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.....with the Wichita Thunder.... :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:


The e-mail that Wichita Thunder general manager Joel Lomurno had been anxiously awaiting finally reached his inbox mid-morning on Friday.

"I think we need a little more size on our blueline," coach Brent Bilodeau wrote. "Merry Christmas."

The early present was the signing of Chris McAllister, a big and tough defenseman with seven years experience in the NHL. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound McAllister filled the team's final veteran spot and immediately had the team's message boards buzzing.

Suddenly, the Thunder, sorely lacking in the physical department last season, has a legitimate heavyweight on its roster. And McAllister, with more than 700 professional games to his credit, also has the reputation as a solid stay-at-home defenseman.

Another newly signed Thunder vet, Glenn Detulleo, played with McAllister on the Kalamazoo Wings of the United Hockey League in 2006-07.

"Obviously, he's physical, no question about that," Detulleo said. "He definitely commands respect. He's got the size, but he's also got the reputation because of what he's done at the higher level. His biggest asset is the presence he brings on the ice."

Bilodeau, who has built a blueline with four players 6-4 or taller, described McAllister as smart, great on the penalty kill and a "true professional" who will serve as a leader for younger players.

"He's been through the wars," Bilodeau added.

The 40th overall pick in the 1995 draft, McAllister played a total of 301 NHL games for five teams from 1996-2004. During that time, he had four goals, 17 assists and 634 penalty minutes. He also has significant experience in the American Hockey League.

The 35-year-old McAllister, who is married with a 15-month-old son, wants to get into coaching someday but stressed that he still has a strong desire to play. He added that he thinks the Thunder, 20-41-3 in Bilodeau's first season last year, is headed in the right direction, "and I want to be a part of that."

McAllister, who has 76 points and 1,711 penalty minutes in 734 career games, joked that fans won't see him leading any end-to-end rushes.

"I'm a hard-nosed, stay-at-home defenseman," he said. "I take care of my end first. I work hard on the penalty kill and make sure the goalie doesn't get harassed by the other team.

"As for the physical side of it, I protect my team at all cost. I've never shied away from that my whole career."

Indeed, fans can check out several examples of his handiwork on YouTube, and his exploits are well documented on a Web site called dropyourgloves.com. According to the site, McAllister was 27-15-17 in NHL bouts. Last season, in the United Kingdom's Elite Ice Hockey League, he was 9-0-1.

"I don't go out looking for it," he said of the physical side of the game. "If I'm doing my job, it comes to me."

Fans may be eager to see McAllister show off his fighting skills, but it's uncertain how many Central Hockey League players will offer a challenge. Detulleo recalls that few players tested McAllister when they played together in 2006-07. (Dropyourgloves.com has McAllister fighting just three times in 40 games that year.)

"Not too many guys would go after him, and the ones who did didn't do too well," Detulleo said. "He fought every heavyweight in the NHL in his day, so there's no question he can take care of himself. There might be some guys (in the CHL) looking to make a name for themselves who have the guts to try, but it wouldn't be a good idea."

Bilodeau, whose second recruiting class appears vastly superior to his first, is pleased to have an enforcer — a role the team was unable to consistently fill last season. That absence was one of the reasons the team struggled to a last- place finish, Bilodeau said.

"I think we all agree that our team last year lacked toughness and size," Bilodeau said. "Teams took advantage of that; teams knew they could kind of do as they please a little bit.

"I don't think that will be the case anymore."

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:o :o

Why u lie to me noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I didn't lie, this is a great pickup for the Thunder, from what I've read, they were really looking for a shut-down defender, and they got one in McAllister.

We all hate you...LOL

Yeah I know haha. Hopefully there will be another Chris Mcalister signing this week.

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