Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lavoie Youngest Scoring Leader, San Francisco Folds, Denver Makes Changes, Vacation & More

Yesterday brought some big changes in minor pro hockey as the San Francisco Bulls (ECHL) suspended operations and the Denver Cutthroats (CHL) made changes at the top of their organization. Both of these moves prove once again how difficult this business can be.

- The San Francisco Bulls situation hits close to home as Americans trainer, Osama Kassab worked for the Bulls last year. Osama was smart enough to see the writing on the wall and made the decision to move this year and Allen was lucky enough to get his services. Talked to Kassab briefly on Sunday and he has many friends that are now out of a job. The other Allen connection to the Bulls are two former players (Scott Langdon & Dylan King) who are now free agents and from what I hear would like to move to another team as a package deal. I would assume Allen is one of the many teams Langdon & King are talking to though their preference may be to stay on the west coast. With the Bulls team folding all players, except five who are under AHL contracts and will be reassigned, become free agents. In addition the ECHL will have to redo their schedule for the remaining of the season.

- The day after parting ways with President and General Manager Ben Rifkin the Denver Cutthroats split his two titles between the coach and assistant coach. Head coach Derek Armstrong now takes on the additional role as Team President and assistant coach Brad Smyth adds General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations to his bench duties. Whenever duties are merely added to existing positions it makes one wonder if additional changes are coming down the road. With Denver's free fall in attendance this year there are still a lot of questions to be answered going forward.

- New defenseman Jon Zion will be wearing #28 for the Americans. A great and lucky number indeed. If I remember correctly the last person to wear #28 was none other than LA King Stanley Cup champion Alec Martinez when he played three games with Allen last year during the NHL lockout. Many of you will remember Christian Gaudet who was the first Allen American to wear #28 in the inaugural season (2009-2010).

- Coach Martinson has been saying for quite a while that the Americans are scoring enough goals but are allowing too many. The success of this team is dependent on allowing fewer goals. During the recent past as Allen has been playing great hockey with a 11-0-2 record since Christmas allowing fewer goals has been one of the keys. Here are the goals against stats to show this improvement.
Overall:            3.03
Last 10 games: 2.50
Last 5 games:   2.40

- Plus/Minus numbers have also improved recently with Allen going +36 in the last five games.

- Seems like this is the case each and every week at this point of the season but the two games with Wichita on Friday & Saturday will be very important. All of the other teams at the top of the standings (Rapid City, Missouri, & Denver) play three games this week while Allen only has two. Rapid City is in Arizona for three games, Denver has three games on the road (Wichita, Missouri & Tulsa), and Missouri plays at St. Charles and  then at home against Denver & Quad City. If Allen doesn't get four points this weekend they most likely will no longer be in first place.

- I talk a lot about the amazing season Alex Lavoie is having for the Americans as he is on pace to break many scoring records. To be this successful as a rookie is all the more remarkable.  I decided to take a look at the leading scorer for each team in the league and see how old they are. Found the results very interesting. Here are the ages:

35 years 10 months 13 days - Rob Collins (Brampton)
35 years  7 months 12 days - Todd Robinson (Tulsa)
32 years 10 months  4 days - Sebastien Thinel (Missouri)
32 years   6 months 10 days - Garrett Bembridge (Denver)
31 years   4 months   0 days - Jesse Schultz (Rapid City)
31 years   1 month   11 days - Jon Booras (Wichita)
27 years 10 months   4 days - Paul McIlveen (Arizona)
26 years   7 months  13 days - Kyle O'Kane (St. Charles)
24 years   3 months  18 days - Gergo Nagy (Quad City)
21 years   2 months  11 days - Alex Lavoie (Allen)

- In transaction news Todd Robinson (Tulsa) has been placed on seven day IR effective January 24 and Scott Howes (Brampton) was activated yesterday after being granted leave by the league on January 20th.

DID YOU KNOW: Since starting this blog in October 2012 there have been 426 posts with over 163,000 page views. For the next 20 days my wife and I are taking a vacation to Argentina and Chile  where we will visit Santiago, Buenos Aires, Patagonia, Tierra Del Fuego, Cape Horn, The Chilean Fjords and Easter Island  to name a few. The person that is house sitting for us has been kind enough to agree to post each day one of the stories I call "Best of Allen Americans Blog" so please visit the blog each day while I am away to see the best stories from the past. There won't be any posts to Twitter, Facebook or CHLforums so please bookmark the blog (allenamericansblog.blogspot.com) and check out the "Best Of" for the next 20 days. Here is just a sample of what is in store:

 -Player profiles (Bootland, Schaafsma. Pineault)
- Wendy McMillin "Hockey Wife, Hockey Star"
- Open Letter to Hockey Fans
- Soldiers of Little Fortune
- Is The ECHL Better Than The CHL
- Fighting in the CHL
- Story of the Allen American's Drummers
- Zamboni Rodeo
- Darryl Bootland, Bad Boy or Pussycat
- Allen Wins Championship, You Will Walk Together Forever
- Everything Has Been Said Except Your Favorite Motto

Most important keep this winning streak alive while I am gone. Will be posting new stories starting February 18.

Easter Island

Penguins & Glacier Visit

1 comment:

  1. Have a fantastic trip! Be safe. And always remember...."Let's go RED!"