Nailers and The Stanley Cup
Wheeling, WV - it's been quite a season in Nailers and Penguins country and now it's been capped with an incredible Stanley Cup Championship for the Nailers' parent club up the road in the 'Burgh. The Wheeling Nailers are the proud ECHL affiliate of the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins and are equally proud to have played a role in their run to the title. No fewer than five players who once skated for the Nailers also played for the Penguins in 2008-2009.
Those five players who all appeared for the Penguins included Paul Bissonnette, Luca Caputi, John Curry, Dany Sabourin and Tim Wallace. The five players saw action in a combined 56 games throughout the regular season. None of these players appeared in the Stanley Cup Final although John Curry was on the team's taxi squad that was practicing and travelling with the Penguins throughout their run.
Goalie Dany Sabourin played in 19 games mostly while Marc-Andre Fleury was injured going 6-8-2 . He suited up for the Nailers in 2004-05 putting up spectacular numbers including a 1.67 gaa and .942 saves percentage while going 19-6-1 with an incredible 5 shutouts.
Bissonnette played in 15 games recording 1 assist and 22 penalty minutes mostly from the times he was willing to drop the gloves against some tough NHL veterans. He played in parts of three different seasons with the Nailers from 05-06 through 07-08.
Tim Wallace played in 16 games recording 2 helpers. He laced them up for the Nailers in 06-07 recording 6 goals and 17 points in 19 games.
Goalie John Curry was called up from Wilkes-Barre and went 2-1, 2.40 in his 3 games with the Pens. He was on the Nailers opening day roster in 2007-08.
Luca Caputi played in 3 games registering 2 goals and 1 assist. He joined an elite group by scoring a goal in three different leagues (NHL, AHL, ECHL) all in his first full season of professional hockey.
Additionally, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma is an ECHL alum who played with the Greensboro Monarchs in the 92-93 and 93-94 campaigns. Ruslan Fedotenko is also an ECHL alum having played for the Trenton Titans in 99-00.
Two former Nailers have won Stanley Cup titles: David Aebischer and Peter Laviolette.
Goalie David Aebischer played for the Nailers in 1997-98 and won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2000-01 serving as the back up to the legendary Patrick Roy. When he did it he became just the 2nd ECHL alum to win a Stanley Cup. Aebischer played in 26 games for the Avalanche that year going 12-7-3, 2.74. He had an 8 year career in the NHL that also included stops in Montreal and Phoenix and has more recently played with Lugano in the Swiss League for the past 2 seasons.
Head coach Peter Laviolette led the Nailers to a 37-24-9 mark in 1997-98 before getting a call up to the AHL and eventually to the NHL. Laviolette mentored the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2005-2006 with a team that went 52-22-8 in the regular season.
So what does the future hold? Nobody knows for sure but the Wheeling Nailers have the ECHL record for most alums appearing in the NHL at 36 and the number keeps growing. Don't be surprised to hear more Nailers have their names mentioned in future Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Penguins or even with other NHL teams.
The possibilities are huge and it's enough to make you wish we could fast-forward to October and start the 2009-10 season of Wheeling Nailers hockey right now!
The 4th Annual Wheeling Nailers / WAHA Steak Fry is coming on Saturday, June 27th at Wheeling Park Memorial Ice Rink. Fun and games for the whole family and a live DJ until midnight. Great food and great times. Call the Nailers or order online to get your tickets ahead of time for the Wheeling Nailers / WAHA Steak Fry.
Nailers season tickets for 2009-2010 are on sale now. Great ticket packages starting as low as $8 per game for all 36 exciting Wheeling Nailers home games plus many other great benefits exclusive to our season ticket family. Call the Nailers for more information at 304-234-GOAL or log on at wheelingnailers.com
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