It has been a very busy week and the Marlies have not yet reached game day, so buckle up for a packed full edition of the latest blog!
DESSERT
For the second straight season, both coach Dallas Eakins and Captain Ryan Hamilton will represent the Toronto Marlies on the Western Conference All-Star squad. This honour, announced today, was also bestowed on defenceman Mike Kostka. While currently at Toronto Maple Leaf camp and missing time in the AHL, Kostka rests 3rd in the league when tallying points from a defenceman and would lead the Marlies in points (34) if he returned today. Hamilton currently leads his club in goals with 17, which also places him in the top 10 among his peers.
Congrat’s to the trio headed to Providence (the home of the Bruins) for the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic January 27-28th.

APPETIZER
We’ll start the blog with a wave…..firstly, hello. Welcome to a few of the newest Marlies. Mike Mottau, Ryan Grimshaw and Corey Syvret now help make up the Toronto blueline, while Andrew Crecesnzi and Jamie Devane have been added up front.

Mottau is a veteran defenceman who was most recently playing this season with the San Antonio Rampage, also in the American Hockey League. Mottau’s professional journey started after attending Boston College. While at BC he collected a Hobey Baker Trophy as top men’s collegiate hockey player in the NCAA. Mottau has laced em’ up in the NHL for the likes of the New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and Boston Bruins. He has played over 300 NHL games and joins former Devil’s teammate Mark Fraser in the Maple Leafs organization.

Grimshaw is a Rochester, New York native who played a few games for his hometown team, the Rochester Americans, earlier in his AHL career. The Harvard grad also previously skated beside Jerry D’amigo and Kenny Ryan while with the USNTDP¬† and is re-united with the pair after skating with the Trenton Titans in the ECHL this year. Grimshaw attended Marlies camp this past fall and is hunting down his 1st AHL goal.

Syvret is a Milgrove, Ontario boy who started his route to pro in the Ontario Hockey League. After following in the footsteps of his brother Danny with the London Knights, Corey then finished his OHL tenure with the Guelph Storm. Syvret has had a taste of the AHL prior to his stop in Toronto, playing with Rochester and Portland. Although also in camp with the Marlies this past fall, he has moved up from the Alaska Aces of the ECHL and is also tracking down his first AHL goal.

Crescenzi had already played a few games with the Marlies before the end of his OHL career, spent with the Kitchener Rangers. A former teammate of D’amigo, while with the Rangers, is once again reunited with D’amigo and the Marlies after toiling in the ECHL with the San Fransisco Bulls. Crescenzi is also in search of his 1st AHL goal.

Devane is from nearby Mississauga and played his entire OHL career with the Plymouth Whalers. Known for his physical brand of hockey, he also tallied 45 points in his last year with the Whalers. Like Crescenzi, Devane attended Marlies camp at the begging of the season and then headed to the ECHL and SanFransisco. He is back in with the Marlies, after playing two games in 2009-2010 and is hopeful he will earn his 1st AHL goal before long. images-1

To finish, appropriately, it is time for a goodbye and good luck. Keith Aucoin was claimed off of waivers on January 17th, by the New York Islanders. In his short time with the Marlies, he lead the team in points (37) but equally as important, illustrated to the fans, his teammates and the organization how a quality person can produce positive ripples. Aucoin is a great player and a first class person and it is great to see him realize his dream of playing everyday in the NHL.

MAIN COURSE
It is life back to normal for the teams in the AHL, beginning this week many have felt the loss of quality roster players to the NHL level. With that in mind, many will have a different look to them when competition takes place this weekend.
The Binghamton Senators are no exception to this way of life, but have managed to win despite it, collecting a 5-1 victory over Rochester one day ago. The B-Sens are undefeated in regulation over their last 5 home games and are only 1 point back of division and conference leading Syracuse. While they may have lost their top four scorers, others such as Corey Cowick and Stephane Da Costa have stepped up. The pair combined for 5 points in their last game.
Hamilton is the final opponent of the weekend for Toronto. The Bulldogs have dropped their last 3 games, since defeating the Marlies 2-1. With the Canadiens snatching players for their camp, the Bulldogs currently are lead in scoring by rookie defenceman Nathan Beaulieu and he is followed by newly acquired defenceman Jason DeSantis. The battle of Ontario always seems to be just that, however and Hamilton will defend home ice Saturday.
The Marlies are hoping to improve their road record, as they continue away from home Friday and Saturday. A shot in the arm will be new d-man Mike Mottau expected to be in the lineup and the return of Ryan Hamilton from Toronto Maple Leaf camp.
Catch broadcasts of the games, while on the road by tuning into TSN 1050 on the AM Radio dial Friday at 7:05 from Binghamton and then it is AHL Live (theahl.com) Saturday night from Hamilton at 7pm.

Thanks for pulling a chair up to the latest Pre Game Meal…catch you next week!

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