last home game April 4, is scheduled to return for Friday’s game four. He is currently completing six final exams at the University of Ottawa.

While Utah gets Sixsmith back, the Aces add some punch to their blueline with d-men T.J. Fast and Bryan Marsh back from the AHL for games three, four and five.

Here’s a stat for you: the Grizzlies were 2-0 versus Alaska at home during the regular season when scoring one goal or more. They were shutout by the Aces in their two E-Center defeats during the regular season.

Though that brings up another subject, Aces rookie ECHL goaltender of the year J.P. Lamoureux has shutout Utah though for now 244:17 minutes spanning four-straight shutouts in which he has denied the Grizzlies on 116-straight shots.

However, Mike Mole has definitely held his own to stopping 174 of the last 187 shots he has seen, including a .947 save percentage in the playoffs and a 2.06 goals-against-average.

Utah has trailed 2-0 in a series twice in the playoffs since joining the ECHL and has been swept both times. Alaska beat them here 4-1 and 6-2 April 13 and 14 of 2006 on their way to the Kelly Cup Championship. Last year, Las Vegas beat Utah 3-2 in overtime May 15 and 5-2 May 16 here to capture the conference championship.

April 11: Game Day

04/11/2009 11:05 AM - Adrian Denny
Going into game two of this series there really isn’t a whole lot that the Grizzlies need to fine tune from last night. They are just in search of a way to beat Aces goaltender J.P Lamoureux, who has shut them out now in three-straight games and 191:17 straight minutes overall.

The Grizzlies have a plan to try and beat the rookie ECHL goaltender of the year but it’s clearly easier said then done. The first thing they want to do is get traffic in front of him. They had trouble with that last night as Kevin Colley pondered it after the game. Also, coming into the series, they also want to keep their shots low. And sure enough, last night they went over the cross bar by mere inches several times.

Ryan Kinasewich and Tom May on the same line together could be a number-one line in the AHL. Playing together last night for the first time in over two months, they were 100-percent on the same page from the drop of the puck. Kinasewich can do just about whatever he wants at this level, while May’s big frame and quickness allows him to get up ice and flag down just about whatever comes his way and then navigate through the defense to the goal. Vladimir Nikiforov had a great game leading Utah with six shots and played point guard in the Aces end several times last night for over 30 seconds while he looked and attempted to setup Utah scoring chances. That being said, the Grizzlies seem due right? They did everything right last night for the most part. However, they need to bare down and bury their chances when they have them, because with Lamoureux, he’s not going to give you much.

Utah came out last night, just as Kevin Colley wanted. Obviously, they wanted the first goal, but since they didn’t get it, plan b was to whether the Aces initial storm and hold their own.

After watching last night, the Grizzlies definitely have a legitimate shot in this series. It is just going to take more games like last night, plus a little extra. Utah showed the world that this was not going to be an easy series sweep. Coming into tonight, the goal is to get the win and split headed back to the E-Center. The goal tonight is not to be satisfied with last night’s effort and just show up this evening. That puts you down 2-0 with nothing to show for the 6,000 mile plus roundtrip up to Anchorage.

Bo Cheesman was definitely an added benefit in his Utah debut. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Grizzlies swap him and Skinner as the center on the Kinasewich-May line.

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

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

April 10: Game Day

04/10/2009 9:14 AM - Adrian Denny
For the third time since November, the Grizzlies have made the trek to Anchorage as for the second time in four years, they open up the playoffs against Alaska.

The X-factor in this series is going to be goals scored for Utah. Not that the Grizzlies are an offensively challenged team but Aces ECHL goaltender of the year J.P. Lamoureux is about as overqualified for the ECHL as Rob Hennigar was or as Evgeni Nabokov would be. He has shutout Utah three times and set an all-time ECHL record with eight shutouts. The rookie was 6-1 against Utah this year with a 1.86 goals-against-average and .943 save percentage. This even includes giving up seven goals to Utah in a 7-3 loss on October 24. After that, he gave up 0,1,1,4,0,2,3 goals respectively against the Grizzlies. And it should also be pointed out when he gave up four on November 16, the Aces scored 8.

The Grizzlies though haven’t come to Alaska with a “full lineup” this year before now. In November Ryan Kinasewich was injured and the last visit for two games February 27 and March 1, the team didn’t have Walsh or Jordan Hart who they currently possess. James Brannigan was also injured. It is also the first time that Utah has come to Alaska with two goaltenders.

Well the Grizzlies and Alaska meet again and I hope referee Jarrod Ragusin isn’t to brokenhearted about the fact that for the first time all year, he hasn’t been included in a Utah/Aces collision after officiating the first nine games of the year between the two teams.

Though the Grizzlies will be without Dan McDonald, who is currently back at the University of Ottawa taking six finals this weekend. Evan Stoflet also remains on injured-reserve for the Grizzlies.

We always talk about good starts and of course Utah’s stretch of being 7-0-0-1 when they score first in their last eight games. Last year, Utah definitely got the post-season started on the road right building a 6-0 lead in Fresno including two goals in the first period to win game 1 6-1. Though the last time Utah scored first and didn’t win was March 1 here in Alaska.

Be extra careful when picking up a Salt Lake area newspaper in the next few days as you could be easily confused or misled. Not only are the Grizzlies playing the Aces this week but so are the Salt Lake Bees who open up their season against the brand-new Reno “Aces”.

So far so good for road teams in the ECHL’s playoffs. Two games opened last night, including a division champion versus a four-seed like we currently have with the Aces and Grizzlies. Wheeling walked into Cincinnati and defeated the Cyclones 4-1 while Charlotte took care of South Carolina in North Charleston 5-3.

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

April 4: Game Day

04/04/2009 7:00 AM - Adrian Denny
While tonight’s game seems and is irrelevant on paper, it is definitely a big one for the Utah Grizzlies as they finally look to breakthrough against the Alaska Aces.

Not much has gone right for Utah since defeating the Aces at the E-Center October 24, in the first meeting of the year between the two teams, as they now have dropped seven-straight games and been shutout three times. However, the Grizzlies don’t have much time to figure something out as after tonight, they will open up a best-of-seven series with the Aces next week to begin the playoffs.

Game One: Friday, April 10, Utah at Alaska; 9:15 p.m.
Game Two: Saturday, April 11, Utah at Alaska; 9:15 p.m.
Game Three: Wednesday, April 15, Alaska at Utah; 7:05 p.m.
Game Four: Friday, April 17, Alaska at Utah; 7:05 p.m.
Game Five: Saturday, April 18, Alaska at Utah; 7:05 p.m.
Game Six: Tuesday, April 21, Utah at Alaska; 9:15 p.m.
Game Seven: Wednesday, April 22, Utah at Alaska; 9:15 p.m.

Italics denote if necessary


It’s an Alaska team that last slept in their own beds in Anchorage on March 17 and the last time Scott Burt was at his apartment to cook his teammates a pre-game meal before a home game was March 15. The team was forced to stay in Phoenix this past week instead of going home due to the Alaskan volcano, which has been pretty temperamental for the last couple of months.

The Grizzlies are also playing for pride, not only looking to show the Aces that they can compete with them but they’re also looking to wrap up their third .500 season or better in the last four years to go along with their third playoff appearance in their last four seasons "I just think we gave them way too much respect," Utah coach Kevin Colley told the Salt Lake Tribune after last night’s game. "They're the first-place team, but with all those shootout losses we had, we could've been right there. We need to regroup and make the smart, simple plays, not the selfish ones." There is expected to be an even larger crowd tonight than last night’s E-Center season-high of 6,866.

"We need to be preparing for playoffs, and the last one, we need to deal with it as a playoff game," Utah's Tim Verbeek told the Tribune. "We need to be smarter with our decisions and being stingy. That's what hockey is at playoff time. We need to play more aggressive as a team." 

April 3: Game Day

04/03/2009 7:23 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies face their biggest nemesis of the year when they host the Alaska Aces tonight and tomorrow at the E-Center.

It could be the first of nine-straight meetings between the two teams, who are currently lined up to meet starting next Saturday in game one of the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Playoffs in Anchorage. However, there are still several factors that could involve Utah playing Idaho too.

Playoff Scenarios
The Grizzlies will play Idaho in the first round if:
Utah defeats Alaska in regulation both games this weekend and if Idaho defeats Phoenix in one of their remaining two games.

Or

Utah defeats Alaska once in regulation and Idaho takes two-straight from Phoenix tonight and Saturday in Boise.

Utah will play Alaska in the first round if:
Utah does not defeat the Aces in either game this weekend and/or Idaho wins one game or less against Phoenix.

The Grizzlies have dropped six-straight games to Alaska since defeating the Aces 7-3 on October 24 here at the E-Center. That two-game E-Center series still stands as a monumental one as far as statistics go.

On October 24, the Grizzlies had 48 shots, which still stands as a tied season-high, seven goals, which still is a season-high and four goals in the second period, which is currently a tied season-high (3 times) for goals in a period. In fact, the last two years, the Grizzlies have had their highest goal outputs of the year against Alaska. They scored nine against the Aces in a 9-5 win on February 1, 2008 at the E-Center.

However on October 25, tempers flared and the two teams combined for 76 penalty minutes, which is still a season-high for the Grizzlies as far as combined penalty minutes go.

In a very very very coincidental situation, the Grizzlies and Aces will have Jarrod Ragusin as their referee for all nine games this year. Those of us who pay attention to box scores etc. and are familiar with the way the ECHL usually schedules officials were assuming that veteran and all-star referee Jason Nissen would be here for the weekend. Nissen officiated the Phoenix/Idaho games on Tuesday and Wednesday in Boise and it would have been convenient to just have him drive or fly to West Valley City for the weekend to change things up and also be economical with the ECHL travel budget.

And in case you missed it, part three of Former Grizzlies forward Justin Bourne’s series on being a professional hockey player was published for maxhockey.com earlier this week. This piece could not be more of a realistic behind-the-scenes picture of life on the road. However, I unfortunately strongly disagree with Justin regarding the dress code on road trips. Justin, as former Grizzlies Head Coach Jason Christie always said, “If you look like you’re going some place, you probably are.” Click here to read Justin's full story

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

GO GRIZZLIES!!!

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