Thursday, January 14, 2016

Practice Update, Injured Players Return, Meet Photographer Dianne Webster, ECHL Week & More

Had a chance to stop by practice yesterday to check things out and the most encouraging sign was to see so many guys on the ice and not one was wearing the "no contact" jersey. Coach Martinson had 35 minutes of full ice practice and then divided they guys up into groups with one group working with skating coach, Luke Chilcott, while another group had a scrimmage on half of the ice working cross ice. Scrimmaging in such a tight space accomplishes several things with lots of passes in close quarters, lots of transitions from offense to defense and a ton of shots on goal for the goalies.

- From my untrained eye it seemed like the guys were flying in practice and having some fun as well. Maybe the day off on Tuesday refreshed some legs and minds.

- This could be a big weekend in getting injured players back in the lineup. Joel Rumpel, Tristan King and Casey Pierro-Zabotel were all full participants in practice and in checking with coach Martinson after practice, if all goes as planned the rest of the week, they should all play at some point over the weekend.

- Line combinations are frequently changed but if King and Pierro-Zabotel play on Saturday, it would allow Martinson to have three lines that can have more scoring power. Based on practice, the lines might include Dyson Stevenson with Steffes and Costello on the top line. Pierro-Zabotel centering J.P. LaFontaine and Tristan King on another line and Chris Crane centering a third line with some combination of Parker, Courtnall, Thrush or Halabi. If all of the forwards are available one will have to be a healthy scratch and be put on reserve. However it turns out, if King and Pierro-Zabotel are back in the lineup it should be a big lift for the Americans.

- With Eric Roy on loan to Lake Erie (AHL) and the possibility of more offense in the line up with the return of King and Pierro-Zabotel, coach Martinson will have the opportunity to employee some different strategies as to the defensive pairings and which pairs play with each line. Something to keep an eye on this weekend.

- According to coach Martinson, Joel Rumpel should get a start this weekend. Rumpel has been out of the line up since getting injured in a game on December 5. Riley Gill has been the workhorse going it alone with only an emergency back up goalie for a month. Riley has been in goal for 13 straight games. With three games this weekend within a 40 hour period (Monday game is a 1:05 p.m. start) it will be great to get some relief for Gill.

- Photographer Dianne Webster often attends practice and uses the time to "practice" her hockey photography. When I ran into Dianne at practice yesterday I asked if she would share some of her practice photos and also send along a head shot and bio. Here is that info along with some practice pics. What Dianne doesn't mention below is her passion for sports photography. She has photographed professional beach volleyball and FC Dallas soccer. This is her first year at trying hockey with its challenges of shooting through the glass, indoor lighting and the speed of the game. 
Photographer Dianne Webster
Meet Dianne in her own words:
Devoted wife and mother of two grown boys, photographer second. My dad played hockey in Winnipeg, Canada, he taught me to ice skate and I spent every weekend skating for fun-the faster the better. Favorite things to do aside from photography: volunteering, kayaking, fishing with my custom rod my son made for me, and attending any sporting event around Dallas.

We moved to Texas two years ago. After attending our first Americans’ game, we were hooked. The next day we called the box office and we became season ticket holder's.

I met Tommy Daniels during practice while taking pictures.  I was asked to join the other photographers of which I gladly accepted. Now my only dilemma is being torn between two passions, photography and hockey.

I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to photograph incredible athletes and being allowed to capture their emotion behind the ball or mask. I cannot thank each and everyone of them enough for allowing me that opportunity.  A special thanks goes out to all the Allen American players who allow me a window into their unbelievable hard work and dedication. Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself into your hockey world.   Facebook Page is Dianne Webster Photography (Allen Americans Images)

Zabby is back!

Rumpel should play this weekend

- The ECHL produces a program called "ECHL Week" which you can find on their website ( If you haven't checked it out it is worth a look. They cover a variety of topics and teams each week. In the most recent edition, Aaron Gens, Riley Gill, Chad Costello, Gary Steffes and Tristan King talk about the difficulties of defending the Kelly Cup title. The program also has segments about the recent brawl between Tulsa and Rapid City and the trade that included Kale Kerbashian. This edition is about 12 minutes long and the Allen Americans segment is right at the beginning.

DID YOU KNOW: Allen's opponent this weekend, the Cincinnati Cyclones, won the ECHL championship in 2007-08 and  2009-10 but had two very different roads to the Kelly Cup. The 2007-08 team was one of the best ever, they had the second most points (115), second best win percentage (.799), most road wins (26) and longest winning streak at the time (17) in ECHL history. They were the #1 seed, sailed through the playoffs and beat South Carolina 4-1 in the Kelly Cup final. The 2009-10 team was the #5 seed in their conference and given little chance in the playoffs. In the first round they scored an overtime goal in game five to win the series 3-2. They then took on the top seed in the conference and it went the distance as they won game seven 2-1. Next up was the conference final and they got down 0-3 before rallying back and winning the series in seven games. They won game seven 1-0 to become the first ECHL team in history to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best of seven series. After three series that went to the final game, Cincinnati breezed through the Kelly Cup final beating the #1 seeded Idaho Steelheads 4-1. Now that was a championship to remember.


  1. Glad to have 2 goalies back! It had to be tough on each goalie when each of them had to carry the load while the other was injured.
    Go Red

  2. Below is a link to an article about the SC Stingrays and how they lose $400,000 - $700,000 a year! I don't care if the owners are billionaires, that is a huge amount to lose. They are asking the city to help offset the loss some. It seems that minor league sports is just a money pit. While I know there are grumbling about the Steven Brothers those guy own 3 teams which I assume lose money each year.