Tuesday, October 9, 2012

YouTube Tuesday

We're days away from opening night. Not months or weeks, days!

If you missed it, the Blades received five players from Charlotte yesterday. There should also be a few more players from Syracuse and Brayden Irwin is expected to return from St. John. Friday can't come soon enough.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Recap: Preseason Blades vs. Bears

Recap: Preseason Blades vs. Bears

When I guest recap I usually bring you five of my highlights from the game. Whether it’s the long summer or an over abundance of entertainment, Friday’s preseason game yielded 10 gems.

1. Bobby Raymond’s Ever Changing Number
In the 2010-11 season, his first with the Everblades Raymond sported the number five. Fans and jersey collectors alike snapped up the d-man’s jersey and squirreled it away for hockey seasons to come. Then in 2011-12 to the horror of his fan club he switched over to number 19. 

The fan club was reassured that this was Bobby’s preferred number so they buckled down and started once again collecting Raymond #19 merchandise. 

To the agony of his fans Raymond has done another switch. Sporting #21 in the preseason. Everblade newcomer Peter Kopecky is rocking the coveted #19. If Raymond stays with #21 you will see an abundance of mismatched Raymond paraphernalia sure to confuse fans for years to come. 
2. Athletic Republic
Athletic Republic is the official training center of the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. They supply the team with the best conditioning in the league and in a pinch a few players. Sports performance coordinator Todd Pococke suited up for the Everblades in their preseason contest. A graduate of Ferris State University, Pococke played hockey for the division I Bulldogs, but hadn’t played competitively for a year and a half. 

“It (playing minor pro) wasn’t part of my plan,” said Pococke. “but I’m happy to get the opportunity and the chance.”

Pococke was essentially neutral in the game having three shots on goal, but more importantly helping to fill out the roster. It’s likely that the Everblades will have a few more players sent to down in the coming weeks from their AHL affiliates. 

3. A Hat Trick- Almost
Two Everblades had multi-goal nights. David Rutherford and Corey Trivino. Rutherford a fan favorite, joined the Everblades after the NHL lockout forced an influx of players into the Checkers system. 

Trivino, is looking to rehab his image and career after an unfortunate incident during his time at Boston University. Trivino was a 2008 draft pick of the New York Islanders. If you can earn forgiveness by scoring goals, Trivino knocked two off his list.

4. Money Money Money
Winning the Kelly Cup has brought many things to Germain Arena, including sponsors. This years ice is decorated to the max with sponsorship logos. Some of the dasher board ads are creative and definitely got a laugh from me.

5. The Solar Bears
There was much speculation about the newly resurrected Solar Bears team. A team built with several large and gritty players delivered what you’d expect. I’d say they were reminiscent of the 2010-11 Road Warriors to make a comparison. 

While pesky, the Everblades are no slouch in the grit department so not too much to worry about. However, the Solar Bear uniforms are fantastic. Not as garish as years past the designers managed to incorporate teal accents and the distinctive solar bear sun burst into the primarily purple jersey. I give the jerseys two thumbs up.

6. McLanget
Longtime Everblades fans may remember red heads passed, Steve McJannet and Ryan Lang. McJannet was a feisty man known for his scrapping and was affectionately dubbed “Trouble” by the Swamphockey staff. 

Lang, showed flashes of brilliance, but eventually his time with the Everblades came to an end. 

Enter Brandon MacLean. MacLean earned his way into the Everblades memories scrapbook with his overtime winner that sealed the Kelly Cup for the ‘Blades. He’s not a scrappy as McJannet and has more talent then Lang, so McLanget may not be a fair moniker, but GWG doesn’t roll off the tongue in the same fashion.

7. Unsung Hero
Josh Martin, a defenseman on tryout with the Everblades had a big night with zero points. Martin, blocked shots and helped make chances. He was a +4 for the game and was probably the biggest unsung hero. With a shortage of d-men on the current Everblades roster (forward Matt Marquardt subbed into defense for the game) there is a very good chance that Martin will make the opening day roster. 
8. A Sense of Familiarity with a Twist
Pat Nagle was returned to the Everblades from the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. The net-minder spent the 2012-13 season with the Everblades and helped them hoist the Kelly Cup. 

While, John Muse is credited with much of the playoff success, Nagle was instrumental in getting them there, offering a solid option for call ups and injuries. While seeing new goalies is an exciting learning experience, Nagles presence was a soothing influence, until it wasn’t.

While I often say preseason is a time for experimentation, Nagle’s decision to be a puck playing goalie almost made my heart stop. I love a puck playing goalie, and Nagle recovered from a few missteps with the three goals against coming from more traditional errors.

I’m not complaining, like I said, I LOVE puck playing goalies, but next time give a girl some warning.

9. Shut up. Be cool.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m not your traditional hockey writer or fan. I like nothing more than to pick out the useless, but entertaining pieces and mix them with some actual hockey knowledge. 

So in that spirit the quote of the game goes to none other than the lovely Swamphockey.   “Shut up. Be cool.” was uttered to Caity Kauffman and me as the game began and really set the tone for the night.

Shutting up isn’t our style and led to chants of, “Baker you STILL suck.” 

Look for a white board in the stands next weekend. That’s all I’m saying. 

10. Celebrity Look-A-Likes
We missed it last year, but usually there is a “Seeing Stars” post. I can’t resist making the comparison so I’m jumping the gun. Greg Poss your celebrity look-a-like is Patrick Swayze. 

A pictures worth 1,000 words so I’m leaving you with two to compare.

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's Finally Here

  We're skipping the usual Friday Links post to bring you a special post featuring Chelsea's writing and my photos, a one two punch of mind-blowing blog-nificence to celebrate the long dull off-season finally being over.


The morning has dawned on the Everblades first preseason game. The long summer is over, the ice is set and the Florida Everblades are set to take on the Orlando Solar Bears. 


Four years ago I stopped by the Everblades training camp for the first time. I had just transferred down to Florida from Connecticut and I was still looking for my place in the universe. I sat alone in the main arena as the players took the ice and I had a moment of well being surround me.

I’m not an athlete, I can’t skate to save my life, but hockey is my home. I’ve since decided to work in hockey and have gotten to experience some great moments. Walking into an empty arena with the hum of the air conditioner and the subtle (not subtle at ALL) hockey smell is soothing.

As I made my yearly trip to training camp I saw some differences from previous years. This year I wasn’t the only one sitting in the stands. There were Everblades t-shirts and sweaters with little kids trying to peak over the glass. 


There also weren’t many players on the ice. The AHL training camps over lapped with the ECHL this year. The early days of training camp brought back Everblades favorites and regulars like Mathieu Roy, Matt Marquardt, Trevor Bruess and long time emergency back up Brian Markowicz.


The ‘Blades affiliates sent reinforcements yesterday. The Kelly Cup squad is reassembling with the additions of David Rutherford, Joe Sova, Matt Beca, Pat Nagle and Bobby Raymond. There are several newcomers for the season including goalie Rob Madore. 

So in the spirit of the season here are the three things you should know about tonights game:

1. Which mascot would win in a fight?
It’s Swampee versus a polar bear in sunglasses. While polar bears are ferocious, Swampee is an alligator on ‘roids. I may be biased, but I’m giving this round to Swampee.

John Muse

2. Don't forget the goalies.

It’s easy to talk goals and hits, but don’t forget the goalies. Last years playoff MVP was goaltender John Muse. While his play was superb, so were his idiosyncrasies and routines. Watch the warm up and see what you learn.


3. Say cheese!
Take pictures. It really is an experience and you never know what gems you’ll produce. You’ll also be able to get up close and personal in Breakaways after the game. Let the guys eat, but they’ll stop by and say hi and take photos. I hear Rutherford had his teeth replaced this summer so he’s ready for the camera.

It should be a good match up with the resurrected Solar Bears. Don’t expect perfection, the preseason is a place of learning and experimentation, but do expect a good game. The Everblades almost always deliver.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

YouTube Tuesday

A preseason game this week and opening night next week?

Time to warm-up your lungs guys.