Until recently, the Toronto Marlies had been a failure as a business operation.
This was always somewhat surprising, as one might think the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, playing within minutes of the perpetually sold out Air Canada Centre, would garner fan interest. But it didn’t, and after arriving in 2004, the Marlies consistently languished in the bottom half of the AHL in terms of attendance.
Things didn’t really improve until last spring. With the Leafs out of the NHL playoffs once again, the Marlies went on a run all the way to the Calder Cup finals and average attendance at the 7,800-seat Ricoh Coliseum rose to nearly 7,000, the third highest in the league.
Now the Marlies have another thing going for them – the NHL lockout.
According to the Globe and Mail, season-ticket sales are up 74 percent while single-game tickets are being snapped up as well.
“I love that,” head coach Dallas Eakins told the newspaper. “I love telling people you can’t just walk up to our building like two or three years ago, and grab a ticket on game night. That’s not happening. You might want to call in for the end of October. Because we’re starting to sell out.”
The Marlies aren’t the only AHL franchise that stands to win during the lockout, however long that may last. Other teams in NHL markets include the Chicago Wolves and Abbotsford Heat (Vancouver). In a somewhat odd twist, the Wolves are the affiliate of the Blackhawks’ heated rival, the Canucks, and the Heat is the affiliate of one of the Canucks’ traditional rivals, the Calgary Flames.
Brendan Perlini is off to an impressive start this season with the Tuscon Roadrunners in the American Hockey League. The scoring has been there. The production has been there.
Averaging a point per game with 11 goals through 16 contests in the minors, Perlini is on his way to the NHL. The Arizona Coyotes officially recalled the 20-year-old forward — selected 12th overall in the 2014 draft — from Tuscon on Sunday.
The rebuilding, youthful Coyotes are last in the Pacific Division right now, stuck with eight wins through 23 games.
They gave up 60 shots to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday but managed to earn a single point thanks to the play of their goalie Mike Smith.
The Coyotes are on the road Monday and Tuesday this week. They’ll open this quick trip against Columbus, although it hasn’t been determined when Perlini will get into the lineup.
But with a back-to-back situation on the road, it seems likely he’ll make his NHL debut at some point in the next two days.
“Brendan possesses elite speed and goal scoring ability,” said general manager John Chayka. “He has led the AHL in scoring early on and we believe he has earned the opportunity to show what he can do at the NHL level.”
Not much in the way of pleasantries between the Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.
It started with Jordin Tootoo and Chris Thorburn dropping the gloves just 2:22 into this Central Division contest, with the Jets forward earning the takedown at the end of the scrap.
Bit of a size mismatch. Tootoo is listed at five-foot-nine-inches and 195 pounds, while Thorburn is six-foot-three-inches tall and 235 pounds.
Both teams are missing key players in this one.
Jonathan Toews is once again out of the Chicago lineup — and, it was revealed before Sunday’s game, that he won’t skate for the next few days — while Mark Scheifele misses this game for the Jets.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Matt Read is done for the night with an upper-body injury, the team announced.
Read, who only played three shifts today, was hit into the net by Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg during the first period. Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced the veteran forward suffered an upper-body injury.
There was no call on the play.
In 26 games this season, Read has six goals and 10 points.
Alexander Radulov has been a pretty good acquisition for the Montreal Canadiens, and he continued to prove that Sunday against the L.A. Kings.
Radulov scored in the shootout against the Kings, helping the Canadiens to a 5-4 victory. He also scored in the second period and had two assists for a three-point night. Not bad.
But his shootout goal was sweet. Just made it look easy, as he went to the backhand, top shelf on Peter Budaj.
With reported tension between coach Michel Therrien and Max Pacioretty, the Habs captain scored twice and had an assist. Another three-point night.
So, the Habs got offensive contributions from their best players.
That said, one of their best players, Alex Galchenyuk left the game late in the third period after a collision with Anze Kopitar away from the puck.
Galchenyuk didn’t return for the overtime. In 25 games, he has nine goals and 23 points, emerging as the No. 1 center in Montreal when the season began.