Thursday, January 4, 2018

Roster Update, Americans Head to Idaho Shorthanded, Greger Hanson Signs in Europe, ECHL All- Star Team Announced Today & The Laval Rocket Story

I had a lot of discussions and a lot  of questions from fans yesterday all stemming from the warmup brawl on Sunday and the suspensions that followed. Coach Martinson is fond of saying once decisions are made by the ECHL regarding incidents like Sunday you may not like it but it is time to move on because there are games to be played. I think that is good advice so no more discussion about the warmup circus. What is more pertinent is what it all means for the weekend series with Idaho. Hopefully this will answer most of the questions.

-  The starting point for the discussion is the fact that coach Martinson can have a maximum of 20 players on the active roster but they all must fit under the salary cap.

- Suspended players must remain on the active roster so with Gunn, Thrower and Makowski suspended the maximum number of players Martinson could have available for the Idaho series is 17 which is one player short. The normal game lineup is 18 (10 forwards, 6 defensemen, 2 goalies).

- With injuries, suspensions and callups as of yesterday morning Allen had only 15 players available (9 forwards, 4 defensemen, 2 goalies) and that doesn't account for players that are out sick.

- If coach Martinson can fit them under the salary cap he could add two players to the 15 that are available and have 17 players (15 skaters) in Idaho. Most likely he would add one forward for a total of 10 and one defenseman for a total of five. So best case scenario Allen could play in Idaho short one defenseman.

- When I talked to Martinson after practice yesterday he had the forwards pinned down and was working on the defenseman but there has been no official announcement by the Americans.

- The team left early this morning on their trip to Boise and will be flying rather than taking the bus thanks to owner Jack Gulati. The weather in Boise is decent with lows in the 20's and highs in the 30's. There is a slight chance of rain/snow mix on Saturday with a high temp of close to 40 degrees. Game time on Friday and Saturday is 7:10 pm MST (8:10 Allen time).

- There will be a complete game preview tomorrow but this two game series in Idaho is critical for both teams. They are tied for fourth place in the Mountain Division standings with 41 points. Both have struggled recently. Allen has lost their last two games and is 5-3-2-0 in their last 10 games. Idaho has lost their last three games and is 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games.

- Any way you look at it the games in Idaho will be a challenge for the Americans. They will be short players, it is just a matter of how short. There may be players meeting the team in Boise who haven't skated with the team all season. There are players that are sick, just getting back to health after being sick and maybe guys that are about to get sick. It is definitely not ideal and the team won't be at their best for sure. However, this team has faced similar situations in past years and always seems to perform best under adversity. I look for two big efforts by the team this weekend.


 - Greger Hanson was released from his contract with San Diego (AHL) yesterday because he has signed to play for the Krefeld Pinguine in the top German league (DEL). This is the same league that Chad Costello and Jack Combs play in.  Krefeld is a city (pop. 225,000) in western Germany that is about 30 minutes northwest of Dusseldorf and is a few kilometers west of the Rhine river. Krefeld Pinguine is currently in last place in the 14 team DEL. Best of luck to Greger and Andrea on this new adventure.

- Chad Costello has been playing well since returning from his knee surgery. He is now fourth on the team (Iserlohn Roosters) in scoring with 22 points (7 goals 15 assists) in 26 games. He missed 12 games earlier in the season. Chad leads the team in average points per game (.85). The Roosters have also been playing better and have moved up to fifth place in the 14 team league. Chad's team will play Greger's team on January 23 so that will be be one to keep an eye on.

- The ECHL will announce the All-Star team today and I would expect one member of the Allen Americans will make the team. As I wrote in the blog back on December 27 there are several worthy players including Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Joel Chouinard and Jeremy Brodeur but if you look at the numbers my vote would go to David Makowski who at the time (when voting was taking place) had the following stats:

- Second leading scorer on the team as a defenseman with 26 points (7 goals 19 assists)
- Second on the team in assists (19)
- Leads the team in penalty minutes (80)
- Leads the team in shots on goal (90)
- Leads the team (tied) in power play goals (3)
- Leads the team (tied) in power play assists (9)
- #1 in points per game among all ECHL defensemen (1.08)
- #1 (tied) in points among all ECHL defensemen (26
- #1 (tied) in shorthanded points among all ECHL defensemen (2) )
- #2 (tied) in plus/minus (+18) among all ECHL defensemen (Chouinard leads with +19)
- #2 (tied) in assists among all ECHL defensemen (19)
- #4 in shots among all ECHL defensemen (90)
- #4 (tied) in power play assists among all ECHL defensemen (9)
- #5 (tied) in goals among all ECHL defensemen (7)

The selection for the All-Star team is done by a vote of the coaches, team captains, media relation directors, broadcasters, and members of the media.

- The ECHL  announced yesterday that the Board of Governors had approved the sale of the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. I doubt this is the only ownership transaction in the ECHL this season. Here is the ECHL press release on the Greenville ownership change:

- For those interested in how Spencer Asuchak (San Jose Baracuda) and Vincent Arseneau (Utica Comets) are doing their next opportunity to play is tomorrow (Friday) night. Utica is at home to take on the Laval Rocket and San Jose is on the road against the San Diego Gulls.

DID YOU KNOW: If you are not familiar with the Laval Rocket you are one of many. They are in the first year of operation as the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. The franchise operated last season as the St. John's IceCaps and was moved to Laval this season. Laval is north of Montreal and is the largest suburb of Montreal. A name the team contest was held and the winning name (by fan vote) was Laval Rocket. It was a tribute to Canadiens's legend Maurice "Rocket" Richard. Rocket garnered 51% of the fan vote. The other top contenders were Rapides (25%) and Patriotes (24%).


  1. Congrats to David Makowski for making the All-Star Team!

  2. I was afraid that Hanson was going to roll into town with the Grizzlies and make offensive mincemeat of the Americans' depleted roster. So his going to the DEL is a win-win: a new adventure for Greger and Andrea; a lucky break for a shorthanded Allen team.