Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Roster Update. Weekly Update, Standings Update, Olympic Update, Jersey Auction Results & A Trip Down Memory Lane

 If you have been following the Allen Americans transactions closely this season you may have noticed the number of times the roster has gotten too big followed by a roster that is too small. That is the nature of the beast in AA hockey. This season more than any other in memory it seems like every time coach Martinson has made a move to reduce the size of the roster that is too big it is immediately followed by injuries and call ups and the roster is too small. It happened again this week, Marcus Basara was traded to Wheeling on Saturday and sure enough two days later Colby McAuley and Alex Schoenborn have been recalled by San Jose.

- The Americans now have only eight healthy forwards on the roster and seven defensemen. If coach Martinson doesn't add a player for the two games in Kansas City this weekend he would move Miles Liberati from the blue line to upfront and play one man short.

- The team is in the midst of three days off and will practice again tomorrow (Wednesday) to prepare for the two games against the Kansas City Mavericks this weekend. I was asked why coach Martinson would give the players three days off after the way they played against Utah. This time off was agreed to and scheduled a long time ago because the Americans had to play during the three day All-Star break.

- Olivier Archambault continues to play well on his AHL assignment to Syracuse. He had a goal and an assist in the Syracuse 3-1 win over Charlotte on Sunday. Archambault has now played 11 games for the Crunch and has seven points (4 goals 3 assists) and is +6. The Crunch play their next game at Rochester on Wednesday.  

- Here is the Allen Americans Weekly Update issued by the team. It covers last week's games, this week's games, team stat leaders and a few fun facts. https://allenamericans.com/allen-americans-weekly-update-10/

-  The ECHL was busy yesterday handing out suspensions and fines. Included on the list is Allen's career penalty minute leader, Garrett Clarke who was suspended five games for his part in a brawl in Tulsa on Sunday. The most PIMS Clarke ever had in one season in Allen was 223. Clarke will far exceed that total this season playing for the Indy Fuel. Garrett leads the ECHL in penalty minutes (239) and minor penalties (42). Here is the ECHL press release announcing suspensions for two players from Colorado and two from Tulsa along with the five games for Clarke. https://www.echl.com/echl-announces-fines-suspensions-83

- While Allen was losing two games this past weekend the Wichita Thunder extended their winning streak to four games and opened up a six point lead over the Americans for third place in the division. The Thunder lead could grow to double digits this week even if Allen wins twice in Kansas City. Wichita plays four games this week starting tonight with back to back home games against Colorado. The Thunder travel to Utah for games on Friday and Saturday. Allen fans must hope the fact Wichita must play four games in five days along with traveling to Utah will translate to a few losses.

- Rather than looking at Wichita who is six points ahead of Allen in the standings the Americans need to worry about Tulsa who is now challenging them for the final playoff spot. Allen has a narrow one point lead going into the weekend. While Allen is in Kansas City for two games the Oilers will be playing Colorado twice at home. Colorado just finished playing Idaho six games in a row. Starting on Friday they will play Tulsa five games in a row. The scheduling gods strike again.

- The Olympic (aka winter sports) specialty jersey auction that was completed Sunday night allowed some fans to get what was one of the more popular jerseys in memory at reasonable prices. The top sellers were $587 (Vincent Arseneau), $549 (Joel Chouinard) and $525 (Spencer Asuchak). Overall there were 24 jerseys auctioned. Five went between $200 - $300,  seven between $300 - $400, nine between $400 - $500 and three for $500+.

- The USA men's Olympic hockey team beat Slovakia last night 5-1 in the qualification round and advanced to play the Czech Republic in the Olympic quarterfinals. Here is the game recap complete with video highlights: https://www.nbcolympics.com/news/united-states-slovakia-game-recap-mens-hockey

- The USA women's hockey team is in a familiar place playing for the Olympic gold on Thursday morning. Once again they will have to go through the Canadian team if they want to take home the gold. These are the two best teams in the world and the rivalry is unparalleled. Here is a great story about the rivalry and what you can expect in the gold medal game.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/so-they-meet-again-us-canada-again-face-off-for-womens-hockey-gold/2018/02/20/b625bf66-1603-11e8-b681-2d4d462a1921_story.html?utm_term=.7ac2a669aca4  

DID YOU KNOW: You realize how fast time goes by when you see a picture of the sports stadium and hockey arena you remember with so many fond memories as a kid. If you drove by today there is nothing left to see other than the replacement which is the famed Mall of America. In the picture below you see the old Metropolitan Stadium, home to the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. That's the Minnesota North Stars Met Center in the background. These facilities were located in my hometown, Bloomington and were my play ground as a kid. As a young teen my buddies and I had five or six ways to sneak into the ball park. Later I worked as a popcorn and pop (that is what it is called in Minnesota) vendor for the Twins. When the hockey rink was built in 1967 and the North Stars started playing, my mom was the first aide nurse so she would hook me up with tickets. I was reminded of the old days yesterday when I saw an article that said it was 52 years ago that a group of owners in Minneapolis and St. Paul learned they would become one of six new NHL teams to begin play a year and a half later. The franchise that would become the Dallas Stars in 1993 was born in 1966. I know I have mentioned this before that I have my ticket stub from the very first Stars home game on October 11, 1967. I wonder if the Dallas Stars would have any interest in the donation of this piece of Stars history? 

As an aside the franchise fee in 1966 was $2,000,000. Las Vegas paid $500 million for their franchise and reports say the next franchise will cost between $600-$700 million.

Metropolitan Stadium with the Metropolitan Sports Center in the background

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