Tonight is the last time we will see Calvin Pickard and the Seattle Thunderbirds at Toyota Center during the regular season.
In fact, it might be the last time we see Calvin Pickard. The Seattle goalie is at the end of his junior career, though he would have one year left if he chose to return to Seattle. It ain’t happening.
And, he isn't playing tonight, so catch a glimpse of him on the bench, because that's all you are going to get.
Pickard has been THE MAN in net for the T-birds the last two years. In fact, he has been the only Seattle goalie to win a game the last two years.
Last year, he went 27-33-3-5, while Michael Salmon was 0-2-2-0 and Daniel Cotton played 5 minutes. Pickard played in 68 of 72 games, logging 4,013 minutes.
This season, things are the same. Pickard has played in 54 games, logging 3,028 minutes and is 21-31-1-1. Cotton is 0-7-0-0.
Come next year, Seattle GM Russ Farwell is going to be at a loss. Goaltending likely will be their weakness instead of their strength. The younger guys have to get time in net.
In Tri-City, Ty Rimmer and rookie Eric Comrie have shared the wealth.
Rimmer is 26-10-0-1, while Comrie is 18-5-1-1. Rimmer has played about 600 more minutes (the equivalent of 10 games), but Comrie did miss a few games while at the U-17 tournament.
Comrie gets the start tonight. He is 5-1 against the Thunderbirds this season, allowing nine goals. On the Tri-City scratch list are Sam Grist, Marcus Messier, Jesse Mychan and Nate MacMaster.
For Seattle, Daniel Cotton gets the start. On the scratch list are Brandon Troock, who received a one-game suspension from the league for a cross-checking major and a game misconduct against the Ams on Sunday; Cason Machacek, who got an 8-game suspension from the league for his actions against the Ams on Sunday. Machacek made physical contact with a WHL on-ice official, and it is the fourth suspension the player has received this season. Also out are Chance Lund (knee) and Tyler Alos (upper body).
The T-birds haven’t won in Kennewick since Jan. 27, 2008, a span of 21 games. Pickard is winless in 14 starts, and that isn't going to change.
After being named WHL Player of the Week on Monday, Brendan Shinnimin was named CHL Player of the Week on Tuesday after a 19-point week that included 11 goals.
Also considered for the award this week was Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Remparts who scored five goals and one assist for six points in two games, while Andrew Agozzino of the Niagara IceDogs recorded eight assists in three games.
I don’t think the voting was close.
Earlier today, I had to release former American Clayton Stoner from my fantasy hockey team. Clayton had been a good shot blocker and had plenty of hits for the Crease Creatures, but he's been on the Minnesota Wild IR for quite a while and his return will not be this week. I needed another D-man to pick up the slack. If he returns, I will bring him back.
Of note: The Americans lost a couple of longtime fans this month. Eva Schirado, who became a season ticket holder in 1997, died on Feb. 4 at the age of 90. She was one of four ladies who graced Section MM, Row 14, seats 1-4. Of those ladies, Rosemary Goodenow died Aug. 2, 2010 at age 87.
Virgina Miller, who will be 91 in April, still attends a few games a year. She and Monnie Osowski, who hasn’t been to a game in a few years because of declining health, are two of the team’s original season ticket holders.
Norm Knuter, a fan from Day 1, died Feb. 17. Norm and his wife Dee, were billets during the first years of the Americans. They were billets for Dan Sherstenka, a solid but smallish defenseman in the early days.
Can't start the night without a Happy Birthday to Ams forward Adam Hughesman, who turns 21.
Puck drops in 5.
It's 3-0 Americans after the first period. Patrick Holland, Connor Rankin and Justin Feser have goals as the Ams outshot the T-birds 20-10.
Shinnimin has two assists for 117 points, while Holland has two points for 97.
It was a scoreless second period, so it's still 3-0 Ams.
Comrie has made some dandy saves to keep the puck out of the net.
Connor Sanvido scores the only goal in third as the Ams hold on for a 3-1 win.
Comrie had 31 saves, while Cotton had 39 for Seattle. Both young goalies played well.