Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Running Down the Sioux in the Pros: ECHL & Overseas

As advertised, here is the rundown of the former Sioux playing in the ECHL and various leagues overseas. Tomorrow's post will feature updates on the Sioux recruits.

  • Colorado Eagle defenseman Aaron Schneekloth is quite possibly having the best statistical year of his professional career. The Eagles franchise moved from the Central Hockey League to the ECHL this season, but the change in competition hasn't slowed Schneekloth. Through 17 games he has 16 points (8G, 8A), 6 power play goals, a +10 plus/minus rating, while his 16 points, 8 goals, and 6 PPG lead all ECHL defensemen. He was also a runner-up for last week's ECHL player of the week award after producing five points (4G, 1A) in three games. Earlier this month Schneekloth took part in a podcast to discuss several aspects of his career, including touching on his time spent at North Dakota.
  • Schneekloth's Eagle teammate Michael Forney is also having a solid year, with 10 points (4G, 6A) in 17 games. Forney was recently featured in the Eagles' Player Profile series, and there was a decent amount of Mighty Duck talk. Here's the interview:

  • Something about November must get the Toews family revved up. While brother Jonathan has been busy tearing up the NHL, David Toews has been on a nice streak of his own. The Toledo Walleye forward is currently on a 5 game point streak, during which he has accumulated 6 points (1G, 5A).
  • Adam Calder is having a big year in the EPIHL (England Tier II). Through 20 games, he leads the Slough Jets with 21 goals and 39 points. His 39 points also rank him second in the league.
  • Colby Genoway has 26 points (6G, 20A) in 19 games with Lausanne of Switzerland's Tier II league. He leads the team in assists, ranks second in points, is fifth in the league in assists, and is tied for 11th in points.
  • Jean-Philippe Lamoureux is among the top goaltenders in Austria's Tier I league. He has started 23 of Olimpija Ljubljana's 24 games and has posted a 2.28 GAA and .937 Save %, both of which are second best in the league. The save percentage is his best since his high school days in Grand Forks.
  • Andrew Kozek has 28 points (20 G, 8A) in 19 games for the Nikko Icebucks (Asia League). His 20 goals lead the Icebucks and rank second in the league, while his point total is tied for the sixth highest in the league.
  • Curtis Murphy has notched 22 points (6G, 16A) in 24 games for EHC Linz (Austria-Tier I). He is the top point producing defenseman in the league.
  • With 20 points in 16 games, Bill Trew leads the wonderfully named Landshut Cannibals (Germany-Tier II) in points and is tied for the team lead in assists. His 20 points are also 15th best in the league.
  • Jordan Parise joined the Dresdner Eislowen after former Minnesota goaltender Kellen Briggs went down with an injury. In 11 games Parise leads the league with a 2.09 GAA, and his outstanding play has led to a contract with Augsburg of Germany's elite league. He is expected to make his Augsburg debut Friday against EHC Munich, which features former Sioux Jason Ulmer as its second leading scorer.
  • Brandon Bochenski (Barys Astana-KHL) has 19 points (9G, 10A) in 21 games. His 9 goals are tops on the team and his point total has him tied for the team lead.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Running Down the Sioux in the Pros: NHL & AHL

    Today's offering is a rundown of how some of the former Sioux in the NHL and AHL have been faring. Tomorrow's post will feature the ECHL and overseas professionals, while Thursday will cover Sioux recruits. 

    • Chay Genoway is the leading point producer among Houston's defensemen with 11 points (1G, 10A) in 19 games. Genoway's 11 points, which have all come in the last 13 games, rank second among the AHL's rookie d-men.
    • Brad Malone and the Lake Erie Monsters have gone 5-0-0-1 over their last six games, and Malone has been a big reason why. He has 8 points (3G, 5A), 2 game winners, and is a +5 during the Monsters' hot stretch, and he was recently featured in a short Q&A.
    • Ryan Duncan (4G, 7A) and Matt Watkins (4G, 7A) are each tied for second among Portland Pirates with 11 points. Watkins, who was recently featured by the Portland Daily Sun, has been especially hot of late, producing 7 points (3G, 4A) and a +5 over his last 4 games. The Pirates have won six of their last seven after a bit of a slow start.
    • Corey Fienhage has joined Jake Marto and Derrick LaPoint as former Sioux who have received in-season promotions from the ECHL to the AHL. Fienhage began the year with Gwinnett of the ECHL, but was called up by the Rochester Americans last weekend. He's played in one game with Rochester thus far.

      Monday, November 28, 2011

      Week 8 Recap: Sioux Sweep Colorado College

      This is the first weekly recap I've done in a few weeks due to an off-week and a non-televised series (the split at Bemidji State). The plan is to get caught up with all the happenings of Sioux men's hockey over the course of the week, including a host of future and former Sioux updates. Today I offer up the recap of this weekend's Fighting Sioux series, while the updates pertaining to the former Sioux and Sioux commitments will come over the course of the next few days.

      North Dakota entered the weekend looking to shake itself of the offensive funk it had been in, and they did just that by scoring 11 goals en route to a sweep of the #4 ranked Colorado College Tigers. Friday night saw the Fighting Sioux hang a touchdown on the Tigers in a wildly entertaining 7-6 victory, while Saturday saw the team complete the sweep with a solidly played 4-3 victory. It was a much-needed conference sweep for the Sioux, and here are a few observations:
      • The top line of Brock Nelson, Corban Knight, and Danny Kristo was phenomenal, accounting for 16 points (7G, 9A) on the weekend. Kristo was electrifying all weekend, making plays all over the ice, while Nelson continued his breakout sophomore season with a 6 point (3G, 3A) weekend, showing very nice hands both offensively and defensively. Knight won 35 of 57 faceoffs (61.4%), which was big considering the proven ability of the Tigers to quickly turn faceoff wins into offensive chances.
      • Brendan O' Donnell, who I heard was very active during the Bemidji State series, continued his strong play since his return from injury. He was very noticeable this weekend, as was fellow freshman Michael Parks, and the line of O'Donnell-Mark MacMillan-Parks looked very good Saturday even though they were held off the scoresheet. Offense from these three freshman will be key with Rocco Grimaldi sidelined until at least January.
      • Derek Rodwell got his first goal of the year Saturday night by deflecting a Ben Blood point shot past CC goaltender Joe Howe with under 18 seconds left in the first period. Rodwell is a tireless worker and it was very nice to see his effort rewarded with a momentum swinging goal.
      • Even though CC scored 9 goals this weekend, I didn't think the goaltending of Aaron Dell was all that bad. The goals CC scored were, for the most part, goals you can't always expect a goaltender to stop. That being said, Brad Eidsness relieved Dell after CC's 6th goal Friday night and he helped stymy the Tiger attack. 
      • Derek Forbort, with some crisp passing and sharp stick work, was solid this weekend and Joe Gleason continues to put forth strong efforts, whether it be as a forward or a blueliner.
      • Some of the opportunistic goals opponents were scoring on the Sioux earlier in the year started going North Dakota's way. The team capitalized on several opportunistic chances this weekend and those goals went an awful long way in securing the sweep.
      • As for the Tigers, Rylan Schwartz stole the show with back-to-back hat tricks, but younger brother Jaden was equally fantastic. His puck possession and passing skills are elite, making CC's top line a real treat to watch.

      Friday, November 25, 2011

      Fighting Sioux vs. Colorado College: Notes & Links

      North Dakota vs. Colorado College - Series Notes & Links:

      Saturday, November 19, 2011

      Fighting Sioux vs. Bemidji State: Notes & Links

      North Dakota vs. Bemidji State - Series Notes & Links:
      • Gametime: Saturday 7:07 CST/Sunday 5:07 CST
      • The game will broadcast on The Minnesota Channel & Lakeland Public Television, and in some areas, Midcontinent digital will carry the games (Grand Forks channel 597, not sure elsewhere-check your listings). America One will also be streaming the games (for a fee). The radio crowd can find its local Fighting Sioux Radio Network member via the standard broadcast information, and if you're out of the FSRN's range, you can listen online.
      • Series Notes in PDF: North Dakota and Bemidji State
      • The biggest news heading into the series is the injury status of Sioux freshman Rocco Grimaldi. It was learned Friday that Grimaldi will be out 6-8 weeks due to a knee injury suffered in the preseason. The injury has limited Grimaldi to just three games this season, and it will now keep him out until at least January, a stretch that also includes the World Junior Championships. The Sioux are hopeful, however, that freshman forward Brendan O'Donnell will be able to return to the lineup this weekend.
      • Even with the rough start and the Grimaldi injury news, this season is far from over.
      • With the injury bug continuing to bite, expect freshman Dan "Jim" Senkbeil to continue to see time on the wing, a position he had never played until this season.
      • The off-week came at a good time, and the team had a productive two weeks in that they were able to heal up some nagging injuries.
      • Bemidji State is also off to a slow start, and they are looking at getting things revved up against the Sioux, a team they have yet to beat in nineteen (0-18-1) Division I meetings (BSU beat writer Eric Stromgren's series preview blog entry includes the article as well as some video).
      • Beaver junior defenseman and alternate captain Jake Areshenko has a Fighting Sioux connection.
      • Inside Hockey's series preview
      • USCHO's Weekend Picks
      • CHN's WCHA Power Rankings
      • CHN's Tale of the Tape

      Thursday, November 10, 2011

      Chorney Back to Edm/OKC, Marto Back to St. John's, Etc.

      A few notes from the world of Sioux hockey:
      • Taylor Chorney was placed on waivers yesterday by the St. Louis Blues and claimed today by the Edmonton Oilers. Last month Chorney was waived by the Oilers in the hope that he would clear waivers and be assigned to the Oklahoma City Barons, Edmonton's AHL affiliate. Well, it took a full month, but Edmonton has finally been able to, in very roundabout fashion, assign Chorney to Oklahoma City, where he will team with former Sioux teammate Chris VandeVelde.
      • Going through a revolving door himself is Jake Marto. Marto was recalled by St. John's (AHL) last weekend and played with the IceCaps Sunday. He was reassigned back to Colorado (ECHL) Monday and played with the Eagles last night, only to be called-up by St. John's again today. He signed a two-way contract with Colorado/St. John's this summer, and with the defensive depth situation in Winnipeg right now, this might be just the beginning of Marto's interleague travels. Just yesterday Marto commented on his first AHL assignment, and now he's heading back.
      • Ryan Duncan, Brett Hextall (who has missed several games due to a wrist injury) and Matt Watkins are all among Portland's (AHL) top eight point producers. Duncan leads the Pirates in scoring with 10 points (4G, 6A), and the Portland Daily Sun recently featured him and fellow Hobey Baker Award winner Andy Miele.
      • Brock Nelson is one of the New York Islanders' top prospects, and Islanders Point Blank recently published a feature on North Dakota's super sophomore. It's a good piece that traces Nelson's tremendous hockey lineage, and it also includes a lot of commentary from Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol.
      • If you are interested in checking out a Fighting Sioux recruit and can make it to Fargo tomorrow night, Jack Rowe and his Cedar Rapids RoughRider teammates will be in town Friday to take on the Force. Rowe played his first USHL game just last Saturday after having been been shelved all season due to injury. Tickets can be had for a handful of change due to the Force's 11/11/11 promotion: Reserved and general admission tickets are $1 between 11:11 AM and 1:11 PM Friday, while club seats and ice bar ticket prices have been reduced to $11. The one catch is that the Scheels Arena box office is the only place where you can take advantage of this great deal.

      Tuesday, November 8, 2011

      Schmaltz Bros. United, Two Sioux Hall of Famers, Frattin Back With Leafs, Etc.

      • Sioux recruit Jordan Schmaltz was involved in a blockbuster USHL trade yesterday, as Sioux City sent the All-USHL defenseman to the Green Bay Gamblers. Green Bay also added Jordan's younger brother Nick to their roster. Nick, who is also a Sioux recruit, most recently played for the Chicago Midget Minor (Under-16) team and is widely considered to be one of the top 1996 birth-year forwards in the US. Because the trade involved such a highly-coveted NHL prospect, it has garnered a sizable amount of media attention. Here's a selection of some of the trade's coverage: Chris Peters at United States of Hockey, Ryan Clark at Slightly Chilled, The Sioux City Journal, and Kevin Allen at The USA Today
      • Jordan is currently participating in the World Junior A Challenge (Langley, BC, Canada) with fellow Sioux recruit Zane Gothberg. Team USA opened regulation play last night, dropping a 1-0 heartbreaker that saw Sweden score with just six seconds remaining in regulation. Gothberg got the start and stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced, but Swedish goaltender Oscar Dansk did him one better by stopping 44 of 44. Team USA returns to action Wednesday night at 9:30 PM CST, when they will face Canada West.
      • Yesterday the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association announced that former Sioux player and current Associate Head Coach Cary Eades will be inducted into the MHCA Hall of Fame. Eades coached Warroad High School to three Minnesota Class A titles in his eleven seasons as head coach. The induction ceremony will take place in March, in conjunction with the Minnesota state high school hockey tournament.
      • It was announced this past summer that former Sioux goaltender Ed Belfour would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. That ceremony takes place next Monday, November 14th at 6:30 PM CST. It will be aired live on The NHL Network.
      • Toronto Maple Leaf centerman Tim Connolly suffered another injury over the weekend, and Matt Frattin received the call to fill his roster spot. The call-up led to Frattin narrowly missing out on the earthquake and severe weather that his teammates endured in Oklahoma City. Frattin played three games with the Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, recording three points (2G, 1A).
      • Drew Stafford recently gave a postgame interview while wearing a golden helmet. The story behind the shiny lid is an interesting one, and here is the interview with the golden dome:

      Monday, November 7, 2011

      Week 5 Recap: Sioux Swept, Frattin Scores, Chorney & Commie Debut, Etc.

      The Fighting Sioux ventured into Mariucci Arena last weekend poised to cool down the hottest and highest scoring team in the WCHA, and while North Dakota and Minnesota engaged in two games that maintained relevance until the final horn, the Gophers came away with a weekend sweep and four conference points. The hot goaltending of Kent Patterson and a stingy team defense earned Minnesota a 2-0 shutout victory on Friday, while a late third period rally Saturday night saw the Gophers pull out a 3-2 victory, completing the first Minnesota sweep of North Dakota since December of 2005. A few observations:
      • First and foremost, the reason Minnesota swept this series was because they are a very good team that played some very good hockey. They received consistently outstanding goaltending from Patterson, and their overall team defense and penalty killing units are vastly improved over the past few years. While North Dakota was able to generate several quality scoring chances each night, they were unable to apply sustained pressure in the offensive end, and even when they did get their best opportunities, Patterson was still very difficult to beat.
      • Aaron Dell was outstanding in goal, flashing the form that made him the best statistical goalie in the WCHA last season. He made several huge saves to keep the Sioux within striking distance on Friday, and he served up much of the same Saturday as the teams engaged in another low scoring affair. Defensively, there were too many odd-man opportunities for comfort, but many of the defensive concerns we had over the course of the first month are being corrected.
      • There appeared to be some nervousness out there for the Fighting Sioux this weekend. Danny Kristo did not look like his usual self, nor did Nick Mattson, and Derek Forbort really seems to be struggling to find his game. Overall, there seemed to be a number of guys pressing.
      • Rocco Grimaldi scored his first collegiate goal Saturday night after being unable to play Friday due to a nagging lower body injury. His goal was a true goal scorer's goal, and when he is fully healthy he is going to add an entirely new dimension to the Sioux offense. The upcoming off week will hopefully aid in his return to full health, but as we look ahead I wonder what role his potential participation in the World Junior Championships will play on his health over the course of the season. The WJC's can be a grind, considering the selection camp, travel, game schedule, etc. so if he is indeed named to the Team USA roster hopefully he will be fully recovered in order to best handle the tournament's rigors.
      • Overall, the Fighting Sioux find themselves in an unfamiliar spot as they currently sit in 11th place in the WCHA standings with a 1-5 record. They continue to show signs of improvement, as the goaltending and defensive corps are becoming the backbone of the team everyone expected them to be from the outset. Offensive depth continues to be a concern and the return to full health by Grimaldi and Brendan O'Donnell will certainly help in that area. While I'm sure the guys are itching to get back onto the ice to get the bitter taste of the sweep out of their mouths, perhaps the bye week will serve as an opportunity to regroup and focus on making a strong run into the holiday break in order to get into position for a strong second half push up the standings.
       Sioux in the Pros:
      • Matt Frattin (Toronto-AHL) and Chay Genoway (Houston-AHL) faced one another for the first time as professionals Sunday night, and Frattin's two goals (including his first as a pro) helped the Marlies earn a 6-2 victory. In three games with the Marlies Frattin has three points (2G, 1A). Genoway recorded an assist in Sunday night's game, and he finished the week with two assists in three games. Frattin's first professional goal can be seen below:

      • The Portland Pirates (AHL) defeated Manchester 4-1 Sunday night, and former Sioux had a hand in three of the four goals. Ryan Duncan and Brett Hextall each scored while Matt Watkins earned an assist.
      • Jake Marto made his AHL debut Sunday with the St. John's IceCaps. He was returned to the ECHL's Colorado Eagles Monday, however. He was an emergency fill-in for the injury depleted IceCaps.
      • Brad Miller had one goal and one assist in three games last week for the Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL). Miller, Gladiator teammate Corey Fienhage, and Aaron Schneekloth (Colorado) all rank among the Top 20 ECHL defensemen in scoring.
      • Mike Commodore (Detroit) and Taylor Chorney (St. Louis) each debuted for their new NHL teams Friday night. They are the 10th and 11th former Fighting Sioux to skate on NHL ice this season, and they were both in the lineup Saturday night as well.
      • Among the other former Sioux highlights, New Jersey's Zach Parise had three points (1G, 2A) in three games, Chicago's Jonathan Toews had three points (1G, 2A) in four games, and St. Louis Blues forward TJ Oshie had three points (2G, 1A) in two games.
      Sioux Recruits:
      • Jack Rowe of Cedar Rapids (USHL) made his RoughRider debut Saturday night after missing the first month or so of the season due to injury. He was held pointless after logging three shots on goal, and he should be available to play this coming Friday when Cedar Rapids visits Fargo to take on the Force.
      • Luke Johnson of the Lincoln Stars remained out of the lineup last weekend due to injury.
      • A host of other Sioux recruits had the weekend off from regular season action as they prepare for an assortment of international competitions. For more on that, check out my international tournament summary from last week.

      Saturday, November 5, 2011

      Friday Night's NHL Highlights: Oshie & Stafford Goals, Toews Assist

      Oshie Goal #1:

      Oshie Scores Going to His Knees For Goal #2:

      Oshie Assist:

      Stafford Unleashes a One-Time Bomb:

      Toews Assist:

      Friday, November 4, 2011

      Fighting Sioux vs. Minnesota Notes & Links

      North Dakota vs. Minnesota - Series Notes & Links:

      Thursday, November 3, 2011

      Commodore to Debut Tonight, Recruit Scouting Reports, Toews Best NHL Leader, Etc.

      Mike Commodore was cleared to return to game action last week after sitting out for a month while recovering from a preseason knee injury, but the big defenseman has been a healthy scratch during the recent Red Wings' swoon. That all changes tonight as Commodore will make his Red Wings regular season debut against the Calgary Flames at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. Commodore says he'll surely have some nerves, but he'll try to keep it simple. Commodore played in 18 games for the Flames from 2002-2004, and he will be the tenth Sioux hockey alumni to play in the NHL this season.

      That number might grow to eleven pretty quickly, as indications are that Taylor Chorney could be in the St. Louis Blues' lineup tomorrow night against Vancouver. Since being waived by Edmonton and eventually claimed by St. Louis, Chorney has waited patiently for an opportunity to get on the ice in what he says is the longest stretch of non-injury imposed inactivity of his career.

      Yesterday it was announced that recruit Nick Schmaltz will be representing Team USA at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in January. Much of the scouting and evaluation for selecting the players for the team occured at USA Hockey's summer select player development camp. US Hockey Report ranks the top performers, and here's what they had to say about the Sioux recruits that took part in this past summer's camps:

      Select 15 Camp:
      4. Nick Schmaltz (#10 Grey) 5-10/155 – 3-9-12 – Center has soft hands, sees the ice very well. Gets open, and finds the open man. He’s the brother of North Dakota recruit Jordan Schmaltz. From Verona, Wisc. and Chicago Mission U16.

      Select 16 Camp: 
      3. Luke Voltin (#15 Kelly Green) 6-1/185 – 4-3-7 -- From Hill-Murray (Minn.) HS; going to NTDP. Good hands. Good feet. Extremely athletic.

      Note: Voltin's performance was ranked ahead of the likes of Hudson Fasching (#4, uncommitted), Michael McCarron (#5, Michigan St recruit), and Vinni Lettieri (#21, Minnesota recruit). Minot's Alex Schoenborn (uncommitted, potential Sioux recruit) also attended the camp:

      12. Alex Schoenborn (#18 Grey) 6-1/190 – 3-2-5 -- 12/12/95 DOB from Minot HS. Lincoln first round pick. A very late ’95, but already a big strong kid.

      6. Keaton Thompson (#6 Red) 6-1/170 – 0-2-2 -- From Devils Lake HS. Joining NTDP. Good defensively, nice outlet passes, and judiciously picks his spots to join the rush.

      13. Charlie Pelnik (#7 Forest Green) 6-4/190 – 0-0-0 -- From Carolina Jr. Hurricanes. North Dakota recruit. Quite raw, didn’t have a great week, but there’s a lot to work with here. Fargo’s top pick. Also picked by Plymouth in OHL draft.

      Also, former East Grand Forks and current USNTDP U-17 defenseman Gage Ausmus (Denver recruit) was the 16th ranked blueliner.

      And here are a few odds and ends:

      Wednesday, November 2, 2011

      Nick Schmaltz an Elite U-16er & Other International News

      There's a fair amount of international play coming up for current, future, and former Sioux. Below is a summary of those events:
      • Today Sioux recruit Nick Schmaltz was named to USA Hockey's U-16 Boys' Select Team that will be participating in the 2012 (and inaugural) Winter Youth Olympic Games January 13-22 in Innsbruck, Austria. 
      • Stefan Matteau, Miles Koules and their Team USA U-18 teammates will be traveling to Monthey, Switzerland to take part in the Four Nations Cup November 9-13. Team USA has not lost a game at the Four Nations since 1997.
      • Keaton Thompson and Luke Voltin will head to Balashinkha, Russia with their Team USA teammates for the Under-17 Four Nations Cup November 9-13. Team USA will be looking to defend their gold medal.
      • Jordan Schmaltz (Sioux City-USHL) and Zane Gothberg (Fargo-USHL) are members of the Team USA squad that will take part in the World Junior A Challenge November 7-13 in Langley, BC, Canada. Team USA is the three-time defending champion.
      • Former Sioux Brandon Bochenski will take part in the Deutschland Cup November 11-13 in Munich, Germany.
      • Current Sioux Rocco Grimaldi and Derek Forbort will be looking to work their way onto Team USA's World Junior Championship roster. Team USA's selection camp will take place in December, just ahead of the 2012 World Juniors, which begin December 26 and run through January 5 in Calgary and Edmonton, AB, Canada. Team USA is coached by former Sioux/current Nebraska-Omaha head coach Dean Blais, and he's assisted by former Sioux player/assistant coach and current Minnesota-Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin.

      Week 4 Recap (Part 2): Genoway, Malone Get First Pro Goals & Injury Updates

      Below is the weekly recap of former and future Sioux:
      • Brad Malone (Lake Erie-AHL) and Chay Genoway (Houston-AHL) each scored their first goals as professionals last Friday night. Malone's goal came in a 2-1 Monster victory over the Toronto Marlies, while Genoway's helped the Aeros defeat San Antonio 4-2. Genoway had a big week in total as he recorded five points (1G, 4A) in three games, helping the team to a 2-0-1 record over the weekend.
      • Corey Fienhage had a goal and an assist for Gwinnett (ECHL) as the Gladiators went 2-1 during the week.
      • A trio of former Sioux had a nice weekend for the Colorado Eagles (ECHL). Aaron Schneekloth (1G, 2A) and Jake Marto (0G, 3A) each had three points while Michael Forney added two assists in helping the Eagles to a  2-1 weekend record.
      • Like many of the goals he scored as a Sioux, Darcy Zajac scored the gritty game winner in the Albany Devils (AHL) 3-2 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs Saturday night.
      • Travis Zajac resumed skating last week as he continues rehabilitation following Achilles surgery. He also paid a surprise visit to New Jersey Devils practice earlier this week. The Devils have had to shuffle their lineup a bit due to injuries, and Zach Parise has been at the center of the changes.
      • Jason Blake hopes to be a fast healer as he recuperates from the tendon injury he suffered to his left wrist. If cancer can't keep him out of the lineup, expect Blake to make a complete recovery for the Anaheim Ducks.
      • Detroit's Mike Commodore has been cleared to play after sitting out the past month with a knee injury. Though the Red Wings defensemen have played well during the early stages of the season, expect Commodore to see the ice soon.
      • Taylor Chorney has yet to play this season, but he has waited patiently and his chance could come Friday.
      • Matt Frattin, who has played well for Toronto but has been unable to score, was assigned to the Leaf's AHL affiliate. Expect him to be back with the Leafs later this season as he rediscovers his scoring touch.
      • The Colorado Springs Gazette published a nice piece on the recently retired David Hale, a Springs native.
      • The Mayor's Manor caught up with Matt Greene to see what he's learned thus far about this year's LA Kings squad. That's a heckuva gash on his forehead that wound up requiring 54 stitches.
      • Jack Rowe (Cedar Rapids-USHL) has yet to play this season as he recovers from offseason surgery, but he has begun practicing with the RoughRiders. Hopefully he will be on the ice Veteran's Day weekend when CR visits Fargo to take on the Force. That's an off week for North Dakota so it would be a great opportunity to see the Sioux recruit in action.
      • Luke Johnson (Lincoln-USHL) sat out last weekend as one of several Lincoln Stars players dealing with injuries. No word thus far in regard to the extent of the injury. Johnson is off to a tremendous start, having notched at least one point in each of his six games.