Report: AHL could have new division in western U.S.


From Los Angeles Kings blog Mayor’s Manor, it sounds like the American Hockey League’s landscape could be making a fairly dramatic shift:

Through multiple league sources connected to the teams involved, we’ve confirmed that five to six NHL teams are prepared to move their top minor league prospects to a new AHL division based in Western U.S. markets.

The reason for this is actually quite simple; it just isn’t practical – or at least not ideal- to have the heart of an NHL franchise operating in one time zone, while their top development team is several time zones away.

At one point, as many as eight teams were involved in the discussions, including Anaheim, Los Angeles, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Phoenix, San Jose, and Vancouver.

Click on the link for all the details. According to the report, the “Coyotes, Ducks, Kings, and Sharks are on board” and “the new division will begin play in October 2015.”

Earlier this week, the Flames ended their affiliation with the AHL’s most western-based team, the Abbostford Heat.

Abbotsford is about an hour’s drive east of Vancouver, and there remains speculation the Canucks could one day relocate their farm team there from Utica, where it relocated last year.

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?