Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dr. Stuart fixed knee of top prospect

Dr. Michael Stuart, father of Colin and Mark Stuart, performed knee surgery on one of the top prospects for the 2009 draft, Jared Cowen. Dr. Stuart works at the Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minneapolis, and was previously the team doctor for the US national junior team.

“Our team has its own surgeon, but my agent recommended Dr. Stuart because he has a lot of experience performing the surgery," Cowen said. "We wanted to pick a guy who NHL teams know. I expect there will be questions about the injury and the surgery at the NHL combine, so I don’t think it will hurt that many of the teams know about Dr. Stuart.”

Monday, March 23, 2009

Marks to Blades as assistant coach

John Marks, who lost his coaching job when the ECHL Augusta Lynx went under, has a new gig. He's going to assist Malcolm Cameron coaching the league-leading Florida Everblades (who the Gwinnett Gladiators will likely meet in the first round of the playoffs).

From the press release:
“I wanted to look at the possibility of having an assistant coach for this year’s playoff run,” Cameron said. “Once the decision was made to bring someone on board, I thought of John immediately..."

Translation: We have a lot of talent but I've lost my team.

I think you'll see Marks become the lynchpin here. He's a real heart and soul kind of coach, something that the Everblades don't have a lot of right now. This move makes Florida stronger for sure.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Vannelli's comeback

Well, this could have been predicted. Mike Vannelli, who quit hockey after being assigned to the ECHL Wheeling Nailers at the beginning of the 2007-08 season, has developed the itch to play again. He's over in Germany right now as an insurance player for the Dusseldorf EG Metro Stars in the DEL.

I was reading an article about how the Las Vegas Wranglers could be sold, and it mentioned that they had suited up a pharmaceutical salesman this year. I thought, I wonder how our favorite medical device salesman is doing? So I Googled him.

Vannelli signed with the German team at the very end of January, but has only played in one game so far. The team is coached by Canadian Lance Nethery, and also features former Gophers Chris Harrington and Evan Kaufmann. Vannelli said he had been training on the ice every day, and I think he said he's been coaching high school.

He told a German newspaper that he came to Germany because if he stayed in North America, he'd have to swtich between teams, and he didn't want to do that. Read: he'd be sent to the ECHL.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

HF on Atlanta-trained Landon Ferraro

Former Thrasher Ray Ferraro's son Landon is eligible for the 2009 draft, and quite highly rated in fact. Hockey's Future did a feature on Landon, and I made sure we asked him about the time he spent playing travel hockey in Atlanta while his dad was playing here. Those were his formative years.

..."In Atlanta I was a bit older so I could actually figure some stuff out. Just seeing where my hockey league [in Atlanta] started from and the fanbase for the Thrashers to where it ended when we left in ’02, it grew tremendously.”
Ferraro began playing competitive hockey while based in Georgia but explained that in order to get enough teams into one league, the boundaries were extremely stretched.
“My league was the whole south-east of the United States,” he smiled, “So I was playing and every other weekend we were on the road and we’d go to Tennessee or North and South Carolina or Florida.”

Another former Thrasher has a son eligible for this draft -- Bjorn Krupp, who also learned to play hockey in Atlanta. He is considered a long shot in the draft though. He has his father's size, but perhaps not his skill.