|Friday night group picture in Tulsa - photo courtesy of Kevin Pyle|
- I came to the conclusion over the fact that Chad Costello didn't win the ECHL MVP award that many coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors, and media members discount the efforts of players and teams in the Central Division. Given the poor showing this season by the Central Division against teams outside the division (won just 11 of 42 games) the only thing that will change this perception is better performance. Even division leading Allen went 2-2-1-0 in their five games outside the division but the two teams they beat were quality teams in Toledo and Ontario. And the overtime loss was to Kalamazoo in the biggest collapse of the season as Allen was up 3-0 before the Wings got a shorthanded goal and a goal with 26 seconds left in the game to tie the score and then won the game in overtime. For whatever reason the Central Division is treated like the "little brother" to the rest of the league and gets little respect. It is difficult for many fans around the Central Division to get over all of the rivalries created in the Central Hockey League but in many ways the entire group is seen as the "little brother" Central Division. For that reason everyone in the Central Division should be cheering for whoever wins the division title and moves on the the Western Conference finals. I sure hope it is Allen but if it ends up being Tulsa, Rapid City or Quad City I am all in for one of the "little brothers" to kick some "big brother" butt. You can only hope all of the Central Division fans feel the same way because until success happens on the ice everyone will be lumped together as not as good as the rest of the ECHL.
- Came across some work done to compare how many points were scored by the defensemen on each ECHL team during the regular season. With the many talented offensive defensemen on the Americans roster it was always assumed Allen would be at or close to the top of this list. Turns out they are second on the list trailing only Florida. There is no one way to construct a team for success as there are several teams on this list that are below the average but are great teams. However, the top of the list is made up of most of the best teams in the league. Thanks to "Joda" who posted this info on echlforum.com. It is taken from the ECHL statistics page at the end of the regular season and represents points by defensemen from that site.
1. Florida - 220
2. Allen - 215
3. Reading - 192
4. Tulsa - 175
5. Idaho - 171
6. Toledo - 165
7. Colorado - 163
8. Ft. Wayne - 163
9. Indy - 163
10. Rapid city - 163
11. Ontario - 159
12. Wichita - 154
13. Kalamazoo - 153
14. Orlando - 153
15. Greenville - 151
16. South Carolina - 149
17. Alaska - 144
18. Stockton - 144
19. Cincinnati - 133
20. Elmira - 133
21. Bakersfield - 129
22. Quad City - 128
23. Utah - 126
24. Wheeling - 119
25. Gwinnett - 118
26. Evansville - 114
27. Brampton - 108
28. Missouri - 100
League Average - 150
Playoff Teams Average - 163
Non-Playoff Team Average -133
- The Americans have a stranglehold on this Tulsa series with a 3-1 lead and a game at home on Tuesday. It is a given there is a lot of work yet to be done to wrap up the series. However, if the Americans win tomorrow night and that is a big if, they could be sitting idle for as long as ten days before the start of the second round playoff series. The Rapid City vs Quad City series is tied 1-1 and has the look of a series that could last a while. Game seven of that series would not take place until April 29th. If that happens the soonest the second round would start for Allen is May 1st or 2nd.
- It is early in the ECHL playoff season as five of the playoff teams have still not had a home game but the playoff attendance is actually up from previous years. Over the first 20 playoff games the average seems quite low at 3551 with six teams averaging below 3000. However, it is the highest average since 2009. You would expect the average attendance should increase as the later playoff rounds take place so 2015 is shaping up to be the best attended playoffs in many years.
- In the only action last night in the ECHL, Ontario beat Colorado 5-1 in Colorado to take a 2-1 lead in that series. There are no games scheduled today (Monday) and just two on Tuesday. In addition to the Allen vs Tulsa game Florida will be playing at Orlando.
- It is always informative to attend an away game and see how other teams operate. A few takeaways from the road trip this weekend.
1. Allowing groups to come to the game early and take a picture on the ice is a good marketing tool when doing group sales or bringing in fans from opposing teams.
2. Allen fans are fortunate they can be close to the players as they enter and leave the ice at the AEC. Not the case in some of the other arenas.
3. Tulsa allows a fan to sit in the penalty box for each period as part of a sponsorship activity. A nice opportunity for the Tulsa fans.
4. The Allen Ice Angels are the best in the business. They are as talented and professional as you will see anywhere in sports at the minor or major league level.
5. If you ever have a chance to go on a road trip stay where the team stays if possible. There is a lot of down time the day of the game especially if there is no game day skate and the players are great at interacting with and thanking those that support the team on the road.
DID YOU KNOW: Five years ago today, in their first year of operation, the Allen Americans advanced to the CHL Presidents' Cup finals by beating the #1 seeded Odessa Jackalopes in game seven, on the road, by a score of 4-2. Goal scorers for Allen were Tobias Whelan, Nino Musitelli, and Colton Yellow Horn who had two goals. One of the most memorable games in Allen history.
While looking for a picture from the 2010 playoffs with Odessa I started looking at some of the archives from photographer Chip Crail who passed away just about a year ago. The pictures reminded me how much we all miss Chip around the AEC and what a great photographer he was. Here are few of my favorite Odessa shots from Chip.
|Kip Brennan & Darryl Bootland pregame chat - "wanna go bro"|
|The acrobat, Colton Yellow Horn, goes airborne|
|Bruce Graham scores in the 2010 playoffs at home|
|Aaron Gens' brother Matt with the big stick flex, played for Odessa|