Dallas Stars: CHL

Whitley returns in goal for Americans

July, 24, 2010
Here's part of the release the Allen Americans sent out today:

Netminder Chris Whitley called in to a live show today at the Allen Event Center to announce his much-anticipated decision to re-sign with Allen for the 2010-11 season.

“Allen was always the team I was going to return to if I didn't pursue my teaching career. I had a few offers in Europe, but I didn't get an offer that was better than Allen in my opinion,” Whitley said. “The decision was also made easy when some key guys re-signed like Graham, Yellow, Nino and Tobias, so that was another thing that factored into my decision.”

The backstop returns from an exceptional rookie year with the Americans. Whitley set CHL playoff records, played in the American Hockey League, earned numerous accolades and took the Americans all the way to the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Finals.

The rest of the release is here.

Friday Odds and Ends

July, 23, 2010
Some odds and ends from a Friday in July:

ESPN.com's Scott Burnside has some thoughts on a variety of topics, including whether Mike Modano would be a good fit with the Detroit Red Wings. Burnside isn't sold on the idea of Modano returning "home" to Michigan and suiting up for the Red Wings.
To us, this is where nostalgia runs smack dab into reality.

Modano missed 23 games to injury last season while scoring 14 times from a mostly third-line position on the Dallas Stars. He averaged 14:18 a night in ice time and scored just three times on the power play. Modano scored just 15 times in 2008-09 and has posted only 12 power-play goals over the past three seasons.

We're not sure exactly how he fits into the Wings' plans to rebound from a trying, injury-plagued 2009-10 campaign that saw them fall in the second round to San Jose.

It's not an issue of whether Modano has the will to lace 'em up in September or October; but what is his will to play out an entire season? That seemed to be an issue in Dallas the past couple of seasons and explains in part why the Stars made the choice to walk away from a player who has been the face of the franchise for two decades.

If we were Wings GM Ken Holland, we'd take a run at Bill Guerin or Paul Kariya to add veteran scoring punch and give one of their young prospects a shot at centering the third line. Less nostalgic, perhaps, but in the long run, we're guessing it would be a more productive move with less potential for dressing-room headaches.

Here's proof that you can never have enough NHL defensemen. The Vancouver Canucks currently have nine proven NHL defensemen on the roster, but here is it is July and they are down to eight after Sami Salo suffered a torn Achilles tendon. An excerpt from ESPN.com's report:
The team said Friday that Salo was hurt "while training." But a report in his native Finland says the 35-year-old was hurt while playing floor hockey and will be out at least three months.

The team issued a terse statement Friday, saying, "There will be no further comment from the club or Salo at this time."

And the Allen Americans announced their 2010-11 schedule on Friday. From the team's release:
The Allen Americans will open the 2010-11 Central Hockey League regular season at the Allen Event Center hosting their Metroplex rival, the Texas Brahmas, Oct. 15 and 16.

The Americans are scheduled to play 66 games, two more than last year, with 33 games at home and 33 on the road. The home schedule features 28 weekend games (11 Friday, 12 Saturday and five Sunday). All weekday games with the exception of Jan. 17 begin at 7:30 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday contests start at 7:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., respectively. The club anticipates a preseason game Saturday, Oct. 9, at the AEC. As of now, the opponent is TBD.

The full release and full schedule are here.

Allen Americans open at home Oct. 15

July, 14, 2010
Here's part of the release the team sent out this afternoon:

The Allen Americans will open the 2010-11 season at the Allen Event Center Friday, Oct. 15, as part of the CHL’s southern conference.

Allen’s opening night will feature Fan Fest with bounce houses, face painting, a balloon artist, a rock climbing wall and live music before the first puck drop of Allen’s second season. The first 2,500 fans will receive mini replica Southern Conference Champions banners to commemorate the achievement of the inaugural team. All fans will receive 2010-11 magnetic schedules.

You can read more at the Americans' official site by clicking here.



CHL, IHL expansion is a smart move

June, 2, 2010
Maybe it's the fact that I worked for the Fort Worth Fire in what seems like another life, but I've always been interested in the minor league hockey scene in Texas and the surrounding region.

And I always thought that too many leagues and too many teams would hurt the overall experience. I was pleased when the CHL brought in some other teams, like the Allen Americans, to join the Fort Worth Brahmas. Now they are going to merge with the IHL to add even more teams, but also get rid of a competing league.

Let's hope it works. They are forming what they call a "Double-A super league" for the 2010-11 season, but are still ironing out all the details. The CHL is already in nine states. The IHL is in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. It will be interesting to see how they split the divisions and tackle the travel issues.

You can read more about the merger here.


Texas Stars headed to Calder Cup Finals

May, 27, 2010
Give the Texas Stars credit for this: They sure have figured out how to win Game 7 on the road.

For the second straight series, the Texas Stars won Game 7 away from Austin to advance. This time, they beat Hamilton in Games 6 and 7 on the road to move on to the Calder Cup Finals (AHL) against Hershey. Andrew's Stars Page has audio clips and more from the game, so be sure and check it out.

Here's part of the official release:

The Stars become the first team since the Chicago Wolves and Bridgeport Sound Tigers in 2002 to reach the Calder Cup Finals in their first AHL season. In doing so, Texas won a pair of Game 7's on the road - just the fifth time in AHL history that feat has been accomplished. The Stars will face the Eastern Conference champion Hershey Bears in the AHL's championship series.

The top affiliate of the NHL's Dallas Stars, Texas was 46-27-3-4 for 99 points during the regular season, finishing second in the West Division and sixth overall. Led by rookie AHL head coach Glen Gulutzan, the Stars defeated the Rockford IceHogs in the division semifinals (4-0), the Chicago Wolves in the division finals (4-3) and the Bulldogs in the conference finals (4-3).

The 2010 Calder Cup Finals will begin on June 3 in Hershey. The complete series schedule is below (all times Central).

Game 1 - Thu., June 3 - Texas at Hershey, 6:00
Game 2 - Sat., June 5 - Texas at Hershey, 6:00
Game 3 - Mon., June 7 - Hershey at Texas, 7:30
Game 4 - Wed., June 9 - Hershey at Texas, 7:30
*Game 5 - Fri., June 11 - Hershey at Texas, 7:30
*Game 6 - Mon., June 14 - Texas at Hershey, 6:00
*Game 7 - Wed., June 16 - Texas at Hershey, 6:00
*if necessary

Allen Americans complete three trades

May, 18, 2010
The Allen Americans, who finished runner-up in the CHL this season, acquired the rights to Ryan Garbutt from Corpus Christi. That completes a trade earlier in the season that included sending All-Star defenseman Kurtis Dulle to Corpus Christi for future considerations.

Here's the rest of the news release:

Garbutt recently finished his first professional season leading all rookies in scoring with 50 points in 64 games. He also led first-years in goals, netting 22, and in the plus/minus category, going +24. The gritty forward also racked up 204 penalty minutes. He tied Americans forward Tobias Whelan for most shorthanded goals among rookies with three and led first-years in game-winning goals with four.

The Winnipeg native is pleased to have the opportunity to play for the Southern Conference Champions. “I had a lot of fun in Texas. It’s nice to have that option,” Garbutt said Monday. “Obviously Allen has a good franchise. They established themselves this year and had a good run in the finals. I’m sure they’ll be looking to win it next year.”

He was selected to the All-Rookie Team and finished second in voting for CHL Rookie of the Year. In the annual “Best of the Best” poll, Garbutt’s peers voted him best rookie. Prior to that, the 24-year-old played four seasons at Brown University.

“We’re excited to be able to add a player of his caliber to our roster,” Allen Head Coach and General Manager Dwight Mullins said Monday afternoon.

The Americans also completed trades with the Colorado Eagles and Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. The Americans sent George Bradley’s rights to Colorado and the club received the rights of Andrew Davis from Rio Grande Valley.


The Allen Americans just missed taking a 2-0 lead in the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Finals, losing Game 2 to the Rapid City Rush, 5-4, in overtime Saturday in Rapid City, S.D.

Allen, the Stars' CHL affiliate, scored three times in the third period, and Nino Musitelli gave the Americans a 4-3 lead with 5:27 remaining. But with the Rush goalie pulled, Dave Grimson scored the equalizer with 39 seconds left.

Blaine Jarvis then scored for Rapid City at 4:17 into overtime.

The series shifts to the Allen Event Center for Games 3-5. The final home games of the Americans' inaugural season will be Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30.

Playoff update: Texas, Allen with big wins

April, 22, 2010
The Allen Americans won Game 7 of their CHL semifinal series last night and are now on to the Ray Miron Presidents' Cup Finals against the Rapid City Rush. It's a best-of-7 series that starts Friday in Rapid City, South Dakota (that sounds like a fun travel series). The format is 2-3-2, meaning games three, four and five (if necessary) will be held at Allen Event Center. Here's the schedule:

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 23 – Allen @ Rapid City, 8:05
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 24 – Allen @ Rapid City, 8:05 Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 28 – Allen vs. Rapid City, 7:30
Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 30 – Allen vs. Rapid City, 7:30
*Game 5 – Sat., May 1 – Allen vs. Rapid City, 7:30
*Game 6 – Tue., May 4 – Allen @ Rapid City, 7:35
*Game 7 – Fri., May 7 – Allen @ Rapid City, 8:05 *If necessary

Check out the Allen Americans website for more information.

The Texas Stars, Dallas' AHL affiliate, took a 3-0 series lead against Rockford in the first round. Jamie Benn had four points, including two goals in the win. Game 4 in Friday in Rockford.


Odessa wins to force Game 7 against Allen

April, 20, 2010
The Odessa Jackalopes edged the Allen Americans, 4-3, in overtime in Odessa on Monday to even the CHL's Southern Conference finals series at three games each.

The deciding Game 7 will be played Wednesday night in Odessa. It was the second straight loss for Allen, which has squandered a 3-1 series lead.

Nino Musitelli scored with 4:58 remaining in the third period to give Allen a 3-2 lead, but Philippe Plante scored two minutes later to tie it. Garrett Gruenke scored the winner in overtime.

Playoffs: Brahmas out; Allen faces elimination

April, 6, 2010
The Texas Brahmas fell to Odessa, 5-4, in overtime last night and lost the CHL's Southern Conference semifinals in six games.

That brings us to the last area hockey team with hopes of extending the playoffs. The Allen Americans face Laredo tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Allen Event Center in Game 6. Allen needs a win to force a Game 7 at home on Wednesday.

Here's some info from the great Lindsey Perkins, who handles media relations (and a host of other duties) for the Americans:

After losing Game One, the Americans rebounded with two straight wins, one at home and one on the road. Laredo evened the series at two games apiece April 1 with a 4-3 win before taking a one-game advantage Saturday night.

The Americans are led in scoring by 2010 CHL All-Stars Justin Bowers and Bruce Graham. Each have six points.

Special teams have played a big role in the series. After shutting out Laredo’s power play in the first three games, Allen has allowed four goals on the penalty kill in the last two contests. The club scored one goal with the extra-man advantage during that time.

The first 500 fans at Tuesday’s game will receive a free red jersey. Fans are encouraged to wear red in an effort to “red out” the rink. The expansion club’s playoff slogan is “Dread the Red.” Tickets are available by calling 972-912-1000 or visiting allenamericans.com.


Minor leagues: Allen faces Laredo in playoffs

March, 18, 2010
The Allen Americans found out they are playing Laredo in the Conference semifinals when the CHL playoffs begin next weekend.

The first two games are at home, March 26 and 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Allen Event Center. The final schedule should be out in the next few days.



It's shootout time in Allen

February, 15, 2010
ALLEN -- Despite outshooting the Texas Brahmas by 19, the Allen Americans are getting ready to go to a shootout.

In the CHL, five skaters go on each side.

Brahmas goalie Brett Jaeger has played extremely well, stopping 41 of 42 shots. We'll see if he can hang on in the shootout to get his club a victory.