They belong to the World: off-day notes

The United States team that’ll seek our first non-Olympic world championship since 1933 will include Matt Donovan and Brock Nelson, USA Hockey announced Tuesday. The tournament’s in Belarus beginning May 9, and Peter Laviolette was named coach of the team earlier in the day.

The Flyers were busy, signing Andrew MacDonald to a massive contract extension and signing Union’s Shayne Gostisbehere, one of the stars of the NCAA tournament, who could play against Bridgeport on Friday for the Phantoms. (His teammate, Mat Bodie, goes to the Rangers, as Katie Strang reported.)

Speaking of Adirondack, the Phantoms need just a point the rest of the way to ensure a finish ahead of Bridgeport, leaving the Sound Tigers in last place in their division for only the second time (2010-11). Bridgeport could mathematically finish as high as 27th, if it won its last two games and the Phantoms lost out in regulation, and if Iowa gained no more than two points in its last three games. If that fails, Bridgeport has a two-point lead and the tiebreaker over Portland, which sits last overall.

Speaking of the Pirates, that circus in Lewiston that had rearranged the AHL schedule now has moved Portland’s finale to Saco, as Chris Roy details.

Up the standings somewhere, Hershey and Norfolk begin their two-game set in Norfolk on Wednesday; they play again Friday. The Bears have a tiebreaker’s lead over the Admirals for the eighth and final playoff spot, as well as the slightly shorter trip for Saturday night’s game (five hours or so to get home vs. Seven and a Darn Half to Binghamton). Both teams are three points behind Albany and Providence, so losing both, even beyond regulation, would be a dangerous proposition.

I think the Stanley Cup playoffs may start Wednesday, too.

Here’s the Abbotsford News’ story on the Heat’s departure.

And Jeff Blashill of Grand Rapids is the AHL’s coach of the year.

Michael Fornabaio