Thursday, August 31, 2006

Noel-Bernier signs one-year deal with Fury

The last time Dave Noel-Bernier played on a U.S.-based pro team, it was with the 2003-2004 Colonial Cup champion Muskegon Fury.

By signing with Muskegon today, Noel-Bernier is hoping to get back that championship glory.

“Needless to say, we are really excited to have Dave back with us," Fury head coach Bruce Ramsay said. "His speed, skill and talents will elevate our team very positively. He is an outstanding offensive threat and with his breakaway speed he possesses that rare ability as a true game-breaker.

"In addition, he has shown to be adept on the specialty teams and will be counted on to provide spark on our power play and solid all-around play in the penalty-killing role. We are glad that he has decided to come back to us.”

The 30-year-old Noel-Bernier, a left wing, played the last two seasons in Germany. He's now the 12th player signed by Muskegon for the upcoming season.

Generals sign three with Michigan ties

The Flint Generals have signed three players for the 2006-07 season. All three have Michigan ties and will play prominent roles with the team.

Goaltender Jason Muzzatti joins the Generals after spending eight seasons playing in Europe, the last five in Italy where he was the goaltender for the Italian Olympic Team. Muzzatti, a native of Toronto, Ontario, played his college hockey at Michigan State from 1987-91. He was a first round draft pick of the Calgary Flames in 1988 and played 62 games in the NHL with four teams. Last season, he posted a .916 save percentage and a 2.68 goals against average while playing for Bolzano in Italy.

Forward Richard Keyes, a native of Kalamazoo, returns to the UHL with the Generals after playing last season for San Diego in the ECHL. Keyes played at Michigan State from 1994-97 before beginning his professional career. He has previously played for Fort Wayne and Kalamazoo in the UHL along with teams in the AHL, IHL and ECHL. Keyes had 14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points in 38 games last season.

Shaun Fisher, a defenseman from Detroit, will also make his Flint debut this season. Fisher played for the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL, recording 66 points in 59 games his last season (1999-2000), before beginning his professional career. He has spent four of his five seasons of professional hockey in the ECHL and one season, 2004-05, with Kalamazoo. While with Kalamazoo, he set career highs in goals, assists, points and penalty minutes when he had 33 points on 11 goals and 22 assists with 70 penalty minutes.

“All three of these men are exceptional athletes and will be instrumental in the success of the Generals.” said Generals' GM Al Sims. “We are very excited about having all three players and the experience and talent they bring to the team.”

“I want a team that will put Flint back on top in the UHL,” stated head coach Kevin Kerr. “We should be able to reach our goals this season with the signing of players like Muzzatti, Keyes and Fisher.”

Yzerman's No. 19 to be retired in January

The Detroit Red Wings will officially retire captain Steve Yzerman's No. 19 in a special pre-game ceremony on January 2, 2007.

"For a long time, there was no doubt in ownership's mind that Steve Yzerman would play his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings and that his sweater would fittingly go up into the rafters along with the other all-time greatest Red Wing players - Abel, Delvecchio, Howe, Lindsay and Sawchuk," said Detroit senior vice president Jim Devellano. "As to picking a date, we wanted to be sure that this will be a very special evening and with that, it takes a lot of planning."

The No. 19 will be raised to the Joe Louis Arena rafters next to the five previously retired Red Wings jerseys: Terry Sawchuk's #1, Ted Lindsay's #7, Gordie Howe's #9, Alex Delvecchio's #10, and Sid Abel's #12.

An extensive presentation is being planned for the January 2 event that will begin at approximately 6:30 pm, one hour prior to the scheduled start time of the Wings-Anaheim game.

Yzerman, who announced his retirement on July 3, 2006, completed a remarkable 23-year career in the National Hockey League and with the Red Wings. He played 1,514 games (10th all-time), scored 692 goals (eighth all-time) and tallied 1,063 assists (seventh all-time). His 1,755 career points rank sixth all-time in NHL history.

As impressive as Yzerman's statistics are, it his title as the longest serving captain in NHL history that may encapsulate his illustrious career. His 20-year reign as captain of the Detroit Red Wings began in 1986-87. Yzerman supplanted Danny Gare as the youngest captain in franchise history when he was named Detroit's captain at just 21 years old.

Mike and Marian Ilitch purchased the team in June 1982 and soon after appointed Devellano general manager. Devellano used his first pick as Red Wings' GM to select Yzerman fourth overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. He is the Red Wings' all-time leader in assists (1,063) and ranks second all-time in goals (692) and points (1,755). Only Howe (1,687) and Delvecchio (1,549) played more games in a Red Wings sweater than Yzerman.

Throughout his career Yzerman excelled in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He made 20 post-season appearances and won the Stanley Cup three times (1997, 1998, 2002). In 1998, Yzerman led the NHL in playoff scoring with 24 points (6 goals, 18 assists) in 22 games and won the Conn Smythe Trophy. He ranks eighth all-time in playoff scoring (185), 15th in goals (70) and is tied with Adam Oates for 11th in assists (115). He is Detroit's all-time playoff leader in games played (196), goals, assists and points. Yzerman's four hat tricks in the Stanley Cup playoffs are the fifth-most all-time.

In 23 seasons with Detroit, Yzerman led the club in scoring 11 times and scored over 100 points six times. He set franchise records for goals (65), assists (90) and points (155) during the 1988-89 campaign. His five seasons of 50-or-more goals are the most in Red Wings history and he has the three highest goal-scoring seasons in franchise history (65, 1988-89; 62, 1989-90; 58, 1992-93).

Along with 10 NHL All-Star Game selections and the Conn Smythe in 1998, Yzerman also won the Bill Masterson Trophy for perseverance (2002), an Olympic gold medal with Canada (2002), the Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward (2000), the Lester B. Pearson Trophy as NHLPA's top player (1989) and was on the NHL all-rookie team (1984).

Flags sign defensemen Fatticci, Mahon

Having added two more solid defensemen to the roster, Port Huron Flags head coach Stan Drulia is confident that the team is “two high-end forwards away from being ready.”

After a year-long absence from Port Huron, defender Rico Fatticci is back in the Blue Water area, and has signed to play with the Flags for the upcoming season.

In the 2004-05 season, Fatticci played with the Port Huron Beacons. When the team changed locations and became the Roanoke Valley Vipers, he followed, because the team held legal rights to him. When the Vipers folded at the end of 2005-06, the Flags selected him in the third round of the dispersal draft in June. His contract was finalized at the end of August.

“I definitely wanted to play in Port Huron,” said Fatticci. “That’s my residency now, and it was my number one choice for where to play. Everything I know about Stan leads me to believe that he’s going to be a great coach and I’m excited to play for him.”

The Hibbing, Minn., native played in 60 games last season and earned 10 points and 105 penalty minutes. Fatticci is a 5-foot-11, 190 pound left-handed shooter, who played two years with the Division I program at Bemidji State University at the beginning of his career.

“I just want to win. The bottom line is winning. I have always been a team player and that’s the way I like to approach the game,” he said.

Craig Mahon, a native of Woodslee, Ont., bulks out at 6-foot-2, 209 pounds. He will bring size and strength to the Flags' defense. He has spent the last three years with the University of New Brunswick, last year as team captain, and the previous five as a member of the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires. While in college, Mahon recorded eight goals, 27 assists and 194 penalty minutes across his career.

“Craig is physical and punishing. He’s a stay-at-home defenseman,” said Drulia. “You can’t have enough of these guys. This will really solidify our already good defense.”`

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bruce Ramsay named Muskegon's new coach

Muskegon Fury assistant coach Bruce Ramsay is now the team's new head coach.

Ramsay takes over for Todd Nelson, who took an assistant's job in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves last week.

“We have known Bruce for a long time, from his days as a member of the opposition and our classic battles between the Fury and Thunder Bay to his final days as a key player when he closed out his outstanding pro career here with the Fury with our second Colonial Cup championship in 2002 (as a player/assistant coach)," Muskegon president Tony Lisman said. "Later, he assisted Todd in our fourth championship of 2005 and, again, did a tremendous job."

“I am very excited for this tremendous opportunity that has been presented," Ramsay said. "The Muskegon Fury is a first class organization through and through. It is an organization which operates with the highest ideals, the highest standards and the highest expectations. The Fury are in the business of top contending hockey and winning championships. Our intentions are to follow the lead and the legacy and the footprints set forth and left behind by Todd Nelson while at the same time, make our imprint in winning more championships here in Muskegon. The plan is to win and keep winning.

"There might be a slightly different way of achieving such success but the goals remain the same.”

Ramsay, who also coached the Port Huron franchise from 2002-2004, assumes his new duties with the Fury immediately.

Photo courtesy SP Times.

K-Wings ink Handrahan and Mars for '06-07

The Kalamazoo Wings have signed defenseman Casey Handrahan and forward Olof Mars.

The signing of Handrahan (pictured) gives the K-Wings six players returning from their championship season of a year ago. The third-year pro dressed in 24 regular-season games for Kalamazoo and all 13 of their playoff games.

Handrahan started his professional career in 2004-05 in the SPHL with the Macon Trax. Last season, Handrahan split the year between Kalamazoo and the Florida Seals (SPHL).

“Casey improved all season long and he stepped up his play in the playoffs,” said Kalamazoo GM Paul Pickard. “With already being familiar with our system, we expect him to continue to develop as a player.”

The native of Niagara Falls, Ontario played his college hockey across the border at Niagara University.

Mars, who is a native of Sweden, is the first overseas import for the K-Wings since the 2003-04 season.

Last season, Mars put up 36 points in 35 games for IF Troja Ljungby of Swedish Division 1 League.

“Olof is a power forward with a scoring touch,” said Pickard. “He has produced at the top levels in Swedish hockey and we are excited to see what he can accomplish in our league.”

Coming to Kalamazoo marks the second time Mars has played hockey in the United States. The forward played one season of juniors with the Billings Bulls (AWHL).

The addition of Handrahan and Mars gives the K-Wings nine players signed for their defense of the Colonial Cup.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Franzen signs three-year deal with Detroit

The Detroit Red Wings have re-signed forward Johan Franzen to a three-year contract worth $2.825 milllion.

''Johan had a very good rookie season in the NHL,'' said Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. ''He was a big part of our penalty killing, provided us with a physical presence and played very well in the playoffs. Moving into his second NHL season and beyond, we're hopeful he can gain some confidence and increase his contribution in the scoring department as well.''

The 26-year-old Franzen made his NHL debut last season and led Detroit rookies with 12 goals and 16 points in 80 games. He was the first Red Wings' rookie to play in 80 games since Nicklas Lidstrom did so in 1991-1992.

The native of Vetlanda, Sweden was drafted by the Red Wings in the third round (97th overall) in 2004.

Muskegon coach Nelson off to AHL's Wolves

Todd Nelson would have been starting his fourth season behind the Muskegon Fury bench this fall, but instead he'll be beginning his first in the AHL as an assistant coach with the Chicago Wolves.

In his three seasons with the Fury, Nelson guided the team to 149 victories, two consecutive Colonial Cup championships (2004, 2005), one Tarry Cup regular season title as well as one Central Division title. His 29 playoff victories also rank number one in the Fury record book.

Nelson becomes the latest in a distinguished long line of Fury head coaches who have ascended the heights of the pro hockey ladder. He has been preceded by such luminaries as Bruce Boudreau, who guided the AHL's Hershey Bears to the 2006 Calder Cup crown; Steve Ludzik, who later coached the Tampa Bay Lightning and led the IHL's Detroit Vipers to a Turner Cup in 1997; Bill Stewart, who went on to become coach of the New York Islanders; Danton Cole rose to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins (and also the defunct Motor City Mechanics of the UHL their only two years in the UHL) and Mike Busniuk became assistant coach of the AHL's Binghamton Senators.

An immediate search is being conducted for Nelson's replacement.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pool back for third season with Fury

Goaltender Clayton Pool has re-upped with the Muskegon Fury and will begin his third year with the club this fall.

"We are excited to have Clayton signed and set to return for another season with our club," Muskegon head coach Todd Nelson said. "Last season, he had the opportunity to log a lot of games and ice time for us. Having gained that valuable experience, we expect Clayton to be a matured and stronger goaltender than in the past. There is no question that he has the ability and the record to emerge as one of the premiere goaltenders in the UHL He has the chance of being very, very successful here and we look forward to a real break-out year from him.”

In his rookie year of 2004-2005, Pool went 18-6-5 with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage and two shutouts en route to Muskegon's fourth Colonial Cup. Last year, Pool was 29-10-3 with a 3.07 GAA and a .899 SV%.

Muskegon now has 11 players under contract for the 2006-2007 campaign.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lidstrom to be next Wings' captain

In perhaps an obvious move, the Detroit Red Wings will name Nicklas Lidstrom captain, replacing the retired Steve Yzerman.

Lidstrom, 36, joined the team prior to the 1991-1992 season and is the longest-serving member of the squad. In June, he won his fourth straight Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman.

Yzerman had worn the 'C' since 1986-1987, when at 21, he became the youngest captain in franchise history.

Once Lidstrom is officially given the captaincy, he'll be one of six Swedish captains in the NHL along with Toronto's Mats Sundin, Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson, Vancouver's Markus Naslund and Los Angeles' Mattias Norstrom. Peter Forsberg is rumored to captain Philadelphia next season as well.

The Detroit Free Press and Helene St. James have the full story in today's edition.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Generals re-sign Jason Selleke

By Brendan Savage
The Flint Journal

Al Sims and Kevin Kerr are looking for the same thing as they begin rebuilding the Flint Generals.

Both want players who compete every shift, hate to lose and reflect Flint's blue-collar image.

So it's little wonder that gritty forward Jason Selleke is the first player to be signed by the new regime. Generals fans who watched Selleke the past two seasons know he's the type of player Kerr and Sims are after.

"He's a heart-and-soul type player," said Sims, the club's new director of hockey operations. "Win or lose, you get the same effort every night."

Nobody knows that better than Kerr, the new head coach who was one of Selleke's teammates two years ago, when Kerr spent part of his final season with the Generals before retiring as the all-time leading goal-scorer in modern minor-league history.

"Slick is a great guy, a good character guy, good in the locker room, a good team guy," Kerr said. "He's a guy that will buy into whatever system we'll play. He just loves to play.

"I want guys that are committed to playing, guys that are committed to winning, guys that care. I want guys that are hard-working, dedicated guys that get (ticked) off when we lose. He's one of those guys. Those are guys that win championships."

Selleke, a six-year veteran who grew up in the Detroit area and played at Ohio State, has spent most of the past two seasons in Flint. He enjoyed perhaps his best pro campaign last season, finishing fifth on the team in scoring despite frequently being used in a checking role.

In 73 games, Selleke scored 20 goals while posting career-high totals of 51 points and 236 penalty minutes. He led the team in PIM and his minus-1 rating was the best among Generals who spent the entire season with the team.

"Maybe he deserves an opportunity to play on the second line or with guys who can put the puck in the net," Kerr said. "He's the type of guy that will go hard to the net. Look at the way the game is played in the NHL. It's attacking the net, going hard to the net.

"I want guys who are going to pay the price to score goals, go to the net hard, crash the net. He fits that mold. I'm very excited to have him signed."

The Generals have also hired veteran broadcaster Ned Bowden to be their play-by-play voice and director of public relations.

Bowden has 14 years of experience calling minor-league hockey and baseball. His most recent job was with Wheeling (W. Va.) of the ECHL, where he called games for five years before sitting out last season because of personal reasons.

"I'm excited to be involved in hockey again," said Bowden, 36. "It sounds like they're in the process of getting the organization going in the right direction and I'm excited to be part of it.

"You name it and I've done it - P.R., media relations, sales. I was kind of a second-hand man to the coach (in Wheeling). We didn't have an assistant coach so I handled some of the paperwork. I'm sure there are several differences between leagues, but hockey is hockey."

Bowden will be traveling to Flint from his home in St. Louis this weekend and is expected to begin his duties with the Generals on Monday.

Veteran Podollan invited to Wings' camp

Jason Podollan, a much-travelled forward with NHL experience, has been invited to Detroit Red Wings' training camp next month in Traverse City.

Podollan, 30, played for the old Detroit Vipers during the 2000-2001 season. He finished last year with the Oji Paper of the Asian League over in Japan.

A former 31st overall pick of the Florida Panthers in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, Podollan has played 41 games in the NHL with Los Angeles, Toronto and Florida with one goal and five assists for his efforts.

With the Vipers, Podollan recorded 15 goals among 31 points and 98 penalty minutes in 63 games before being traded to Manitoba at the IHL's trade deadline.

More from a British Columbia paper here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Former Wolverine signs with Red Wings

Forward Josh Langfeld signed with the Detroit Red Wings earlier this month to little fanfare.

The former University of Michigan Wolverine has nine goals in 108 NHL games with Ottawa, San Jose and Boston and will attempt to make the Red Wings' roster in training camp.

Langfeld, 29, had 21 goals and 16 assists in 2001-02 for the Grand Rapids Griffins when they were affiliated with the Senators.

The Griffins are starting their fifth season as the Red Wings' AHL affiliate.

In Ann Arbor from 1997-2001, Langfeld tallied 65 goals and 64 assists in 168 games. His biggest goal came in the 1998 NCAA championship game when he scored 17:51 into overtime against Boston College to give the Wolverines theie second title in three years.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Galvin the latest to sign with Muskegon

Defenseman Tom Galvin signed with the Muskegon Fury today, making him the 10th player inked to a deal for the upcoming season.

The 26-year-old Galvin is set to start his third pro season and his first full season in Muskegon after joining the Fury in a late-season trade one month prior to the end of last regular season.

“Tommy emerged not only as one of our top defensemen, but also one of our best players overall, especially during the playoffs," Muskegon coach Todd Nelson said. "He became a key player for us as he played a major role in every situation during the course of each game. He was stellar on the power play and outstanding in his penalty-killing work. Tommy is an outstanding skater who knows how to move the puck and gives our back line a lot of mobility. His mental toughness has shown, in particularly, when it comes to stepping up for the big games. In those big games, he was always there for us.”

Galvin arrived in Muskegon last March from Quad City. The Fury also acquired rookie right wing Anthony Blumer from the Mallards in exchange for defenseman Steve O’Rourke and right wing Jeff Petruic.

In 77 games last season between the Fury and Mallards, Galvin tallied 31 points on five goals and 26 assists.

Griffins' coaches retained through '07-08

The Grand Rapids Griffins have announced that head coach Greg Ireland and assistant coach Jim Paek have signed contract extensions through the 2007-08 season.

Under their guidance, the Griffins captured the AHL’s 2005-06 Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as regular-season champions, posting a 55-20-1-4 mark and setting franchise records for wins, points (115) and winning percentage (.719). Following a regular season in which it earned the third-most victories in league history, Grand Rapids defeated Toronto (4-1) and Manitoba (4-3) in the North Division playoffs before falling to Milwaukee (0-4) in the Western Conference Finals.

Ireland, 40, was elevated to the head coaching position on Feb. 10, 2005, after having served as the team’s assistant coach since the start of the 2003-04 season. Despite recording an impressive stretch run (17-13-1-1) under their newly-named coach, the 2004-05 Griffins became the only team in the AHL’s 70-year history to win more than 40 games (41-35-2-2) and still be excluded from the playoffs.

Paek, 39, begins his second season behind the Griffins’ bench. He won consecutive Stanley Cup championships as a defenseman with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and 1992, and tallied 34 points (5-29—34) and 155 penalty minutes in 217 NHL games with Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Paek became the first Korean to both play in the NHL and have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. In recognition of those accomplishments, Paek’s Penguins jersey is displayed in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Port Huron signs Lessnau, Ruden

While many of the Port Huron Flags’ roster additions have been of Canadian descent, head coach Stan Drulia has signed two Michigan players for the upcoming season.

Forward Ryan Lessnau (Southfield) played the last four years with Bentley College and goaltender Noah Ruden (Bloomfield Hills) just graduated from Michigan.

In his college career, Lessnau played 110 games and recorded 65 points. At 5-feet-8, 190 pounds, Drulia refers to Lessnau as "a hard-nosed kid."

"He comes highly recommended because of his ability to compete every night and his willingness to battle," Drulia added. "He is a pit bull and plays with passion.”

Lessnau was a tri-captain on the Compuware Ambassadors' 2002 NAHL championship club. The other two, defenseman Andy Greene (Trenton, Miami, New Jersey Devils) and forward Danny Knapp (Rochester, Ohio State, ECHL's Dayton Bombers), are Michigan natives who signed pro deals this summer after four-year college careers.

Ruden (pictured above), 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, recorded 656 saves in 33 games.

"Noah had a solid senior season in Michigan," said Drulia. "He will create a nice, competitive balance in the goal for us. At this level, you need two goalies that can seal games during the season. We feel very fortunate to have both (Dustin) Traylen and Ruden signed and ready to go."

Ruden went 10-9-1 last year with a 2.97 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage in 23 games.

Detroit signs former Red Wing Johnson

The Detroit Red Wings have signed center Greg Johnson for a second stint with the NHL club.

The 35-year-old Johnson, who was an unrestricted free agent, scored 11 goals and 19 points in 68 games with the Nashville Predators last season and is expected to fill a role as Detroit's fourth line center.

Johnson spent the last seven seasons in Nashville and also played with the Red Wings from 1993-1997. He had been Nashville's captain.

In 785 career games with the Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Predators, Johnson has 145 goals and 224 assists.

The Red Wings dealt Johnson at the 1997 trade deadline to Pittsburgh for forward Tomas Sandstrom and the Wings went on to win the Stanley Cup. He was originally a second-round Philadelphia selection back in 1989.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dolyny back for sixth season in Muskegon

Muskegon Fury captain Rustyn Dolyny will be back for his sixth straight season with the team after agreeing to terms on a contract today.

Dolyny, a former Michigan State Spartan from 1997-2001, scored 26 goals among 67 points last year and tacked on 131 penalty minutes. This season will be his third with the 'C.'

“Obviously, we are elated to have Rustyn back in our lineup for the new season," Muskegon head coach Todd Nelson said. "He does everything on the ice for us. He plays power play, penalty-kill, skates a regular shift and is always on the ice in key game situations. In addition, he is tough and offers our club strong leadership skills as our captain.

"Also, he is integral to us due to the importance of maintaining strong chemistry in the locker room and on the ice. Rustyn is very well liked by his teammates and the organization as well as by the fans and the community. In short, he is a real asset to the Fury both on and off the ice.”

In East Lansing, Dolyny, 29, recorded 69 goals and 84 assists in 168 games.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Karlander and Dardis ink with Kalamazoo

Forwards Kory Karlander and Jay Dardis have signed with the Kalamazoo Wings for this upcoming season.

The signing of Karlander (pictured right) marks the fifth returning member of the K-Wings Colonial Cup championship team of a year ago. In 76 games last year, the K-Wings assistant captain was tied for second in team scoring with 80 points (28 goals, 52 assists) and the veteran continued his scoring brilliance in the postseason with 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) in just 13 games.

"One of our main goals was to bring back and solidify our top scoring line from a year ago," Wings GM Paul Pickard said. "Karlander is not only a high scoring forward, but also a face-off specialist."

Karlander played college hockey at Northern Michigan University.

Dardis comes to Kalamazoo after spending the past four seasons at Division III Wisconsin-Superior. As a member of the Yellow Jackets, Dardis chronicled 104 points (36 goals, 68 assists) in 113 games and was an assistant captain for the Jackets during his senior season.

"We have heard great things about Dardis," said Pickard. "He has shown a scoring touch in college and we hope that he can continue to find production in the UHL."

Prior to college, Dardis played two seasons of Junior A hockey in the USHL with the Waterloo Black Hawks and the Rochester Mustangs. Dardis was selected by the New York Rangers in the 6th round (177th overall selection) of the 1999 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

The addition of Karlander and Dardis gives the K-Wings seven players signed for their defense of the Colonial Cup.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Brooks the latest Detroit signee

The Detroit Red Wings signed center Brendan Brooks, who has not played an NHL game, to a one-year contract on Monday.

Brooks, 27, had 14 goals and 27 points last year for the Peoria Rivermen in the AHL. In 204 AHL games, he has recorded 40 goals and 40 assists. He has also played in the AHL with Worcester, Manchester and Lowell, in the ECHL with Mississippi, Dayton, Macon, Reading and Peoria as well as with Quad City in the UHL and Cincinnati of the old IHL.

The 5-foot-9, 185-pound center likely will compete for one of Detroit's final roster spots during the preseason.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Red Wings sign Hasek, Markov, Williams

The Detroit Red Wings, out of the Eddie Belfour sweepstakes, signed 41-year-old Dominik Hasek on Monday to a one-year contract worth $750,000.

"Dom seems very committed and very excited about an opportunity to come back to Detroit and try to help our team win a Stanley Cup," general manager Ken Holland said. "We really see Dom coming into training camp as our No. 1 goaltender. Bringing Dom back is a real positive for our team and is very exciting."

Back on the blue line, free agent defenseman Danny Markov also agreed to terms.

The 30-year-old spent last season with the Nashville Predators, a team as deep as any on the blue line. He had 11 assists and a plus-9 rating in 58 games last season.

Markov will join his sixth NHL team and fifth in as many years. In 472 NHL games with Toronto, Phoenix, Carolina, Philadelphia and the Predators, he has 25 goals and 106 assists for 131 points.

Up front, center Jason Williams re-signed with a two-year deal.

Terms were not divulged, but Williams earned $450,000 last season.

"We are pleased to reach a deal with Jason before going to arbitration," said Holland. "He took a big step forward as a NHL player last year and we look forward to even more progress in the future."

K-Zoo, Fury, Flags announce signings galore

Three of the four Michigan UHL teams have been in the news recently for various player signings for the upcoming 2006-2007 season.



The Wings inked their first players of the year in defensemen Adam Elzinga, Nick Toneys and Joe Markusen (Michigan State) as well as team captain Nick Bootland and fan favorite Tyler Willis.

"Adam had an outstanding season and we will be expecting more from him this season," said Kalamazoo GM Paul Pickard. "He gives us size and experience at the blue line."

Elzinga also gives Kalamazoo dependability at defense, as he was just one of four K-Wings to play in every game last year.

This season will be Toneys first full season as a professional. Before joining the K-Wings during their Colonial Cup run, Toneys had another championship run of his own. The defenseman was a member St. Norbert College, which was a runner-up in last year's Division III Frozen Four.

"Nick has a lot of potential," said Pickard. "In his short time with us, he showed us why he had success at the collegiate level and I am sure he will continue to have success at this level."

"Joe is a solid all around defenseman," Pickard said. "He has a great work ethic and does what it takes for his team to win."

Bootland, who signed a two-year contract with Kalamazoo last season, restructured his contract to fit the guidelines of the new UHL salary cap.

Willis signed a two-year deal.

Last season was a memorable year for the veteran forward. Known for his physical play, the K-Wings UHL all-time leader in penalty minutes (954) showed a scoring touch by tallying a career best in points (66), goals (20) and assists (46).

"Over the past three seasons, Willis has found a home in our community," Pickard said. "In fact, Willis' love for the city has grown to the point where he is looking to purchase a house."


Two Michigan natives will be joining the Muskegon defense corps as Joe Pomaranski (Plymouth) and Josh Chase (Big Rapids) are on board for this season as well as tough forward Ryan Barnes.

Pomaranski will be starting his second full pro season with the Fury, though he still will retain his rookie status since he played only 40 games during the 2005-06 UHL season.

"Joe is a unique player in that he provides excellent versatility for us at both the defense and forward positions," Fury head coach Todd Nelson said. "Last season, we felt that he was really starting to come into his own until he suffered a broken thumb. However, through the valuable experience that he gained last season, he has become a very solid player. Joe possesses those intangibles that are so important in winning. He has strong character, is an outstanding team man and one of our real good guys in our dressing room. We are happy to have him back with us."

Chase played in the playoffs last year with the now-defunct Danbury Trashers after a four-year collegiate career with Bentley College.

"This year, there is a much greater importance being placed on signing good rookies to the roster," noted Nelson. "In Josh, the experience he gained in the playoffs with Danbury should serve him especially well and that should work as a benefit for our club. When he did play against us in the playoffs, he showed to be a quick skater with good moves. What he lacks in size he will undoubtedly make up for with his desire, drive and determination; all great assets to have. We believe that Josh has the ability to contribute to our success in the upcoming season."

Barnes, a second-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 1998, played in two games with the Red Wings in 2003-2004. This will be his seventh pro season.

"Certainly we are very excited to have Ryan join our hockey club," Nelson said. "He brings to us a tremendous amount experience, having played in the NHL with the Red Wings as well as for a number of years in the AHL. His contributions to our team will be many and significant. He is an outstanding two-way player who will also produce offense at this level and thrive as an excellent penalty-killer. Ryan plays with a lot of grit and will provide the Fury with strong leadership qualities. His presence in the locker room also will be an asset to us in building strength of chemistry with the team and in the dressing room."

Muskegon now has eight players under contract for 2006-2007.


Port Huron signed goaltender Dustin Traylen for the 2006-07 season.

"Dustin is a second year goaltender who will be classified as a rookie for us," Flags' head coach Stan Drulia said. "We’re looking to him to have a great season and lead us down the stretch."

Traylen, 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, split time among leagues last year, including time in the AHL with the Providence Bruins. The majority of last season was spent with the ECHL’s Trenton Titans, where Traylen racked up 12 wins.

Ironically, Traylen played his first professional game against the Flags. During 2005-06, he started for Danbury, a game that ended in a shootout, with the 5-4 victory going to the Flags.

"It was a tough start," said Traylen. "I was looking for an opportunity to play this year, coming out of the ECHL. Stan called and was able to offer me a real chance to show my stuff. I’m excited about Port Huron, because I’m ready to be part of a team that has a winning attitude."