Friday, January 30, 2004

Just like Austin pictured it: a clutch Chris Richards goal, on the power play no less.

Meanwhile, Shawn Conschafter got gassed.

It's truly puzzling -- the guy was good in Memphis, then he comes to Austin, never finds a groove, and hadn't played for nine straight games. Zero wins, 153 minutes: the Ice Bats didn't get much more out of him than they did from Randy Hevey.

But hey, Kris Waltze doesn't play for Memphis either, so the whole thing is a wash.

More importantly, unless there's something completely unexpected going on, this move signals the return of Peter Brady. Which makes me wonder, will the rehabilitated goalie take a pay cut, to thank the team for keeping him in town and off of season-ending IR? If not, there could be further adjustments to the Austin roster (or at least somebody's paycheck), as Forest and Brady together means a higher cap number than any other goalie combination (Brady and Haun, Forest and Hevey, Forest and Conschafter) Austin had.

And then what? Do you need to see exactly what kind of shape Brady's knee is in, to say nothing of his head? We don't even know for sure if the guy who won three games in October would have played that way all year, so there's certainly no way to know if he could outplay Forest after four months off. That's what being Wally Pipped is all about.

If you think Brady can be the difference in a playoff race, you go for broke. Otherwise, you work him in slowly, playing Forest three out of every four. That breaks down to 16 starts for Forest and five for Brady, which, not coincidentally, would preserve the latter's so-called "rookie" status.

And yep, just like the Scorps pictured it: Ambro and Ollie keep it going without Richards, plus a goal and an assist for the two "aults."

Indy's got nothing to be proud of tonight either, but does anyone really think Memphis is a playoff team? Do the Memphis players? I know the fans are skeptical.

And I'll be damned: here come the Jackalopes.

Now... about those Laredo salary cap "investigation" rumors. How stupid can you people be? (and that includes the indignant Laredo fans who don't even know how to defend their own team).

Now, I grant you, as with Colorado, there might be something "interesting" about the Bucks' affiliation. Hell, for all I know Chris Grenville drives an Escalade that's registered in Kiki DeAyala's name.

But a common-sense look at Laredo's roster provides almost overwhelming evidence that the Bucks don't need to cheat.

Rookies: Gabriel Proulx, J.F. David, James Hiebert, Bobby Chad Mitchell, Steve Simoes, David Guerrera, Mike Amodeo
Two-way contracts: Patrik Nilson, Brent Cullaton, Max Birbraer, Mike Amodeo, Jason Spence
Player/assistants: Chris Grenville, Mark Matier

You don't think that leaves enough cap room for Bes, Vellinga, Dube, Emond, Weidlich and Hyman, as well as to pay certain rookies more than minimum?

What's more, when you look at most of these guys' stats, whether in major junior or minor pro, they don't cry out "huge salary." Some of them were good players, some of them were great players and some them were neither. Point is, this is not an entire team of Bes and Cullatons (or Pankewicz and Toblers, or Claytons and Dudas, or Parsons and Landmessers), and the seven rookies (seven!) were not surefire studs.

Hell, Bes only had 63 points in 62 games last year, and Cullaton just 62 in 72. Which means either the ECHL really is that much better than the CHL or this Ruskowski guy can coach a little bit.
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