Friday, December 22, 2006


The Memphis RiverKings have had a great start this season. But as their bus headed out of the parking lot of the CenturyTel Center tonight, I wonder how it was possible for them to feel confident atop the Northeast Division standings.
The Mudbugs are back, or at least it appears. Memphis is going to provide great competition is a highly competitive division, but dang tonight was a whoopin. In every phase. And I don't say that often, and not once this year (at least in the Mudbugs' favor). But if this is reflective of how the Mudbugs are going to play in the second half, all is definitely not lost.
We'll see though. There's a long way to go.

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The Mudbugs lead 5-1 and chaos has erupted, just like I thought.

Well the shutout's gone.
A 5-on-3 goal spoiled rookie John DeCaro's chance at a shutout Friday night. The blast from the top of the left circle came from Jason Sessa.

OK, it's 4-0 to start the third and I expected fireworks
Nothing yet. However, the RiverKings just spent the entire two minutes of a power play in the Mudbugs' zone without a stoppage. You don't see that too often.

No, 3-zip
Cam Abbott gives the Mudbugs a 3-0 lead

Chris Gustafson scores to make it 2-0.

After a LENGTHY delay, we're back at it. It was great to see the compilation of fights from the 2003-04 season on the big screen. Chris Brassard's bout against Memphis was simply a classic!

The start of the second period has been delayed a good 15 minutes due to issues with the glass near the Memphis bench. It took the CTC crew abotu 10 minutes to find a pane of glass, but it ended up being the wrong one.
Now they are taking a second shot at it. This one doesn't look promising either.

Bugs emerge with 1-0 lead from spirited first period
Karlis Zirnis scored the only goal of the opening 20 minutes when he was able to knock home a rebound. The Mudbugs outshot Memphis 16-8 and the energy was definitely present. A pleasant sight, considering the Mudbugs have played one game in roughly two weeks. John DeCaro hasn't been tested often in net, but is perfect nonetheless. Larry Sterling made a few big saves to prevent a bigger Bossier-Shreveport lead.

There was plenty of hitting in the firstm and a good bout between the Mudbugs Jason Williamson and Memphis' Steve Makway.
Williamson and Makway both landed quality shots in the rather-lengthy bout. The fight only ended because they were both gasses. The linesmen didn't need to pull them apart. They gladly skated to their respective penalty boxes.

Losses and gains
The Mudbugs suffered a big loss this week when goaltender Ken Carroll went down with a knee injury. However, the team will welcome back defenseman Ryan Fairbarn and forward Milan Vodrazka at the CenturyTel Center.
Tonight's game is a biggie. Of course, now, every game with Memphis is huge. The RiverKings are beginning to pull away in the Northeast and the Mudbugs are, gasp, last!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


ATTENTION WAYNE BONNEY: We have a miracle!!
For the first time in my stint as a Central Hockey League writer, I saw DIVING CALLED BY ITSELF. Thank you Mark Lemelin. You called it on Scott Rozendal and you are now my hero. That is what the penalty is for, to STOP people from diving, not to offset a hooking call!

Wichita sure is undisciplined
The Mudbugs are being helped greatly by a lack of discipline shown by the Wichita Thunder tonight. The Mudbugs take the 2-0 lead to the locker room and will have 1:36 left on a power play when they return. That is one aspect that hasn't improved tonight. Bossier-Shreveport is 0 for 5 with the man-advantage.

Duda has returned
You knew he'd be back, despite taking a high stick and some stitches. Jason Duda is back in action, like a good hockey player would be.

Bugs bail rookie out, Mussleman scores again
Seconds after killing Murphy's penalty, Kyle Musselman made it 2-0.

Chris Murphy continues to take bad penalties
The Mudbugs worked hard to take a 1-0 lead. Rookie Chris Murphy did his best to erase that with completely undisciplined play.
Murphy has a bone to pick with Steve Dix after a first-period fight and decided to jump him 34 seconds into the second period.
The result was a 3-minute power play for Wichita.

Hard-working Bugs lead 1-0 after 1.
There is no lack of effort tonight and the veterans are leading the way. Forbes MacPherson and Dan Wildfong have brought linemate Kyle Musselman along for the ride and have staked the Mudbugs to a first-period lead. Musselman collected his first goal in 16 games as a Mudbug.

Karma’s a ***
Jason Duda left the ice in the first period after a high stick from Mudbugs defenseman Jason Basile drew blood. We’ve already talked about Duda’s high stick to Wildfong last time out.
After giving the fans grief about clapping for Chris Murphy after his losing fight, I have to give them credit this time. As Duda got up and held a towel to his bloody mouth en route to the bench, the crowd gave him rather generous applause.
Kudos to the gang at the CTC.

Love when the fans cheer after a fight when the home guy loses ... NOT
Chris Murphy took about three forearms to the nose after he went to the ice in the middle of a fight with Wichita's Steve Dix. However, the sparse crowd at the CTC decided that was worth a round of applause. It always happens, the home guy gets the bad end of a fight and the crowd loves it. Why? Cuz when the home guy wins a figth, that applause is lost in the shuffle.

Duda and Wildfong meet again
Wichita veteran Jason Duda and Mudbugs captain Dan Wildfong have a love/hate relationship ... OK, there's probably not much love. The last time these two met at the CenturyTel Center, an accidentaly high stick by Duda sliced Wildfong's lip. Seven stitches later, Wildfong was on his way to yet another scar.
As expected, the two were back jousting again early in Thursday's game.

Crowd is extremely disappointing
I know it's still "football season," but tonight's crowd is about the smallest, most unenthusiastic I've seen in my four seasons covering the Mudbugs.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

12/2, Mudbugs v. Youngstown

Game wrap
The profanities were flying out of Bossier-Shreveport head coach Scott Muscutt's office following tonight's loss. It was an upsetting game for Muscutt when his team delivered virtually no effort against Youngstown.
The Mudbugs are a Jekyll and Hyde team. Who knows which team will show up on any given night?
Take tonight's game for example. The Mudbugs looked out of sync all night and gave little effort in their shellacking by the Steelhounds. The scoreboard read 3-1, but it could have been much worse.
Youngstown was all over the Mudbugs from the opening faceoff. And it didn't help that guys like Dan Wildfong and Forbes MacPherson (two of the leaders in the dressing room) didn't have their best games.
Wildfong looks like he's lost some speed this season. For a guy like him, who's engine is always revving, that's very difficult to overcome. He was on the ice for each of the Steelhounds' goals.
The Mudbugs' philosophy is to outwork their opponents every night, but they were outworked tonight.
The Bugs are in need of some goal scorers/playmakers and fast. They don't have any real scorers like Youngstown does in Chris Richards or Jeff Christian.

End of 2nd
The Bugs will need a small miracle to win this one. They are getting outplayed on both ends of the ice and need a couple bounces to go their way.

Another one for Youngstown
The Mudbugs are having some serious problems muscling Youngstown players from in front of the net. The Hounds just poked one past Carroll for the 3-0 lead. Mark Johnson had a Mudbug on him, but managed to muscle his way to the puck and slide it into the net.
Youngstown smells blood and is pouring it on the Mudbugs during a recent pp.

Release the hounds!
Youngstown makes it 2-0 off Doug Orr's third goal of the season. It wasn't a hard shot, but it looked as if Ken Carroll was screened on it by a defenseman.
Bugs are playing rather listless, getting beat to loose pucks and not playing smart defense.

End of 1st
Much better flow to tonight's game than Friday night. Both teams are moving the puck pretty well up and down the ice. The Mudbugs' one error has haunted them.

Bugs first power play
The Bugs have their first pp of the night. Right now, it's not looking too good for them, but what else is new. The pp has struggled through the first two months. The Bugs got one shot on net during that extra man advantage...back to full strength.

And just like that...
the Mudbugs trail 1-0 36 seconds into the game. A turnover deep in their zone and breakdown on defensive assignments leads to the Steelhounds pouncing on a loose puck for the game's first goal. Could be a long night for the Mudbugs.

BCS buzz
Fans got their football fill prior to tonight's faceoff. A small group huddled around one of the TVs in the CenturyTel Center concourse to watch the conclusion of the USC-UCLA game. There were several happy faces when the Bruins hung on to upset the BCS No. 2 Trojans. Don't think they were Michigan fans though.