ALLEN, TX – There is always a risk in trying to make assumptions about a hockey team based solely on watching practice but being a blogger it is a luxury I have. Here is what I would say after watching practice yesterday.
– There was no panic, no sense the team had to do any more than they are capable of doing. The practice was spent fixing mistakes that took place in the first two games. Very professional with everyone engaged but not too serious. This is a team that is confident and truly believes they will win on Wednesday.
– I also think there is a certain amount of anger among the players in how the team has performed the first two games. As one player said to me after practice, an angry and pissed off team has been trouble for the opponent in the past and this is an angry and pissed off team.
– Everyone participated in practice but it was clear to me there are players that are really pushing themselves to practice. All players are dealing with injuries at this time of year but some may have to be smart enough to sit out. It is an issue I am sure coach Steve Martinson considers in deciding who will be in the lineup on Wednesday night. He has said he would like to play everyone on the roster and there are good reasons to have everyone in the lineup but four players will not play in game three. Not an easy decision to make.
– The team will have a very light practice today before they head to Colorado. It is great to see the team flying rather than hopping on Big Red for 14 hours. Thanks, Jack Gulati.
– There will be a complete game preview tomorrow but one statistic that is worth noting is Allen’s scoring by period in the playoffs. The Americans have been outscored in the first period 7-5 and the second period 10-1. They have outscored their opponents in the third period 15-2. A better start going forward will be imperative.
– Superstitions are certainly not rational from a scientific point of view but they are definitely part of sports for many players and fans. When I write player profiles and ask whether a player has any superstitions most will quickly say no. But if you ask about their game day routines you find out most are superstitious and don’t like it if the routine is upset. It may be nap time, the color of tape on their stick, the order they put on their skates, pregame meal, the order they go on or off the ice, where they tap their sticks or how many times. Then there are the obvious ones like Josh Brittain rubbing his lucky stone before the game or in 2015 when Chad Costello wore a jersey with the word “Americans” spelled incorrectly because it was good luck. Here is a video from a year ago where Chad explained why he wore the “Amercans” jersey in 2015.
– Coach Martinson is the least superstitious person you will find. He sees it as nonsense that creates unnecessary issues you have to deal with. He is more of an advocate of looking at percentages and empirical evidence when assessing losses or poor performance. Martinson has been known to put an open ladder and broken mirror in front of superstitious players stall (like Spencer Asuchak).
– Fans are even more irrational when it comes to superstitions. I hear fans talk about going to the restroom when the team is behind because the team scored once when they weren’t in their seat, others who think a specific stuffed toy brings victory, sitting in a unique place in the rink brings goals, wearing a specific jersey or other clothing brings victory. Some fans know the won-lost record of every jersey they own. Some fans invite certain guests to join them for good luck or avoid asking certain friends to a game because they are bad luck.
– Here is a video on some of the craziest superstitions in sports.
DID YOU KNOW: In the history of the ECHL 11 goalies have scored goals but did you know in a game between Augusta and Greenville on December 12, 2003, Augusta goalie Jason Saal had a record three assists.