Thursday, March 3, 2016

Getaway Day, Crane Player of the Month Runnerup, If the Playoffs Started Today & More

CORRECTION: For most of the day yesterday I had incorrect information in the blog about Greger Hanson's AHL assignment. I was told he was being loaned to Portland and the ECHL transactions listed him as being loaned to Portland but he was actually loaned to Utica. I apologize for any confusion caused my this incorrect information.

- It is getaway day for the Allen Americans with a normal day of practice and then a departure this evening for Colorado where they play the Eagles on Saturday. The bus trip will take close to 14 hours (842 miles) to complete.

- Two players that won't be on the trip are Greger Hanson and Joel Rumpel who are on AHL assignments. Look for Joel Rumpel to get his first AHL start in goal for the San Jose Barracuda on Saturday. It is a home game against Bakersfield with a 1:15 pm PST start. The Barracuda share the same arena with the San Jose Sharks so if both teams play at home the Barracuda have a matinee game.

- With Hanson on loan there are 11 forwards on the roster. Coach Martinson indicated he would take an extra player or two on the trip so you could assume all 11 forwards would go. There are eight defensemen on the roster so one or two will stay home depending on how many extra players make the trip. Unless something happens today look for equipment manager Nolan Bowker to back up Riley Gill this weekend.

- Congrats to Chris Crane who was a runner up for the ECHL Player of the Month for February. Allan McPherson from Elmira was named the Player of the Month. Chris had a great month with 14 points (8 goals 6 assists) in 11 games. 

- Fort Wayne played in Colorado last night and lost 3-1 to the Eagles in a game with former Allen Americans playing key roles. Darryl Bootland had an assist and the game winning goal to lead Colorado to victory. Jamie Schaafsma had the only goal (shorthanded) for Fort Wayne in a losing cause. Jamie has been on quite a goal scoring streak recently. When he played in Allen, Jamie was always a slow starter who got stronger as the season progressed and into the playoffs. That has certainly been the case this season in Fort Wayne for Schaafsma. Jamie didn't have a goal in his first 17 games and had just six goals in the first 42 games. The hot switched got turned on recently as Jamie has a goal in seven of the last 10 games. Look for Jamie to play well in the playoffs as he did when he was named the playoff MVP in Allen's second championship in 2013-14.

- If you want to see what to expect from the Colorado Eagles on Saturday night go to ECHL Rewind and look at the highlights from the Fort Wayne vs Colorado game last night. You can see Bootland's assist and power play goal and Schaafsma's shorthanded goal but pay attention to all of the big hits by the Eagles as they finished their checks.

- There will be a complete Allen vs Colorado game preview tomorrow but one thing is certain and that is the game on Saturday will not be for the meek and mild. The two most penalized teams in the Western Conference (Colorado 1131 minutes - Allen 909 minutes) typically have a penalty filled game with lots of big hits and plenty of rough stuff. It doesn't always play out that way as the last time these teams met there was a total of 12 minutes in penalties. The typical game is in the 60-70 minute range.

- Quad City beat Utah last night 4-2 in a game that had a strange beginning. The Mallards took a boarding penalty 16 seconds into the game and then proceeded to score two shorthanded goals in 11 seconds while killing the penalty. Not too often your team takes a penalty to start the game and you end up with a 2-0 lead after 74 seconds.

- There are still plenty of regular season games to be played and several teams are within a few points of leading their division or moving up in the standings but it is interesting to look at how things would set up if the Western Conference playoffs started today:
#1 Missouri vs #8 Tulsa
#2 Idaho vs #7 Colorado
#3 Fort Wayne vs #6 Utah
#4 Allen vs #5 Cincinnati
In the second round the winner of Missouri vs Tulsa would play the winner of Allen vs Cincinnati and the winner of Idaho vs Colorado would play the winner of the Fort Wayne vs Utah.

QUESTION OF THE DAY:  Thanks to Bella for today's question.

Q: What do the players do with their time off as they only practice for a couple of hours each day?

A: Keep in mind in addition to the time on the ice, players may be arriving early or staying late to get treatment, meet with coaches, work out, and represent the team at community events. Just this week I know players visited a local school, delivered items collected at recent games to help tornado victims and participated in a radio show in the evening at a corporate sponsor's establishment. But when they don't have team responsibilities their activities include everything from running errands, spending time with the family for those with youngsters, getting in a round of golf, playing video games or fishing in some of the local ponds. Yesterday after practice Aaron Gens and Reggie Traccitto kindly stopped by Heritage Ranch to help their fishing club build some artificial habitat to put in one of their lakes. They then met up with some of their teammates to do some fishing. It is always great to have the guys at Heritage Ranch.

DID YOU KNOW: The fastest two shorthanded goals in NHL history scored by the same player happened in 1988. Esa Tikkanen of the Edmonton Oilers scored two shorthanded goals against Toronto in just 12 seconds.

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