One of the best things about writing a blog is the opportunity to talk to so many fans about hockey and as you might imagine with the Americans start this season and yes it is the worst start in the history of the franchise, there has been more conversations than normal. I hear from fans that have already jumped off the bandwagon to those that will be on the bandwagon if Allen doesn’t win another game all season. I woke up early this morning (for me that is 2:00 am) and kept thinking about how to put everything in perspective so decided to try and share my thoughts.
– The starting point for me is always coach and general manager Steve Martinson and what popped into my head was a T-shirt I see Allen fans wearing on occasion that says, “In Marty We Trust.” Martinson is in his 23rd year of coaching and has missed the playoffs one time to go along with 10 championships.
– The first time I interviewed Martinson back in 2012 he spent as much time talking about the missed playoff, which had happened the year before (2011-12), as he did about his championships. Even after he won the CHL championship that first season in Allen (2012-13), he had missing the playoffs the year before on his mind. When I interviewed Martinson after winning that first championship in Allen and asked what it meant to him this is what he said, “The championship was satisfying for me personally because it came the year after missing the playoffs in Chicago. Missing the playoffs had never happened to me before. Even though that Chicago team lost seven players to the AHL and had seven season ending injuries and unbeknownst to me the team was folding it was tough missing the playoffs. To win the championship the year after missing the playoffs for the first time was big for me.”
– Yes the Americans are off to their worst start ever (3-7-0-1). Yes, there have been a lot of setbacks early in the season with injuries and the call up of the team’s leading scorer but Martinson won’t use that as an excuse for not winning. He will just keep working to get better each and every day. When you have lost seven players to the AHL and seven players to season ending injuries like he did in Chicago in 2011-12 what is happening now pales in comparison. By the way Chicago actually tied for the last playoff spot that season but lost the tiebreaker.
– I also hear about how hard it is to play shorthanded as the Americans have had to do the last few games. When I raised that with Martinson he dismissed it as an excuse for poor play. His response was based on his early coaching experience when he played the entire season with nine forwards and four defensemen and still won a championship.
– It is important to remember every team, no matter how good it is, goes through tough times during the season. The 2012-13 championship team went a month in January and February winning just one game. The 2014-15 Kelly Cup winning team had 106 points in the regular season and only lost 20 games all season but lost nine of 14 games from the middle of February to the middle of March. The 2015-16 team lost five out of six games three times that season but still won the Kelly Cup.
– The bottom line is Allen is off to a bad start and they will get better when they get some of their injured players back. If Braylon Shmyr returns it will give the team a big boost. However, as Steve Martinson reminds me all of the time, this team is good enough to win every night and that is what they are striving to do. I know Martinson is working seven days a week from morning to night to turn this around. He is on the phone trying to improve the roster, breaking down videotape to show to players, creating practice drills to work on weaknesses and dealing with more details than you could imagine.
– If you ask Martinson his expectations of players you always get the same answer, “I say it often and it is straightforward. What is important to me is having players that work hard, are in great shape, follow the system, be a team guy, and finish checks. If you don’t do all of these things you can’t be a leader.”
– You don’t win 10 championships in 22 years and make the playoffs 21 out of 22 years without knowing how to fix problems as they present themselves during the season. There is no doubt Martinson will get this turned around one way or another. My advice is if you have already jumped off the bandwagon get back on and if you are on the edge ready to jump sit back and enjoy the ride. It will certainly be a bumpy ride but those bumps will smooth out as the season progresses.
– The Americans are using a new online/mobile auction company this season called LiveSource. Once you download the application all you have to do is click on the Allen Americans button to see the items up for auction. You can watch the auction without entering your credit card info, however, you will need to enter this information to bid on an item. The Americans will be wearing a specialty veterans jersey on Saturday and these jerseys will be available on the auction site starting today. This auction will end on Tuesday (November 13) at 9:00 pm. You can get more details and download the app here: http://www.livesourceapp.com/
– Here is the specialty jersey the team will wear on Saturday that will be available on LiveSource starting today:
– There are four ECHL teams that have just one regulation loss. Three of them are from the Mountain Division; Utah, Kansas City and Tulsa. The fourth team with one regulation loss is Toledo.
– Here is an example of why it is better to look at winning percentage rather than points when viewing the standings. The #1 team in points is Newfoundland with 18 but they have already played 14 games. If you look at winning percentage they are ranked #11. The team with the fewest games played is Wheeling who has only played six games.
– ECHL goalies have been stellar in shootouts this season. Only one team is above .333 in shootout attempts (Brampton is .500). Leaguewide goalies have stopped 61 of 83 shootout attempts. That equates to a success rate (shootout goals scored) of 26.5%.
DID YOU KNOW: I came across this “rant” from 2013 this morning while researching some other stories. I think it was the first “COME ON, MAN” I ever used in the blog. Reading this after all these years brought back feelings about the great rivalries with Missouri and Wichita in the Central Hockey League (CHL) days. Allen was always the winner on the ice but got little respect off the ice. I am told Kansas City still has all of those “Best Franchise” banners hanging in their arena. Luckily, all Allen has is championship banners. For those of you that were following the Americans back in the CHL days you will get a chuckle out of my “rant from the past.”
July 20, 2013
I have always taken pride in trying to write a blog that is fair and balanced. I have heard from many fans from other teams around the CHL they read my blog because I don’t always take the “homer” position. I should also say I am not a conspiracy theorist. But I have to say the CHL Franchise Awards which concluded the league meetings last night are a joke. I am not taking away anything from those that were winners as I am sure they are deserving. But how on earth can you hand out 16 different awards and the franchise that won both the regular season Governor’s Cup and the playoffs Presidents’ Cup (Allen) get none of them. Could it possibly have anything to do with Allen trying to move to the ECHL? No, it couldn’t have anything to do with the ECHL issues because Rapid City also tried to move to the ECHL. Oh, Rapid City didn’t win any awards either. How did the two teams that led the takeover of the CHL (Missouri & Wichita) fare you ask? Missouri & Wichita just happened to win eleven of the sixteen awards.
COME ON MAN!!!!!