Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday practice update 1/15

Not nearly as busy a news day as yesterday, but I do have a couple items to pass along.

-- Defenseman Tyler Hostetter will be assigned to the Trenton Titans to play in tomorrow morning's game against the Reading Royals, according to Adirondack Phantoms coach Terry Murray. Hostetter will then be recalled to the Phantoms, the coach said, and should be back before Thursday's practice.

The Titans were down to five defensemen after Marcel Alvarez, an active second lieutenant in the United States Army, left for Army Ranger school in Fort Benning, Ga. The Phantoms expect to have six other defensemen available for their practice Wednesday morning, so this is really a no-brainer.

-- Jason Akeson left practice early after taking a stick to the chin during a drill. It was a little sore, the winger said afterward, though Murray does not expect the second-year pro will miss any time.

-- The American Hockey League's Board of Governors has voted to discontinue the league's test of "hybrid icing," a mix of touch and no-touch icing, effective Friday.  The rule was structured in part to help reduce injuries from players racing to try and beat out an icing call, which sometimes resulted in nasty collisions with the end boards. Implemented before the season, hybrid icing allowed linesmen to whistle play dead if it was clear a defending player would reach the puck first.

“We believe that 564 games has been a sufficient test period for ‘hybrid icing’ and that the application of the rule has been positive for the most part,” American Hockey League President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews said in a statement. “But because we have more than 300 players recalled to the National Hockey League each season, it is our view that these players should have the benefit of a consistent application of the icing rule in both the AHL and NHL.”

The league will revert back to touch icing for Friday's games.

-- Murray has been very impressed with the play of newly-called up center Ian Slater, who got into his first American Hockey League fight Saturday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and has looked very solid in three appearances on the team's "energy line." I'll have some more on that in a feature on Slater that is now running in Thursday's paper, but here are a couple snippets:

"He’s a little bit of a bulldog. He gets right there in the middle of things and pushes back pretty hard," Murray said of the rookie, a two-year captain at Western Michigan University. "That’s what you want – players that push back. I like what I’ve seen. He’s got a willingness, he’s got a competitiveness. He’s got a bit of an attitude that’s nice to have as a pro hockey player. He does it every day. He doesn’t back off because it’s a practice day. That’s how you do get better and that’s how he’s pushed himself up the ladder.”

Here's a video of that fight, a decisive win over Bobby Farnham at the start of the second period.

Murray said he was not only impressed with Slater's work ethic and attitude, but also his ability to kill penalties and win face-offs, which was a problem for the Phantoms in the loss against the Penguins.

“He’s earned the right to be here and he’s getting our attention,” Murray said.

-- Haven't heard anything about Danny Syvret or Matt Ford, who were reportedly placed on waivers Monday. Syvret said they would have been pulled off the ice if they had been claimed and neither of them were, so one would surmise that no news there is good news for the Phantoms. The Los Angeles Kings lost Thomas Hickey to the New York Islanders and Richard Clune to the Nashville Predators.

More tomorrow.



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