Ducks ink affiliate agreement with ECHL Utah

The Anaheim Ducks have made a change in their East Coast Hockey League affiliate arrangement, severing ties with Fort Wayne in favor of Utah.

Here’s more, from the Ducks website:

The Utah Grizzlies joined the ECHL in 2005-06 and play their home games out of the Maverik Center in West Valley City, UT, the former main ice hockey venue for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

The ECHL Grizzlies own an all-time record of 247-254-62 in 589 career games and have made seven trips to the Kelly Cup Playoffs, including each of the last six seasons.

Head coach Tim Branham enters his first season with the Grizzlies, having been named to the position on July 8, 2013. For the last four years, Branham served as an assistant coach for the ECHL’s Reading Royals, who won their first Kelly Cup Championship in 2012-13.

“My first order of business into bringing the Grizzlies into this new era was to find an affiliate that shares in our common goal of developing players both on and off the ice and creating a winning atmosphere,” Branham told the Desert News. “(The Anaheim Ducks) stood out among the rest. They have a deep talent pool, strong management group. Through our conversations it was clear that this organization was the right choice.”

The Ducks had just a one-year agreement with Fort Wayne for the 2012-13 season, announcing in late July they’d be seeking a new arrangement.

Utah is one of the ECHL’s more successful clubs, with 13 ex-Grizzlies suiting up in the NHL last season. They’d spent the last four seasons as Calgary’s East Coast affiliate.

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    Avs expect to recall Mikko Rantanen from minors next week

    DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 21:  Mikko Rantanen #96 of the Colorado Avalanche warms up prior to facing the Carolina Hurricanes at Pepsi Center on October 21, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Hurricanes defeated the Avalanche 1-0 in overtime.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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    The Colorado Avalanche are planning to recall forward Mikko Rantanen from the AHL next week, according to the Denver Post.

    The 19-year-old was the team’s first round pick, 10th overall, in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

    He failed to record a point in nine games last season, but had a strong campaign in the minors, as he scored 24 goals and 60 points in 52 games. Those are incredible numbers for a teenager getting his first taste of AHL action.

    It looked like Rantanen would make the Avs out of training camp, but an ankle injury changed that.

    After Saturday’s game against Florida, the Avalanche will have six days between games, which is why they’ll leave their top prospect in the minors for another week.

    Both head coach Jared Bednar and GM Joe Sakic have stated that the young forward will have a top-six role with the club when he arrives.


    PHT Morning Skate: Erik Karlsson’s awesome Halloween costume may give you nightmares

    Melinda Currey on Instagram

    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    –Which of these four players will be able to sustain their hot starts? (Sportsnet)

    –Caps forward Daniel Winnik lost a piece of his ear after blocking a shot last night. (Fox Sports)

    –Bobby Orr still wants to see the return of the red line. (ESPN)

    –Five General Managers that are on the hot seat. (The Hockey News)

    –Watch as workers put together the rink at Investors Group Field for the Heritage Classic:

    –Warning: You can’t unsee Erik Karlsson‘s black swan Halloween costume (if you can’t see it, click here):

    I just want to be perfect. ⚫️🐦🙆🏻

    A photo posted by melindacurrey (@melindacurrey) on

    Ovechkin scored the winner against the Panthers, as the Capitals continued to roll

    Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, celebrates his goal as center Marcus Johansson (90), from Sweden, comes to join him in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders, Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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    SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) The Washington Capitals are off to a fast start.

    Alex Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal midway through the third period Thursday night to lift the Capitals over the Florida Panthers 4-2.

    Ovechkin put the Capitals ahead 3-2 with 12:27 left in the third. His one-timer from the point got past Roberto Luongo, who was screened on the play.

    The Capitals have earned at least a point in each of their four games.

    “At the start of the season, it’s almost always important to take points,” Ovechkin said. “We didn’t lose the game and it’s a good sign. We just have to continue to collect the points and move forward.”

    Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams scored for the Capitals. Matt Niskanen recorded two assists and Braden Holtby made 26 saves.

    “In the third, (we) responded really well and I thought in the third period they (Panthers) really didn’t have much,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “They had one or two chances, but not much. We had the majority of them.”

    Jaromir Jagr became the third player to score 750 goals. He is in third place all-time in the NHL, behind only Wayne Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801). Michael Matheson also scored for the Panthers. Jagr’s goal was his first in 10 games, including one last season, six playoff games last season, and three this season.

    “It’s always good to get the first one. A good play, a good pass, I was wide open in the slot,” Jagr said. “I had a lot of chances in the games before but I couldn’t put the puck in. I’m glad I did tonight.”

    Luongo made 25 stops for the Panthers, who lost their second straight.

    The Capitals surged in the third period with two goals on 13 shots. Johannson stretched the lead to 4-2 with an unassisted goal with 1:20 left.

    “In the third we sat back a little bit or they pushed back a little bit.” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. “They took the chances to us. That third goal was sort of lucky, a bouncing puck from the blue line and changed direction. Tough to lose like that.”

    Jagr’s power-play goal tied the game at 2 with 5:50 left in the second. Jagr took a pass in the slot from Aleksander Barkov from behind the goal line and beat Holtby. The power-play goal was the first in 11 opportunities for the Panthers this season.

    The Panthers had an apparent power-play goal at 7:47 of the second waved off. Colton Sceviour swept in a loose puck sitting to the left of the crease but an early whistle killed the play.

    “He (referee) said he wasn’t in position and thought the puck was covered. He made a mistake,” Gallant said.

    Trailing 2-0, the Panthers closed to 2-1 on Matheson’s shot from the sideboards that snuck past Holtby on the stick side with 6:13 left in the first. The goal was Matheson’s second in two games.

    The Capitals scored two goals less than two minutes apart in the first period. Williams took a pass from Nate Schmidt in front and poked in the puck on his second try to make it 1-0 at 8:25. The goal was Williams 250th in the NHL.

    Washington stretched its lead to 2-0 when Kuznetsov deflected a shot from the point under Luongo’s glove at 10:21.

    Stars’ Sharp out with concussion symptoms following controversial OT loss to Kings


    The Dallas Stars lost to the L.A. Kings on Thursday, and they could also lose forward Patrick Sharp for a period of time to injury, too.

    Sharp left the game with concussion symptoms, as per the Stars. He didn’t return. The 34-year-old forward was on the receiving end of a big hit along the boards from Brayden McNabb early in the second period and was put through concussion protocol.

    As per Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, Sharp will be out for “a while,” according to head coach Lindy Ruff, who is already dealing with a host of injury problems up front. Stars forward Patrick Eaves also left the game with a lower-body injury and didn’t return.

    The Stars lost 4-3 in overtime, as the Kings recorded their first win of the season, although the eventual winning goal was reviewed for possible goalie interference.

    From the NHL:

    At 1:20 of overtime in the Kings/Stars game, the Situation Room initiated a review under the terms of a Coach’s Challenge to review whether a Los Angeles player interfered with Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen prior to Alec Martinez‘s goal.

    After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line.

    Therefore the original call stands – good goal Los Angeles Kings.

    Of course, Ruff didn’t agree with the league’s ruling on the play.