Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monday Funday Practice, All-Star Team Announced Today - The Details, Riley Gill's Baby Pic

As predicted the mood was light as the Allen Americans returned to practice on Monday "Funday" where practice was light on structure and heavy on scrimmaging. A good way to start the New Year. It will be back to a more traditional practice today in what will most likely be the hardest working practice of the week. And if all goes as planned the boys will get a day off tomorrow.

- There were several players sitting out yesterday. Some are injured and won't be on the ice all week, some will return as the week progresses and some were just given a rest day to heal up.

- Photographer Dianne Webster captured some of the shenanigans from yesterday along with a photo of the winning team:

Bryan Moore interferes from the bench

Joel Chouinard take matters into his own hands

Bench Brawl

All is good!

The Champs!

Sore loser Mike "The Savage" Gunn with the drive-by water bottle squirt

Marchment and Moore toe to toe

I can't see you - where is the linesman?

Skating coach Luke Chilcott working with Gary Steffes & Jake Marchment after practice


- The ECHL All-Star Classic will take place in a couple of weeks in Glens Falls, New York hosted by the Adirondack Thunder. The game will be played on January 18 and will be televised live on the NHL Network as well as many regional networks.

- The game will be played in a non-traditional format and could best be described as an exhibition rather than a game. The format will be the host team (Adirondack) taking on the All-Stars selected from the other ECHL teams. There are some unique rules. Here is the description from the All-Star Classic website:

-The first portion of the event will be a 25-minute half, played entirely as 5-on-5 hockey between the All-Stars and the Thunder. Following the completion of the first half of play, the scores will carry over into the Skills Competition, which will be played during the intermission.

- The Skills Competition will feature three events: Fastest Skater, Hardest Shot and Skills Relay. Each Skills Competition event will feature competitors from both the All-Stars and the Thunder and the winning team in each event will receive one goal (point) towards their overall score, with a total of three goals (points) available from the Skills Competition.
- The second half will again feature a 25-minute stanza, but will incorporate some of the new and exciting situations typically featured during ECHL overtime. The half will begin with 10 minutes of 5-on-5 play but the first whistle after the 15-minute mark will see the teams switch to 4-on-4. At the first whistle following the 10-minute mark, the teams will switch again, this time to a 3-on-3 format, which will be carried out through the remainder of the game. At the end of the second half, the team with the most goals (points) from the first half, skills competition and second half combined will be the winner of the 2017 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic, presented by I LOVE NY. In the event that the score is tied, a sudden death, five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime period will be played to determine the winner. If the event is still tied, a three-player shootout will commence to determine the winner. 

- The ECHL didn't have an All-Star game last season and in 2015 Allen didn't have a player attend. That was the year Jack Combs was selected as a starter but left for Sweden before the game was played. Steve Martinson was one of the coaches for the All-Stars and was the only Allen representative. .

- The All-Star team will be announced later today and there are few things fans should keep in mind about the selections. The starting line up is determined in voting by coaches, team captains, broadcasters, media relations directors and media members. Coaches also submit a separate line up (goalie, two defensemen, three forwards) who they feel are the top prospects at their respective positions and the voting by the coaches is used to determine the balance of the roster. The All-Star game is intended to showcase the younger prospects in the ECHL.  So other than the starting line up, don't look for established stars on the team.

- The goal is to have every ECHL team represented as a starter, reserve or alternate so don't look for more than one player from each team unless they are voted on as a starter.

- It is easy to make the argument that Allen should have three starters on the All-Star team but realistically that will not happen. Chad Costello has won the ECHL scoring title by a wide margin the last two season and is once again in the lead and is leading by 11 points. Riley Gill is the top goalie in the ECHL statistically and has five shutouts to his credit. Greger Hanson is second in the league in goals and fourth in points. If the All-Star team was made up of the best players in the league all three would be on the team along with several others.

- One thing to keep in mind is the All-Star ballots were due to the league office on December 9 so three of Riley Gill's shutouts and his ascendancy to the top of the goalie charts took place after the ballots were already cast. The same is true for Hanson as half of his 20 goals have been scored since the ballots were cast. Costello has increased his scoring lead recently but was already in the lead when ballots were being cast. Chad has won the scoring title the last two years, was the MVP the last two years (PHPA in 2015, ECHL in 2016) and is leading the league in scoring again. In a vote of hockey insiders from around the league, you would have to bet on Chad Costello being voted an All-Star starter. Allen fans can only hope the Americans can defy the odds and land two players on the starting team. This afternoon they will have the answer.

- If you want to read more about the All-Star Classic and all the activities here is the link: http://www.echlthunder.com/community/2017_All_Star_Classic/


- Congrats to David Makowski who was named the December ECHL Plus Performer of the Month yesterday. This award is easy to figure out as there is no judgement involved as it goes to the player with the best plus/minus for the month. If you look at the ECHL press release it shows David finishing first with +18 and Justin Crandall (Reading) second with +13. The press release then includes the top plus/minus player for each team and there was one +12 and three +11.  It got me to thinking how many other Allen players would be near the top of this list. Here is what I call the ECHL Plus Performer of the Month honorable mention. They would all be top 10 for the month but aren't recognized because Makowski is number one and only one player per team is recognized. Stevenson and Chouinard have the third best plus/minus in the ECHL for the month of December.

+12 - Dyson Stevenson
+12 - Joel Chouinard
+11 - Tanner Eberle
+10 - Chad Costello
+10 - Spencer Asuchak
+10 - Greger Hanson

- Wanted to followup on what was posted in the blog on Sunday which said, Happy Birthday to Riley Gill, Josh Hepditch who played in Allen in 2011-12 and the voice of the Wichita Thunder Jason Mals. Wonder if any of the three were the first baby born in the New Year and got a bunch gifts?

Turns out Riley Gill was the first born on January 1, 1985 not only in his hometown but in the entire county where he lived. Thanks to Riley's wife Angie, for tracking down the information and his mom, Virginia, for providing the info. Turns out Riley cleaned up for being the first baby born in Rice County, Minnesota in 1985. He got money in six bank accounts his mom opened up for him, diapers, clothes, toys and even a free oil change and those are just the items his mom remembers. Check out this picture of Riley that appeared in his hometown newspaper when he was about one and ready to give up his reign as the first baby of the year. What a cutie!


DID YOU KNOW:   The 2010 ECHL All-Star game was one for the record books. The game was played in Ontario, California between All-Stars from the two conferences. The two teams combined for 19 goals to set a record for most goals in an ECHL All-Star game and the game went into overtime. The National Conference ended up winning the game 10-9 in a shootout. Here is some old video of the shootout. A couple of familiar names are Judd Blackwater and Justin Donati. Donati was representing Elmira who was coached by Steve Martinson.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff, thanks Dianne for the photos. Looks like the guys were having fun.