J.P. Hoornstra, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
For a player who spent all of last season, and most of the previous season, in the American Hockey League, Dusty Collins' time with the Reign figured to be on loan.
Sure enough, the 25-year-old center found out Sunday he's headed back to the AHL with the Manitoba Moose, leaving the Reign without one of their top defensive forwards and faceoff-circle experts.
"Dusty played there for two years. They know him well. It's not like he's going in on a tryout; they know what they're getting," Reign coach Karl Taylor said.
The Moose have four games this week - today, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday - all at home. Manitoba's parent club, the Vancouver Canucks, recalled forward Sergei Shirokov on Monday. Collins could be asked to fill in until Shirokov or another Canucks player is sent down.
Collins had seven goals, 15points, 41 penalty minutes and a minus-3 rating in 28games with the Reign.
Beaverson closer to return
Defenseman Luke Beaverson, sidelined by a lower-body injury since Dec. 17, took part in his second full-contact practice Monday, the first in which he engaged in significant contact.
Taylor said he'll have a better idea of Beaverson's availability today. The defenseman didn't travel with the team to Las Vegas and Bakersfield last weekend, but could play as early as Wednesday against the Condors.
"Any time you can get another big body like that, that adds the physical element," defenseman David Walker said. "He's one of our leaders, he's been around a couple years, so it's another veteran presence on the back end. That's definitely not going to hurt you."
Beaverson, 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, has two goals, two assists, a minus-9 rating and 49 penalty minutes in 25 games.
Defenseman Chad Starling said he will meet with a specialist Thursday to determine the next course of treatment on his lower-body injury.
Johnson reacts to suspension
Chaz Johnson said he knew the NHL outlawed blindside hits to the head late last season after hearing about it on the NHL Network.
But the forward didn't know the ECHL adopted the same rule until he received a game misconduct, fine and one-game suspension from the league for his lateral hit to the head of Alaska's Mark Isherwood last Wednesday.
"Honestly, I never sat down or read the rule book or anything, I just play the way I play," Johnson said. "Whatever happens, I deal with the consequences of things. They felt that (I deserved) a one-game suspension. Nothing I can do about it."
Johnson sat out the Reign's 2-1 win in Las Vegas on Friday.
It wasn't the first time he was suspended by the ECHL, but it was his first under Rule 48, which the ECHL instituted this season after lifting the language out of the NHL rule book.
"The commissioner definitely knows who I am," Johnson quipped.
Forward Bud Holloway had three assists - two to Dwight King - in the Manchester Monarchs' 6-4 win over Charlotte on Thursday. Forward Jordan Nolan had two assists as well.
Forward Jon Rheault has a four-game point streak (goal, four assists) for the AHL's Abbotsford Heat. Rheault has five goals and 17 points in 42 games this season.
Defenseman Andrew Martens has points in five of his last six games for the Central Hockey League's Wichita Thunder. Martens has six goals and 24 points in 33 games.
Defenseman Darren McMillan had a goal and an assist Saturday for the CHL's Quad City Mallards. He has three goals and 13 points in 36games.
Forward Greg Hogeboom is riding a five-game point streak (four goals, three assists) for the CHL's Texas Brahmas. He has 16 goals and 38 points in 33games this season.
Forward Peter Lenes has six goals and 12 points in 33 games for the Graz (Austria) 99ers of the Erste Bank League.