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It’s Not a Game, It’s Just Practice, Man! – Thoughts on the Allen Americans Season

Tuesday, December 7th
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It is back to practice today as the Allen Americans prepare for three games this week (2 away, 1 home) against the Wichita Thunder, the hottest team in the ECHL. I am sure it is frustrating for the players and coaches to come to the rink having the worst home points percentage (.286) and second worst overall points percentage (.406) in the ECHL.

– I know Steve Martinson and the team are grinding to get better each and every day at practice and Martinson is a big believer in how you practice is how you play in the game. It is not necessarily how long the team practices, but what each and every player puts into practice. Best players and hardest workers are terms that go hand in hand.

– I thought a good place to start today is by diving into the archives for some motivating sayings and quotes that can be inspirational when going through tough times, either individually or as part of a team.

  • The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important. – Bobby Knight, former Indiana men’s college basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Fame member.

 

  • The measure of who we are is how we react to something that doesn’t go our way. – Greg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs head coach and five-time NBA champion.
  • You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good. – Jerry West, former Los Angeles Lakers player and head coach.
  • Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling. – Bill Belichick, New England Patriots head coach and five-time Super Bowl champion.
  • Our emphasis is on execution, not winning. – Pat Summitt, former Tennessee women’s college basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Fame member.

– WORDS FOR PRACTICE

“Today is another chance to get better.”

“Don’t be upset with the results you didn’t get with the work you didn’t do.”

“You play the way you practice.”

“Look in the mirror, that’s your competition.”

“The trophy is earned in the hours no one is watching.”

“The body achieves what the mind believes.”

“Never stop doing your best just because someone doesn’t give you credit.”

“Think practice is hard? Try losing.”

“There may be people with more talent than you but there is no reason for anyone to work harder than you do.”

“A good teammate is a player that would rather score less and win than score a lot more and lose.”

– It has been a difficult start for the Americans and if you look at the upcoming schedule it is only becoming more difficult to turn things around. It didn’t hit me until I was studying the schedule yesterday just how tough it will be for Allen to recover from this horrible start. The Americans have 23 games between now and the end of January (12 home, 11 away). Here are the 23 games broken down by points percentage of Allen’s opponents (in current points percentage order):

.778 – Newfoundland (3 games all at home),656 – Tulsa (5 games: 2 home, 3 away).618 – Wichita (4 games: 1 home, 3 away).605 – Idaho (3 games all at home).605 – Utah (3 games all away).605 – Orlando (2 games both at home).475 – Rapid City (1 game at home).417 – Kansas City (2 games both away)

You add it all up and 20 of Allen’s next 23 games (87%) are against teams currently in the top 10 in the ECHL standings. It will be quite a challenge.

– If you think the challenge is impossible all you have to do is look back to the 2014-15 ECHL season to see the possibility. That was the season Allen cruised through the regular season winning the division by 25 points with a points percentage of .736 and won its first Kelly Cup. The runner-up was South Carolina who took Allen to a seventh game in the finals. South Carolina had a horrible start in 2014-15, losing 13 of its first 17 games. Allen has lost 11 of its first 16 games so is now in better shape than the Stingrays were back then. South Carolina started playing better but had another big slump in January, losing nine of 10 games. There was no chance of the Stingrays making the playoffs but nobody told South Carolina who reeled off an ECHL record winning streak of 23 games going from February 7 to March 27 without losing a game. The moral of the story is don’t give up on your favorite team until it is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs as anything can happen.

– To give you an idea of how rare the South Carolina 23 game win streak was, listed below is the longest win streak in each season since 2014-15:

2015-16: 14 by Missouri Mavericks2016-17: 17 by Colorado Eagles (2nd longest streak in ECHL history)2017-18: 10 by Florida Everblades2018-19: 10 by Toledo Walleye2019-20: 11 by Newfoundland Growlers2020-21: 9 by Florida Everblades2021-22: 7 by Newfoundland Growlers

– Last season the ECHL points percentage range was from .667 for #1 Florida to .375 for #14 Wheeling. This season the range is from .778 for #1 Newfoundland to .342 for #27 Iowa.

DID YOU KNOW: Eight ECHL teams have a better road points percentage than home points percentage.  Here are the eight teams from biggest to smallest difference in points percentage (A = away, H = home):

Florida: .833 (A) .300 (H)Newfoundland: 1.000 (A) .556 (H)Trios Rivières: .750 (A) .444 (H)Allen: .500 (A) .286 (H)Worcester: .438 (A) .375 (H)Rapid City: .500 (A) .438 (H)Adirondack: .556 (A) .500 (H)Utah: .611 (A) .600 (H)

The post It’s Not a Game, It’s Just Practice, Man! – Thoughts on the Allen Americans Season appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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