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Report: AHL migration west could begin in 2015-16


There has been rampant rumors and speculation about the American Hockey League expanding or relocating west in order to accommodate western conference-based NHL clubs.

The latest comes from Howlings.net, where Dave Cantlon suggests the formation of a Pacific Division in the AHL could begin as early as next fall.

In his piece, Cantlon says with the Denver Cutthroats and Arizona Sundogs of the Central Hockey League suspending operations for the 2014-15 season, plans for the two clubs to join the AHL next season are in the works.

Cantlon’s sources say the both the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes have purchased AHL franchises – are you seeing a pattern here?

The franchise known as the Cutthroats would be the Avalanche AHL affiliate while the Sundogs would be affiliated with the Coyotes.

This is in addition to, Los Angeles moving its’ AHL affiliation the Manchester Monarchs to Ontario, Calif., the San Jose Sharks relocating its’ affiliate from Worcester to Fresno, Calif. and Winnipeg, which owns the St. John’s IceCaps, relocating to Thunder Bay, Ont.

According to the report, Anaheim would also purchase an AHL team and relocate it to San Diego, Calif.

Cantlon suggests in two years, Vancouver would relocate its team from Utica, NY to Abbotsford, Edmonton will move from Oklahoma City to Bakersfield, Calif. and Calgary would move its team, which begins play in Glens Falls, NY this season.

This process is way over due. Several NHL teams in the Western Conference have their affiliates displaced somewhere in the east making it difficult to recall players on short notice. Prime examples of this are both the Canucks and Flames, who have teams in New York.

With AHL teams closer to their NHL clubs it should also help with attendance in the AHL as fans in the region would have some allegiance to the parent club.

This all makes way too much sense for most parties involved (sorry to those cities losing AHL clubs). It’s about time it happened.

Related: Seabrook returns to hockey

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.