Saturday, October 28, 2006

10-27 and 10-28 AT MEMPHIS (L, 3-1 and L, 2-1, SO)

Another tough one in Memphis tonight. The Mudbugs clearly left the momentum from Thursday's victory against Laredo at home.
Take away the second and third periods against the Bucks and what do you have this season?
Not much (two goals in the past 2-plus hockey games).
But, of course, this is the M.O. of the Mudbugs. Start slow. The team is struggling offensively and it's crazy to think what might be happening had Mr. Ori and Nason and Zirnis not come to the rescue.
It's not time to panic, but four losses in five games is no reason to be excited either.
Yes, the Mudbugs did defeat the defending champion Laredo Bucks on Thursday, but my fear is that was a rivalry win. In rivalries, disparities in talent are usually nullified due to the increased level of emotions. Clearly the Mudbugs had that against the Bucks.
Question is, which is the real Mudbugs' team? Thursday's or the other four games?
Unlike the folks who e-mailed me following the Laredo win, telling me I was out of my mind picking Memphis to finish ahead of the Mudbugs, I'll do the right thing and wait to respond.
Mind you, my selection was made before names like Zirnis, Ori, Williamson and Nason were possibilities.
The Mudbugs play 10 of 12 games on the road to start the season. This could either get really ugly, or it could be an incredible wave of momentum to build on.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

10/27 MUDBUGS VS. LAREDO (W, 5-2)

No less than four incidents are under review from the Central Hockey League from last night's rumble between the Laredo Bucks and Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.
Normally it takes a day or two for the penalties to be handed down.
I'm sure Tyler Lawson is under consideration for further discipline after his starring role in Louisiana Highstick Massacre, but the Mudbugs likely won't go unscathed.
Chris Murphy was a maniac on the ice. Note to Murphy: When a linesman corrals you not once, but twice, it's time to go to the penalty box.
He must learn to curb that youthful exuberance.
Here's the rundown via a CHL official:
Murphy has been suspended indefinitely and will miss at least this weekend's games at Memphis.
The Mudbugs as a whole were fined for inciting the brawl and Chris Brassard was fined for a headbutt during the brawl.


(On Jeff Genovy’s delay of game penalty in the second period)
It’s one of the most unnecessary penalties I’ve seen.

We took a lot of them today. The turning point was the second period when we took all the penalties. They capitalized on it.

It’s stupid hockey. Stupid hockey. We should be drawing penalties instead of taking them. It’s called stupid hockey. We may not be the most talented team, but we may be the most stupid hockey team.

(On his team’s impressive start in the first 30 minutes)
The whole first period, the game was absolutely unbelievable. The guys moved the puck, they were streaking, going hard to the net. It was all the little things we needed to do to be successful.
Then the penalties came around and that’s unacceptable – unacceptable. There are going to be different moves on this team. There are three guys waiting for H2Bs, once they get in we’ll be a different hockey team.

(On why the Mudbugs have Laredo’s number in the regular season, but not in the playoffs)
Going back to the playoffs, I think they underestimated us after the beat Colorado. I don’t think they took us to heart. We played pretty good hockey, we make good on the opportunities and we got goaltending. Dov Grumet-Morris was outstanding for us.

If we’re going to be successful, it starts with goaltending. Right now, we’re on shaky ground.

(Absence of Jeff Bes due to broken jaw)
Jeff’s absence is a big blow to our team. He’s a leader, he’s a guy on the power play that makes the play that no one else can make. He’s a guy that scores goals when no one else is scoring goals. He’s just a guy I look to a lot – killing penalties, on the power play. Not having him in the lineup is an obvious void because he’s a veteran guy who can do it all for me. I’m hoping he can come back soon, but it depends on how fast he heals.

(On immigration issues)
With the immigration problems we’ve had this year, and we seem to be the only league to have them, it’s a problem.

I just told the guys, ‘It’s like the second day of training camp.’

This is only the second day we played as a team. We still have to jell and we’re still missing three guys.

I don’t know why this happens here, but not the NHL or other leagues. I can’t answer it.

Well, well, well. Two big rivals played Thursday night and it was the defending President's Cup champions who came unraveled.

Laredo was in control of this game 2-0 until 30 minutes of the most undisciplined hockey the CHL has seen in some time.

The line brawl was entertaining. While Ken Carroll and Nathan Marsters dropped the gloves, it was nothing the UFC would be proud of.

It was surprising to see a Terry Ruskowski-coached bunch implode like this, but don't get too excited Mudbugs fans. We've seen this before. The Mudbugs dominate the regular season 7-2, but are 4-8 when it counts against the Bucks.

Plus the Bucks were without Jeff Bes, Mr. Mudbugs Killer himself. And Ladislav Kouba to boot.

If nothing else, it should help the new Bugs bond and it will DEFINITELY sell tickets. More than 6,200 on a Thursday night was pretty impressive to start with.

MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more on the festivities Thursday coming up. We have comments from Ruskowski, Muscutt, Wildfong, Brassard and Ken Carroll.

A massive line brawl as ensued here at the CenturyTel Center. The Mudbugs lead 5-2 with 1:51 left and this place is a mess.

Scores his third goal of the season. This one, like the Mudbugs' first three, also came on the power play.

A slap shot from new Mudbugs defenseman Ryan Fairbarn gives his team the lead in the second period. It's the third power-play goal of the period for the Mudbugs.

My, how things have changed.

The NFL stands for "not for long," according to the former NFL coach. I'm not sure what CHL stands for, but Laredo rookie Jeff Genovy may want to walk back to the border.

With the Bucks leading 2-0 and short-handed, Genovy grabbed the puck at center ice and did his best impression of Nolan Ryan. It drew one of the craziest penalties I've seen in person and the Mudbugs went on to score 3 power play goals to take the lead.

The Mudbugs were lifeless prior.

Instant message from Greg Rajan: I think the Mudbugs have every Sutherland on their roster except Kiefer and Donald.

See, I gave you credit!!

The Laredo Bucks are looking pretty good right now. It's hard to tell how much is the Mudbugs being a bit discombobulated or the Bucks clicking on all cylinders.

Remember folks, this is a Laredo team without Jeff Bes (broken jaw) and Ladislav Kouba.

Bugs head to period No. 2 with some offensive and defensive issues. The Mudbugs must plug up the middle in their own zone.

Patrick Murphy and Serge Dube scored less than four minutes apart in the first period to give the Bucks a 2-0 lead.

Both goals were rebounds as the Mudbugs have sorely lacked coverage in front of Ken Carroll.

The Bucks are feasting in the slot.

Is it youthful exuberance or just a hockey player being a hockey player. Chris Murphy, all 5-foot-11 of him (hmmm OK), dropped the gloves with towering Laredo forward Tyler Lawson (6-4, but looked 7-4 next to Murphy).

Lawson took his sweet time while Murphy struggled for some leverage. When the time was right, Lawson unleashed an uppercut and which crippled Murphy a bit and then a punch to the back of the head that sent the Mudbugs' newcomer to the ice.

Expect more scrappiness from Murphy as he has been compared to Dan Wildfong.

The Mudbugs have received back-to-back-to-back man advantages here in the first period. They finally did get a scoring opportunity on the third, but Laredo netminder Nathan Marsters robbed a Joe Ori wrister with his glove.

The Mudbugs used various combinations during their initial power play of the evening. They collected one shot and no scoring chances.

There are no less than 12 new faces playing for the Mudbugs this season, so we'll all be learning who's who and who can do what. It will be interesting to see how this team jells throughout the season. Bossier-Shreveport is notorious for sub-par starts to the season and this newfound bunch faces quite a task.

OK, maybe not. But still, it's opening night of the 2006-07 home schedule for the Mudbugs. Quite an impressive crowd is filing into the CenturyTel Center on this raining Thursday night.