Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Q & A With Steve Martinson About Remaining Games, Playoffs & Future, Hanson Suspended, Colorado Fights

The silence was deafening in the Allen Americans locker room complex when I stopped by to interview coach Martinson yesterday. No music, no players, no staff and no lights in an area that is always buzzing with activity. While the players are enjoying their all-star break Steve Martinson was in his office doing general manager duties which at this time of year includes the tedious and time consuming task of identifying college/junior players that are about to complete their eligibility. Corbin Baldwin, Alex Lavoie, Jake Hildebrand, Thomas Carr and Jordan Rowley are just a few of the players that signed in Allen as amateurs after completing their college/junior eligibility. Over the years Martinson has developed his own process for identifying and recruiting these players. He doesn't go into great detail about the specifics but is convinced it works based on past success.

I wanted to ask coach Martinson about the rest of the regular season, the plans for the playoffs and his future. Here is what he had to say.

Q: You have 15 games remaining in the regular season. Colorado has won 15 in a row and has opened up a five point lead in the standings. What are your goals for the rest of the season?
A: There isn't anything we can do about Colorado because we don't play them and haven't played them since the middle of December. The only thing we can control is ourselves and that is where I am focused. My goal for the rest of the season is to win as many games as we can and to get healthy again. Getting everyone healthy and back in the lineup is important. I expect David Makowski and Tanner Eberle to be available for the games this weekend in Missouri.

Q: What are you doing now to prepare for the playoffs?
A: I am spending a lot of time this week trying to identify amateur players to recruit. These are college/junior players that are just finishing up their eligibility. You can sign as many amateurs as you want but they do count against the roster. These players can be a big help come playoff time. I am also looking at players on AHL contracts that have played at least five games in the ECHL so are eligible for the playoffs. The ECHL rule allows you to have playoff roster slots for players in the AHL that are qualified to play in the ECHL playoffs  without naming the players.  This provides a lot more flexibility as some of these players may never become available because their team makes a deep run in the AHL playoffs. If you come to an agreement with these players you don't have to put them on the playoff roster. You can put them on a list and when their AHL team is done you have two days to put them on the playoff roster. The key is you have to save some playoff roster spots in order to use this provision. This is how we got Nikita Jevpalovs for the playoffs last year.

Q: At the press conference on Thursday when asked about whether or not you had been signed, you said no comment. Is there anything you can share with Allen fans about your future?
A: All I can say at this time is if I leave Allen I prefer it to be on my terms. 


- Here is a story that broke this morning about Reading coach, Larry Courville, leaving after coaching the team for nine years. Sounds like he wanted to stay but couldn't agree on a new deal: http://www.readingeagle.com/sports/article/larry-courville-to-end-tenure-as-reading-royals-head-coach


- It has been a unique experience for Greger Hanson on his assignment in Binghamton (AHL). In his first game he was called for boarding and had a fight. As a result of the boarding call he was suspended for two games. Here is the AHL announcement: http://theahl.com/ahl-announces-suspensions-17feb26

Greger Hanson #11 for the Binghamton Senators

- It appears that the Elmira franchise might be saved just as it appeared they were going under. Here are the details about a new owner coming forward for their arena: http://www.weny.com/news/All/foundation-being-laid-for-first-arena-future-02272017

- If you have been tracking Nikita Jevpalovs progress in San Jose he has being doing very well. He has five goals in the last eight games. Jevpalovs has 11 goals this season after scoring only five all of last season. He is a good example of a player that volunteered to come to Allen during the regular season and playoffs last season. He got a lot of playing time, built his confidence and also won a championship. Have to think his time in Allen has something to do with his success in San Jose.

- The Americans will be back on the ice tomorrow as practice resumes after the break. There is an optional skate at 1:00 pm today for those players that are in town and want to scrimmage.

DID YOU KNOW: When Commissioner McKenna was talking about the schedule for next season at the press conference on Thursday he mentioned Allen could expect more games within the division. If you recall, Steve Martinson made the comment that the league needs to be careful in scheduling Allen for too many road games in Colorado. He said we will hit the 100 major penalty mark for fighting if we play those homers in Colorado too many times. I have heard in the past Colorado is tough at home but not too much on the road. Martinson's comment was enough to entice me to actually look up the data. Have to admit it was surprising and proved the point Martinson was making at the press conference. According to the website dropyourgloves.com Allen and Colorado have a total of three players in the top 12 in the ECHL in fights. Allen's Derek Mathers leads the league with 25 fights, Colorado's Teigan Zahn is #5 with 15 fights and Darryl Bootland is #12 with 11 fights. Mathers has had 12 fights at home and 13 on the road. His motto could be I will fight anyone, anywhere. Zahn and Bootland have a total of 26 fights with 22 at home and just four on the road. Their motto could be, sorry we only fight at home.


  1. Maybe I am being the pessimist of the group but I am getting very nervous about the Martinson "no comment" at the press conference and then this today. The new owner has to see the value he brings and that there is no way to replace that level of skill out there.

  2. Interesting factoid about Colorado having only four road game fights. How many of those were at Allen, I wonder?

  3. A: All I can say at this time is if I leave Allen I prefer it to be on my terms.

    You've got to be kidding me right?

    That's all Martinson had to say about the topic of extending his contract... that is both ominous and disappointing

  4. I don't know how management and coaching works, but is it possible Coach could be being courted by another team, league? Could he go to the AHL as a coach?

    1. If he did I would be happy for him or any of the players who can move up the ladder. I would miss his since he is a great coach but it would be great for him.

  5. I am surprised coach hasn't gone to the AHL or a Div 1 college, you would think one of them would want a winner coach.

  6. I personally believe that the fans need to stay out of any negotiations going on. Instead, we need to help the organization figure ways to "get more butts in the seats." With the growing population in the area we should have sold out nights every night.

    1. First of all we are not invited participants to any contract negotiation. Also its not our in our job description to put any butts in a seat except our own. In my opinion hockey is unquestionably the best live spectator sport going. I do believe our opinion concerning the best GM/Coach in this league should be voiced loud and clear to a new owner who may think he is going to get a free look. Jack has enough to work on and would be wise to keep the performing half of the operation intact for the next few years. If he misses this easy "lay up" he may not ever reach his goals.

    2. Well said Doug!

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with the on ice product or coaching staff and Jack should focus on mending whatever fences appear to be broken between himself and his GM /coach

  7. I was happy to hear our new owner mention getting 'more butts in the seats'. I just wish we (the Americans) received more local coverage. They are never mentioned in the local media. I concede that the DMN does give the Americans some column space. However, the four local news stations never even look north to Allen.

    I think a good use of resources for the organization would be to invest in a PR/Marketing person who can spread the word about our boys!