A while ago, my wife and I were watching the local news and lead news story was one about the recent completion of a round about in a rural community and how the residents felt about it. It was pretty obvious it was a ‘slow news day’ when road construction in a rural town was the first story. You could say the same thing when the Minnesota Wild’s signing of defenseman Ian McCoshen was the most notable news story surrounding the team in the last week.
The team signed the Anaheim, California-native to a 1-year, $700,000 (two-way) contract. McCoshen split time between the Springfield Falcons (Florida Panthers AHL affiliate) and the Rockford Ice Hogs (Chicago Blackhawks AHL Affiliate) by scoring 2 goals, 12 points in 63 games last season. The former Boston College star lost out in a numbers’ game with the Florida Panthers and has only played in 60 NHL games since turning pro in 2016-17.
The 6’3″, 217lbs left-shot defenseman will help add depth to Iowa’s blueline where he joins Matt Bartkowski, Dakota Mermis, and rookies Fedor Gordeev and Calen Addison. Louie Belpedio, a restricted free agent still hasn’t reached a contract yet but its not expected to be contentious negotiation. The Iowa Wild roster looks pretty well set at this point.
Especially with reigning AHL Goaltender of the Year Kaapo Kahkonen back, the Iowa Wild should be in good shape to be one of the stronger clubs in the American Hockey League in 2020-21. The team is also returning the AHL’s top goal scorer in Gerald Mayhew and still has plenty of offense with fellow vets Kyle Rau, Gabriel Dumont and Luke Johnson in the lineup.
Iowa Wild Head Coach Tim Army knows the team was primed for a Calder Cup run last year. No doubt the fans of Iowa were ready for that to happen after so many years of being near the American Hockey League’s basement. Replacing the loss of AHL All Star defenseman Brennan Menell will be tough but I still think they have to be one of the favorites out of the AHL’s Western Conference.
Khovanov on the move…maybe?
The transition from the QMJHL where he was nearly a 2-points-per-game player to the Kontinental Hockey League hasn’t exactly gone as the confident forward has planned. Khovanov has been played sparingly with Ak Bars Kazan, as he had no points with only 7 games played with little ice time to show for it. Why so few games and minutes? A veteran loaded KHL squad, plus the fact he has struggled mightily on his draws might have something to do with it.
He was demoted to the VHL, where he has played two games and registering two assists. Rumors are swirling the Khovanov has kind of burned his bridges with Ak Bars Kazan’s coaching staff and he might be subject to a trade. A change of scenery probably would be a good thing for a player who plays the game with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and in want of more opportunity with a less loaded KHL squad.
When the Athletic‘s Michael Russo interviewed Khovanov’s former coach in John Torchetti he hinted that the skilled forward was immensely talented even if he had some more growing up to do. Even though he put up big points in major junior he also had a penchant for lots of retaliatory and roughing penalties. Also, Torchetti revealed that Khovanov’s nickname is ‘Cheeseburger’ which also may be a sign that he’s a player that needs to put a little more dedication into his conditioning.
Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick retires
Foster Hewitt, Bob Cole and Bob Miller are all legendary broadcasters of hockey. Even though they have all done play-by-play in other sports, its hockey that they bring to life so well behind the mic. Another one of those legendary voices decided to retire after 48-years of broadcasting in NBC Sports‘ Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick. ‘Doc’ was an appropriate nickname for the consumate professional who always did extensive research for the anecdotes he’d weave seamlessly into his broadcasts.
After starting his career broadcasting minor league hockey with the Port Huron Flags and later the American Hockey League’s Portland Mariners. He eventually broke into the NHL as the voice of the New Jersey Devils in 1982-83. The La Fontaine, Indiana-native has been the national voice for hockey on OLN-later NBC since the 2005-06 season. He also did a lot of work for NBC during their Olympic coverage as well.
Yet a lesser told story is how Emrick occassionally taught classes in broadcasting, helping aspiring play-by-play broadcasters by listening to their tapes and providing honest feedback. Iowa Wild play-by-play man Joe O’Donnell recalled how much it meant near the beginning of his own broadcast career to have Emrick listen to a tape of his and then sending him honest feedback. Crease and Assist: A Legally Compliant Minnesota Hockey Blog wishes him all the best in retirement. It is well deserved and while we may miss his voice if you want to really understand who he is and what he’s all about check out this interview he gave Sean Aronson in his podcast The Voice Behind the Voice. It is well worth a listen.
Sid Hartman, legendary sports writer passes away at age 100
People often talk about what they might do if they ‘were lucky enough to live to 100’ but few actually do so, and even fewer still try to work a day job like legendary Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s epic sportswriter Sid Hartman. Yet that was Sid Hartman, who even at a 100 could call and get an interview with just about any sports figure he wanted. Many an athlete, coach and general manager remember that moment as he walked in with his big tape recorder and recorded an interview.
On top of the fact he was still writing a regular column, the centenarian also still hosted his weekend radio show on WCCO called Sports Huddle on Sundays. I used to call in to Sports Huddle and ask a hockey question, and while Sid wasn’t a big fan of hockey it was my attempt to try to force him to talk about it. He’d normally pass the question onto his co-host Dave Mona but he was immensely loyal Minnesota sports fan. He really was the ultimate homer and while I am far from being a homer myself, I respected his dedication and immense experience. The Athletic‘s Jon Krawcynski did the best piece I saw about Sid’s career and his importance to Minnesota sports news coverage. No matter what, he lived a full life and most sportswriters would feel immensely fortunate to have even a 1/4 of the experiences he had throughout his 60+ year career.