Thursday, December 5, 2013

Practice Notes, CHL Big Announcement?, Another Puck Incident, La Belle Boutique

- Stopped by practice yesterday to find everyone participating in practice for the first time in a while. I'm sure some of the guys are not 100% but at least everyone was participating. The part of practice I witnessed was devoted to working on system related issues and also the shoot out drill. The players seemed to me to be much more relaxed and having fun compared to the practices prior to the Arizona trip. Playing well and a couple of wins might contribute to the mood shift. We will probably have to wait until Friday to determine who will be playing and who will be on IR for the weekend. Shout out to Dan Zalaznik, Richard and Carol Henry who were the only fans attending practice. I call them super fans as they support the team in many ways and attending practice is one of them.

- Several players ran all of the steps in the Allen Event Center after practice. I saw them from afar but I think one group was led by John Snowden and included Bryan Pitton and Daniel Tetrault while Kale Kerbashian ran by himself as the other group was finishing. Seeing the players bust their butts on the steps reminded me of what coach Martinson always says, "you can't be the best player if you are not the hardest working."

- The big hype about a major CHL announcement for yesterday underwhelmed most everyone. The announcement was the CHL would expand by a maximum of two teams for next season without any specific locations. Here are some of the comments I saw after the "big announcement" which reflect how most fans/observers felt.
* So much for this "major announcement". We might have 2 new teams next year, but we aren't sure.
* CHL announces that they will be announcing expansion. As soon as they announce it. End of announcement.
* Uh...that announcement was edifying. The league might or might not expand by one or two teams next year!!! 

The CHL may have wanted to reassure everyone that they are a viable league that can find investors in additional markets. A sort of preemptive strike to counteract any information that may come out about teams leaving the CHL (Rapid City) or folding (Denver, St. Charles). Just speculation on my part because on the face of it (unless you read a message between the lines) the expansion news release was not well accepted. I saw this posted on which captures how most people felt after waiting for the exciting news:

- Garrett Clarke's shooting the puck into the bench (some say intended for coach Martinson) last Friday was followed by a similar incident in the SPHL on Saturday night. As you recall, Clarke received a one game suspension which Martinson took great issue with for an incident which could have ended with a serious injury for someone on the team or even worse a fan. The incident in the SPHL the next night was very similar. It was a game between the Peoria Rivermen and Bloomington Thunder in which the a Bloomington Thunder player deliberately shot the puck into the Peoria bench towards the end of the game. When the player was suspended the coach thought the suspension was not long enough. The only difference is in the SPHL case the suspension was for five games. My opinion is the SPHL did a better job of handling the situation than the CHL for the reasons stated below. Here are some details from a story written by Dave Eminian from the Peoria Star Journal:

PEORIA — The Peoria Rivermen had already put the penalty-filled, antic-laden win Saturday over the Bloomington Thunder behind them as they waited and watched, with interest, to see what discipline might come from the SPHL. On Wednesday, the league and the Thunder put Bloomington head coach Brian Gratz behind them. Gratz resigned, avoiding what might have been a long suspension coming from the league for his role in a contest that produced 180 penalty minutes, 6 ejections and a Bloomington player who fired a puck at the Rivermen bench. That player, Kory Helowka, drew a five-game suspension from the SPHL on Wednesday, about the equivalent of what a major elbowing or checking from behind infraction might typically draw in higher-level leagues like the ECHL or AHL. "Helowka could have killed someone, though," said Rivermen head coach Jean-Guy Trudel, at whom Helowka fired the puck. "I thought it (the suspension) would be more, but it is a league decision, we accept it, and we move on. At least the league addressed it and did something. We can't have guys doing this kind of stuff if we hope to build credibility in the SPHL like the ECHL and AHL have."

- You have to wonder if there will be any fallout surrounding Garrett Clarke from the shooting the puck in the bench incident in Arizona last Friday. The league has taken action so that is done but will the team be concerned about his actions. If you have read the story I wrote about him last year, "Player Profile - Garrett Clarke" dated December 12, 2012 you know he is a talented young player who always seems to take things too far and get himself in trouble. He has played for 11 different teams in the last six years. The Sundogs may be wondering if the risk is worth the reward.

- If you look on the CHL key dates calendar it shows a mid season break from January 13-16. This is the time when there would normally be an all-star game. Since the CHL has chosen not to have an all star game this year the players still get the time off per the collective bargaining agreement. I hope the league reinstates the all star game as it is a great way to publicize the league and honor its players.

- Former Ft. Worth Brahma player, Austin Mayer, has signed with the Rapid City Rush and should be in the line up this weekend. He tried to catch on with a couple of ECHL teams (Stockton & Bakersfield) to no avail. He plays with speed and will do well in the CHL if given the opportunity.

- I have heard from a couple of sources (none of them official) that Rapid City was to have a court hearing about this time regarding their legal standing to move from the CHL to the ECHL. If this has been heard in court the results will be closely followed by teams around the league. Stay Tuned.

- A couple of other Rapid City players to keep your eye on this weekend are Tim Boron who was just named the CHL Goaltender of the Month and Konrad Reeder who was named Player of the Month for the month of November. There is no question the Rush have been the best team in the league thus far and the Americans will have to be at their best to hand Rapid City their first road loss of the season. Rapid City is 7-0-0 on the road.

- Heard yesterday that Corey Tamblyn has signed a contract with a new team which will be announced today. Corey is a hard working player that really impressed the coaches in Allen. It is good to hear he has caught on with another team.

DID YOU KNOW: La Belle Boutique, owned by Tabayia Tetrault, wife of Daniel Tetrault has recently become an extension of the Allen Americans ticket office. The boutique which is in historic downtown Plano located just east of the DART tracks on the north side of the road (1007 East 15th St. Suite 101) has contemporary, chic and a little bit of vintage inspired ladies apparel, shoes and accessories, bath and body and one of a kind gifts. There are also things for the guys. You can buy discount Allen Americans tickets while you do some Christmas shopping. And you can talk hockey with Tabayia who worked for the Wichita Thunder as the Director of Finance.
Tabayia and many of the other shop owners in downtown Plano are helping the Assistance Center of Collin County, where I work every Friday as a volunteer, raise money to help individuals and families in financial crisis regain self- sufficiency.
Be sure to visit La Belle Boutique and all the other great shops and restaurants of downtown Plano on Dec. 10th & 11th. In addition to the fantastic merchandise and gift offerings, merchants will be selling annual collectable holiday ornaments commemorating Historic Downtown Plano. There will be live music in McCall Plaza and hot apple cider for guests to enjoy. Allen Americans players will make an appearance for autographs and photo’s at La Belle Boutique on Tuesday and Wednesday evening from 6pm-7pm. All participating merchants will be donating 10% of their sales on these dates to benefit The Assistance Center of Collin County.

I know the Tetrault family would really like the support of all Allen Americans fans on the two evenings players are making an appearance so plan to attend if you can make it. That is next Tuesday & Wednesday (December 10th & 11th) from 6pm-7pm. Autographs, pictures, and a chance to talk to the players and ask your questions. And the Championship Cup will be there.

1 comment:

  1. Great article. No response from the CHL on my email. We probably will not be able to get out of the house until Sunday, really bad, we lost both trees on front lawn as well as some decorator landscaping. This sucks, I need a game! Hope you guys are all ok. Also pray for Rapid City's travels (hope they got here yesterday). If there is a game tonight, everyone please stay safe. See you soon. (I hope).