AHL all-star game 1/28
|Brandon Manning's all-star locker.|
Manning quarterbacked the first power play in an AHL all-star game since 2005 after Peoria's Mark Cundari was called for tripping in the third period. It didn't convert, and the West took the game 7-6.
After the game, Manning said the players weren't really treating it like a real power play. They weren't setting up in front and trying to tip in pucks or bat in rebounds. Heck, for the first few seconds of the power play, the Grand Rapids Griffins mascot was throwing T-shirts from one side of the arena over the playing surface and into the other half of the stands. Manning suggested that in future all-star games it might be more beneficial for a penalty shot to be awarded if a penalty is called.
I don't think I'd object to that, but penalties are so rare that it wouldn't really matter anyway. Before Cundari hauled down Derek Meech, the last player to be called for a penalty in an all-star game was Binghamton's Jason Spezza back in 2005. It may be a while before that ever happens again.
The game was filled with some other unusual occurances.
Bridgeport's Matt Donovan threw a hit on San Antonio's Drew Shore. The two were teammates at Denver. All in good fun. And then there was a pretty controversial goal in the second period. Curtis McElhinney came out to play the puck in the left-wing corner, and Lake Erie's Andrew Agozzino tied him up there. Toronto's Ryan Hamilton hunted down the loose puck and put it into the empty net.
Hamilton scored the final three goals for the Western Conference, completing his hat trick with 11.2 seconds to go. It snapped a 6-6 tie and stood as the game-winner, so he was easily the game's MVP.
I'd argue the highlight of the night wasn't anything that was done on the ice. Eastern Conference coach Jon Cooper of the Syracuse Crunch was live-tweeting the event. Pure gold. After Hamilton's controversial goal, for example, Cooper tweeted "Sketchy goal by the West. Didn't know we were playing prison rules!" Check the rest of his stuff out here.
Highlights from AHL president David Andrews' state of the league address below. Pretty interesting stuff in there about Glens Falls' viability as an AHL market beyond the Phantoms. Scroll down to the next post if you're on the main page, or click here if you came here via the link on Twitter.
Here's the print story on the state of the league, and here's our all-star game notebook.
That will do it for me from Providence. The Phantoms are back practicing Thursday. Look for the next blog update then, unless news breaks in the meantime. In which case, you know where to turn.
Until next time,