I came away with two impressions after observing the Allen Americans practice yesterday, talking to some of the players and touching base with the coaches. First, this team knows they can play better and they showed it in how hard they were working in practice. Everyone was in agreement it was a good practice. This is a determined group that will persevere despite the obstacles.
– My second impression was just how much injuries have impacted the Americans. I know it is early in the week and some players are given maintenance days, have to get treatment and need time to heal, but it is pretty clear Allen will struggle to have a full lineup by Friday. Hopefully some of the players listed as day to day will be ready to go for the games on Friday and Saturday against Idaho.
– Not much else to report today so a good time to go through the ECHL Daily Report and list the Allen players that are included in any category. It is a short list.
- Chad Costello is #1 in points (59), #2 in assists (37) and #1 in individual game high for points (6)
- Dawson Butt is #2 among rookies in major penalties (8)
- Kris Myllari is #2 among defensemen in game winning goals (4)
- Jack Combs is #14 in points (48)
– Here are the team stats where Allen is in the top five. A very short list:
- #2 in winning margin (8 goals)
– There were two games in the ECHL last night and they both went to overtime. One of them impacted the Americans as Kansas City beat Wichita 2-1 in OT, so both teams earned points. Allen remains in last place all alone but the fight for the last playoff spot is alive and well. Here is the latest with wins above or below .500 in parenthesis:
- .520 – Tulsa (2)
- .509 – Kansas City (1)
- .500 – Wichita (0)
- .490 – Allen (1)
You can see the race for the final playoff spot in the Mountain Division is so close any of the teams could be in any of positions (4-7) by weeks end. If Allen wins its two home games against Idaho this week its points percentage will be .510.
– I get asked about players in Charlotte being sent to Allen all of the time. It is a complicated situation as to who and when players get sent to the ECHL. The complications start with the fact Charlotte is stocked with players from two NHL organizations (Seattle Kraken & Florida Panthers). Both teams are sending players back and forth to Charlotte. The Charlotte schedule is also a factor. The Checkers are in the midst of an eight-game road trip. Here is the schedule over the next week starting tonight:
- Wednesday at Hershey
- Friday at Lehigh Valley
- Saturday at Lehigh Valley
- Tuesday at Texas
- Wednesday at Texas
– Here is my take on the three players in Charlotte most likely to be in Allen again:Antoine Bibeau: He has been sent to Allen five times this season, played in 14 games and has a save percentage of .923. It seems like Bibeau’s role in Allen has changed from the start of the season, where the intent was for him to be in Allen the majority of the season, to a point now where there is no expectation he will return. I say this because Charlotte has four goalies (three healthy) on the roster and Bibeau rarely plays. His last three starts for the Checkers were December 10, January 28 and February 2. I know he has personal reasons to be in Charlotte so don’t know if that is a factor, but the idea of him being in Allen unless Charlotte needs help, is no longer the approach from what I can see.Nolan Kneen: Other than the one game for the Americans in Cincinnati last Thursday, Kneen has been in Charlotte since January 2 on a PTO (tryout contract). I was surprised he wasn’t given a SPC (Standard Players Contract) given the way he has played in Charlotte, especially when he first arrived. Nolan had five points (1G, 4A) in his first seven AHL games. For whatever reason he is still on a PTO. It appears when all of the contracted defensemen get healthy and the NHL teams send additional defensemen to Charlotte, Kneen could be released from his PTO.Ryan Lohin: In six games with the Allen Americans in late October and early November, Lohin had eight points (6G, 2A). He has been used sparingly in Charlotte. He didn’t play his first game for the Checkers until December 3, 20 games into the season. I know he has been injured but you would think Seattle would want to develop a player like Lohin by getting him extended playing time in Allen. He would be a big help to Allen but would also show other AHL teams what he is capable of.– Zane Franklin’s University of Saskatchewan team was upset in the Canada West playoff quarter finalsso his season is over. Franklin is in his first year of college, so no indication he will turn pro but if he does it is important to note Allen holds his ECHL rights.
DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today is about overtime games. Allen has gone to overtime in nine of 50 games (18%) with a points percentage of .222. Only two other teams (Fort Wayne and Indy) have a lower overtime points percentage than Allen. The Americans overtime record is 1-6 and their shootout record is 1-1.
Some teams play a lot of overtime games while others very few. Kalamazoo has played just three overtimes all season while Wichita played its 13th last night. Here are the ECHL teams with highest and lowest percentage of overtime games played. The team’s overtime points percentage is in parenthesis:HIGHEST24.5% – Jacksonville (.667)24.1% – Wichita (.385)23.2% – Trois Rivières (.600)LOWEST6.1% – Kalamazoo (1.000)8.7% – Adirondack (.500)11.8% – Indy (.167)