Around the League: Houston One Game From Finals

Coach Gulutzan, shown here talking to Sean Backman in a December 20th game against Oklahoma City, is a strong candidate for the Dallas head coaching job. (Credit: Texas Stars)

The Houston Aeros and Binghamton Senators are both each one game away from representing their respective conferences in the Calder Cup Finals. The two teams could seal up sweeps in the conference finals and move on to the Calder Cup round as early as tonight when both teams play Game 4 of their series. Follow our friends The Third Intermission (@3rdIntermission) on Twitter for more updates.

Elsewhere, here are the stories that have been percolating and moving across my newsfeed over the past few days:
  • Things are starting to heat up out East in terms of affiliation agreements. The Rochester Americans, former affiliated with the Florida Panthers, have signed a non-binding letter of intent to partner with the Buffalo Sabres for next season. This is a bit of a problem with the Portland Pirates still under contract with Buffalo. However, this was a previous affiliation and community ties are deep in Rochester. [Democrat and Chronicle]

  • Former Texas Stars Ivan Vishnevskiy has reportedly signed a contract with the KHL's Atlant for next season. With this move, the verdict most definitely moves in the Stars' favor interms of who won the Lehtonen-for-Vishnevskiy trade. [Chicago Now]

  • GM Joe Nieuwendyk is still working on the coaching search, and Texas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan's name is in the mix. News reports have indicated that Gulutzan is under contract with the club for next year in the minor league coaching capacity. Coaching contracts, especially at the minor league level, are much less well-known, so this is a good bit of info to learn. [ESPN Dallas]

  • Speaking of contracts, the Statesman dropped an interesting article entitled, "Did Cedar Park dodge a bullet in pulling out of 2005 arena deal?". It's an interesting and quick read praising the Stars attendance and the success of the CPC in general while noting the lack of success that the potential owners of the hypothetical IceBats arena have had elsewhere. Interested what if analysis. [Statesman]

  • The Memorial Cup is about to get under way and the Stars will have Matt Fraser representing them there. Mark Stepneski and Mike Heika both did great write-ups of the young forward. [ESPN Dallas, DMN]

  • Defending Big B expands on a story from the Port Huron Times about Jack Campbell setting his sights on the Texas Stars next season. Campbell would be eligible to play in the AHL despite playing in the Canadian juniors because he was drafted out of the US National Development Program, similarly to John Carlson or Jeremy Morin. [Defending Big D]
With all that said, who's up for a roadtrip to Houston next week?