Monday, May 5, 2014

The Ol' Girl Has a Hot Flash, Injury Report, Four Great Coaching Resumes In The Final

It is the calm before the storm as the players have today off before preparing for three games at home this week that will most likely decide who eventually wins the Presidents' Cup. With the series tied 1-1 either team could claim the cup with a sweep of the three upcoming games (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) at the Allen Event Center (AEC). Not likely but certainly possible.

Understand the "Ol' Girl" had a hot flash yesterday on the trip home from Denver and it sure was bad timing for the AC to go out. There were many high temperature records set for this time of year yesterday, so you can imagine riding on a bus with 25 guys in 90 degree heat. Hot, sweaty, and rank would be an understatement. The Ol' Girl arrived back at the AEC just before 2:00 pm. and from what I understand a lot of shirtless guys came streaming off the bus. The players can rest and relax today (Monday) as it is an optional skate day. There will be some players on the ice and even more at the rink getting treatment for various bumps, bruises and injuries. However, coach Martinson expects everyone to be available for the game on Wednesday.

- It was reported by the Denver media that Cutthroats leading scorer AJ Gale, who was injured on Saturday is home from the hospital and recovering from his lower body injury. One reporter indicated Gale's estimated time of return will be late this week.

- The CHL published a nice article on the backgrounds of Denver head coach Derek Armstrong and assistant coach Brad Smyth and it reminded me of all of the talented coaches in the CHL and how fortunate Allen fans are to have the caliber of coaches they have in Steve Martinson and Richard Matvichuk. Martinson, an undrafted journeyman who had to fight (literally) for everything he got in hockey and had 50 NHL games, has been a successful coach right from the get go winning a championship in his first year as a head coach. He is in his 18th year of coaching and seeking his eighth championship. Richard Matvichuk, who is in his second year as a professional coach, had a completely different route to coaching as he was the eight overall pick in the 1991 NHL draft (Minnesota North Stars) and had an illustrious career in the NHL with over 850 games played which included winning the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999. His passion for the game is obvious when you see him coach and he has the philosophy of you can work hard and still have fun and you see that everyday when you watch him on the ice. Here is a guy that made over sixteen million dollars as a player grinding it out everyday as a coach and spending an inordinate amount of time riding on a 1998 bus all over the US and now Canada. His passion for hockey is self evident. As is said in the article below about the Denver coaches is certainly true about the Allen coaches, "With the pedigree of the two men behind the bench, it is no surprise that the Allen Americans are competing for the Ray Miron Presidents' Cup again."

Here is the CHL article about the Denver coaches:
With the pedigree of the two men behind the bench, it is no surprise that the Denver Cutthroats are competing for the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup in just their second season as a franchise. Both head coach Derek Armstrong and assistant coach Brad Smyth have winning and success in their blood. Armstrong was named the Cutthroats first coach back when the team was announced and in two seasons has posted a 68-43-21 record and earned playoff berths in both seasons.  After this season, Armstrong was voted the CHL Coach of the Year, an award determined by the coaching fraternity of the CHL. Smyth was a player for the inaugural Cutthroats club and made his mark with 25 goals and 53 assists (78 points) in 65 games but most notably was his team-leading six game winning goals showing that winning is what he was all about. The duo were teammates back in the 1998-99 season for the first time while with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers. For the next couple of seasons, the pair lead the way for the Wolf Pack helping them to the Calder Cup (AHL title) in 2000 finishing first and second on the team in points with Armstrong earning 82 points and Smyth 76.  In the playoffs, the pair each had 23 points combining for 20 goals and 26 assists with Armstrong earning the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy (playoff MVP who has been shared previously by the likes of Wendell Young, Carey Price and Olaf Kolzig ).  Future NHL’ers P.J. Stock, Jason Dawe and Manny Malhotra all played on that Pack team. Armstrong finished his playing career with 477 NHL games seeing action with Los Angeles, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Ottawa and St. Louis.  His best season came in 2006-07 with the Kings were he scored 11 goals with 33 assists in 67 games. Smyth finished with 88 games in the show playing with the Rangers, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, LA Kings and Ottawa. The coaching staff of the Cutthroats has their team tied after two games in the Finals and are looking to earn their first championship from behind the bench.  The series heads to Allen where Denver will have to find some road magic.

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Courtesy CHL Memes

DID YOU KNOW: Since Allen joined the CHL in the 2009-2010 season the team that won the second game of the championship final series has gone on to win the President's Cup every year.  


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