Wednesday, November 02, 2005

11-2 BUGS at COLORADO (W, 6-1)

WILL MICHAEL BUFFER BE INVITED FRIDAY NIGHT?

I have to admit, I am completely shocked at the way the Mudbugs drove the Eagles into the ground tonight. Let's remember, this was a 1-1 game in the third, and the Mudbugs were privy to a couple of sweet bounces. However, once the flood gates opened, the Eagles just sat back and did absolutely nothing.

Until, of course there was one minute remaining. Then, clearly it's time to prove that you're a good team. Well, the end of Wednesday's contest could mean that a couple of Ealges won't be around for Friday's rematch.

Chris Hartsburg is likely to watch the game from the stands after his hit from behind on Chris Shaw. Fraser Filipic and Les Borsheim may want to check the Caller ID for an Arizona area code before answering their phones as well.

The Mudbugs were ultra-impressive in victory, but remember this is just two points. I just hung up the phone with Scott Sheppard, who collected the team's third, YES THIRD, hat trick of the season tonight.

He said he wasn't surprised Colorado tried to goon it up late, but made it a point to say that Wednesday's big win does't mean much if the Mudbugs don't come out with the same intensity Friday.

Colorado was embarrased at home, suffering their worst loss ever, and they will be looking for two points, not a gong show. There was one curious Mudbugs fan worried about the safety of this team Friday. They are grown men and "statements" are made throughout the Central Hockey League and every other hockey league in existence.

The CHL brass will likely have a couple of eyes, if not bodies, watching the events Friday, so I don't expect there to be anything out of the norm. Now granted, the norm for hockey -- especially the Eagles -- can be very rough.

TIME: 11:51 p.m.

MUDBUGS MANHANDLE EAGLES

Scott Sheppard became the third Bossier-Shreveport Mudbug to record a hat trick in this young season as the Mudbugs pummelled Colorado 6-1.

TIME: 10:37 p.m.

WORST QUOTE FROM A BROADCASTER ... AND THE NOMINEES ARE

Colorado's announcer, with the Eagles trailing 5-1 in the third, said "the Mudbugs may win this game, but Fraser Filipic just won this fight."

Dude, you think Filipic really cares he won the fight????

TIME: 10:18 p.m.

MUSCUTT'S RETURN TO BENCH DELAYED

Scott Muscutt was not on the bench Wednesday. Didn't want to post anything without knowing the reason for his return to Shreveport, but no word yet other than it was due to a issue within the Mudbugs family. We can only hope and pray all is OK.

TIME: 9:14 p.m.

NEW ERA OF CHL SHOWCASED IN COLORADO

The Mudbugs and the Eagles played a great first period of hockey Wednesday. The action never stopped in the 1-1 game and it was clean for the most part, including good hits, good rushes and good goaltending.

Colorado outshot the Mudbugs 10-7.

TIME: 8:44 p.m.

TEAMS TALLY EARLY GOALS

Scott Sheppard put the Mudbugs up 1-0 less than two minutes in, but Colorado countered 27 seconds later.

TIME: 8:28 p.m.

MY TAKE ON THE JEFF BLAIR TRADE

Much has been said about Jeff Blair and why he went to Colorado, what the Mudbugs got for him and so on. Here are my thoughts.

Jeff Blair, in the eyes of Mudbugs fans, players and coaches, was a trendous 1-B goaltender. The numbers he put together in 2003-04 were downright sick. He took an incredible workload off Ken Carroll, and that made both goaltenders better.

Blair did have a deal worked out prior to the season, but when the Mudbugs and Muscutt saw the opportunity to garner an NHL affiliation, a backup goaltender became expendable -- no matter how good he was, he wasn't going to take Carroll's spot.

Did Blair get screwed? Yes, but I think the Mudbugs made a gut decision because of promises made to them.

HOWEVER, Muscutt is looking a bit bad on the trade to Colorado because, as far as I can tell, Bossier-Shreveoport hasn't received diddly. Nothing against Chris Shaw, but he's shown me zippo so far. Do the Mudbugs need a physical presence on this team? Yes. Is Shaw the answer? I hope not. He's a servicable defenseman who was getting CUT by Colorado.

Now the Bugs turn around and give the Eagles Blair, who will likely play a lot with youngster Paulo Colaiacovo. That immediately puts the Eagles in the juciy situation they were last year and where the Bugs were the past two seasons -- having two wonderful goaltenders.

Maybe Muscutt never thought Blair was going to sign in Colorado? But to give your top competition a player of Blair's caliber is questionable. Would the New York Yankees trade ANYONE to the Boston Red Sox to help them? UMM NO. A certain guy named Babe Ruth tells the story there.

That being said, I think it's great from a personal point of view that Muscutt allowed Blair to get the best job possible.

Chris Stewart, the coach for Colorado, said it best on the audio interview on our web site. "These guys don't get paid enough to prevent them from going somewhere."

Still, Stewart was surprised to get Blair for "nothing."

And anyone who thinks Blair didn't report to the Eagles to avoid these two games with the Mudbugs is out of their mind. I'd much rather start in my own building than possibly play for the first time against the Mudbugs at the CenturyTel Center. That's just common sense.

The bigger story is likely the lack of action from Bossier-Shreveport's "affiliates." Jason Rent, the Bugs GM, and Muscutt have told me repeatedly they have expected talent here by now. If anyone is blowing smoke, it's not from this end. The Mudbugs organization honestly believed prospects would be in town.

They better, soon, because I can't imagine the fee to have an NHL affiliate is cheap.

TIME: 7:27 p.m.
Any comments, as always, can be e-mailed to rflang@gannett.com

BUGS DIG DEEP INTO FOREIGN TERRITORY ONCE AGAIN

The Mudbugs waived forward Milan Vodrazka and signed Martin Stuchlik, a 23-year-old winger from the Czech Republic.

The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder played collegiately at Alaska-Anchorage. After scoring just four goals in his first 56 games at UAA, he scored 12 during his 34-game senior season.

Stuchlik was in the camp of the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) prior to this season, but was cut.

Stuchlik will wear No. 28.

Vodrazka went pointless in five game, but did record a minus-2 rating.

TIME: 6:33 p.m.

GAME APPROACHES/CARROLL NAMED GOALTENDER OF THE MONTH

The Mudbugs begin a two-game series against the Colorado Eagles in less than two hours. Just before the game began, Ken Carroll was named the Goaltender of the Month in the Central Hockey League.

The All-Star was rock solid in net for three October contests and turned aside 83 of 87 shots faced to post a record of 2-0-1. His best outing came Oct. 28th against Austin, where he made 27 saves to record his 16th career CHL shutout, which ranks third all-time.

His two victories on the season give him a career total of 103, tied for ninth place all-time. A three time CHL All-Star, the native of Oil City, Ontario has recorded at least 24 wins per year in each of his four seasons with Bossier-Shreveport.

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