Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekend Prep, Is Allen the Best Team in the ECHL?, Ruskowski Quotes on Inconsistency, San Diego Gulls

After a quick but successful trip to Quad City the Allen Americans return to practice today in preparation for taking on the Brampton Beast (Saturday) and then traveling to play the Wichita Thunder (Sunday). Allen will be the more rested team on Saturday as Brampton is in Wichita tonight (Friday) and will travel to Allen after the game. On Sunday Wichita will be the more rested team as they are off on Saturday when Allen is playing Brampton and then traveling to Wichita. I plan on attending practice today and will report back tomorrow.

- With everything relatively quiet wanted to share a few things that you might find interesting. This first one is part of a weekly ECHL update written by Jeffery Lutz from the Wichita Eagle talking about the Allen Americans. Just for clarification the story mentions Toledo and Ontario own victories over Allen. Allen beat Toledo in their only meeting and split two games with Ontario. Here is part of Lutz's ECHL Update.

Allen is the best team in the league this season – but which league? The Americans have feasted on former Central Hockey League competition, leading an ECHL Central Division that includes six former CHL opponents by 18 points. Allen, though, is 2-3 against teams outside of the division.
It’s a small-enough sample size to prevent conclusions, and all five games were played on the road. But it prompts thoughts on how Allen matches up with the league’s top holdovers such as Toledo and Ontario, which own victories over Allen. “Some of those teams, like Ontario, are loaded with (American Hockey League)-, NHL-contracted guys, which helps a lot in the salary cap,” Allen coach Steve Martinson said. “Typically, those teams just have a little bit more depth. The good players are the good players. If you’re a top player in the CHL ... a lot of the ECHL scoring leaders came from the CHL.” The Americans are built similarly to the best ECHL mainstays. Allen has survived defections and callups to five top scorers that could have crippled other teams. Allen, which won the last two CHL championships, reloads with players not in as much danger of being promoted, such as Chad Costello and Gary Steffes. Four players have played all 51 Allen games, giving the Americans stability in a season of uncertainty. “You have to have some guys that are playing for you that aren’t looking to be called up,” Martinson said. “I always say that if a guy is good enough to be called up, he’s going to get called up. I’ve had teams where I lost three, four players in the first month of the season for the rest of the year, and it can really change your season. It can kill you.” It’s useless, at least now, for Allen to think about inter-division teams. They don’t have any remaining on their schedule and they won’t face any in the postseason before they win two series against Central Division teams. Martinson can’t be sure if his team’s current solid footing will exist in two months, either. “What your roster is in October, what it is in December, February, and then April, I don’t put much into that,” Martinson said. “ ... ECHL rosters fluctuate so much. Playing the teams outside of our division, sometimes it’s about what your roster looks like that week. At least it does for us, because there has been a lot of fluctuation.”

- This next one was written by Steve Tappa who writes for the Dispatch-Argus at Steve was talking to Quad City coach Terry Ruskowski about a subject that is near and dear to the hearts of many Central Division coaches and that is inconsistent play by their team. The Ruskowski quotes reflect what most coaches feel this time of the year as playoffs approach. Here are some coach Ruskowski quotes from the Steve Tappa story.

"What concerns me is we're consistently inconsistent. That's why we win two here, lose two there and haven't put together a big winning streak."

"We've proven we can play excellent. Sometimes we only play well. But, too often, we also have those kinds of games where we don't play very well at all. That's disappointing."

"If we're getting beat playing well that's one thing. But for some reason, we haven't been able to break out of that bottom gear. We keep falling back into bad habits.''

"I don't know this team half the time. When we play our systems, and play hard and play physical, it's a thing of beauty."

"I hope we can find some help soon from the major juniors and CIS (Canadian college) guys whose teams didn't make the playoffs. We need some help. We need to get on a roll.''

"Every game is crucial, but especially now. The playoff race is on and every game means something. Our players have to understand they can't focus on the big picture, though. We have to focus on every shift. If you take care of the little details, that will add up to big results.''

- The Anaheim Ducks revealed this past week that their AHL affiliate in San Diego will be called the San Diego Gulls. The new logo pays homage to the legacy of the West Coast Hockey League (WCHL) Gulls who played in San Diego from 1995-2003. The logo features the Ducks color palette and other design elements, including the Ducks trademark windswept font. A touch of the signature Gulls blue was added to the Ducks color palette to embrace the hockey history and tradition of the community. The clubs new colors are orange, black, and blue. Steve Martinson had more to do with the San Diego Gulls WCHL legacy than any other person. He played and/or coached in San Diego for twelve years. Martinson was the head coach of the Gulls for eight years in the WCHL before they moved to the ECHL. In those eight years he won five championships.

The new AHL team in San Diego pays homage to the WCHL San Diego Gulls

- You may have seen the Toledo Walleye beat Gwinnett 12-0 last weekend which set a franchise record for most goals and was the largest margin of victory in an ECHL game since 2008. The largest margin of victory in the history of the ECHL was set on October 27, 1993 when the Greensboro Monarchs beat the Huntington (West Virginia) Blizzard 15-0.

- Over the last ten games the best team in the Central Division is Rapid City (7-3-0-0) and the worst team is the Missouri Mavericks (3-6-1-0).

- It is always interesting to track the players that have played in Allen this year that are now playing in the AHL. All of the teams with Allen players on the roster are in action tonight. Let's hope Ian Schultz (Iowa), Spencer Asuchak (Providence), Aaron Dell (Worcester), and Rylan Schwartz (Worcester) are all in the line up and have great games.

DID YOU KNOW: The Anaheim Ducks had a fan vote to help determine the name of the AHL franchise that will play in San Diego next year. Here are the results:

63% - San Diego Gulls
15% - San Diego Admirals
11% - San Diego Mighty Ducks
3%  -  San Diego Ducklings
8%  -  Other

Read more here:

1 comment:

  1. So glad they decided to keep the Gulls name. I remember watching Martinson at the San Diego Sports Arena back there. Fun times!