AHL Morning Skate: Calder Cup Playoffs start tonight


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.


WEDNESDAY’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Game 1 – Providence at Hartford, 7:00
Game 1 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00
Game 1 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:05


2007 CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS:

ATLANTIC DIVISION SEMIFINALS
A1-Manchester Monarchs vs. A4-Worcester Sharks
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 18 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:05
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:35
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 27 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:35
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:00
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 30 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:05

A2-Hartford Wolf Pack vs. A3-Providence Bruins
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 18 – Providence at Hartford, 7:00
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Providence at Hartford, 7:00
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Hartford at Providence, 7:05
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 24 – Hartford at Providence, 7:05
*Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 26 – Hartford at Providence, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Providence at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sun., Apr. 29 – Providence at Hartford, 7:00

EAST DIVISION SEMIFINALS
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E4-Albany River Rats
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 18 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 19 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 22 – Hershey vs. Albany, 5:00 (GF)
Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 23 – Hershey vs. Albany, 7:00 (GF)
*Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Hershey vs. Albany, 7:00 (GF)
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sun., Apr. 29 – Albany at Hershey, 5:00
   (GF) at Glens Falls, N.Y.

E2-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E3-Norfolk Admirals
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Norfolk at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Norfolk at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 23 – W-B/Scranton at Norfolk, 7:15
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 25 – W-B/Scranton at Norfolk, 7:15
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 27 – W-B/Scranton at Norfolk, 7:15
*Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 29 – Norfolk at W-B/Scranton, 5:05
*Game 7 – Tue., May 1 – Norfolk at W-B/Scranton, 7:05

NORTH DIVISION SEMIFINALS
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. N4-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 19 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 23 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 27 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 29 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 7 – Tue., May 1 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30

N2-Rochester Americans vs. N3-Hamilton Bulldogs
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 19 – Hamilton at Rochester, 7:05
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Hamilton at Rochester, 8:05
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 22 – Rochester at Hamilton, 6:00
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 24 – Rochester at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 26 – Hamilton at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Rochester at Hamilton, 7:00
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 30 – Hamilton at Rochester, 7:05

WEST DIVISION SEMIFINALS
W1-Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights vs. W4-Iowa Stars
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Iowa at Omaha, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Iowa at Omaha, 8:00
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 23 – Omaha at Iowa, 8:05
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Omaha at Iowa, 8:05
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 27 – Iowa at Omaha, 8:00
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Omaha at Iowa, 8:05
*Game 7 – Tue., May 1 – Iowa at Omaha, 8:00

W2-Chicago Wolves vs. W3-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:30
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 22 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 5:00
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 24 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 27 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:30
*Game 7 – Tue., May 1 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern


GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 1 – Providence at Hartford, 7:00
Hartford and Providence square off in the Calder Cup Playoffs for the fourth time, but the first since 2001… The Bruins won in 1999 (4-0) and 2001 (3-2), while the Wolf Pack prevailed in seven games in the 2000 conference finals… Providence is 11-12 all-time in Game 1’s, while Hartford is 11-8… Nigel Dawes was the Wolf Pack’s leading scorer with 60 points in the regular season; rookie David Krejci led the Bruins with 31 goals and 74 points… Providence has not scored a first-period goal in its last five games.

Game 1 – Albany at Hershey, 7:00
Hershey was 16-5 in the playoffs last season en route to the Calder Cup championship… The Bears have won 20 of their last 21 games against Albany… The River Rats are in the postseason for the first time since 2000, and are looking for their first series victory since 1998… Hershey forward Dave Steckel finished the regular season on a 12-game scoring streak (6g, 10a), and had 11 points (6g, 5a) and a plus-11 rating in seven games vs. Albany this year… Keith Aucoin finished tied for second in the AHL with 99 points in just 65 games for the River Rats.

Game 1 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:05
Manchester, which finished the regular season on an 8-0-0-1 run, is in the postseason for the sixth straight year but is still looking for its first series win… The Monarchs are 1-4 all-time in Game 1’s, and 3-10 at the Verizon Wireless Arena during Calder Cup Playoff action… Barry Brust had a 1.34 GAA in three starts vs. Worcester… The Sharks lost four of their five visits to Manchester during the regular season… Graham Mink, a Calder Cup champion with Hershey last spring, scored 17 goals in 30 road games for the Sharks… Thomas Greiss appeared in 22 straight games for Worcester before sitting out the Sharks’ last two regular-season games.


MORNING HEADLINES:

SAVING SHARK
Rich Garven, Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Practice and meetings concluded, the Worcester Sharks coaches and players made their way one by one to a pizza party yesterday afternoon at the DCU Center. But Thomas Greiss and Dimitri Patzold, the team’s two goalies, remained behind in coach Roy Sommer’s office opting to dissect tape rather than devour slices. Sitting between them and leading the group discussion was Cap Raeder, a pro scout for parent club San Jose. The Sharks’ 4-1 loss to the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday served as the feature film.

Rookie goaltender Thomas Greiss was 15-5-2 down the stretch for Worcester, making 22 consecutive appearances (21 of them starts) in the Sharks crease.

AMERKS’ SWANSON BACK FROM THE EDGE
Kevin Oklobzija, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
Jeremy Swanson knew that when he went for an MRI during training camp, the neurologist might very well tell him something he didn’t want to hear. Concussions are scary, unnerving injuries, and Swanson had suffered a serious one on Dec. 3, 2005, while playing for the Rochester Americans. Not only did it end his season a year ago, but after a symptom-free summer, he began experiencing lingering effects again in training camp in September. So off to a specialist he went for what would become a doctor’s visit that forever changed his life.

A 2002 draft pick by the Florida Panthers, Jeremy Swanson played 47 games on the Rochester blue line in 2006-07 after appearing in 32 games at the AHL level combined in his first two professional seasons.

MILROY WANTS TO SHINE
Garry McKay, Hamilton Spectator
He is having far and away his best year as a professional, but Duncan Milroy thinks he still has something to prove. "It’s one thing to do it in the regular season, but the real money players do it in the playoffs," says Milroy. "That’s something I’ve always wanted to do, be one of the best players in the playoffs." The Hamilton Bulldogs right-winger will get that chance beginning tomorrow, when the Bulldogs open their best-of-seven AHL North Division semifinal against the Rochester Americans at the Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial.

A fourth-year pro, Duncan Milroy led the Bulldogs in 2006-07 with 25 goals and 58 points, both career highs. He also scored 14 power-play goals and owned a plus-14 rating.


FROM CALDER TO STANLEY:
2007 AHL All-Rookie forward Ryan Callahan scored twice in the N.Y. Rangers’ 7-0 win over Atlanta on Tuesday night.

Mark Giordano, who played 11 Calder Cup Playoff games for Lowell in 2005, scored a goal to help Calgary past Detroit, 3-2.

Two-time AHL All-Star Ray Emery made 23 saves in Ottawa’s 2-1 win at Pittsburgh.

Brian Rolston, who made his postseason debut with Albany during the 1994 Calder Cup Playoffs, had a goal and an assist in Minnesota’s 4-1 win over Anaheim.


ON THIS DATE:
April 18, 2006Barry Brust makes 39 saves as Manchester shuts out Hartford, 1-0, in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

April 18, 1986Yves Courteau scores 6:06 into the third overtime period as Moncton defeats Maine, 4-3, to take a 3-1 lead in their Northern Division semifinal.

April 18, 1962 – The two-time defending Calder Cup champion Springfield Indians open up the Finals with a 4-0 win over the Buffalo Bisons in Game 1.


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