Summer Blog Entry: July 27
07/27/2012 2:42 PM - Adrian Denny
Nick Tuzzolino’s hard work the last four years in the ECHL has earned him a contract with Calgary and Utah’s AHL affiliate the Abbotsford, British Columbia Heat.
Everything I heard from Nick’s 16 AHL games last year was overwhelmingly positive and it’s great to see a player like that rewarded with a contract. You occasionally see guys go up and do well, but the next year, they’re right back in the ECHL, due to available AHL contracts and rookies coming out of juniors or colleges that teams already have obligations to. With that, so many ECHL players end up right back where they started, despite probably deserving an AHL deal. For Tuzzolino, it’s not an issue as he did indeed get an AHL contract.
Another former Grizzlies defenseman also signed with Abbotsford in the last couple of weeks in Joe Callahan, who was here in 2004-2005. He has played in the NHL with Florida, San Jose and the New York Islanders.
ECHL teams all have different policies on player announcements. Some rush to publically announce players the second the league approves a contract. Others, like Utah, play it close to the vest for a variety of reasons. Regardless, the league sends out player rosters once a week to all head coaches. It’s interesting to see what teams have done “off the record” to this point.
To give you some opinions on how teams are shaping up for 2012-2013. An ECHL Head Coach or Assistant who has been in the Western Conference the last several years gave me this assessment yesterday. He said, “I don’t know, all I’m going to say, is it’s going to be interesting. Stockton, Colorado, Ontario, Alaska and Utah should be solid as always. Idaho, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Bakersfield are unknowns. It could be a wild year.” Idaho has a new coach, Las Vegas has seen a mass exodus to the AHL and Europe following their Kelly Cup Finals run and will seemingly be a mostly new group, San Francisco of course is an expansion team and Bakersfield had a really bad first half and really good second half last year.
Summer Blog Entry: July 20
07/20/2012 2:28 PM - Adrian Denny
Former Grizzlies goaltender Nathan Lawson became the latest former Utah player to sign a free agent NHL contract earlier this week, when he switched from Montreal to Ottawa.
Lawson was part of the Grizzlies conference finals run in 2008 with a 5-4 record and two shutouts during that postseason. He also earned Utah a 3-2 shootout win opening night in Idaho on October 18, 2008 as he won Kevin Colley’s Head Coaching debut. He was recalled the next week following an injury to the Islanders Rick DiPietro and never came back to Utah again.
Lawson joins Joel Rechlicz with Phoenix and those mentioned in this story as former Grizzlies signing NHL free agent contracts since July 1.
You may notice Grizzlies Head Athletic Trainer Mike Plandowski this week if you attend the Days of 47 Rodeo at Maverik Center. Mike is again on the training staff for the rodeo which is here at Maverik Center until Tuesday, July 24.
Las Vegas Wranglers Head Coach Ryan Mougenel, or as he was called in this story “a tourist from Canada” made national news last week when he jumped in to help save a man struggling in Boston Harbor. He is the man shown first and the most throughout the video.
Summer Blog Entry: July 13
07/12/2012 2:24 PM - Adrian Denny
The first Grizzlies player to return his qualifying offer issued on July 1 was Kory Falite. Falite is one of the exciting pieces from Utah’s young core that the team is anxious to return from last season.
One Grizzlies player from last season has already signed an AHL contract for next year. We will announce it here when the team he signs with makes the announcement.
The next player announcement for Utah will be two returning players, who played in college together and were traded to Utah at separate times last year, but were teammates too in the ECHL before coming to Utah in their rookie seasons.
Another former Utah player from the ECHL era signed an NHL deal this week, with Joel Rechlicz signing with the Phoenix Coyotes after the last few seasons with the Washington Capitals organization. Rechlicz, who actually, spends a good deal of his offseason in Park City, stopped by the Maverik Center to say hi to Kevin Colley, earlier this summer. He ranked second in the AHL in penalty minutes this past season.
The San Francisco Bulls announced on Wednesday that they will be the ECHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks next season. San Jose had been with Stockton, who now becomes affiliated exclusively with Edmonton as they have been since 2006. The Grizzlies, of course, enter their fourth year as the ECHL affiliate for Calgary.
Summer Blog Entry: July 6
07/06/2012 3:51 PM - Adrian Denny
Slow news time in the ECHL, there are no coaching openings, openings are scarce in the AHL, which is another reason for the ECHL stability.
Plus, the holiday weekend also puts a hold on most news by savvy ECHL PR directors who want to maximize coverage and get out their message when people are in their offices/homes and waiting and ready to read/hear about them.
What’s going on in the Grizzlies front? We have some stored announcements regarding players and more to make in the next month or so, that aren’t quite ready yet. Get your fill of Summer Blogs in the next few weeks as some vacations will halt my activity online in August.
If you didn’t see it earlier this week, former Grizzlies were active in free agency, including Zenon Konopka who signed with the Wild before the fanfare of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter’s “decision.”
The Grizzlies also continue to be busy in the community, make sure to track Grizzbee’s itinerary online.
Next week’s blog will come on Thursday as company is coming to town and Friday will be spent out of the office.
How about that for a slow news week?
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