Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Practice Fun Day, ECHL Rules Prohibit Comb's Return For Playoffs, Costello May Be All-Star Replacement

- After a day off on Monday it was back to practice on Tuesday for the Allen Americans. It was actually one of those days where you have to come to work but your boss gives you a "fun day." No coaches, no drills, just a bunch of guys playing three on three hockey on the width of the ice from the blue line to the end boards. With three days to practice before the Wichita game on Friday coach Martinson invoked "the team has been playing well and they get tired of me yelling at them if we practice three days in a row so let them have a fun day rule" and that is exactly what the day was about. There were several players not participating because of a minor injuries, illness, or just needing a maintenance day but everyone with the exception of Justin Baker is expected to be ready by Friday.

- The post yesterday about Jack Comb's departure for Sweden generated a lot of questions and comments. The story got over to Jack's new team in Sweden (Bjorkloven) and over 2000 people read the story which is a big number for this little blog. One question that needs clarification has to do with the possibility of Jack returning to Allen for the playoffs. Per the ECHL rules this cannot happen. The ECHL is more restrictive than the CHL when it comes to players that go to Europe and want to return to the ECHL. Here is how it works:

A player on team suspension (like Combs) is removed from the active roster, reserve, or injured reserve for a minimum of 45 days. The only exception to the 45 day minimum is for purposes of trading the player.

In addition, there is a separate European deadline of February 15. To be eligible to play for the remainder of the ECHL 2014-2015 regular season and 2015 playoffs, a player who played in Europe at any point in the season must sign a contract and be placed on the team's active roster by 3:00 pm ET on February 15.

Since the minimum 45 day period for Combs will end after February 15, the only way he could return to the ECHL this season is for him to return to the country by February 15th and Allen trade him to another team as the only exception to the 45 day period is for trading a player.

- Also had several questions about whether Chad Costello would now become an All-Star representing the Allen Americans. The answer to this question is maybe but not likely. If you recall there were six alternates picked for the All-Star game which allowed for all teams to be represented either with a starter, reserve or alternate.  Three of the alternates are forwards and they will be utilized as replacements first for forwards like Combs who are unable to play. In the event more than three forwards are unable to play in the All-Star game the ECHL Hockey Operations Department will determine which players will be added to the game. It is at this point Costello could be added.

- Congratulations to former Allen American Darryl "Booter" Bootland who was named yesterday as the ECHL player of the week. Booter had four goals and two assists and was a +7 to help his Colorado Eagles to four straight wins during the week. Bootland has been on a hot streak for a month scoring ten goals in eleven games.

- Will do a complete post tomorrow on team and individual stats but the one stat that is amazing is plus/minus as Allen players occupy seven of the top fourteen spots in the ECHL. It is a tribute to a team that knows how to score but also defend. Here they are:
+27 - Chad Costello (#1)
+24 - Jack Combs (#3)
+23 - Trevor Ludwig (#5)
+20 - Greger Hanson (#8)
+20 - Gary Steffes (#8)
+19 - Ian Schultz (#10)
+18 - Kevin Young (#14)

- The match up on Friday and Saturday against Wichita will be a battle of the first and second place teams in the Central Division, they are the teams that have been playing the best recently and they both have been resting all week long. Allen has only lost five of their last 27 games dating back to November 14 but three of the five losses have come at the hands of the Thunder. It should be a couple of great games this weekend. Throw in "All Night Happy Hour" for both games which was announced yesterday by the Americans and everyone needs to show up this weekend.

- After getting off to fast starts when they were first promoted to the AHL both Spencer Asuchak and Greger Hanson have slowed down recently and have been getting less ice time and have even been healthy scratches for games. As much as everyone wants them to get AHL contracts they would sure be welcomed back in Allen. May hear something soon one way or another.

- A week from Friday (1/23) Allen will play their first games outside the Central Division when they take on Indy, Toledo, and Kalamazoo on three consecutive nights. These are three very different teams. Indy is an expansion team that is really struggling having won only seven of their first 34 games. Toledo is one of the best teams in the league who like the Americans have great scoring ability but do not allow a lot of goals. Kalamazoo, who is coached by Darryl Bootland's brother (Nick) is in fifth place in their division but has been playing great hockey recently including  a current three game win streak.

DID YOU KNOW: Steve Martinson set a record for most home wins in a season (30) the first year the San Diego Gulls moved to the ECHL in 2003-2004. The record still stands today. The Steve Martinson coached Allen Americans, who are in their first year in the ECHL are on pace to have 30 home wins this season.

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