The Worcester Sharks and the San Francisco Bulls both play today. Last weekend was great for Worcester. They won 2 of 3 and got the OT point in the loss. Sunday’s nail-biter featured a 0-0 tie all the way into a shootout, against the Manchester Monarchs who currently sit well above Worcester in the AHL Conference standings. Stalock was in net for that one. All that has to be good for morale.
The SF Bulls wrapped up their long road trip in Ontario on Wednesday night with a 3-1 loss. It was not an easy road trip for them. They haven’t won since their second road game in Bakersfield on October 19. Let’s hope being home can restart the engine.
As has been reported, Ryane Clowe’s agreement with the Bulls was made official and announced by the team. It isn’t clear yet whether he will play. With more NHLers signing deals with ECHL teams this week (Setoguchi helped the Reign beat the Bulls on Wednesday), it would seem like a moot point. Of course Clowe should play, if he wants to. Or should he?
ECHL teams don’t have much room for healthy scratches on their roster. Players move around a lot as a matter of course but certainly NHLers trickling in will cause a little extra movement.
Theo Peckham has also signed with the Bulls, and he played on Wednesday. Let’s see where Peckham’s arrival fit in to the ECHL player carousel:
10/31: Defenseman Trevor Hendrikx released by SF.
11/02: Defenseman Trevor Hendrikx signed by Bakersfield.
11/05: Defenseman Theo Peckham signed by SF.
11/07: Defenseman Justin Pender released by Bakersfield. Pender played 54 games with Bakersfield last season, had a goal in 7 games this season. I hope he finds a spot somewhere soon. He was just released Wednesday.
Those transactions didn’t all happen on the same day, but you can see why I assume they are connected.
Sentimentality is frowned on in this aspect of professional sports. That one guy’s arrival tends to signal another’s departure falls under “the nature of the business.” It’s supposed to be about winning, nothing else. But sentiment always weasels its way into things. Bobby Ryan, some time ago, said he wouldn’t sign in Europe because he didn’t want to take another guy’s job. Sure, it’s just for a little while, and wouldn’t a team benefit from having the major league guys around? Is it really any different to be bumped off a team by an NHLer than by some other player?
“We’re excited to have a player of Ryane’s caliber join the team,” said Bulls President/Head Coach Pat Curcio. “We look forward to having him around the locker room, as he gets back into game shape. The rest of the players on the team will have a chance to learn from his work ethic.” -SF Bulls Press Release
Get back into game shape? That can’t be right. How far from that can he be? Manny Malhotra said that NHL players are staying ready:
“If we had no desire to get back to the games, we’d be on vacation somewhere stuffing our faces rather than skating and working out every day,” Malhotra told the Vancouver Sun. -Ottawa Sun
Peckham felt ready, Setoguchi was ready. Clowe did that high-altitude training with Marleau last month. I imagine it is less a fitness question and more a question of whether or not it’s right to disrupt the roster flow of another league while the NHL flails around trying to come up with a new CBA. Then again, with so many teams beefing up their rosters with guys who don’t belong in a development league, it is hard to say you should just let the Bulls keep losing. That can’t be good for development.
I imagine we’ll see Clowe play sooner than later.
As for those ongoing CBA negotiations, no one is prepared to say they’ve made tangible progress. Talking for hours (or at least staying in the same room together) can be viewed as progress, it just doesn’t sound like anyone expects a resolution soon. Wouldn’t it have been nice for the two sides to be doing this two or even three months ago?
My own negotiations are purring along. Kitten Number One even took a few steps in my direction yesterday, the better to get his face rubbed. His brother got a late start so I won’t expect as much from him. Still, I think he runs away more slowly, I can see his legs moving instead of just a flying ball of fur. So far, I think we’re ahead of the NHL CBA negotiators.
It surprised me, that jump forward. Just days ago Kitten Number One was still hissing and leaping away. I wonder if the NHL negotiators will soon make an equivalent leap forward?
(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner.)