Summer News from the "A"

(Updated Friday night - The DexShow has moved on. Mark Dekanich signed today with the Winnipeg Jets. The story is posted on the AHL website, presumably because Dex will be seeing time with the St. John's IceCaps.)

While pondering the eventual whereabouts of one Rick Nash and observing the rockets red glare on Wednesday, it struck me that I haven't said anything about the AHL here lately. For the most part, I am still in denial about the Falcons missing the playoffs for a ninth consecutive season. However, there have been several newsworthy items to pass along, so if you'll give me a moment...

Norfolk Admirals win Calder Cup
The Ad's last regular season loss came at The Nest against the Falcons on February 5th. After that, they went 28-0 the rest of the way, followed by a 15-3 run in the Calder Cup playoffs. 43-3 is AOK in any sport and unparalleled in pro hockey history. The Admirals dispensed with the Toronto Marlies on Saturday June 9th. They followed it up with a victory parade through Norfolk on June 13th. The next day, June 14th, parent club Tampa Bay announced that next season they would be placing their top prospects in Syracuse with the new look Crunch. Next season, Norfolk will be paired with the Anaheim Ducks. Life in the "A"!

Falcons Manager of Media & Community Relations Change
Damon Markiewicz, longtime member of the Falcons front office team resigned his position in May, taking a similar position at Springfield College. A few weeks later, Eric Levine was hired as the new Media Manager for the team. Levine has a solid pedigree in minor league hockey, as a former Director of Media Relations for the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL, where he received the East Coast Hockey League Award of Excellence in Media Relations and was named runner up for the same award in 2011. Best wishes to both Damon and Eric! More after the jump:



Players Come, Players Go
With names like Bass, Drazenovic and Amadio already signed for the '12-'13 campaign, as July 1st approached there were still some questions regarding the "who might stay and who might go" nature of the Falcons roster. Gone are last year's captain, Dane Byers. Byzee signed a one year deal with the Edmonton Oilers and looks to be destined for the Oklahoma City Barons. Also among the former Falcons is last year's leading scorer, Martin St. Pierre. MSP signed a one year AHL contract with the Rockford IceHogs.

Just signed are two returnees from last season: Goalie Paul Dainton and left wing Tim Spencer. Also signed, Nathan Moon formerly of the Worcester Sharks. Moon, a rookie last season, played in 72 games for the Sharks chalking up 32 points and 149 PIM.

Falcons get JAM
A nice signing by the Jackets front office in picking up Jonathan Audy-Marchessault. JAM, while skating as a rookie with the Connecticut Whale, single handedly cost the Falcons at least four points in the standings. He's the kind of flashy player who might stick up top. If he doesn't make the big club though, he'll be a welcome addition to the scoring deprived Falcons.

Goodbye Howard, don't let the door hit you...
It was somewhat quietly announced last week that Howard Baldwin, former owner of the New England/Hartford Whalers and later the Pittsburgh Penguins, was out as the overseer of the New York Rangers top farm club. Baldwin stepped in two years ago, when the local management company fell on hard times due to the real estate bust. Baldwin had great visions to bring back the good old days. As soon as it was practical, he axed the Hartford Wolfpack name, in favor of rebranding as the Connecticut Whale. Originally, he expected to be able to call the team "Whalers", when Team Bettman gave him the "oh no ya don't" refusal. Giving Baldwin his due, he could promote like few others. Problem being, actual attendance (not his papered numbers) was still 23rd in the 30 team AHL. This and a reported per game lease of $25K for the aging XL Center in downtown Hartford simply didn't add up. Further compounding the AHL in the Nutmeg State is Baldwin's desire to take over the Islanders team in Bridgeport. Meanwhile, back in Hartford, UConn is set to move into Hockey East and the XL Center in 2014. The upcoming season is the last one of the Rangers current lease in the capital city. It's been postulated in Rangers circles that the Blueshirts would like to relocate their top affiliate to the brand spanking new arena in Brooklyn for the 2013-14 season.

Coaching Carousel
After Terry Murray was shown the door, having set the table (cough) for Darryl Sutter to complete one of the more improbable Cup runs in NHL history, he returned to his coaching roots in the AHL. Murray's third stint as a coach in the Philadelphia Flyers organization will have him behind the bench of the Adriondack Phantoms when the puck drops on the upcoming season. Murray's first head coaching gig was in 1988 in the "A", when he piloted the Baltimore Skipjacks.

Deposed Blue Jackets bench boss, Scott Arniel returned to the Vancouver Canucks organization, when he accepted the head coaching job with the Chicago Wolves. Prior to his time with the Jackets, Arniel led the Manitoba Moose, at that time the Canucks primary AHL affiliate. Arnie's biggest coaching success was in 2009 when he led the Moose to the Calder Cup finals.


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