Jimmy Lodge aiming to become next Saginaw Spirit great
SAGINAW, MI — Jimmy Lodge doesn’t come from a hockey heritage.
When it comes to his passion, he’s had to forge a trail all on his own — and lately its been blazing.
The 17-year old Saginaw Spirit forward has come into his own in his second season in the league, taking over a spot in the No. 1 line for the Spirit that has resulted in game-changing play from Lodge and resurgence for Saginaw.
“He’s playing with two players who are outstanding and experienced players,” Spirit coach Greg Gilbert said. “They make him up-tempo his game, and they teach him things as he goes along. It’s the perfect scenario.”
Those two players joining Lodge on the top line are leading scorer Eric Locke and captain and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Garret Ross, and the trio led Saginaw to a six-game winning streak in January and wins in 9 of 10 to end the month.
“I think it helped me out a ton,” Lodge said of moving to the No. 1 line. “It helps playing with those guys, I definitely am putting up better numbers playing with goal scorers and playmakers.
“It’s also more confidence. They help me out whenever I need it, but I have confidence now that I’m starting to score and confidence that I can keep producing and keep playing consistent.”
Since joining Locke and Ross, Lodge — 6-foot-2 — has caught fire to the tune of eight goals and 16 assists, with three three-assist games in that time, pushing his season totals to 18 goals and 28 assists for third on the team.
“He’s got vision,” Gilbert said. “He’s really creative and slippery. He has the good skill you need to play this sport. He can get himself out of tight situations often, and he sees playing happening and makes things happen before other players do.”
A native of Downingtown, Penn., Lodge is being billeted with Jim and Cathy Jesko as a senior at Heritage High School in Saginaw Township. And though he said he’s been on the ice skating since he was 5 years old, Lodge said he doesn’t come from a long lineage of hockey players.
“My dad and mom started me out in the game, but no one in the family played,” he said. “I’m pretty much the first one.”
But that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the best up-and-coming players in the OHL.
In the last six months, Lodge has been ranked as one of the Top-20 NHL draft prospects in the OHL, in addition to skating in the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo, N.Y., which featured the top 40 NHL draft eligible U.S. born players.
He also played in the Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
“He has to get stronger, there’s no two ways about it,” Gilbert said. “At 165 pounds, he wouldn’t last long in the NHL, so he has to invest over the summer to become a stronger player.
“But (the team that drafts him) gets a guy who has what the game is about now — skill and vision. … He has those abilities, and he’s going to be a dynamic player at the next level.”
Lodge should find out where the next level takes him in the 2013 NHL Draft that takes place June 28-29 in Newark, N.J.
The lifelong Philadelphia Flyers fan is in his first season of eligibility for the NHL Draft.
“It’s definitely a good feeling to have NHL teams interested in me,” Lodge said. “I’m closer to my dream of playing in the NHL, which is a really good feeling.”
Devils acquire Loktionov from Kings (Larionov)
The New Jersey Devils have acquired Andrei Loktionov from the Los Angeles Kings for a fifth-round choice in the 2013 NHL Draft, the Devils announced Wednesday.
Loktionov was a fifth-round pick by the Kings in the 2008 draft. He has seven goals and 14 points in 59 career NHL games, including 39 during the 2011-12 season. He appeared in two Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Los Angeles Kings during their march to last season’s championship.
This season, Loktionov has played only for the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, with seven goals and 22 points in 37 games.
Andrew Campbell Recalled – Practice Quotes
Andrew Campbell took part in his first practice with the Kings at Bridgestone Arena today, and considering his size and the attributes he brings as a stay-at-home defenseman with a long reach, it wouldn’t be a major surprise if he made his NHL debut against Nashville Thursday evening, as the team is looking to gain a sense of what the former third round pick can provide.
On his first practice:
“It’s exciting, obviously – my first call-up here. I’m just trying to enjoy it all and do all the work I can and just get better.”
On where he was when he found out he had been promoted:
“I was at the grocery store, and I got a call from Hubie, our team personnel guy, so it was pretty exciting.”
On who he called when he heard the news:
“They asked me to keep it quiet for a while, just because of the whole process. But I called my mom and dad. I had to let them know. They’ve been so important to me over the years, so I let them know right away.”
On his attributes as a defenseman:
“I’m just a pretty defensive guy. I like to take care of my own end, make the first pass and be gritty, compete hard and be tough to play against.”
On relationship with players who have come through L.A.’s system:
“I lived for a full year with Kinger, Noley and Muzz. We all lived in a house together. The four of us are pretty familiar with each other. I played with Marty, played with Wiske, played with Bernie. I’m trying to think of whom else. I worked out with Cliffy in the summer before, so I have a lot of familiarity with a lot of guys.”
On how the Monarchs coaching staff has prepared players to transition to the NHL:
“They’ve done a lot of work on making sure that the system is the same system that’s being worked on up here. PK, five-on-five, they try to do everything the same so it’s a seamless transition when you bump up.”
Alex Galchenyuk earns Molson Cup honours for January (Larionov)
MONTREAL– Forward Alex Galchenyuk is the Molson Cup recipient for the month of January.
Galchenyuk was selected once as the first star of the game (January 22 against Florida), and on one occasion as the second star (January 29 against Winnipeg). Galchenyuk finished ahead of teammates Brendan Gallagher and Carey Price.
The 18-year old forward appeared in six games in January, including his first career game in the NHL on January 19 against Toronto, recording five points (1 goal, 4 assists) and a +3 plus/minus differential. Galchenyuk served four penalty minutes while playing an average of 12:24 per game.
Alex Galchenyuk will be presented with the Molson Cup during a ceremony prior to the Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre.
Tyler Seguin ties the game 2/6/13
Photo by CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/REUTERS
Kristoff Kontos: The Masked Man scores 2 vs. Kingston
Nikolay Goldobin centre stage in another overtime shocker (Larionov)
London Free Press
The player who, these days, is most immune to the Dale Hunter defensive bible was standing next to the Sarnia bus, wearing an oversized toque and preparing to dig into a postgame meal he certainly earned.
Nikolay Goldobin is London’s new hockey bogeyman.
The slight 17-year-old Russian torched the OHL-leading Knights again for a goal and three points in the Sting’s shocking 4-3 overtime victory before 8,924 Thursday night at Budweiser Gardens.
This time, he set up defenceman Anthony DeAngelo’s winner 33 seconds into the extra session. On New Year’s Day, he scored four times, including OT magic, to snap the Knights’ 24-game winning streak.
Beware this bee.
“He slows the game down to a crawl,” Sarnia GM and coach Jacques Beaulieu said. “He reminds me of (Pavel) Datsyuk of the Red Wings. He’s got great hands and a great hockey sense.”
The Knights have shut out mighty Owen Sound twice in their old building. They usually have a grasp on the OHL’s brightest offensive stars.
But this guy is something.
Goldobin has seven goals and nine points in four games against the Knights. He made a ridiculous highlight-reel pass early in the third period to captain Charlie Sarault to spark the Sting’s comeback.
“That’s a pro pass and we don’t see many plays like that in junior hockey,” said Beaulieu, a former Knights assistant. “To see that, it wowed us on the bench and I’m sure it wowed 9,000 fans too.”
Most of them were left scratching their heads.
The Knights have played 28 games this season with the lead after two periods. They have lost two of those — both to Sarnia, both in overtime, both with Goldobin the star.
You face Sarnia and worry about Reid Boucher while breathing a sigh of relief Alex Galchenyuk is staying in Montreal for good.
Then, this kid emerges.
“They have a few dangerous players we have to be careful with,” London defenceman Olli Maatta said. “We’ve got to be better defensively. We need to play better.
“It’s going to be a hard game (against Owen Sound Friday).”
The Attack, who can’t beat the Knights for the life of them, should try calling ol’ Goldy for advice.
“For him to step up in a building like this two times in a row, we need that stuff,” DeAngelo said with a grin. “I know they (the Knights) wanted a piece of us after ending their streak, but it’s nice to come in here and get a win. We know we can beat London. The guys in our room believe we can play with anyone in our league if we play our game.”
They are officially looking like the team London should try to avoid in the playoffs.
They have been impervious to the usual Knights magic at home. Maatta tied it late on a long slapper, his first goal since Nov. 10, and, from there, you figured the Knights would go on to win.
“It was a big goal for me and our team (and it secured a point), but we just couldn’t get the last one,” Maatta said.
The Sting kept coming. They bite late.
“We got back to our plan a bit (in Kingston last week),” Beaulieu said. “It’s great they get up for these games, it’s a fun building and it’s nice to come here and get two points.”
The Sting saddled big London goalie Anthony Stolarz, 4-0 to start, with his first OHL loss. They have won both games at the Bud and they’re back in on March 1. They haven’t swept the Knights on their own rink since Steve Stamkos slapped in 58 goals in 2007-08.
There were some positives for London. Max Domi, back from illness, scored, and so did Seth Griffith.
But they ran into a buzz-saw.
“I don’t think there’s any team that’s going to be easy this year,” Maatta said. “For me, I don’t care who we play in the first round of the playoffs. I just want us to play at our own level and things should be good.”
They got some more work to do to be as good as Goldobin has been against them.
10 Tidbits on new Kings defenseman Andrew Campbell
Yesterday, the Kings swapped Andrews – sending Bodnarchuk back to Manchester and calling up Campbell.
Although he’s not expected to play in Nashville tonight, Campbell will likely see game action on the team’s current road trip. So, we thought we’d help introduce you to the 6-foot-3 defenseman using our popular 10 Tidbits format…
- Kings GM Dean Lomabrdi solidified his reputation as ‘Dealer Dean’ at the 2008 NHL draft when he swapped picks in the first, second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds. In that third round, he moved up from 84th to 71st so he could select Campbell out of the OHL. For trivia buffs, the third round pick traded away originally came to Lombardi in February 2007 when he sent Sean Avery to the New York Rangers.
- Offensively speaking, Campbell has never come close to the numbers he put up his final year of junior hockey. While playing for the legendary Soo Greyhounds, he posted 13 goals and 35 points (second best among the team’s defensemen). Since turning pro the following season, three goals has marked his best campaign. However, his point totals have crept up during his time in Manchester, topping out at 19 last season.
- Plus-minus is an area where Campbell, known more as a stay-at-home defenseman, has shown tremendous improvement. His five year stat line with the Monarchs reads as follows: minus-15, minus-16, plus-12, plus-14 and most recently, plus-11 (which led Manchester at the time of his call-up).
- His three-year entry level contract expired in the summer of 2008. Campbell then signed a one-year deal and re-upped with the Kings for two more years this past July. He now requires waivers though. So, if the Kings try to send him back to Manchester, he’ll be exposed to the other 29 NHL clubs first – [corrected] with two excpetions. there is a ’30-day / 10-game’ exclusion. Last month, Campbell cleared waivers when the Kings had to put several players there after the new CBA was ratified (of course, they lost Thomas Hickey and Rich Clune at the time). So, if he is sent back before February 15 or before he plays 10 games, Campbell will not require waivers to go back down.
- Campbell participated in Jordan Nolan’s ‘Day with Stanley Cup’ – as shown here, in some pics supplied by his former roommate, Ray Kaunisto.
- During his time with the Greyhounds, Campbell was a teammate of – and often paired with – fellow Kings blueline prospect Jake Muzzin. With his arrival, this marks the fourth former Soo player on the Kings’ current roster, joining Jeff Carter and Jordan Nolan.
- Also from his time in the OHL: Campbell played against several of his new teammates – including Nolan, Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford.
- Campbell turned 25 this past Monday. Other players born that day include Brad Richardson and a pair of former Kings – Manny Legace and Jerred Smithson. Also celebrating the same day was Hall of Famer Denis Savard, a long-time teammate of Darryl Sutter with the Chicago Blackhawks.
- His professional debut came against the Springfield Falcons on October 19, 2008 and Campbell played his 250th AHL game vs the same team on December 10, 2011.
- Campbell’s teammates awarded him the Mark Bavis Unsung Hero Award each of the last two seasons. During those campaigns he served as one of the Monarchs’ alternate captains and suited up for all 76-games both years.
Andrew Agozzino’s All Star Thoughts
Jesse Blacker Goal – 02/09/2013