- On Monday, the Quebec Tigres activated D Ward Jones from the disabled list. Jones had missed more than a month with an upper-body that he suffered before the All-Star break. To make room for Jones on the active roster, the Tigres reassigned D Serge Rimbaud to their farm team in Maine. The 18-year-old Rimbaud appeared in 13 games with Quebec, recording 8 assists and a +1 rating.
- Also on Monday, the Hamilton Pistols placed goaltender Lasse Koskinen on the disabled list. Koskinen suffered an upper-body injury during Sunday’s 7-4 win over New York. He is expected to miss 2 to 3 weeks, a serious blow for a Pistols team that is trying to snatch a playoff spot in the East. To replace Koskinen, the Pistols called up Hector Orinoco from their affiliate in Oshawa. The 23-year-old Orinoco has gone 13-11-0 with a 2.69 GAA and a .902 save percentage with Oshawa this season.
- On Tuesday, the Tigres placed LW Stellan Fisker on the disabled list. Fisker suffered an upper-body injury during the Tigres’ 3-0 win over Hershey. He is expected to miss 3 to 4 weeks. To replace Fisker on the roster, the Tigres called up LW Carl Bleyer from their farm team in Maine. Bleyer has put up 26 points (8 goals, 18 assists) with the Moose on the year.
- Wednesday was the trading deadline. The following trades were consummated at the deadline:
- The New York Night traded RW Mickey Simpson, D Andy Ruger, and a 3rd-round draft pick to the Washington Galaxy for RW Nori Takoyaki. (More details here.) After making the trade, the Night promoted D Craig Werner from their farm team in Utah and signed D Sheldon Harville to a minor-league contract.
- The Galaxy traded Ruger to the Kansas City Smoke in exchange for a 3rd-round pick.
- The Michigan Gray Wolves traded RW Cleo Rodgers, G Gus Parrish, and a 2nd-round pick to the Smoke in exchange for LW Kevin Starkey and D Scott Hexton. (More details here.) After the trade, Kansas City called up Parrish and LW Veikko Sikanen from their CHL affiliate in Omaha, and demoted G Jim Fleetwood to Omaha. They also released G Toby Kemper. Meanwhile, Michigan released D Igor Shovshenkov, demoted F Yann Eberlein to their affiliate in Cleveland, and signed Kemper to a minor-league deal.
- The Saskatchewan Shockers traded C Tanner Brooks to the Dakota Jackalopes in exchange for D Rusty Anderson. (More details here.) After the trade, the Shockers demoted D Valeri Nistrumov to their farm team in Virginia. They also released D Knute Skoeglin and signed F Marvin Cascio to a minor-league deal.
- The Hamilton Pistols traded C Pat Collistone, D Buster Kratz, and a 1st-round pick to the Galaxy in exchange for C Eddie Costello. (More details here.) After the trade, the Pistols called up D Russ Klemmer from their CHL affiliate in Oshawa, and demoted RW Michael Jennings to Oshawa. They also signed D Gresham Sourwine to a minor-league contract. The Galaxy demoted Kratz to their affiliate in Baltimore and promoted C Tucker Barnhill from Baltimore. They also released D Sheldon Harville.
- The Quebec Tigres traded D Kirby Hanlon, C Jacob Cunniff, and a 1st-round pick to the Jackalopes in exchange for D Matt Cherner. (More details here.) After the trade, Dakota released RW Omar Zdurchek; Quebec then signed him to a minor-league deal.
- Finally, the Seattle Sailors traded D Serkan Mratic to the Galaxy for D Stan Gallagher. (More details here.)
- On Saturday, the Jackalopes activated D Rodney Black from the injured list. Black, who was sidelined in only his second SHL game, missed two and a half weeks with an upper-body injury. Since Dakota was one player short of the roster limit, they did not make a corresponding move.
- Also on Saturday, the Hershey Bliss placed LW Lance Sweet on long-term injured reserve. Sweet was carried off the ice on a stretcher after being crunched into the boards late in the second period during Saturday’s 6-3 win over Saskatchewan. Sweet underwent surgery on his right leg, and is expected to be out for the rest of the season. To fill Sweet’s roster spot, Hershey called up D Seth Dowd from their CHL affiliate in Milwaukee. The 33-year-old Dowd, who last played in the SHL in 2016, recorded 27 points with Milwaukee this season.
The following trades took place in the offseason before Season 3:
The Quebec Tigres made a huge deal at the top of the draft after their planned choice went awry. The Tigres had planned to take scoring winger Rod “Money” Argent with the #2 pick, addressing their major shortcomings on offense. But after the Seattle Sailors surprisingly drafted Argent with the first pick, Quebec found themselves with no obvious choice. So they traded down, dealing the #2 pick to the Hamilton Pistols in exchange for the #5 pick, a second-round pick, and D Dmitri Kalashnikov. Hamilton sought the #2 pick in order to grab G Lasse Koskinen, who immediately became the team’s top netminder. While Quebec did not wind up with an impact player of Argent’s caliber, they traded quality for quantity. With the #5 pick, they plucked RW Rupert MacDiarmid, who put up 15 goals and 39 points in juniors last year. In Kalashnikov, the Tigres added an elite and ferocious defender, whose 109 penalty minutes were the second-most in the SHL last season. The Tigres used the second-round selection to nab D Hal Pugliese, who took Penn Tech to the NCAA tournament three times in his collegiate career.
The Dakota Jackalopes also dealt a first-round pick, sending the #6 selection to the New York Night along with C Phil Miller in exchange for C Mike Rivera. The trade represents a bold gamble for both teams. For Dakota, adding Rivera augments their high-flying offense, as the Jackalopes attempt to catch up with their division rivals in Michigan and Anchorage. Last season, Rivera banged home 23 goals and collected 39 points with New York. He is expected to anchor Dakota’s second line this year. For New York, the trade reflects new coach Nick Foster’s desire to build a more balanced club. Although Rivera was a strong contributor on offense, he is widely considered a defensive liability. Miller, who put up 18 goals and 30 points between Saskatchewan and Dakota in ’16, is regarded as more of a two-way player. With the sixth pick, the Night grabbed goaltending prospect Sherman Carter, who recorded a 2.27 GAA and a .930 save percentage in juniors last season. In addition to drafting Carter, New York signed the top free-agent netminder, Jesse Clarkson, to complete an overhaul of one of their weakest positions.
After the draft, the Night made a pair of deals aimed at improving their third line. First, they swapped G Oliver Richardson to the Saskatchewan Shockers for the rights to G Hector Orinoco, then sent Orinoco’s rights along with F Dill Howlter to Hamilton for winger Andrei Volodin. Richardson, who posted a 6-10-0 mark with a 4.37 GAA for New York last season, became expendable after the Night drafted Carter and signed Clarkson. He represents an upgrade for the Shockers, who have struggled to find a solid backup for Zeke Zagurski since the league’s inception. Orinoco played last season in the German league, where he record a 17-11-2 record with a 3.06 GAA. He will likely spend the season in the minors for Hamilton, barring an injury. The 25-year-old Volodin should bring a little extra scoring punch to New York’s third line. He scored 18 goals and 34 points for Hamilton in the 2016 season. The 20-year-old Howlter failed to record a point in 9 games for New York last season.
The Washington Galaxy sent longtime backup goalie Gus Parrish to the Seattle Sailors in exchange for F Yann Eberlein. The deal was a bit disappointing for the fans, as Parrish was a beloved figure in Washington, adored for his boyish enthusiasm and flair for colorful quotes. Last season, Parrish went 7-6-0 with a 3.21 GAA as the Galaxy defended their Eastern Division title. But after Washington signed free agent Ron Mason in the offseason, Parrish found himself without a job. Eberlein struggled in limited action with the Sailors last year, recording 2 goals and 7 points in 34 games. Washington hopes that the 25-year-old Swiss forward can provide a solid presence off the bench. The Galaxy suffered from poor third-line and bench production last season, as rookies Henry Van Alpin, Barry Sullivan, and Oliver Wallington all turned in disappointing campaigns.
The Jackalopes and the Hershey Bliss made a minor deal just before the start of the season, swapping bottom-pairing defensemen. Dakota sent Pierre Chappelle to Hershey in exchange for Scott Hexton. The Jackalopes were looking to strengthen their blueline corps a bit, and Hexton (3 goals, 12 points last season) grades out as an above-average defender. On the other hand, the Bliss were looking to enhance their offensive production beyond their loaded top line. Chappelle (5 goals, 20 points last year) provides an upgraded scoring threat relative to Hexton. The 28-year-old Montreal native is on his third team in as many seasons; Dakota picked him up from Hamilton during last offseason.
Seattle Sailors coach Stewart Corrigan is quickly gaining a reputation around the SHL for his volatile temper. That temper boiled over in a memorable way on Thursday as Corrigan exploded at a referee, earning himself an ejection and a forthcoming suspension.
“I was too young to see Mount St. Helens erupt,” said Sailors RW “King George” Lane. “But now I know what it was like.”
Corrigan’s short fuse wasn’t a complete shock. As a junior-league coach, he earned the nickname “Popeye” due to the way his eyes would bulge during frequent rants at referees. But this was the first time the coach had gone “full Code Red” (to use his term) during an SHL game.
During the first period of Seattle’s game against the Dakota Rapids, the referees called several controversial penalties against the Sailors. A call Corrigan thought was a clear tripping penalty against Dakota instead became a diving penalty against Seattle. Less than 5 minutes later, Sailors D Joey “Pig Iron” Morris was whistled for a borderline high-sticking call. Corrigan argued both calls to no avail, and grew steadily angrier as the period went on, barking at the referees as they skated by.
“You could kind of see him changing color,” said Sailors C Cliff Derringer. “By the end of the period, he sort of looked like a tomato in a suit.”
Finally, with less than two minutes left in the period, head referee Ted Kowalski called a delay of game penalty on Sailors RW Yann Eberlein after he shot the puck over the glass, even though Eberlein and the Sailors vigorously insisted that the puck had tipped off a Dakota stick before going out.
This was too much for Corrigan to bear, and he yelled at Kowalski to come over to the Seattle bench. Kowalski either didn’t hear Corrigan or ignored him. The coach then stood on the bench and yelled louder. Receiving no response, he began banging his hands against the boards to attract Kowalski’s attention. Kowalski still didn’t come over. Finally, Corrigan grabbed a roll of athletic tape and fired it at Kowalski, hitting the official in the helmet.
Kowalski whirled around, and Corrigan shouted, “Yeah, you can hear me now, you fat Polack [expletive]!”
Kowalski immediately ejected Corrigan from the game, and skated away as the coach continued screaming at him. Corrigan grabbed an armful of sticks and threw them on the ice. It took two players and assistant coach Mark Morganhurst to restrain Corrigan. The crowd at Century 21 Arena gave Corrigan a standing ovation as he was dragged off down the tunnel, still shouting and cursing.
The league held a hearing on Saturday morning and announced that Corrigan would be suspended for two games and fined $5,000 for his actions. “There is no excuse for coaches or players to attack a referee physically,” said SHL Commissioner Perry Mitchell. “Mr. Corrigan’s actions were dangerous and irresponsible. Also, his ethnic insult was entirely inappropriate.”
At a press conference following the announcement of the discipline, Corrigan admitted that he had gone over the line. “I’ve always had the Irish temper,” said the coach. “Usually it takes a good bit of liquor to bring it out, but games can do it too. Although I didn’t agree with the referee’s calls, that doesn’t give me license to throw things at him.” Still, Corrigan couldn’t help but let a hint of pride creep in: “I will say I was pretty impressed with my aim. He was, what, 30 feet away? At least? For me to bean a moving target from that kind of distance, I mean, that’s pretty solid.”
In their first week on the ice, the Seattle Sailors struck the first deal of the SHL’s second season. Thanks to an onslaught of early injuries, the Sailors found themselves with a critical lack of defensive depth. They plugged that hole by picking up D Adam Leonard from the Hershey Bliss in exchange for F Gene Kennedy.
The league has seen a significant number of players hurt over the week, but Seattle has been hit the hardest. The Sailors lost players to injury in three straight game. Sunday’s 3-2 win over Saskatchewan was marred by the departure of D Wayne Snelling, who suffered a lower-body injury that is expected to keep him out for a couple weeks. In Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Michigan, RW “King George” Lane fell awkwardly against the boards and left with a lower-body injury; the team lists him as day-to-day. On Wednesday, Seattle lost both another game — 5-3 against Anchorage — and another player, as rookie D Benny Lambert was felled by yet another lower-body injury that could put him out of action for up to a week.
Lambert’s injury sent the Sailors into crisis mode, as they looked to grab the first available blue-liner. The Bliss, who were looking to enhance their forward corps, were a willing trade partner.
“Obviously, we were hoping not to have to make a move this early in the season,” said Sailors GM Jay McKay. “But we didn’t let ourselves get held up. Adam is a promising young player who fills a need for us now, but has a chance to grow with the team later on.”
Hershey selected the 22-year-old Leonard, a recent graduate from Peninsula State, in the fourth round of this year’s entry draft. He has a reputation as a stay-home defenseman and a good shot-blocker, although he is not an especially heavy hitter. He had yet to appear in a game for the Bliss at the time of the trade. He made his debut with Seattle on Friday in the Sailors’ 7-4 loss to Dakota.
Seattle claimed the 24-year-old Kennedy from Washington in the expansion draft. Kennedy was a reserve for last year’s division-champ Galaxy squad, putting up 5 points in 23 games. Though he was only occasionally saw the ice, Kennedy’s fun-loving spirit made him a fan favorite. The Sailors planned to use him as part of a third-line forward platoon with Yann Eberlein and Randy O’Connor. He had appeared in one game for Seattle before being dealt.
“This was a great opportunity for us,” said Bliss GM Scott Lawrence. “I’ve been a Gene Kennedy fan for a while now. I always liked him when he was with Washington. When I realized we had a chance to get him, I didn’t hesitate.”
With Leonard on board, the Sailors now find themselves hoping for better health in the upcoming games. Until Lane is able to return to action, Seattle’s only available reserve player will be their backup goaltender. As Sailors coach Stewart “Popeye” Corrigan said in his postgame press-conference Wednesday, “I don’t know if I’m running a hockey team or a sick ward.”