- Wanted to start out today by saying thank you to everyone who reads the Allen Americans Blog. It is truly a labor of love even though sometimes the labor overtakes the love. As I was reflecting on several recent milestones including 800,000 page views, 1100 blog posts and 1000 Twitter followers, I was reminded how lucky I have been. Over the last four years I have met so many folks that love hockey including players and their families, coaches, broadcasters, media, fans, officials and front office employees not only from Allen but from all over the league. Four years with four championships is quite a ride but the real satisfaction is hearing from people that enjoy reading the blog. So a special thanks to those of you who take the time to like/share/retweet a post on social media, leave a comment or stop me at a game to say you enjoy the blog, it means more than you know. At the last home game I had two experiences that equally made my day. Before the game I ran into Rapid City assistant coach Daniel Tetrault and we chatted a couple of minutes about how the team was doing. As I walked away Daniel said, "I still enjoy reading your blog." After the game a lady stopped me and asked, "Are you the blogger?" and when I said yes she responded, "I read your blog everyday." Had an extra bounce in my step after those kind words.
- If you are on Twitter, as I am, it is easy to be focused on how many followers you have and who is following you. It is probably a sign of insecurity but I was really looking forward to reaching 1000 followers which just happened. Each day you see who started following you and on the flip side you contemplate what you did wrong when your number of followers goes down. I know how misguided it is to look to others to affirm that your pursuits are worthy and your efforts are admirable and it is a sure fire way to veer off the path of the good life. However, when Rick Gosselin and Mike Heika, two of the premier sports writers around and big hockey fans started following me on Twitter I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Likewise, I wonder why doesn't Mark Binetti, the voice of the Rapid City Rush follow me as he seems to follow all of the other Team Sin Bin writers. Why doesn't Paul Gackle who writes the The Gackle Report (http://www.gacklereport.com/) and covers the San Jose Sharks organization follow me? He is following 3812 on Twitter, adding me would be easy and he could learn all about the San Jose contracted players in Allen. Why do some of the players on the Allen team not follow me, but they follow all of the Ice Angels? Sorry about that one, I answered my own question. I think I just had my own therapy session by writing about this and it might have helped. But in case my obsession continues, if any of you talk to Mark, Paul, or those Allen players not following me, give them a hint.
- The Americans left last night for Utah on a trip that will encompass over 20 hours on Big Red if all goes as planned. Heard a rumor Big Red was in the shop so the departure was delayed until 8:30 pm last night. That will put the team into Salt Lake City late this afternoon. The bus may be the least of the concerns for the team as both Eric Roy and Travis Brown stayed home because of injuries. Eric and Travis were hurt in the game on Saturday but played with the injuries on Sunday. It will be a depleted back line with only six healthy defensemen. Mike Brodzinski will meet the team in Utah as he returns from bereavement leave.
- Newly acquired forward Bryan Moore was with the team when they departed Allen and will play on Wednesday. With Kale Kerbashian starting to skate this week coach Martinson will have to figure out his next roster move. Counting Kerbashian there are 13 forwards on the roster so it is likely there will be a trade in the near future. One thing is for sure and that is roster moves will continue until things get turned around. To quote coach Martinson. "We should be a pretty good team once we get our power play going and stop passing the other team the puck."
- Here is a link to a new interview with former Allen captain Jamie Schaafsma done by the local television station in Fort Wayne. Jamie talks about his new role as player/coach of the Fort Wayne Komets. Jamie's new role must be agreeing with him as the notoriously slow starter already has 13 points (five goal 8 assists) in 12 games. How good of a start is it for Jamie? Last season he had the exact same number of points 13 (5 goals 8 assists) on January 30 after 38 games so he is over two months ahead of schedule. Last season, even with the slow start, he led the team in goals (25). If Jamie has his typical hot streak at the end of the season it could be a career year for him. Here is the link: http://www.fortwaynehomepage.net/sports/schaafsma-embracing-new-role-as-playercoach
- Nothing like a bus trip birthday. Happy birthday to Spencer Asuchak who turns 25 today.
DID YOU KNOW: The Mountain Division has all of sudden become the most competitive division in the ECHL if you look from top to bottom. That is because the bottom three teams in the division (Allen, Rapid City, Missouri) have won a combined seven straight games. Idaho leads the division with 20 points and Missouri is in last place with 13 points. Here is the point differential from the first place team to the last place team in each division.
7 points - Mountain Division
10 points - Central Division
15 points - North Division
16 points - South Division