Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Antler Banter: Season 1, Volume 4

The AHL Calder Cup Playoffs feature just four teams, and one of those teams is on the brink of going home this evening as Antler Banter is back again for the weekly look at the American Hockey League. One of the kids in Grand Rapids looks like he'll be a good fit there while he develops as the series between the Griffins and Utica Comets continues, and there has been little change on the newest old website as the Moose website has yet to be updated since the announcement of the return of the team to Winnipeg. I'm also happy to announce that, tomorrow on the radio show, we'll feature a guy who wore the old Moose colors for a while as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, and he's been doing a heckuva job over in Denmark as a coach. With that, Antler Banter is off and running for another week!

Monarchs Way Ahead

If you're a fan of the Hartford Wolfpack, you're hoping they can add their names to the history books starting tonight as they find themselves in a 3-0 hole to the Monarchs. Manchester has won games by one goals, two goals, and three goals, and they seem to be getting stronger as the series progresses. After posting a 3-2 win, they followed it up with 7-4 and 5-3 victories as Hartford has had no answer for the Monarchs' offence. Game Four is tonight, and the Wolfpack might be cleaning out their lockers after the game if they can't stop the bleeding in a hurry.

West Is All Square

The Grand Rapids Griffins and Utica Comets are tied up at 1-1 in their series with Game Three happening tomorrow night. Utica took Game One by a 2-1 score while the Griffins responded in Game Two with a 4-2 victory. 18 year-old Dylan Larkin, playing his second AHL game, had a pair of goals for the Griffins, and it appears that the Red Wings have another solid player in their pipeline to go along with some of the great talent on the Griffins.

I'm not anointing Larkin the next great thing, mind you, but the Griffins have some excellent talent on their roster right now. With Jeff Blashill having met with Ken Holland recently about the vacant head coaching job in Detroit, we could see a lot of roster turnover with Blashill knowing his team in Grand Rapids extremely well. While not everyone is ready to make the jump, Larkin included at this point, it looks like Detroit has another excellent wave of layers coming up thanks to the Griffins.

Thank Goodness He's Alright

Game One between the Griffins and Comets was marred by a rather brutal hit committed by Griffins centerman Louis-Marc Aubry on Comets defenceman Bobby Sanguinetti. This is rather hard to watch, so you've been warned, folks.
While the hit is rather brutal, referee TJ Luxmore, whose arm is raised and was watching the play, somehow only handed out a two-minute boarding penalty despite Sanguinetti being helped off the ice. Thankfully, Sanguinetti was cleared for Game Two and played in the contest, but one has to wonder how Aubry escaped a fine or suspension on that play. That was dangerous, folks, no matter how you watch it.

Looking For Updates

I totally get that there's not a lot of news coming out of the Manitoba Moose camp right now, but when websites aren't updated it's hard to get the excitement brewing in the community. How many season tickets have the Moose sold? How close to capacity are they with all the mini-packs sold? Are we going to see any promotional nights? Who is the radio partner?

Lots of questions, but there are little answers. I know they are still looking for a number of positions to be filled - including the Manager of Communications who would handle a large part of this - but there is literally four months before the Moose hit the ice for their first regular season game in Winnipeg in four years. It's time to get this groundswell moving!

Former Moose Returns

I am happy, honoured, privileged, and proud to announce that The Hockey Show on 101.5 UMFM will feature former Manitoba Moose Brandon Reid in-studio tomorrow night! Brandon and Jessica Reid will be stopping by the studio for the second time in our short history, and we're excited to get caught up with them! The last time we spoke to them, Brandon was preparing to join CSKA Moscow in the KHL two years ago. Since that time, he's retired, taken a coaching job in Denmark, and won a championship! Jessica, for her part, has found life in Moscow and Vojens to have its ups and downs, but she's always kept a smile on her face as she's captured some amazing pictures in her travels!

We'll talk to them tomorrow about a pile of stuff, but the one thing that they found they loved? The TV series Hockey Wives! I know I said I'm not interested in talking or watching the show, but Brandon and Jessica have forced me to brush up on the show's finer points, so we'll have a discussion about the show tomorrow night. It should be interesting!

That's all for tonight, kids. If you want to hear the interview tomorrow, hit up the UMFM website and listen online if you're outside the Winnipeg region! The podcast will go up after the show as well, so feel free to download that if you can't make it for the live broadcast!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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