Thursday, January 9, 2014

Lukin Out, Ludwig Successful Surgery, Bembridge & Howes Excel, CHL Expansion

Stopped by practice yesterday and to my surprise Jarret Lukin was not skating. He had been practicing with the team for the past week and the expectation was he would be available for the weekend series with Denver. That is not going to happen as Lukin will continue on IR. Trevor Ludwig had successful surgery on Tuesday to repair the skate cut on his arm. Everything went well but Trevor has a long recovery period ahead of him. With the team down to six defensemen will another one be signed? According to coach Martinson he is in no hurry to sign a defenseman, if the right opportunity presents itself he will bring in another defensman but he will not sign anyone that is not the right fit. Jamie Schaafsma played defense in some drills yesterday so if the situation would come up where a forward had to be drafted for defense it would be Jamie. One year Martinson played a month with three defensemen so having six will not be a problem.

- With Trevor Ludwig out long term, one benefit of a smaller roster (19) is the ability to have a healthy scratch. With a 20 man roster you must have two players on injured reserve. So once Lukin gets back there will be flexibility to rest guys on a game by game basis.

- Yesterday I talked about how important it is to control Denver's top line (Bembridge & Schwab) this weekend. Last night Denver beat St. Charles 4-3 in overtime. Bembridge (2) and Schwab (1) had three of the four goals. John Snowden scored a power play goal early in the third period to put St. Charles ahead 3-2 before Bembridge tied the score to send the game to overtime.

- The other opposing player I have talked about a lot lately is Scott Howes. In the only other game in the CHL last night Brampton beat Quad City in overtime by a score of 5-4. Howes had another hat trick and scored both the game tying goal in the third period and the game winning goal in overtime. Scott has now played nine games for the Beast and has 20 points (12 goals, 8 assists). Can't imagine he is not destined for the AHL.

- Former Allen American Jim McKenzie was called up by the Iowa Wild (AHL) yesterday and will join the team in Grand Rapids for two games this weekend. In 28 games with Quad City, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound winger scored 11 goals and totaled 24 points, to go along with 67 penalty minutes.

- If you have noticed the CHL teams with AHL affiliations like Quad City, Denver and even St. Charles have had numerous call ups to the AHL while the Americans have only had the single Alex Lavoie one game call up. There will still be opportunities for Allen players to get recalled by AHL teams as most of the call ups last year were after the first of the year.

- Missouri Mavericks’ defenseman, Henrik Ƙdegaard, has been named to the 2014 Norwegian Olympic Ice Hockey Team and will compete in the Winter Games in Sochi this coming February.

- If you recall, the CHL made an announcement  on December 14 that they will expand by a maximum of two teams for next year (2014-2015). With all of the work that needs to be accomplished in standing up a new franchise it seems strange that the names of the new CHL cities have still not been announced. Rumors abound about possible franchises in Casper, Wyoming, Canada, Houston, Oklahoma City, plus several others. You can add Louisville, Kentucky to the list as the following article appeared yesterday in the Louisville Business First, written by Ed Green:

Officials with the Central Hockey League are considering bringing minor-league hockey back to Louisville.
Steve Ryan, CEO and commissioner of the league, confirmed that Louisville is among cities being considered for an expansion franchise for the 10-team league.
Ryan said no owners have committed to the expansion, but he has had initial discussions with local officials and potential investors about bringing a team to Louisville for the 2014-15 season, which would begin in October.
Last month, the Glendale, Ariz.-based league’s board of directors approved adding two teams.
Ryan said Louisville would be a good fit, given its proximity to other cities with CHL franchisees, its facilities and its hockey fan base.
An CHL team likely would play its 31 home games at Broadbent Arena at the Kentucky Exposition Center, Ryan said.
“I think the owners of the league would be very happy if Louisville came in,” Ryan said, adding that nearby franchises are located in Illinois and Missouri.
Ryne Dunkelberger, social media and community manager for the Kentucky State Fair Board, which operates the center, said officials there would welcome formal discussions with the league
“At this time, we do not have any comment because we have not been approached by any hockey team” or ownership group, he said.
Broadbent was home of the East Coast Hockey League’s Louisville RiverFrogs in the late 1990s. For two seasons, the American Hockey League’s Louisville Panthers franchise, which folded in 2001, played in Freedom Hall.
The CHL is an affiliate of the National Hockey League that is a mid-level professional hockey league that operates under the American Hockey League, Ryan said.
The initial investment for a Louisville franchise would range from $500,000 to $650,000.
Asked if discussions about Louisville are still in preliminary stages, Ryan said, “I’d say it’s in the working stage.
“We’ve looked at the market,” he said. “We’ve done our homework on the market.”

DID YOU KNOW: Scott Howes has a CHL scoring record that is the best in all of pro hockey. Between Allen last year and Brampton this year Howes has played in 31 games. In those 31 games he has 33 goals and 22 assists and is a +17.

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