After taking two of three games in Colorado last week, the ECHL-leading Alaska Aces returned to town Sunday for practices today and Wednesday, and then a regular season-ending, six-game road trip that opens Saturday in California.
Dropped by practice today -- well, after practice because The Blog had no desire to hang out in frigid Ben Boeke Arena -- to check in.
Veteran defenseman Steve Ward, who has missed the last five games after taking a big hit in Stockton, skated. Still, coach Rob Murray said Ward is day-to-day. Center Chris Langkow, who sat out Saturday's trip-ending 5-1 win with an upper-body injury, did not skate today, but Murray expects him to skate Wednesday.
Rookie forward Tim Hall, who made his pro debut for the Aces last week after finishing his career at Colorado College, did not make the trip back to Anchorage; he'll join the team in California, Murray said. Made more sense, after the games against the Colorado Eagles in Loveland, for Hall to drive back to CC. Murray liked what he saw from Hall, a 5-8 speedster who can play both center and wing -- Murray played wing in both games. Hall furnished two assists Saturday.
"It was essentially a two-game tryout, and he passed,'' Murray said.
Murray said he liked Hall's patience with the puck in the offensive zone and his ability to get the puck out of the defensive zone along the boards.