Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 14 Preview

( Photo Credit: postandcourier.com / Stingrays Photo )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

The Atlanta Gladiators started off 2019 slightly better than expected, with a win over bitter South Division rivals, the Florida Everblades. The Glads started the new year with a three-game road trip to the sunshine state and very little hope. Despite picking up a win, the Gladiators remain at the bottom of the South Division by a startling 11 points. There’s a mountain to climb, but Coach Pyle’s men are undoubtedly up to the task. They play two games this week against the South Carolina Stingrays and the Jacksonville Icemen.

Earlier in the week, the Gladiators released defenseman Don Olivieri, who was picked up on waivers by the Norfolk Admirals. The third-year-pro tallied seven points (2g, 5a) in 14 games for the Glads and his release came as a surprise to many fans. He’s already bagged a goal and an assist on his return to Norfolk. The departure created space for Atlanta to pick up defenseman Brandon McMartin, who joins the Gladiators from the Knoxville Ice Bears of the SPHL. He’s featured in 20 games so far this season, scoring six points (2g, 4a).

On Friday night, the Gladiators travel to South Carolina to take on the Stingrays at the North Charleston Coliseum. It will be the seventh time the two teams have faced off this season, the Glads have lost all six encounters so far. The Stingrays have won six of their last 10 ECHL games and will be heavy favorites heading into the contest. Atlanta is used to being the underdog by now and is beginning to thrive in that role. Interestingly, the Glads have picked up points in two of the last three games against the Stingrays, they’re certainly capable of an upset and I wouldn’t count them out of this one.

The Gladiators play at home for the first time in 2019 on Saturday night. They take on the Jacksonville Icemen for the fifth time this season. Jacksonville leads the head-to-head contest 3-1, but fans will remember the Glads 4-0 demolition against the Icemen which ended their 10-game losing streak. If Atlanta can play anything like they did that night, then they can certainly come away with a win. One thing that this game promises is goals.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Nolan LaPorte: Three points in three tough games against the Florida Everblades last week confirms LaPorte’s inclusion on the list this week. His offensive production was incredible against the leagues best last week. Did I mention he scored a hat-trick the last time he played the Stingrays?

Sean Bonar: He made a total of 53 saves last week and was one of the main reasons the Glads managed to beat the Florida Everblades. He’s held down the starting role since returning from injury and has made so many incredible saves this season. I’m already looking forward to watching his highlight reel in February.

Brett McKenzie: One of the most consistent players on the roster, McKenzie has six points in his last seven games. He’s been very productive for the Gladiators this season, if he can stay healthy is going to be one of their most reliable weapons moving forward. This week, he was named as an alternate for the ECHL All-Star Classic, the only Gladiator to make the roster.

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

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 13 Preview

( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

After 30 games, it’s no secret that the season hasn’t gone to plan for the Atlanta Gladiators, who currently sit at the bottom of the South Division. Head coach and GM, Jeff Pyle, has been very busy with roster changes over the new year period as he looks to improve the team’s results in 2019. Atlanta begins the year with a trip to the sunshine state, for three road games against the Florida Everblades, the second-best team in the league. Road trips don’t come much tougher than that.

The Gladiators roster will look very different by the time they take to the ice against Florida. The team has acquired rookie forward Luke Stork from the Wichita Thunder. Boston Bruins prospect, Jesse Gabrielle, was reassigned by the NHL Bruins organization to Wichita shortly after the Stork deal per information gathered from BNG writer Mark Allred in a related article that can be SEEN HERE. On new years eve, the Gladiators announced the signing of forward Joe Widmar, and traded away Bo Brauer and Sean Campbell to Worcester and Reading respectively. Goaltender Colton Phinney was removed from the active roster after deciding to step away from hockey, he has been replaced by Michael Bitzer, who joins from Rapid City. Defenseman Olivier Galipeau also returns to Atlanta on loan from the Providence Bruins.

The Gladiators head to Florida with last weeks defeat against their hosts fresh in their memory. The brutal 5-2 loss showcased the Everblades ruthlessness, they took the lead just 22 seconds into the game and never looked back. Florida does a great job of controlling the opposition and keeps the puck in the attacking zone for long periods, they are a very good team. They’ve won eight of their last 10 games and will be very confident heading into the mini-series. The Glads have lost all three games against the Everblades so far this season, which were all in Atlanta. Perhaps a change of scenery might help, or perhaps I’m just clutching at straws. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, miracles do happen.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Justin MacDonald: Seven points in his last five games including a hat-trick against the Norfolk Admirals last week, there’s no way MacDonald was going to miss the list this week. He is such an important part of the Glads offense, they will need him at his best if they are to have any success this week in Florida. He grabbed an assist in the last game against the Everblades and will be desperate to add to that.

Olivier Galipeau: After a short stint with the Providence Bruins, Olivier Galipeau is back in Atlanta. He played three games for the Glads just before Christmas, adding an assist to his tally and is currently tied for the team-lead for points by defensemen. He was handy on the power play earlier in the season for Atlanta, so his return will certainly boost the team.

Derek Nesbitt: The forward finds himself on this list again, but I simply couldn’t leave him out. The veteran has at least one point in each of his last seven games for Atlanta and remains the team’s top point scorer this season. Last week he notched his 300th point for the Gladiators. The younger players will look to him for guidance in the next few games, there aren’t many better leaders in the ECHL.

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

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Bruins Prospect Gabrielle Reassigned To ECHL Wichita

( Photo Credit:  Atlanta Gladiators Instagram )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

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Yesterday there were some rumors floating around that a Boston Bruins prospect might be on the move to another team, well waking up this morning and doing my daily routine of checking the many hockey leagues transactions I indeed found a player was relocated. After Mark Divver’s tweet yesterday, B’s prospect Jesse Gabrielle was recalled after playing in 25 of 28 games this season with the Bruins “AA” minor-pro affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators. What would seem like a paper transaction this morning, the 21-year-old gritty winger was immediately reassigned by his parent National Hockey League club to the Wichita Thunder of the ECHL.

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Gabrielle was selected in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft from Sunrise, Florida after splitting the 2014-15 season starting with the Western Hockey Leagues Brandon Wheat Kings who originally drafted him in the 2012 Bantam Draft and end the year with the Regina Pats and combining 23-21-44 numbers. In the 2015-16 campaign and the first full season under the Boston Bruins prospect umbrella, the crafty forward would have his Junior rights moved to the WHL’s Prince George Cougars where he really stretched his legs and showed promise with his creativity and increasing speed. In 72 games with the Cougars, the 5′-11″ 205-pound winger posted career-high 40-35-75 numbers including 101 penalty minutes. His points alone in his first year with Prince George had him ranked 20th in the league.  The 2016-17 year he was named as an assistant captain and contribute with 35-29-64 numbers and seemingly ready for the professional level.

The Saskatchewan, Canada native signed his entry-level contract on December 11th, 2016 and was eligible per the CHL and NHL agreement to play his first year of pro hockey closer to reaching his dream with the Providence Bruins. After paying close attention to Jesse since leaving the draft podium in 2015, this was an exciting jump for him and myself who’s watched many of his WHL games and evaluate what he could bring to the table at the AHL level. Something was off to me with the relationship from the get-go when Gabrielle played his first game in his AHL rookie year against the Springfield Thunderbirds where head coach Jay Leach was using him sparingly with minimal minutes each game. Jesse was with the Providence club for 32 games appearing in 21 of them in the 2018-18 season.

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Now, I’m not totally sure what went on and not going to mention the many theories surrounding the rumors about this topic, but I can say from what I’ve noticed and heard the two sides were like oil and water. The seemingly sour relationship between the player and organization translated in major struggles for the aspiring NHL pro while going pointless in his first 16 of 21 career AHL games and would end with 1-3-4 numbers in that timeframe. With his struggles at the AHL level, I thought for sure an assignment in the ECHL with the Gladiators team would be the next course of action for the young prodigy to create a spark in the players offensive capabilities but was shocked at the news that he was heading back to the WHL to finish the 2018-18 season.

On January 5th, 2018 Gabrielle’s rights were traded from the PC Cougars to the Regina Pats who won the bid to host the very popular Memorial Cup which celebrated its 100th year in existence later that spring. In a surprising move, he was later loaned from the Boston Bruins to the Regina club where he finished the year posting 13-6-19 numbers in 27 games and would appear in the first round of the WHL playoffs playing two games going pointless. Gabrielle would not appear in any of the 2018 Memorial Cup round-robin tournament action as he was nursing an injury sustained in the second game of the 4-3  best-of-seven series defeat to the hands of the later league champion Swift Current Broncos.

As a healthy Gabrielle tried to erase a tough 2017-18 season that certainly had it’s ups and downs as mentioned above, it wouldn’t get any easier as both sides continued to butt heads. Gabrielle mentioned in a Rinkside Rhode Island Article from website founder/writer Mark Divver back in late September of 2018 during an interview at camp that he was not contacted by Bruins management to participate in the team’s four-day development camp in late June of 2018 and not a word was spoken about Septembers rookie camp which a majority was spent in Buffalo, New York for the fourth annual Prospects Challenge. Jesse mentioned that the Bruins finally contacted him via “text” to report to Providence for their camp and go from there.

Seriously my friends! If you did not click that link from Divver’s article, I highly recommend you do for factual reasons for why I got the idea to publish this post in the first place. You can also just CLICK HERE

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As any prospect under contract would do, Gabrielle reported but would be released along with fellow forward prospect Joona Koppanen to report to the Atlanta club in the ECHL where he most recently played. If anyone needs to know, the ECHL Wichita Thunder is the “AA” minor-pro affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers and a direct affiliate of the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors.  The Wichita team is in action for two games this weekend starting tonight at the Thunder’s home InTrust Bank Arena as they host the Kansas City Mavericks and tomorrow night when the Tulsa Oilers visit. The Monday New Years Eve game will be played on the road in Kansa City, and it’s not out of the realm for Bruins prospect Gabrielle to get into any of these three matchups mentioned above.

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Regardless of where Jesse plays, he’s in year two of his current three-year entry-level contract, and it certainly seems like both sides would like to part ways and create a little distance from each other with a move like this. Of course, it remains to be seen what the outcome and the thought process will be moving forward with this prospect that has the skills to be a solid pro anywhere on any level.  Also wanted to mention that this article is not to trash the player as I did not mention some of the many things heard because of unconfirmed reports, but I will say that if there is, in fact, an issue with this talented individual, I hope he can find out what that speed bump is in his progression moving forward to succeed in his life goals. I’m also not calling out an organization for potentially playing a heavy role in all the speculation but its newsworthy in my opinion.

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 12 Preview

( Photo Credit: Taylor Trebotte / gwinnettdailypost.com )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

After taking a short break for Christmas, the Atlanta Gladiators are back in action this week with three more games before the end of the year. They will take on the Florida Everblades before two back-to-back games against the Norfolk Admirals. The Gladiators will be looking to build on their dominant 4-0 win over the Jacksonville Icemen last week, which ended their 10 game slide. With their record standing at 6-15-5-1, the Glads will be hoping for positive results for them to build on in the new year.

Last week, the Gladiators benefited from the return of Olivier Galipeau. The defenseman contributed an assist and a +3 rating on his return to Atlanta. After a short stint with the team, he was recalled to the Providence Bruins. After a long-awaited home debut, former NHL forward, Jared Ross, was released from the active roster according to echl.com. It’s unclear whether he will feature again for Atlanta, as he had been released from and then re-added to the Glads roster before last weeks games.

On Thursday night, the Florida Everblades will visit the Infinite Energy Arena to challenge the Gladiators. After a steady start to the season, the Blades have found their groove and currently top the South Division, after winning eight of their last 10 games. Atlanta has struggled against the Everblades since the playoff series last year, where they were beaten in four straight contests. The two teams have played twice already this season, with Florida winning both games, 6-3 and 8-3 respectively. One thing is for sure, Atlanta will have to be better defensively when the puck drops. Playing at home will help the Glads, but this will be a difficult game. That being said, miracles do happen.

After the Florida game, the Gladiators will finish 2018 with two home contests against the Norfolk Admirals, on Saturday and Sunday. The Admirals have been struggling lately, like Atlanta, they only have one win in their last 10 games. Glads fans will be pleased to learn that surprisingly, Atlanta has actually earned more points in their last 10 games than the Admirals. In the five games between the two teams this season, Norfolk edge the series 3-2, but the Gladiators have a good chance of turning that round on home ice. They proved that they are capable with the win against Jacksonville, and good results against the Admirals would be a great platform to start the new year. I think these two games will be close, but home advantage should give the Gladiators the edge.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Derek Nesbitt: I’ve lost count of how many times Nesbitt has made this list already, but the veteran forward has been on fire recently. With five points (2g, 3a) in his last four games, the Canadian has established himself as the team’s top scorer. Always leading by example, you simply cannot count him out.

Nick Bligh: After joining the team recently, the third-year-pro didn’t take long to contribute. He has four points (2g, 2a) in his last four games and will want to maintain his point per game output for as long as he can. The Gladiators offense was in need of a spark before he arrived, now he’s thriving in Atlanta.

Jesse Gabrielle: After a four-game point drought, the Boston Bruins prospect grabbed two goals against the Icemen last week. The controversial forward did a great job of getting under the skin of the Jacksonville players and had the last laugh with his empty-netter in the 4-0 win. He reminded me somewhat of Brad Marchand with the way he frustrated the opposition, he will be worth watching this week.

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

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Bruins ECHL Affiliate: Atlanta Gladiators Week 11 Preview

( Photo Credit: Facebook.com/atlantagladiators )

By: Chris Greene  |  Follow me on Twitter @cgreenesports

Christmas is less than a week away, and the Atlanta Gladiators have three games to play before a short break for the holiday. After 24 games, the Glads record is 5-13-5-1, no-where near their preseason aspirations of a playoff challenge. This week they have three chances to close the gap on their South Division rivals.

The Gladiators have struggled recently, missing a number of players through injury and call-ups to the AHL. The return of forward Justin MacDonald will be a boost to the team. He missed a few weeks through injury but was added to the active roster just before the last game against The Orlando Solar Bears. He had seven points (2g, 5a) in four games before being helped off the ice, hopefully, he can rediscover that level of production and help the Glads get back to winning ways.

The Providence Bruins have loaned defenseman Olivier Galipeau back to Atlanta. This will improve the power play significantly, all three of his Glads goals earlier in the season were scored with opponents in the box. The Gladiators have also acquired rookie forward Bo Brauer in a trade for future considerations with the South Carolina Stingrays. In other news, forward Nolan LaPorte and defenseman Kevin Montgomery have been added to reserve, and power forward Tyler Howe has been released. The big man featured in 14 games for Atlanta this season, scoring no points but earning 19 penalty minutes.

This week, the Gladiators will play three times in as many days on home ice at the Infinite Energy Arena. On Wednesday night the Greenville Swamp Rabbits are in town. Atlanta’s last win was against them back in November, almost a month ago. They will be desperate to end the nine-game losing streak with another win over their South Division rivals. The two teams have met five times already this season, sharing 26 goals between them, one thing’s certain, the goalies will be kept very busy. On Thursday and Friday, the Jacksonville Icemen are in town for a double-header. Atlanta managed to take them into overtime last week, securing a hard-earned point in the process. The Glads will be hoping to improve on that result with a win or two this week.

This Week’s Gladiators To Watch:

Colton Phinney: With Miroslav Svoboda out due to injury, Phinney has a good chance of featuring for the Glads this week. He’s looked solid in his six games so far for the team. He was named ECHL goaltender of the week just before he was traded to Atlanta, so the talent is definitely there. He’ll be determined to shut out his former team, the Jacksonville Icemen.

Dave Mazurek: It took a little while to settle into his new surroundings, but Mazurek has been impressive recently. Three points in his last four games and a +2 rating make him one of the most in-form forwards on the Glads current roster. He will look to build on that platform in the coming games, keep an eye on him.

Derek Nesbitt: I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve mentioned Nesbitt as a key player, but his numbers prove he’s one of the best. He’s the Glads joint top-scorer this season with 16 points (6g, 10a) and kept Atlanta’s hopes alive with a goal last week against Orlando. You can never count him out.

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

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Providence Bruins Sign Defenseman Cumiskey

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per Providence Journal’s Bruins beat writer Mark Divver, yesterday the Providence Bruins organization signed veteran defenseman Kyle Cumiskey to a one-year American Hockey League contract. The 32-year-old British Columbia, Canada native, has certainly made the rounds when talking about his hockey career spending a considerable amount of time playing in North America and even spent time playing in Europe when he couldn’t find work in his home continent.

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After playing in 12 games in the Swedish Hockey League in the 2016-17 season with the Skelleftea AIK club and completely missing the 2017-18 hockey season altogether, the former 2015 Stanley Cup Champion with the Chicago Blackhawks made his way back to North America to keep the dream of playing alive. To start his 2018-19 season, the AHL Toronto Marlies came calling with a professional tryout agreement but after one game with the Marlies the top minor-pro affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs he was demoted to the new ECHL franchise with the Newfoundland Growlers where he appeared in 11 games. Cumiskey was loaned to the Providence Bruins on November 18th, 2018, where he agreed on a PTO while showing the AHL Providence club that he belongs at this level. Producing six points in 11 games with the Rhode Island franchise his play and leadership alone was enough for the team to lock him up for the remainder of the season.

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Cumiskey’s hockey career, particularly in North America, has been an up and down adventure. In 139 career NHL games, he has 9-26-35 numbers, but in the lower levels of minor-pro hockey, he’s produced 23-89-112 in 236 games in the AHL and nine assists in 11 games in the ECHL. His addition to the Providence team has been important because of the constant movement the team has seen with key injuries to the parent NHL Boston Bruins team, especially on defense. The 5′-11″ 181-pound blueliner tied a 2018-19 season-high last night when it comes to multi-point games with two assists in last nights 4-3 overtime loss to the hands of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. With last night’s two assists Kyle is now on a season-high two-game point streak.

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The 11-11-5-0 Providence Bruins are back at it tonight when the visiting 11-13-0-2 Hershey Bears come to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The Bruins currently sit sixth in the Atlantic Division with 27 points and are in the 11th spot when looking at the Eastern Conference rankings. The Providence club is 5-3-2 in their last ten games and winless in the last four with a 0-3-1 record. The B’s have had a tough time creating any consistency since starting the 2018-19 campaign but have shown signs of life in December as they’ve trended in year’s past the other way to make a strong second half effort and march into a playoff position. Cumiskey has certainly played well enough to be a catalyst on the backend of this B’s team, and his leadership could be an important factor moving forward with younger developing players all working towards the same goal.

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