Since this blog is for and about the Allen Americans I especially want to say thank you to the players, coaches and others (Tommy Daniels, Kacee Coberly, & Osama Kassab) who are spending today away from both their immediate family as well as their extended families. Since I have gotten to know a little about the inner workings of a hockey team during the past year writing this blog, I appreciate what the players go through to play a sport that they love. What appears to be the seemingly glamorous life of a professional hockey player to fans is a difficult one when you play in the CHL where the risk of injury is high and the chance of lucrative signing bonuses, six figure salary checks and endorsement deals is very low. The players make an average of $600 per week and the minimum salary is only $350 per week. And players only make that during the season so for six months of the year they are working at hockey camps or other jobs back home. Combine all of this with the long road trips away from family on a cramped bus for hours upon hours and job security which allows a team to send you packing at a moments notice. So why do these gluttons for punishment continue to suffer the consequences of physical punishment and near poverty? Mostly because they refuse to abandon dreams they've had since childhood. Make no mistake the players on the Allen Americans are still among the best hockey players in the world. They may sometimes be forced to moonlight as cabinet makers or landscapers or work in a group home for troubled youth in order to make ends meet, and odds are most of them may never see the light of signing bonuses, clothing endorsements, or digitized characters in a video game. But they possess something that makes them heroic every time they lace up their skates: undying perseverance. They simply refuse to settle for a life short of what they so desperately desire. It's a shame such an admirable quality isn't better rewarded. So today, I say thanks to "the boys" for all they do for us and I hope they enjoy their Thanksgiving meal which I understand will be at Murphy's restaurant in Prescott, AZ.
The game last night followed an all too familiar pattern where the Americans take an early lead (2-0 after the first period) but can't make that advantage hold up and lose the game. It was a 5-3 loss to Arizona before a very small crowd of 1672 at Tim's Toyota Center.
- John Snowden and Greger Hanson got the two first period goals. Since Snowden has returned to the line up (three games) he has five points (2 goals 3 assists). Hanson has played four games since being acquired and also has five points (1 goal 4 assists).
- Darryl Bootland's third period goal was his tenth of the season and ranks him tied for fourth in the CHL for goals scored.
- With the loss last night Allen has the longest current losing streak in the CHL at three games. The Sundogs with the win have the longest current winning streak in the CHL at six games.
- The Americans have fallen to fifth place in the standings as Missouri and Tulsa jumped them with wins last night. It has been a long time since the Allen Americans have been as low as 5th in the standings.
- One player that is flying under the radar in my opinion is Kale Kerbashian. With the top line (Bootland, Lavoie, & Lessard) getting much of the headlines Kale has quietly been a scoring force on the team. He has scored in five straight games and is first or second on the team in goals, assists, points, plus/minus and game winning goals.
- Mark Guggenberger got very little support in his first start for Allen. The Americans were out shot 15-6 in the first period but still managed a 2-0 lead in large part to the play of Guggenberger. The Sundogs had 20 shots on goal in the second period and for the game Arizona out shot the Americans 41- 31.
- The Americans were not able to capitalize on the statistical advantage they had coming into the game on special teams as both Allen and Arizona went 1-6 on power plays. It was only the third power play goal Arizona has scored at home all season.
- I found the the comments of Steve Martinson, who after all is the general manager as well as head coach of the Americans, to be prophetic during this period of time where the team has lost six of their last nine games. As general manger I really like this team and know they can beat any team in the league but as coach I am not happy. The general manager is getting impatient with the coach and unless there are improvements this weekend you can expect additional roster changes being made by the general manager.
Let's hope the team has a good day off, enjoys a Thanksgiving meal together, gets re-energized, and plays they way the coach and general manager know they can play these next two games.
DID YOU KNOW:
- Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, organized the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. He invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast.