Playoff Primer, Nylander Update, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Jacob Bryson Join the Team

The first round of the AHL playoffs are set and the Rochester Americans will face the Toronto Marlies. Any doubts I had about the Amerks playoff preparedness were erased during yesterday’s practice. For the first time since I started covering the Amerks this team looks like they genuinely want to make a deep playoff run. Anyone can say the right things in an interview — these are professionals after all — but they are wearing their emotions on their sleeves. Everyone is having fun out there. Working hard for sure, but enjoying every minute of it. No one looks ready to go home. This team is also more of a family than in seasons past. Everyone is supportive of one another and there is lots of friendly chirping and cheering throughout practice. Gone are the days of robotic drill execution and singular efforts. During a break between drills coach Taylor stressed that everything was about the team, not personal accomplishments. It’s an important message but not one that he had to deliver. The Amerks are already executing on a team mentality. 

To be successful this postseason the Amerks only need to do one thing — keep their intensity at 110% from the first puck drop to the last. If they can execute on that, they are unstoppable.

 

Taylor: Nylander is “uncomfortable” — “it is what it is”One player has been inexplicably missing from action. Alexander Nylander has been injured since his recall with the Sabres. Nylander suffered what was described as a cut on his leg that required stitches. At the time of the injury Sabres staff indicated that Nylander would only miss a few games. In an interview with ESPN Rochester yesterday, Taylor said that Nylander was “uncomfortable” and that “it is what it is.” When a coach describes a situation as “it is what it is” they aren’t happy. I’ll let you read between the lines as to what that means in this situation.

 

There are lots of ways to watch the playoffsIf you want to catch the action the best way to do that is to head to the Blue Cross Arena and watch the games in person. There are two options for watching from home:

  • AHL TV is your only option for catching home games outside of the Blue Cross Arena. Pricing starts at $7.99 for daily access and $24.99 for the entirety of Calder Cup Playoffs. Both options offer access to all teams and all games. At first I was frustrated that they didn’t have a single-team away option but after further consideration the package options are smart. For $24.99 you can watch any and all AHL playoff games and not have to worry about your investment. If your team is eliminated early you can still watch the remainder of the playoffs. It’s also smart marketing by the AHL since it will undoubtedly lead to more viewership.
  • MSG Network will be broadcasting first round away games in the Buffalo and Rochester markets.

 

Grab Your Blue Hard HatThe first 3,000 fans at tonight’s game will receive a blue hard hard which correlates to this year’s playoff slogan “Blue Collar Built.” Slogans are always hit-or-miss and everyone has an opinion about this year’s. I guess it all comes down to how you view Rochester’s current identity. Regardless, the party-style hats should be fun.

 

First look at Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Jacob BrysonUkko-Pekka Luukkonen and Jacob Bryson Joined the Amerks for the post-season. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen saw action in the final game of the season against the Belleville Senators and secured a 4-2 win by making 32 saves. While Luukkonen looked good, he won’t see action in round 1 of the playoffs unless Wedgewood and Wilcox have disastrous starts to the series. Jacob Bryson only had his first full practice with the Amerks yesterday and he is not expected to suit up for a game anytime soon. It’s important to have both around for the playoff run, if for no other reason than getting a taste of the culture, but they aren’t going to steal a spot just yet.

The Amerks face off against the Toronto Marlies at 7:05pm tonight at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY.

Chris Schiffner is the man behind the Amerks Extra Twitter feed and the chief editor of AmerksExtra.com. Chris founded Amerks Extra in order to provide fans with a voice during one of the most tumultuous periods in the organization's history. Amerks Extra has evolved into a leading source for Amerks news and discussion. When not covering Amerks Hockey, Chris is on the ice playing the game himself.
 

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