Thursday, January 24, 2013

Changes all around 1/24

Associated Press/Matt Slocum
If you were watching tonight's Philadelphia Flyers game, you saw Tye McGinn get into his first NHL fight — a decisive victory over Kris Newbury.

But McGinn also collided with New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, and the Associated Press snapped this photo of the hit. Caption contest? Go.

Some of Thursday's biggest news came from Philadelphia, where general manager Paul Holmgren announced winger Scott Hartnell will likely miss four-to-eight weeks with a broken metatarsal.

That would probably help McGinn's chances of sticking in the NHL for the time being, but then the Flyers went out and announced plans to sign former Adirondack Red Wings forward Mike Knuble.

When Brayden Schenn returns from his one-game suspension and Knuble joins the team, Philadelphia will be back to scratching two forwards per game.

Then when Zac Rinaldo recovers from his thigh injury, the Flyers are probably going to have a decision. It remains to be seen how things will work out in the end, but right now McGinn definitely has not looked out of place.


The Phantoms and Flyers also made an assortment of Adirondack-related transactions today.

After winger Mike Testwuide left Wednesday's overtime loss with an injury, the Phantoms turned back the clock and brought back David Laliberte, an original Adirondack Phantoms forward, on an American Hockey League contract. They also signed center Kory Nagy to a professional try-out deal.

Both players had been playing with the ECHL's Trenton Titans. Goaltender Niko Hovinen had also been there, but TSN reported the Flyers put the 6-foot-7 Finland native on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. That opened not only the door for signing Knuble, but also gave the organization an extra goaltending spot in the ECHL. And they filled it quickly, sending Cal Heeter to the Titans. That means the Phantoms will go with a Brian Boucher-Scott Munroe tandem.

Let's do this in a news-views format.

News: Laliberte
Views: The 26-year-old has put up pretty solid offensive numbers in his Phantoms seasons and put up 30 points for a German team named Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams last year, but did not exactly tear up the ECHL after joining Trenton. He had two points in five games and missed time after receiving a cortisone shot in his surgically repaired knee. Still, if he can channel the 46-point season he had for the Phantoms back in 2009-10, he could really be a nice pick-up. He also brings veteran leadership.

News: Nagy
Views: He's on a professional try-out, which are generally more short-term deals than the full-fledged AHL contracts like the one Laliberte signed. He had 15 points in 36 points with Trenton, but was mostly used in a defensive role. The former Albany Devil, who had been on an ECHL-only deal in Trenton, can probably slot right in on the team's energy line now that Testwuide is out with an injury.

News: Hovinen
Views: Releasing Hovinen not only opened up a goalie spot in Trenton, but also gave the Flyers an extra contract that they will use to sign Knuble. But things just didn't seem to pan out for him, as he lost the training camp battle for a spot in Adirondack to Heeter and then reportedly struggled in Trenton. I'll let Mike Ashmore, who covers the Titans for our Journal Register Company sister paper The Trentonian, handle this one. He's seen Hovinen much more often than I have:
The 24-year-old netminder became the odd man out once the Flyers re-acquired Brian Boucher, but he had fallen out of favor well before then.
Hovinen had earned a reputation as being “lazy” and “aloof” according to several sources — and many point to the game in which he was pulled and subsequently called out in the media by Titans head coach Vince Williams as the beginning of the end.
News: Heeter
Views: Boucher needs starts to work his way back into game shape and it wouldn't do Heeter much good to sit on the bench. The timing is a little curious, given the fact that last week Phantoms coach Murray said the Phantoms would go with a Boucher-Heeter tandem and Heeter would be the odd man out. But Trenton plays three-in-three this weekend and already took its All-Star break. The Phantoms have two games this week and then go on a four-day All-Star break. Heeter will get some work in.

Speaking of the All-Star break, Phantoms defenseman Brandon Manning was named an American Hockey League All-Star Thursday. He will replace defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who will miss the event with an ankle injury. Talked to Manning and Murray about that this afternoon and I'll have some more on that in a blog post that will be up later tonight. It's also in print tomorrow along with a feature on Jason Akeson, whose mother is in remission from a rare form of cancer. Tomorrow is Pink in the Rink night, with a special pink jersey auction benefiting the C.R. Wood Cancer Center.

Until next time,


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