Monday, April 14, 2008

Wolves photos and random notes

It will be a while before all the interviews I did while in Chicago make their way into articles. But here are a few photos and other tidbits that are sort of on the side. They're not in chronological order.

Arturs Kulda upended by a Riverman.

Here he's right side up. After the game, Russian Nikolay Lemtyugov of Peoria came over to the Wolves locker room to visit Kulda. He was nearby as I interviewed Kulda, so I asked Kulda if he hit Lemtyugov that night. Kulda said he tried, but he's slippery (loud enough so Lemtyugov could hear of course). Kulda's English has improved since I talked to him last July. He said he took marketing courses at a local college this year.

Colin Stuart is concentrating awfully hard for warmups. He was scratched a bit down the stretch, which kept him at 260 pro games -- the limit to be considered a non-veteran in the AHL. This will allow him to dress freely next year.

Brett Sterling in a fight. Bookmark this page. The game against Rockford got really insane, as most of them are with that team. It was so crazy that assistant coach Wendall Young got into a shouting match with Rockford's coach. I love this stuff. I've mentioned before doing an offseason greatest hits of coaches losing it on the bench. That's still on, and we have a new entry.

I love the equipment guy stuck in the middle. He may be wisely making sure Wendall doesn't jump the divide. Given that Wendall is the team's strength and conditioning coach, in addition to goalie coach, and keeps in superior shape, I'd take him in that fight.

These things often end with players pulling their coaches back in. You can see Dowell doing that here.

A couple non-photo things now.

I talked to Grant Lewis, who is rehabbing from a foot injury, which occurred as he blocked a shot. (It hit him in the meaty inside part of his right foot). He said he will start skating this week and hopes to be back within a week or so. During the interview, he had only one sock on, maintaining his streak of talking to me in odd outfits.

Coach John Anderson said he has some tough choices to make going into the playoffs, and you have to think the timing of bringing Lewis back is one of them.

I also talked to Riley Holzapfel during an intermission. He's one of the few guys who can move around the arena virtually unnoticed since he only played one game with the team. He has been taking morning skates and warmups with the team though, he said.

Anyway, I asked him some questions about WHL guys, and here are his picks in the categories I asked him about:
1. Best 2008-eligible WHL prospect: Luke Schenn.
2. Best goalie in the WHL: Tyson Sexsmith (SJ)
3. Best prospect in the WHL: Karl Alzner (WAS)
4. Most underrated: Jason Bast, his teammate in Moose Jaw.

I mentioned to Lewis that he and Holzapfel had something in common with concussions this year. He joked that what they have in common is that they are both so skilled.

Jordan LaVallee to Nathan Oystrick, "Oh yeah?"

Oystrick and Rob Gherson after Gherson got involved in the melee and was socked by Mike Brodeur. Oystrick talked his ear off, very animated.

And then they closed their eyes and what? Visualization exercises?

Leaving the ice at the end of the game, Oystrick taps on the glass to thank the fans.


Brent said...

Why isn't Angelo Esposito playing?

Phoenix Coyotes prospects Chad Kolarik and Kevin Porter were assgined to the San Antonio Rampage after they played their final (heartbreaking) game at Michigan and signed NHL entry contracts; not only are they on the Rampage playoff roster they dressed and received icetime against Toronto last night.

Holly Gunning said...

Kolarik and Porter are both 22, and Esposito is 19. Not only does their age make them more prepared for the pro game, but having played against men in college does as well. Much easier for them to step right in.

Esposito isn't ready for AHL playoff hockey, nor is there anyone the Wolves would want to take out of the lineup to put him in. I wouldn't play him either.