Stopped by practice yesterday and the good news is everyone on the roster (except Aaron Gens) was on the ice and fully participating. Doesn't mean everyone is 100% as they are all bruised and battered at this time of year but everyone is available. The majority of practice was spent on fine tuning the strategy for game three on Wednesday.
- As for Aaron Gens, he is off crutches and in a walking boot and has started his rehab. If all goes well he could start skating in a week to 10 days.
- It is get away day for the Americans as they fly to Boise in two groups. The majority of the team left very early this morning with a smaller group having flights this afternoon. I am sure everyone is thankful and grateful they didn't have to take "Big Red" on a 30 hour bus trip even if they had to get up at 3:30 or 4:00 am this morning.
- The only players not making the trip to Idaho are Gens and goalie Joel Rumpel. Riley Gill will most likely get the start on Wednesday with Jake Hildebrand as the back up. With 20 players on the trip the two healthy scratches won't be decided until Wednesday. It doesn't make sense to decide the healthy scratches early as you never know who might end up sick or ailing.
- Came across this article about Idaho's 20 year old goalie, Philippe Desrosiers written by Sean Shapiro of wrongsideoftheredline.com. Two things struck me when reading the story. Desrosiers doesn't lack confidence and Shapiro doesn't have much respect for the ECHL. Have to say I disagree with Shapiro's description of the ECHL, "Playing and starting this season in the ECHL could have been
particularly damaging to Desrosiers’ confidence. He’s a highly-touted
draft pick surrounded by a collection of hockey journeymen, failed NHL
prospects, and hockey lifers committed to bus trips." Check out the complete story here: http://www.wrongsideoftheredline.com/2016/04/desrosiers-building-confidence-and-trusting-stars-development-plan-with-steelheads/
- There were two ECHL playoff games last night. Kalamazoo beat South Carolina 5-3 but trail in the series 2-1. The teams now travel to South Carolina for the final four games. This is the series that had a 3-4 format because of building availability. In the other game last night, Manchester avoided elimination by beating Adirondack 2-1. Adirondack leads the series 3-1.
- Talk about lack of fan support, the two games last night attracted a total of 2659 fans. There were just 1844 in Adirondack and a paltry 815 in Kalamazoo. The ECHL playoff average attendance thus far is 3716 but first rounds are historically low. Allen is averaging 4533 for their two home games.
- The AHL had record attendance this year averaging 5982 per game. The ECHL averaged 4386 per game which was the lowest average since the 2011-12 season when the average was 4282.
- If you have been following social media and message boards since Wichita announced that they would not renew the contract of coach Kevin McClelland you have seen lots of heated opinions on what the problems have been in Wichita. Plenty of blame to go around between the coach, the front office, and ownership and they are all getting their fair share of criticism. Not sure where the truth lies but one concern for all three Steven brothers owned teams (Allen, Tulsa, Wichita) is the abilty to recruit players next season if the reputation is that these teams do not treat the players well because the teams are trying to save money. The hockey fraternity is very small and word travels fast if players feel they are not being treated fairly.
DID YOU KNOW: Saw a tweet from Bruce Graham, Allen's all time leading scorer where he asked, "I wonder what the average height/weight is of the players in this Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks series. What's more impressive is they all have skill." Here is the answer according to eliteprospects.com. The Kings are ranked #3 in the NHL in height (187.50 cm or about 6'2") while San Jose is #12 in height (186.48 cm or just over 6'1"). In average weight the Kings rank #3 in weight (93.77 kg or about 207 pounds) and San Jose is ranked #5 in weight (93.35 kg or about 206 pounds). Also, San Jose is the oldest team in the NHL (28.52 average age) and Los Angeles is the eighth oldest team in the NHL (27.85).