When push comes to shove, that's when the dominoes finally start moving. It's a real interesting time of year when hockey teams from top to bottom have to make some hard choices. Brian Burke has to decide who to keep to get under the cap, and it all trickles down.
Former Thrasher prospect Karl Stewart was out of a job until this week. He's signed an AHL deal with Rochester. Mike Hamilton has signed with ECHL's Las Vegas. Ryan Daniels, who attended Thrashers prospect camp and Traverse City this year, is on a tryout with the ECHL Phoenix RoadRunners.
A lot of people have been asking about Mike Vigilante. Christine Troyke put out her story on this today. The Gladiators are citing his concussions as for why they aren't bringing back their captain. The potential insurance liability isn't mentioned, but I would think that would tie in too.
I had my own hockey game to play in tonight, and I happened to get my bell rung a bit. I was hit in open ice by this guy Ted who weighs only about a buck fifty but he's fast so if you know your physics, that's more kinetic energy acting on me (velocity matters more than mass). It's a no-check league and he's a former teammate so he was all "Sorry, Holly" right away -- I think he just didn't see me. Ted is a good parking lot guy, but as a former roller hockey player, not so good with the stopping.
I still have a headache hours later. So, it makes the issue very immediate to me and my feeling on Vig is that independent of whatever Jeff Pyle thinks, I would hope Vig would err on the side of not playing given his concussion history. He's got the whole rest of his life to live and he needs a clear head for that.
Next item: A.J. Thelen. The ECHL Florida Everblades are patting themselves on the back for signing the former Minnesota first rounder. In the press release, Malcolm Cameron says, "He originally was going to play this season in Austria, but decided to come back to North America to try and achieve his goal of playing in the NHL." -- That sounds really noble of him, but it's not quite accurate. Word on the street is that he looked awful in Austria and didn't make it past the tryout.
Hopefully AHL teams will start making some substantial cuts quickly. The Gladiators have what has to be the sorriest beginning training camp roster ever in their history.
Edit to add: here's some audio of Brad Schell at San Antonio camp. He sounds pretty relaxed.
Lastly, the Central Hockey League players are on strike. It's probably obvious that the current economy isn't the best time to be striking.