Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Flags grace stage in Mr. St. Clair County 2006

The Port Huron Flags are proudly sending two representatives to participate in the Mr. St. Clair County Pageant, to be held on Nov. 2 at Crystal Gardens in Marysville.

Defenseman Josh Elzinga and goalie Noah Ruden will strut their stuff for the fundraiser event on Thursday with the festivities beginning at 8 p.m.

The competition features a personality, talent, evening wear and question phase, as well as a t-shirt auction to raise money for the Miss Huron Lakes Scholarship Program. Tickets can be purchased for $10, in advance, at Goodfellas Restaurant in Marysville and Main Street Port Huron, or for $15 at the door.

While the final winner will be determined by the judges, spectators have a chance to vote for their favorite participant in the People’s Choice Award, with a monetary donation.

Elzinga, a 22-year-old native of Burbank, Ill. has been a solid presence on defense for the Flags. Ruden, 24, hails from Bloomfield Hills and is a rookie goaltender that has already impressed the fans and earned the nickname "Rudy."

Elzinga and Ruden will face 10 other contestants, including Port Huron Pirates owner Pete Norager and quarterback Shane Franzer.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Michigan UHL teams - News & Notes

Flint Generals - (0-1-1) – Forward Steve Roberts leads the UHL with 41 shots on goal...The Generals rank tied for third in the league on the power play (16%)…They also rank third with 12 power play goals…Flint has had the most power play opportunities (75) in the UHL…Forward Dave Frawley scored the team’s first even strength goal of the year at 8:11 of the first period on Friday. He added a second even strength goal in the second period. Prior to those goals, all eight goals by the Generals this season had been scored on the power play…Right wing Jan Jas has five points (1g, 4a) over the last three games.

Kalamazoo Wings - (1-1-0) – Center Shawn Snider has a point in all five games for the club this season...Tom Askey leads all UHL goaltenders with a 1.75 GAA and .944 SPCT…Kalamazoo has killed off all 25 of their opponent’s power plays while on the road this season…Goaltender Ryan Nie made his first pro appearance on Sunday and earned a 3-2 shootout win vs. Port Huron. He stopped all four shootout attempts…The K-Wings have scored first in all five games this season…In just his second professional game, right wing Justin Cross scored both goals in regulation during Sunday’s 3-2 shootout win.

Muskegon Fury - (2-0-0) – It is the second season in a row that the Fury have finished the month of October with an undefeated record...Muskegon has at least one power play goal in each of their first seven games…Goaltender Clayton Pool has won all three games the Fury have played on the road this season, posting a 2.33 GAA and a .917 SPCT…Muskegon has not allowed more than three goals in a game this season…Center Todd Robinson (7g, 14a) continues to lead the league in scoring. He has 367 assists in 360 career games with the Fury.

Port Huron Flags - (1-1-1) – The Flags snapped their five-game winless streak with a 4-2 win vs. Quad City on Saturday...After trailing 2-0 to Kalamazoo in the third period on Sunday, Port Huron netted two goals in a span of 20 seconds to send the game to a shootout…In his first game with the Flags on Friday, defenseman Pat Sutton scored the first goal of his professional career and dished out an assist in the game…Goaltenders Noah Ruden (2.35) and Dustin Traylen (2.43) currently ranked third and fourth in GAA among UHL netminders.

Courtesy official UHL website

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Michigan UHL teams - News & Notes

Flint Generals - (0-3-0) – All eight of Flint’s goals this season have been scored on the power play…Right wing Jason Selleke leads the UHL with ten minor penalties…Selleke played his 150th game in a Flint uniform on Saturday…Forward Steve Roberts is second in the league with 26 shots on goal…Defenseman Dion Hyman has three points (1g, 2a) in his last two games…The Generals are allowing the fewest shots per game in the UHL (28)…Flint plays six of their next seven games on the road.

Kalamazoo Wings - (1-0-0) – With Saturday’s home opening win, Mark Reeds moved into a tie for third place in UHL coaching victories...Forward Scott Dobben had two goals in Saturday’s 3-2 win. The first was on a penalty shot and the second was the game-winner with just 1:29 remaining in the game…8 of the 12 goals by Kalamazoo this season have been on the power play…The K-Wings have scored first in each of their three games this season… Jeff Brown (D), Adam Elzinga (D) and Shawn Snider (C) all have scored in each game this season for Kalamazoo.

Muskegon Fury - (3-0-0) – Muskegon has outscored their opponents 34-11 through the first five games...The Fury lead the UHL with 12 power play goals…Left wing Mike Watt has scored a goal in all five games this season… Center Todd Robinson surpassed 500 points in his Fury career on Sunday…Muskegon has the top five plus/minus players in the UHL…With Sunday’s 7-3 win vs. Flint, the Fury are 12-2-1 in their last 15 games vs. the Generals… Goaltender Clayton Pool earned the win on Sunday to post the 50th victory of his Muskegon career.

Port Huron Flags - (0-2-1) – Goaltender Noah Ruden made his first professional start on Friday. In two games over the weekend, he posted a 2.53 GAA and a .930 SPCT…Center Greg Bullock leads the team in scoring with five points (1g, 4a). He has scored a point in four of the five games for the Flags this season…Bullock is one game shy of 650 for his professional career…Port Huron plays their next four games in the state of Michigan…Defenseman Ryan Gillis is third among UHL defenseman with 15 shots on goal.

Taken from official UHL website

Friday, October 20, 2006

NHL defenseman joins K-Wings roster

The Kalamazoo Wings have signed defenseman Chris McAllister.

At 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, McAllister will bring an intimidating presence to the K-Wings lineup. McAllister joins the K-Wings after spending last season in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage.

The 31-year-old native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the second round (40th overall) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft and played 10 seasons in the NHL with Vancouver, Toronto, Philadelphia, Colorado and the New York Rangers

"Chris brings size, strength, and experience to our blue line," said Kalamazoo GM Paul Pickard. "To add a player of his caliber to our already talented defense will only strengthen our defensive corps."

McAllister is joining the stingiest defense in the UHL. The K-Wings lead the league with fewest goals allowed (1) and goals against average (0.50).

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Muskegon bulks up with Smyth, Insana back

Adam Smyth has been assigned to the Muskgon Fury, while defenseman Jon Insana has returned to Muskegon following a stint in the AHL.

Under NHL contract with Atlanta, Smyth, a utility player, is expected to make his Fury debut tomorrow night in Bloomington. He has played the last two seasons in the ECHL with the Gwinnett Gladiators and has also enjoyed brief stints in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves.

Having coached Smyth when he first broke into the pro game in 2003-2004 when he was the helm of the Port Huron Beacons, Fury coach Bruce Ramsay is aware of Smyth’s value.

"Adam is exactly the kind of player that we have been looking for to complete our roster at this stage of the season," said Ramsay. "He is a big, strong, rugged presence who will inject that tough, physical presence in our lineup while at the same time making significant contributions to the success of our team in other important areas as well. We are looking forward to having him on board and in our lineup.”

Insana is back with the Fury after he was an invitee to the Wolves' training camp, earning a roster berth for the club on opening night.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Generals add pair of rookies

The Flint Generals added two players to their roster and released one last weekend.

Forward Marc Norrington, a native of Grand Blanc, signed with the Generals along with goalie Paul Soli, a Ferndale native.

Norrington (pictured) played one season of college hockey at Northern Michigan University and three seasons at Niagara University before beginning his professional career. After completing his college career last spring, he joined the Toledo Storm of the ECHL and appeared in six games. He began this season with Toledo before being acquired by Flint. The 25-year-old had his best season in college last year scoring 14 points in 30 games.

Soli will be making his professional debut with the Generals.

In order to make room on the active roster for Norrington and Soli, the Generals released forward Ron Miller.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Karen Newman to sing at Flags' game

The 2006-07 Port Huron Flags season opener is slated to be a night full of exciting festivities for fans of all ages, with special guest Karen Newman to sing the national anthem.

Newman enters her 15th season as the exclusive anthem singer for the Detroit Red Wings. She recently finished a tour with Detroit native Kid Rock and has also performed with Bob Seger in concert. She is well-known in Michigan for her original single, “Christmas Eve on Woodward Avenue ” and has released three albums to date.

Newman will start the game out on the right note, and then join Diabetes Care Education Association President George Czeiszperger to drop the puck for the official beginning of United Hockey League action at McMorran Place Arena.

Photo courtesy KarenNewman.com

NHL veteran Watt signs with Fury

The Muskegon Fury has signed veteran NHL forward Mike Watt to a one-year deal that also includes him being named an assistant coach.

Originally a second-round draft choice (32nd overall) by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, Watt has played with Edmonton (1997-98), the New York Islanders (1998-99, 1999-00), Nashville Predators (2000-01) and Carolina Hurricanes (2002-03).

Only Doug Shedden played more NHL games as a member of the Fury than Watt.

For the past three seasons, the 30-year-old Watt has played in the Russia Elite League with St. Petersburg SKA and in Sweden with Leksands IF. He was a Michigan State Spartan from 1994-97 as well.

"We, as an organization, are very excited to obtain the services of Mike as both a top player and as an assistant coach for our club," Muskegon coach Bruce Ramsay said. "He brings an absolute wealth of experience from all of the best levels of pro hockey. His NHL background of 157 games will serve us very well as he becomes a major asset for us both on and off the ice.

"Mike is an outstanding player who will be a standout power forward for us. He is big, strong, has a great shot which adds up to some real goal-scoring for the Fury. He is a complete player in that he plays both ends of the ice very well and he will be a solid complement to all of our centers."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lidstrom officially named Wings' captain

Prior to last night's season opener at Joe Louis Arena, Detroit Red Wings' defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was introduced as the team's new captain, succeeding the retired Steve Yzerman.

Yzerman, now the team's vice president, was in attendance and dropped the ceremonial first puck.

Henrik Zetterberg and Kris Draper were named alternate captains.

Detroit lost the game, 3-1, to Vancouver. Zetterberg scored the Wings' lone goal and Dominik Hasek made just 14 saves. Detroit was 0-for-9 on the power play.

The Wings play in Pittsburgh Saturday night.

Photo courtesy Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Griffins add players, name captains

The Grand Rapids Griffins added a couple players and named a few veteran players captains.

Forward Scott Barney, who had 32 goals for the Chicago Wolves last season, signed with the Griffins yesterday. Grand Rapids also signed defenseman Jason Beckett, who sat out last season for religious studies, to a 25-game tryout contract Wednesday.

Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and forward Valtteri Filppula are expected to arrive next week from the parent Detroit Red Wings after they've recovered from minor injuries.

Forward Matt Ellis (pictured) will be captain for the second consecutive season, coach Greg Ireland said. Defensemen Derek Meech and Dan Smith will be assistant captains.

"Matt did a tremendous job as captain last season and there's no question he deserves it again," Ireland told the Grand Rapids Press. "Derek is in his third year with us and has grown into a leadership role. Dan is a veteran who has earned everyone's respect."

The Griffins won the AHL's regular-season title last season and two playoff rounds with Ellis as the youngest captain in franchise history.

Photo courtesy Grand Rapids Griffins

Monday, October 02, 2006

K-Wings add veteran defenseman Jeff Brown

The Kalamazoo Wings have completed a trade with the Bloomington PrairieThunder.

The Wings received veteran defenseman Jeff Brown and a player to be named later in return for the rights to forward Tyler Rennette.

“Championships are won with strong defense and Jeff Brown definitely strengthens our blueline,” said K-Wings' GM Paul Pickard. “Brown has played in the American Hockey League as well as Europe and we are excited to have Jeff and his family here in Kalamazoo.”

The veteran brings nine years of professional experience to Kalamazoo. Brown, who was the first round pick (22nd overall pick) of the New York Rangers in 1996, spent last season in the UHL with both the Missouri River Otters and Port Huron Flags.

The native of Mississauga, Ontario was acquired by Bloomington during the league’s dispersal draft in June.

Brown’s resume includes four years of Major Junior A hockey in the Ontario Hockey League, as well as international experience. During the 1998-99 season, Brown represented his country by playing for Team Canada.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Askey signs to tend K-Zoo net

Goalie Tom Askey has signed a two-year contract with the Kalamazoo Wings.

The K-Wings’ new net protector joins the team after spending last year with Jokerit Helsinki (FNL). In his ten-year professional career, Askey has patrolled the creases of the top leagues in the world.

“Our goal this season is that same as last season, to win the Colonial Cup. To retain that kind of success you need a big-time goaltender,” said Wings' GM Paul Pickard. “All teams look for an experienced goaltender and with this signing we now have one.”

Askey was drafted by the Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks in the eighth round (186th overall) of the 1993 National Hockey League Entry Draft. The native of Tonawanda, New York put his pro career on hold to finish his collegiate career at Ohio State University. Askey’s NHL aspirations would become reality during the 1997-98 season, when he played in seven games for the Mighty Ducks.

Nine of Askey’s ten pro seasons have been played in either the International Hockey League or the American Hockey League. In the 2000-01 season, as a member of Rochester Americans, the netminder posted a 2.55 goals against average and earned the Harry (HAP) Holmes Memorial Award, given to the AHL goaltender with the lowest GAA.

“Tom has made a career decision to stay close to home with his family who live here in the Kalamazoo area,” said Pickard. “His character and leadership ability will definitely add to the nucleus we have already formed.”

Snowball and Cadotte roll into Port Huron

Two more players have signed with the Port Huron Flags.

Right wing Robert Snowball, at 6-feet-3 and 235 pounds spent the last two seasons with the ECHL's Toledo Storm, where Port Huron coach Stan Drulia was the assistant coach in 2005-06.

"Snowball is going to ensure that our offense is high-powered and full of contact. I coached him last year and I am fully confident in his ability on the ice to get physical when necessary," said Drulia.

Center Mark Cadotte has a smaller build, but more than makes up for his 5-feet-8, 179 pounds with his ability to put the puck in the net.

"Mark is a high-end, creative guy who will help lead us offensively with (Steve) Hildenbrand and (Greg) Bullock," said Drulia.

Cadotte played in Italy last season and in the Elite Ice Hockey League in the United Kingdom for the previous two years. During his 11-year career, he has recorded 30 or more goals in three seasons and 20 or more in five. During post-season play, Cadotte has scored 30 goals in 8 playoff runs, as well as 33 assists. He also played for the OHL's Detroit Whalers in 1996.