ALLEN, Texas – On Saturday at the Allen Americans open house, coach Steve Martinson addressed Allen fans on a variety of topics. Here are some of his comments from that meeting and from a conversation I had with Martinson prior to the open house.
“We can’t sign players until June 16 so nothing can happen officially until then. I have talked to the rookies about attending AHL camps and I think we will have all of them back except Bethune who is going to college.”
“I would expect we will have more training camp spots next season than we have in the past which will be a big help.”
“When we played Idaho I thought their team got better for the playoffs and we didn’t. Some of our go-to guys struggled the last month of the season and into the playoffs. It was a painful end over those last four games.
“For a couple of months of the season (January & February) we had the worst roster we have ever had. Between injuries, call-ups and suspensions we were without Arseneau, Archambault, Gill, Pochiro, MacArthur, Asuchak, McAuley, Hall, Dalton Thrower, Makowski and Gunn.
“We had close to a .650 win percentage from October to the end of December and from March to the end of the season. A .650 win percentage is good enough to win in the playoffs if you add players. If we had 90% of our roster at playoff time and then added two or three players we would have been a really good team.”
“I have to learn how to deal with the referees in a different way. I just have to let it go and not point out when I think they make mistakes.”
“I intend our veteran spots to go to guys that don’t want to go to the AHL.”
“We have to make sure the players we get from the American League are top guys that can log top minute time and deserve top minute time.”
“The most important thing about a power-play is to have five guys playing for each other that don’t care who scores. I think we struggled with that when we lost some of the “team first” guys. When you have players that want to score more than they want the power play unit to score it can be a problem.”
“I didn’t change the model that I have always had of having top end guys that would be here for playoffs. I gambled on some guys that I thought would be here more than they were.”
“We have to be careful who we sign because we want the guys getting first line minutes to be here for the playoffs. That has always been the case in the past. This year we had guys getting first line minutes that ended up in the AHL and not available for the playoffs.”
“We will be back and forth between our home in Rockford and Allen this offseason more than in the past. I might get involved in some camps which I haven’t done in the past.”
“I am contemplating having shoulder replacement surgery in August.”
“Our son, Logan, will be heading to Langley, British Columbia at the end of the summer to play junior hockey so I will be making a trip to British Columbia in August.
“I just got a pontoon boat and will be working on that this summer and may bring it to Texas since we will be back and forth.”
– The Americans unveiled their 10th Anniversary logo on Saturday:
– Here is Olivier Archambault‘s exit interview with the Syracuse Crunch (AHL). He talks about his season including why he was able to be successful at the AHL level. Martinson played a role in making sure Archambault realized he is a special player offensively, but his key to success at the next level was how he performed on the defensive end of the ice.
If you watch this interview you can hear Olivier talk about why things went well in Syracuse. Archambault played 19 games in Allen and had 31 points (13G, 18A) and was +12. He played 29 games in Syracuse and had 18 points (10G, 8A) and was +4. Archambault is already signed with Syracuse for the 2018-19 season.
– The Colorado Eagles defeated the Fort Wayne Komets 4-3 in overtime last night in game seven of their series to advance to the Kelly Cup finals where they will take on the Florida Everblades. It was quite the comeback for the Eagles as they were trailing 3-1 with 12 minutes remaining in the game.
– It may not be true in other leagues but in the ECHL the Kelly Cup champion is almost always a team that is #1 or #2 in their division during the regular season. Only once in the last 10 years has the Kelly Cup champion finished lower than #2 in their division. The Kelly Cup this season will be won by a division champion since Florida won the South Division and Colorado was the Mountain Division champion. During the regular season, Florida was #1 with 112 points and Colorado was #4 with 102 points.
– Another streak that will be kept alive in the finals is a team with toughness will win the Kelly Cup. Does toughness help win in the playoffs where you play teams in best of seven series? The last three Kelly Cup champions have finished the regular season ranked #3, #5 and #1 in penalty minutes. Colorado and Florida were not only division champions they were also two of only five teams that had over 1300 penalty minutes during the regular season.
– You have to feel bad for former Allen captain Jamie Schaafsma who scored again last night in a losing cause. After seven straight years making it to to the championship finals (four different teams) including three straight championships in Allen, Jamie has been disappointed the last three seasons in Fort Wayne by not making the finals. The game last night may have been the toughest to take since the Komets had the game well in hand (3-1 lead) with 12 minutes left. Jamie is 35 and battled injuries all season so you wonder how long he will keep going.
– A couple of stats that stand out in the Colorado vs Fort Wayne series. It is ironic the series-winning overtime goal by the Eagles was scored on the power play since prior to that goal they were 1-28 (3.6%) on the power play. The Komets were 8-31 (25.8%) on the power play in the series. The other stat that is telling and says a lot about the reigning champs is their success in overtime. Colorado won all three overtime games in this series and in the playoffs are now 6-1 in overtime games. Fort Wayne ended the playoffs 1-4 in overtimes.
– Now all of the focus will be on Florida vs Colorado for the Kelly Cup. Even though they have home ice advantage the Everblades will start the series in Colorado (Friday) because the Eagles have building availability issues. The series will be 2-3-1-1.
– Florida enters the championship final as the favorite and is the much fresher team. Florida has played only 14 games (12-1-1) through the first three rounds and has not played since May 19. The Everblades have played in only two overtime periods. Colorado has played in 17 games (12-4-1) through the first three rounds and has also played eight overtime periods.
– Another key statistic which differentiates these teams is special teams. For the 16 teams that made the playoffs, Florida is #2 (21.4%) and Colorado is #10 (12.5%) on the power play. Florida is #3 (89.6%) and Colorado is #7 (84.6%) on the penalty kill.
– I know many of you have followed the Beckett Dougherty story. Beckett is the young son of Kelley and Britt Dougherty. Kelley worked in the front office for the Americans and Britt played for Allen in their first season. Beckett was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia when he was three months old and has spent the last nine months in Toronto (20 hours from their home in Swift Current). If you followed his progress you know there were a lot of ups and downs and the updates were hard to read without crying many times. The good news is the Dougherty family is heading home today after nine grueling month of treatment with many set backs along the way. Best of luck!
DID YOU KNOW: The last two times the regular season champion went on to win the Kelly Cup it was accomplished by the Alaska Aces, in 2014 and 2011.