Sunday, November 30, 2003


Strong words from Bruce Garber: We have a very soft team. We have some big guys who don't want to play the body. They make it easy for teams to play against us.

The Tulsa coach goes on to say that he was trying to get tossed from Friday's game, but Cruickshank wouldn't bite -- does that count as complaining about the officiating?

Phil Gilmour makes another friend. And Stormy's worried about Brent Hughes' temper?

And yeah, allegedly cursing out an 11 year-old girl is inexcusable. But that is the sort of language, activity and emotion you'd expect from a losing team in a gong-show game when the ref calls an obstruction penalty with three seconds remaining. Ice level is not always kid-friendly. An apology may be in order, but I'd also suggest that someone that young needn't be involved in game ops -- at least not if her family is bothered by vulgarity (which still doesn't excuse the personal hostility, of course).

And I definitely don't see any reason for the "Banana Crew" to be out there if the players haven't left the ice. We've all seen linesmen direct post-game (or end-of-period) traffic for this very reason -- emotions run high, and ugly things can happen.

Saturday, November 29, 2003


Here's a surprise -- someone e-mailed me asking if I'd heard that Justin Ossachuk might return to Tulsa. Don't know about that, but it appears Mike Gorman is headed back to Jacks-land.

Thursday, November 27, 2003


Brent Hughes watch: Day 10.

Bill Inglis watch: Day 1.

A verbal round of applause for Mitch Cooper, working so hard on the night before Thanksgiving -- not only did he cover the Bats-Jacks game for the Statesman, but he still wrote up a whole separate summary for you, the CHL-Underground reader.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003


Brent Hughes watch: Day 7.

By the way, the never-ending Zamboni Rodeo book tour rolls into Atlantic City tonight (Boardwalk Bullies vs. Cincinnati Cyclones). Tomorrow Andy Ross and I get called up to the AHL -- we'll be signing books at the Philadelphia Phantoms-Norfolk Admirals game. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2003


It is truly unbelievable that the Eagles' top line has more goals than the entire Ice Bats roster (and the same number as the Brahmas). I guess you could say they're scoring $8500 a week worth of goals, yuk-yuk.

Saturday, November 22, 2003


For those who wonder what the heck I'm doing when the blog goes stale, here's one answer, an article about my second-favorite El Paso sports team (after the one that no longer exists). Registration for required.

Speaking of stale, how priceless was Scott Muscutt's quote about David Haun: this kid has not had a whole lot of success in Austin -- I have a computer. Yup, another satisified CHL-Underground user.

Those of you without NHL Center Ice -- ESPN Classic will show both the outdoor hockey games next week. It's really the league's fault for not scheduling the thing on Sunday.

Good stat from last weekend: Indy had more PP goals in one game than Austin had all season (at that point). Lots at stake for the Bats against Fort Worth -- not only do they need the points, but they can get their goals-for and PP out of the league cellar. Forest led them to a big win last night -- undefeated at Centurytel so far, go figure -- but they still need to work on that whole "protecting a lead" concept.

And hey, Jeff Greenlaw -- life could be worse. You could be Derek Laxdal.

When I say the Colorado Eagles are disingenuous this is the kind of thing I mean.

Congratulations to Doug Johnson, who is skating once again.

CHL team beer mugs -- get the whole set!

What's more important than our coach's emotional well being? Yup, Doug Frank really was joking when he made that post on October 26. Some people have wondered how Frank could fire one coach when the other has a much worse record, but remember, Sims was hired by Taylor Hall. And Bill McDonald's history of getting teams to peak at the right time speaks for itself.

Blake Sloan lives!

I picked the Gorillas to make the finals, so all I can say about their nine game winning streak is, about time!

Great article from the RiverKings on reporting hockey injuries.

And finally, if you missed it, the word is out on Little Rock. We can only hope they'll be the Glacier Cats.

Friday, November 21, 2003


Kudos to the Rayz, but my larger point remains -- the Ice Bats are not supposed to be a team about which an opposing coach can say "3-1 is a bad lead for them to have."

It's gonna be a tough order, making Jonathan Forest's return to Bossier-Shreveport a good one. Who knows, maybe the goalies will be Haun and Hevey (though Haun hurt himself last night).

Big blog entry, with no Ice Bats content whatsoever, coming soon.

Oh, and rumor has it Hughes has finally let himself be found.

Thursday, November 20, 2003


Hate to admit it, but JLocke has found out more about Brent Hughes than me.

I gather Scott Howe mentioned that I mentioned his guarantee -- as if I made such a big deal about it. Hell, Corpus should be embarassed if they don't win tonight. It's not like the Rayz are playing Amarillo, or the Eagles -- they're at home against a team that's below them in the standings, and there's almost always a good bump under a new coach.

So go Bats!

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Brent Hughes remain a mystery. The Bats, the CHL office, Ken McRae, former Austin owner John McVaney -- none of them have been in touch with Hughes since the Bats replaced him in July.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003


Listening to Scott Howe on 1230AM in Corpus and GM/interim head coach Pat Dunn is basically putting it right out there: Brent Hughes is a candidate. Problem is, he doesn't know it -- no one in the CHL knows how to reach him.

Bulletin board material for Jeff Greenlaw: "I guarantee ya Pat wins that game," Howe says of Thursday's match-up with the Bats.

13 games is not the quickest a coach has been fired in combined CHL/WPHL history - Peter Easdale of the Tupelo T-Rex was gassed after a dozen. Tulsa's Rick Seiling lasted 19.

So much for blind item #1.
It's the blind item blog...

Which team's broadcaster is trying to track down Brent Hughes -- and why do you suppose he'd want to?

Which team almost accidentally broke the cap, which could have cost them cash or standings points (a la Shedden and Martino in '01-'02)?

Which team used to employ a person with whom I had the following conversation: Me: "(Star player X) must have made $1000 a week last year." Them: "More like $1000 a day."

Monday, November 17, 2003


Bats fans, there's just no point in bitching about the team's radio deal. Nothing new is gonna happen, and it isn't the team's fault.

There is no "generating ratings." The Bats lease the air time from the radio station and sell their own advertising. They could win two championships and put 7,000 people a night in the stands and there would still only be 1000 fans AT BEST who actually follow the team to the point where they listen to the games.

Spurs, Rangers, Horns, Lady Horns, Aggies, Tech, Baylor, high school -- it's not that the media is biased in favor of those things, it's that they actually are more popular. Either stations actually PAY the team for those broadcast rights, or the teams/schools in question are able to at least break even on the deal.

A few years ago, the webcast only had a capacity of 100 listeners, and that wasn't often exceeded. Which doesn't mean NHRow7 isn't right about more people listening on the web than over the air -- how's that for some perspective?

Another example -- if you spent money on CHL TV during the Laredo series last year, you were one of about two dozen people (though granted many more fans were at the game in person).

In a market like Austin air time is expensive and there's no station in town that can't get better ratings simply playing music or a two-bit talk show or yes, the NBA. So the Bats (and the Express) take what they can get without breaking the bank. Should they could get on a better station for a lot more money just to make a few hundred fans happy? Should they put the home games on the air for twice as much money to please an even smaller audience (fans who can't make the game, parents out of town, fans who bring radios to the game)? While I have yet to be convinced Austin's new ownership has opened up its wallet as wide as possible to truly save the ailing business that they bought, I do know their money would be better spent in any number of ways, from advertising to an affiliation to a full-time assistant coach.

Friday, November 14, 2003


So the Bats finally get Jonathan Forest, for David Haun. Rest assured they have another goalie on the way (though not for tonight's game). All the complications and permutations should clear up tomorrow.

One thing Gerald Tallaire said that didn't make it into my story: "We don't want to get too much under .500. One game [under] is enough for the Austin Ice Bats. We're known for winning."

Indeed... last time the Bats were under. 500, Monica Lewinsky was an important person.

One counterpoint to George Schneider's otherwise well-founded positivity: if the season ended today the Blazers would not make the playoffs (based on winning percentage).

Let's all have a good thought for Mark Cairns as he begins this difficult period of recovery and rehabilitation.

Don't Jeff Greenlaw and Dave Tippett sound a lot alike right now?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003


Well, one team found the net.

Anybody know the over/under for this morning's clash of the offensive titans in Odessa?

When I think "continuity," I think San Antonio Rampage hockey.

Four words that should keep anyone from calling the WHA2 a Double A league -- Ryan Rivard hat trick.

Also, isn't it super-cool that the WHA2 has retired the numbers of Gordie Howe and Ryan Anderson? You mean that's not the reason?

Had to make sure it wasn't April 1 when I saw the Marian Gaborik in Tulsa story.

The fun thing about affiliations is when the status of someone like Jocelyn Thibault has a direct effect.

Meanwhile, Memphis appears to be adding David Turon. The rich get richer -- plus they've got trading chips between the pipes.

There are several owners of Central Hockey League teams shuddering while reading the newspaper this morning, said the "Daily Coloradoan" of the Eagles 8-2 win over New Mexico. Why not just lead with "Dear Doug Frank."

Seriously, one thing I'm sorry I missed out on was the Scorps' owner going public with his critique of Colorado's affiliation. I'm told that when the two teams met at Stingley, "Money (That's What I Want)" played over the PA.

A few links of note: ECHL Insider, the allHeart directory and the CHL's potential Galveston team, where there's a laundry list of expansion possibilities (some more wild than others) and rumors of a merger with the UHL lives on.

Monday, November 10, 2003


USA! USA! Ok, I'll admit it -- I wasn't following the Four Nations Cup either.

Friday, November 07, 2003


Geez, you go away for 10 days and suddenly the Ice Bats have a losing record for the first time since 1999!

Gonna take me a little while to catch up and get back at it.

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