ECHL, formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Month Double Jump

Fun little factoid here:

Peter Mannino is starting for the Islanders today against the Blackhawks.

Also in the Islanders lineup: Joel Rechlicz.

Less than a month ago (and a short Feb month at that), these two played together in the ECHL for the Utah Grizzlies.

A few weeks in Bridgeport together, they’re now both skating at the top level.  Yes, the Isles may be in last place (in the league), but they have been playing well as of late.

Quite a journey for these two.

Posted by David M Singer on Mar 15, 2009 at 04:48 PM

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Brooklyn Rebirth?

Steve Zipay has some fun news for NY hockey fans:

DALLAS—The Rangers are investigating the purchase of an East Coast Hockey League team that would play at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, possibly as early as next season, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan and Steve Mills, president of MSG Sports, said last night.

“There’s an opportunity for us to control the entire pipeline of the players more fully and we think there’s an opportunity to extend the Rangers’ presence,” Mills said. Last month, the Garden entered a deal with the owners of a 25-acre sports complex at the site which has two rinks, one of which can hold about 2,300 people.

Just as I was re-reading about the LI Ducks and thinking how great it’d be to have a minor team in the area again.  Besides wanting to attend a few games, I’d think you’d get a few games on local television with all the local sports stations (MSG, FSNY, YES, SNY).  You’d have to assume the Dolan/Cablevision owned MSG would broadcast some games, but you never know.

However, a 2300 capacity is low for an ECHL arena.  Only five teams average less than that.  The lowest being Cincinnati, averaging 1661 a game, the only team below the 2k mark.  The Stockton Thunder are leading the league in attendance, averaging 6462.

In the early 40s the “other” New York team at the time, the New York Americans, changed their name to the Brooklyn Americans and planned on moving to Brooklyn, but it never happened.  From Wikipedia:

At wit’s end, Dutton changed the team’s name for the 1941-42 NHL season to the Brooklyn Americans. He had every intent on moving the team to Brooklyn, but due to a lack of a decent arena, the Brooklyn Americans continued to play their home games in Manhattan at Madison Square Garden while practising in Brooklyn. They barely survived the season, finishing with a record of 16-29-3. Due to player shortages and lingering debt from the Dwyer era, the Amerks suspended operations for the war’s duration. However, in 1946, the NHL reneged on promises to reinstate the Amerks and Maroons (who had shut down in 1938, but had been sold to Philadelphia interests). Although Dutton had every intention of returning the Amerks to the ice after World War II, NHL records list the Amerks as having “retired” from the league in 1942.

According to hockeydb, the last hockey team named Brooklyn… was the Brooklyn Torpedos in 1952.

Posted by David M Singer on Dec 15, 2006 at 01:42 PM
1 CommentPermalink

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Newspaper Intertwines With Blog

Cross-posted at

While looking up some of the latest info about the Florida Everblades, an ECHL hockey team, I went to a website of a local paper I check out, Naples Daily News, from Naples, FL.

The direct menu link on the left for Everblades coverage took me to Bonita Daily News’ page for the Everblades. and have always linked to each other, shared stories, etc., and are E.W. Scripps Co. papers.  The layout for the Bonita Daily News is vastly different to that of Naples Daily News.  Simply different strikes you on the home page of BDN, but when you go deeper into the paper you start seeing columnist blogs and comments available on all articles, and you start to realize that it’s vastly different, and not just because of the look, but the function of the site.

Any blog-integration doubts I had left disappeared when I noticed the standard WordPress/Movable Type-type URLs and the fact that I could get to more RSS files than the ones linked on their RSS page.

This is the type of move I think most papers will start making.  Better formats, more interaction with its viewers and better syndication.  It seems BDN has had this format for about a month, as the oldest blog entries are from around the last week of October.

I haven’t seen many articles with many comments, but the two hockey blogs from Everblades beat reporter Andy Kent and Ernie Hartlieb, Everblades assistant captain and player, have very active comments section.

Posted by David M Singer on Nov 20, 2005 at 09:06 PM

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Automatic Suspensions from a Late Instigator Penalty

A couple of weeks ago TSN published some possible NHL rules changes.

Eric McErlain and James Mirtle broke it apart and don't differ all too much in their overall opinions of the proposed rules (nor do I). Tom Benjamin touched on it a bit as well.

I received a few emails about the suspension/fines for a late instigator rule:
Automatic fines to the coach and suspensions to the player for any fight with an instigator in the last five minutes of the game.
The ECHL currently has a similar rule (from rule 56):
A player deemed to be the instigator of fisticuffs during the last five (5) minutes of the game shall receive a game misconduct and be suspended automatically from his team’s next game.
While I'm not a fan of either rule, at least the ECHL does not fine the coach. You might be thinking that an enforcer-type player probably wouldn't be in most games during the last five minutes - and if he was, it's probably during a blowout and he might just be looking for a fight - that's the mindset that I have to assume set this proposed rule into motion in the first place.

So how many suspensions would have been dished out during the 2003-04 NHL regular season? I queried the database to find out. In total there were 16 instances of an instigator penalty given to a player within the last 5 minutes of the third period. 14 if you take into account two of the games went into overtime and the fight did not occur within the last five minutes of the game (Boynton-Salei and Cummins-Brennan). As it's a proposed rule, not a set one, obviously the specifics aren't set, so I'll list all instances noting date, time of game, players, which player received the instigator (commenting below it as well as bolding the player's name) and also noting if the other player involved did not receive a fighting major.

Date Away Team Away Player
Time Home Team Home Player
Oct 19, 2003 Boston Bruins Nick Boynton
3pd 15:08 Anaheim Mighty Ducks Ruslan Salei
Nick Boynton received an instigator.
Oct 29, 2003 Florida Panthers Pavel Trnka
3pd 19:26 Philadelphia Flyers Todd Fedoruk
Todd Fedoruk received an instigator.
Oct 30, 2003 Detroit Red Wings Brendan Shanahan
3pd 18:44 Nashville Predators Adam Hall
Brendan Shanahan received an instigator.
Oct 30, 2003 Detroit Red Wings Mathieu Dandenault
3pd 19:15 Nashville Predators Jeremy Stevenson
Jeremy Stevenson received an instigator.
Nov 04, 2003 Pittsburgh Penguins Steve Webb
3pd 17:29 Toronto Maple Leafs Owen Nolan
Owen Nolan received an instigator.
Steve Webb did not receive a fighting major.
Nov 11, 2003 Tampa Bay Lightning Pavel Kubina
3pd 16:52 Florida Panthers Olli Jokinen
Olli Jokinen received an instigator.
Dec 20, 2003 Colorado Avalanche Jim Cummins
3pd 15:40 Los Angeles Kings Kip Brennan
Jim Cummins received an instigator.
Kip Brennan did not receive a fighting major.
Jan 02, 2004 Phoenix Coyotes Tyson Nash
3pd 17:13 Dallas Stars Aaron Downey
Aaron Downey received an instigator.
Tyson Nash did not receive a fighting major.
Jan 31, 2004 Ottawa Senators Shaun Van Allen
3pd 19:35 Toronto Maple Leafs Tie Domi
Tie Domi received an instigator.
Shaun Van Allen did not receive a fighting major.
Feb 12, 2004 Colorado Avalanche Peter Worrell
3pd 18:36 St. Louis Blues Reed Low
Reed Low received an instigator.
Peter Worrell did not receive a fighting major.
Feb 19, 2004 New York Islanders Eric Cairns
3pd 16:06 New York Rangers Dale Purinton
Dale Purinton received an instigator.
Feb 19, 2004 Vancouver Canucks Wade Brookbank
3pd 19:07 Minnesota Wild Willie Mitchell
Wade Brookbank received an instigator.
Feb 20, 2004 Colorado Avalanche Chris McAllister
3pd 15:07 Dallas Stars Steve Ott
Chris McAllister received an instigator.
Steve Ott did not receive a fighting major.
Mar 05, 2004 Ottawa Senators Rob Ray
3pd 18:15 Philadelphia Flyers Donald Brashear
Donald Brashear received an instigator.
Mar 05, 2004 Ottawa Senators Zdeno Chara
3pd 18:18 Philadelphia Flyers Mattias Timander
Zdeno Chara received an instigator.
Mar 20, 2004 Nashville Predators Greg Johnson
3pd 20:00 Calgary Flames Robyn Regehr
Robyn Regehr received an instigator.

I'm sure most of the names don't surprise anyone.

These 16 instances occurred over 14 games. Out of those 14 games, 8 were decided by 3 goals or more, and as I mentioned above, 2 went into overtime. Are these few times so detrimental to a game (if you deem them negative at all) that there needs to be a rule in place to prevent such a thing? To put it into a "how often" perspective, the NHL played 1230 games during the 2003-04 regular season. 14 games is 1.1%, 8 games is about 0.7%. Each incident didn't necessarily represent headhunting either (while some did), but this is purely a numbers game right now.

To attempt to support the rule there must be some reason to add an additional deterrent to starting a fight. A non-official 74 instigator penalties were called during that season 2003-04. 16 does represent a large percentage (21%) during a small time period. But is that number enough to support such a rule? A rule like this is meant to deter coaches from putting a player onto the ice who would fight within the last five minutes of a game. Generally, these players are not played heavily in close-game situations and this rule is to prevent fight-instigating during blowout games.

However, blowout games generally mean more ice time for an enforcer, a chance to showcase some possible hockey skills and earn more ice time in tighter game situations. Basically, many aren't looking to go out there and start fights, they just want to play, and obviously it just depends on what else has happened within the game other than the score. Fining the coach is a way to make sure he doesn't put those types of players out on the ice in the first place. If you're going to have any type of rule like this let the fight-starting and possible suspension incident be on the player's shoulders, but don't limit a player's ice time like this by pressuring the coach. It's not right and everyone should get a fair chance to play in all situations.
Posted by David M Singer on Jul 14, 2005 at 05:05 PM
2 CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A Belated Congrats to Denver and Some Good Hockey in Florida

So my NCAA prediction didn’t turn out quite like I wanted, but I was still happy with it.  See, I made it over a month ago while giving a friend my thoughts on the NCAA season so far.  I watched a good amount of college hockey this year until Cablevision took the Fox Sports channels away from me.

PJ wanted to know if I was familiar with The Curse of the Sioux Goalie.  I read it once, but I’m not one for curses.  I’ll leave that stuff for Chicago and Boston.

North Dakota had a good amount of games televised this season and I was very impressed with Jordan Parise.  He did well in the tourney too, shutting out BU, holding off #3 ranked BC (looking at INCH’s power rankings pre-tourney) and helping his team to the finals.

I was able to watch the last few minutes of the first period until the end on a plane (Delta Song).  It was competitive when I turned it on, but it became clear during the second period that it was Denver’s game.  Freshman goaltender Peter Mannino took home the Most Outstanding Player award.  Mannino had a solid tournament, although I would have given MOP to junior forward Gabe Gauthier, who received a good amount of praise from the ESPN crew as well.

One thing that was mentioned briefly was South Florida submitting a bid to host the 2009, 2010 or 2011 Frozen Four.  Barry Melrose wasn’t high on the idea, but I beg to differ.  The Panthers may have been 17th in attendance in 2003-04, but it’s not like the fans had much to hope for.  But the Panthers aren’t the only South Florida hockey team.  The ECHL’s Florida Everblades lead the ECHL in attendance.  Sure, they don’t have to fill large arenas, but they’ve had a solid following for years.

I happened to catch a Blades game last Friday against the Columbia Inferno.  Nashville Predator Shane Hnidy has been playing with the Everblades, but he wasn’t in the lineup last Friday.  Buffalo Sabre, and former Everblade, Eric Boulton is playing with the Inferno and his play was noticeable during the game.

About a week or so before the game I looked into getting four tickets.  The best seats available were in the last row mid-offensive zone.  The Everblades home, Germain Arena, seats 7080 and I was impressed already that those seats were the best available.

When we arrived to the game, about 20 minutes before it started, the lot was pretty full already.  $5 for parking for a AA hockey game seemed like a few bucks too much, but tickets were pretty cheap so there wasn’t any real complaining.

In we went, none of us having been to a minor league hockey game before.  It was like an NHL game, only smaller.  The normal concession stands were around the one-level concourse and except for the team logos, nothing seemed out of the ordinary for us.  Lots of people around, many of them wearing team t-shirts and jerseys.

On to the game: the action was good, open.  You can tell that you’re not watching the best talent in the world, but the players were trying and there was some good flow to the game.  Some noticeable differences to the NHL game: touch-up offsides and automatic icing.  It was nice watching a game with touch-up offsides again.  Each team dresses sixteen skaters and two goalies.  I never counted, but it seemed like each team might have had one less player or so.  Either way, you got used to the names on the ice very quickly with the shorter rosters.  The ECHL also goes to a shootout if the game is tied at the end of a five minute overtime.

We were disappointed that Hnidy wasn’t playing, but Boulton was there, so we still had an NHLer to compare to everyone else, even though he may not be All-Star material.  Boulton played an aggressive game and was challenged many times by Brandon Coalter, but Boulton wasn’t interested in dropping his gloves.

We were treated to some fun hockey and the best part was the fans knew it.  They were a quiet crowd, but I’m used to NY crowds, so most other cities seem to be more quiet to me.  However, they were cheering for all the right things a hockey crowd should cheer for.  Nice saves, good plays, big hits and even clears on the penalty kill.

The Blades had a solid game, leading 4-1 with a little over 5 minutes to go.  However, they collapsed on the lead and the game ended in a tie when the third period ended.  After a scoreless overtime we were “treated” to a shootout.  I use the word treated liberally because I’m not really a fan of shootouts.  The first four players on each team missed their shots and then both of the #5 guys scored.  After five players it’s sudden death in the shootout.  The Inferno sent out their #6 man, Eric Boulton.  Boulton fakes a shot and then gets it by former Northern Michigan goalie Craig Kowalski, who hadn’t played in months due to a groin injury.  Reggie Berg couldn’t convert for the Blades and crowd walked out stunned while the Inferno celebrated as though they just won the championship (it was a nice comeback, but it was an even bigger celebration).  I’m still not a fan of shootouts.  Kinda fun, but not enough that I want games to be decided that way, nor can I see it still being fun after a few of them.

Another thing to note about the game is there was little instruction given to the crowd.  The basics were announced and the only explanations about gameplay were about the overtime and shootout rules.  It was another sign that this was a good hockey crowd.  What?  In Florida?  Yes, South Florida apparently likes hockey.  Makes me wonder about the other “bad market” in Georgia, home of the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators.  The Gladiators are behind only the Everblades in average attendance.  I don’t want to suggest hockey can do well in the south though, some northern heads may explode and we might lose a scapegoat for hockey’s problems.

In the end we had a good time while watching some live hockey, and that’s all we were looking for.  Dare I even say it was good enough to make me think that replacement players would have a shot at working (with low ticket prices), especially with some higher level talent mixed in.

Posted by David M Singer on Apr 13, 2005 at 01:44 AM

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Welcome the Roadrunners - Again

The new ECHL team, located in Phoenix, will be named the Roadrunners.

The jerseys have been unveiled.  They were designed and created by Reebok (who takes care of all ECHL jerseys).

If the logo looks familiar, that’s because it is.  The Roadrunner was used by the Roadrunners of the Western Hockey League entry in 1967 to the International Hockey League club in 1997.

Former NHLer Claude Lemieux will be the Roadrunners head coach.

The team will begin play in the 2005-06 season.

Roadrunners jerseys

Posted by David M Singer on Mar 12, 2005 at 01:57 AM
2 CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Blackburn’s Future Still Undecided

NY Rangers goaltender Dan Blackburn, who was released by the ECHL’s Salmon Kings last week, will likely play again this season, probably again in the ECHL, but this time for the Charlotte Checkers, the Rangers’ ECHL affiliate.

Blackburn requested his own request last week in order to play for the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers’ top affiliate according to the NY Daily News, but they also carry this:

[NY Rangers assistant GM Don] Maloney confirmed Blackburn’s assertion that the Rangers were seeking a special visa that would allow the Canadian-born goalie to play for a U.S.-based minor league team the rest of this season - but for Charlotte of the lower-level ECHL, not Hartford.

“There has been no discussion whatsoever about him playing in Hartford,” Maloney said.

Posted by David M Singer on Mar 09, 2005 at 03:05 AM

Friday, March 04, 2005

Blackburn Released By Salmon Kings

The Salmon Kings, who suspended NY Rangers defenseman Dale Purinton for the rest of the season (due to his conduct on the ice, which led to multiple league suspensions, according to management), have now released NY Rangers goaltender Dan Blackburn.

The Salmon Kings message forum has rumors of limited play due to insurance purposes, but there’s been no detailed reason given by the team yet, and no press about it as of now.

Posted by David M Singer on Mar 04, 2005 at 07:33 PM