The SF Bulls have won three of their last four games. They started the season with only two wins in their first ten. Of the eight after that, they’ve won four. I asked Pat Curcio what changed. He attributed the improvement partly to the fact that a new young team “takes some time to get accustomed.” He also mentioned the latest round of roster moves:
“We wanted to be a young team, hard-working and ready to go to the next level. We made some moves that I thought were best for the team and so far so good.”
Some comments floated around Twitter that echoed my own reaction to the high number of trades, releases and additions. On any given day there will be a good sized list of moves on the ECHL Transactions page. There are many factors at work here, and not only during a lockout. An ECHL team is limited to 20 active players and 2 on reserve, with an unlimited number on 21 day injured reserve. Any move will probably require a second. Curcio explained why the Bulls have made 14 moves in the last two weeks:
Because we’re affiliated with the Sharks or affiliated with the NHL, when an NHL team is in a position where they want to put players on your team, you make that room available. We didn’t know how many players the Sharks were going to send us for sure. We knew about the two goalies, then they sent us Mikael Tam, now we have … Viedensky, and Tarasov is coming down. And then the Leafs sent us two forwards… Those are the main reasons for the transactions.
I asked whether or not the Bulls have an affiliation with the Leafs. They don’t, but the Leafs don’t have an ECHL affiliate so they send players to other teams’ teams, with permission from the NHL affiliate. Where does Ryane Clowe fit in? He is in one of the two reserve spots. I asked if Clowe traveled with the team to Bakersfield. He did, and was again behind the bench. I asked about Coach Clowe:
It’s the first time ever he’s done any coaching. He’s been great, he’s been really involved… he’s been helpful when we watch videos. He’s been great to have around.
I’m sure with the lockout here… he’s probably getting the itch to play soon, whether it’s with us or with the Sharks. He’s still a hockey player, he’s still a young guy.
Whether or not Clowe decides to play, the Bulls do seem to be finding their legs. They play the Ontario Reign at the Cow Palace tonight. It will be a test for the newly configured team. They are winless against Ontario, and it’s fair to say the Kings affiliate obliterated the Bulls in their last two meetings.
A little news about another locked-out Shark popped up on Twitter this morning:
@MaStrozyk: #SJSharks Justin Braun signed with SM-liiga’s Tappara. Arrives this weekend to replace the injured Kurtis Foster. #NHLlockout
Finland is looking like a prime destination for young Sharks.
In general, I am bored with the NHL lockout. As I said a while back, the NHL is someone else’s toy, they can break it if they want to. But it isn’t that simple, as suggested by this story about NHL pensions being held hostage. If NHL pensions are being withheld and neither side is stepping up to remedy it, that is unacceptable. Of course, all along, every NHLer who took a spot in Europe or on a minor league team was bumping some other guy out of a job. That other player will feel the lack of playing time and a paycheck more sharply than the guy who took his spot to stay fit. I can appreciate the battle being waged between talent and finance, but you don’t leave your guys out in the cold like that. Even in war there are rules of engagement.
(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner.)