Settling in behind the keyboard here at the typing factory after some time off, seems like not a great deal happened in the world of Alaska hockey in The Blog's absence.
Still, a few notes out there to, well, make note of (as you see, time off did nothing to enhance The Blog's writing awesomeness) -- so, here we go, in no particular order, with some things that caught our eye:
--It's been reported in several places that former Alaska Aces bench boss Brent Thompson -- he guided them to the 2011 Kelly Cup -- will move up from his current position as bench boss of the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers to become an assistant coach with the NHL parent New York Islanders. Nothing has officially been announced by the Islanders. Would be a big move up for Thompson, especially considering last season was his rookie campaign in Bridgeport.
--Also on the coaching front, the AHL's Peoria Rivermen, former affiliates of the Aces, didn't renew the option on head coach Jared Bednar's contract, so he's out after two seasons behind the bench. That news landed today. Expect Peoria to hire someone fairly quickly.
--And yet again in coaching news, old-school Aces fans (i.e. hardcores who followed the Anchorage Aces of the now-defunct West Coast Hockey League) will recognize the name of the new bench boss for the Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League: Steve Martinson. He used to be head man for the San Diego Gulls.
--Speaking of the CHL, former (for a short time) UAA forward Winston Day Chief, who left the Seawolves and played at the University of Lethbridge, signed with the Rapid City Rush. He played four games for them in the playoffs, with zero points. Just thought it was interesting that a Rush press release quoted the club's coach as saying Day Chief "skates very well.'' If that's so, something changed after he left UAA because while his hands and instincts seem very sharp here, his skating was below average. Also, the Missouri Mavericks re-signed former Aces Dave Pszenyczny (his name is still on a piece of paper taped to The Blog's laptop because, really, who besides his family can possibly remember how to spell that last name) and John-Scott Dickson.
--At the college level, one rule change made last week no longer permits hand passes in the defensive zone. Such a pass will result in a defensive-zone faceoff and the violating team will not be able to change lines prior to said faceoff. Makes sense. Could never understand why it was OK to make a hand pass in the defensive zone but not in the offensive or neutral zones. Leagues will now also have the option of making overtime 4-on-4, which they all should do immediately -- 4-on-4 works much better than 5-on-5, more exciting, more likely to generate a goal in the five-minute overtime.
--Lastly, at the youth level, the Alaska Jr. Aces report USA Hockey's Pacific District Board of Directors have awarded the 2013 Pacific District U-18, U-16 and U-14 Tier I tournaments to the Jr. Aces. The tournaments will be played at the Subway Ice Center, March 7-10.
The Pacific District comprises Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada. The three Jr. Aces team automatically get berths in the tournaments, which is the usual deal. The Jr. Aces also announced they've hooked up with Elite Sports Performance, the off-ice training center run by Aces assistant coach Louis Mass, who will be the program's director of strength and conditioning. The Blog has it on good authority that Louis' workouts are wicked hard, which is why The Blog one demurred his offer to come down and check it out.