The Allen Americans continue to prepare for two important games against the Utah Grizzlies on Friday and Saturday. This late in the season you seldom get four or five days off between games but that is exactly the case for the Americans the last half of February. Between February 12 and 28 Allen plays just four games in 17 days. That equates to four days between games this week, five days next week and four the last week of the month. The last five weeks of the season Allen will have no more than three days off between games and that doesn't include travel. There will be very few practice days once March 1st rolls around.
- With plenty of practice time available it gives coach Martinson time to work on every thing from backchecking to conditioning to special teams to breakouts to odd man rushes to forechecking and also have a few fun scrimmages along the way. Bottom line is practice time this late in the season is both important and valuable.
- The opportunity for players to return to the ECHL from overseas closes today at 2:00 pm CST. I was asked if the deadline would be extended because most European leagues are on a several week break because of the Olympics. The answer to that question is no. So if you are an Allen fan that has been dreaming and hoping Chad Costello or any other player would return for the playoffs that dream officially ends today.
- The next big deadline typically creates a lot of activity and that is the ECHL trade deadline which is March 8 at 2:00 pm CST. As the playoff picture becomes clearer the teams not destined for the playoffs will become sellers trying to improve their roster for next season. The teams in the playoffs will become buyers to try and improve their rosters for the playoff run.
- The roster moves coach Martinson will make over the next month could take several different forms. There could be a player for player trade, a player for future considerations trade or a combination of both. Martinson could trade for the ECHL rights to a player currently in the AHL. Another option will be to sign players just finishing their college careers. For college teams that don't make the playoffs that time is just a couple of weeks away. Martinson could also get players assigned by San Jose since it appears the Barracuda will not make the playoffs. There is no doubt there will be roster moves over the next three weeks, the only question is how many and what type. Will Martinson sign or trade for a veteran, sign a college player or two, make a deal for a player with an AHL contract to get assigned to Allen, trade for a skilled forward or shutdown defenseman? It may be a light schedule for coach Martinson the next three weeks but General Manager Martinson will be very busy. Stay tuned!
- The ECHL issued a press release yesterday handing out discipline from the line brawl between Kansas City and Toledo on Saturday. Kansas City's Garrett Klotz received an eight game suspension and Eric Freschi was suspended for two games. There were no suspensions for any Toledo players. Here is the ECHL press release announcing the suspensions along with articles from the Kansas City Star and Toledo Blade with their take on the entire incident. I would say the phrase "where you sit is where you stand" is still appropriate for both teams.
ECHL press release: https://www.echl.com/echl-announces-fines-suspensions-81
The Kansas City Star's article on the suspensions: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/article200152294.html
The Toledo Blade's article on the suspensions: http://www.toledoblade.com/Pro/2018/02/14/ECHL-announces-suspensions-from-brawl-between-Toeldo-Walleye-Kansas-City-Mavericks.html
- If you are an Allen fan and read the ECHL press release on fines and suspensions yesterday it wasn't the two Kansas City suspensions that were most interesting. The third person suspended was Travis Howe who was suspended for three games as a result of an illegal check to the head. Howe plays for Utah and will be suspended for both games against Allen this weekend. Howe leads the Grizzlies in penalty minutes (137) and fighting majors (10). Not sure if it is good or bad he won't be playing this weekend. Howe is the type of player that can fight but not play. The 6'4" 215 pound forward has played in 26 games this season and has a total of one point. In the last two seasons for the Grizzlies he has played in 76 games and has a total of five points (2 goals 3 assists).
- The six game series between Colorado and Idaho continued last night. It has been a strange series thus far to say the least. Idaho won the first three games which were all played in Colorado. Last night was the first of three in Boise and Colorado won 4-2. Game five will be played Friday night. If you have been following along on the hypothetical over/under penalty minute bet, it is now four wins in a row. The teams had 63 penalty minutes in the last game in Colorado and with three days off between game three and four the bet for last night was under 63 minutes. Another winner as there were only 14 penalty minutes in the game. This is an easy call, take the over 14 PIMS for game six tomorrow night.
- The Mountain Division standings now have Colorado in first place with 69 points, Idaho in second place with 62 points followed by Allen and Wichita tied for third place with 56 points.
- If you like jersey auctions there are two in progress.
The Marvel jerseys are still available at http://www.meigrayauctions.com/ - This auction goes through February 27. There are seven jerseys with no bid and another eight with just a single minimum bid. Most jerseys have a $200 minimum bid but a few started lower. The top bid is $320 for the Gary Steffes jersey.
The other jersey auction in progress is available at https://one.bidpal.net/goamericans/browse/all - This is the "Winter Sports" specialty jersey that Allen will be wearing Friday night as part of "Winter Sports Weekend." Something tells me the Americans can't use the term "Olympic Sports Weekend" which is more appropriate. This jersey auction is over Sunday (February 18) at 9:00 pm. This is a good looking jersey and fans have a great chance to win one at a reasonable price. There are 15 jerseys with no bids (starting bid is $249) and a few that had starting bids below $249 that are still in the $150-$200 range. The highest bid is $315 for Dalton Thrower's jersey. Here is the "Winter Sports" specialty jersey.
- Here are all of the details about Winter Sports weekend including free red Allen Americans youth jerseys for the first 1500 children (12 and under) through the doors on Saturday. https://allenamericans.com/olympic-weekend-friday-saturday-vs-utah/
- Check out the Allen Americans Weekly which includes last week's results, this week's games, team stats leaders and other team and player facts: https://allenamericans.com/allen-americans-weekly-16/
- Congrats to Aaron and Kellie Gens who publicly announced yesterday that they are expecting their first child in August.
DID YOU KNOW: Colorado forward Michael Joly scored his 35th and 36th goal of the season in the Eagles 4-2 win over Idaho last night. Joly is on pace to be the first 50 goal scorer in the ECHL since the 2008-09 season. Joly has 36 goals in 41 games for a goals per game average of .88. At that pace he will total 56 goals if he plays in Colorado's remaining 23 games. Joly missed eight Colorado games this season when he was recalled by the San Antonio Rampage (AHL). To give you an idea of how amazing it is to average .88 goals per game, you have to go all the way back to the 1999-2000 ECHL season to find a player with a higher average. In that season, Andrew Williamson, playing for the Toledo Storm, averaged exactly 1.00 goal per game scoring 63 goals in 63 games. He is the last player with a 60+ goal season in the ECHL.