ALLEN, Texas – It is feast or famine for Allen coach and general manager Steve Martinson. Just when you think the Allen Americans are out of the woods with the roster, another shoe drops.
A week ago, the Americans were down to 12 skaters with call-ups and injuries, and Martinson was desperately trying to find players for two home games against Kansas City. However, the two home games were postponed because of the worst winter storm and the coldest three days on record, and the records go back to 1898. Just a week later, the high today is expected to be in the mid 70s. Martinson has added five players from San Jose, defensemen Matt Register and Phil Beaulieu have returned from Iowa, and the Wild are sending forward Josh Maser to Allen. Suddenly, Allen’s roster has two goalies, nine defensemen, and 16 forwards and looks full.
Not so quick.
Defenseman Turner Ottenbreit has been loaned to Iowa, and the Americans have a coronavirus breakout, so once again, they’re shorthanded. Because Martinson has so many players on the roster, you will see some of the COVID protocol players added to the Commissioner’s Exempt List (CEL). Remember, there is no requirement to put players on the CEL if there are sufficient roster spots available (20 active plus four reserve) and you are within the salary cap. When transactions come out today, it will be the first time Allen has players on the CEL. All players affected may not be on the CEL, but the outbreak includes more than a few players and covers all positions.
In a week, Allen has gone from famine to feast to famine. Welcome to the ECHL in 2020-21.
– The trip to Greenville will go on as planned, but the Americans will be playing shorthanded in the first game for sure (see below) and possibly all three games.
– It was a short weekend call up to Iowa for Register and Beaulieu, who were with the Wild for two games. Both games were against the league-leading Chicago Wolves. Iowa lost 10-2 on Saturday and 4-1 on Sunday. Beaulieu played his first AHL game on Saturday but sat out on Sunday. Register played in both games. Ottenbreit will join the Wild in Austin, where they will play the Texas Stars on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
– Matt Register will have to serve the one-game suspension he was given for “flipping the puck into the spectator area” when he flipped a puck to a fan in Kansas City. He will have to sit out Allen’s first game in Greenville on Thursday.
I have had some questions on exactly what the rule says, so here it is from the ECHL Rulebook. The one-game suspension is not automatic but at the discretion of the Commissioner.
Remember, no penalty was called on Register during the game. Kansas City sent in a video clip to the league office and asked that it be reviewed.
RULE 63.9: Puck Shot Into The Spectator Area – Any player or goalkeeper who shoots or flips the puck outside the playing surface after a whistle into a spectator area not protected by netting will be assessed a minor penalty for delay of game and a game misconduct.
– The Americans announced some schedule changes yesterday to make up the two postponed games against Kansas City last weekend. Allen will play Kansas City on April 7 instead of Tulsa as scheduled. The Tulsa game will move to April 27. The other Kansas City makeup game will be on May 17. Here is the press release from the Americans with all of the details: https://allenamericans.com/news/press-release/americans-announce-additional-home-games/
– The Americans’ schedule for the week calls for practice today and travel tomorrow afternoon to Greenville. Allen plays the Swamp Rabbits on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They will fly back to Allen on Sunday, arriving home in the afternoon.
Other News and Notes
– Former Allen goalie Aaron Dell had his first start for the New Jersey Devils on Sunday in a nationally televised game against the Washington Capitals. The Devils played well early and had a 2-0 lead late in the second period but three Caps goals in the third period led to a 4-3 loss. Aaron played well as the Devils were outshot 41-26, and the Caps had a couple of power-play goals.
– Team President Mike Waddell issued this open letter to Allen fans to thank them for their support and recap all that has gone on this past year with hopes for better times ahead: https://allenamericans.com/news/a-letter-to-fans-from-team-presidnet-mike-waddell/
Did You Know?
The Greenville Swamp Rabbits franchise is traced back to one of the five original ECHL teams (Johnstown Chiefs). The team was known as the Greenville Road Warriors until they rebranded it as the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in 2015.
Swamp Rabbit was the local name of a railway operating with mixed success back in the 1920s. A 22-mile multi-use greenway system along the old railway bed was opened in 2009 as was named the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Here is a short and interesting story with more detail some old photos: https://gvltoday.6amcity.com/swamp-rabbit-history-greenville-sc/