Sunday, February 09, 2003
My my my...perhaps we can't have the playoffs without a little etouffe. They still need a lot of help, but there's no doubt this is the Mudbugs' time of year. They have the coaching and the system, they have the postseason mystique, and certainly Ken Carroll hasn't been the problem. I can see the headline already:"KISS Line Leads Bugs to Game 5 Win."
Hans Hornstein points out that Fort Worth was eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend. In fact, even if the Brahmas win every game from here on out, the 54-point finish would be no better than seventh.
Alternate title for this piece on Canadian tough guys in the minors: "Dallas Anderson's guide to bulletin board talk."
Maybe if the upcoming Bats-Oilers game was at Chaparral someone would have paid that price.
Things don't look good for Coach Wickenheiser. Funny thing is, if you throw Canadian coins, your suspension is 35% shorter.
You gotta love this, even if it was an All-Star game: Ken Hitchock and Jacques Martin miffed at the other team for playing defense-first.
Fans of Slap Shot -- and really, who isn't? -- should check out the Slap Shot Tribute for info on a charity auction benefiting Louise Arters, the actress who played one of the "Sparkle Twins."
Affiliate, or don't affiliate? That's the question
IMO, Austin fans have enjoyed these last two season without a formal Houston tie. I would even go so far as to say Matt Barnes and limited call-ups are the two biggest reasons why this year's club is better than the last two (though there were other factors). I'd also say call-ups cost the Bats playoff seeding in 2001 and Bobby Brown's focus in 2002. On the plus side, Austin landed Mike Gaffney, Kelly Smart and Dan Price with the affiliation, then hung onto them for good.
Affiliations provide a recruiting advantage, but do the Blazers need one? They also provide a salary cap loophole, and a way to get non-vets or rookies who are more talented than your average player. Memphis has a great affiliation, but they also won the Cup with three guys missing (though the third hadn't really played for them, he was something of a ringer). Laredo has been fortunate -- they brought in a good player (Gilmore) when they lost Gove, then San Antonio gave them another (Lundbohm). They also lost a D-man to a Rampage trade.
In other words, there's no right or wrong answer. Affiliations help, affiliations hurt. They fatten up the roster, they thin it out. They give a team good players, but it's still up to the entire line-up and the coach to get it done.
And finally, I guess this means my new favorite team is the Peterborough Rink Rats