CHL Update: Baltimore’s Humphrey Gives Opponent a Hand

Dean Humphrey’s SHL career has been a strange one, to say the least.  The blueliner’s excellent speed and decent passing ability made him a fringe prospect for a time, but his defensive struggles, awkward skating style, and unfortunate knack for bonehead mistakes kept him from seizing a starting job (although it did make him a folk hero in Seattle for a while).

Dean Humphrey

This season, Humphrey couldn’t find a major-league job at all; he wound up signing a minor-league pact with the Washington Galaxy and has spent the season playing for their CHL affiliate, the Baltimore Blue Crabs.  There, the 25-year-old defenseman has continued his typical career trajectory: flashes of promise marred by frustrating errors, a handful of assists, and no goals.

This week, Humphrey scored his first goal of the season; in fact, it’s the first goal of his entire SHL tenure.  Normally, this would be a cause for celebration.  But because this is Humphrey, this was nothing to cheer about.  The reason is that his tally occurred when he inadvertently flung the puck into his own net.

“It’s never easy to guess what you’re going to get with Dean,” said Blue Crabs coach Roland Tedesco.  “But this… this was something else again.”

The incident occurred early in the third period of Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Hogs.  In real time, it unfolded so quickly that it was hard to tell what had happened.  One moment, Humphrey and Hogs D Seth Dowd were chasing after a loose puck in the corner; the next moment, it was behind Crabs goalie Gennady Kulbakin in the net.

It was only after viewing it in slow-motion that the disaster became clear.  Dowd got to the puck first and flipped it toward the crease, only for it to get stuck in Humphrey’s glove.  Humphrey tried to fling the puck away, but it managed to find daylight between the goalie and the crossbar.  Since Dowd was the last Milwaukee player to touch the puck, he received credit for the goal.

“I know closing your hand around the puck is a penalty, so once I felt it in my hand I knew I had to get rid of it,” said Humphrey.  “I just wanted to throw it down in the other corner or flip it to [Kulbakin] so he could cover it, but it just… wound up in the net.”

As the clip replayed on the Jumbotron, the Crabs sarcastically saluted their teammate by thumping their sticks against the boards, while Humphrey tried to hide his face behind a towel.  “The guys already make fun of me a lot,” he admitted.  “And this isn’t really going to help with that.”

Given that Baltimore won the game 6-2 despite the friendly-fire goal, the Crabs’ general postgame reaction was bemusement.  “I’ve seen own goals before, sure,” said C Tucker Barnhill.  “Usually it’s because you’re defending and it takes a bad bounce off your stick, or deflects off your skate blade.  Throwing it into the next, that’s… something you don’t usually see.”

“I was kind of impressed with Humps’ aim there,” said D Stan Shakovich.  “Normally his shots are way off the mark, but this time he throws it and in it goes.  Maybe he should use his hands more often.”

Tedesco’s initially had a hard time seeing the humor in the situation.  “An incredibly dumb move by a dumb player,” the coach fumed in his post-game press conference.  “Humphrey’s got talent, but he’s throwing it away because he doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together.  If I have to watch that again, I’m going to puke.”

The next day, though, he had calmed down a bit.  “Slow-mo makes it look worse than it was, almost like he did it on purpose,” Tedesco said of the play.  “It was a split-second mistake, and that could happen to anybody.  Somehow, though, it feels like it could only happen to Humphrey.  He’s one of a kind, he really is.”


CHL Update: Saying Cheese In Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Hogs were one of the teams added to the CHL this season.  The team has done a fine job bonding with the local community, developing a number of creative promotions with local businesses to give the fans “something that’s uniquely Milwaukee,” as GM Carlton Neilson put it.  They’ve had the Brewers’ Racing Sausages wander the concourses.  They’ve raffled off a Harley-Davidson motorcycle (only fitting, as they play at Harley-Davidson Arena).  They’ve held nights to represent virtually every ethnic group in the area.  And on Tuesday Night, they celebrated Wisconsin’s status as “America’s Dairyland” by holding Cheese Night.

“Cheese, sausage, and beer are the major Wisconsin food groups,” said Neilson.  “Cheese Night is a tribute to one of the foods that makes Milwaukee great.”

The event was sponsored by the Mars Cheese Castle, a cheese emporium located in nearby Kenosha.  As fans entered the arena, they received Wisconsin “cheesehead” hats with the Hogs logo on the back.  “A little cliche, maybe, but no Cheese Night would be complete without them,” Neilson said.

During breaks in the action, the Hog Heaven Hype Squad (Milwaukee’s in-game entertainment crew) hosted a variety of exciting cheese-themed games.  One of the most popular was “Guess the Cheese,” in which blindfolded fans were given a sample of one of the Castle’s many cheeses and challenged to identify it.  (Winning fans received a T-shirt reading “I’m The Big Cheese” and a Mars Cheese Castle gift card.)

Between the first and second periods, there was a cheese-eating contest, in which 12 Hogs fans were challenged to eat as many cheese curds as they could in a 2-minute period.  The winner was Jake Kovaleski, a factory worker from Kenosha, who downed a half-pound of the curds in that time.   “I’m probably going to regret this tomorrow,” Kovaleski said, “but I feel good tonight!” He received a pair of tickets to a future Hogs game.

Between the second and third periods, the Hogs unveiled their piece de resistance: they laid out a giant maze on the ice, then had four fans in rat costumes enter at different corners of the maze.  The goal was to get to the “cheese” at the middle, which was actually a stack of cheesehead hats filled with Hogs merchandise and Mars Cheese Castle gift cards.  The first fan to reach the middle was Steve Morris, a home health-care worker from Waukesha.  “I’m king of the cheese!” exclaimed Morris.

The celebration of cheese extended beyond the food itself.  The team invited fans to submit entries in the Cheesiest Pun Contest.  Several fans shared their best groaners on the big screen; afterward, everyone had a chance to cast their vote for the cheesiest of the puns.  The winner, submitted by Marlene Graybeck of Brookfield, went as follows: “There was an explosion at a cheese factory in France.  Nothing but de-brie everywhere!”


In addition to all of the cheese-tastic festivities, Milwaukee fans got to see the home team win big, 7-2 over the Utah Owls.  D Steve Cargill scored a pair of goals, and narrowly missed completing the hat trick, pinging a shot off the post.  “It’s a good thing that I didn’t [get the hat trick],” Cargill quipped.  “If all the fans threw their cheeseheads on the ice, someone might have gotten hurt.”

All in all, the night was a hit, and Neilson said that the team would likely look to do it again in the future.  In fact, only one person wasn’t happy about the promotion: coach Robbie Lear.  “I’m lactose intolerant,” the coach moaned.

CHL Update: East Prevails In First All-Star Game

The SHL’s  minor league, the Continental Hockey League, held its first All-Star Game this week at Waterfront Center, home of the Virginia Rhinos.  The sell-out crowd in attendance was treated to a win for the home team, as the East built a big lead, then survived a late rally from the West to pull out a 6-4 victory.

“Nothing better than getting a big W in front of my home crowd!” said Rhinos coach Jeffrey Marsh, who was in charge of the Eastern squad.  “It almost makes up for losing in the Finals last year.  Almost.”

In addition to enjoying a fun and thrilling game, each fan in attendance received a special gift from the home team: a “superhero plush rhino” with Virginia’s logo on it (pictured).  The giveaway proved to be a big hit; examples were selling on eBay for as much as $50 after the games.  Marsh conducted his postgame press conference with one of the stuffed rhinos in his pocket.  “Adorable little fellow, isn’t he?” said the coach.  “Honestly, the only reason I agreed to coach this game was because they promised to give me one of these guys.”  Marsh then proceeded to make the rhino soar in circles over his head.

Much like Marsh’s rhino, the game got off to a flying start.  It took only 20 seconds for Rhinos D Rennie Cox to get the East on the board, banging a shot off the crossbar behind Colorado Springs Zoomies goalie Sonny Kashiuk.  19 seconds later, Zoomies C Dale Wilcox put one in from a severe angle to tie the game.

After the early scores, the teams settled in for a while.  But 5:41 into the game, Oshawa Drive RW Anders Pedersen tapped one in past Kashiukv to put the East back in front for good.  Baltimore Blue Crabs LW Rex Batten scored with five minutes left in the period to make it a 3-1 game.

The game threatened to turn into a rout, as the East scored twice more in the second period.  By the time Pedersen scored again on a power-play tally 1:14 into the third, the score stood at 6-1.

But the West made a game of it later on.  Minnesota Freeze D Brian Coldivar got the rally started with a hard slapper three minutes into the period.  A couple minutes later, the West got another score on a crazy shot that deflected multiple times before sneaking past Drive goalie Hector OrinocoMilwaukee Hogs C Vance Ketterman was credited with the goal.  When Hogs RW James Clay cashed in on a power play with 7:37 left in the game, it drew the West within two and caused the crowd to stir uncomfortably.  But Orinoco shut things down the rest of the way, and the East held on for the victory.

Pedersen, with his pair of goals, was recognized as the game’s MVP.  In addition to the award, Pedersen received a Chris-Craft boat.  “I have never had my own boat before,” Pedersen said.  “Maybe now I will have to start fishing or something.  What do you do in a boat?”


AllStarGame, West All-Stars @ East All-Stars, Waterfront Center

                   1   2   3   OT   F
West All-Stars     1   0   3        4
East All-Stars     3   2   1        6

West All-Stars         G   A PTS PIM +/-   East All-Stars         G   A PTS PIM +/-

Garcia          LW     0   1   1   0   0   Young           LW     0   0   0   0   0
Cargill         D      0   1   1   0  -1   Hermine         D      0   2   2   0   1
Wilcox          C      1   0   1   0   0   Collistone      C      0   0   0   0   0
Ochre           D      0   1   1   2  -1   Cox             D      1   0   1   2   1
Durien          RW     0   0   0   0   0   Pedersen        RW     2   0   2   0   0
Sikanen         LW     0   0   0   0   1   Laronov         LW     0   0   0   0  -1
Kerasov         D      0   1   1   0   1   Blacklett       D      0   0   0   0  -1
Everest         C      0   0   0   0   1   Perignon        C      0   0   0   0  -1
Coldivar        D      1   0   1   0   1   Melicar         D      0   0   0   0  -1
Clay            RW     1   1   2   0   1   Quake           RW     0   0   0   0  -1
Fleury          LW     0   0   0   0  -3   Batten          LW     1   1   2   2   3
Lockwood        D      0   1   1   0  -2   Hanlon          D      1   2   3   0   2
Ketterman       C      1   1   2   0  -3   Cage            C      1   1   2   0   3
DeShantz        D      0   1   1   2  -2   Olsson          D      0   1   1   0   2
Winters         RW     0   0   0   0  -3   Delorme         RW     0   3   3   0   3
----------------------------------------   ----------------------------------------
TOTALS                 4   8  12   4  -2   TOTALS                 6  10  16   4   2


West All-Stars      SH    SV    G    Sv%
Kashiuk             37    32    5  0.865
Ke. White           18    17    1  0.944

East All-Stars      SH    SV    G    Sv%
Crane               19    18    1  0.947
Orinoco             14    11    3  0.786

First Period

00:20  EAS  Cox (Cage, Hermine)
00:39  WAS  Wilcox (DeShantz, Garcia)
05:41  EAS  Pedersen (Hanlon, Olsson)
15:09  EAS  Batten (Delorme)

06:27  WAS  Ochre 2:00 (Elbowing)

Second Period

07:47  EAS  Hanlon (Delorme, Batten)
08:06  EAS  Cage (Delorme, Hanlon)

15:07  EAS  Cox 2:00 (Elbowing)

Third Period

01:14  EAS  Pedersen PP (Hermine)
03:02  WAS  Coldivar (Clay, Kerasov)
04:56  WAS  Ketterman (Ochre, Cargill)
12:23  WAS  Clay PP (Ketterman, Lockwood)

00:51  WAS  DeShantz 2:00 (Slashing)
12:12  EAS  Batten 2:00 (Clipping)

                   1   2   3   OT   F
West All-Stars    10   9  14       33
East All-Stars    19  18  18       55


West All-Stars   1 for 2
East All-Stars   1 for 2



2018 CHL All-Star Rosters

This year, the SHL’s minor league will also be holding an All-Star Game.  The game will take place at Waterfront Center, home of the Virginia Rhinos. The rosters for the game, along with each player’s current stats, are below.


Coach: Jeffrey “Swampy” Marsh (Virginia)


First Line

LW: Norris “Beaver” Young, Oshawa (15 G, 27 A, 42 Pts, 10 PIM, +19)

D: Gary Hermine,  Oshawa (11 G, 28 A, 39 Pts, 16 PIM, +20)

C: Pat “Stoner” Collistone, Oshawa (17 G, 26 A, 43 Pts, 8 PIM, +19)

D: Rennie Cox, Virginia (15 G, 20 A, 35 Pts, 4 PIM, +7)

RW: Anders Pedersen, Oshawa (12 G, 25 A, 37 Pts, 23 PIM, +19)


Second Line

LW: Yuri Laronov, Virginia (17 G, 19 A, 36 Pts, 16 PIM, -2)

D: Blake Blacklett, Virginia (14 G, 19 A, 33 Pts, 26 PIM, +7)

C: Cyril Perignon, Virginia (17 G, 24 A, 41 Pts, 0 PIM, +2)

D: Ambroz Melicar, Baltimore (12 G, 21 A, 33 Pts, 8 PIM, +3)

RW: Chris Quake, Virginia (6 G, 24 A, 30 Pts, 20 PIM, -2)


Third Line

LW: Rex Batten, Baltimore (11 G, 21 A, 32 Pts, 31 PIM, Even)

D: Kirby Hanlon, Maine (6 G, 12 A, 18 Pts, 20 PIM, +1)

C: Phoenix Cage, Cleveland (7 G, 17 A, 24 Pts, 6 PIM, -9)

D: Hampus Olsson, Maine (6 G, 8 A, 14 Pts, 6 PIM, +1)

RW: Felix Delorme, Hartford (11 G, 12 A, 23 Pts, 6 PIM, -12)



Jonathan Crane, Maine (10-8-3, 2.06 GAA, .917 save %)

Hector Orinoco, Oshawa (15-6-0, 2.75 GAA, .896 save %)



Coach: Wiley Kiyotie (Utah)


First Line

LW: Diego Garcia, Utah (8 G, 23 A, 31 Pts, 10 PIM, -1)

D: Steve Cargill, Milwaukee (7 G, 23 A, 30 Pts, 48 PIM, +8)

C: Dale Wilcox, Colorado Springs (12 G, 19 A, 31 Pts, 29 PIM, +13)

D: Georg Ochre, Muncie (5 G, 21 A, 26 Pts, 49 PIM, +12)

RW: Philippe Durien, Colorado Springs (24 G, 22 A, 46 Pts, 22 PIM, +13)


Second Line

LW: Veikko Sikanen, Omaha (15 G, 15 A, 30 Pts, 23 PIM, +5)

D: Brian Coldivar, Minnesota (12 G, 14 A, 26 Pts, 18 PIM, +6)

C: Tanner Everest, Minnesota (7 G, 24 A, 31 Pts, 18 PIM, +7)

D: Rudolf Kerasov, Minnesota (8 G, 17 A, 25 Pts, 22 PIM, +6)

RW: James Clay, Milwaukee (8 G, 22 A, 30 Pts, 16 PIM, +3)


Third Line

LW: Jean Pierre Fleury, Minnesota (14 G, 11 A, 25 Pts, 14 PIM, +8)

D: Trevor Lockwood, Omaha (7G, 17 A, 24 Pts, 53 PIM, -1)

C: Vance KettermanMilwaukee (11 G, 15 A, 26 Pts, 12 PIM, +3)

D: Duncan DeShantz, Colorado Springs (4 G, 18 A, 22 Pts, 45 PIM, +17)

RW: Mark Winters, Minnesota (7 G, 20 A, 27 Pts, 24 PIM, +7)



Sonny Kashiuk, Colorado Springs (20-3-1, 1.57 GAA, .943 save %)

Kelvin White, Muncie (12-10-0, 1.85 GAA, .937 save %)


CHL Update: Utah’s Garcia Demands Trade

Utah Owls LW Diego Garcia is having a very strong season.  The 26-year-old winger is in his second season with the Owls, having been demoted by the New York Night early in the 2017 season.  Garcia had a surprisingly solid season with Utah last year, posting 11 goals and 22 assists in 45 games.  This season, he’s done even better; he leads the team in points, posting __ goals and __ assists already this season.

Diego Garcia

You might think that with these kinds of numbers, Garcia would be a prime candidate for a mid-season callup.  But no promotion has been forthcoming, at least so far.  And that’s left Garcia wanting out.

“When they sent me down, they told me they wanted to see more consistent effort and performance,” Garcia said.  “So I go down and do a great job, and I’m still rotting away?  That’s crap.  If New York’s not going to use me, they should send me somewhere that will.”

Garcia has a rather checkered reputation in the SHL.  He’s considered a decent offensive talent, a good skater with a nice passing touch.  But he’s always been lackadaisical on defense, is not known as a hard worker, and is well known as a malcontent when things aren’t going his way.

He broke in with the then-Dakota Rapids as a third-line winger.  He lost his starting spot to Vonnie McLearen, however, and became deeply disenchanted with coach Harold Engellund and the organization.  After upsetting the coaching staff with his unwillingness to practice, he was traded to the Hamilton Pistols at the trading deadline in 2015.

Garcia played more regularly in Hamilton, recording 8 points in 33 games during the 2016 season.  But the Pistols coaches soured on him, noting that he didn’t seem engaged when the game wasn’t close and, again, he showed inconsistent effort during practices.  As a result, he was sent to New York as part of the Rod Remington deal.  He seemed to click with the Night; their uptempo, offense-oriented style suited his approach, and then-coach Preston Rivers didn’t care much about practice.  Garcia recorded 2 goals and 13 assists in 21 games, and seemed to be on track for more opportunities in 2017.

Garcia was outraged, therefore, when he found himself exiled to the bench under new coach Nick Foster in 2017.  “I earned my shot with the way I played,” Garcia fumed to reporters.  “But bring in a new coach, and all that goes right in the garbage and it’s like I’m a rookie trying out all over again.  I’m not here for that [expletive].”  Garcia also alleged that he was being discriminated against because of his Hispanic origins.  “The Lazy Mexican is the oldest stereotype in the book,” the winger told reporters.  “Because I don’t look like your typical hockey player, I’ve got to work ten times as hard to get credit.  I’m sick of it.”

For his part, Owls coach Wiley Kiyotie is a Garcia fan.  “I know the stories about him,” the coach said, “but I’ve never seen it.  He’s always worked hard and played great for me.  Diego’s always done whatever’s been asked of him, and he’s been a great player for me.  He has a great nose for offensive, and he shows explosive bursts of speed.  I’m glad he’s on the team.”

Garcia stressed that he has no issue with Kiyotie or the Owls.  Rather, he’s anxious to get another crack at the big time.  “I don’t want to spend the rest of my career stuck in the minors,” he said.  “I know that I’m capable of doing a better job than some of those guys that have SHL jobs.  But it’s obvious that New York has given up on me.  So let me go before I get too old and lose my shot.”

Foster, for his part, claims not to have any animus against Garcia.  “I’ll admit, Diego didn’t make much of an impression when he was here,” the Night boss said.  “I’m always open to second-chance stories, though.  But where’s the opening?  He’s proven that he doesn’t want to be a reserve who only gets in a handful of games.  But all of our starting forward slots are basically locked down.  I’m not going to argue that he doesn’t deserve another chance, but I don’t have anywhere to put him.”

Night GM Royce McCormick declined to state whether he would accommodate Garcia’s trade demand.  “We’re always looking for deals to make our team better,” McCormick said.  “And if we see a way to improve that allows Diego to go somewhere, I’ll pursue that.  But we’re not just going to deal him for the sake of moving him.  We’re not in the charity business.”


CHL Update: Virginia Coach Gives Bizarre Interview

Jeffrey Marsh

Virginia Rhinos coach Jeffrey Marsh was widely hailed as a genius last season when he took his team to the Eastern Division title and an appearance in the CHL Finals.  His reputation has taken a hit this season, as the Rhinos have stumbled to a sub-.500 record on the heels of a recent seven-game skid.  Things went from bad to worse for Marsh this week after a surreal post-game press conference that left reporters baffled and had some wondering whether Marsh was drunk or stoned.

After Saturday’s 7-2 loss to the Maine Moose, Marsh addressed reporters as usual.  But rather then offering the standard platitudes about effort and improving the team’s execution, the coach’s answers were a string of bizarre non-sequiturs.  Asked what he had seen on the ice during the game, Marsh replied: “Dinosaurs and fire trucks, mostly.”  When a reporter asked him to evaluate his team’s defensive effort, the coach said, “Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye.”  Questioned about whether C Cyril Perignon seemed to be pushing too hard to overcome his recent scoring drought, Marsh stated: “Partly cloudy, with a 50% chance of rain later in the week.”

After a couple more questions and answers in this vein, reporters began asking Marsh if he was all right.  The coach’s answer: “Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo.”  At this point, a Rhinos staffer ended the interview and escorted Marsh from the podium.

The stories the next day focused less on the outcome of the game and more on Marsh’s mental state.  One article focused on the coach’s “incoherent ranting and raving”; another described Marsh as “coming unglued in front of a live audience.”  Still another piece claimed that the coach “appeared visibly drunk or high,” and described his press-conference performance as “a strange, sad, and embarrassing mess.”

At Virginia’s morning skate the next day, Marsh clarified the reason behind his apparent madness.  He said that he had not been fueled by booze or drugs; rather, by boredom and frustration.  “Let’s be honest,” the coach said.  “These post-game pressers, it’s really just a dance.  You need something to write in your stories, so I get up there and do a little soft-shoe and spout some blah-blah coach speak.  Right?  That’s the deal.

“Well, yesterday I didn’t feel like doing the dance.  The game sucked, and I didn’t have anything interesting or meaningful to say about it.  They told me I’d get fined if I just skipped the press conference.  So instead I went up there and talked nonsense.  Maybe not my finest hour, but hey, it made your stories more interesting, right?”

He added that the front office has talked to him about his behavior.  “I’m sorry I was a bad boy and I promise not to do it again.”

Rhinos GM Ken Lindstrom, asked about Marsh’s antics, laughed and rolled his eyes.  “Look, this is Swampy we’re talking about here,” Lindstrom said.  “He’s an old goalie, and we know most goalies have a screw loose.  He’s frustrated about how we’re doing this year, and I get that.  I am too.  But I reminded him that [reporters] have a job to do too, and when he gets up there and goes all Bob Dylan on us, he’s making it hard for you to do your job.  He gets it.”

Lindstrom paused and added with a wry smile, “I thought about asking him to take a drug test, just to be sure.  But this is just Swampy being Swampy.”


CHL Update: Centurions Fall Apart as Levan Snaps on Ice

It’s been a rough season for the CHL’s Cleveland Centurions.  The Michigan affiliate has been firmly anchored to the bottom of the Eastern division all season long.  There is reportedly friction between the players and new coach Erik Pavlovitch, as well as between factions of players on the team.  This week, that tension boiled over in public fashion as goalie Guillaume Levan melted down and attacked a teammate at the end of yet another loss.

During Tuesday’s game against the Baltimore Blue Crabs, the score was tied 2-2 in overtime.  Just over a minute into the extra session, the Blue Crabs set up in the Cleveland zone on the power play.  D Gil Calvert, stationed in front of the net, attempted to deny position to the Crabs forwards.  But then he got turned around and fell backward into the crease, where he became tangled up with Levan.  This caused the goalie to go down, leaving a wide-open net for Baltimore C Tucker Barnhill, who buried the game-winning goal, sealing Cleveland’s thirteenth straight loss.

A frustrated Levan smashed his stick against the post, then quickly turned his anger on Calvert.  Levan grabbed the defender by the throat and wrestled him to the ground.  Teammates eventually came and separated the two, although observers noted that some players seemed slow to come to Calvert’s aid.

“I think some of the guys were kind of rooting for Guillaume a little there,” said an anonymous Cleveland player.  “Myself included, to be honest.  It kind of seemed like we were overdue for somebody to choke somebody.”

Pavolvitch quickly suspended Levan for two games, and ripped his team’s lack of cohesion in his post-game press conference.  “This kind of behavior is totally unacceptable,” the Centurions coach told reporters.  “We’re supposed to be a team, working together to battle the other guys.  It looks like we’re more interested in fighting each other instead.  What happened today was an embarrassment, but the real problem is that we’re not thinking like a team.  We’re not unified.”

Levan left quickly after the game and did not speak to reporters after the incident.  It has been a frustrating season for the veteran netminder.  After a dismal year in Quebec last season, the Tigres made no attempt to re-sign Levan.  He wound up inking a minor-league pact with Michigan shortly before training camp.

Levan claims that he was promised the Centurions’ starting goalie job, which was a key factor in his decision to sign; Pavlovitch denies that such a promise was made.  Either way, the bulk of the goaltending minutes have gone to rookie Eugene Looney, which has left Levan stewing.  (This argument has shades of last year’s Cleveland controversy, when goalie Art Cowan accused the coaches of favoring prospect Jonas Schemko despite Cowan’s superior stats.  Neither one is with the Centurions this season; Cowan was promoted to the Wolves, while Schemko was claimed by Boston in the expansion draft.)

“At this level, we’re about player development,” said Pavlovitch.  “That means grooming young guys like Gene, not feeding the ego of an old goalie on his way out of the league.”

Team sources say that the Gray Wolves organization is looking to move Levan, although the market for a 34-year-old goalie with a reputation as a poor teammate is unclear.  It’s also not clear whether Pavlovitch will survive the season if the losses continue to mount and the locker-room feuds continue to fester.

As grim as things seem in Cleveland right now, Centurions RW Cleo Rodgers has an optimistic outlook.  “Are we going through some choppy waters?  Yeah,” Rodgers admitted.  “But that’s how it goes in a family sometimes.  Families fight, but they love each other underneath it.  We’re a family, and we know that in the end.  If we start winning a few games, that ought to help smooth things over.”