Woody on Hockey

Alaska is hockey heaven -- the Alaska Aces are perennial ECHL contenders, the UAA Seawolves play in the nation's premier college league and NHL star Scott Gomez headlines a contingent of pros. Join the conversation about the Aces and Alaska hockey with Doyle Woody, who has covered the game here at all levels for 29 years.

Contact: dwoody@adn.com

Here's a historically encouraging way of looking at UAA's WCHA series in Grand Forks - 10/25/2012 3:43 pm

Aces: Ambroz released (Plus, Courchaine note) - 10/25/2012 1:26 pm

Aces: Gee, those are some decent linemates Imbeault just got; plus, numbers changes - 10/25/2012 10:45 am

Aces add a defenseman in fourth-year pro Alain Goulet - 10/25/2012 9:59 am

A bunch of Alaska connections play in the Austrian League where Alexandre Imbeault began the season - 10/24/2012 5:41 pm

Man, UAA's Early Schedule Is Odd - 10/24/2012 5:07 pm

Former Aces Center Imbeault Is Now Current Aces Center Imbeault (UPDATED) - 10/24/2012 1:16 pm

North Pole's Copley Is WCHA Rookie Of The Week - 10/23/2012 12:19 pm

Aces: The D Is Damaged

Alaska Aces captain Steve Ward's summary of the injuries, including his own, to the club's defense, says it all: "That's usually how it goes -- when it rains, it pours.''

Ward suffered a broken right leg in the first period of Saturday's 1-0 win over visiting Utah. He underwent surgery Sunday and is probably looking at 10-12 weeks before he plays again -- more on that in Wednesday's dead-trees edition of the ADN.

The Aces on Saturday were already without defenseman Kane Lafranchise, who took a hit to the head in Friday's 5-2 loss to Utah (Grizzlies forward Riley Armstrong was suspended three games for that hit). Lafranchise did not practice today.

Meanwhile, defenseman Corey Syvret is out for this week's three-game home series against San Francisco with a broken finger suffered when he was slashed Saturday -- he skated today, but did not handle pucks. Defenseman Sean Curry has yet to play this season because of a lower-body injury suffered in training camp. And Todd Orlando has been out since the preseason.

That left the Aces with four healthy D at practice today -- Russ Sinkewich, Dustin Molle and rookies William Wrenn and Chris Haltigin.

Aces coach Rob Murray said he's working the phones to try to find two defensemen in time for Friday's series opener against the Bulls.

If you're looking for a bright spot in this, here's a couple: Ward's injury at least happened early in the season, so he'll be back. And with Ward and Curry, both veterans, out of the lineup, Murray can play all four of his veteran forwards -- the three NHLers (Brandon Dubinsky, Nate Thompson and Joey Crabb) and Matt Robinson. Robinson has sat out three of the club's four games because ECHL teams are only permitted to dress four veterans for any game.

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