Thursday, November 14, 2013

Daily Dish - 11/14/13

The Americans continued preparation for the Friday game with Brampton yesterday with another long day of practice which appeared more like training camp with two hours on the ice. When the ice gets resurfaced at the midpoint of practice you know it is going to be a long day. My sense is this is a difficult week for the players and you could tell that by the seriousness and body language during practice. The game on Friday is something the players must be really looking forward to at this point.

- It is interesting to remember back to last year when Allen was twelve games into the season and recall how upbeat everyone was about the start the Americans were having and compare it to this year. Last year the 12 game record was 10-2 and the Americans were in first place in the standings. There was a very positive vibe around the team. This year the 12 game record is 8-3-1 but there are two teams that are unbeaten (Rapid City 9-0 & Missouri 8-0) and uncertainty surrounds the team. The thing to keep in mind is the talent is in place to be successful even though continuous roster improvement is always in process. There will be roster changes and some may very well happen this week but the underlying philosophy of these coaches is you can't be the best if you don't work the hardest. That is the emphasis right now.

- The difference between success and failure in a hockey season is very small and all you have to do is look at the last two seasons to prove this point. Most fans would say the 2011-2012  season was not a good one but the 2012-2013 was a magical one. But when you take a look at the regular season you would draw a different conclusion. The won-loss record in 2011-2012 was 39-18-9 and the won-loss record in 2012-2013 was 39-18-9. No typo here, the won loss record the last two years was exactly the same. The goals for and against were almost identical both years:

                     Goals For        Goals Against
2011-2012        212                      175      
2012-2013        210                      176

The big difference between the two years was the playoff run. In 2011-2012 Allen lost to the Brahmas in the first round while last year they went all the way. So as the team goes through the trials and tribulations of the regular season it is important to remember the goal is to be at your best in the playoffs.

- Jim McKenzie was a popular player while in Allen and his popularity continues in Quad City. He is having a good year thus far and more importantly staying healthy. He is tied for the team lead in goals with five. I saw the survey below on the Mallards web site which tells the story of Jim's impact in Quad City:

Which of these new Mallards has been most impressive this season?

51%: Jim McKenzie
39%: Vladimir Nikiforov
10%: Nicholas Rioux

- It is hard to see how the Denver franchise can survive as the attendance continues to dwindle. They drew a season low 777 for the game on Tuesday and have drawn less than 1000 fans for the last three games.

- The local television station in Casper, Wyoming recently reported that professional hockey is likely to be in Casper next year. Not a lot of details but the city manager said in the interview that potential owners have been identified, the facility will be ready thanks to a million dollar donation from a local businessman and the owners are looking at a couple of different professional leagues. At this point it is a matter of time before pro hockey comes to Casper according to the city manager.

- Former CHL Championship coach Doug Shedden has been named the Head Coach for the Canadian National Team at the 2013 Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland (Dec. 26-31).  This marks the second straight year that Shedden has coached his national team in the Spengler Cup (won Gold last December). 
Shedden has won more CHL Championships than any other coach winning back-to-back titles for the Thunder (1994 and 1995) and also for the Memphis RiverKings in 2001 and 2002.  In his time in the CHL, Shedden went 231-105-26 (.674 win percentage).
The Wallaceburg, Ontario has also coached in the AHL, UHL, ECHL and in Europe.

 I'm sure many of you have read about the brawl that broke out at the end of a women's college hockey game (Bemidji State vs Ohio State) last weekend which resulted in a record number of penalties being called (see article below). What is the connection to Allen you may ask. One of the most popular stories I have ever written on this blog was about Wendy McMillin (Brian's better half) which you can find in the archives dated January 20, 2013 ("Wendy McMillin- Hockey Wife & Sports Star"). Wendy played hockey for and graduated from Bemidji State.

The Bemidji State women’s hockey team has made its way into the all-time NCAA record books.
Unfortunately it’s not the kind of record head coach Steve Sertich and the Beavers would like to be associated with.
Last Friday during their Western Collegiate Hockey Association game at Ohio State, the Beavers and the Buckeyes combined for 49 penalties and 318 total penalty minutes following BSU’s 3-2 win in Columbus.
Forty-one of those penalties occurred after the final buzzer sounded and resulted in 19 game disqualifications — nine for the Beavers and 10 for the Buckeyes.
The 318 penalty minutes shattered the NCAA record for combined penalty minutes in a game, men or women, at the Division I or Division III level.
The previous record was 268, which occurred in a men’s game between Boston University and Maine on Jan. 24, 2004.
The previous women’s record? Just 83 total penalty minutes, set by Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth on Dec. 14, 2003.
The Bemidji State men still hold the Division III record for penalty minutes in a game (266), set Nov. 26, 1993 against Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The cause of the fighting in Friday’s game is unknown, but video from the game showed a tussle for the puck after the horn sounded followed by both benches emptying.
The disqualifications Friday resulted in both teams being shorthanded Friday — the Beavers and Buckeyes were limited to 10 players a side, meaning they could dress just two lines and two defensive pairings.
Sertich wouldn’t comment on the cause of the fighting other than to say he was disappointed that the penalties overshadowed a great game for the Beavers.
“It’s a disappointing way to end a hockey game, and in college athletics in general,” Sertich said. “We’ve tried to strive in the last three, four years to be the least penalized team in the league and it’s kind of our mantra to stay out of the box. So it was a tough way to end.
“And the hardest part was it overshadowed a great game… but it happened and we have to take our responsibility for it.”
The game saw a solid power play and penalty kill for the Beavers — who scored a shorthanded, 3-on-5 goal in the second period off the stick of Tess Dusik. Bemidji scored twice more in the 3-2 win.
Freshman Brittini Mowat made 31 saves in the win — she went on to make 50 saves in Saturday’s game, a 2-2 tie that ended with BSU getting the shootout victory.
It does not appear as though any additional penalties will be handed down to the Beavers, They return to the Sanford Center this weekend for another WCHA series against Minnesota State Mankato Friday and Saturday afternoon.


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