Sunday, May 21, 2017

Costello to Germany, Colorado Advances, Playoff Thoughts, Barracuda Update, Beware Futures, Vet Problems, Emotions with Photos

It has been just a week since my last daily blog post but had the urge to write so will cover a wide range of topics that may not be connected at all. Just a random list of things that have happened or thoughts I have had since the Americans were eliminated from the playoffs. Here goes:

- Chad Costello has signed to play in Germany next season. He has signed with the Iserlohn Roosters in the DEL. This is the same team that Jack Combs plays for so a reunion for them. Hope the best for Chad and the family. He will certainly be missed but you never know how these things work out in the long run.   

- Losing in the second round of the playoffs sure makes for a long off season for Allen fans. After playing until the second week of June the past two years it already seems like the season has been over a long time and it isn't the end of May yet.

- Congrats to the Colorado Eagles who eliminated the Toledo Walleye last night by winning the game 6-3 and the series 4-1. Colorado has certainly had their way in the playoffs beating Idaho 4-1 in the first round, Allen 4-2 in the second round and Toledo 4-1 in the third round. They should be a great representative of the Western Conference in the Kelly Cup finals. I know there are many that will disagree but having the Eagles do so well is good for Allen and the Mountain Division so I have been all in for Colorado since they eliminated the Americans.

- Congrats also to Toledo for a great season. When you make it to the final four in a 27 team league that is quite an accomplishment. The Walleye were also the best team during the regular season winning the Brabham Cup with 104 points.

- The Eastern Conference final is a good example of how you fare in the regular season doesn't predict playoff success. Manchester was the #4 seed in the North Division and South Carolina was the #3 seed in the South Division. Here is another way to look at this. Toledo led the ECHL during the regular season with 104 points. There are three teams left vying for the Kelly Cup and they finished as follows in the regular season among all 27 teams:

94 points - Colorado (3rd)
85 points - Manchester (11th)
84 points - South Carolina (12th)

This is why they say in hockey you just need to get to the playoffs and anything can happen.

- You may have noticed Josh Brittain has signed to play in Slovakia next season. I have always been told as players get older and realize they will not make it in the AHL heading to Europe is a great option. They get to see Europe while playing hockey and the pay is higher. For Allen fans another thing to keep in mind is you can only have four veterans (more than 260 pro games) on the roster and Josh most likely was not going to be re-signed by coach Martinson. Chad Costello, Gary Steffes and Joel Chouinard were the other three vets on the team but Greger Hanson will also be a vet next year. Coach Martinson likes to have a vet slot in case he can recruit a great new player that wants to come to Allen. Bottom line is the competition for the four veteran spots will be very competitive. With Costello and Brittain heading to Europe there will be vet spots open.

- June is a busy month as it relates to starting the recruiting process for next season but one of the critical dates you should be aware of is June 13. That is the date all future consideration trades must be completed. Why is that important to Allen fans? If you recall, when the Americans acquired Tyler Barnes and Alex Krushelnyski the transactions included future considerations to Indy (Barnes) and Wichita (Krushelnyski). My guess is that means one player from the playoff roster will be heading to Indy and one to Wichita. If you eliminate veterans because a team would not agree to a veteran in future considerations because a veteran is always a free agent and you eliminate AHL contracted players the pool of who might be headed to Indy and Wichita is not very big. This could end up causing more disappointment for Allen fans. Stay tuned.

- In case you haven't been tracking the AHL playoffs, the San Jose Barracuda have advanced to the final four and are taking on the Grand Rapids Griffins in the Western Conference finals. It is the Syracuse Crunch vs Providence Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals. San Jose lost game one of the series against Grand Rapids at home last night by a score of 3-1. Game two is in San Jose tonight at 7:00 pm CDT.

- Spencer Asuchak is still playing hockey. He was loaned to San Jose after Allen lost to Colorado and has played in the Barracuda's last three games. Spencer is playing ahead of several AHL contracted players so congrats to him.

- The ECHL playoffs aren't even over however a team in Austria's top league (EBEL) has already announced that Matt Register has signed to play next season. The team, Villacher SV, was founded in 1923 and it will have a familiar mascot for Matt as it is an Eagle. This would not prevent Register from re-signing with Colorado but seems unusual to issue the press release prior to the completion of the ECHL playoffs.

- You may have seen the 2017-18 Allen Americans schedule that was released last week. I will do a "deep dive" on the schedule later in the summer but thought it was interesting to look at the schedule in terms of who the Americans will play and how many times they play each team. Allen will play 13 different ECHL teams next season but only nine different teams at home.  Below is a complete list of the 72 games by team:

13 games - Tulsa (7 home 6 away)
12 games - Wichita (6 home 6 away)
10 games - Idaho (4 home 6 away) 
8 games - Kansas City (4 home 4 away)
8 games  - Rapid City (5 home 3 away)
6 games - Colorado (4 home 2 away)
6 games - Utah (4 home 2 away)
2 games - Orlando (2 home 0 away)
2 games - Florida (0 home 2 away)
2 games - Fort Wayne (0 home 2 away)
1 game - Jacksonville (0 home 1 away)
1 game - Indy (0 home 1 away)
1 game - Atlanta (0 home 1 away)

The biggest change in the schedule is with Missouri/Kansas City as Allen played them 13 times last season and will play them only eight times next season. Division realignment has to happen since two teams (Alaska & Elmira) are no longer operating and two new teams (Worcester & Jacksonville) will start. The decision on the division alignment will likely happen at the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting which takes place in Las Vegas next month. You wonder if the reduced number of games against Kansas City is a tell the Mavericks will be moving to the Central Division. If you look at a map, putting Tulsa and Wichita in the Mountain Division and Kansas City in the Central Division makes some sense. If it happens to end up that way Allen would play 55 of their 72 games against teams in the Mountain Division. In 2016-17 Allen only played 31 of 72 games against Mountain Division opponents and 13 of the 31 were against Missouri.

- All season long I used Dianne Webster's images to so show so many great moments in an amazing season. Almost all of the images showed happiness, celebrations, effort, hard work, toughness and all of the things that made the team great. After the game six loss to Colorado on May 9th Dianne sent three photos to me that I am sure many of you have seen. As a professional photographer Dianne has often shared with me her goal is to capture the emotion in her photos, not just the action. These three photos do an outstanding job of capturing the emotion of the moment. To set the stage for these photos Matt Register had put the Eagles ahead with 69 seconds remaining in the game. This timeout was taken with 23.6 seconds left in the game.

Dyson Stevenson was a player that gave everything for this team. Dianne captured the raw emotion of defeat from Dyson

Coach Martinson's eyes say it all

This is Chad Costello after that final timeout. The pain is heartbreaking. A picture it truly worth a 1000 words.

DID YOU KNOW:  Toledo followed a long list of teams that have won the regular season championship and failed to win the Kelly/Riley Cup. In the 29 year history of the ECHL only three teams have accomplished that feat. Alaska has done it three times (2014, 2011, 2006), Cincinnati did it in 2008 and South Carolina in 1997. Some call it the curse of the Brabham Cup and it bit Toledo this season. 


  1. Barry I thought Chad Costello signed a four-year contract with the Americans?

    Or am I confusing him for Riley Gill?

    1. Jay, all ECHL contracts are for just one year. You may be confusing a comment coach Martinson made in an interview that his four year deal meant Chad would be in Allen for four more years.

    2. They are week to week. So no matter if you sign for the season you can get cut traded or released at any time.

  2. Chad and his whole family for sure will be missed, but who knows they may be back to Allen-wishful thinking. Dyson is a true example of a 'team player' I wish my family would have adopted him last season to get to know him better given that my husband is Canadian and has played hockey against some of the legends - I also have a single daughter in case he is single - wink wink - Jes will kill me LOL. As per Colorado, if they would have not been favored by ECHL and have won fair and square, I would support them but given the circumstances I do NOT. I still remember the unprofessional way the Colorado coach told us fans to go home and cry.

  3. I truly believe there needs to be a rule change in the ECHL as it pertains to playoff rosters. I believe that a player should have played a minimum of 20 games in the ECHL during the year. Loading up a playoff roster is not fair to the players who have played a majority of their season within the ECHL. As an example, Colorado has 6 players on their playoff roster that played less than 20 games and have accounted for 50% of the teams playoff goals. Those six players played over 200 games in the AHL this year. Just because the affiliate didn't make the playoffs shouldn't mean you can "stack" your ECHL affiliate for the playoffs.

  4. Nice that Matt is moving to Europe, won't have to see him "paying back" Allen next year!!