LANDON BLOGS AGAIN - NEW EDITION
Posted - May 7, 2009 - 11:20 am
I received an email the other day asking why I had stopped writing for our website and the accusation was that I was embarrassed to talk hockey, since our team did not make the playoffs. I can understand why this person may have felt that way, but nothing is further from the truth.
There has been a lot going on in the American Hockey League and also right here with the Falcons. I guess it is time to weigh in with a few of my own comments and observations.
The League has welcomed Abbotsford, British Columbia in to the League beginning next season. I will admit going into the Spring meetings of the Board of Governors I was opposed to this move. However, after watching an outstanding power point presentation by the people involved in the franchise and listening to Ken King, President of the Calgary Flames, I had no problem changing my vote. In my estimation it will turn out to be a wonderful franchise. They have a hockey crazy market. They have strong ownership. They have the commitment of the Calgary Flames and they have a beautiful new facility. All of us in the League are concerned about the location, since it is on the outskirts of Vancouver and a long ways away from most AHL cities. However, a travel subsidy is in place which certainly eases travel concerns. Several Eastern based teams, including Springfield have told the schedule maker they would make the trip. Although the schedule format has not been approved yet, it appears that there will be a couple of teams each year from the East that will play out West. I don’t expect we will make the trip in 2009-10, but hopefully we will do so the following year.
Mike “Doc” Emrick is certainly one of the all time great television play by play announcers, but even the best can slip once in awhile. How many people heard Mike tell the short story about Bruce Boudreau and his coaching stint in Springfield during a recent Washington and Pittsburg playoff game? As we all know Bruce played here but never coached here. Bruce “Gabby” Boudreau is a close personal friend of mine and many times during his Minor League coaching career Bruce talked to me about how much he would have loved to coach here. However, whenever one of our parent clubs was looking for a coach for Springfield, Gabby was always under contract with another team.
There has been some discussion about the new D League basketball team and how it will affect our dates. There will be no problem with both teams working together and we expect to have a similar schedule as we have in years past. There will be some basketball and hockey doubleheaders which might prove interesting to the pure sports fanatic.
Quite frequently we get asked where former Springfield players are and what are they doing. Goaltender Robert Esche played in Europe this year and is currently playing for the U.S. in the World championships. How many people remember Bob Wren? He played for former Falcon’s coach Steve Stirling in Germany this year, as did Ben Simon.
I have met with Kevin Prendergast, the Assistant GM of the Edmonton Oilers. He assures me that they will be working hard to land a few quality free agents for next season. We discussed most of the problems we had this past year and a plan has been put in place to address them. As of the date this was being written, there had not been any decisions made on the coaching staff for next season.
Stockton recently got beat out by Las Vegas in the ECHL playoffs. In the final game, Corey Urquhart had 12 shots on goal. This young man has a tremendous amount of ability and showed some of his skill during his call-up this year. He was a high draft pick a few years ago, but he has not been able to show the consistency needed to play at the AHL level. The star for Las Vegas in the series was none other than Glenn Fisher, who sat the bench here in Springfield as Devan Dubynk played the bulk of the games until Dan Sabourin was assigned. There is no doubt there is a difference between the AHL and the ECHL, but it is nice to see a couple of our former players performing well.
Stay tuned for details on the first ever Springfield Falcons street hockey team. The first game is scheduled against the media all stars with times and location to be announced.
Have a great summer and thanks for your continued support.