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Game Day Blog Archive

February 27: Game Day

02/27/2009 12:28 PM - Adam Turner
From one tough road arena in Boise to another tough road arena with an overly large ice surface in Alaska, the Grizzlies have arrived in Anchorage to play games three and four of their season-long eight-game road trip.

Since 2005, the Grizzlies are 3-13-1-0 in Alaska though two of their three wins have come on Friday nights. This year, Alaska leads the ECHL in home wins going 20-6-1-0.

The Grizzlies will look to continue keeping things simple as they play two games in three nights on this Olympic-sized ice surface here in Anchorage. Utah has definitely bolstered things with some terrific play in their own end, allowing two goals or less in three of their last four games, going 3-1 during that stretch.

Nine of Utah’s 15 skaters were either not with the team or did not dress the last time these two teams played in Alaska, though Evan Stoflet does remember a trip longer than 24 hours getting back from Anchorage while playing college hockey at the University of Vermont.

We mentioned last time we were here that the Grizzlies, who played five of their first 12 games of the year, against Alaska would not see the Aces for 42 games, well that 42 games is up and the Grizzlies will now wrap up the season with four of their final 18 contests against Alaska, who they are 1-4 overall against after beating them 7-3 at the E-Center opening night.

Kazuma Takahashi will be activated prior to tonight’s game and be in the lineup. Three of his eight games played this year were against the Aces at Sullivan Arena in November.

Former Grizzlies forward Scott Burt however will not be in action for the Aces, placed on three-day IR yesterday. Though Alaska’s leading scorer in Colin Hemingway returns from the AHL for the weekend series.

The Grizzlies will also add the services of SPHL defenseman Jim Jensen who has played in 46 games in Twin City this year tallying four goals and four assists. He dressed four games last year with the ECHL’s Texas Wildcatters.

Also, some people have commented on James Sanford appearing in the ECHL transactions yesterday. It was merely an administrative thing. Players can only remain suspended for 45 days before they become free agents. So in order to protect yourselves from them signing with another ECHL team, the suspending team must re-suspend them every 45 days.

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


Fan Blogs

02/27/2009 12:27 PM - Adam Turner
Looks like the boys put another good game together?
Good for them.
Have fun in Alaska, nice time of year up there???
Alaska will be down one player, Richards, league suspension.
How about my Wings 4 Sharks 1
Have a safe trip

Great!  Good to see scoring coming from Pavli/Wooddisse combo.  They have been working very hard!

The silence of the cow bells!  Great job Guys   go get em in alaska   GO GRIZZ!

February 25: Game Day

02/25/2009 10:40 AM - Adam Turner
I never thought we would get to this point, but here we are, getting ready for the last regular season meeting of the year in Idaho. After five separate trips, one in at least every month except November, and seven total games here at Qwest Arena, the Grizzlies will soon be Boise free until at least the playoffs.

Boise free, but not Steelheads free. Idaho comes to the E-Center for a pair of games March 11 and 15.

The Idaho Steelheads are definitely the team to beat in the National Conference. They have the best winning percentage in the conference, the second best in the league behind Florida, and seven games in hand on first place Victoria. The Grizzlies have now seen Idaho 12 times and its quite clear why they are successful. The Steelheads never take a shift off and play 60 hard minutes every night. As Utah has seen, they must match that with 60 minutes of their own starting with the drop of the puck.

The Grizzlies hope to have Evan Kotsopoulos back in the lineup tonight and Evan is certainly more than anxious to get on the ice and back in game action after missing the last two games which to him, I’m sure seems like six months at least.

While both coaches told us pre-game on Grizzlies Radio last night that special teams would be big, it really wasn’t. Idaho built a 5-0 lead with five five-on-five goals. Now tonight, given the ECHL law of unexpectedness, tonight’s game will undoubtedly be won on specials teams. Not only because the ECHL is just plain weird night after night, but the Grizzlies will definitely tighten up. Last night riding back to the hotel with five-six guys, they were all very aware why the game didn’t go their way and were all looking forward to getting back on the right foot tonight.

Oh and if you wanted the latest on the situation with the arrested player in Bakersfield, here's a link. Nothing else has been reported on the other situation in "Condors Town."

Still looking for names for this eight-game road trip. Send them to me at adenny@utahgrizz.com


February 24: Game Day

02/24/2009 10:28 AM - Adam Turner
Six cities in 15 days and eight games for the Utah Grizzlies begins today in Boise, where Utah has already played six games this year and spent seven nights.

Mike Mole takes over goaltending duties again tonight for the Grizzlies in a road trip that is nicely spread out. Utah only plays back-to-back once (tonight, tomorrow) before completing the trip on a more mobile pace with three-games-in-three-nights next Friday in Ontario, Saturday in Stockton and Sunday in Phoenix.

The Grizzlies probably feel a little like Lewis and Clark as they go from Salt Lake to Boise to Anchorage this week before going south to Bakersfield, Ontario, Stockton and Phoenix. If not Lewis and Clark, maybe then a concert tour would be an appropriate comparison. In fact, let’s name this road trip and I want your help. Email me your suggested names for what the Grizzlies should call this monstrous road trip that sees them visit six different hotels and arenas and seven different airports. The only places in the conference that Utah will not visit during this trip are Las Vegas and Victoria.

Utah has fared pretty well during long trips since joining the ECHL in 2005-2006. Last year, while extremely shorthanded, they went 5-2 through Alaska, Victoria and Idaho. In 2006-2007, they went 4-3 through seven games hitting Alaska, Bakersfield, Stockton and Fresno. In 2005-2006, Utah went 4-3-2-0 as they went from Las Vegas to Phoenix to San Diego to Long Beach back to San Diego back to Phoenix then to Alaska.

If you need some drama for your Tuesday, check out this piece regarding the Bakersfield Condors organization. It's a very interesting read.

And if you need some more drama, check out this too, courtesy of Kern County again.

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

February 21: Game Day

02/21/2009 10:05 AM - Adam Turner
The shorthanded Grizzlies continue to find a way to keep things moving forward against some of the top teams in the ECHL’s National Conference with wins over Las Vegas and Stockton in the last six days.

One player who has really stepped things up over the last month is Tom May. The rookie had Utah’s first and final goals last night for the first multi-goal performance of his career and had a couple opportunities for a hat trick in the third period as well. While May had the ECHL’s longest goal scoring streak since 2000-2001 snapped Wednesday at 10, he currently has the second longest scoring streak in the ECHL this season running at 12 games and has tied Garett Cameron (February 1-26, 2006) for the longest scoring streak in Grizzlies ECHL history. Former NHL’er Chris Taylor had an 18-game scoring streak in October/November 1994, which over 14 years later still stands as the longest scoring streak in team history.

While Utah remains, without several big guns who are currently in the AHL in Ryan Kinasewich, Mike Walsh and James Sixsmith, the team has still managed to put up three goals in all but two games during this stretch without a big portion of their scoring punch and has at least four goals in three of their last four games.

Mike Mole showed no rust at all in his first start since January 25 last night, stopping the first 14 shots he saw and 23 of 25 overall as Utah protected him. Mole is sure to start another streak soon, when Islanders prospect Peter Mannino goes back to the east coast following his conditioning assignment to Utah. Mole continued the Grizzlies recent success of allowing two goals or fewer. Utah has now done that in five of their last eight games.

Sources tell me that Stockton will be a man short tonight, with one of their major players going back to the AHL after a short visit.

Meanwhile, Greg McCauley will return to the Utah lineup tonight for the first time since December 6.

It’s sure to be another battle. Stockton Coach Matt Thomas ripped his teams in the Stockton media after a rough weekend last week and he certainly isn’t going to be any happier after last night’s performance.

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


February 20: Game Day

02/20/2009 9:06 AM - Adam Turner
The Grizzlies defeated the Stockton Thunder in two-straight E-Center games in December to start a nice stretch that has seen them go 6-4-3-4 at the E-Center since then.

Tonight, as they enter their third-straight week of 13 skaters, they will look to get back on track at home after a couple of one-goal setbacks to the Bakersfield Condors. The Grizzlies led both games in the third periods and didn’t have enough in the tank to get two points either night.  Utah definitely held their own consistently with this shorthanded bunch, leading in six of the eight games and holding at least a third period tie in all eight games.

Nothing new on the transaction front as the Grizzlies will continue to soldier on with what they have and if help arrives, that will be fantastic.

Adjusting with a shorthanded army, Kevin Colley has scaled down the team’s schedule to essentially just games, video and team meetings. Kevin is tough and has a no excuse attitude and told us Wednesday night on Grizzlies Radio that no one should feel sorry for them. Honestly, if the team was 0-8 during this previous two-week stretch, I don’t think it would be a surprise. Obviously, though he has devised a formula for playing hockey with 13 skaters that the team has bought into. From an outsiders view, casual fans won’t and haven’t been able to tell how shorthanded this team has been. Colley also isn’t a person that’s going to be hounding the Sound Tigers, Islanders and other AHL teams currently housing Utah players on when he’s getting help etc. He is a prime example of an ECHL player who paid his dues and eventually made it to the NHL and would never do anything to hinder developmental progress to protect himself. As a rookie coach, he will definitely unjustly be overlooked in coach of the year voting, an award that will probably go to Stockton Head Coach Matt Thomas who is definitely deserving. Thomas, who three years ago was also the youngest coach in the ECHL, had Fresno in first place again when they folded in December and has now taken Stockton who was seven games under .500 when he arrived to a team that will probably win their division.

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


February 18: Game Day

02/18/2009 8:27 AM - Adam Turner
After now three-straight home games against Bakersfield, the Grizzlies know what they have to do to be successful: Keep special teams scoring even.

Through three games with the Condors, Utah has outscored them 9-5 five-on-five. In their two losses against Bakersfield, they have been outscored 3-1 on the power-play; which in two one-goal games has been a big difference.

Sunday in Las Vegas, special teams was the difference with Utah scoring two power-play goals and going 2-2 on the penalty-kill.

Obviously the key for Utah during this stretch of going 3-1-0-2 with 13 skaters has been staying out of the penalty box. In their last nine games, the Grizzlies have gone shorthanded just 35 times; including four games of three shorthanded situations or less. And in the three games of the last six where Utah has not been victorious, they have been outscored 4-1 on the power-play.

One thing we have seen with Peter Mannino is not only will he keep you in a game for 60 minutes, but will get off to a good first period start. Mannino has now stopped 82 of 87 first period shots and overall has a 2.51 goals-against-average and a .921 save percentage in seven games with Utah.

Rob Hennigar continues to casually pile on a couple of points a game. He has two assists each in his last two games and multiple-points in nine of his last 14. With 10 multiple-point games total, he trails only Ryan Kinasewich who has 14. As far as points-per-game this year, Hennigar has 1.47 while Kinasewich exited with an average of 1.53.

Vladimir Nikiforov will be back in the lineup tonight for Utah after being called-up to Bridgeport January 6.

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


Fan Blog

02/18/2009 8:26 AM - Adam Turner
Just wanted to send a quick note about Manno's (Peter Mannino) comment (February 16, blog entry) about only having 13 skaters.

That is classic Manno right there, i was his equipment manager when he played Junior A in Pittsburgh and he is the type of guy that is always positive and fun to be around. We always had a good time back then. I still keep in touch with him and even got the chance to spend some time with him here in Houston when Bridgeport played here this past November and he hasn't changed a bit since his days in Junior hockey. His is an awesome human being and im proud to call him my friend.


February 16: Game Day

02/16/2009 9:00 AM - Adam Turner
Well after separating for the weekend, the Grizzlies and Condors reunite for games tonight and Wednesday after E-Center games last Tuesday and Wednesday.

While Utah played at Stockton Friday and Las Vegas yesterday, the Condors beat Ontario Friday at home and the Thunder in Stockton Saturday to win their third-straight game after trailing 3-0.

Like Utah yesterday, the Condors had a luxury of beating their next opponent back to their home city. Utah arrived in Las Vegas Saturday prior to the Wranglers game in Ontario while Bakersfield was resting peacefully in Salt Lake last night while Utah played in Las Vegas. Las Vegas probably feels really picked on, because they play Phoenix today. A RoadRunners team that was waiting in Las Vegas yesterday while the Wranglers tangled with the Grizzlies. Though Las Vegas could help their cause by actually showing up to play today and not folding their tents when a team like Utah, comprised of 13 skaters, comes to battle for 60-straight minutes.

With all the talk of Rob Hennigar and Tom May’s recent scoring success we can also throw a big thumbs up to Grizzlies defenseman Andy Sertich. Sertich was involved in Utah’s first three goals last night as the team built a 1-0 lead and then got the game-winner to make it 2-1 in the third period before adding a power-play goal 5:57 later to make it 3-1. The converted left wing has six goals and eight assists in his last 13 games and three goals and four assists in his last seven games. He is tied with May and Hennigar for the team lead with 13 shots in the last three games.

All of this, while he has probably been playing 40-50 minutes a game with Utah still soldiering on with just four defenseman. Last night, with the absence of Evan Stoflet, Utah had just three d-men and the always versatile Will Bodine who dropped back and joined Andy as his d partner. Being on Utah’s number-one power-play and penalty-kill unit just adds to Andy’s workload

My favorite quote about the Grizzlies forthcoming game-long shorthanded situation yesterday came from goaltender Peter Mannino, who when he found out that the team would have just 13 skaters again said with a smile on his face: “Ah well that’ll make it (the game) more fun.”

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


February 15: Game Day

02/15/2009 11:41 AM - Adam Turner
The eighth and final meeting of the regular season between the Grizzlies and Wranglers is today as Las Vegas joins the Victoria Salmon Kings as the only two teams that Utah will not see again for the rest of the year.

In fact, the Grizzlies haven’t seen Victoria since November 29.

The game day routine is becoming even more routine for the Utah Grizzlies as the density of their schedule continues to stay consistent. From February 4-February 28, the Grizzlies are scheduled for 14 games in 25 days with the only two stretches of two days off in a row being February 8-9 and February 22-23. When you add the month of March the Grizzlies will have played 29 games in 52 days.

Friday in Stockton, we saw Peter Mannino’s best performance yet as he stopped 41 of 42 Stockton shots through overtime. Given the odd set of circumstances which saw the Islanders prospect report to Utah right as they lost five top players to the AHL, you couldn’t have asked for things to have really gone much better when you look at five games. I’m sure its been a strange experience for him though going from a month of being with the Islanders and riding their chartered jet all over to an ECHL team with 13-14 skaters just trying to scrap by until they get some more help.

If you want to break it down further, here are the differences between the travel at the three levels Mannino has been at this year.

New York (NHL)
Chartered team jet with catering
Roughly $100 in per diem a day
Five-Star Hotels
A home arena over 30 years old that is in need of a serious makeover

Bridgeport (AHL)

Almost exclusively day of game travel on a coach bus to cities within less than 5 hours of Bridgeport
No hotel stays with the exception of really a trip to Norfolk though there are some excecptions
Roughly $60 of per diem a day
Home arena about ten years old

Utah (ECHL)
All travel done on airlines  (Utah does not have a bus trip scheduled for the rest of the year)
No day of game travel like in the AHL
Three-Star hotels
Roughly $30 of per diem a day
Home arena is former Olympic venue almost 12 years old

Today the Grizzlies, who arrived in Las Vegas about 5 p.m. Saturday, will look to take advantage of a Las Vegas team who played last night in Ontario and probably didn’t get back home until way after 2 a.m. Though what goes around comes around as Bakersfield has already arrived in Salt Lake to rest before taking on the Grizzlies Monday and Wednesday at the E-Center.

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


February 13: Game Day

02/13/2009 11:45 AM - Adam Turner
I think maybe we got a little spoiled and greedy after two-straight wins by a combined total of 11-2 and didn’t exactly look at things realistically after Wednesday’s 4-3 loss.

Yes, there were a few simple things, like the first three minutes and ten seconds in the game and a couple of penalties, but a bounce here and a bounce there and this 13-14 man unit that now feels normal and not shorthanded to us would have won three-straight games, including Wednesday’s despite not playing a perfect game.

In fact, I told someone Tuesday that this unit in the locker room couldn’t be any less concerned about the number of people currently on the team than anyone. They’re just here to play hockey and prove themselves and don’t have time to think about who’s not here.

With four defensemen, three of which who were not with the team out of training camp and two of which who weren’t playing professional hockey altogether, it is certainly a feat what they have been able to accomplish along with Peter Mannino in allowing seven goals in the last three games.

The forwards are also getting new chances in new situations and are striving. Mark Pavli is getting power-play time and has two goals in his last three games, while James Brannigan has four goals and two assists in his last three contests. Not to mention Tom May, who continues to be in perfect spots time and time again to score goals. He has scored in seven-straight games and can tie an all-time Utah high tonight with a goal in eight-straight games.

So that being said, with this short of a team, things are not always going to be perfect, but as Kevin Colley told us on Grizzlies Radio Wednesday after the game you just have to look at the big picture of what they are doing. I obviously don’t think this situation will last forever, help can arrive just as soon as it leaves. And for some reason, these things usually happen in bunches.

With three healthy, goaltenders, Mike Mole will drop to the back of the bench tonight and join the coaching staff for the game in a suit and tie.

Tonight, the Grizzlies have their first road test against a completely revamped Stockton team that they defeated two-straight games at the E-Center in December. Though, we just got word that the Thunder due to injuries and call-ups will only have 14 skaters tonight as well. Stockton does lead the league in attendance and on a Friday night this building is sure to be loud. Though the team is under .500 here this year.

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

February 11: Game Day

02/11/2009 8:21 AM - Adam Turner
It’s too bad you can only use one goaltender at a time because the Grizzlies currently have an institution of goalies.

With Peter Mannino currently here on a conditioning assignment from the New York Islanders, he will definitely get the majority if not all of the time while he is in Utah. But he has certainly been impressive and definitely lived up to his status as a player who has been in the NHL this season. Last night during the first period, the rookie out of the University of Denver, made some unhuman saves to once again keep Utah from falling behind early. First periods have definitely been when Mannino comes out and establishes himself. In three first periods with Utah, he has stopped 41 of 42 shots for a save percentage of .976.

While the Grizzlies have had five quality goaltenders on the roster this year, Mike Mole is the only one that has really stuck around and still currently is second in the ECHL with 2,163 minutes and 1,063 saves despite not playing in five-straight games. However, now with three complete starts, Mannino now ranks SECOND in both of those categories this year for Utah.

Nathan Lawson stayed two games before being recalled to Bridgeport, Robert Gherson started two games before injuries got him recalled back to Chicago and of course Dan Turple, who is currently under contract with Atlanta and part of the Grizzlies three-man goaltending dream team.

After a one-game transition period after losing five players in 48 hours to the AHL, the Grizzlies are still pumping in the goals like they were before their roster was simplified by all of the promotions. With 11 goals in the last two games, the Grizzlies haven’t missed a beat. Below are current scoring streaks for the Grizzlies.

Tom May, six games (six goals, one assist)
Andy Sertich, two games (two assists)
Evan Kotsopoulos, two games (three assists)
Mark Pavli, two games (two assists)
Scott Thauwald, two games (one goal, one assist)
Tim Maxwell, two games (one goal, two assists)
James Brannigan, two games (three goals, one assist)
Rob Hennigar, two games (one goal, four assists)

*Tim Verbeek had a seven-game scoring streak snapped last night with five goals and four assists.

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

February 10: Game Day

02/10/2009 8:21 AM - Adam Turner
The Grizzlies look to carry over Saturday’s momentum from the 6-1 win over Phoenix into tonight and tomorrows contests with Bakersfield here at the E-Center.

By this point, everyone in the ECHL has heard the story that the Grizzlies lost five players to the AHL last week and then eventually steamrolled the RoadRunners Saturday night. Now is an opportunity for the Grizzlies to continue their story and make Saturday more than just a one-hit wonder. Again, like Friday and Saturday nothing will change with the game plan outlined by Head Coach Kevin Colley. However as we saw from Friday to Saturday the difference was focus and execution. The Grizzlies have seen what they can do to be successful and hopefully will keep it up today and tomorrow against Bakersfield

Saturday was a complete team effort with nine of 13 skaters scoring and six of nine players having multiple-point games. Mark Pavli, James Brannigan and Tyler Wooddisse led Utah with plus-three’s.

Well after not seeing the Condors for the first 44 games of the year, Utah will now play Bakersfield nine times over the next 23 games and four-straight games at home. The Condors will look to keep their West Division streak going after home wins versus Alaska and Bakersfield Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, Utah will look to continue their strong stretch against the Pacific Division as they begin eight-straight against either California teams or Las Vegas. Utah is 6-2-1-0 against the Pacific at home and 8-3-2-1 overall. As we have seen this year, it really doesn’t matter who Utah is playing or how many skaters they have on the ice as evidenced by a 3-0 loss to league worst Reading on January 7 contrasted with Saturday’s 13-man massacre against a Phoenix team that was fully loaded. The Grizzlies just need to worry about themselves and play their game.

With only 13 skaters, Kevin Colley has made a conscious effort to conserve energy. Monday’s practice was optional and that trend will probably continue for Utah.

February 7: Game Day

02/07/2009 8:18 AM - Adam Turner
After leading 1-0 for 21 minutes and 19 seconds last night, a couple of short lapses caused the shorthanded Grizzlies a chance to compete with just 13 skaters.

Assistant Coach Jeff Dwyer’s recap of last night’s game video was that the team really only played three bad minutes and worked unbelievably hard to try and get something going. Last night on Grizzlies Radio, Kevin Colley was also very complimentary of his skeleton crew’s effort though obviously completely devastated with the final score.

For me, hearing that from the two men that know this team better than anyone is a little reassuring especially after last night. Colley and Dwyer have been as direct and straight-forward about everything on this year’s team as possible. When they are not happy, we hear about it and they aren’t afraid to mince words. But in some cases, like last night, a 6-1 score may not be as bad as it seems.

Obviously, tonight, the same 13 skaters will be out there again attempting to battle for 60 minutes for a second-straight evening. It’s definitely not going to be easy to get two points, but nothing is ever easy. As we have mentioned before, especially in the ECHL, the exact opposite of everything you expect usually happens.

Peter Mannino was unbelievable last night in the first period, especially the first five minutes, as some how the Grizzlies actually led 1-0 after 3:12 despite being outshot 5-1 during that span. A player described by college teammate Tom May as a “fierce competitor” is definitely going to want to kick it up another notch tonight as he gets his second-straight start during his “conditioning assignment.”

Speaking of Tom May, his play last night was amazing for a player who had just missed four-straight games with an injury. He jumped right back to the team’s number-one line and not only scored a goal but had several more scoring chances and picked up a couple of Phoenix turnovers in the first period.

Evan Kotsopoulos also had a fire burning within last night that sparked him to lead the team with six shots. He was definitely charged up and not in the mood to put up with anyone not wearing a green sweater.

Also congratulations to Evan and Will Bodine who had “A’s” added to their jerseys last night as assistant captains. While they have been unofficial leaders all season, the “A” really makes it public to those outside the Grizzlies locker room.


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

February 6: Game Day

02/06/2009 8:53 AM - Adam Turner
With eight forwards, five defensemen and THREE GOALTENDERS the Utah Grizzlies will soldier on tonight and tomorrow against Phoenix.

This is not the first time, the Grizzlies have competed extremely shorthanded and the last time it happened, Utah pulled together and had a great weekend. Following a call-up to Andy Sertich and an injury by Rob Sirianni early last January, Utah was left with seven forwards, seven defensemen and one goaltender in the middle of a seven-game road trip and took two-straight games from the first-place Salmon Kings…. Yes, both games were overtime wins. Four days later, Ryan Kinasewich, Mike Mole and Tyler Haskins returned from Bridgeport and the team was at full-strength again. Last week at this time, Utah was just being assigned goaltender Dan Turple and James Sixsmith as Mike Sgroi prepared for his Utah debut and the team was as deep as they’ve been all year.

The Grizzlies were assigned rookie goaltender Peter Mannino yesterday who has spent the last month or so as the backup in New York and also made his Islanders debut November 28 at Boston. Mannino was a teammate of Tom May at the University of Denver and led the NCAA with four shutouts last year. According to a newspaper report out of Bridgeport, Mannino is expected to come here for a 2-3 week conditioning assignment.

The Grizzlies have now had eight different players who started the year here called up to five separate AHL teams. That is going to be a huge bonus to Kevin Colley’s recruiting this summer when he tells potential players he can not only get them called-up to Bridgeport but to Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Chicago and Lake Erie. A rumor has a current ECHL coach blocking his players from being called-up to the AHL so he doesn’t go shorthanded. I am sure agents and players will remember this come the summer when they are testing the waters.

Ryan Kinasewich wasn’t the only ECHL honoree to be called-up after winning a monthly award yesterday. Kinasewich, of course was named ECHL player of the month Thursday, and promptly called-up to Lake Erie. Though Assistant Coach Jeff Dwyer told me yesterday at least one other AHL team called right after Lake Erie inquiring about Mr. Kinasewich’s services. Cincinnati’s Jimmy Kilpatrick, who was just named rookie of the month for January, was loaned to Houston yesterday.

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

February 4: Game Day

02/04/2009 8:42 AM - Adam Turner
The Grizzlies open a five-game home stand tonight with potentially the hottest line in the ECHL.

During the month of January Tim Verbeek, Ryan Kinasewich and Rob Hennigar combined for 57 points. Hennigar has multi-point games in four-straight, Verbeek two-straight and Kinasewich in five of his last six games. Utah has a combined record 13-3-8-9 when one of those three scores a goal.

While the Grizzlies have been off since Friday, Phoenix took a 12-hour bus ride to Stockton after Friday’s game and played Ontario last night at home before surrendering the go-ahead goal with three seconds left to go in regulation following a “faulty” line change and lost 2-1 to the Reign. So with Phoenix traveling to Utah today with no morning skate, like the Grizzlies did last Friday, one of the keys tonight is getting off to a great start. Though it’s still not going to be easy. Phoenix hung with Stockton and tied the game at one after their trip to California which will make today’s 90 minute plane ride to Utah seem like cake. Also after a demoralizing loss, I have noticed at this level it doesn’t usually carry over to the following night either.

The schedule starts to get a little busier now for the Grizzlies who now play five home games in eight nights after just one game in the last eight days and four games in 15 days overall with the all-star break.

Last night on “Grizzlies Live”, Grizzlies Assistant Coach Jeff Dwyer and I probably spent 7-10 minutes discussing the Mike Sgroi departure so hopefully you were able to hear it. If not, that can be your lesson to never miss an edition of the program which airs every Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. on Grizzlies Radio 860 AM. In short, it basically was what Kevin Colley stated in the press release Monday announcing Sgroi had been traded to Elmira. “We were excited to bring Mike back to Utah, unfortunately it just was not going to work out,” said Colley. “We feel good moving forward with the great group of guys we have here currently.”

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


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