Summer Blog Entry: September 25
09/24/2009 11:59 PM - Adrian Denny
It was the NHL last week, the AHL this week and next week the ECHL will open training camps. It should be a very busy week for the Grizzlies. Head Coach Kevin Colley and Assistant Coach Pat Curcio will have returned from training camp in Bridgeport with several players to join them when camp begins here in Utah next weekend. The preseason opener is two weeks from tonight in Logan and the season opener in Las Vegas is three weeks from tonight. Not to mention, the home opener that is four weeks from tonight.
In addition to their training camp schedule, next week the Grizzlies will also unveil their 2009-2010 tagline and logo as well as an Islanders themed third jersey that they will be wearing on Friday nights starting in December. The complete 09-10 promotional schedule will be announced in the next week or so as well. Billboards will begin popping up around the valley promoting opening weekend and television advertisements will begin airing on ABC 4, the Grizzlies new television partner as well in the coming week.
So with training camp and the regular season around the corner, I write my final blog of the offseason. Up in Bridgeport, Colley is expected to be leading the Sound Tigers tonight and tomorrow as they play preseason games. Grizzlies of note with Kevin in Bridgeport include Evan Stoflet, James Sixsmith and Dov Grumet-Morris. In addition, players like Nathan Lawson, Tyler Haskins and Micheal Haley have joined Bridgeport from New York.
Speaking of Lawson, former Grizzlies forward Justin Bourne submitted a piece about his former Grizzlies and college teammate earlier this week.
The team’s complete training camp roster will be announced next week and I’ll leave you this summer with one final hint. The team is expected to have the younger brother of an active NHL Stanley Cup Champion and All-Star.
Sources tell me that Kazuma Takahashi has registered for the Stockton Thunder’s upcoming free agent camp. Kazuma developed quite the following playing for the Grizzlies the past two seasons.
And if you didn’t see it, The Salt Lake Tribune’s Kurt Kragthorpe wrote a nice column Thursday on former Grizzlies Penalty Box Boss Walt Shewmake who passed away last week.
Send me your comments and your own blog entries at firstname.lastname@example.org. And be sure to regularly visit www.utahgrizzlies.com as we begin our fourth season of daily training camp podcasts.
Summer Blog Entry: September 18
09/17/2009 9:35 PM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies added a second affiliate for the first time in over five years Wednesday when Kevin Colley announced that the team would receive up to four players from the Calgary Flames, who will house players in Salt Lake for the first time since 1993, when they ended nearly a ten-year relationship with the IHL’s Salt Lake Golden Eagles. Sources tell me that at least two other National Conference teams were trying to also align with Calgary, but the Flames liked what they saw with the Grizzlies organization and had no intention of going elsewhere.
The Grizzlies will almost undoubtedly be taking a few former Wranglers and Flames prospects back to their former home in the Orleans Arena when they open the season there in less than a month on October 16. Las Vegas will open as an affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes, whom Utah was with during the 2004-2005 season in the AHL. It is the first time that the Coyotes will have an affiliate in the ECHL since 2006-2007, when they sent several players across town to the Phoenix RoadRunners. It’s a Grizzlies team that is looking very very good depth wise as evidenced by the trade of Slavomir Tomko Thursday. He was assumed to be a top defenseman for the team earlier in the summer, when his rights were acquired from Elmira to complete an earlier trade.
Players will begin arriving in Utah in less than two weeks, while NHL training camps are underway. Nathan Lawson played in the first two preseason games for the Islanders (0-3); including Wednesday when he held a shutout until seven minutes into the third period as NewYorkIslanders.com billed him as the “story of the night” in a 2-1 loss. Lawson and the Islanders had allowed just five regulation goals in two road games in the preseason. Unfortunately, though, Nathan did not play Thursday in his hometown of Calgary as Martin Biron got the nod in the team’s 5-4 shootout loss at the Saddledome. Ironically enough, last night was the first of two-straight games between the Grizzlies new dual affiliates. Former Grizzlies forward Trevor Smith scored his first goal of the preseason in the contest. The two Grizzlies parent clubs will rematch Saturday in Saskatoon. Andrew MacDonald, Micheal Haley, Tyler Haskins and Joel Rechlicz are also former ECHL Grizzlies who have gotten in on the action for the Isle in the preseason. Former Grizzlies from the IHL and/or AHL in Jon Sim, Richard Park and Mark Streit also have been active in the Islanders exhibition games.
This week’s "Separated at Birth" candidates come courtesy of loyal blog readers Drayden, who saw something eerily similar between Sidney Crosby and actor Tom Welling, and Rachael who offered up the afore mentioned Islander Trevor Smith and Heroes actor Milo Ventimiglia.
Send me your comments, your own blog entries and of course “Separated at Birth” candidates to email@example.com.
Until next Friday, GO GRIZZLIES/GO UTES!!!
Summer Blog Entry: September 11
09/11/2009 12:05 AM - Adrian Denny
It was a busy news week for the Grizzlies, as it was announced that Ryan Kinasewich will be returning for a fifth season with Utah, James Sixsmith, who split last year between Utah, where he put up 27 points in 31 games, and the AHL will also be returning on an ECHL contract. In addition, the team announced the hiring of Assistant Coach/Assistant Director of Hockey Operations Pat Curcio; while from a broadcasting standpoint 1320 KFAN and 1230 KJQS came aboard as the team’s flagship stations for Utah Grizzlies Radio.
Ryan is on the verge of breaking every offensive category in team history, most of which are held by former NHL’er Chris Taylor and he is very excited to be returning to Utah. I’ve thought to myself on several occasions, where would the team be without him, as he has averaged nearly 1.5 points-per-game with Utah, and fortunately from a selfish standpoint; we have not had to enter a training camp wondering that yet. Two of the most distressing moments in my eight season Grizzlies career have come in situations where Ryan has left a game and not returned as he suffered a season-ending injury February 14, 2007 at the E-Center versus Fresno in the worst Valentine’s Day of my life and also November 8, 2008, when he left the lineup for over a month battling an injury. Back to happy thoughts though, two of our favorite people and listener contributors to Grizzlies Radio in both “Uncle Alex”, Ryan’s Uncle and “Grandma Kathleen”, Ryan’s Grandma have both checked in this week following the announcement to share their excitement for both Ryan and the 2009-2010 Utah Grizzlies. In addition, we also expect to have his step-sister Olivia back to perform the national anthem(s) at a Grizzlies home stand soon as well as visits from the rest of his family as we have become accustomed to over the years. Oh and yes, this is the major returning player announcement that I alluded to earlier this summer.
James Sixsmith was also announced this week. The best penalty-killer we have seen in our four years in the ECHL; Sixsmith brings his modest, hard working and dedicated speed back to the E-Center. In just 31 games last year, he tallied four shorthanded goals. James has also been busy helping Kevin Colley on the recruiting trail in the acquisition of Dale Reinhardt and goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris. Sixsmith grew up playing with Reinhardt; and earlier this week told me that he has a natural knowledge of the game and even though he’s the smallest player on the ice, he will "level" a guy once a game. On Grumet-Morris: Sixsmith said he is an unbelievable professional who never gets to high or too low. In addition, he said that it is so reassuring as a player to know that you have a goaltender who is going to be consistent all of the time and not let in the occasional soft goal. He closed by saying that you can’t tell a difference between Grumet-Morris whether he’s in practice, staying late after practice, or in a game; he’s always going 100-percent.
When Assistant Coach Jeff Dwyer left for Cedar Rapids in August, Kevin Colley had only one person in mind for the job and he got him following the addition of Pat Curcio earlier this week. Curcio, best known for coaching 2009 NHL number-one overall draft pick John Tavares last year in London, has a hunger to move up the coaching ranks; and like Kevin is known for his commitment to the organization he works for on and off the ice as well as having a similar work ethic. Should Curcio not have taken the job following Dwyer’s departure, Colley would have eliminated the assistant coaching position for this year and moved forward himself. In fact, Utah and Victoria are the only ECHL National Conference teams that will have Assistant Coaches in 2009. All others who did in 2008-2009, have eliminated that position for budget reasons.
And finally, the Grizzlies and myself could not be more pleased following the announcement that 1320 KFAN and 1230 KJQS The Home of Fox Sports Radio will be our flagship radio stations this upcoming season. KFAN and KJQS are the top listened to and most recognized sports radio outlets in the market and are part of the broadcast family that includes KJZZ 14 and Fox Sports Utah. In addition, the stations, operated by Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment, are also part of the Miller Group, which operates the Utah Jazz, Salt Lake Bees and Miller Motor Sports Park from a sports standpoint. They are definitely the 800-pound sports gorilla in the Salt Lake City market and we are delighted to join their family for Grizzlies Radio. It’s great to have the Grizzlies on a sports station like 1320 KFAN, which is talking local sports all day. I will be providing hockey on-air work for them during my insider reports, which will frequently air during the season on Locked on Sports with David Locke daily from 3 – 6 p.m. In addition, I will have weekly NHL and Grizzlies podcasts that will air on 1320KFAN.com. Also, you can expect Grizzlies players and coaches to be regulars on the station. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to make 1320 KFAN and 1230 KJQS your number one choices for radio listening. I have been to a lot of cities and listened to a lot of sports radio and Program Director Scott Garrard and his crew are right up there among the best I have heard. 1230 KJQS focuses on national sports talk from Fox Sports Radio, which tends to be a little more lighthearted and spontaneous than your usual national sports format. That formula translates into some entertaining programming; including my favorite show on the station with Steve Czaban that you can hear during the mid-morning hours up until 1 p.m. We also want to extend a special thank you to our friends at True Oldies 860 AM and Citadel Broadcasting. While KFAN/KJQS will be handling our broadcasts, we will still be working with Citadel extensively on various other marketing projects throughout the year as well as some other hockey elements. They have been our partners since year one and we are as excited as ever to move forward with them and their eight strong Salt Lake stations. And finally, I have only a few advertising packages left this year for our radio broadcasts. They start as low as $50 a month and have been selling like hotcakes! Give me a call at (801) 988-8017 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Radio advertising is a strong tool and the least expensive marketing avenue. If you've never tried it before or want to get back in, let's talk and put a package together that will work for you and drive some additional business in.
Sorry, I am on vacation, no “Separated at Birth” feature this week, maybe next week, if you submit your suggestions to email@example.com or Grizzlies Trainer Mike Plandowski checks back in; maybe our blog staff will find one to their liking. Email me your comments as well, I always enjoy hearing from Grizzlies fans.
Until next week,
GO GRIZZLIES!!! GO UTES!!!
Summer Blog Entry: September 4
09/03/2009 11:59 PM - Adrian Denny
I think the Grizzlies surprised everyone this week when they announced the signing of a second goaltender to an ECHL contract in Dov Grumet-Morris; who has been absolutely dominant in four years of pro hockey at the CHL, AHL and ECHL levels. What great work by Kevin Colley; he has pressed all the right buttons assembling the 2009-2010 hockey club and has seen some hard work payoff. The summer definitely has to be almost as stressful as during the regular season as he waits to hear back from players and agents on where they will be going. Also, give some credit to Jeff Dwyer on his way out of town. Jeff spent the summer in Salt Lake, though ECHL Assistant Coaches are only paid seasonally, working to help Kevin out on the recruiting end. It’s definitely been a lot of work and in less than a month, the 09-10 Grizzlies will begin rolling down I-80 and into town.
Our good friend in Cincinnati, John Hamel, who is the voice of the Cyclones also once again checked in with some feedback on “Dover”, which is what he prefers to be called. “This guy is ALL class. Let him know we miss him here as a person; a heck of a lot more than a hockey player. He is a good hockey player too!”
Back to Jeff Dwyer, his new gig was announced this week and he began the drive East on I-80 with his German Shepherd Murray first thing on Thursday morning.
The Islanders earlier this week traded a Rob for a Bobby when they dealt 08-09 Grizzlies leading scorer Rob Hennigar to Carolina in exchange for Bobby Hughes who played last year in Florida (ECHL) and Albany (AHL). All the best to Rob, who was outstanding here in Utah last year both on and off the ice.
Check out this story about enforcer Joel Rechlicz reading to kids in New York earlier in August. Not only, check out the story, but also look at Joel’s summer haircut or lack there of! He was about 15-seconds away from being a subject in this week’s celebrity look-a-like, if Trainer Mike Plandowski hadn’t saved the day again.
Check out this week’s celebrity look-a-likes, once again courtesy of Grizzlies Head Athletic Trainer Mike Plandowski. Stay tuned, Plando’s new blog will debut soon here on www.utahgrizzlies.com.
Send me your comments and your own blog entries at firstname.lastname@example.org.