Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Notes From Practice, Fight Stats, Texas CHL Franchises

Had a chance to stop by practice yesterday and here is what I found out:

- Everyone was skating with the exception of Jarrett Lukin and Phil Fox. Fox will be fine for the games this weekend but Lukin will continue on injured reserve and will not make the trip to Arizona.

- Have had a couple of inquiries like this. If it's mid-season break from the 13th to the 16th, how legal is it for Allen to be practicing during that period?  I don't understand how they can legally practice when it's an official, PHPA-approved break. Because the team has to leave today (Wednesday) and they just had the break at Christmas the coaches and the players agreed this was not the best time for a few days off. So they are practicing during the break and will have the days off after the March 1st home game against Arizona. With the heavy March schedule that includes 10 games in 16 days towards the end of the month delaying the "mid-season" break is a wise choice.

- The official halfway point of the season coincides with this break as there are no games all week. Beginning with the games on Friday all teams will be switching their home and road jerseys. In the Americans case they will be wearing their white jerseys on the road and the red jerseys at home. Let's hope "dread the red" proves to be true at home the second half of the season.

- The time for departure to Arizona was changed and the team will practice today at the Allen Event Center and leave for Arizona at 6:30 pm tonight. The have ice time in Arizona tomorrow (Thursday) at 1:30 pm so will most likely head right to the arena when they arrive. This will be a short practice just to work the kinks out after the long bus ride from Allen.

- Based on practice the forward lines for the weekend will be Lessaed-Lavoie-Schaafsma, Fox-McMillin-Hanson, & Bootland-Kerbashian-Asuchak. Garrett Klotz who has two goals and an assist, is a +6 and has six fights in the last 10 games will get his share of ice time as well.

- Klotz leads the CHL in fights with 13 and has not lost a fight all year. His win percentage (63%) is second in the league according the the web site that tracks fights ( The rest of his fights were rated as draws but he has no losses.

- The defensive pairings in practice were Tetrault & Hendrikx, Berube & Ludwig, Rouleau & Erhardt

- Ran into Tommy Daniels at practice and he is still not 100% in recovering from his bout with the flu. He was still trying to figure out his plans for the weekend which could include everything from not making the trip at all, to flying to Arizona Friday, to getting on the bus with the team tonight. Knowing Tommy he will be broadcasting from Arizona this weekend.

- The Americans lead the CHL in fights as there are four players in the top 18 in number of fights: Klotz (13), Bootland (8), Berube (5) & Tetrault (5). Here are the number of fights by team.

1. Allen:          47
2. Tulsa:          44
3. Brampton:   43
4. Arizona:      34
5. Denver:       33
6. St. Charles   27
7. Rapid City   25
8. Quad City    24
9. Wichita        23
10. Missouri:   20

- If Allen is to be successful these next three games they will need to solve the Arizona defense and the outstanding play of goaltender Andrew Engelage who has three straight shutouts. The Central Hockey League announced yesterday that Engelage has been named the Oakley Central Hockey League Goaltender of the Week for the period ending January 12, 2014.  This marks the second time this season that Engelage has been honored with the weekly award (Nov. 19).    

- While the Americans have been practicing this week the Sundogs have been taking the "mid-season" break. Saw where Garrett Clarke posted on social media a picture from his balcony in Las Vegas. Let's hope the Sundogs are all having a great time on the break and partying hard.

- Allen has played Arizona three times this year as they were in Sundog territory over Thanksgiving. They won two of the three games. It is had to believe that it was in this series Jarret Lukin injured himself and has been out of the lineup for almost two months.

- Arizona is mired in 8th place in the CHL standings and are nine points out of 7th place but don't let that fool you as they are playing as good as any team in the league. In their last ten games the Sundog's  record is 7-3-0 while Allen is 7-2-1.

- Have been working on coming up with mid-season awards for the team. I have been getting input from as many folks as possible and will publish the "winners" tomorrow. If you want to weigh in on this please leave your thoughts in the comments section. Categories include best player,  best playmaker, MVP, best goaltender, most underrated player, best on the power play, best on faceoffs,  best penalty killer, best defensive forward, best offensive defenseman, best defensive defenseman, & best bodychecker.

DID YOU KNOW: Since 2000-2001 there have been 12 CHL franchises in Texas and as many as 9 playing at one time. The lone survivor is the Allen Americans:
Allen Americans:  (2009-Present)
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (Hidalgo): (2003-2012)
Laredo Bucks: (2002-2012)
San Angelo Saints/Outlaws: (2001-2005)
Odessa Jackalopes: (2001-2010)
Lubbock Cotton Kings: (2001-2007)
Ft. Worth/Texas Brahmas: (2001-2013)
El Paso Buzzards: (2001-2003)
Corpus Christi Ice Rays: (2001-2010)
Austin Ice Bats: (2001-2008)
Amarillo Rattlers/Gorillas: (2001-2010)
Border City Bandits (Texarkana): (2000-2001)

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