- The Americans didn't get a day off yesterday after their win in Quad City on Saturday and 800 mile trip home, but as practices go it was not bad. Skating coach, Luke Chilcott, put the guys through some skating drills, working on body position, edges, transitions etc. There was one drill where they skated backward on one leg in a circle starting behind the goal, out to the blue line and then back behind the goal. Even for some of these professionals it was a challenge. They finished the short practice with a fun scrimmage.
- After practice, Joel Rumpel tried skating for the first time since he was injured on December 5. It is the first step of several before he returns to the line up but certainly a big first step. It will still be a while before he is ready to go.
- Jarod Palmer was not at practice yesterday. Not sure if that means he has returned to Houston and his coaching duties with his junior team or not. There has been no official announcement from the team.
- The ECHL handed out suspensions following the melee between Tulsa and Rapid City on Saturday. For Tulsa, Mathieu Gagnon got eight games, goalie Keven Carr three games, and Emerson Clark got one game. For Rapid City Garrett Clarke and Jonathan Narbonne each got five games.
- Heard from a couple of sources yesterday that Garrett Clarke had broken his leg in the shenanigans between Tulsa and Rapid City on Saturday. Checked with Garrett last night and this is what he told me, "Luckily, the leg is not broken. X-rays came back negative. Still have to do an MRI." Hope Garrett is back in the line up soon.
- Had someone ask how much of a fine would be imposed on the teams for what happened between Rapid City and Tulsa. It is only a guess on my part, but these fines are typically not that high. Remember, for Rapid City this is the second time they have been involved in a post game fracas this season. On December 4th, the Rush were in Allen (Allen won the game 3-1) and a fight broke out after the game was over between Rapid's Brian O'Rourke and Dyson Stevenson from Allen. They were both suspended for one game. My guess is the Rapid City organization would have been fined for this most recent problem between $2000 - $3000.
- In yesterday's blog post about what is wrong with the Allen Americans, there were several possible answers including one that said the Americans are doing fine and Allen fans have too high expectations. Most cities would be elated to have Allen's record. Here are a few responses I saw on social media to the blog post.
"It could always be worse, you could be a Mallards fan."
"Fourth in the West and there are problems? I can think of several teams that would love to have their (Allen's) problems."
"Wanna trade places with Cincy? I'd love to have Allen's problems right now."
- One of the stats in the blog yesterday was at this point in the season the Americans have scored 41 fewer goals (138-97) than last year. It got me to thinking/dreaming about what could happen to give this team some more scoring punch. The politically correct thing to say at this point is I hope none of these things take place as it would mean the players would move from the AHL to the Allen Americans. But it is possible (even if unlikely) these three players could return to Allen.
Greger Hanson - Greger has been in San Jose since early November and has played in 16 games with four points (2 goals 2 assists). He has played regularly but was a healthy scratch in the Barracuda's last game on Sunday. If the Barracuda would send Greger back to the ECHL it obviously would be to Allen.
Spencer Asuchak - Spencer signed a one way contract with the AHL Chicago Wolves in the off season and has been with the team all year. He has played in 25 of Chicago's 32 games and has four points (3 goals 1 assist) and he scored the three goals all in one game. Spencer has not played in the Wolves last two games. Asuchak's role on the team is not as a scorer but is more of a third/fourth line checker and penalty killer. Allen holds Spencer's ECHL rights so if Chicago wants to send him to the ECHL, it would have to be to Allen (unless his rights get traded by coach Martinson).
Jack Combs - Jack signed a one way contract with the Hartford Wolf Pack(AHL) at the beginning of the season but has spent the majority of the time in Greenville which is their ECHL affiliate. He has played five games for Hartford with no points. Jack is currently called up to Hartford. If I understand AHL one way contracts, because Jack is a veteran, there is no ECHL team that holds his rights so he is a free agent when it comes to the ECHL. If Hartford wants to send Jack back to Greenville he could walk away from his AHL deal and sign with any ECHL team as a free agent, but he would forfeit his AHL salary which is not a smart move. Jack could also ask Hartford to voluntarily send him to Allen since Greenville doesn't have his rights. While that might benefit Jack (if he wants to come back to Allen for the playoffs), for Hartford it doesn't make much sense as they would most likely prefer to have him at their ECHL affiliate (Greenville). It is a convoluted process for sure but it isn't impossible Combs could get sent to Allen. Not sure if Combs would even be interested in returning to Allen at this point since Greenville has the same number of points as Allen (39) and the Swamp Rabbits have been playing great hockey going 6-1-3-0 in their last 10 games.
So there is the wish list of possibilities. Probably a couple of pipe dreams for sure, but fans can dream, right?
- Kale Kerbashian was traded yesterday from Rapid City to Wichita. The official trade was Kerbashian and future considerations for Wichita's forward Danick Gauthier. Has to be a tough trade for Kale going to the worst team in the ECHL. Since winning two championships in Allen, (2012-13 & 2013-14) Kale has been with three teams in the last 18 months. He signed with Evansville in July, 2014, was traded to Rapid City in January, 2015 and now has been traded to Wichita. Allen fans will get to see a lot more of Kale as the Americans have nine games (six at home) remaining with Wichita.
- Thought I would end with a couple of videos from social media. They aren't new but enjoyable if you haven't seen them before.
DID YOU KNOW: Rapid City coach Joe Ferras holds the all time ECHL record for most assists in one game. On December 23, 1990 while playing for the Richmond Renegades, Ferras had seven assists against the Erie Panthers.