All AHL Team
G Ryan Miller (Rochester).
A tough competition, and it goes to Miller, who is 10th in the league in goals against. The reason Miller gets the vote? Where would Rochester be without him? The Amerks are tied for third in the AHL with 16 one-goal wins, with another 10 by two goals. Top competition Mathieu Garons Manchester Monarchs have a league-low eight wins, because theyve blown out 19 opponents by three goals or more. Miller leads AHL in wins and has played nearly 200 minutes more than any other netminder. Rochester is 19th in the league in shots against (31.2) but Miller has helped the Americans to a No. 3 ranking in defense (2.15). Miller is 29-12-3, but he started out the year 0-4-0. Honorable mention to Garon, reigning AHL MVP Jason LaBarbera (Hartford), Hannu Toivonen (Providence) and Brian Finley (Milwaukee). Chicagos Kari Lehtonen doesnt make the cut due to a 5-7-1 mark in his last 13 appearances, but when hes on, theres not a better goalie in the AHL.
D Andrew Hutchinson (Milwaukee).
Plays big minutes in all situations and leads all defensemen in points. He came in second in the hardest shot competition at the Skills Competition on Monday.
D Denis Grebeshkov (Manchester).
Plus-16 to go along with 31 points for best team in the East. His plus-minus rating is the highest of any of the top 25 blueline scorers in the AHL.
LW Simon Gamache (Milwaukee).
Dont tell Gamache hes undersized. Playmaker a big reason Admirals has the leagues second-best offense.
C Michael Cammalleri (Manchester).
Binghamtons Jason Spezza has four more points, but Cammalleris defensive ability (plus-10, compared to even for Spezza) gets him the nod. Cammalleri is tied with Wilkes-Barre/Scrantons Michel Ouellet for the AHL lead with 30 goals. Former Michigan Wolverine is also extremely well-spoken, and he was miked up for the All-Star Game.
RW Michel Ouellet (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton).
Tied for league lead with 30 goals, and his plus-29 ranks second to teammate Matt Murley. The Pens are ranked 22nd in the league in goals allowed, but you cant fault Ouellet.
All Rookie Team
G (Tie) Cam Ward (Lowell), Josh Harding (Houston).
Ward combines with former San Antonio goalie Brent Krahn for quite the combination for the Lock Monsters. And because this is Aeros.com, and we can vote a tie, Harding ranks right alongside Ward. Twenty-year-old couldnt have been more impressive rebounding from the serious concussion.
D Dennis Wideman (Worcester).
Youngster has been among the IceCats leading scorers all season, and hes tied for fifth in the league in rookie scoring despite playing on the blueline.
D Kevin Bieksa (Manitoba).
Isnt flashy, but is a steady presence on one of the top bluelines in the league. Is a plus-nine, unheard of for a rookie defenseman.
LW Brandon Bochenski (Binghamton).
Ten multiple-point games since Christmas give Bochenski the edge in a tight race with Rene Bourque (Norfolk) and Thomas Vanek (Rochester).
C Zach Parise (Albany).
In a season where little has gone right for the Rats, fans in Albany have been able to enjoy this future superstar. A minus-seven is actually middle of the pack in Albany.
RW Aaron Voros (Albany).
Talented and feisty (118 PIMs) winger is the Rats sixth-leading scorer.
While he is arguably a First Team AHL All Star selection, no doubt from aeros.com voters that hes been the league MVP.
Rookie of the Half Year Bochenski.
He has six more points than any other AHL rookie, and his goal in the All-Star Classic knocking a puck out of the air to his feet and ripping it in the net in almost the same motion showed how good his hands are.
Aeros.com Power Poll
1 Rochester (4)
Saturday loss was the Amerks first in regulation in 15 games. Rochester must try not to look ahead to early March stretch in Manitoba (two games), then home versus Binghamton (two games). The Americans are unbeaten in regulation when leading OR tied after two periods (32-0-3-3).
2 Manchester (1)
Its more of a pick-em between Rochester and Manchester, who unfortunately dont meet during the regular season. The Monarchs are a startling 30-0-1-1 when scoring three or more goals. Theyve made it easy for the great goalie duo of Mathieu Garon and Adam Hauser. Manchesters on pace to score 284 goals only two teams got within 40 of that mark in 2003-04.
3 Milwaukee (5)
The Ads are 6-1-0-1 in their last eight. Milwaukees bruising style is one very tough team. The Admirals havent lost at home in 2005. Rookie defenseman Ryan Suter has been a different player since returning from World Juniors, including an overtime game-winner against the Aeros last week. Milwaukees a great road team, among the league leaders at 10 games over the .500 mark. The Ads, though, have just eight road games left and a whopping 18 at home.
4 Manitoba (3)
Has flirted with disaster recently, seeing six of 12 games go to a shootout. Four of those games resulted in one point rather than two, including a pair of games in Utah. Every AHL team lost at least 11 road games in regulation last season. Manitobas dropped only four through 26 road contests.
5 Hartford (2)
Won final game before All-Star Break to snap a four-game skid, including back-to-back shutouts. Pack is down to No. 2 in the AHL in team defense after holding the lead for much of the season. Reigning AHL MVP Jason LaBarbera is 1-5-0 in his last six decisions after winning 14 straight. Packs a different team at home (22-3-0-1) than on the road (11-13-1-1).
6 St. Johns (10)
The Baby Leafs returned from a 12-game road trip to lose two to red-hot Milwaukee, but since then theyve gone 4-1-0-1 on The Rock, including five of eight points versus Rochester and Manitoba, the two teams they are chasing in the North Division. Leafs lead the league with 18 one-goal wins.
7 Lowell (8)
Lost in the Red Sox and Patriots hoopla has been a tremendous season by the Lock Monsters. Chuck Kobasew is coming into his own after 2 ½ years in the NHL, and hes tied for the AHL lead with seven game-winning goals. The Lock Monsters are one of four AHL teams with a plus-10 goal differential in each period.
8 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (12)
The top four teams in the East Division, which is easily the most contentious division out there, are separated by only three points, and well put them back-to-back-to-back in the Power Poll. Pens, a point back of first-place Binghamton with three games in hand, gets the upper hand due to them being the lone team in the mix with a road record more than one game over .500. But WBS has played just 22 road games, meaning theyll have to earn every point down the stretch.
9 Philadelphia (8)
Remember the 17-game winning streak through Thanksgiving? The tormented Philly fans barely do. Phantoms have lost five of seven and are five points away from being out of a playoff spot in the East. Philly recently went through a stretch of six games where they scored more than one goal just twice.
10 Norfolk (9)
Would have been flip-flopped with Philadelphia if not for a two-game home sweep at the hands of the Phantoms over the weekend. Michael Leighton is 2-2-0 despite a 1.52 gaa in his last four games.
11 Binghamton (6)
One edition after leaping up 10 spots, Sens plummet five. Binghamton is in first in the West, but it has played more games than anyone, and it enters the All-Star Break with one win in eight games (1-4-1-2), albeit a 7-0 thrashing of Albany on the road in which goalie/enforcer Ray Emery fought the Rats Ari Ahonen.
12 Chicago (11)
If Kari Lehtonen the No. 1 ranked goalie prospect in the world doesnt stay healthy, the Wolves could be in trouble. Despite a battle with strep throat, Lehtonen rescued Chicago after Michael Garnett was injured Saturday against the Aeros. The Wolves have seen multiple-goal leads disappear to Houston twice in the last 2 ½ weeks, and head coach John Anderson isnt happy about that.
13 Houston (14)
Since Chicago and Houston have been virtually even all season, including four of six games going to overtime and another decided in the last minute, its impossible to not rank the Aeros right next to the Wolves. Houston still has games in hand on everyone around. The Aeros probably wish they didnt get a six-day break after the emotional come-from-behind win over Chicago on Saturday.
14 Providence (17)
Hannu Toivonen just missed a fourth straight shutout Saturday, beating Springfield 2-1 in a shootout. Bruins top four scorers all average right around a point per game. The Bruins have rallied nicely to tie Worcester for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic.
15 Worcester (13)
More parody, as the Bruins and IceCats are nearly inseparable. Worcester snapped out of a four-game losing streak by winning at Springfield on Friday. Curtis Sanford, who lost the No. 1 goalie job to Jason Bacashihua earlier on, has played 10 straight games since Bacashihua was injured. The IceCats have lost just once in regulation when scoring the games first goal (18-1-1-1), a league-best.
16 Hershey (21)
Dont look now, but the Bears 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 are turning the four-team race in the East into a five-team battle. Hershey beat Lowell and WBS on the road last week.
17 Edmonton (15)
Road Runners went rolling through the West, winning five straight against Grand Rapids before reality and the North Division hit. Edmonton went winless through three games in Cleveland and Hamilton two teams not currently holding down a playoff spot. Poor Mike Morrison. The goalie has a 1.45 gaa in 11 appearances, but just two wins (2-4-3).
18 Cincinnati (18)
In a scheduling quirk, the Ducks have played four straight against Syracuse. Cincinnati hasnt played anyone else since February 3. In last 10 games, Frederic Cassivi is 4-2-1 with a 2.19, but Ilya Bryzgalov Russias World Cup netminder has played just three games, going 2-1-0 with a 3.00.
19 Syracuse (22)
Its been a long crawl back for Syracuse, which at 8-3-1-0 in its last 12 is still eight points out of fourth in the North. The season appeared lost at Thanksgiving with top goalie prospect Pascal Leclaire out with a groin injury, but Karl Goehring has gone 10-6-0 in 2005, including seven games in which hes given up one goal or less.
20 Grand Rapids (16)
The decision to fire head coach Danton Cole was obviously made before the Griffins beat the Aeros last Wednesday for their third win in four games. The Griffins, just 10-14-1-0 at home, christened Greg Irelands AHL coaching debut with a 5-2 Van Andel loss to Utah, which had lost 13 straight on the road.
21 Hamilton (19)
After gaining points in two games on The Rock, Bulldogs returned home to beat Edmonton and Rochester. The bad news in Ontario is that after a 7-11-4-1 start, Hamilton is still eight points out of the final playoff spot in the North.
22 Cleveland (20)
The Barons have won four straight since being left for dead after a five-game winless streak.
23 Portland (24)
With Maxime Ouellet struggling this season (15-20-3, 2.90 gaa), the Pirates turned to 30-year-old ECHLer Kirk Daubenspeck. The Wisconsin product has impressed, going 3-2-0 with a 1.30 while playing each game since his recall.
24 San Antonio (23)
Was treading water when its yearly rodeo road trip began, and three losses after a 3-1-0-0 start on the trek hasnt helped matters. The Rampage recently sent Patrick DesRochers to the ECHL, despite numbers not much worse than Travis Scotts. Sixteen of the Rampages 22 wins have come by one goal.
25 Bridgeport (25)
The Sound Tigers are slow starters and finishers. Bridgeport has scored 31 goals in each the first and third periods, among the lowest in the league. The Sound Tigers rank 24th in the AHL in scoring (2.21 gpg) and may lead the AHL in man games lost to injury.
26 Albany (26)
The Rats have improved, going 5-2-1-0 in their last eight, but they are still 21 points out of a playoff spot.
27 Springfield (26)
The Falcons havent scored more than two goals in regulation in 11 straight games. They dealt Jamie Storr for former Falcons MVP Jean-Marc Pelletier last week, but there needs to be a bigger shakeup on the offense.
28 Utah (28)
Big road win in Grand Rapids only temporarily eased the pain, as the Grizzlies lost 4-1 in Milwaukee the next afternoon. Jamie Storr has had to make 75 saves in his first two starts since being acquired on loan from Springfield for Jean-Marc Pelletier.