Author: Joe Yerdon

Kurt Kleinendorst

Former Sens AHL coach Kleinendorst lands Wild minor league job

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Former Binghamton Senators head coach Kurt Kleinendorst is back in the AHL.

After spending last season coach the University of Alabama-Huntsville in the NCAA, Kleinendorst has signed on to be the head coach of the Iowa Wild. Michael Russo of The Star Tribune says the move will be announced on Monday.

Kleinendorst has had a wild ride of late in coaching. He spent two seasons coaching the Ottawa farm team from 2010 through 2012 and led them to a Calder Cup championship in his first season. After that second season, however, he wasn’t brought back as the team hired Luke Richardson instead leading to him coaching UAH last season.

Kleinendorst replaces John Torchetti as the head man as he’s taken a head coaching job in the KHL.

Insurance issues keep U.S. players from practicing at August Olympic camp

Zach Parise

Team USA’s Olympic Orientation Camp on August 26 and 27 near Washington D.C. won’t be a full-blown audition to be on the team.

As Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington shares, issues with insuring player’s contracts will keep the 40 or so players from participating in full-blown practices at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Virginia.

With the camp taking place just a few weeks before NHL training camps open, it’s not worth the risk of injury to have them go all out. USA Hockey will instead focus on other things when they meet next month.

“The camp will give us a chance to get our players, coaches, management and team staff together in preparation for Sochi,” said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations for USA Hockey and a two-time Olympian. “We’ll have more details surrounding the camp to announce in the weeks ahead.”

As of now, USA Hockey says the players will work with youth hockey groups and show off the new Team USA jersey, but the last thing they’ll do is find out how everyone plays against each other.

Hitchcock says he’s done his homework on Paajarvi

Ken Hitchcock

St. Louis dealing David Perron to Edmonton for Magnus Paajarvi left a few people wondering just what the Blues see in the 2009 first-round pick.

Coach Ken Hitchcock, who had his ups and downs with Perron, says he’s done enough homework on Paajarvi to know what kind of player he’s getting. Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat shares the story.

“I have a lot of people personally that knew Paajarvi, both in Sweden and in Edmonton,” Hitchcock said. “I watched all of his games against teams similar to us. I knew how well he played in the last 20 games. … I watched that very closely.

“But I wanted to see how he played against San Jose, LA and ourselves. Those were the games I focused on.”

Over those last 20 games, Paajarvi had four goals and five assists while averaging around 15 minutes per game. Compare that with Perron who had one goal and four assists in his final 20 games with St. Louis and you can see why (via small sample size) the Blues may have made the move.

Related: Evolution and analysis: GMs explain Perron-Paajarvi trade

Jets re-sign Redmond — one year, $715,000

Zach Redmond

Winnipeg took care of yet another of their restricted free agents today.

The team announced they’ve re-signed defenseman Zach Redmond to a one-year deal worth $715,000.

Redmond played in just eight games last season due much in part to a freak skate blade accident that threatened his career. After missing over two months of action, he returned to the ice and received a standing ovation from the fans in Winnipeg.

In those eight games, he had a goal and three assists with 12 penalty minutes. On the upside, he averaged just over 19 minutes a game on the blue line. He’ll be in the mix to compete for the fifth or sixth defense spot with the Jets next season.

Penguins re-sign Hobey Baker finalist Hartzell

Eric Hartzell

Pittsburgh is hanging on to one of college hockey’s biggest stars from last season.

The team announced they’ve re-signed goalie Eric Hartzell to a two-year contract worth $550,000 at the NHL level, should he make it there. He signed with the Penguins following his tremendous senior season at Quinnipiac.

Hartzell made a name for himself leading the Bobcats to their first ever national championship game and winding up a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award for college hockey’s best player. He was also a first-team All-American last year as well and was the ECAC’s Player of the Year.

Expect to see Hartzell compete for the starting job at Wilkes Barre-Scranton in the AHL next season with last season’s No. 1 there, Jeff Zatkoff.