Tonight at 6/7pm, the AHL All-Star Game takes place in Providence, Rhode Island. The American League, now 77 years old, has a love affair with the East coast, and thus the All-Star game takes place well to the right of the Mississippi River. And although I’ve yammered on and on about having this game played in the South (or even West), that’s unlikely to happen. Nonetheless, the game is full of good quality players. Some, of the prospect variety, others long tenured in the minors. But altogether interesting, and thus worth your time.
The obvious reason to tune-in to the game is for the lone Baron on the Western Conference roster, Mr. Mark Arcobello. Mark is an underdog by every stretch of the imagination. The Yale alum who went undrafted has made a living by impressing people who didn’t give him much time the first go round. To open the 2010-11 season he played with the Stockton Thunder before getting the call up to play with Oklahoma City the same season. He nearly averaged a point a game. Last season, he continued to dazzle notching 43 points in 73 regular season games, but more importantly 13 points in 14 playoff games. That brings us to 2012-13 where he played some time down the center with Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall to his sides. That’s good company. He has steadily improved, and has continued to turn some heads, even suggesting that perhaps the “kid” get a shot in NHL training camp. That never happened, but the fact that he’s gone from ECHL to AHL to NHL “consideration” in under three years is quite remarkable.
Edmond, Oklahoma native, Matt Donovan, returns to the All-Star Game in his sophomore season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. After an incredible rookie season, his numbers in 2012-13 have been slightly lower, but his impact is just as strong. I interviewed him less than a year ago, and he’s an Oklahoman through and through. His dedication to being better, getting better, doing better is what the New York Islanders organization is looking for, and as far as defensive prospects go, he’s a pretty solid one.
It is nice to see Eastern Conference wingers, centermen, defenders, and goaltenders at least once a season. For those that don’t have AHL Live “Full Team” subscriptions, the chance to watch teams in the East is rare. This is a great opportunity to do just that.
Jamie Oleksiak from Texas. Justin Peters from Charlotte. Jason Zucker from Houston. Mark Cundari from Peoria. All are familiar faces to fans of OKC. They, along with many many others, will be able to show some skill, and likely prove a bit of Western Conference dominance along the way.
Dallas Eakins, coaching the team from the West, is likely close to no longer being an AHL head coach. His time in the minors is quickly dissipating He’s done a marvelous job in Toronto, and he’s a coach on the radar of many many NHL teams.
What else are you looking for at the AHL All-Star Game? Let me know.
Fox Sports Southwest is carrying the game locally in Oklahoma City. Game starts at 6 Central time. (if the Stars game is on Fox Sports, I’d imagine the AHL ASG is one FoxSports Southwest PLUS).