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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Antler Banter: Season 1, Volume 1

Here we are, folks! It feels good to get back into the weekly AHL report that I stopped doing once the Moose left town. It's like finding a favorite shirt that's been buried in a box in storage for ages only to find it, put it on, and finding out it still fits like a glove - it just feels right to have Antler Banter back here on HBIC. As you know, I was always an advocate of the AHL being in town due to the family-friendly prices, the commitment to the community by both franchise and players, and the fun they had with promotions. It's nice to see that the new Moose are following the same path of affordability and fun, so let's kick off Antler Banter with a look at how the operation will make its money. We're off and running on the new edition of Antler Banter!

Same Seats, Different Prices

The Manitoba Moose introduced a very inexpensive ticket package for Moose games happening at MTS Centre this upcoming season, and this should bode well in selling out the lower bowl of the arena. The Moose will play 38 home games as per the regular AHL season, and there's a good chance we'll see the Moose take to the ice in the eventual Heritage Classic that is awarded to Winnipeg. Here's what you'll be paying for tickets if and when you see the Moose play.
Now you might be asking how the prices are different, and I want to ensure that we're talking apples to apples here, so we'll compare to the prices of these Moose tickets to those of the Moose the last time they were here.
In other words, the best seats to see the Moose on this go-around will be just $110 more than what it cost to see the Moose in the second-cheapest seats during their first iteration. Clearly, there isn't a lot of worry on whether the Moose will make money or not with the demand the tickets seem to be in already. I'd say that these prices will attract a lot of demand to see the Moose. Full house for the Moose just like the Jets? Sounds like it!

Dinner For Game Two

The Grand Rapids Griffins meet the Rockford IceHogs tonight in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinal, and it seems the Griffins are going all-out in trying to get the fans into the action. I write about Rockford, Michigan rebranding the town as Griffinville for the next two weeks, and they'll push the envelope a little further with Game Two's promotion.

Van Andel Arena will host an outdoor pig roast on Friday night prior to Game Two to which all fans are invited. The pig roast starts at 5pm locally "until everything - including the oink - is gone"! Fans are invited to partake in the pig roast before the game against the IceHogs where $8 will get you a barbecue pork sandwich, a soda (if you're American), and a bag of chips. Those heading to the game can take their dinner into the arena with them as they look to help the Griffins down the IceHogs!

The Griffins are going all out in their battle with the IceHogs this round!

He's Ready

There has been a lot of speculation that Mike Babcock will leave the Detroit Red Wings after spending some time reflecting on what his next steps are. If he does indeed leave, Griffins coach Jeff Blashill looks like he's ready to step in.

Blashill saw his Griffins become the 11th team in AHL history to rebound and win a five-game series after falling behind 0-2 to start a series. It's the second time in his career he's coached a team out of that hole as he did it in the USHL with the Indiana Ice. He won the 2008 USHL Clark Cup and the 2013 AHL Calder Cup, and was named as the 2011 USCHO Coach of the Year with the NCAA's Western Michigan Mustangs and the 2014 AHL Coach of the Year with the Griffins.

Blashill should be the only choice for Ken Holland if Babcock does head for greener pastures as he's coached the vast majority of the younger players on the Red Wings, meaning he knows the roster well. He also knows who from the Griffins is ready to take the next steps. He has a new three-year deal signed last season with Detroit to coach the Griffins, but his promotion if Babcock walks should be elementary.

Sabres Continue To Clean House

Chadd Cassidy, the head coach of the Rochester Americans, was shown the door by Sabres GM Tim Murray after the Americans missed the playoffs this season. The Amerks were 14th of 15 teams in the AHL's Western Conference this season with a 29-41-6 record. In two seasons with the Amerks, Cassidy posted a 66-69-17 record as their head coach.

"With the organization as a whole continuing to move forward into a new chapter, we have decided to make a change at that position and will begin the search for a new Amerks head coach immediately," Murray said in a statement.

In other words, the Buffalo Sabres are Tim Murray's team from top to bottom, and he's going to have his people in key places as the Sabres rebuild. Best of luck to Chadd Cassidy as he hunts for a new job after being dismissed.

There isn't a lot t report right now from the Manitoba Moose perspective, but there's a good start to the AHL summer for the boys in double-blue. Every Wednesday, I'll check back in with more AHL news that focuses on the Moose, so tune in weekly for the Antler Banter!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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