ALLEN, TX – After enjoying a day off on Presidents Day it is back to practice this morning for the Allen Americans. It is a very light schedule the rest of February for Allen with only a same day trip to play the Tulsa Oilers on Friday remaining.
– There will be plenty of roster changes over the next few weeks and they have already started. Yesterday, Jon Martin was reassigned back to the San Jose Barracuda. Martin played in seven games with Allen and had four points (2 goals, 2 assists). The other roster change yesterday was putting Eric Roy on the injured reserve list. Eric took a puck to the face on Sunday and suffered a lower jaw injury. He will be out for several weeks.
– The next six games for the Americans are on the road but they are spread out. It will take 24 days to complete those six road games. A sharp contrast to last week when Allen played four games in five days. Because Allen has played more games (56) than any other team in the league (tied with Tulsa) they will have the luxury of more days off the rest of the season. This week is a perfect example. The Americans have a lone game against Tulsa while every other team in the Mountain Division will be playing at least three games with the chance to gain ground on Allen.
Here is the schedule:
Colorado – The Eagles host Utah Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
Idaho – The Steelheads beat Utah last night and play Missouri Friday and Saturday.
Alaska – The Aces are in Elmira Thursday and Manchester on Saturday and Sunday.
Utah – The Grizzlies lost to Idaho last night and are at Colorado on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday.
Missouri – The Mavericks host Idaho Friday and Saturday and travel to Tulsa on Sunday.
Rapid City – The Rush host South Carolina on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The bottom line is Allen can earn just two points this week while all the other teams in the division can earn at least six points. That could mean as much as an eight-point swing in standings. All the Americans can do is take care of what is in their control and beat Tulsa and see what happens with the other teams in the division.
– After the Tulsa game on Friday, Allen will not play again until March 3 & 4 in Missouri. The team will take their all-star break, which was delayed, this coming Saturday thru Monday.
– The next home game for Allen is not until March 17 when they will take on the Wichita Thunder.
– The Americans had some good crowds this weekend including 5430 for the Police vs Fire game on Saturday. That was the third-best crowd of the season. Despite the good crowds recently Allen is 7.7% behind the attendance figures from last season. That equates to an average of 352 fewer fans in attendance for every game. I will look at the attendance across the ECHL in the next few days.
DID YOU KNOW: In between periods during the Rapid City game on Sunday I was on the radio/television broadcast talking to color commentator Maurice Fitzgerald about how some players on any sports team have much more value than their statistics. It is usually a player that is totally team focused and will do whatever is necessary to make the team successful. They are typically a good player but not the best but with their work ethic and attitude inspire others to play better.
For me, that player on the Allen Americans is Dyson Stevenson. If you look at the ECHL “Daily Report” there are literally hundreds of team and player statistics and you will not find Dyson’s name a single time. Stevenson is a total team player that will do whatever is necessary. He can play in any situation and has been called on to play defense as well as forward. Someone suggested to me I take a look at Allen’s record when Dyson is not in the lineup. He has missed 19 games this season and with Stevenson out of the lineup, the Americans have a losing record of 9-10. Dyson has missed eight games in the last month and Allen’s record in those eight games is 2-6. That says all you need to know about his value to the Allen Americans.