Friday, January 24, 2014

Roster Moves Chess, 2nd Half To Do List, Great YouTube Videos

- Had several questions about the schedule and roster as we head into the weekend with two games against the St. Charles Chill. First, the easy one as to why the games are Friday and Sunday with no game on Saturday. The Dallas Sidekicks (indoor soccer) have a game at the Allen Event Center Saturday night.

- With the addition of Ryley Grantham and Jonathan Zion the Allen roster increases to 22 players. In order to have that many players on the roster it would normally require four players be on injured reserve (IR). The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) allows for one seven day IR slot, two fourteen day IR slots, and two thirty day IR slots. In addition you can put players on season ending IR. Here is how the Americans stand as of this morning.

Jarret Lukin: Moved from 14 day IR to 30 day IR yesterday. This is merely a paperwork exercise since the 30 days is from when he was injured which is over 30 days so he is eligible to come off IR immediately as soon as he is healthy. It does free up a 14 day IR slot.

Trevor Ludwig: Moved from 14 day IR to 30 day IR yesterday. While Trevor is almost certainly out for the season keeping him on 30 day IR gives the team maximum flexibility. It also frees up a 14 day IR slot.

Jonathan Zion: No announcement has been made about his signing a contract so unless that happens today he is not officially counted on the roster. If he is signed officially today he would most likely be put on IR.

Ryley Grantham: Found out from coach Martinson that Grantham does not count against the salary cap or the roster for five games because he has been in the AHL for over 21 consecutive days. Grantham will be in the lineup tonight and to make room for him, Phil Fox, who has been playing with a nagging injury, will be rested.

- Here is the description of the Allen vs St. Charles series by the CHL:
Americans and Chill Battle- The Allen Americans (23-10-4) have caught the Rapid City Rush at the top of the standings thanks to their 11-game point streak that has seen them go 9-0-2.  The Americans will host the St. Charles Chill (9-25-5) this weekend marking the first visit to Texas for the expansion Chill.  The two teams have met twice in Missouri with the Americans taking both battles with Jamie Schaafsma scoring three times against the Chill.  St. Charles has won just twice in their last 15 games (2-12-1).  The Chill are 1-2-0 on their current five-game road trip that wraps up in Allen.  The Americans won their last game in dramatic fashion with Spencer Asuchuk scoring with nine seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game against the Arizona Sundogs on Monday afternoon and then Greger Hanson scored the winner in overtime.    

- Wanted to share the second half "To Do List" put together by the Mavericks official blogger who writes some great stuff. You can follow him at The Sin Bin (@SinBinMavs). While he was talking about the Missouri Mavericks it struck me how most of this applies to Allen if they are to continue in first place for the rest of the season. If the Americans stay healthy, get good goalie play from both Bryan Pitton and Mark Guggenberger, be physical without crossing the line, improve special teams (especially the power play), and continue to improve on the blue line they will be in good shape to repeat as champions. Here is SinBinMavs assessment as it relates to Missouri:
Stay Healthy
I'm knocking on wood as I type this section, which makes it very hard to type. For the most part the Mavs have avoided the injury bug this season. This is an obvious one to put on the list, but unfortunately the only one that is completely out of their control. That being said, the numbers don't lie and the numbers when this team is at full-strength are astronomically better than when playing short-handed. Again, an obvious point, but still one that needs to be stated.
 Stellar Goalie Play
Good goaltending will get you to the playoffs. Great goaltending wins you championships. We all know what Shane Owen brings to the table, but we also don't want him going through a Mike Clemente-type stretch of appearing in 18 straight games, which makes Erno Suomalainen that much more important. We've only seen a small sample size of Sumo so far, but at some point, he's going to log some important minutes for this team, and they'll need him to rise to the occasion.
 Walk the Fine Line
It's no secret that the Mavs have had issues with suspensions this season. The league has dolled out a total of 22 games worth of suspensions to the Mavs, including the most recent to Chezy. The target is definitely on their backs, and they have no one to blame but themselves. Unfortunately, this team is at its best when playing aggressively, finishing checks, and protecting their end of the ice. Not one player will admit that they don't think about it on the ice, and I'm doing my best to believe them. The hardest, but maybe the most important, aspect of any second half success will be walking that fine line of playing aggressively, but not going that one millimeter over it that would catch the league's eye once again. If the Mavs can't figure out how to accomplish this, we might as well pack it in and get ready for season six.
 Special Teams
The Mavs seem to have righted the ship in regards to special teams play this season. Last season, they finished 6th in the league in powerplay, and 9th in penalty kill. The Allen Americans, the eventual league champions, finished 3rd in powerplay and 1st in penalty kill. That's not a coincidence. Championship teams excel on special teams (for the most part). This season, the Mavs are 2nd in the league in both powerplay and penalty kill. All that they need to do is keep that pace, which will be easier said than done, especially if they have to play short-handed.
 Solidify the Blue Line
The biggest weakness of this team has been the defensive play. If this is news to you, go back into hibernation. It's really weird to me to declare that assessment with players like Chezy, the Olympian Henrik Odegaard, and Matt Stephenson anchoring the blue line for the Mavs. That means that players like Anders Franzon, Colten Hayes, Evan Zych, and whoever is brought in to fill Odegaard's spot when he travels to Sochi will need to step their games up to round out this team. Scoring goals has not been a problem for the Mavs Free skaters in the defensive zone, losing battles in the corners, and clearing traffic in front of Shane Owen has been. To steal a line from my second favorite hockey movie of all time "Mystery, Alaska" (if you haven't seen it, you can buy it on Amazon for less than ten bucks, it's worth the investment) "This is hockey, OK? It's not rocket surgery. If you don't play this game with a big heart and a big bag of knuckles in front of the net, you ain't got dinky doo."

- Saw a couple of YouTube videos yesterday that you might enjoy. Neither of them are new but if you haven't seen them it is worth a look. You can find them on YouTube under the following titles:
 "AHL referee wears helmet cam" - AHL referee David Banfield wears a GoPro helmet cam, giving an up close and personal look at what happens on the ice during a game. When you hear him talk to Skinner that is former American Brett Skinner.
 "Pegula Ice Arena Facility Tour" - Talk about state of the art hockey facility with all of the bells and whistles, this is it. Penn State Nittany Lion men's hockey goaltender PJ Musico takes you through Pegula Ice Arena - the new home of Penn State Hockey. It just opened in October.

- In the only action in the CHL last night Quad City beat Brampton in Brampton 4-1. They play again tonight. Other games tonight are Missouri at Tulsa, Arizona at Denver (played in Vail), and probably the best match up of the weekend where the red hot Wichita Thunder take their five game win streak to South Dakota to play Rapid City.

- I know many Allen fans are closely following what is happening in San Francisco with the ECHL Bulls and their struggle to stay in operation because former Americans Dylan King and Scott Langdon play there. Here is a statement from the team that was released yesterday:
 A Statement from SF Bulls CEO Angela Batinovich: Thank you for your support during this time, we appreciate all of the encouragement from our fans. During the ECHL Mid-Season Meeting on Wednesday, the Commissioner and Board of Governors granted our request for additional time to complete negotiations that would allow for the transfer of the San Francisco Bulls to a new ownership group.
We are hopeful that these negotiations will be completed within the allotted time, and we currently have no intention to cancel any games.


DID YOU KNOW: The St. Charles Chill have used a league leading 43 different players this year. The Americans have used 26.

No comments:

Post a Comment