Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Max Noreau Named first-team AHL All Star

There have been several times this year when the three of us in the press box would have a 5-minute discussion on what is wrong with Max Noreau this year. I kid you not, we all have thought that at least one time this season.

Silly us, right?

But the offensive defenseman continues to impress, put up the points and make a very good case as to why he will sign with the parent club of the Manitoba Moose, Chicago Wolves or Hartford Wolf Pack sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Today, the AHL released their 2010-11 AHL All-Star teams, and yep, Noreau is on that list.
He is on their first-team in fact, and if they announce this tonight at the Aeros game, there better be a big cheer. Noreau is one of the best Aeros I have ever had the pleasure to cover,all in terms of his game, skill-set for his position at this level, and the gentleman-ly way he interacts with the coaches, fans and least importantly, the media.

Congrats Max! Below is a copy of the AHL press release from moments ago.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2011


2010-11 AHL ALL-STAR TEAMS ANNOUNCED


SPRINGFIELD, Mass.
... The American Hockey League announced today the 2010-11 AHL First and Second All-Star Teams, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 member cities.

2010-11 AHL First All-Star Team

G - Brad Thiessen, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (42gp, 32-7-1, 1.88gaa, .924sv%, 7so)
D - Marc-Andre Gragnani, Portland Pirates (63gp, 12+48=60pts., +22, 25 PP pts.)
D - Maxim Noreau, Houston Aeros (75gp, 10+43=53pts., 32 PP pts.)
LW - Alexandre Giroux, Oklahoma City Barons (66gp, 30+41=71pts., 14 PPG, 7 GWG)
C - Corey Locke, Binghamton Senators (66gp, 21+64=85pts., +15, 4 GWG)
RW - Mark Mancari, Portland Pirates (56gp, 32+32=64pts., +19, 4 GWG)

2010-11 AHL Second All-Star Team

G - Curtis Sanford, Hamilton Bulldogs (40gp, 22-13-2, 1.93gaa, .930sv%, 5so)
D - Andre Benoit, Binghamton Senators (70gp, 10+43=53pts., 24 PP pts.)
D - Viatcheslav Voynov, Manchester Monarchs (71gp, 13+33=46pts., +19, 6 PPG)
LW - Nigel Dawes, Hamilton Bulldogs (60gp, 38+24=62pts., +11, 9 PPG)
C - Keith Aucoin, Hershey Bears (49gp, 17+50=67pts., +12, 6 GWG)
RW - Darren Haydar, Chicago Wolves (71gp, 25+43=68pts., +9, 4 GWG)

Each All-Star Team member will receive a custom designed crystal award in recognition of his selection to the 2010-11 AHL First and Second All-Star Teams.


2010-11 AHL First All-Star Team

Brad Thiessen
, Goaltender (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins):
Second-year pro Brad Thiessen began his season with eight consecutive victories and has never looked back en route to amassing an AHL-high 32 wins (32-7-1) and a top-ranked 1.88 goals-against average through 42 appearances for the league-leading Penguins. A native of Aldergrove, B.C., the 25-year-old Thiessen is tied for the AHL lead with seven shutouts, ranks seventh in save percentage (.924), and has not lost back-to-back appearances all season long. He could become the first AHL goaltender to record more than 30 wins and fewer than 10 losses since Hartford’s Jason LaBarbera in 2003-04 (34-9-9).

Marc-Andre Gragnani
, Defenseman (Portland Pirates):
Coming off the least productive season of his career in 2009-10, fourth-year pro Marc-Andre Gragnani has bounced back in a big way to lead all AHL defensemen in assists (48) and points (60) while producing a plus-22 rating in 63 games for Portland. A native of Montreal, Gragnani is averaging better than a point per game since the calendar turned to 2011, including a 20-point showing (3-17-20) during the month of March. The 24-year-old has also appeared in four NHL games with Buffalo this season and earned his first NHL point with an assist on the game-winning goal in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over the N.Y. Rangers.

Maxim Noreau
, Defenseman (Houston Aeros):
Montreal native Maxim Noreau has followed up a strong 2009-10 campaign with an even better showing in 2010-11, establishing career highs in assists (43) and points (53), both of which are tied for second among AHL rearguards. Noreau leads all defensemen in power-play assists (26) and points (32) along with total shots on goal (215), and he has recorded multiple points on 15 occasions this season. A Second Team AHL All-Star a year ago, Noreau has increased his point production in each of his four seasons with the Aeros.

Alexandre Giroux
, Left Wing (Oklahoma City Barons):
After back-to-back goal-scoring titles and Calder Cups in Hershey, Alexandre Giroux joined the Edmonton organization last summer and nabbed his seventh consecutive 30-goal season, tying a record held by AHL Hall of Famer Dick Gamble. The Quebec City native also ranks second in the AHL with 71 points in 66 games for Oklahoma City, and is tied for the league lead with seven game-winning goals. Currently 10th in AHL history in goals (338), Giroux, who also has a goal and an assist in eight games with the Oilers this season, has earned his third straight First All-Star Team nod, a feat accomplished by only two other forwards in AHL history (LW Pete Leswick 1948-50, C Art Stratton 1963-65).

Corey Locke
, Center (Binghamton Senators):
Leading a different team in scoring for the fourth consecutive season (Hamilton, Houston, Hartford, Binghamton), Corey Locke has sat atop the AHL scoring race virtually wire-to-wire and has matched a career high with 85 points in 66 games for the Senators, including a personal-best 64 assists. A Toronto native, Locke shows 21 goals – his fifth straight 20-goal season – and a league-high 30 of his 64 helpers have come on Binghamton’s top-ranked power play (22.1 percent). The 26-year-old Locke, a 2007 Calder Cup champion with Hamilton and a Second Team All-Star in 2009-10 , has authored scoring streaks of seven, nine and 12 games this season and earned his first career NHL point with an assist in five games for Ottawa.

Mark Mancari
, Right Wing (Portland Pirates):
Earning his first career postseason All-Star berth, sixth-year pro Mark Mancari has racked up a career-high 32 goals in 56 games for Portland this season, tying for third in the AHL in that category and placing eighth with 64 points. A native of London, Ont., Mancari piled up 10 points in the season’s first four games and has recorded three points on seven different occasions, including three hat tricks – two of them on back-to-back nights (Jan. 22 and 23). Mancari, 25, has also appeared in a career-best 15 NHL games with Buffalo, with a goal and five assists.


2010-11 AHL Second All-Star Team

Curtis Sanford
, Goaltender (Hamilton Bulldogs):
Curtis Sanford
’s season both began and ended with injury, but in between, the backstop from Owen Sound, Ont., turned in one of his more impressive performances to date. Sanford made his season debut on Nov. 2 and won eight of his first nine decisions, surrendering more than two goals only once. Overall, Sanford ranks second among AHL goaltenders in both goals-against average (1.93) and save percentage (.930) while putting up a 22-13-2 mark in 40 appearances for the Bulldogs. Sanford earned three shutouts in a four-start span in January and matched a career-high with five whitewashes on the year.

Andre Benoit
, Defenseman (Binghamton Senators):
A native of St. Albert, Ont., and a 2007 Calder Cup champion with Hamilton, Andre Benoit is tied for second among AHL defensemen with career-best totals in both assists (43) and points (53) through 70 games for Binghamton. The 27-year-old Benoit, who also needs one more goal to establish a career high in that category, boasts 12 multiple-point efforts on the year and made his NHL debut for Ottawa on Feb. 18, appearing in four games for the parent Senators this season.

Viatcheslav Voynov
, Defenseman (Manchester Monarchs):
Drafted in the second round (32nd overall) by the Los Angeles Kings in 2008, 21-year-old defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov has blossomed as a third-year pro in Manchester, posting his best offensive numbers yet with 13 goals and 33 assists for 46 points in 71 games. The native of Chelyabinsk, Russia, leads Manchester with a plus-19 rating, and he made his second straight AHL All-Star Classic appearance after recording a point in 10 of 12 games during the month of December.

Nigel Dawes
, Left Wing (Hamilton Bulldogs):
After spending the past three seasons in the NHL, Nigel Dawes returned to the AHL in 2010-11 and has torn up the circuit for a league-high 38 goals (38-24-62) in 60 games split between Hamilton and Chicago. Dawes, who eclipsed the 35 goals he scored as a rookie in 2005-06, registered a four-goal game for Chicago on Jan. 5, and since his February trade to the Montreal organization, the 26-year-old has piled up 11-7-18 in 13 games for the Bulldogs and added two more hat tricks. The Winnipeg, Man., native has also played 13 NHL games for Atlanta and Montreal in 2010-11.

Keith Aucoin
, Center (Hershey Bears):
Well on his way to becoming one of the greatest AHL playmakers of all time, Keith Aucoin has battled multiple injuries this season but is nonetheless on track for his sixth career top-10 finish in the AHL scoring race with 67 points (17-50-67) in just 49 games. Aucoin burst out of the gate with a 10-game scoring streak, and the native of Waltham, Mass., shows 22 multiple-point efforts all told. In the AHL’s 75-year history, Aucoin currently ranks 10th in assists (491) and 21st in points (702) through 626 career regular-season games. This is the fifth postseason All-Star nod for Aucoin (Second Team 2006, ’07; First Team ’09, ’10), tied with AHL Hall of Famer Les Cunningham for the most career selections for a center.

Darren Haydar
, Right Wing (Chicago Wolves):
A former AHL rookie of the year (2003), MVP (’07), scoring champion (’07) and Calder Cup winner (’04, ’08), Darren Haydar adds to his list of accolades with his third career postseason All-Star berth (First Team 2007, Second Team ’09). A native of Milton, Ont., Haydar is tied for third in the AHL scoring race with 68 points (25-43-68) in 71 games for Chicago in his second stint with the Wolves. Haydar, who tallied a hat trick on Nov. 5 at Lake Erie and produced four points (2-2-4) on Nov. 27 vs. Grand Rapids, has 668 career regular-season points and is the AHL’s career postseason leader in goals (59), assists (76-tied), and points (135).

# # #


Contact:

Jason Chaimovitch
, Vice President of Communications
AJ Atchue
, Coordinator of Communications
(413) 781-2030

6 comments:

John Royal said...

And yet, despite our discussions, if we would have been allowed to vote for players on the team that we cover, we would have all agreed that Max would get our vote. Alas, we couldn't vote for Max, but we would have.

Also, congrats to former Aero Corey Locke, who also made the First Team. I always found Corey to be easy to deal with when he was here.

artandhockey said...

Congratulations to Maxim Noreau and to former Aeros Locke. Two really good men!

Anonymous said...

Please explain the statement that Max will be signing with "...the parent club of the Manitoba Moose, Chicago Wolves or Hartford Wolf Pack sometime in the not-too-distant future."

He so deserves to be a member of the first-team All Stars.

John Royal said...

I should let Andrew answer this, since he started it, but...

I believe that Noreau is a free agent after this season, and Manitoba and Chicago are known for throwing lots of money at players.

Also, the Hartford Wolf Pack no longer exist. Andrew should have said the Connecticut Whale.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, John. I would sure hate to see him go.

Unsportsmanlike said...

I sure hope this organization does what it has to to keep him. He may not be our showiest player (though he has his moments) but he's easily one of the most valuable and I breathe easier whenever I see him on the ice.

Congratulations, Noreau!