Game Day Blog

Summer Blog Entry: July 18

07/17/2014 2:19 PM - Adrian Denny

2 former Grizzlies have been named AHL Head Coaches in the last 2 weeks. Jarrod Skalde takes over the Grizzlies and Ducks AHL affiliate in Norfolk

 
Gord Dineen, who won two Turner Cups with the Grizzlies and the only player to have his number retired in Grizzlies history was named was named Head Coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies. Dineen was the Grizzlies longtime captain from 1994-2000 and also played in 528 NHL games.
 
Skalde was also a fan favorite in Utah and was given the team’s Community Service Award in 2004.
 
Former Grizzlies who have signed as NHL free agents in the last few weeks:
 
Trevor Smith (In Utah in 2007-2008) re-signs with Toronto. He played 28 games last year with the ‘Leafs tallying four goals and five assists.
He has played in 52 total NHL games.
 
Micheal Haley (In Utah in 2007-2008) a veteran of 52 NHL games as well goes from the Rangers to the San Jose Sharks.
 
Steve Ott who was traded to St. Louis with Ryan Miller midseason re-signs with the Blues. He’s already played in 693 NHL games after playing for Utah from 2002-2004.
 
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Summer Blog Entry: July 11

07/11/2014 8:58 AM - Adrian Denny

Vinny Scarsella was the first player to return his qualifying offer as it arrived back last week. The Grizzlies also have signed contracts from Brent Gwidt and Mike Folkes who have been previously announced.

 
2014-2015 Grizzlies Ducks prospects Andrew O’Brien and Joseph Cramarossa attended Anaheim’s Prospect and Development Camp this past week. Both did interviews for Ducks.NHL.com.
 
Cramarossa on Ducks TV
O’Brien on Ducks TV
 
Igor Bobkov also was in Anaheim and attended an Angels game with some of his current and future teammates if you can find him here in this photo
 
Meanwhile, Grizzlies Head Coach Tim Branham worked the USA Hockey Select 16 Development Camp this week. His Branham’s Hockey Camps will start later this month in Wisconsin.
 
Adam Pineault’s retirement was announced this week after he served as an assistant captain this year. He finishes his career with 367 games played, including 2 in the NHL with Columbus. Adam and his wife Monique were very involved in the community this season. 
 
Here they are cooking on 2 News: 
 
Here is Monique talking on ABC 4 to promote the Grizzlies Leukemia and Lymphoma night in November and to tell her story: 
 
All fans who get Grizzlies season tickets by Friday, July 18 will receive a personalized Grizzlies Season Ticket Holder jersey with their last name on the back. Click here to get yours today for your free jersey for every seat you buy. 
 
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Summer Blog Entry: July 3

07/03/2014 10:38 AM - Adrian Denny

Igor Bobkov, who went 17-8-2-2 with Utah and ranked second in the ECHL with a .921 save percentage last year was re-signed by the Anaheim Ducks on Monday. 

Tim Branham said he’d like to add a few more offensive defensemen to the mix for this upcoming season in part three part YouTube series. He mentioned a trend in the NHL of seeing more defensemen getting involved and joining the play that don’t sacrifice play in their own zone to do so. I think he’d also like to add another experienced high scoring forward with a point-a-game track record in the ECHL that can also drop back on the power-play as well as he continues to put together this year’s hockey club.
 
The difference going into this year, is there will be a core group returning for year two of the Branham era, especially in the leadership department. That will give the Grizzlies a leg up on last year, where the team was completely new and learning a new structured system that very few of them had played before. We saw after a 7-14-1-2 start a team that came together and was the best team in the league after Christmas. 
 
A quiet summer out west in the ECHL came to an end yesterday when Bakersfield Head Coach Troy Mann was named Head Coach of the AHL’s Hershey
Bears. 
 
2008-2009 Grizzlies forward Joel Rechlicz signed with Minnesota yesterday. He’s played 26 combined NHL games with the Islanders and Washington.
 
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Summer Blog Entry: June 27

06/27/2014 9:28 AM - Adrian Denny

With the NHL draft this weekend in Philadelphia, fans looking for future ECHL’ers don’t generally need to start paying attention until at least the third round. And then so, it will usually be at least two or three years before they make their professional debuts.

 
In the ECHL, there is no parallel to being drafted and having success at this level. On this year’s team; Aaron Dell, David Vallorani and Jamie MacQueen were among those with next level talent that were not selected by an NHL team.
 
Players on this year’s team that were drafted:
Igor Bobkov, 3rd Round, Anaheim, 2009
Mathieu Aubin, 5th round, Montreal, 2005
Drew Daniels, 7th round, San Jose, 2008
Brent Gwidt, 6th round, Washington, 2006
Kris Hogg, 4th round, Calgary, 2004
Andrew O’Brien, 4th round, Anaheim, 2012
Danick Paquette, 3rd round, Atlanta, 2008
Michael Pelech, 6th round, Los Angeles, 2004
Adam Pineault, 2nd round, Columbus, 2004
Teigan Zahn, 7th round, Tampa Bay, 2010
 
Make sure to watch the first two parts of our offseason YouTube series with Head Coach/GM Tim Branham. The final piece will be coming soon.
 
The ECHL announced playoff format and divisional realignment earlier this week. The Grizzlies will join Alaska, Idaho, Stockton, Ontario and Bakersfield in the Pacific Division. Colorado will move to the newly formed Midwest Division with Indy, Fort Wayne, Evansville and Kalamazoo. The first four teams in each division will make the divisional playoffs and play the winner of the other division in the Western Conference Finals.
 
The Grizzlies will be able to issue up to 8 qualifying offers on Tuesday to players from the 2013-2014 season. A signed qualifying offer will serve as a contract for 2014-2015.
 
The team will also announce the first signing of the year on Monday. Any player signed before July 1, will not need to be qualified.
 
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Summer Blog Entry: June 13-26

06/13/2014 9:00 AM - Adrian Denny

Looking at the 2014-2015 schedule, the home portion will feature 12 series with the same team for two games or more and more flights/sleeper bus trips due to Las Vegas going on voluntary suspension for 2014-2015. Losing that regional opponent will mean less one offs with the Wranglers both in Las Vegas and here and will force the Grizzlies to travel further. Over 1/3 of their road games will be played in California. It also gives the ECHL fewer options on Western Conference games with one less team, thus more multigame series at Maverik Center. The Grizzlies eastern trip to Cincinnati and Wheeling (December 3-6) likely will see the team fly into Ohio for the match with the Cyclones on Wednesday, then bussing  just over three hours to Wheeling, West Virginia before flying out of nearby Pittsburgh to come back home on December 7.

Two trades were completed this week to complete future considerations trades from the season. Martin Lee was selected by Cincinnati to complete the trade for Mathieu Aubin and Michael Pelech in November. Drew Daniels goes to Fort Wayne to complete the deal for Cody Reichard from January.

Speaking of Mathieu Aubin, he has recovered nicely after sustaining that injury on April 9 and is expected to be cleared for hockey action by training camp.
 
To this point, there have been no real changes to the landscape of the active teams in the Western Conference with no teams changing coaches or affiliations as of yet. Since the Grizzlies joined the ECHL in 2005, no summer has gone off without at least a change or two, so something will likely happen with some team at some point.
 
Teams can start submitting contracts to the ECHL on Monday for the 2014-2015 season.
 
Part 1 of my 3 part conversation with Tim Branham will be posted to social media and online Wednesday as we look back, at the summer and ahead to next season.
 
The blog will return on June 27 due to ECHL League Meetings in Las Vegas next week.
 
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