Just when you think things couldn't get any worse for the Allen Americans they do. You can only hope the 4-0 loss last night at the hands of the Wichita Thunder before an announced crowd of 3847 was rock bottom for the Americans. Whenever you lose 4-0 at home you have to tap your stick to the winners as Wichita played like they were battling for their playoff lives, which they are. The two points Wichita gained last night moved them into the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division.
There is plenty of blame to go around in a 4-0 defeat as it seemed like players, coaches, referee, linesmen and fans all had an off night. But the bottom line is whatever is ailing this very talented team has to be fixed by the players in the locker room. They have rallied together before and they can and will do it again.
In the paper this morning Arnold Palmer was asked what advice he would give Tiger Woods to get out of his slump. Couldn't help but think Arnie's advice was also perfect for the Allen Americans. Palmer's advice is simple but to the point, "Practice and regain confidence."
STEVE MARTINSON'S POST GAME COMMENTS
It is after games like last night that you really appreciate how fortunate Allen is to have Steve Martinson as a coach. After 35 years of playing professional hockey and coaching professional hockey you will not find anyone that takes a loss harder than he does. However, no matter how bad the team plays and no matter how frustrated he is about the game, the team or the officials he meets with the season ticket holders. He gives them his open and honest assessment of the game and stays until everyone has had an opportunity to ask all of their questions. He doesn't refuse to meet when times are tough, he doesn't send the assistant coach or a player, he shows up himself. Would assume very few ECHL head coaches have a post game press conference with season ticket holders after every home game and even fewer who would show up after a 4-0 thrashing which included a game misconduct for the coach. Here is what coach Martinson had to say last night after the game.
- We were not very good last night and we were worse tonight. It was a frustrating start giving up a goal in the first minute of the game. It was a bad turnover and then we were out of position and gave them a great scoring opportunity which they capitalized on.
- After we killed those penalties in the first period when they had a five on three I thought we out played them for the rest of the period.
- In the second period we were too easy in front of our net which resulted in their goals and of course we couldn't score ourselves.
- The penalty kill did not give up a goal and I thought we had good puck possession on our power play and got some shots on goal but the goalie was able to see most of our shots.
- Wichita plays a lot of man on man defense and we refuse when we are covered to take the man to the front of the net and use the defender as a screen. I think we were stubborn and didn't play the style we need to play to beat Wichita.
- Our high end guys have to lead us out of this slump. We have some players that are not contributing much and we have some key players that need to contribute more, especially on the defensive end. Tuesday night we scored enough goals to win but we were weak defensively. Tonight were were weak defensively and could not score goals.
- In the past we have scored enough goals to overcome our weaknesses on defense but that has not been the case recently. I am hoping this game is rock bottom for the team. To get shut out and keep losing at home after we had been so tough at home earlier in the year is really frustrating.
- I obliviously had some issues with the referee last night and tonight. I always take the time to review all of the questionable calls after the game and would hope the referee would do the same. But I don't want to focus on the officials as they are not the reason we lost the game tonight.
- We will be leaving for Wichita on Friday (game day) instead of going the day before as we have in the past. My feeling is once a change is made and you can't do anything about it you have to quit whining and move forward. Wichita traveled the day of the game yesterday and beat us so it is not an excuse.
- We talked about this with the players this morning that some times you are not going to make a good play when you are under pressure so the best play is to just get the puck out of your defensive zone or into your offensive zone. I always say another word when players are "trying to do too much" is you are being a dumb player. You cannot try and manufacture plays that are not there.
JACK COMBS UPDATE
Still lots of conversation taking place about Missouri claiming Jack Combs after he was placed on waivers by Stockton. As mentioned in previous posts the sole purpose in all of the actions taken by the Allen Americans and Jack was to get him back to Allen where he had signed at the beginning of the year. Because of the ECHL rules it has been a complicated and trying process that may or may not work. Teams such as Missouri can certainly exercise their right to claim Combs and they have done that to look after what they perceive is in the best interest of their team. The fact that Missouri claimed the highest paid player in the ECHL, is not going to make the playoffs and will not be able to retain Jack's rights (he is a veteran) for next year does not prevent them from having him report to Missouri and trying to convince him to sign a contract with them voluntarily next year. I have talked to Jack Combs and his sole interest when he decided to return from Sweden was to get back to the team he had signed with and played with for over half of the season. It is easy to say he should have never gone to Sweden and he should have known all the rules but you can't deny his sole interest is to get back to Allen where he signed his contract. For the record he has no interest in playing in Missouri or for any other ECHL team for that matter. You can be certain Jack and his agent have asked Missouri to rescind their waiver claim and you can also be certain the Mavericks have denied that request. So you end up with an unhappy player going to an unhappy team for the last three weeks of the season rather than the team he signed with that is heading to the playoffs. I am sure where you sit is where you stand on this issue but it seems like Missouri has little to gain and a lot to lose by forcing Jack to report. The Mavericks may end up winning the battle but losing the war as what goes around comes around. Only time will tell.
- Allen has now lost four straight games which is the longest losing streak the Americans have had all year. With the loss last night the Americans now own the longest home losing streak in the ECHL this year at eight games. They also own the longest home winning streak in the ECHL this year at eleven games.
- Had to laugh at super fan, John Weithman's description of what it has been like watching the team lose eight consecutive home games, "Watching this team's play recently is like watching Texans trying to navigate the "High Five" during an ice storm."
- Chad Costello ended his eleven game scoring streak last night. Chad had not been held scoreless since February 10.
- Despite losing to Wichita 4-0 there were a couple of positive statistics in the game last night. Allen out shot the Thunder 34-33 and the penalty kill unit did not give up a power play goal.
DID YOU KNOW: The last time Allen was shut out at home was March 23, 2013 and it was also by a score of 4-0. The team was the Missouri Mavericks.