Foster Proposes “Alexander Rule,” Starts Feud

Last year, as the new coach of the New York Night, Nick Foster focused his attention on evaluating his players and trying to install strategic changes and a better work ethic.  In his second season, Foster has dropped hints that he wants to stoke rivalries with the other teams in the East.  “In sports, a little hate makes the world go round, right?” Foster told reporters during the preseason.  “When you’re playing against your rival, the game has a little extra juice for the players, the fans, everybody.  I’m all for some extra juice.”

This week, the New York coach lit the fire under the rivalry he hopes to start.  The target is the Hamilton Pistols, who are off to a surprisingly strong start and look to be a top playoff contender.  Foster created a stir around the SHL by proposing a new rule aimed at Pistols LW Steven Alexander, a battle that culminated in a Twitter feud between the coach and the player.

Nick Foster

After the Night’s 6-4 against the Pistols on Sunday, a game in which Alexander scored a goal, Foster was asked about the Hamilton star’s scoring prowess.  “Well, he’s one of the top goal scorers in the league,” the coach responded.  “But that’s not a surprise, because he cheats.”

Asked to elaborate, Foster pointed out Alexander’s habit of chopping upward with his stick to create separation from the defender before shooting.  “I mean, the guy guarantees himself good looks by swiping his stick at guys’ nuts like he’s teeing off at Pebble Beach,” said Foster.  “So he gets three-four feet of space every time ’cause my guys want to have kids someday.  It’s a great trick if you can get away with it. And The Nutcracker gets away with it.”

The Night coach then called on the league to pass a rule outlawing Alexander’s move.  “Remember when the NHL created the Sean Avery Rule, ’cause he was always standing in front of goalies and acting like a dick?  Well, here in the SHL, we need the Steven Alexander Rule, to outlaw swinging your stick at a guy’s family jewels.  The Nutcracker’s career would be finished overnight.”

Steven Alexander

Sources around the league viewed this soliloquy as an attempt to get under Alexander’s notoriously thin skin.  If so, it worked; the next day, the Pistols star fired back on Twitter.  “Typical cheap stunt from @TrickyNick,” Alexander tweeted.  “Attacks other players to distract from his own failure.  Glad I play for a team & coach with class.”

Foster wasted no time in replying. “Hey @MyNameIsAlexander: you cheat, admit it.  League looks the other way bc they want ratings, but everyone knows it.”

Alexander shot back with another barb: “Grow up & stop looking for excuses.  Ur a pathetic excuse for a leader.  No other team would hire you.”

Foster’s response: “Ok, nutcracker.  Try 2 score some goals wo cheating & then we can talk abt who’s pathetic.”

Alexander snapped back, “Anytime u want to settle this with fists instead of tweets, come find me.”

Keith Shields

Pistols coach Keith Shields stood up for his player.  “The idea that Stevie would ever cheat is just outrageous to me.  He’s a fierce competitor who doesn’t give an inch, but he plays within the rules.  And to suggest otherwise is just inappropriate.  Coach Foster should apologize.”

The league quickly shot down the idea of creating an “Alexander Rule.”  “The existing rules are perfectly sufficient,” said SHL Commissioner Perry Mitchell.  “We certainly have no intention of creating new rules to target specific players, as Coach Foster knows very well.  The referees have been instructed to call the rulebook as written.”  The commissioner added that both Alexander and Foster would be fined if their Twitter war continued.

Foster declared a ceasefire, though he couldn’t resist slipping in one last shot across the bow.  “I guess speaking the truth will cost me,” the Night coach told reporters.  “But all right, the commish says drop it, so I’ll drop it.  Instead, I’ll just have my guys watch tape of The Nutcracker in action.  They might just learn a thing or two for the next time we play Hamilton.”

Shockers Coach Goes On Travel Adventure

When Saskatchewan Shockers coach Myron Beasley fell ill in Anchorage on Saturday night, he feared that he might be out of commission for a while.  The good news is that he was fine medically.  The bad news is that his extended stay in Alaska wound up forcing him to make a mad scramble halfway across the country in order to make it to Kansas City for the next night’s game.

“Ever see Planes, Trains, and Automobiles?” said Beasley, referring to the 1987 comedy starring Steve Martin and John Candy.  “It was basically like that.”

Myron Beasley

After the Shockers upset the Anchorage Igloos 6-3 at Arctic Circle Arena, Beasley began experiencing chest pains.  He consulted with the team doctor, who advised him to go to the hospital.  The coach checked into the ER, fearing the worst.  Fortunately, tests revealed that it was merely a case of acid reflux.  Unfortunately, by the time Beasley left the hospital, the Shockers’ plane had already left Anchorage.

Unconcerned, the coach took the next flight to Seattle.  When he arrived there, he found he had missed the connecting flight to Kansas City, and the next flight would not leave until the next day, too late for the game.  Beasley did a bit of research on his phone and found a flight to Denver with a connection to KC that would get him there in plenty of time for the game.  However, a snowstorm in Denver forced the coach’s plane to divert to Albuquerque, leaving him out of luck again.

“At that point, I called [assistant coach] Caleb [Ponder] and told him to get ready to coach the game,” Beasley said.  “Mother Nature was clearly conspiring against me.”

Some further research led the Shockers coach to Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line, which runs between Albuquerque and Kansas City.  The train gave Beasley a chance to get some much-needed shut-eye.  However, when he awoke several hours later, he found that he was still in New Mexico.  The train was not scheduled to arrive in Kansas City for 12 more hours, too late for the game.

“This all started because I thought I was having a heart attack,” said Beasley.  “Now it seemed like all this travel craziness was going to give me one.”

Beasley got off the train in Trinidad, Colorado around 10:30 AM.  He then rented a car and drove the rest of the way.  It’s about nine and a half hours from Trinidad to Kansas City, but Beasley made it in eight and a half.  “I may not have stuck to the speed limit the entire way,” he admitted.

A haggard and starving Beasley arrived at Heartland Telecom Center shortly after the puck dropped.  While Ponder coached the team during the first period, Beasley grabbed a brisket sandwich from one of the concession stands and watched the game in the visiting locker room.  When the Shockers tromped back to the clubhouse after the period, they welcomed their coach with a round of applause, awakening him from a catnap.

“We were just glad to see him back,” said LW Troy Chamberlain.  “At that point, we didn’t know what he’d been through.”

Saskatchewan went on to beat the Smoke 2-1 in overtime, then flew back to Saskatchewan the next day.  Beasley came with them this time.

SHL Solicits Fan Videos in Contest

As Commissioner Perry Mitchell likes to say, the SHL is “a league that puts the fans first.”  The league is backing up that statement with a new contest called “For the Love of Hockey,” in which they’re asking fans to submit short videos explaining why they are the SHL’s best fan.

“We’ve been around for long enough now that we’re developing a devoted fan base,” said Commissioner Mitchell at the press conference announcing the contest.  “We’ve been delighted to share our story with them for the last three-plus seasons.  Now we want to give the fans a chance to tell their stories.  How did they fall in love with hockey?  How did they discover the SHL?  Who’s their favorite team or their favorite player, and why?  But really, we just want to hear whatever they have to say.”

Fans are encouraged to submit their videos via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat).  The Commissioner’s office and other prominent league figures will view the videos and select 12 finalists, each of whom will receive a custom jersey for their favorite team and two tickets to a future game.  The league will then allow fans to vote on their favorite of the finalists, and the winner will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2018 SHL All-Star Game at Cadillac Place, home of the Michigan Gray Wolves.

In addition to displaying the videos on their social media sites, the league will display them on the Jumbotron at games throughout the season.  “We want to make sure we’re sharing these stories with everyone,” said Commissioner Mitchell.  “Our fans’ love of hockey, their passion and energy for the sport and our league and our players, is what makes the SHL great.”

The immediate reaction around the league was positive, with fans stating their plans to get started on their videos right away and players and coaches saying they looked forward to seeing the submissions.  “I know that the fans we have are second to none, so I’m certain that their videos will be awesome,” said Saskatchewan Shockers coach Myron Beasley.  “I’m glad that I’m on the selection committee, because that means I’ll get to watch them all.

“I was all set to make a video about how my love of the SHL is all about the glory and the sweet paychecks I get,” said New York Night RW Rick “The Stick” Nelson.  “But then I found out that players aren’t eligible to enter, which sucks.  No problem, though, ‘cause I’m going to be at the All-Star Game anyway, on the ice!”

2018 SHL Week 1 Team Stats

Team Totals

Team             GP    SH    G    A  Pts   PP%  +/-
Hamilton          5   178   28   52   80   9.5   16
Seattle           5   199   27   51   78  21.1    5
New York          5   184   18   36   54  11.8   -3
Washington        5   153   19   33   52  33.3    2
Kansas City       5   138   17   31   48   9.1   -7
Michigan          5   156   17   30   47   5.6   11
Boston            5   136   13   25   38  26.7   -5
Quebec            5   164   13   24   37  13.3   -1
Anchorage         5   149   12   23   35   9.1    3
Hershey           5   204   12   23   35  27.3   -9
Dakota            5   148   11   19   30  17.6   -9
Saskatchewan      5   154    9   15   24   6.5   -3

Team             GP   W   L   T   GAA   SH   SV    SV%   PK%  PIM
Michigan          5   5   0   0  1.40  117  110  0.940  91.7   50
Anchorage         5   3   2   0  1.99  160  150  0.938  82.6   48
Saskatchewan      5   1   4   0  2.40  131  119  0.908  92.6   65
Quebec            5   3   2   0  2.78  160  146  0.912  92.3   26
Hamilton          5   4   1   0  2.80  155  141  0.910  85.7   47
Washington        5   3   2   0  3.39  172  155  0.901  71.4   42
Boston            5   2   3   0  3.56  200  182  0.910  60.0   32
New York          5   2   2   1  3.74  192  173  0.901  88.9   23
Dakota            5   1   4   0  3.80  192  173  0.901  88.2   47
Hershey           5   0   4   1  4.13  140  119  0.850  88.9   36
Seattle           5   4   1   0  4.17  163  142  0.871  87.5   55
Kansas City       5   1   4   0  4.77  181  157  0.867  92.0   59

Continue reading “2018 SHL Week 1 Team Stats”

2018 SHL Week 1 League Leaders

Frye           HAM     12
Pepper         SEA     11
McNeely        WSH     11
Derringer      SEA     10
Costello       WSH     10
Lafayette      HAM      9
Gunnarson      HAM      9
Constantine    HAM      9
Argent         SEA      9
Mango          SEA      9

Pepper         SEA      7
Frye           HAM      6
Alexander      HAM      5
Kronstein      MIC      5
McNeely        WSH      5
Darnholm       BOS      4
Karlsson       DAK      4
Constantine    HAM      4
Valentine      HSY      4
Marlow         MIC      4

Costello       WSH      9
Lafayette      HAM      8
Sanchez        NY       7
Derringer      SEA      7
Venezio        SEA      7
Frye           HAM      6
Gunnarson      HAM      6
Mulligan       HAM      6
Sweet          HSY      6
Hart           HSY      6

     Penalty Minutes     
Hogaboom       WSH     16
O'Neill        SEA     15
Wesson         KC      14
Nistrumov      SAS     14
Stolte         DAK     13
Kratz          HAM     13
Mulligan       HAM     12
Davenport      MIC     12
Eberhardt      SAS     12
Merula         KC       9

Kronstein      MIC      9
Madison        MIC      9
Gunnarson      HAM      8
Constantine    HAM      8
Patterson      HAM      8
Smyth          HAM      6
Risch          HAM      6
Glasco         HAM      6
Kratz          HAM      6
Beruschko      MIC      6

       Goalie Wins       
Lundquist      MIC      4
Koskinen       HAM      3
Goldmire       SEA      3
Orion          WSH      3
Worthington    ANC      2

Stickel        SAS   0.00
Lattimore      QUE   0.96
Lundquist      MIC   1.00
Worthington    ANC   1.74
Mason          HAM   2.00

         Save %          
Stickel        SAS  1.000
Lattimore      QUE  0.958
Lundquist      MIC  0.956
Worthington    ANC  0.947
Clarkson       NY   0.923

SHL Player of the Week – Week 1

Elliott Pepper

The SHL selected Seattle Sailors RW Elliott Pepper as its Player of the Week.  Pepper was Seattle’s big offseason acquisition, picked up from rebuilding Dakota.  The big winger got off to a big start with his new club, notching 7 goals and 11 points in his first week.  Pepper currently leads the league in goals and is one behind C Calvin Frye of Hamilton for the league points lead.

He scored his first goal in a Sailors uniform on Sunday in a 5-1 win over Saskatchewan.  On Tuesday, he potted a pair to help Seattle sink his old club by a 5-4 margin.  Then on Friday, Pepper recorded a hat trick and added two wins in a wild 8-5 win over the Jackalopes.  Led by Pepper’s heroics, Seattle is off to a 4-1-0 start and a surprising second place in the West.

“As soon as I heard Elliott was available, I told our front office to go get him,” said Sailors coach Harold Engellund, who was Pepper’s boss in Dakota last year.  “He’s just a tremendous force: great shot, heads-up two-way player, a leader in the clubhouse.  For a young club like that, he’s exactly the kind of player we need.”