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Game Day Blog Archive

Summer Blog Entry: August 28

08/28/2009 7:53 AM - Adrian Denny
As expected, it’s been a busy week on the news front for Utah with the addition of a new goaltender, Equipment Manager and preseason game schedule.

The Grizzlies welcomed Mike Xuereb to their family this week when he was hired as Head Equipment Manager. At only the age of 22, Xuereb has a four-year college degree from Utica, a year of professional experience as a Head Equipment Manager with the CHL’s New Mexico Scorpions and has already assisted the Islanders with this summer’s rookie developmental camp. Mike came highly recommended by the Islanders including by former Grizzlies Equipment Manager and current Islanders Assistant Richard “Shakey” Krause. It certainly sounds like he’s on the fast track for some great things in his career. “Shakey”, though is not on my good list right now as I believe it’s been three years since he last visited the Beehive State. Though, I was able to catch up with him in New York City and Long Island during the Summer of 2007 and even stayed a night at his home.

As we have talked about earlier this summer, the Islanders and now the Grizzlies both appear to be well-stocked in goaltenders after last year’s bout of bad luck that saw Rick DiPietro go down the first month of the year and Joey MacDonald shortly after that. It forced guys like Nathan Lawson and Peter Mannino to grow up fast and they certainly did. Though this year, New York is stocked with three guys with NHL experience including DiPietro, Martin Biron and Dwayne Roloson. They also re-signed Lawson this week have AHL veteran Scott Munroe and also have a young prospect or two in the system. The Grizzlies who this week signed Parker Van Buskirk will wait and see what else is in the cards be it there’s or the affiliates. We will wait and see.

The Grizzlies will debut professional hockey
in Logan, Utah on October 9 at the Eccles Ice Center in a preseason game against the Idaho Steelheads. Logan has become quite the hockey hotbed hosting capacity crowds of around 2,000 for Utah State college hockey for nearly a decade.

I was definitely surprised to see former Grizzlies AHL forward Gavin Morgan (1999-2003) had signed with the ECHL’s Reading Royals. From what I can tell, Morgan was out of hockey last year after logging time in Rockford, Peoria, Hershey and Hamilton in the AHL along with Austria and Sweden since leaving Utah.

Jeff Dwyer’s new team has yet to officially announce him, but that will give us some materiel for probably next week’s blog. I can tell you though that the person he is replacing left for a job with an NHL team.

And finally, after being featured last week, Grizzlies Athletic Trainer Mike Plandowski was nice enough to submit this week’s “Separated at Birth” featuring me and Seth Green.
Separated at birth 8_28.jpg

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

Until next week,
GO GRIZZLIES!!!

Summer Blog Entry: August 21

08/20/2009 4:47 PM - Adrian Denny
Well, Grizzlies fans, many of you whom are restless for some more news, Kevin Colley has returned from vacation and was greeted with the news of Assistant Coach Jeff Dwyer departing for another job in hockey. After Kevin was named the Grizzlies Head Coach 24 hours after Jason Christie departed for Chicago in September of 2008, him and I had a conversation about assistant coaches. For any of you who don’t know, any time there is an opening in sports; be it coaching, broadcasting, ticket sales, etc; there is going to be an outpouring of applications in the hundreds from people looking for their big break. While Kevin had some good applications, the call that struck a cord from the beginning was Jeff Dwyer. Sure, Kevin had interest from people with much more coaching experience than Jeff, but it also struck a cord with me. When a Head Coach hires an assistant, the most important question that comes up is can the Head Coach trust his Assistant? You have to have someone you can confide in 24/7/365 that isn’t going to be running to the CEO when things go bad pleading for the Head Coaching job. Believe me, it happens all the time. With Jeff, Kevin knew he was a great guy who would work his tail off day in and day out and who had already proven loyalty to himself and the Grizzlies organization. It was an easy decision for Kevin to hire Jeff and he definitely turned into one of the premier Assistant Coaches in the ECHL. I kid you not, one applicant told Kevin, “Yeah, I’ll come be your Assistant, then you can be my Assistant next year when I get a Head Coaching job in the AHL.” That statement just raised a red flag right from the start. Jeff, though made an unbelievable transition from player to coach. Several others retired and did the same last season, but something just put Jeff head and shoulders above most of them from a professional standpoint. I personally will definitely miss Jeff, who basically became an adopted member of my family this past season. He was also my roommate on the road and while he seemed very amused with what exactly made me tick just about 100-percent of the time, he is definitely a friend for life. As I settle into my own room next year on the road, it will definitely not be the same to watch pay-per-view movies without him as we did just about every night. Even though, it was always me that sauntered down to the front desk to put a credit card down for the $12.95 fee for us to watch the latest Hollywood Hits.

Jeff definitely was a favorite to join us on Grizzlies Radio over the past two seasons as a player and a coach.  Here are some of my favorite moments.

Listen here as Jeff provides the play-by-play while the Grizzlies medical staff administered minor surgery on me in the locker room at 1 p.m. on a gameday this past February.

Listen here as Jeff actually takes over the show and interviews me during a March trip to Victoria in 2008.

Listen here as Jeff Dwyer analyzes the roads in snowy Anchorage following a trip there over New Year’s 2008.

Meanwhile, back to Grizzlies fans, I have been bombarded with emails this week from the great Grizzlies fans itching for news. Be rest assured it will come. It is Kevin Colley’s policy to release any news as soon as it becomes official so that the fans can be in the loop and share in our excitement. And in the next week or so at this time, to go along with a preseason schedule announcement, a new hockey operations hire and probably a player signing or two; you may be asking me to chill out on the releases and let you take a breath. Believe me, Kevin is very excited to bring you all of this news, so just be patient for another few days.

Meanwhile, while Kevin was gone, I was delighted to head over to his home in Draper to housesit and take care of his dogs Grizzly and Mean Gene. Don’t worry, we had quite the time, but you’ll have to wait for an upcoming edition of “Grizzlies Live” from Ruby Tuesday to hear all of the antics from last weekend. I am picturing an upcoming movie starring Ben Stiller or Steve Martin called The Housesitter, which could be made about the weekend.

So there you go. Announcements coming, I promise, it’ll be worth the wait.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Thanks to Grizzlies Athletic Trainer Mike Plandowski’s dad Mr. Plandowski for submitting this week’s “Separated at Birth” featuring Mike and John Belushi.
Separated at birth_final.jpg

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

Until next week, GO GRIZZLIES!!!
 

Summer Blog Entry: August 14

08/13/2009 11:59 PM - Adrian Denny
It’s been kind of a quiet last week or two on the Grizzlies front. That’s because Head Coach Kevin Colley is on what is supposed to be his only “vacation” of the summer. However, I can tell you that it has been anything but a holiday for Kevin at his cottage in Ontario as he continues to construct his team and hockey operations department for the 2009-2010 season. When the coach is back in the office next week, he will definitely have his fair share of very intriguing unopened contracts to announce to Grizzlies fans. It should definitely be a busy next few weeks on the player announcement front.

One 09-10 Grizzlies forward has been working a youth hockey camp this week. Nathan Gillies was spotted in the Charlotte, North Carolina area working a youth camp attended by the cousin of Grizzlies Corporate Sponsorship Account Executive Jack Young.

I received lots of guesses to the clue given about one of next year’s Utah goaltenders in last week’s blog. The most common guess was Aces netminder J.P Lamoureux who definitely had his way with the Grizzlies last year. However, it is not “Phil” who will be coming to Utah. In fact, Jean-Phillippe has signed with the Buffalo Sabres meaning he will probably play this year with their AHL affiliate in Portland. Should the reigning ECHL goaltender of the year, among other things, end up back in the ECHL, he will be back in Alaska with the Aces who issued him a qualifying offer to retain his rights on July 1.

Speaking of goaltenders, the Idaho Steelheads locked up Rejean Beauchamin for another season in Boise this week, while also awarding Head Coach Derek Laxdal with a multi-year contract extension. Back to Utah goaltenders and coaches, Kevin Colley is very excited about his own goaltending situation for 09-10.

In the tradition of our "Separated At Birth" feature we’ve been doing the last few weeks, I saw something eerily familiar earlier this week when kicking back in my Lovesac for another star-studded edition of the Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien.

Photo: Famous Tweeter Ashton Kutcher and former Grizzlies Captain Travis Rycroft

Rycroft_Kutcher.jpg

And with that, thanks, you’ve been great, stay tuned for Kevin Colley’s announcements coming up starting soon!

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

Go Grizzlies!

Summer Blog Entry: August 7

08/06/2009 11:59 PM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies added another player this week with Tom May being added to the 09-10 roster by virtue of returning his qualifying offer. The Grizzlies will also retain rights to the six other qualified players that they can either re-sign or trade the rights to. Back to May, the Grizzlies return their top goal scorer from last year after the rookie tallied 31 goals to lead the team, which includes 27 after January 1. May also scored a goal in the ECHL all-star game January 21 and set an all-time Grizzlies record with a ten-game goal scoring streak from January 16-February 16. The Grizzlies also have of course also added defenseman Slavomir Tomko from the qualifying offer list.

So what about the other players who received qualifying offers? I can tell you that Jordan Hart has retired and is currently working a great job in New York City, while recent University of Ottawa graduate Dan McDonald has also apparently landed a fantastic job. While these players will be missed, we wish them the best of luck and invite them to keep in touch! Tyler Wooddisse will be joining a team in a different league. Again, we’re not able to mention it until this team officially announces him as signing.

A lot of fans have been asking about the goaltending situation next year. Each of the last two years, the Grizzlies have had one goaltender assigned by the Sound Tigers or the Islanders and signed one of their own. I would expect that trend to continue this year with the affiliated goaltender being added to the Utah roster following Bridgeport training camp in October. As far as the Grizzlies signing a goaltender, I believe we should be close to making an announcement in that department. Last week, I was given some feedback about not giving a clue about a returning Utah player that the team will be announcing soon as well. So, here’s your clue about a goaltender. He led his team to their best ECHL playoff run ever last year as a rookie. HAHAHA. You’ll never guess!

Salt Lake Tribune Grizzlies beat reporter Maggie Thach has done a couple great stories lately regarding how several Grizzlies players are spending their offseasons. If you haven’t already, check them out.
Story 1
Story 2

Great news for a former Grizzlies championship Assistant Coach when longtime Chicago Wolves General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was named Assistant General Manager for the Chicago Blackhawks. Cheveldayoff had come close to several NHL GM jobs the last few summers and this is great for him. It also brings up another potential situation that bloggers like me will talk about regarding Wolves Head Coach Don Granato and Assistant Coach Jason Christie. Current Blackhawks Head Coach Joel Quenneville was the coach of the St. Louis Blues from 1996-2004. During that time, Granato was the coach of the Blues AHL team in Worcester while Christie was the coach of the Blues ECHL team in Peoria. Should an opening come up in the Blackhawks organization; both Cheveldayoff and Quenneville would be overly familiar with the abilities of Christie and Granato.

Speaking of former Grizzlies Head Coach Jason Christie, I started talking a few weeks ago with ECHL Sr. Vice President of Communications/New Media Jack Carnefix about the popular Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and I brought up the shocking resemblance in both appearance and personalities between the host of that program Guy Fieri and Christie. But I’ll let you judge for yourself.
Fieri_Christie.jpg

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

Until next Friday: GO GRIZZLIES!!!

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