ALLEN, TX – – It looked to me like a pretty somber group at the Allen Americans practice yesterday. I am sure many were tired after a long road trip, a 5-3 loss to Missouri on Tuesday followed by a 475-mile bus ride back to Allen and then practicing Wednesday morning. With a 6-8 record, there aren’t going to be many days off with coach Steve Martinson.
– There was some good news, however, as Gary Steffes, who was injured in warmups in Missouri when he stepped on a puck and crashed into the boards and had to miss the game, was back at practice.
– Also back at practice as full participants were Tristan King who was injured back on October 28 and Mike Gunn who hasn’t played since October 29 and is coming off an injury.
– Kale Kerbashian is slowly recovering from his injury and has been cleared to start skating. It will still be a while before he is game ready but he is making progress.
– Allen’s opponent on Saturday (Rapid City) played the Oilers last night in Tulsa and beat the top team in the league standings 2-0. They will play Tulsa again on Friday night before heading to Allen for the game with the Americans Saturday night. After a very poor start (2-9-1-0) the Rush have won their last two games against a couple of good teams in Tulsa and Colorado. The Americans will definitely be the more rested team on Saturday.
– It was good to see J.P. LaFontaine has been picked up by the Elmira Jackals after being released by Allen. He is a great guy off the ice and is also a great teammate. It is always difficult when popular players like LaFontaine and Rick Pinkston move on but it is the nature of the game at this level.
– I keep getting asked if more changes are coming. Based on history and how the team is playing the answer to that question is yes. As the general manager, Steve Martinson is always trying to find ways to improve the roster. This is the time of year where players that signed in Europe for the first time might be realizing it is not what they thought it would be especially if they are on a losing team. Martinson is probably checking in with these players as well as free agents in North America. ECHL trades are also an option. While there may be more urgency to this process if the team doesn’t get things turned around soon, this is the job of a general manager and it is a process Martinson uses each and every year.
– I came across this interesting article about the recent coaching change in Orlando and what impact analytics may have had in the change. After all the Solar Bears record at the time of the coaching change was 5-5-1-0. The title of the article is, “Solar Bears Coaching Swap a Potential Sign of Leafs Trickle-Down.” Check it out: http://theleafsnation.com/2016/11/15/solar-bears-coaching-swap-a-potential-sign-of-leafs-trickle-down
– Talk about great starts how about the Florida Everblades who have the highest winning percentage in the ECHL (.955) with a record of 10-0-1-0.
– Saw this quote Gary Steffes posted on social media last night. It certainly has a lot of applications and hockey may be one of them. “Commitment is staying true to what you were gonna do long after the mood you said it in passes”—–Inky Johnson
DID YOU KNOW: Just seven of the 27 teams in the ECHL have losing records and three of the seven are in the Mountain Division.
Here are the ECHL teams with a losing record in winning percentage order with an asterisk by the Mountain Division teams.
.208 – Norfolk
.273 – Elmira
.321 – Rapid City*
.375 – Missouri*
.409 – Indy
.429 – Allen*
.464 – Reading