ALLEN, TX – After a well deserved day off for the Allen Americans who played three games in 40 hours over the weekend, it is back at practice this morning. The Americans will be preparing to take on the Wichita Thunder for three straight games. They play in Wichita on Friday and Saturday and in Allen on Sunday. It is another opportunity for Allen to make up some ground in the standings and solidify their hold on the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
By any measure (points, win percentage) Wichita is clearly the worst team in the ECHL. They have lost their last five games and 19 of their last 22. The Americans are 4-0 against Wichita this season. Anything less than six points this weekend would be a disappointment.
– Just as a reminder, Allen was looking for six points last weekend against a Cincinnati team that came to Allen having lost seven of nine games and the Cyclones beat the Americans twice. It won’t be easy this weekend against the Thunder who have taken over 50% (8 of 15) of their recent games to overtime.
– One thing to keep an eye on is the status of Wichita tough guy Erick Lizon. He was suspended indefinitely for an incident in a game in Utah on Friday. He has already missed two games and is awaiting to hear from the league about further discipline. Most observers predict he will be given further suspension time and will miss the series this weekend with Allen.
– Coach Martinson is hopeful Allen tough guy, Reid Halabi, will be back in the line up for the weekend. Reid was hit in the leg by a shot but x-rays were negative so he is day to day.
– With call ups and injuries Allen has not had its best line up on the ice many times this season. Here is a look at the top seven players based on average points per game with the number of games they have missed in parentheses. One of the most interesting things to me when putting this information together was that neither Gary Steffes (.60) or Chris Crane (.60) rank in the top seven on the team in average points per game. When the top seven guys on the team in average points per game have missed a total of 95 games you can see why the team has struggled to score goals.
1.42 – Chad Costello (0)
1.00 – Greger Hanson (26)
.77 – David Makowski (16)
.75 – Casey Pierro-Zabotel (14)
.71 – Eric Roy (4)
.69 – Vincent Arseneau (22)
.68 – Tristan King (13)
– Had a question about the dates for the All-Star break which is required even though there is no All-Star game this year. Most teams are taking that break right now as there was just one game scheduled in the ECHL last night and no games scheduled tonight or Thursday. Since it is so close to the Christmas break and the team plays in Wichita on Friday the Allen team captains and coach Martinson agreed to delay the break. The Americans will take their All-Star break February 1-3.
– Mentioned yesterday that Garrett Clarke has signed with a team in Hungary and is headed to Europe to finish the season. I had the chance to exchange messages with him and asked why he was making the move. Here is what Garrett had to say:
“I’m excited to start a new chapter in my career. At this point I’m a labeled player in North America and I felt like somewhat stuck. I will get a fresh start in Europe and I’ll be able to showcase my skills to multiple leagues. Some people say it’s not about the money but I would have to disagree; I love the game and making more money doing it makes it that much better. My new chapter will be focusing on my future in Europe and doing whatever I can to play in the highest league I can. Made a lot of great memories with Allen. A lot of highs and lows but the highs certainly outweighed the lows. Some great owners and some…well…you know. Great fans who gave me a chance to win them back. It felt nice having them support me even when I left this year. All in all, I’m grateful for the years I spent there. I wish them the best of luck!”
– Another former Allen player heading to Europe is Konrad Abeltshauser who is going home to Germany. Konrad has signed with EHC Munchen which plays in the top German League (DEL). He was playing for the Chicago Wolves (AHL). EHC Munchen is currently in fourth place in the 14 team league.
– Defenseman Drew Daniels, who was part of the Allen Americans first championship team (2012-13) and is now playing for Fort Wayne, was just loaned to the Chicago Wolves (AHL). It is Drew’s second AHL stint this season as he played three games for Utica in November.
– It looks like the Evansville IceMen will be moving to Owensboro, Kentucky for next season. The move still has to be approved by the ECHL Board of Governors and their has been some conflicting information put out by both cities and the team. Here are all of the details: https://thesinbin.net/breaking-evansville-icemen-announce-move/
DID YOU KNOW: Whenever a team makes a roster change there are costs involved. Whether it is a replacement player because of injury or call up, releasing or trading a player, or signing a new player there are travel costs, insurance costs, immigration costs and housing costs that all have to be considered.
So the number of players moving in and out of the roster is certainly a budget consideration. Thought I would take a look at how many players each team in the Central Division has had on their roster so far this year. It is no surprise that Missouri has had the most players on their roster as that seems to be the case every year. However, there really isn’t much difference from top to bottom of the division. Here are the number of players that have been on the roster for at least one game for each Central Division team.
35 – Missouri
34 – Allen
32 – Wichita
31 – Tulsa