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Off-season Flurries: Eagles leave ECHL without a 2018 defending champ

The Eagles win another championship and the Capitals are living their best lives

Photo courtesy of Standout Imagery

The Colorado Eagles are moving to the AHL this upcoming season, doing what likely needed to be done a while ago for the Avalanche.

Their prospects will be closer at hand and recalls will be easier, with coaching staff just an hour’s drive down the road in Denver and collaboration between the staff members at each level easy to conduct in person.

Before they made this move, the Avalanche were one of the league’s last remaining holdouts that hadn’t managed to secure this kind of situation.

Every Pacific Division club (excluding the always-on-top-of-things Vancouver Canucks) has moved their affiliate out west; Calgary and Edmonton have California-based affiliates they’re close to at least 10 to 15 times a year, depending on their schedules, while LA and San Jose have affiliates in suburbs of their own cities, Anaheim and Arizona have affiliates just a few hours up the road, and Vegas has their affiliate in Chicago for now - a full 1,200 miles closer to them than Vancouver’s affiliate is to the BC town.

In the Central, Minnesota’s affiliate is just three hours away, Winnipeg’s plays at the MTS Center with them, and both Chicago and Dallas have an affiliate within a few hours by car. St. Louis has dealt with some management struggles in the past regarding their minor league club, which left them ousted from their relationship with the conveniently-located Chicago Wolves, and Nashville is an eight-hour drive from their affiliate - but the Admirals are, like the Calgary and Edmonton clubs, close to plenty of Nashville rivals for easy access checking up on them.

The Metropolitan Division has it even better, with affiliates stacked throughout Pennsylvania and New York - and one in each Charlotte, North Carolina and Cleveland, Ohio, of course - and the Atlantic Division has affiliates either in the same city or neighboring towns for Boston, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Buffalo. The Red Wings have Grand Rapids across Michigan, and only the Florida teams - Tampa Bay with Syracuse and Florida with Springfield - have truly held out on an easy-to-access AHL team (and even they’re located right in the thick of the Atlantic for easy access, too).

Given how the league is trending, it’s almost impossible to deny that adopting Colorado as the AHL affiliate for the Avs is a good thing - and here’s some more on what to know about the move. [The Coloradoan]

The Eagles will also head to the AHL with one final title under their belt, after defeating the Florida Everblades for the Kelly Cup:

The ECHL is a volatile league, as most lower-level leagues are. The clubs operate on a shoestring budget, and fold and relocate almost too often to count.

Still, this leaves the league without a defending champ making a victory tour next season - which is interesting to think about how that should play out. There will be no ‘championship hangover’ for the two-time champs.

Which, of course, I only bring up to segue into the real attraction this weekend: the monster hangover Alex Ovechkin is going to have when he finally stops drinking for more than a few hours to nap and intravenously ingest mass volumes of Pedialyte.

In case you missed it (LOL), the Washington Capitals are Stanley Cup champions at long last.

That may make Larry Brooks of the New York Post saltier than a can of sardines, but it’s been absolutely incredible for the rest of us to witness:

(For the record, Jakub Vrana was posting to his Instagram story at around 4am on Saturday night/Sunday morning and still going strong - so @recordsANDradio is being funny, but they’re also not entirely joking.)

I’ll share a few of the really good videos here, but I recommend checking out DC Sports Blog on Twitter for everything so we save some space:

This stuff is so good.

Seriously. Never stop, Ovi.

(Although Burakovsky, who seems to have gotten the team’s forward lines tattooed onto his forearm in the last few days, should maybe stop before he does something like ink their power-play formation onto his neck.)

The bottom line, though, is that the Capitals are doing something incredibly special with the Cup right now. They’re having a massive party for it, sure - but instead of holding it in an exclusive club for friends and rich celebrities only, they’re sharing the party with the entire city. This is a really good look at just how meaningful that is. [The Washington Post]

We’ve also got an incredible story about all the pupils of Mitch Korn who just witnessed him raise the Cup with the Capitals, and just how proud they are of all he’s accomplished. []

Finally, nod of tribute to BarDown for coming across this hilarious clip of James Corden looking absolutely miserable in net against Shawn Mendes - although all goodwill to them is lost by the fact that they don’t seem to notice that Corden put his pads on the wrong legs. (Non-goalies always seem to do this. Why do they always seem to do this?)

Remember, folks: it’s called the outer roll for a reason!