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By D.K. Williams
October 16, 2001
EXCLUSIVE TO GENERALSFAN.COM
NEW PLAYER CRAIG STAHL
Over the weekend, Craig Stahl was picked up off waivers from the Columbus Cottonmouths of the East Coast Hockey League and is expected to join the Generals this Wednesday. He should see some action this weekend as the Generals take on the Reading Royals in Pennsylvania Friday night and again in Greensboro Saturday.
No current General was released to make room for Stahl.
"We are shifting our roster around a little bit," Townshend said. "We have some injuries, so we will probably have some guys on the [injured reserve list], and that will clear room for Craig Stahl.
"Craig is a game-breaking, body-checking type of player. He is not going to score you a lot of goals. He is a ‘heart and soul’ player, a Ken Brassard, Chris Boone type.
"With those three in our lineup, that gives us that one guy in each line that is going to stir things up for us. That is what we really wanted from Craig.
"I think every team needs, every line needs, a player like that. We were really desperate to get that element on each line, and know I think we do have it. We will see how Craig does and how he helps us.
"He had an exceptional camp with Columbus. The only reason they had to let him go is that they had guys sent down from New Jersey, some rookies, some contracted guys, and they have to keep them.
"I called Columbus three days before they waived him, and inquired about him. I thought he had been waived before, and I really wanted this kid. They told me ‘no way we are getting rid of him, there is no way.’
"That was the response I expected to get if he was still with them. Then two days later New Jersey asked them to take some players, so they had to, and that is what happened. He had to get bumped.
"I was pretty happy to see that he got waived.
"He is good friends with [General center] Kelly Smart. Another guy who played with me for two years, Brian Elder, is very good friends with him as well." Elder was a goalie with the Macon Whoopee the past two years, while Townshend was coaching in Macon.
"I have known of [Stahl] and I played against him for one year and I coached against him for a year. I really like the way he plays.
"He was in Pensacola last year and got cut. If you talk to anybody that was there, it was an absolute joke that the got cut from the team, because he had had a great camp.
"Like in this camp with Columbus, even though they have a lot of guys who are tough, he was the only guy that was fighting.
"He took on a kid from Florida that is 6-foot-6. He fought him twice. Craig is about six feet himself. Then he fought another big guy, [Phillipe] Lakos, another big guy. [Lakos is 6-foot-4]. He won all three fights.
"I have been told that on the side he is a prize fighter. I haven’t asked him yet about it, but that is what I was told.
"And he is a good player. He skates well. He knows his game, he knows his roll. He finishes every check, and that is something I don’t see enough of right this minute.
"But again that comes with team identity and once we really establish what it is I expect, you will see more of that. He finishes his checks hard."
WHO COMPRISES THE FIRST LINE FOR THE GENERALS?
"We don’t have a first line," the coach said. "We have three lines that are expected to play defense and expected to score goals.
"We don’t have a first line. I can honestly look you in the eye and tell you we do not have a first line right now. There is no way.
"No one has really stepped forward and established themselves as the ‘go-to’ person right now. It is really in the air.
"I don’t really expect it to happen right this minute. I expect it to be developed over time."
The lines playing together right now are Chris Mackenzie, Vlad Serov and, once he gets healthy, probably Brian Loney. Until then, Craig Stahl may fill the slot. The other two lines are comprised of David Whitworth, Sal Manganaro and Chris Brassard; and Casey Kesselring, Kelly Smart and Ken Boone.
ON THE BLUE LINE
"Our top unit is Rob Sandrock and Jason Robinson. By far, they are definitely our top unit," Townshend said.
"Jason Metcalf is playing very well along with Dan Passero.
"Dion Lassu is doing a good job. The kid is a rookie and he is doing a lot more than I expected him to do this early. I am really proud of him."
THE GENERALS COACH’S SHOW
The first ever Graeme Townshend show, also known as "The Front Line," was broadcast from Parmesan’s Great Italian Buffet Monday night.
For those that might be confused about the name of the show, "Front Line" is a popular tick and flea medicine that is applied topically to dogs and cats. (Okay, it is also a military term describing where the fighting is going on. Maybe that is what they mean.)
The show was, and will be, broadcast from 6-7 pm every Monday night on 1470 AM from Parmesan’s.
Due to technical shortcomings (more on that later), calls could not be taken over the air. In any event, calls were taken by a staff member, written down and relayed to Arley Johnson and the coach.
Owner Art Donaldson was present, along with one of his law partners, sales guy Mike Seamon, and Jack and Rosalee Brewer.
Make a point of coming out if you get the chance. It is a great opportunity to talk with The Man, if you are so inclined. Mr. Donaldson is approachable.