In another move designed to improve the team's sluggish offense, the Thunder acquired center Ryan Campbell in a trade on Tuesday. Glenn Detulleo was sent to Mississippi in the deal, the Thunder's fourth in less than three weeks.
Campbell, a 2008 all star, had 14 goals and 33 points in 36 games for Mississippi (17-15-4). The 30-year-old has been a consistent producer, scoring 61, 60 and 76 points in three seasons with the Riverkings.
"It gives us a centerman, which we've really been needing, and he's a guy who can put the puck in the net," general manager Joel Lomurno said.
Detulleo had a team-high 19 assists and 23 points in 34 games. During one six-game stretch, he had 10 assists.
The Thunder is also bringing back defenseman Brett Beauchamp, who was scoreless in five games before leaving the team earlier this season. The Thunder also claimed Shane Foster, who was released by Colorado, off waivers. In addition, Wichita claimed Shane Foster, who was released by Colorado, off of waivers.
* That Jason Duda will remain the coach for the rest of the season has been obvious for weeks, but Lomurno made it official on Tuesday. The Thunder is 1-21-3 under Duda, who took over when Brent Bilodeau was fired with the team 2-7. "I think he's done a good job changing up the roster," Lomurno said. "And there is no one I can bring in today and say, 'This is the Wichita Thunder's head coach for the rest of the season and next year, too.' I don't want to bring someone in for two months."
* As of Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., the Thunder had sold more than 8,000 tickets for the opener on Saturday at Intrust Bank Arena. Lomurno said he expects a crowd of approximately 11,000. The arena seats 13,500 for hockey, Lomurno said. When just the lower bowl is used, it seats 6,500.
* I know the move to Intrust isn't all about me, but I do have three wants for the new arena. 1. That there is an elevator to the press box. 2. That Thunder fans drop the "And they still stuck" chant when opponents are announced at full strength after penalties. It's classless. 3. That the Thunder brings back the "crappy furniture" promotion — for old time's sake. Maybe it will play better in a new venue.
* Jay Henderson and Chris Kovalcik have left the team. Henderson plans to play overseas and Kovalcik must attend to "personal matters," Lomurno said.
The Thunder scored two power-play goals in a loss at Allen on Saturday. The goals by Brad Thompson and Joel Hanson allowed Wichita to snap a nine-game scoring drought on the power play.
The Thunder is allowing an average of 38 shots in its last five games.
One Kansas Coliseum tradition won't transfer to the new arena. The horn that blasts after each Thunder goal won't be relocated to Intrust. A similar, horn-like sound will blare from the arena sound system, though.
TAP OF THE STICK
I'm a big "American Idol" fan — is "Pants on the Ground" available on iTunes yet? —so I think it's a good move to have Phil Stacey perform on Saturday. The Wichita Northwest grad will play before the game, at first intermission, and he'll sign autographs at second intermission. Maybe I'll try to score an interview with Stacey. I bet he's got some great Sanjaya stories.
Goalie Ian Keserich's saves percentage, which would lead the CHL but he is less than two games short of qualifying.
HE SAID IT
"Wichita friends... Does anyone need tickets to the Thunder game on Saturday for the Grand Opening of the new arena?" —A Tuesday Twitter from Stacey