Blog: Not a good first

In six-plus seasons of watching the Gwinnett Gladiators, I've never seen head coach Jeff Pyle skate players after practice. He did Monday.

Defenseman Chad Denny and forward Matt Siddall, both property of the Atlanta Thrashers, were sent up, down and around the rink at the IceForum after a 45-minute regular practice. Denny played poorly in Sunday's loss to Wheeling. Siddall hasn't played and isn't even officially on the Gladiators' roster because of an injury, but he's doing his rehab here.

Pyle said when I asked him later that in 15 years of coaching, this is the first time he's made any player skate after practice.

Neither Denny nor Siddall will be making the road trip to South Carolina for Tuesday night's game. But Denny will go when the Gladiators head back to Charleston, S.C., for games Friday and Saturday.

Pyle said before the season started that he wasn't going to be patient and players would be held out of games if they didn't perform. Even with a minor injury to defenseman Chris Zarb, Pyle has enough players to make Denny a healthy scratch.

Pyle said he wanted to get defenseman Jamie Fritsch into the lineup and liked the way forward Brian Kaufman played on Sunday. Both rookies are coming out of college, Fritsch at New Hampshire and Kaufman at Miami (Ohio).

Check Tuesday's paper or our Web site for an article that features more reaction from Sunday's loss and comments about the road trip to Charleston.

Also of interest Monday was AHL Chicago's firing of head coach Don Granato and assistant Jason Christie. The Wolves put out a perfunctory press release and no details were given regarding when a new coach might be named.

Pyle was a candidate when Granato was hired before the 2008-09 season and obviously has a strong record of winning while still developing prospects at the ECHL level. I would expect him to be in the mix again. At this point I don't have any word one way or another on the likelihood, but it seems like a scenario worth considering.