AHL Quick Hits is now the Morning Skate… Every morning, take a spin around the AHL ice with recaps and previews, news and notes, facts and figures, and the top headlines from around the American Hockey League.
TV: NHL Network, Comcast Channel 100 (Chicago), WSWB-TV 38 (Wilkes-Barre)
Video Webcast:B2 Networks Official Media Notes (PDF – 501 KB) The American Hockey League’s 72nd championship series gets underway tonight when the puck drops for Game 1 of the 2008 Calder Cup Finals at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill… The Wolves (2002, 2005, 2008) and Penguins (2001, 2004, 2008) are both making their league-high third Finals appearance of this decade… Chicago captured the championship in 2002 and was runner-up in 2005, while the Penguins were defeated in each of their last two trips… The Wolves are coming off a five-game victory over Toronto in the conference finals and have won six of their last seven games overall… Chicago is 8-1 in its last nine games at Allstate Arena… AHL regular-season MVP Jason Krog leads the league with 19 assists and 28 points in 18 postseason contests for the Wolves, and he brings a nine-game scoring streak (9-8-17) into the Calder Cup Finals… Teammate Darren Haydar’s 51 career Calder Cup Playoff goals are tied with Jody Gage for the all-time league record, and his 117 points rank him second behind Willie Marshall’s 119… Haydar has a point in each of his last eight outings (2-12-14) and shows 20 points overall (8-12-20)… Chicago defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski tallied a goal in four straight games (4-3-7) to close the conference finals… The Wolves’ power play has converted an AHL-high 22.7% of its opportunities in the playoffs… Chicago goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (12-6, 2.17, .928) and W-B/Scranton counterpart John Curry (12-5, 2.47, .908) could become the first pair of rookie netminders to square off in a Calder Cup Finals game since 1995… The Penguins advanced to the championship round by rallying from a 3-2 series deficit to knock off Portland in the Eastern Conference Finals… Tim Brent broke a 2-2 tie in Game 7 with 30.7 seconds left in regulation, scoring his league-leading 11th goal of the playoffs (11-9-20)… Brent and defenseman Alex Goligoski (3-17-20) are tied for the team lead in postseason scoring… Penguins forward Chris Minard ranks second in the league behind Brent with 10 goals in the playoffs (10-5-15)… The winner of Game 1 has gone on to capture the Calder Cup in 12 of the last 14 years, and in 54 of 71 years overall (76.1%).
ANDERSON GIVES WOLVES A POWERFUL MESSAGE
Scott J. Powers, Daily Herald
John Anderson’s hope when he traveled to Kitchener, Ontario on Sunday was to watch his son Spencer experience what he did in 1975 when he won a Canadian Hockey League Memorial Cup.It wasn’t to be, though. Spencer and the Kitchener Rangers lost to Spokane 4-1, and Anderson entered a mournful locker room afterward instead of the joyous one he had taken part in as a junior player.“They were all crying,” Anderson said. “I know how good it is to win. I really wanted him to win and experience that. You hate to go all that way and lose your chance. I just felt so bad.” Watching his son endure that agony of defeat reminded Anderson of his own monumental losses. Memories of the Chicago Wolves’ 2005 Calder Cup Finals loss to Philadelphia and the 2001 Turner Cup loss to Orlando flooded him.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are playing for the Stanley Cup, but they aren’t the Penguins that Wolves coach John Anderson cares about at the moment. Pittsburgh‘s top farm team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, is the final roadblock in the Wolves’ bid for the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup. The best-of-7 series opens tonight at Allstate Arena. About all Anderson knows about Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is the design of its sweaters. ”They look like the Pittsburgh Penguins, but they don’t have a No. 87 (Sidney Crosby),” Anderson said. ”That’s a good thing.”
Their roster is studded with the biggest stars in the league and money is usually no object when acquiring those players. They win more often than not. Fans of other teams usually dislike them.When the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins open the Calder Cup finals tonight, they’ll be facing the Chicago Wolves, the New York Yankees of the American Hockey League. The Penguins have only met the Wolves four times in franchise history, so they’re not a familiar foe to area hockey fans. But they are to Penguins coach Todd Richards, who frequently faced the Wolves as a player in the International Hockey League and an assistant coach with Milwaukee in the AHL.
You’ll have to excuse Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Coach Todd Richards if he seems a bit oblivious lately. His mind has been on one thing – winning the Calder Cup. The last leg of a journey that began on April 16 in Hershey starts tonight in Chicago. The Penguins endured 17 playoff games to earn the right to face the Chicago Wolves in the finals, marking their third trip to the championship round. “It’s been a blur. Especially the playoffs,” Richards said. “Training camp seems like it was two weeks ago, and a lot of times you come to the rink and you don’t know what day it is.”
NHL NETWORK TO BROADCAST 2008 CALDER CUP FINALS LIVE:
The American Hockey League announced today that Games 1 and 2 of the 2008 Calder Cup Finals series between the Chicago Wolves and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins will be televised live on NHL Network in the United States and Canada. Veteran play-by-play announcer Pat Foley will be handling the call of the games, with former AHL and NHL forward Bill Gardner providing color commentary and Judd Sirott serving as rinkside reporter.
Max Talbot posted an assist on the game-winning goal, and 2004 Calder Cup finalist Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 of 34 shots as Pittsburgh climbed back into the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday with a 3-2 victory over Detroit in Game 3.
BY THE NUMBERS:
34 – Calder Cup Finals appearances by teams from Pennsylvania (Hershey 20, Pittsburgh 7, Philadelphia 4, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3), the most of any state/province… New York teams have appeared in 33 Finals (Rochester 16, Buffalo 9, Glens Falls 4, Syracuse 2, Albany 1, Binghamton 1).
ON THIS DATE:
May 29, 2005 – Jeff Carter records a goal and two assists as Philadelphia advances to the Calder Cup Finals with a 4-1 win over Providence in Game 6.
May 29, 2004 – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton becomes the first team in AHL history to win two road Game 7’s in overtime in the same postseason as Matt Murley scores 13:21 into the extra session for a 2-1 win over Hartford and the Eastern Conference championship.
May 29, 1999 – Providence advances to the Calder Cup Finals with a 6-1 win over Fredericton in Game 6 of their conference final.
May 29, 1996 – Andrew Brunette tallies a goal and an assist and Ron Tugnutt makes 38 saves as Portland posts a 5-0 win at Saint John in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
May 29, 1994 – Current Chicago assistant coach Todd Nelson and the Portland Pirates win the Calder Cup with a 4-1 win over current Wilkes-Barre assistant Dan Bylsma and the Moncton Hawks in Game 6 of the Finals.
May 29, 1992 – Adirondack beats St. John’s, 5-2, to claim its fourth Calder Cup in 12 years and end the only seven-game series in AHL history to see the road team win every game.
ON THE AIR:
B2 Networks brings AHL action to your computer all season long with live video webcasts of every AHL game… Visit theahl.com for details.