By Mike Buskus
Progress glacial, but discernible
The cynical fan or writer would have “written off” the Albany River Rats a while ago. But the loyal follower has not given up on the Rats, as one-fifth of the regular season (17 games on the 80-game schedule) has gone by with the affiliate of the New Jersey Devils having won just once.
One wag quipped that players must wonder whether it was still Halloween. Otherwise, why were so many fans dressed up like empty seats? Announced home attendance, reported at an average of 4,050, counts season ticket sales even if the holders of those tickets do not show up. Lately, more and more season ticket holders have skipped games, possibly to get an early start on their holiday shopping.
How, then, is progress evident? Not in results, because the team has not played a great 60-minutes all in one evening for a while.
Improvements are seen here and there, but not enough linked together to get a win. On Tuesday, on the last leg of a road trip, the Rats visited Quebec City, one of the top teams in the league. Even with the help of Scott Clemmensen, down from New Jersey on a conditioning stint, the Rats only came close. The Boston College netminder, who anchored an NCAA championship this past spring, stopped 34 of 36 shots, but his teammates were only to get one goal (Christian Berglund, a power play goal from Steve Guolla and Joel Bouchard) past Luc Belanger of the Citadelles.
Fans who hoped for a win at home on Saturday (against fellow cellar-dweller, the Springfield Falcons) Read more»
The good news is that the Kootenay ICE have resurrected their road game record and seemed to have solved the problems that plagued the club earlier on in the season while away from the Cranbrook Rec./Plex.
The problem now is that the club isn’t on the road and won’t be for another two weeks.
After Wednesday’s loss to the Swift Current Broncos and a weekend that featured an ugly win over one of the WHL’s supposed weaker teams in Seattle and a woefully inadequate defensive effort that saw them on the wrong end of a 3-1 decision against the Regina Pats, being on the road is a place the club just might want to be. In a reversal of fortune that’s seen the boys of white, bronze and royal blue drop three of their last four home dates, the news doesn’t get any better as the ICE still have three games left in a season-long, six-game home stand that doesn’t feel much like home.
For Kootenay Coach Ryan McGill, the problem of consistency, or lack of it, from his club has been an issue that’s been a work in progress over most of a season that isn’t so young anymore. Having played twenty-nine games, the ICE are well past the quarter-pole and are creeping up on the halfway mark in the season. It is an issue that, in Coach McGill’s eyes has to be settled sooner rather than later. “Finally, with (the two losses) we lost at home,” said McGill after the loss to Regina last Sunday. “Ever since we got home from the road trip we haven’t played that well and we’ve got away with it.”
Against Regina Sunday night for reasons which could be equally attributed to the stel Read more»
Sometimes a progress report for a quarter season of development doesn’t really mean much, but sometimes it can be very interesting. With that in mind here is a brief rundown on the Bruins most important prospects.
1) Nicholas Boynton
6’2” 210 pounds Read more»