There is no question the Americans have the knowledge, skills, abilities and talent to get this turned around even with a short bench because of injuries. Let's hope the "want" returns this weekend. As has been seen many times with Allen and other teams the difference between a losing streak and a winning streak is a very fine line. It is just a matter of time that the winning streak starts.
Bryan Pitton - there was some concern when Bryan came out of the game in Denver that his injury might keep him out of the lineup but he is fine and practiced yesterday.
Darryl Bootland - Booter will have surgery today to repair the injury to his neck he sustained when he was hit by a helmet. While he will be out a few weeks recovering he should be back for the end of the season and the playoffs. The way Bootland plays the game, this time to heal up and be fresh before playoffs might be a blessing in disguise. Hope all goes well!
Greger Hansen - Greger took part in some of the practice yesterday and his situation is day by day. While there is a chance he plays this weekend it is not certain.
Phil Fox - Phil was a full participant in practice but was still wearing the green jersey which means no contact. Phil will play this weekend if he has no setbacks but not until Sunday.
Jarret Lukin - Lukin was not at practice and there is no time table on his return.
- Bruce Graham (and family) will arrive in Allen early next week. While no decisions have been made the most likely scenario is he will play his first game against Arizona at home on February 28. Bruce has not played professional hockey this year but he has played in a very competitive senior league at home and should be ready to go when he arrives. It will be great to have the Grahams back in Texas.
|London, Whitney, Harper & Bruce Graham return to Texas (This pic from last season in England)|
- Remember that the coaches and players agreed to delay the "mid season" break that was scheduled January 13-16 because of the schedule and they had just had the Christmas break. The three day break for the Americans will be March 2-4.
- As was the case last year there are several European players that have indicated interest in coming to Allen after the season is over in Europe. As a reminder the CHL rule only requires a player to play in three regular season games to be playoff eligible. Players could be brought in as late as March 26 and still get three games. Coach Martinson has said his preference is to go with the guys that have been here all year but you can be assured if the team is not playing well in March he has some great players in the wings.
- The keys to success this weekend are nothing new as they have been keys all year. Play physical without taking penalties. The team has to make it more difficult for the referee to call penalties on them. When on the penalty kill do a better job of getting sticks in lanes and pressuring the puck in the right places. On the power play make decisions based on what the other team is trying to do. And the one mantra heard all year is do a better job in front of our net.
- Saw several videos yesterday on penalties that were and were not called in the recent games against Missouri. I have generally stayed out of these type discussions in the past as referee calls tend to be looked at from "where you sit is where you stand" point of view. Have seen several comments on social media and in blogs about how Allen "gooned it up" and referred to the incident at the end of the last Missouri game as a "line brawl." From what I saw on video this description is way overstated. The only suspension from the incident was given out for returning to the ice and there was not an instigator penalty given to either team. I am not going to do a tit for tat on each of the last three games but if you were a conspiracy theorist you would be asking why it seems the team that controls the league seems to be getting all of the late game power plays and consistently gets more power play opportunities than the Americans. No, I am not suggesting there is a directive from the league to the officials but it does make you wonder how much animosity exists in the league office against the team that wanted to go to the ECHL and has not bought into the "all teams own the league" concept. And how much does the league want the driving force behind the changes, the team most in control, to be successful. I'll just say there are two sides to every story and the videos I saw makes you wonder how the CHL referee in charge lets the on ice officials and CHL office be so inconsistent.
DID YOU KNOW: In 169 regular season games with the Americans Bruce Graham has averaged 1.27 points per game.