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AHL interference: The Hurricanes no longer have a club school, and it’s all their fault.

Before I tell you about the story of the day, which made me wonder about the limits of what an NHL team can impose on its club team, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the Canadiens’ past.

This story takes place during the 2006-2007 season in Hamilton. At the time, the Bulldogs were the Canadiens’ training club. The team performed quite well, with a record of just under .600, and was poised to make the post-season playoffs. Their roster includes skaters such as Corey Locke, Mikhail Grabovski, Andrei Kostitsyn, Kyle Chipchura and Maxim Lapierre.

In goal, it’s a ménage à deux with Yann Danis as first violin and Jaroslav Halak as second. In 44 games, Danis scored 23 wins, and his numbers were decent, but nothing more. Halak ended up stealing his job quietly and quickly, with a .932 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average. His 16 wins in 28 games gave him a chance to become the man Don Lever, the team’s head coach at the time, could trust.

Normally, he would have been the one to gain the confidence of the coaching staff and lead his team through the playoffs.

But no, because Carey Price arrived and, after two short games, the CH staff decided that he was the man to trust with the net.

The rest is history, with the Calder Cup as the cherry on top. Bob Gainey was a genius at the time, and Price went on to become the exceptional goalkeeper we all know.

Could Brian Lewis, the team president at the time, have decided not to give in to Gainey’s request?

In an alternate universe, perhaps, and in this one, chances are the story would have been completely different… not unlike that of the Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Wolves!

Team GM Wendell Young revealed on the Inside AHL Hockey podcast what led to the end of the association between the two teams over the summer, and it’s truly surreal.

He reveals that during the 2022 playoffs, Hurricanes management would have made a request similar to Bob Gainey’s, namely to sack the team’s successful number-one goaltender and replace him with prospect Pyotr Kochetkov. Trusted goaltender Alex Lyon ultimately led his team to Calder Cup glory, as Young refused to bow to threats from his pro club to fire head coach Ryan Warsofsky if he didn’t comply.

What an incredible story of interference!

During the summer, Warsofsky decided to leave for an assistant-coaching position with the San Jose Sharks, and a year later, in the summer of 2023, ties between the two organizations were severed. Here’s the proof!

It seems that in the final season, 2022-2023, all of a sudden player development was no longer a priority for the Hurricanes and they now wanted to see the Wolves win at all costs. In other words, Carolina did a 180° turn in the summer of 2022.

It’s mind-boggling!

Young also talks in the interview about how the Hurricanes were constantly sticking their noses into transactions and player signings with AHL-only contracts or two-pronged contracts, ECHL and AHL. It was so intense that the Wolves asked NHL number two Bill Daly to put a stop to it.

As a result, the Canes find themselves without an AHL-affiliated club, and will have to disperse their young talent to the four corners of the league to allow them to develop.

And that’s never good for the players, since they only get the crumbs left over. Teams will always favour their own players over those of their big-league rivals.

In bursts

– Along the same lines, should the Rocket win or develop this season? [The Hockey News]

– It was a mere formality, now it’s a done deal.

– Patrice Bergeron believes the Bruins are in good hands leadership-wise despite his retirement.

– Is redemption really possible for Alex Galchenyuk in Russia? The man himself believes so.

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