Monday, November 4, 2013

Martinson Post Game Comments & Concerns

All good things must come to an end and that is what happened to the Allen Americans Sunday afternoon as they lost to the Tulsa Oilers 3-1 for their first regulation loss of the season. At one level this loss was not a surprise as it is difficult to keep beating the same team game after game as Allen has played Tulsa five times in a little over one week. Tulsa seemed to be the more determined group and the fact that they are off to the worst start in the history of the franchise and had lost six straight one goal games helped with that determination. While the Americans are still in first place in the CHL standings with 15 points they have games in hand over the teams behind them. In spite of a great record (7-1-1) to start the season the game on Sunday pointed out what has been a concern all along. This team has a difficult time scoring even strength goals and too much of the scoring load has rested with the top line.

- The top line was held scoreless for the first time all year so scoring streaks by Bootland (8) and Lavoie (7) have come to an end. They both had a couple of excellent scoring opportunities but could not get the puck in the net.

- One way to look at even strength success in hockey is plus/minus. It measures a player's goal differential. With the exclusion of power play and penalty shot goals, when an even-strength or shorthanded goal is scored, the plus–minus statistic is increased by one ("plus") for those players on the ice for the team scoring the goal; the plus–minus statistic is decreased by one ("minus") for those players on the ice for the team allowing the goal. Now that the Americans have played nine games (13.6% of the season) this statistic is indicative of the struggle the team has had in scoring even strength.

Here is how Allen compares in plus/minus compared to the other three teams at the top of the standings:
Allen:          -11
Rapid City: +61
Denver:       +38
Missouri:    +41

It was obvious some of the information above was on Coach Martinson's mind as he talked to the media and season ticket holders after the game. Here is a recap of what he had to say:

Martinson Concerned Even With 7-1-1 Record -

- Not a great game by us. I think we are relying too much on a handful of guys to supply the scoring and the other guys are not producing.
- Even though our record is good we have had all one goal games so the outcome could have been very different.
- Phil Fox will definitely be activated for the game on Thursday as we need more scoring. It is nice to know we have a good player like Fox stepping into the line up who can make some things happen.
- We don't have enough offense right now. We have a checking line that that is doing an outstanding job, our young guys are pulling their weight but we need our other guys to step up.
- I'm not sure we are there yet with our roster. We are close but not there yet. I will continue to talk to guys and may make a move.
- On special teams tonight I thought we made some poor choices on the first power play as we took some bad angle shots. We have some veteran guys that I would have thought would do more on the power play but they are not. So I put the checking line on the power play and they got a goal.
- I have some salary cap money sitting on the sidelines and we are one sixth into the season and I don't like everything I see. Hopefully we can get some improvement one way or another. Right now there are good players out there that have not been signed but if I keep waiting and waiting those players will be gone.
- Fatigue isn't an excuse for how we played as Tulsa played four games in five nights too and they had to travel this morning while we slept in.
- We were not as physical in this game as we usually are as there were not as many hits and that can be attributed to fatigue. Some guys need a rest.
- We are 7-1-1 and have a lot of one goal games and have won those games because we are the better team but one goal here or there and we could be a .500 team. I think we have some good chemistry on our team but I don't want to have my head in the sand and think everything is rosy.
- I'm looking for the upcoming road trip as just getting that first win. Getting back up on the horse and have all three lines contributing. Right now we do not have three lines contributing. I will be looking to Fox to get that third line going.
- The team will be flying to Brampton (Toronto) on Wednesday.
- Hendrikx is available to play but one of the problems with carrying so many veteran players is they make more money so if you have two players on IR you are only allowed 18 players on the roster. Because I am carrying 20 players two players have to remain on the IR. We are going to need all seven of our defensemen throughout the season. It is tough for Trevor and he is not happy not playing but we will see him back in the lineup at some point. Once we start getting some injuries we will be glad we have depth at defense.

DID YOU KNOW: The Americans home record (2-1-1) is worse than their road record (5-0-0) this season. This continues a trend that started last year as Allen's regular season record last year was 19-10-4 at home and 20-8-5 on the road. Even in the playoffs last year they were 7-4 at home and 5-3 on the road. So much for home ice advantage.

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