Saturday's Morning Skate 5/28

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Madison Bowey might have crossed the line in Friday night's Game Four. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
The Lake Erie Monsters swept the Ontario Reign to advance to the Calder Cup Finals as the representative from the Western Conference, but the Eastern Conference Finals haven't been settled yet thanks to Toronto Marlies' 5-0 win in Game Four Friday night to avoid being swept by the Hershey Bears.

The American Hockey League has an interesting decision to make with Bears defenseman Madison Bowey, who was not only ejected after delivering a questionable hit on Marlies' forward Kasperi Kapanen but also reportedly used a homophobic slur on his way off the ice.

In the NHL Playoffs this year, Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw was suspended for one postseason contest for use of a homophobic slur. The major penalty for elbowing and the slur, if proven one was used, should see Bowey on the shelf for at least two games.

You can keep up to date with the AHL's postseason by following me on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock/@H_P_Hockey.

Phantoms Re-Sign Reading, Pa. Native Steven Swavely

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Steven Swavely will be a full-time pro with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms organization in 2016-17. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have made their first signing of the off-season, adding forward Steven Swavely to a one-year AHL contract earlier this week. It's his first professional hockey contract.

The Reading, Pa native joined the Phantoms on a professional tryout (PTO) at the tail end of their season on March 9th following the completion of his senior season at the University of Maine. In 15 games with the Phantoms this spring, he tallied three goals and played a pivotal role on the team's penalty kill.

Swavely made his pro debut with Lehigh Valley on March 12 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut against the Hartford WolfPack.

While his ice time was limited in his first few games as the team's fourth line center, Swavely quickly gained the trust of the coaching staff and began to look more comfortable in the AHL with each passing shift. In fact, two of his three goals with the Phantoms this past season came in back-to-back games to conclude the team's regular season.

With Swavely added to the mix for next season, here's a list of those under contract that are expected to be in Lehigh Valley for the 2016-17 season:
Forwards (9): Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Cole Bardreau, Chris Conner, Radel Fazleev, Tyrell Goulbourne, Taylor Leier, Danick Martel, Colin McDonald and Steven Swavely (AHL)
Defensemen (6): Robert Hagg, Christian Marti, Sam Morin, Jesper Pettersson, Travis Sanheim and Reece Willcox
Goaltenders (2): Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TonyAndrock for all the latest breaking news in addition to year-round coverage of the American Hockey League and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Sam Morin Continues His Path Toward the NHL

Sam Morin's path to the NHL is using his size and strength to his advantage. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News.
Editor's Note: This is the fourth of many player profile features that will be completed and posted online this summer to give an accurate update on the players' development paths, skill set, potential NHL ceiling and more. Most player profiles will also include exclusive thoughts from both the player and the coaching staff with in-depth assessment/comments.

If you missed any of the first three player profiles, click the links below:
The first profile story featured forward Cole Bardreau.
The second profile story featured defenseman Robert Hagg.
The latest profile story featured forward Tyrell Goulbourne.
A highly regarded prospect in the Philadelphia Flyers system, defenseman Sam Morin turned pro in the 2015-16 season and appeared in all 76 games for the AHL's Lehigh Valley Phantoms - the only member of the oft-injured team to play in every single game.

While the adjustment process and learning to play his game took some time, Morin continued to improve throughout the season - including a very impressive final month of the season in April.

Morin is a rare breed. His size and strength are very apparent, but it's his mobility and skating for his size that makes him an intriguing prospect. He's not going to get to the NHL by playing offense and being a puck-mover. However, it's a simple responsible two-way game with stalwart defense and physical play that will pave his way to the NHL.

You can help keep me on the road covering the Lehigh Valley Phantoms next season by making a donation via GoFundMe or PayPal.

Tim Brent Retires From Pro Hockey

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
After 12 years of professional hockey, forward Tim Brent is calling it a career. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News.
While impending free agents await their fate and get ready to make a decision on where they will look to play hockey in the 2016-17 season, former Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Tim Brent's mind is already made.

The 32-year-old Ontario native has decided to retire from pro hockey and has relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina to start a new chapter in his life.

Brent's 12-year pro career saw him travel the world to play the sport he loved. He amassed 207 NHL games, 354 AHL games and 93 games in the KHL where he won a championship with Magnitogorsk Metallurg in 2013-14.

Monday's Catch Up & Links 5/22

Monday, May 23, 2016
The Hershey Bears lead the Eastern Conference Finals two games to none over the Toronto Marlies. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News.
The 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs are still underway as the Conference Finals round is two games in for both the Eastern and Western Conference, but 26 other AHL teams are in off-season mode and there is plenty of movement going on - teams, coaches and players alike in the AHL are leaving the 2015-16 season behind them and venturing toward new opportunities.

This week's Monday Catch Up & Links focuses on not only the league's movement of teams for the upcoming 2016-17 season but also on all of the coaching changes going on in the league right now as well as updates on which teams have coaches, which AHL cities will have teams and much more.

The plan is to continue to bring more AHL content than ever before here at Highland Park Hockey and spoiler alert, big things are in the planning stage for the 2016-17 season already. So stay tuned all summer long for not only the best and latest Lehigh Valley Phantoms news, information and features but perhaps a lot more to come.

You can keep up with up-to-the-minute quick hits on breaking news on Twitter by following both @TonyAndrock and @H_P_Hockey. For those who are Facebook-friendly, breaking news and links to tons of my AHL content will also be shared there so be sure to like the Facebook page.

You can help keep me on the road providing live coverage of AHL hockey next season by making a donation via GoFundMe or PayPal.