ALLEN, TX – Had a chance to stop by practice yesterday as the Allen Americans were back on the ice after having the day off on Monday. I have learned over the years that saying the team had a day off is really a misnomer as hockey players never really have the day off. A better description is there was no organized team practice with the coaches on the ice on Monday.
Typically on a day off the team makes ice available for the players. Some players opt to skate and others, who have not been playing, might be told they have to skate. Players come to the rink or go to medical facilities to get treatment and many go to the gym/fitness center to workout.
– The good news from practice was the fact that Spencer Asuchak and Reggie Traccitto, who were not on the road trip to Missouri and Tulsa over the weekend, were back at practice and are on the mend. Reid Halabi, who has been out for over a month with a leg injury was also a full participant at practice.
– The bad news from practice was the absence of Riley Gill. It is unsure what Gill’s status is for the weekend at this point. Dyson Stevenson was at practice but not a full participant. According to coach Martinson, Stevenson will be placed on reserve and not play this weekend to give an aggravating injury that Dyson has been playing with time to heal.
– The one on one meetings coach Martinson said he would have with each player this week were scheduled to begin yesterday afternoon. It’s a chance for Martinson to hear from each player about how things are going for them, their aspirations and any other input they want to provide. These conversations are not about the team, but about the individual player.
– There were just three games in the ECHL last night and all of them were of interest to Allen fans. Missouri beat Indy 5-3 on their march to the ECHL record book. The Mavericks now have a 24 point lead over the Americans and have 16 more points than any other team in the ECHL. Missouri has 87 points while second place Manchester has 71 points.
– The battle to overtake Allen for the fourth seed in the Western Conference was in full swing last night. Idaho visited Tulsa and beat the Oilers 5-3 to overtake Utah for first place in the West Division. Cincinnati beat Evansville 5-2 to close the gap on the Americans. Here is how the teams stand for the fourth seed after the results last night:
63 points – Allen (19 games remaining)
62 points – Utah (19 games)
61 points – Tulsa (20 games)
59 points – Cincinnati (20 games)
– Allen and Tulsa have no hopes of winning their division so the fourth seed is the best case scenario for them. Utah is just two points behind Idaho so their focus is on winning the West Division. The same can be said for Cincinnati who trails first place Fort Wayne by four points in the Midwest Division.
DID YOU KNOW: Plus/minus is a statistic that has many flaws and has been called a “lazy stat” because it is so simplistic.
Everyone on the ice gets a plus for a goal scored or a minus for a goal allowed whether or not they had anything to do with the play. Because power play goals and penalty kill goals are not included (other than shorthanded goals) a big part of the game is missed in the plus/minus stat. There is no accounting for whether a player is constantly playing against the opponents top line with prolific scorers or the third line that rarely scores. The plus/minus stat has more meaning when looked at over many games rather than a few. With all of the caveats it is still a measure coaches use to assess players performance.
Coach Martinson called out (as a group) the veteran players from last season’s championship team in a recent pregame interview and expressed concern about their defensive play. As a team, Allen is -46 right now after finishing +291 last season. The top scorers from last season that returned this year (Costello, Steffes, Hanson, Gens) are a combined -29 this season after being +135 last season.