After some time off, Scotty Wazz is back to give you the news that happened since he was gone– like all the coaching changes in the AHL and ECHL. Speaking of change– Lamar Hunt, Jr. has some thoughts on the changes he’s made since taking over the Missouri Mavericks. More change is happening thanks to winning for the cities of Toledo, Utica, Manchester, and Rockford; while there are a lot of names changing in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s media guide next season. But nothing ever changes in the Federal Hockey League, as it is still a gongshow. All that, a little news and notes, and We Hardly Knew Ye.
In this week’s Farm Report, Scotty reviews the AHL and ECHL playoffs thus far, Danny Biega is feeling more confident in his game, all thanks to just ten games in the NHL; while the city of Biloxi is confident they’ll get another minor league hockey team– but not this upcoming season. All that, plus News and Notes and We Hardly Knew Ye
This week, Scotty breaks down the new AHL alignment, as well as the weird scenario that may have the California AHL teams playing only 68 games as opposed to 76. Regardless of the number, the Stockton Heat are ready to go, at least by how Brian Burke and Brad Pascall are talking. The Fort Wayne Komets wonder what could have been this season and what could happen with their affiliation status, while the members of the 2008-09 Albany River Rats recollect their horrific bus accident in the wake of a minor league baseball teams own tragic happening. All that, plus News and Notes, as well as We Hardly Knew Ye.
In the midst of all the changes in the AHL for next season, the league rolled out their new divisional alignments for next year and it follows a model of the NHL. In the 30-team league, there will be four divisions. The each conference will still have 15 teams in it, one division with eight teams, another with seven; as seen in the picture above. While the playoff format will be determined in early July at the Board of Governors meeting; this does put some things to rest.
First, it shows that the Pacific Division won’t be just the California teams and won’t be having a shortened schedule as many people thought it could be. That definitely helps, especially since having one division out of the six play a shorter schedule and still have the same playoff likelihood would be a bit crazy. Plus, it keeps the two Texas teams together, thus grouping the areas together; while also leaving room for what the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes may do with their AHL affiliates and some day– what the Vancouver Canucks and possible Seattle expansion/relocation team will do.
Second, it streamlines almost to what the NHL has and with the ideal of the NHL playoff format being implemented in the AHL (top-three teams in each division, two wild cards per conference), that just adjusts coaches, teams, players, and everyone around to adjusting to the NHL; especially since it’s not just the players who try to adapt when being called up, but also executives and coaches as well.
Yet, the one problem that remains is how screwed over the Charlotte Checkers got. This team stays in the Western Conference, despite being the team furtherest east in that division and now dealing with quite a longer haul with California being put into the mix. For all intents and purposes, they could have been moved to the Eastern Conference and have eight teams in the division for the Eastern side and only seven a piece in the Western. Why the AHL didn’t do that– I’ll have no idea and may have to question it all.
All in all, it’s a smart move for the AHL and helps quell the idea that the California teams would be pampered because they were so far disconnected to the rest of the teams in the league. Plus, makes more sense than what the ECHL has done with their re-alignment.
A crazy end to the week has Scotty talking about the possible AHL moves between Hamilton, St. John’s, and Winnipeg (not to mention Bridgeport) that will shake up the already shook AHL alignment. Happier news from Hamilton, as Shane Bakker is a great feel-good story for the Bulldogs and psych students everywhere. Jason Shaya is a name that you may only know from the broadcast booth, but he has quite the on-ice resume as well. Monthly awards happened, plus weekly awards, new leases, new owners, and of course We Hardly Knew Ye
On this week’s Farm Report, Scotty talks about the great piece done by ESPN’s Katie Strang about Cory LaRose’s venture out of and back into hockey and how the Charlotte Checkers are helping him get his love for the game back. Many writers in the ECHL thinks there needs to be a little more justice when guys get plucked from to the AHL, but sometimes it’s not the league’s fault in that. The Norfolk Admirals have a lot of tough guys on their roster, but thanks to adapting, they’ve become more valuable than just throwing fists. Oh, and there’s some more news developing from the AHL West migration this week as we get closer to a possible announcement during All-Star Weekend. All that plus News and Notes and We Hardly Knew Ye
This week, the AHL West news hit the fan with teams buying, selling, and completely making the silly season come in full force just at the start of the year. Scotty will try to sort it all out, but could leave you more confused as ever. One thing not confusing is Olie Kolzig’s reasoning to step down to a development coaching role and how he’s adjusting to it, Drew MacIntrye is not confused with his place in AHL history, the Columbus Cottonmouths players aren’t confused with why they moved down from Edmonton, while the AHL and ECHL All-Star announcements will be as confusing as you let it. All that, some news and notes and We Hardly Knew Ye
AHL All-Star Rosters: http://theahl.com/rosters-announced-ahl-all-star-classic-p195655
ECHL All-Star Starters: http://www.echl.com/starters-named-for-echl-all-star-team-p195663
ECHL All-Star Reserves: http://www.echl.com/reserves-and-alternates-named-for-all-star-classic-p195683
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