ALLEN, Texas – It has been a while since you have heard from me with some of it planned and some not. I will say I found out since I left for a late-season pheasant hunting trip to North Dakota on Christmas Day that rock bottom has a basement. I won’t rehash all of the details as I did in a post that took six hours to write on New Year’s Day only to accidentally delete it without the ability to recover what I had written.
Here is the five-minute version of what happened to me the last 10 days that started with three guys in their 70’s with seven back surgeries, four knee replacements, and numerous other old guy issues went on their annual late-season hunting trip:
– first day hunted from sunrise to sunset and got skunked. Eight inches of old snow made it tough walking through sloughs and field. It was a first.
– day two was better but tough hunting with three pheasants bagged. I managed to fracture a rib (found out when returned home) stretching over the back seat of the truck. First broken bone of my life.
– four inches of new snow and prediction (which came true) of 20 more inches and 50 MPH winds convinced us to cut the trip two days short. Headed back to Minneapolis in a snow storm.
– found out how difficult it is, even if you have flown 1.6 million miles with American Airlines, to move your flight up by two days during Christmas week when the Minneapolis airport has been shut down. Also found out there is a price at which they will find you a seat.
– arrived home in time to have a bike wreck with my trash bin (don’t ask) and fractured my collarbone. That made no broken bones for 72 years followed by a broken rib and clavicle in four days. Whoever called them the golden years never lived through them. By the way, the ER at the hospital was packed even at 5:30 am when I arrived. I was the only accident victim as the ER was wallowing in people coughing, hacking and full of crud being tested for flu, strep, etc.
– though I was very uncomfortable I was determined to play injured and attend the NYE Allen Americans game fully loaded with pain meds. Any of you that attended that game can attest it was a disaster that would not turn around a bad week.
– I decided to write about my terrible, horrible week on New Year’s morning and with one arm in a sling and reduced to typing with one index finger I set about trying to write a humorous story about the hunting trip, broken bones, and the disastrous NYE hockey game. My proofreader and wife, Nancy, even complimented me (a rare occurrence) on the story.
– it seemed only fitting that after the terrible, horrible, no good very bad week, the story I wrote about it would disappear due to some operator error by a one-armed, one index finger typist.
– everything started to turn around yesterday as a cancellation allowed me to see my orthopedic surgeon four days earlier than scheduled. Actually had some very good luck as a couple of bone fragments around the clavicle break will act as a bone graft which means I don’t need surgery.
– After the good news from the doctor at 3:00 pm, I was positive as I headed to the Americans game it would be a good night. That turned out not to be the case as first-place Allen lost to sixth place Kansas City 5-3 in a game where the Americans were clearly outworked.
About Last Night…
– For a top team, the Americans often struggle to get off to a good start. They gave up an early goal again last night. In 17 of their 35 games this season, Allen has given up the first goal. The Americans tied the score 1-1 with six seconds left in the first period. Allen never had a lead in the game and every time the Americans would tie the score the Mavericks would quickly respond with a goal of their own. What came to mind was a quote from coach Martinson after the NYE loss to Idaho, “We have a lot of guys that can score but you have got to do more than just score.”
– Allen was 0-3 on the power play while Kansas City didn’t have a power-play opportunity. The Americans miss Tyler Sheehy quarterbacking the power play. In the eight games before Sheehy was recalled by Iowa, the Allen power play was 9-35 for a 25% success rate. Of the nine power-play goals, Tyler had a goal (2) or assist (5) on seven of the nine goals. In the two games, he has missed Allen is 0-5 on the power play.
– Goals scorers for Allen were Alex Guptill (13), Gabe Gagne (16), Corey Durocher (6)
Here are Steve Martinson‘s postgame comments:
“We didn’t play smart enough to win tonight. We have some bad defensive players and when our goalie doesn’t save all of the stupid turnovers that result in odd-man rushes this is the result.”
“We have some guys that don’t like what I am saying to them, pout when they aren’t on the power play and aren’t working hard enough and some of them are our veteran guys. I told them to go look at your shifts to see if you are working hard.”
“We have too many guys who are not working hard enough. We have guys that do nothing the whole game but think they have had a good game because they score a goal.”
“We have guys cruising on the backcheck so they can get the puck and be in a good position if our defensemen get it. I know what is going on, they are just thinking about offense. Right now we are short guys but there a few I would like to sit out.”
“It doesn’t pay to be the bigger team if you don’t use it to your advantage and we didn’t do that tonight.”
– The formula for success tonight is straight forward. A better start, better on the power play, better play defensively and work harder.
– Tonight, Allen will be trying to avoid losing three games in a row for the first time this season. They have allowed 11 goals in the last two home games.
– Andrew Shortridge will get his first start since being assigned to Allen earlier this week.
– If you look at the stats, it is clear getting a lead is a key for Allen against the Mavericks. Here is a look at Kansas City’s record:
9-4-0-0 when leading after the first period
11-0-0-0 when leading after the second period
1-8-1-0 when trailing after the first period
0-14-1-0 when trailing after the second period
– Tyler Sheehy was named the ECHL rookie of the month. Based on what Tyler accomplished in December he deserves to be named Player of the Month. Here is the press release: https://www.echl.com/en/news/2020/1/allen-sheehy-named-howies-hockey-tape-echl-rookie-of-the-month
– With a win tonight, Martinson can tie John Brophy for second place on the coach’s all-time pro wins list. Here are the top three:
1244 – Scotty Bowman
1027 – John Brophy
1026 – Steve Martinson
– Martinson will coach the Western Conference team at the upcoming ECHL All-Star game on January 22 in Wichita, based on Allen having the best record in the conference. The ECHL should issue a press release with all of the players, coaches, broadcasters, etc. next week. You have to expect Allen will be well represented.
– I was asked about the results of the live jersey auction after the NYE game. The price range was $250-$550. Here are the top five:
$550 – Jake Paterson
$500 – Jordan Topping
$500 – Gabe Gagne
$500 – Alex Guptill
$500 – Josh Brittain
– If you haven’t seen the story written by Matthew Harding about the top five stories in the last decade in minor league hockey, this is a must-read. In addition to the top five, Matt includes a few honorable mentions. The Allen Americans dynasty comes in at #3 on the list: https://thesinbin.net/the-biggest-stories-in-minor-league-hockey-over-the-last-decade/
Did You Know?
It has been quite a decade for the Allen Americans. While Allen missed the playoffs last season their success over the last 10 seasons is unparalleled. Here are the results:
4 – championships
1 – loss in the finals
1 – third-round loss
1 – second-round loss
2 – first-round losses
1 – out of playoffs
For all things Allen Americans, follow Barry Janssen on Twitter @AllenAmericans1. For the latest stats and trends in the ECHL, follow @ECHLStats. And for the latest news on your favorite AHL & ECHL team, “Like” The Sin Bin on Facebook!