Rooting around NHL team websites, some blogs and this here InterWeb, The Blog has tabulated 23 Alaska connections who are scheduled to be in NHL training camps, which opened this week.
There's the usual suspects -- Scott Gomez, Matt Carle, Brandon Dubinsky, Nate Thompson and Joey Crabb, all of Anchorage and with considerable NHL experience.
There are some feel-good ones -- former UAA and Alaska Aces winger Justin Johnson of Anchorage getting an invite the New York Islanders camp, or former UAA center Paul Crowder getting to Nashville's camp.
There's at least one head-turner -- defenseman Todd Orlando, who didn't make the Aces out of training camp last fall, yet nonetheless got an invite from the Philadelphia Flyers. Go figure. He is 6-8. Quoth a local hockey humorist: "Maybe (Philly GM Paul) Holmgren is working with Make-A-Wish Foundation.''
Annnnyyyyhoowww, here's the list of Alaska connections at NHL camps. As always, if The Blog has missed someone, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
BOSTON BRUINS -- Former UAF goaltender Chad Johnson, who has played in the NHL.
CALGARY FLAMES -- Former UAA winger Curtis Glencross, an NHL regular whose a 20+-goal guy.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS -- Winger Wade Brookbank, who started his pro career with the Anchorage Aces of the WCHL -- ah, good times, those.
COLUMBUS BLUEJACKETS -- Winger Brandon Dubinsky of Anchorage, an NHL regular and, of course, now a former Alaska Ace, thanks to last season's lockout.
FLORIDA PANTHERS -- Center Scott Gomez and winger Joey Crabb of Anchorage, and winger Jack Combs, the (briefly) former Ace. Gomez and Crabb, of course, are former Aces.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS -- Former UAA center Paul Crowder.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS -- Former UAA and Aces winger Justin Johnson of Anchorage.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS -- Former Aces defenseman Zack FitzGerald, now listed as a winger, and aforementioned Orlando.
OTTAWA SENATORS -- Former UAA goaltender Nathan Lawson, former UAF goaltender Scott Greenham and former UAF blueliner Tyler Eckford.
ST. LOUIS BLUES -- Former Aces winger Ryan Reaves, and former Aces defensemen Brett Ponich and David Shields.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING -- Defenseman Matt Carle and center Nate Thompson, both of Anchorage -- Thompson is Aces alumni now too. Plus, former Aces winger/enforcer Eric Neilson.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS -- Former UAA center Jay Beagle and former Aces defenseman Patrick Wellar.
WINNIPEG JETS -- Former Aces winger Anthony Peluso.