Summer Blog Entry: May 17
05/17/2013 11:12 AM - Adrian Denny
ESPN has done a great job with their “30 for 30” documentaries over the last few years. The documentaries have chronicled interesting moments on and off the playing surface in sports.
This week, to continue the theme of countering the blogs and lists of Bakersfield broadcaster Ryan Holt (@broadcastholt), I have come up with five Grizzlies stories over the years that would make for interesting documentaries. Here is Ryan’s list over the history of the Condors and below is mine covering five of the more interesting happenings in the 18 year history of the Grizzlies.
Come On Down
Ten Days With Trevor Lewis
Summer Blog Entry: May 10
05/10/2013 10:08 AM - Adrian Denny
During the regular season in hockey, getting to overtime sometimes means you can exhale, collect your standings point and aim for the second in overtime or a shootout. If you don’t get the win, you at least got something. In the playoffs, it means if you don’t win that game, you will likely lose the series regardless of being at the ECHL, AHL or NHL level.
The ECHL’s conference finals enter game fours tonight with five of six of the first six combined games between Idaho/Stockton and Reading/Cincinnati going to overtime.
In two of the Grizzlies last three series losses, going back to 2011, they have lost two of the four games in each series in overtime. In 2008, two overtime wins and a 2-0 overtime record against Fresno in the first round, sent Utah onward and eventually to the conference finals.
Entering the conference finals where they have each now split a game, Idaho was 4-1 in overtime and Stockton 4-0. They have each split an overtime game so far in the series.
Reading (2-1) and Cincinnati (2-0) each had good overtime records entering their series where all three games have gone to overtime and the Royals hold a 2-1 lead.
Goaltending in the Stanley Cup playoffs thus far has been a little rough for one reason or another. Last week, I took on Bakersfield broadcaster Ryan Holt’s (@broadcastholt) list of the best broadcasters in the NHL. This week, I counter his best goaltenders in the playoffs so far.
The Rankings By Numbers
Summer Blog Entry: May 3
05/03/2013 8:45 AM - Adrian Denny
There is a team in the ECHL’s conference finals that is currently on a run that I think would make any coach or fan envious.
The Stockton Thunder, who seemingly should have been knocked out easily in the first round, will face Idaho after knocking off top seeded Alaska on Tuesday in overtime in yet another come from behind win.
The Thunder have advanced to the conference finals after giving up the first goal in seven of their eight wins and coming from behind in the third period in six of their eight playoff wins. Looking at Stockton’s playoff roster, Head Coach Matt Thomas appeared to be planning on getting players back from the AHL for their stretch run, but none of the six playoff eligible AHL players have returned and in turn Stockton has competed with a roster 2 short following an injury to top defenseman Ryan Constant a few weeks ago.
Recapping the run, Stockton came back from back-to-back 2-0 third period deficits for overtime wins in games 1 and 2 of their first round series against Las Vegas. Facing elimination and down 3-0 in the third period of game six on April 12, Stockton stormed back for a 5-3 win.
Back to Stockton, how does this happen with a barebones group against a team that went to the finals last year in Las Vegas and a team with the ECHL’s best regular season record three-straight games in Alaska. So often we talk about leadership and character. Stockton has this and it starts with captain Garet Hunt, who is not a favorite in Western Conference arenas because of the way he plays.
Head Coach Matt Thomas pretty much summed things up to the Anchorage Daily News: “Here’s the reality — we’ve had to earn it, we’ve scratched and clawed, with guys hurt and guys out of the lineup. Here’s one thing: I made the best choice for our captain. Garet Hunt gets this team motivated, excited to play. And there he was, digging out a puck for the goal with five seconds left in regulation. Give the Aces credit — they kicked our asses at times tonight. I can’t believe we won. But there’s no quit in this group. Sometimes in life, things just happen to you. Scary thing — we’ve got to go through this again to get where we want to be.’’
Sounds kind of reminiscent of the Utah group that finished the regular season after three trades completely changed the culture in the locker room and the games became enjoyable again with the new fresh faces who came to play hockey. During a nine-game unbeaten streak from March 8-27, Utah had to come from behind in eight-straight games, erasing 13 total deficits. They came from behind in the third period five times and in the final 2:06 of a game to tie twice during the streak. March 16 in San Francisco, Utah rallied back to tie three separate times in the third period and four total times in the game.
You hear or see the phrase “work over skill” in the Utah locker room all season, every season for a reason.
Shifting gears, yesterday in his blog; Bakersfield Condors broadcaster Ryan Holt named his top 5 NHL broadcasters. I thought his list was complete nonsense, so I came up with my own, while also ranking my top five color commentators in the NHL.
Top 5 NHL Play-By-Play Broadcasters
Top 5 NHL Color Commentators
Summer Blog Entry: April 26
04/26/2013 9:36 AM - Adrian Denny
Putting together the 2013-2014 team, I don’t really think anything changes for Head Coach Kevin Colley in terms of recruiting. For a team that has started and finished as the hottest in the ECHL each of the last two years, there is no doubt about the teams on the ice when they are not playing short and battling injuries. The goal for 2013-2014? Hope the string of bad luck on health ends, and the chance to play with the team that was recruited for the season; without the rash of injuries from the last two years.
Here is a behind the scenes shot of Head Coach Kevin Colley and the newly promoted Ian Greenwald from Thursday as they shot a scene for the 2013-2014 Recruiting Video. The video will be used as a resource for players that the Grizzlies are talking to this summer. We will post it on online at its completion so you can view it. And as I alluded to, we will announce Ian’s added role with the team coming up. He served as Kevin’s Assistant in Hockey Operations/Video this past season.
Earlier this week on Facebook, we asked you who you’d be rooting for in the two Western Conference semifinal playoff series. Entering my ninth season in the ECHL and dealing with every team (east and west) both on and off the ice, for me it’s more of a matter of who I am rooting against in most ECHL playoff series. Some coaches lack tact and sportsmanship behind the bench and that is a definite factor in rooting against them. Other teams are hassles to deal with in off-ice situations from an operations standpoint. Some teams are headaches both on and off the ice. That being said, who am I rooting against? Not going to tell you that, but I will tell you there are also remaining teams I like; with coaches that I respect who are also great to deal with. In addition, there are some teams remaining with some great professionals on their staffs who are fantastic to work with throughout the seasons.
Playoff Game Day Blog Entry: April 5
04/06/2013 9:13 AM - Adrian Denny
Shane Owen stopped the first 34 shots last night and 36 of 38 overall. Owen has allowed three one five-on-five goals in this series. Going back to last Friday and his last five games, Owen has stopped 125 of 136 shots for a .919 save percentage. Owen returned to action last Friday after having not played since February 24 due to injury.