ALLEN, TX – One of the worst kept secrets of the off-season, the return of Vincent Arseneau to Allen, was made official yesterday as the Americans issued a press release and video to honor the occasion. Arseneau is one of five Allen players attending the San Jose Barracuda training camp this week. Vincent’s style of play may keep him in San Jose longer than some of the other players if he has a good camp.

– It is hard to overestimate the impact Vincent Arseneau has on the ice. He was part of both Kelly Cup championship in Allen (2015 & 2016,) and I think it is fair to say the team missed his presence last season. Steve Martinson describes Arseneau like this, “He is a skilled top line winger, and he is the most devastating hitter in the ECHL.”

If you watch games closely, you can see players reluctant to hold on to the puck in the corners or behind the net with Arseneau coming at them. They get rid of the puck very early. When he signed with Wichita last season, I had Allen players tell me they are always looking over their shoulder when Arseneau is on the ice, and they would be very aware of him when the Americans played Wichita. But it is not just his ability to finish checks that makes him so valuable as a player. He drives the net and knows how to finish. Vincent played in only 24 games for Wichita last season because of nagging injuries, but he scored 12 goals. A half-a-goal per game average is in Greger Hanson, Bryan Moore, and Chad Costello territory.

In my opinion, if Arseneau can stay healthy and doesn’t spend a lot of time in San Jose he will have the best season of his career in Allen. It will be fun to watch, for sure.

Photo: Kimberly Sauer/The Sin Bin

– I saw this on thecoachessite.com, and it reminded me of a conversation I had with Allen skating coach, Luke Chilcott, last season. Luke works with players in San Jose as well as in Allen. He was sharing with me that it is typical that the players that work the hardest to improve their skating are players that are already good skaters. Many times, Luke works with Allen players after practice if they want to stay and it is always interesting to see which players take the extra time to work on their skating. Here is the quote from The Coaches Site:

“The other day I watched a NHL defenseman, an Olympian, on the ice at a local arena working on his edges. Back and forth, over and over again. Truth be told I only watched for a couple of minutes because I got bored. But here is a millionaire who only has a couple of years left to play, working on his turns while a bunch of recreational hockey players whiz by without paying him any attention. It was awesome.”

– I haven’t heard or read much about the first day of the Barracuda camp yesterday but did find a video on the Barracuda website of an interview with team captain John McCarthy. He said many new guys in camp, the first couple of days are to get the systems in place, so everyone knows the forecheck and the basics. It is about laying the foundation. If you want to see the full video, you can find it on the Barracuda website under the Instagram section: https://www.sjbarracuda.com/

– A couple of readers have asked about when the early bird special will be available for fans that want to sign up for ECHL-TV. Those offers usually come out the first week in October so you should see something next week.

DID YOU KNOW: This season will be the 30th anniversary of the ECHL. The league started in 1988-89 with just five teams, Carolina Thunderbirds, Erie Panthers, Johnstown Chiefs, Knoxville Cherokees and the Virginia Lancers. Carolina beat Johnstown for the first championship which was the Jack Riley Cup. What made that series unique was it went to a deciding games seven and ECHL commissioner, Patrick J. Kelly, suspended three Carolina players for game seven. Game seven was played in Johnstown, but against all odds, Carolina won the game 7-4 and claimed the first Riley Cup.

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