Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Gladiators Week 6 Preview

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( Photo credit: atlantagladiators.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

After a tough road trip last week, the Gladiators begin a two-week homestand on Friday night when they take on the Norfolk Admirals, a team they’ve got to know pretty well recently, before back to back games against the Florida Everblades on Saturday and Sunday. It’s no secret that the Gladiators have struggled so far this season, particularly defensively. Coach Pyle now has a chance to rally the troops and try to build some momentum with a stretch of games at the Infinite Energy Arena. There’s certainly work to do to get the team into playoff contention.

Defenseman Olivier Galipeau has been recalled to the Providence Bruins which will hurt the Gladiators power play. So far he’s the teams highest scoring defenseman having contributed nine points so far on the season. Given the Boston Bruins injury problems, it’s possible that Olivier has been called to Providence as cover and that he will return to Atlanta at some point. The Gladiators announced the signing of defenseman Faiella in replacement for Galipeau.

Forward Justin MacDonald has been activated from reserve and replaces Brandon Troock who has been placed on reserve. New signing Eric Freschi is active on the roster and will look to hit the ice running. There hasn’t been much news about Brett McKenzie who was helped off the ice on Tuesday with what looked like a knee injury, so it’s unclear if he will feature this weekend or not. I would expect netminding duty to be split by Miroslav Svoboda and Colton Phinney.

If we can expect anything from the first game of the weekend, it’s goals, lots of them. The last three games between the Gladiators and the Norfolk Admirals have produced 19 scores. Both teams are capable of winning but with home advantage, the Gladiators will be targeting two points. The Admirals currently sit second in the south division, seven points above Atlanta, a gap the Glads will have to reduce in order to make the postseason.

On Saturday night the Gladiators take on the Florida Everblades for the first of two games against the divisional rivals. It’s the first time the teams have met competitively since the Everblades dumped the Glads out of the playoffs last season. So far the Everblades have been a far cry from the team that went to game seven of the Kelly Cup finals last year, the Gladiators will be out for revenge. Whether or not the Glads can overcome last years thrashing remains to be seen, but you can bet your bottom dollar that coach Pyle will have had the Florida games circled on his calendar for a long time. History tells us there will be no love lost between the teams, these games could get ugly.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Derek Nesbitt: With Two goals and an assist in his last two games, the veteran is finding some good form after a steady start to the season. He’s been a dependable asset to the Gladiators for years and sets high standards for his teammates. A true leader, he will be determined to score against the Everblades.

Ben Danford: The third-year defenseman has contributed eight valuable assists in his 11 games already this season. With Galipeau returning to Providence the Gladiators need someone to step up on the power play, I believe that he is the man to do it. A player who’s certainly not shy of moving into the attacking zone, his 10 goals last season prove he’s capable of stepping up for the Glads.

Jesse Gabrielle: With eight points in his 10 games for the Gladiators, the Boston Bruins prospect is starting to prove the critics wrong. He is a technically gifted skater and looks to have settled into the team well, given the doubts about his attitude in previous seasons. With injuries happening in both Boston and Providence, he’ll be focused on impressing his peers in Atlanta, in a make or break season for the young forward.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the link below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!

—>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<— 

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Gladiators Week 5 Road Trip Recap

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( Photo Credit: Amanda Bingham gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Atlanta Gladiators week on the road is finally over. Back to back road games are always tough, and the team will be pleased to get home after a haul of 2 points from a possible 6. After a stressful week, the players and supporters can take some comfort from the upcoming schedule, which has the Gladiators at home for the next 2 weeks. Head coach Jeff Pyle will use this time to regroup and hopefully build some momentum to help the team match the preseason expectations of a playoff run. Before the homestand begins, let’s take a look back at how the team fared on the road in the last 3 games.

On Friday night, the Gladiators faced off against the Norfolk Admirals for their 3rd encounter in a row. After thumping them 5-1 the week before, there was plenty of confidence heading into the game. Colton Phinney was given the start between the pipes after a promising start to the season with the Adirondack Thunder, though the Chatham, NJ native didn’t get much help from his defensemen. By the 2nd intermission, the Gladiators were 3-0 down after goals from Darik Angeli, Jacob Graves, and Luke Nogard. The only real positive from the game was Branden Troock’s goal 5 minutes into the 3rd, which briefly gave Atlanta hope, before Luke Nogard’s second of the night condemned the Gladiators to a 4-1 loss.

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After a disappointing result, the Gladiators were offered a chance of redemption on Saturday night, and boy did they take it. Against the same opponent, at the same venue, the Gladiators faced off against the Norfolk Admirals for the 4th game in a row. After starting the game slowly, Atlanta was 2-0 down after 7 minutes with goals from Luke Nogard and Taylor Cammarata. Forward Brett McKenzie pulled one back for the Glads, making the score 2-1 at the end of the first period.

The Gladiators onslaught began just 19 seconds into the 2nd period when Alex Overhardt leveled the game at 2-2. Atlanta took the lead 6 minutes later when Providence Bruins loanee Olivier Galipeau scored his 3rd goal of the season. Nolan LaPorte finished the second-period rout with just 15 seconds left in the frame, Atlanta leading 4-2 at the break. The Admirals fought back in the 3rd with Cammarata’s second of the night but 2 minutes later Derek Nesbitt’s neat finish restored the 2 goal advantage, and the Gladiators emerged 5-3 victors. Goaltender Miroslav Svoboda finishing the night with 34 saves. The win was Jeff Pyle’s 481st as an ECHL coach, making him 3rd on the all-time ECHL coaching win list.

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Tuesday night the Gladiators traveled to the North Charleston Coliseum, hoping to emerge triumphant over the South Carolina Stingrays. Before the game, it was announced that the Glads had traded promising young forward, Shane Eiserman, to the Stingrays in exchange for forward Garrett Ross, a move which had a huge effect on the contest. In the second minute of the game, the recently traded Eiserman assisted Sam Fioretti, and the Stingrays took an early lead.

Moments later, Eiserman continued to haunt his former team as he bagged a goal, doubling the deficit and stunning his former teammates. Patrick Gaul piled on the misery and put Atlanta 3-0 down inside the first 10 minutes of the game. Derek Nesbitt wrestled one back, and the score was 3-1 at the end of the first. Both teams exchanged a goal in the second, Grant Besse first for South Carolina before Jesse Gabrielle scored the Gladiators second of the night. The third period was relatively quiet, and the score remained 4-2, a disappointing loss for Atlanta who was out-shot 39-16.

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The results leave the Gladiators 6th in the south division, just 1 point above last-placed Greenville Swamp Rabbits. There’s certainly some work for coach Pyle to do, the stretch of home games comes at a good time and gives them a chance to turn things around. The Gladiators are in action 3 times this weekend, Friday against the Norfolk Admirals and Saturday and Sunday against the Florida Everblades.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators game? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from our advertising partners over at SeatGiant. Click the link below and please use discount code BNGP to save a little cash! Thank You!!

 —>Atlanta Gladiators 2018-19 Schedule & Ticket Info<— 

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Gladiators Week 5 Preview

( Photo Credit: Amanda Bingham gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

After claiming 3 points from a possible 4 last weekend, the Gladiators fought their way out of a 5 game slump and grabbed a much-needed win. The 4 game stint against the Norfolk Admirals is well underway, and as expected, is providing goals. The Gladiators were beaten 3-2 in overtime after a closely fought game on Friday, but they bounced back with a 5-1 thrashing in the rematch. Forward Brandon Troock earned his first career hat-trick, and new signing Shane Eiserman got himself on the scoresheet. Head coach Jeff Pyle also made history, equalling John Brophy as the 3rd highest all-time wins for an ECHL coach with 480. He only needs 100 more to become the most successful ECHL coach, at least in terms of wins, good luck coach.

The Gladiators roster has been boosted by the return of Miroslav Svoboda. After a strong start to the season, the Czech netminder was recalled by the Nashville Predators as coverage, and after a short spell in the NHL, returns to Atlanta. He was slotted straight into the starting role and made an incredible 75 saves in 2 games. He’s certainly one for Nashville’s future. The Gladiators also signed forward Tyler Howe, who trained with the team in the preseason. At 6-foot-6 and 229-pounds, he adds a huge physical presence to the offense, I’m certainly excited to see what he can bring to the team. Forward Justin Greenberg has been given a pro deal after an impressive start to the season with 10 points in 5 games for the Peoria Rivermen of the SPHL. Like Howe, Greenberg also spent time with the Gladiators in the preseason. On Wednesday it was confirmed that the Bruins recalled forward Joona Koppanen to Providence. Carl Persson was also recalled to the Milwaukee Admirals after a short spell in Atlanta.

This weekend sees the Gladiators travel to the Norfolk Scope to take on the Admirals again, this time on the road. The puck drops at 7pm ET on Friday night, with the weekends second game taking place at 7pm ET on Saturday. After their triumphant 5-1 victory last week, the Gladiators will be confident heading into this road trip, though they will have to be sharper defensively. They allowed almost 80 shots in last weeks games against the Admirals, who sit at the top of the southern division. The Glads have had good form in front of the net recently, scoring 12 goals in their last 4 games so will be confident of keeping up this trend. I think the powerplay is going to be important on the road. If players like Danford and Galipeau can get involved offensively, then the team is certainly capable of coming away with points. This weekend is going to be a big test for Atlanta, I’m confident they can come away with something.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Brandon Troock: After earning his first career hat-trick I couldn’t leave him off this list. With 7 points so far on the season, the former Dallas Stars prospect is the Gladiators leading point scorer. Right now he’s playing with a purpose, and his determination is paying off. The Norfolk Admirals will do well to stop him adding to his tally in the next 2 games.

Miroslav Svoboda: What else is there to say apart from 75 saves in 2 games? Despite 2 fantastic games, it wasn’t enough to make him the ECHL goalie of the week, though I feel like it’s only a matter of time before he bags that accolade. The Czech netminder will be a huge boost to this team moving forward, I hope the Predators don’t come calling for him any time soon.

Shane Eiserman: The recent signing finds his way on this list for the second week in a row. It didn’t take long for him to find his way onto the scoresheet for the Gladiators, he now has 4 points in 4 games on the season including his contributions with the Thunder. The rookie forward is in good form right now, and the more time he has to settle in with his new teammates, he’s only going to get better.

Interested in going to an Atlanta Gladiators game? Visit seatgiant.com for great deals on tickets.

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Gladiators Week 4 Preview

( Photo credit: atlantagladiators.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Gladiators return from their weekend on the road with a point after a 3-2 overtime defeat to the Jacksonville Icemen and a frustrating 4-3 loss to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Atlanta fought hard and perhaps deserved more from the weekend, but what have we learned? Well, in case you’ve been hiding under a rock, the southern division is going to be very tough this year. Atlanta started the season with bags of optimism, but have been dealt some tough losses against divisional opponents, they currently sit 6th.

Against the Swamp Rabbits, Atlanta controlled large chunks of the game and created more chances, out-shooting them with 30 attempts on goal to 24. Despite this, Greenville put 4 past the Sean Bonar, punishing every mistake the Gladiators made. I think it’s fair to say that they could do with some luck, but the ECHL is an unforgiving league, the Glads will have to iron out the errors in order to start climbing up the league.

Jeff Pyle continues to tweak the roster as he tries to build the best team possible. The Gladiators have shown their intentions are still very much on success, spending the cash and making a huge trade for goaltender Colton Phinney and forward Shane Eiserman who join from league leaders, the Adirondack Thunder. Shortly after the trade was announced, Phinney was named as the ECHL goaltender of the week after going 2-0 with a .968 save percentage for the Thunder in his last 2 games. Following the departure of Miroslav Svoboda, I expect the second-year pro to slot straight into the starting role for Atlanta and will be a boost to the team.

Forward Shane Eiserman impressed in his 2 professional starts, bagging himself a goal and 2 assists. The Newburyport, MA native has represented the United States in competition, most notably at the U18 World Junior Championships. Tyler Moy also rejoined the Glads after a spell with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. The forward scored in Atlanta’s season opener and after a stint in the AHL registered an assist against Greenville. In order to make room on the roster, the Gladiators confirmed the release of forwards Andrew Schmit and Luke Sandler as well as goalie Ian Sylves.

The Gladiators will face the Norfolk Admirals 4 times over the next 2 weeks. The series starts in Atlanta, with 2 games at the Infinite Energy Arena as the Gladiators look to bounce back from last week and leap-frog their divisional rivals. The Admirals will be confident heading into the series with 11 goals from their last 3 games, though they did also concede 9 times, so the Gladiators will be excited to get at them, especially on the power play which has been productive so far. If anything, you can expect a lot of goals. Back to back games against the same opponent almost gives this stretch a playoff vibe, I’m sure we’ll see the gloves come off as these divisional rivals clash. I hope that the Gladiators can thrive on the intensity. Whatever happens, we’re in for a good series against the Admirals.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Shane Eiserman: The rookie forward arrives in Atlanta carrying bags of potential. After scoring 3 points in his first 2 games as a pro, he’ll want to hit the ground running for the Gladiators. Coach Pyle likes what he sees from the 23-year-old, he’ll be given the freedom he needs to create and score chances.

Joona Koppanen: The Boston Bruins prospect has had a few games to adjust to life in the ECHL. As time goes on, his chemistry with the team is only going to improve. Don’t be fooled by his towering frame, he brings European flair to the ice, and as his confidence grows, he’ll be more than a handful for opposing defensemen.

Brett McKenzie: The rookie finally bagged his first ECHL goals against the Swamp Rabbits and had a really strong game. His first goals will no doubt give him added confidence. He enters the series against the Admirals in good form, now that the floodgates have opened, keep an eye on him.

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Gladiators Week 3 Preview

( Photo Credit: Dale Zanine / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

After thrashing the Greenville Swamp Rabbits 4-1 on Friday, the Gladiators were humbled to their first defeats of the season at the hands of the Orlando Solar Bears and the South Carolina Stingrays, leaving them 2-2-0 for the season. After scoring 8 goals in their first 2 games, the Gladiators could only manage 1 in games 3 and 4, head coach Jeff Pyle will be working hard this week to ensure the team get back to winning ways.

The head coach/GM has been busy with players joining and leaving. So far Carl Persson had been loaned back to the Gladiators after a short stint with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, Zach Magwood was recalled to his parent club in exchange. Persson featured for the Gladiators earlier on in the season, registering an assist before being reclaimed by the Admirals. Goaltender Mirolsav Svoboda was recalled by Nashville after impressing in his 2 appearances for Atlanta, the Glads signed Ian Sylves in replacement. Jeff Pyle, keen to bolster the defence, traded future considerations for Defenseman Sean Campbell and signed Jake Flegel. Forward Darby Llewellyn was traded to the Rapid City Rush for future considerations, Tyler Moy and Joel Messner were also reassigned to Milwaukee and Providence respectively. In other roster news, forward Nolan LaPorte is back in the team from IR.

The Gladiators are currently 4th in the south division heading into the 3rd week of the season. The first of 2 road games this week takes place tonight, Thursday October 25th, as Atlanta face the Jacksonville Icemen, the only undefeated team remaining in the Southern bracket. The Icemen have looked strong in their opening games, but the Gladiators have the added incentive of ending Jacksonville’s unbeaten run, making this game an intriguing one. The Gladiators will have a chance to regroup on Friday before a Saturday night showdown against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits where they will look to replicate their previous result against them, a 4-1 win. Greenville are currently bottom of the division and will be determined to bounce back in front of a home crowd. Despite a slow start, the Swamp Rabbits have a talented roster and will be out for revenge. There’s never an easy game in the ECHL.

This Week’s Players To Watch:

Jesse Gabrielle: The young man looked impressive in his first game for the Gladiators, scoring a goal and combining well with fellow Bruins prospect Joona Koppanen. The spotlight is on the forward after falling out of favour in Providence, he has a great chance to redeem himself in Atlanta and so far has looked determined. There’s no question he has the talent to be a top ECHL forward, enjoy him while you can.

Branden Troock: He played like a man possessed in the 4-1 demolition of Greenville last week, after being kept out by some incredible saves, the 2nd year Gladiator scored a well deserved goal. If he can maintain that enthusiasm this week, teams will do well to keep him from adding to his 3 point tally for the season.

Derek Nesbitt: The Gladiators leader has shown no signs of slowing down. He’s already bagged himself 3 assists in 4 this season, making him the second all-time franchise assist leader. Arguably the most consistent forward on the team so far this campaign, I expect that trend to continue into week 3 and beyond.

Bruins ECHL Affiliate Update: Busy Week In Atlanta

( Photo Credit: orlandosentinel.com / Gary Bassing )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

Atlanta began the season on the road to the Orlando Solar Bears, after a wild 6 goal 2nd period, the Gladiators won the contest 4-2. The game was scoreless until Matt Lane opened the floodgates in the 2nd frame, his first goal for Atlanta, assisted by Tyler Moy. The Gladiators doubled their lead during a power play when Moy himself tucked home a pass from Derek Nesbitt. The Solar Bears leveled the game with 2 short-handed goals just 23 seconds apart, the Gladiators punished for letting their foot off the gas, allowing the Orlando back into the contest. After a brief melee between the players, the Gladiators capitalized on the power play twice more with Olivier Galipeau and Joel Messner scoring their first professional goals and restoring the Gladiators 2 goal lead. The Solar Bears were unable to threaten Atlanta in the 3rd period, and the Gladiators left the Amway Center with the victory and importantly 2 points.

It’s been a busy week already for head coach and GM Jeff Pyle, with some changes to the roster. Boston Bruins prospect forwards Jesse Gabrielle and Joona Koppanen have been loaned to the team from Providence while forward Andrew Schmit was signed to a professional contract. Earlier today, Tuesday, October 16th, the Gladiators announced that forward Matt Lane was recalled by the Milwaukee Admirals in exchange for Zach Magwood who joins the Gladiators on loan. The team also confirmed the departure of Darby Llewellyn who joins the Rapid City Thunder in a trade for future considerations.

Jesse Gabrielle joins after falling out of favor in Providence, the 21-year-old will be determined to prove himself in Atlanta and brings bags of potential to the Gladiators. Koppanen will start his first full season as a pro and some time in the ECHL will allow him to adjust to the American ice. He did manage to score a pair of goals for the Providence Bruins after featuring for them late last season. Andrew Schmit will provide some grit and experience to the Gladiators roster after representing the Indy Fuel and Wheeling Nailers last year.

The Gladiators have a busy weekend ahead of them with 3 back to back divisional games starting on Friday at home to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. On Saturday night the Orlando Solar Bears head to Duluth in search of revenge from game 1 and the Gladiators will be on the road against the South Carolina Stingrays on Sunday. After a strong result last week the Glads will look to carry that form into these 3 games. Divisional games always have an added intensity, so these games promise excitement. The influx of talent from Providence will certainly be a boost to the team, and coach Pyle will hope that the new players can settle into the squad quickly and start contributing right away.

This Week’s Players To Watch:

Tyler Moy: The Nashville Predators prospect bagged himself a goal and assist in game 1, and the 23-year-old looked solid on his ECHL debut. The California native will be looking to bounce back from a fairly disappointing season in the AHL last year. An absolute menace in the attacking third, expect some points from him this weekend.

Miroslav Svoboda: In his first game for the Gladiators, Svoboda saved 30 out of 32 shots and looked comfortable for most of the game. He made some very good stops to keep the Glads ahead. Another Predators prospect on the Glads roster, he will certainly look to make an impression much like Providence Bruins goaltender Dan Vladar did last season.

Olivier Galipeau: He was on my radar last week and will be on it again heading into the weekend. The defenseman had a solid outing for the Gladiators last week picking up both a goal and assist on his professional debut. He looked particularly threatening on the power play, and his long-range effort against the Solar Bears would have troubled any goaltender. The Bruins prospect looked sharp and will be a constant threat with opponents in the penalty box.

Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Season Preview

( Photo Credit: atlantagladiators.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The 2018-19 ECHL regular season is finally underway, and the Atlanta Gladiators start their campaign on the road tonight, Saturday, October 13th. The Glads will face off against the Orlando Solar Bears in what should be an exciting game. There are many new faces on the Atlanta roster as well as some old ones. I’m interested to see how the team gels after training camp headed by coach Jeff Pyle.

The Gladiators announced their captains for the season yesterday, forward Derek Nesbitt, defensemen Kevin Montgomery and Ben Danford will all have an A stitched onto their jersey for the upcoming season. Interestingly, coach Pyle has decided that the team will not have a main captain this year. Following the announcement, Pyle said, “We are a team, one player shouldn’t have to answer for the whole group. That’s my job, and I’ll be the one taking sole responsibility for any blame that is needed”. This approach suggests that Pyle is not shying away from any responsibility and is looking to reduce the pressure on the players, hopefully allowing them to play their natural game. The head coach isn’t afraid to experiment adding, “We have a lot of leaders on this team, and I feel it’s important to reward guys for playing and acting the right way by having multiple players wear a letter at different points in the year.”

The Gladiators’ roster for the opening game in Orlando was confirmed earlier in the week via the team’s official website:

Forwards: Derek Nesbitt, Nolan LaPorte, Branden Troock, Tyler Moy*, Carl Persson*, Brett McKenzie*, Darby Llewellyn, Tyler Deresky, Alex Overhardt*, Matt Lane*, Luke Sandler, Justin MacDonald, 

Defensemen: Kevin Montgomery, Vytal Cote, Joel Messner*, Olivier Galipeau*, Jack Stander, Zach Malatesta, Ben Danford, 

Goaltenders: Sean Bonar, Miroslav Svoboda*

* indicates the player is on an AHL or NHL contract.

Before the puck drops at 7:00pm ET, here are this week’s players to watch:

Darby Llewellyn: The 22-year-old winger enters his second season with the Gladiators after impressing in his rookie campaign. Last year he racked up 30 points, including some stunning goals, making him Atlanta’s top scoring rookie with 17. Following his breakout season, he had a tryout with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. This is a great platform for the young forward, you can expect the sophomore to thrive under coach Pyle this year.

Ben Danford: The teams top scoring defenseman last season with 34 points from just 52 games, earning him an AHL tryout with the Chicago Wolves in the summer. Recognition from the higher league is sure to give him a boost in confidence, he loves to get forward and will surely be a threat on the power play. While his numbers will be hard to replicate, I’m confident that Danford will continue to put up points for the Gladiators.

Olivier Galipeau: The 21-year-old defenseman joins the Gladiators on loan from the Providence Bruins. The first year pro will be eager to impress the Bruins top brass, who will be keeping track of his performances in the ECHL. Last year he was the QMJHL defenseman of the year following a monster season as the leagues top scoring blueliner with 25 goals and 74 points. You can expect big things from the youngster this campaign.

Gladiators Training Camp Update

( Photo Credit: @atlgladiators Twitter )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The 2018-19 Atlanta Gladiators training camp is in full swing. New Ownership marks the beginning of a new era in Georgia, and preparations are underway for what promises to be an exciting season. The return of head coach, Jeff Pyle, has created a genuine feel of optimism amongst the players as well as the supporters. Roster spots are up for grabs with senior players away on AHL tryouts, so there’s strong competition in the camp with everybody trying to impress the new bosses. Training camp ends on October 7th, so the clock is ticking for players eager to earn their place.

The Gladiators management have been busy with a number of players returning to Atlanta after AHL try-outs, and some new faces joining the squad. Branden Troock, Darby Llewellyn and Jack Stander returned from try-outs with the Milwaukee Admirals, in addition, the Gladiators also loaned forward Alex Overhardt from Milwaukee. Ben Danford returns from the Chicago Wolves, and Luke Sandler is back from the Rockford IceHogs. On Monday, October 1st, the Gladiators announced that 6 players had been added to the squad from the Providence Bruins. The AHL affiliate have loaned defenseman Olivier Galipeau and forward Brett McKenzie, and assigned defenseman Joel Messner to Atlanta. Sean Bonar, Zach Malatesta, and Tyler Deresky have been released from their try-outs with Providence and will report back to the Gladiators. On Tuesday, October 2nd The Milwaukee Admirals loaned forwards Tyler Moy and Carl Persson, and assigned Matt Lane to the Gladiators. The team also confirmed that Zac Sikich, Alfred Johanson, Hunter Stewart, Matt Harrington, and Robbie Hall have been released from their PTOs.

The Gladiators have been very clear in their expectations for the new season. Coach Pyle has high standards and will be aiming to go one step further than his previous tenure in charge of the team. When discussing his first stint with the Gladiators, Pyle claimed: “This place was special in my heart, I helped build it, I helped being part of a really good thing and I want to bring that back.” With the support of new team owner Dan Orlich, Pyle has every opportunity to finish what he started in Atlanta, it’s clear he’s hungry for success. The players seem to be buying into Pyle’s approach with Gladiators captain, Derek Nesbitt, claiming “I’ve known him for 14 years, he just brings a lot of positivity to the game and to the locker room, just every day it’s a fun place to be, and you get excited to be here”. It’s important for a team to have belief in the system and the early signs suggest that the players share the team’s ambition and vision for success.

It’s not long before we get to see the team in action, on Thursday, October 4th, the Gladiators will head to Greenville to take on the Swamp Rabbits in their only official preseason game against a league opponent. Training camp concludes with an intrasquad exhibition game which has been arranged for Sunday, October 7th, giving the players one last chance to impress coach Pyle as he prepares his final roster ahead of the 2018-19 season. The Gladiators start their quest for the Kelly Cup on the road against the Orlando Solar Bears on Saturday, October 13th. Keep an eye on BlackNGoldHockey.com for updates throughout the season.

Atlanta Gladiators: New Beginings

( Photo Credit: quepasaenatlanta.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

This year I will be covering the Atlanta Gladiators, ECHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins, for blackngoldhockey.com  website. Throughout the season I’ll provide news and summaries of the team’s performance as well as updates on any Bruins prospects that represent the organization in the ECHL. With hockey season almost upon us, it seems like a good time to preview the Atlanta Gladiators upcoming season.

Despite finishing fourth in the Eastern South Division last season, the Gladiators managed to make the Kelly Cup playoffs for the first time since 2012-13, though they were blown away 4-0 in the first round by the Florida Everblades. The team will be hoping to make progress next season with the return of Jeff Pyle, who left Atlanta for the AHL in 2011. Pyle will assume the role of General Manager and Head Coach, and Pyle seems hungry for success.

“This is a great market with an incredible fan base,” he said. “They deserve the best, and we as an organization, from not just the hockey side, but the business side as well, are going to work together to do everything we possibly can to produce a championship-caliber team that the community can truly be proud of.”

Pyle lead the Gladiators to their most successful season back in 2005-06, 107 regular season points and the team’s first and only appearance in the Kelly Cup finals, where they were beaten by the top-seeded Alaska Aces.

( Photo Credit: atlantagladiators.com )

Building on the optimism generated by the return of Jeff Pyle, the Gladiators finally revealed their long anticipated new uniforms on Tuesday, Sept. 18. The new threads, modeled by Derek Nesbitt, provide a fresh look using the team’s primary colors — garnet, gold, and black — while retaining a classic feel. The home jersey will now be garnet instead of black and the away jersey will be gold, making the Gladiators the only team in the NHL, AHL and ECHL without a white jersey. “We felt it was time for an update that goes parallel with all the new and exciting things we are doing as an organization.” said designer Chris Treft. Gladiators fans will also have the chance to vote on which uniforms they want the team to use on any given night, a unique opportunity that could provide some very colorful matchups as the season unfolds. With the third jersey still yet to be revealed, the Gladiators will be hoping the new uniforms mark the beginning of a successful era in Atlanta.

The ECHL season starts slightly later than the NHL, and the team’s roster will be finalized in the coming weeks. As is normal in the ECHL, the team have invited a large number of PTOs with many places up for grabs. It would be great to see some Bruins prospects make the team after a strong showing from Dan Vladar last season, who helped the Gladiators into the playoffs. Both Vladar and Tanner Pond featured for the Boston Bruins in their preseason win over the Washington Capitals, an encouraging sign for players who are sent to Atlanta.

With a lot of action off the ice, it won’t be long before the Gladiators are back on it. The team travel to South Carolina and face off against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Oct. 4 in their only official preseason game. An inter-squad game is planned for Oct. 7 to help get the skaters up to speed ahead of the 2018-19 season opener on the road against the Orlando Solar Bears on Oct. 13. The games then come thick and fast in Week 2 as the Gladiators play three times in three days — at home to the Swamp Rabbits, the Solar Bears, and then a road game against the South Carolina Stingrays. You can find the Gladiators 2018-19 schedule on the team’s official website for full details.

With less than a month to go before the puck drops, there’s a lot to be excited about for the Atlanta Gladiators. Jeff Pyle will be working hard to make sure the team is ready to build on making the playoffs last year. With all the changes the team have made, there’s no better time to start following the Atlanta Gladiators. I look forward to keeping you all up to date as the season unfolds, stay tuned.

Bruins Trade Adam McQuaid To Rangers

( Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Boston Bruins announced earlier today, Sept. 11, that they have traded Adam McQuaid to the New York Rangers in exchange for defenseman Steven Kampfer, a 2019 fourth-round draft pick and a 2019 conditional seventh-round draft pick.

Kampfer was part of the Bruins team that won the Stanley Cup in 2011, his rookie season. Unfortunately for him, a season-ending knee injury left him 3 games short of having his name engraved on the cup, despite a petition from the Bruins. He did, however, find a spot in the championship-winning team photo and was awarded a ring for his efforts. The following season he played 10 games for the Black and Gold before being traded to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Greg Zanon. In his last 2 seasons with the New York Rangers 2016-18, Kampfer skated in 32 games, scoring once and registering 2 assists.

Adam McQuaid spent 11 seasons with the Bruins organization after being acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets back in 2007. After 2 seasons in the AHL, he soon established himself as a fan favorite. Like Kampfer, McQuaid was part of the Stanley Cup-winning team in the 2010-11 season, featuring in 67 games, chipping in 3 goals and a career-high 12 assists. He went on to skate in 23 playoff games that year and was a key player in that championship-winning team. Last season, he was only able to compete in 38 regular season games due to injury. In his career with Boston, McQuaid appeared in 462 games, totaling 13 goals and 53 assists for 66 points with 652 penalty minutes.

Kampfer offers the Bruins both depth and experience. Boston have saved themselves $2.1 million in cap space with this trade, a good return on a player that wasn’t likely to see a lot of time on the ice this season due to the defensive depth the Bruins have on the current roster. The additional draft picks will benefit the team, though general manager Don Sweeney admitted it was hard to say goodbye to McQuaid.

“It’s a very difficult day…we want to thank Adam,” Sweeney said. “He was a tremendous Bruin, a tremendous teammate.”

Kampfer is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018-19 season.