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Thread: Wheeling Hooks Up With Montreal

      
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    Default Wheeling Hooks Up With Montreal

    Nailers, Montreal Rejoin Forces
    Franchises joining forces this season

    By SHAWN RINE, Sports Editor POSTED: August 31, 2010 WHEELING - The Wheeling Nailers are going back to the past in hopes their fortunes will do the same. The club announced Monday it has entered into an agreement with the Montreal Canadiens, who were on board as an affiliate during some of the best days in Wheeling franchise history.

    ''They approached us,'' Nailers vice president Craig Bommer said. ''They were looking for a place to send their players, and because of our history they felt comfortable.''

    The history between the two organizations is special.

    The Winston-Salem/Wheeling Thunderbirds had a nine-year relationship with the Canadiens, producing three Riley Cup Finals appearances in 1989, 1990 and 1993, along with three Henry Brabham Cups for most regular-season points in 1990, 1993, 1995, and an ECHL title in 1989.

    But it's not just the Nailers.

    The Canadiens affiliates have long been some of the best in both the ECHL and AHL. As a matter of fact, Montreal's former ECHL affiliate (Cincinnati) won two of the last three Kelly Cup titles.

    ''Montreal is way ahead of the game,'' Bommer said. ''Dating back to '89, they've been doing it for so long.

    ''Their organization is so deep and has so many players that they don't call people up every day.''

    Last season, Hamilton finished first in the AHL's North Division with a 52-17-11 record as it advanced to the Western Conference Finals before bowing out in seven games.

    The Canadiens join the Pittsburgh Penguins as Nailers affiliates. Bommer said having two teams to secure talent - three if you count the Rob and Jim Brooks'-owned Adirondak Phantoms - is an incredible advantage.

    ''The big benefit is, one calls players up and the other leaves them behind,'' he said. ''We were actively seeking a second affiliate and had talked about a couple other teams.

    ''But the biggest (factor) is what they did in Cincinnati in the last couple of years.''

    Wheeling has long been known as fertile ground when the idea is advancing minor-league hockey players. The Nailers have had more former players go on to play in the NHL than any other ECHL affiliate.

    That undoubtedly played a role in this marriage.

    ''On behalf of the Canadiens organization, I would like to thank the Nailers for accepting to affiliate with us,'' Montreal general manager Pierre Gauthier said in a statement. ''We are looking forward to a strong and long-lasting relationship.''

    For Jim Brooks, this was a no-brainer. When you can bring in the best-known franchise in hockey history as a player in your organization, what's not to like?

    ''The Montreal Canadiens have a storied history both in the NHL and minor leagues, and we look forward to a successful partnership,'' Brooks said. ''We already have an incredible amount of enthusiasm for the coming season, and adding this affiliation really fuels the fire.


    These Brooks brothers are starting to get annoying. I was never particular happy with the idea they also own the Adirondack AHL team, the top affiliate for the Cryers. Now they're *****ing and moaning about how some of the players were called up by WBS last year, when there was a slew of injuries. I thought that's what a farm club was for. What a Some of his other comments are ridiculous as well, such as "montreal's way ahead of the game" and them being "so deep": That must be the reason why they've won so many cups lately.

    What Brooksie fails to mention in his hyperbole, is the fact that ECHL teams are only allowed to have 5 AHL/ECHL contracts on their team (the last time I checked) and they were pretty much filled by WBS team allocations last year anyway. Also, NHL teams are only allowed to have a certain number of players under contract (of any level) anyway, and if I'm not mistaken the Pens were at their limit last year.

    How this is going to affect the Pens way of doing things, as far as "system", and their players playing times should be interesting. The bottom line is I'd much prefer to see the Pens be the sole operator of a club.

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    Default Re: Wheeling Hooks Up With Montreal

    My cities ECHL team (Toledo Walleye) is affiliated with 2 NHL teams... the Blackhawks and the Red Wings. Last season they basically got a goalie from the Wings/Grand Rapids Griffins and (I thought) 6 or 7 from the Hawks/Rockford Ice Dogs (but, maybe they didn't keep them all... i'm not sure.) Maybe the Nailers only get a goalie from the Habs? Clubs like to keep their goalie prospects sharp any way they can! An ECHL team still needs to sign a bunch of Free Agents to balance it's roster.

    Look at the bright side.... It's the Canadiens not the Leafs!!!

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    Default Re: Wheeling Hooks Up With Montreal

    Quote Originally Posted by (419)BlackNGold View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    My cities ECHL team (Toledo Walleye) is affiliated with 2 NHL teams... the Blackhawks and the Red Wings. Last season they basically got a goalie from the Wings/Grand Rapids Griffins and (I thought) 6 or 7 from the Hawks/Rockford Ice Dogs (but, maybe they didn't keep them all... i'm not sure.) Maybe the Nailers only get a goalie from the Habs? Clubs like to keep their goalie prospects sharp any way they can! An ECHL team still needs to sign a bunch of Free Agents to balance it's roster.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Look at the bright side.... It's the Canadiens not the Leafs!!! [/HIGH-LIGHT]
    QFT.

    There are several ECHL teams with dual affiliations, but Brooks, in his zeal to kiss the Canadiens ***, disses the Pens unnecessarily. I mean, it could very well be the Canadians will only allocate a couple of AHL contacts anyway, when you consider that only 5 are allowed in total. As you stated, most of the players in the ECHL are free agent signings with no NHL/AHL contracts.

    And I agree that one of Canadian allocations will probaly be a goalie. The problem with that is playing time for a guy like Killeen, who will likely be the Pens allocation to Wheeling.

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