ALLEN, Texas – Yesterday, I had some technical problems, which actually is a fancy way of saying I ran out of talent and somehow managed to delete the post after taking four hours to write, proofread and post it, so entirely operator error.
– The Allen Americans had two good days of practice this week, according to the coaches, as the team prepared for three games this weekend in Rapid City. There was some good news as I rolled in to practice on Tuesday because four of the seven players that did not make the trip to Tulsa on Sunday were back on the ice as full participants. Eric Roy and Chad Butcher were placed on the 14-day injured reserve at the beginning of the season and are ready to go. Mike Gunn and Thomas Frazee are also back having missed the last four games. Roy, Butcher, Gunn and Frazee will all make the trip to Rapid City. The other three injured players (Josh Thrower, Kevin Sundher, Pavel Jenys) have not practiced and will not be on the Rapid City trip. If my math is correct, it means 19 players will be in Rapid City so without any more injuries there will be one healthy scratch each game.
– The team left very early this morning on a flight to Denver and will then bus from Denver to Rapid City. That proved to be the best balance between cost and avoiding a close to 1100 mile bus trip. By doing a fly and drive the trip will take about nine hours compared to close to 20 hours if it was by bus only. If all goes as planned the team will arrive in Rapid City early this afternoon. They will not practice today.
– I often get asked what the lines will be for upcoming games and always answer that question the same way. With Steve Martinson, line combinations change from practice to practice and even shift to shift. With that said it looked like Frazee was with Shmyr and Pochiro, Pierro-Zabotel was with Asuchak and Salituro and Lang was with Butcher and Stallard is some of the drills yesterday.
– Rookie defenseman Tate Olson was traded yesterday to the Newfoundland Growlers for future considerations. What I mean by future considerations is a player is not coming to Allen as result of this trade, at least not at this point.
– I wrote about this yesterday before I heard about the Tate Olson trade but it is still germane. One consideration when a team signs a lot of rookies at the beginning of the year is will they leave to enroll in college. This has happened many times in the past. If you remember last season the Americans traded Tanner Eberle to Jacksonville for defenseman Micheal Webster, who opted to enroll in college rather than report to Allen.
Allen started this season with four rookies, Braylon Shmyr, Alex Breton, Jordy Stallard and Tate Olson who played their junior hockey in Canada. Major junior hockey leagues in Canada (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) are considered professional by the NCAA because players get a small amount of spending money. Once a player signs with a major junior team they are ineligible for NCAA scholarships. However, playing major juniors provides young hockey players with great scholarships at Canadian colleges. Many players try the professional route and then decide attending college is what they prefer. If enrolled in college by the end of December or early January they are eligible to play college hockey immediately without sitting out a year. So, there is always a question of will rookies leave and go to college. They always say they intend to stay pro but past history would say the team won’t know for sure until the end of the year.
– Rookie Alex Breton is off to a great start averaging 1.60 points per game as a defenseman. His eight points lead all defensemen in the league. Even more impressive is this stat. There are 338 forwards in the ECHL that have played at least one game so far, only two of the 338 forwards have more points than Breton.
– Dyson Stevenson was a one-man wrecking crew against his old team last weekend leading the Wichita Thunder to two wins over Allen. In the two games, Dyson had five points (4G, 1A), a game winning goal, nine penalty minutes including a fight and was a +4. For his efforts, Stevenson was named the ECHL Player of the Week.
– I had the chance to check in on the Krefeld Pinguine of the top German league (DEL) to see how teammates Chad Costello and Greger Hanson are doing. Krefeld got off to a good start but have lost three of their last four games and are in 10th place in the 14-team league. Chad leads the team in points with 15 (4G, 11A) in 12 games. His 15 points is tied for third in the entire league. Greger Hanson has played in 10 games and does not have a single point. Hard to believe a player of Hanson’s talent is scoreless after 10 games. In checking the box scores Hanson is usually on the third or fourth line which limits his playing time and opportunities. Hanson and Costello share the career record for goals in Allen with 98.
– If you haven’t seen the ECHL plays of the week here is a link. Braylon Shmyr comes in at #3 and former Allen player Peter MacArthur, who plays for Adirondack, gets the #1 play of the week. https://www.echl.com/en/video/2018/10/echl-plays-of-the-week-oct-15-21-2018-xAe9BgIN
Did You Know?
Some Allen players come from huge metropolitan areas like Edmonton (Josh Atkinson), Montreal (Joel Chouinard), St. Louis (David Makowski), Las Vegas (Zach Pochiro), Toronto (Dante Salituro) and Vancouver (Thomas Frazee). Others come from small towns like goalie C.J. Motte who hails from St. Clair, Michigan with a population of 5400. However, when you talk small towns the prize goes to Eric Roy (Beauval, Saskatchewan). The 2016 census for Beauval, which is in northern Saskatchewan, shows a population of 640 and includes five residents over 100 years old.