Category Archives: Recap

YouTube Wednesday: Re-Cap Edition

The Everblades have been on quite a roll lately and last night was no exception.

I’m not going to pretend that my ongoing dislike of the Gladiators isn’t part of why I enjoyed the three game sweep of our least favorite divisional rival. Of course, most of my enjoyment comes from the Blades within striking distance of the divisional lead.

Overall, I’d call last night’s affair a pretty great game. Aside from some terrible officiating (which I’m beginning to accept is part and parcel with watching an ECHL game) and some terrible sportsmanship (something I’ve come to accept about the Gladiators), it was a pretty spectacular effort from the boys.

My favorite part of last night was Blades captain Mathieu Roy moving into second place in league wide scoring with his second hat trick in a week. Do you think you can find a more well rounded captain in the ECHL? Because I don’t really think that’s possible.

Of course, I could have lived without that extended 5 on 3 penalty kill in the first. I’m pretty sure it took at least a year off my life. Of course, my regular consumption of Germain arena concessions over the last couple of season could be more to blame.

Astoundingly, this is the first time I can’t  say I’m not happy with every players effort. Honestly, I can’t recall the last time I made it through a game without thinking somebody was half-assing it. All the players are doing little thing that make a big difference too. Like shot blocking (did you see Merrifield drop Roy style in front of that shot last night? Pretty sure I stopped breathing for a minute) and back checking. It’s amazing to see such a huge change.

And since all that effort should be rewarded I’m unveiling my new favorite idea… The Swamp Hockey Three Stars of the Game!

This will be rewarded to the guys who played an amazing game, but didn’t score enough to get the medias attention. This is completely subjective and I’m not going to pretend that I won’t play favorites (I guess everyone should be glad Bobby Raymond was signed by the Checkers, huh?).

So anyway, here we go:

3. Mike Merrifield: I agree with a lot of other fans that he’s made a total 360 and become a hell of a forward.

2. Dan Milan: The new gritty, no-nonsense defenceman thing? Me gusta.

1. Rob Madore: Still not sure how the performance he put in yesterday (or the entire series) wasn’t recognized. Some of those saves last night were insane and facing 123 shots (a little less than double what the Gladiators goalie faced) throughout a three game series is even more insane.

I’m also going to award Mike Ratchuk an honary star for continuing to make opposing team defences look like they’re mini mites who haven’t really figured out the whole skating thing (also, it’s his birthday, and people are supposed to give you nice things on your birthday).

Last, but not least, a little roster news. The Blades acquired a defenceman from the Komets today. I think his stats speak for themselves.

 


Don’t Call it a Recap: Everblades vs. Solar Bears (12/19/12)

I’ve been struggling with how to recap games since the season started. The reason why I’ve been struggling with how to write them is actually a very simple one.

I just really hate writing a traditional game recap.

Once I was able to accept that things became so much easier. So, my lovely… swamp people (we really need to have a meeting and decide on what we want to call ourselves), I present to you something a little bit different from a traditional recap.

Now, on with the show:

I don’t think any of us expected the Solar Bears to do as well as they did after their recent race to the bottom of the division. I guess we should have expected them to decide to play decent hockey at the least convenient time possible. That is pretty much the way this season’s going.

Worst moment: I’m going to go with the Sisca breakaway goal. You could feel everything deflate right after that. Oh no, wait… it was when the Bears started playing the trap. Yup, that was the worst moment ever.

Time for a fun exercise: 5 Things more exciting than trap hockey

  1. Watching paint dry or grass grow
  2. A four hour C-Span marathon
  3. Kristen Stewart ‘acting’
  4. doing anything that involves the DMV/Post Office/IRS

Best moment: Hands down, Mark Stuart pissing Nick Petersen off. The look on his face when Petersen dropped his gloves was priceless. O’Byrne dumping a Bear forward (I forget who) in the second was pretty hilarious too.

Worst stupid  zebra moment: Hard to pick. Go ahead and go with any of the twenty missed calls on the Bears, Petersen not getting penalized for his attempt at fighting Stuart, the ridiculous bench minor for abusive language (You are quite clearly a blind idiot Ryan Murphy, telling the truth isn’t abuse), or the unsportsmanlike call on Bobby Raymond.

My feelings about the game in Lol Cat form:

angermanagement

If you want to rub salt in the wound

Game photos


Recap: Preseason Blades vs. Bears

Recap: Preseason Blades vs. Bears
 
When I guest recap I usually bring you five of my highlights from the game. Whether it’s the long summer or an over abundance of entertainment, Friday’s preseason game yielded 10 gems.

1. Bobby Raymond’s Ever Changing Number
In the 2010-11 season, his first with the Everblades Raymond sported the number five. Fans and jersey collectors alike snapped up the d-man’s jersey and squirreled it away for hockey seasons to come. Then in 2011-12 to the horror of his fan club he switched over to number 19. 

The fan club was reassured that this was Bobby’s preferred number so they buckled down and started once again collecting Raymond #19 merchandise. 
 
 
To the agony of his fans Raymond has done another switch. Sporting #21 in the preseason. Everblade newcomer Peter Kopecky is rocking the coveted #19. If Raymond stays with #21 you will see an abundance of mismatched Raymond paraphernalia sure to confuse fans for years to come. 
2. Athletic Republic
Athletic Republic is the official training center of the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. They supply the team with the best conditioning in the league and in a pinch a few players. Sports performance coordinator Todd Pococke suited up for the Everblades in their preseason contest. A graduate of Ferris State University, Pococke played hockey for the division I Bulldogs, but hadn’t played competitively for a year and a half. 
“It (playing minor pro) wasn’t part of my plan,” said Pococke. “but I’m happy to get the opportunity and the chance.”
 
Pococke was essentially neutral in the game having three shots on goal, but more importantly helping to fill out the roster. It’s likely that the Everblades will have a few more players sent to down in the coming weeks from their AHL affiliates. 

3. A Hat Trick- Almost
Two Everblades had multi-goal nights. David Rutherford and Corey Trivino. Rutherford a fan favorite, joined the Everblades after the NHL lockout forced an influx of players into the Checkers system. 

 

Trivino, is looking to rehab his image and career after an unfortunate incident during his time at Boston University. Trivino was a 2008 draft pick of the New York Islanders. If you can earn forgiveness by scoring goals, Trivino knocked two off his list.

4. Money Money Money
Winning the Kelly Cup has brought many things to Germain Arena, including sponsors. This years ice is decorated to the max with sponsorship logos. Some of the dasher board ads are creative and definitely got a laugh from me.

 

5. The Solar Bears
There was much speculation about the newly resurrected Solar Bears team. A team built with several large and gritty players delivered what you’d expect. I’d say they were reminiscent of the 2010-11 Road Warriors to make a comparison. 

While pesky, the Everblades are no slouch in the grit department so not too much to worry about. However, the Solar Bear uniforms are fantastic. Not as garish as years past the designers managed to incorporate teal accents and the distinctive solar bear sun burst into the primarily purple jersey. I give the jerseys two thumbs up.

6. McLanget
Longtime Everblades fans may remember red heads passed, Steve McJannet and Ryan Lang. McJannet was a feisty man known for his scrapping and was affectionately dubbed “Trouble” by the Swamphockey staff. 

Lang, showed flashes of brilliance, but eventually his time with the Everblades came to an end. 
 
 
Enter Brandon MacLean. MacLean earned his way into the Everblades memories scrapbook with his overtime winner that sealed the Kelly Cup for the ‘Blades. He’s not a scrappy as McJannet and has more talent then Lang, so McLanget may not be a fair moniker, but GWG doesn’t roll off the tongue in the same fashion.

7. Unsung Hero
Josh Martin, a defenseman on tryout with the Everblades had a big night with zero points. Martin, blocked shots and helped make chances. He was a +4 for the game and was probably the biggest unsung hero. With a shortage of d-men on the current Everblades roster (forward Matt Marquardt subbed into defense for the game) there is a very good chance that Martin will make the opening day roster. 

8. A Sense of Familiarity with a Twist

Pat Nagle was returned to the Everblades from the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. The net-minder spent the 2012-13 season with the Everblades and helped them hoist the Kelly Cup. 
While, John Muse is credited with much of the playoff success, Nagle was instrumental in getting them there, offering a solid option for call ups and injuries. While seeing new goalies is an exciting learning experience, Nagles presence was a soothing influence, until it wasn’t.
While I often say preseason is a time for experimentation, Nagle’s decision to be a puck playing goalie almost made my heart stop. I love a puck playing goalie, and Nagle recovered from a few missteps with the three goals against coming from more traditional errors.
I’m not complaining, like I said, I LOVE puck playing goalies, but next time give a girl some warning.

9. Shut up. Be cool.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m not your traditional hockey writer or fan. I like nothing more than to pick out the useless, but entertaining pieces and mix them with some actual hockey knowledge. 

So in that spirit the quote of the game goes to none other than the lovely Swamphockey.   “Shut up. Be cool.” was uttered to Caity Kauffman and me as the game began and really set the tone for the night.
Shutting up isn’t our style and led to chants of, “Baker you STILL suck.” 
Look for a white board in the stands next weekend. That’s all I’m saying. 
10. Celebrity Look-A-Likes
We missed it last year, but usually there is a “Seeing Stars” post. I can’t resist making the comparison so I’m jumping the gun. Greg Poss your celebrity look-a-like is Patrick Swayze. 
A pictures worth 1,000 words so I’m leaving you with two to compare.
 
 

What is There Left to Say?

I’ve struggled with what exactly I want to say about everything that’s happened. Patially, it’s because this writing thing has never been my gift. I’m certainly more comfortable behind a camera or spreading the Blades gospel on social media. Partially it’s also because, as harsh as it is to say, I certainly didn’t imagine this would be the season that the Everblades would win the Kelly Cup.

I know! Bad blogger, bad, bad blogger.

Now, I hoped and believed, because I can’t help but be overly optimistic about the things I love. I felt something similar to what I felt about the Penguins in 2009 while they were going through all their various trials and tribulations. That  feeling that there was maybe something special about to happen. Something was hovering just on the horizon.

But, in the logical part of my brain I was always prepared for another letdown. Another goal just over the goalies shoulder in OT (I’m still pissed about your positioning on that Leggio), another loss of heart and will at the worst possible moment.

It never happened though, and I think that’s why I’m still a bit stunned.

We had a group of players that were always overlooked (I’m still not entirely sure how you do that with so many awards the players had under their collective belts, but it happened).

Sure, we loved them and believed in them, because that’s what we do as fans, but no one else seemed to.

Maybe that’s what makes this victory so sweet. No one else truly believed as much as we all did in our hearts.

Think about it.

The Greenville fans were so sure that their squad, one of the best in the regular season was going to steamroll over our boys. That didn’t happen.

Elmira fans were sure to tell us about knocking us out in the playoffs before and that history was sure to repeat itself. That didn’t happen.

After one win Kalamazoo fans were already planning trips to Vegas or Alaska because their squad was obviously going to triumph. That didn’t happen.

Then Vegas came along. Talking trash about swamp people and their town and their team. Their fabulous forward that lead the league all season. Their amazing unstoppable goalie, the ECHL. They won their first game and they started planning parades. That didn’t happen.

Instead, something else happened.

A squad no one really noticed. A squad that was perpetually underestimated.

They won the Kelly Cup.

When you really look, it makes sense. I can’t recall ever seeing a team that seemed to be so committed to each other and their mission. I can’t recall ever seeing a team with so much heart.

I guess I really shouldn’t have been surprised. We saw the spark so many times during the season. No matter how many injuries and roster shuffling, the players always managed to keep their hearts in it.

336

I don’t think anyone deserved it more than them. No one.

It feels good. It feels really good. I don’t know if there are really any words to really summarize everything. There may never be just the right words. I’m happy. Happy for the players, and all the people who work for the team, happy for the fans that have been going to games for years, and happy for the new fans who have discovered something pretty great.

I’m just plain happy.

Be sure to check back tomorrow and Sunday. I’m going to split the roster in half and go in depth into why, exactly, the dude rocks.


Kelly Cup Champions!

14 years of waiting and it feels good guys. It feels real good.
More in the, uh… whenever I manage to drag myself out of bed.
Let’s Go Blades!

Update: Everything is up. You can find videos on the blogs YouTube channel of the post game celebrations, John Muse winning the MVP award and the players lifting the Kelly Cup.

The photos from the game are up on Flickr

If you missed Tuesday’s set, you can click here to see those.

I’m now going to try to write up a post to summarize everything. No idea how that’s going to work.


Re-Cap: Everblades vs Wranglers (5/22/12)

What is there to say about last night’s Everblades game? The guys were awesome most of the time and any time they weren’t John Muse was giving us reason to scream “MOOOOOOOSEEEEEE” as loud as we could.

A very rare specimen of Northeastern Arena Moose (massholias bamfus)

The guys have a chance to end our 14 years of waiting tonight. There probably won’t be a single seat available by the time the game starts. All the local news stations are making the Blades a top story rather than a five second blurb once a week.

Basically, down is up and right is left, and it feels so good.

The pictures from last night (including awesome shots of the player intros)

My video of Ryan Donald getting jumped after a completely clean hit:

Because it’s worked so far:

Tonight’s might just be the night:

funny cat pictures - Lolcats: BELIEVE
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!


Re-Cap: Everblades vs. Wranglers (5/18/12)

Sometimes, you don’t need words. Sometimes all you need is a video and an lolcat.

funny cat pictures - I FOUND my happy place!!
see more


Eastern Conference Champions!

I don’t think I can put this into words that can explain just how amazing this really is. It’s been 7 years of almosts and heartbreaks. 7 years of never being quite good enough. Of never finding that special something.

There were times when maybe we wondered if the Blades would miss the playoffs totally. The players didn’t give up though. Look at them now.

They did it. After a hundred or so games, the Everblades are returning to the Kelly Cup Final and it feels good. We have a week to celebrate. A week to be proud of everything the players have accomplished this season.

Then we all get back to business.

The Wranglers are waiting in Sin City and we can’t disappoint.


Recap: Everblades vs. Kalamazoo (05/03/12 & 05/04/12)

Here’s the skinny…
The Everblades won on Wednesday (7-0) and Thursday (7-3). Yes, I know you were expecting at least part of this news yesterday, but I was totally slacking (not really mydaywasterribleandifitcouldgowrongitdid). However, the bright sunny patch was the Everblades win.
On the plus side you now get a double helping of recap and a fun surprise at the end.
Everblades vs. Kalamazoo 05/02/12

7th Man
Big props to the Everblades fan base for uniting and showing support. While attendance was only in the 3,000’s (1,000ish more than in KZoo) it was a good showing for weekday games. Also, the fan participation is superb and the creativity keeps on flowing. 

 

Becca? 
I try not to be too harsh, but Matt Beca’s name was misspelled again. This happened at the beginning of the season, but was corrected after the first game. Apparently someone forgot to delete the file. While not chronological, Mike Ratchuk also suffered some name butchering on the jumbotron with an added e.

Middle frame madness
The Everblades had a ridiculous second period. I’ll say it again: Brayden Irwin. Irwin scored three goals on five shots. The man was on fire. Hat’s off to you Mr. Irwin.

Muse-ic to my ears
I’m going to continuously make muse-ic puns, you’ll just have to deal. John Muse recorded his first post-season shutout, stopping all 28 Kalamazoo shots. 

Gator Showers
As number one indicates the fans have been a huge part of this years playoff push. They have spawned a new tradition: after wins, tiny plastic alligators sprinkle onto the ice. The players have even adopted it as a hashtag on twitter #gatorshowers

*honorable mention: I only ever list five officially, but Mathieu Roy’s goal was highlight reel worthy. 


For the score sheet click here
Everblades vs. Kalamazoo 05/03/12

Roy is a boss
There is a serious reason he is the captain. Everyone likes a player who is willing to sacrifice their body. Mathieu Roy is that man. There was a time during the game after he blocked two shots that all I could say was, “the marks on that poor mans body”. However, Roy is well Roy and whether it be his fearless shot blocking, penchant for fisticuffs or love of cats Everblades fans rightly love him.

Blood in the water
Kalamazoo’s Nick Sirota delivered a high stick that caused blood to pool on the ice. For that he earned himself a nice double minor. His teammate Mike Matczak added a cross check to give the ‘Blades a five on three opportunity. David Fischer quickly cashed in.

Brayyyyyyyden Irrrrrrwinnnnn
Brayden Irwin once again put on a show. Selected as the first star of the game, Irwin was a +3 with four points (1g, 3a) on the night. All the haters can officially suck it.

You scored! 
Charles Landry’s face was priceless. As was his interaction with Cedric McNicoll as McNicoll assured Landry it was his goal. The first period tally was Landry’s third all time as an Everblade and first of the playoffs.

Please don’t stop the Muse-ic
Yes, another poor pun. In all seriousness Muse was definitely interesting from a stats perspective. He shows up all over the score sheet in some unexpected (not really it’s Muse. Expect the unexpected). He was penalized for tripping, earned a secondary assist on the final goal and stopped 28 shots for the second night in a row. What’s the goalie equivalent to a hat trick?






Honorable mention: David Rutherford played like a beast. His speed was essential and his two goals are nothing to shrug off. 


For the score sheet click here
Alright, now it’s time for your surprise. Swamphockey and I braved Breakaways to secure you guys some autographed pictures. 8 x 10 photos are gorgeous and signed by the individual player. 
Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself “how do I get one?”. Well, it’s pretty easy… just be the first person to answer the trivia question in the comments section correctly (hint: the answers in the blog).
Question: Who do I claim has an “Ovi inspired goal celebration”?

Recap: Everblades vs. Jackals (04/20/12)

Not to take away from Swamphockey’s earlier post because let’s face it the Everblades made it to the Eastern Conference Finals and not much else matters in the moment. However, I’d feel remiss if I didn’t share my experiences from the game (its cathartic).
Return of the Shuggernaut
I’ve been waiting to use this title since rumors started circulating that Justin Shugg would return. While part of the game was spent making Shugg puns (Shuggie, Shuggle, ect.) the other part was spent watching Shugg try to generate some offense for the Blades. Shugg put the puck on net six times and assisted on the tying goal midway through the third period. 
Roysy the Cat
Everblades veteran and captain Mathieu Roy scored the game winner with two minutes remaining in the third period ending a tortuously tense game. He went on record with Naples Daily News, saying it felt like an overtime goal. From a fans perspective I’d agree whole heartedly. In unrelated news the captain joined twitter this week. You can follow him @roysythecat and he comes with several ringing endorsements from teammates. 
You’ve Been Bruessed
Trevor Bruess plays balls to the wall. He’s often overlooked on the stats sheet but watching him play is a pleasure. He hits hard, battles hard and celebrates hard. A regular on “Collision of the Game” Bruess came out to win on Friday night. He contributed the primary assist on Roy’s GWG and appeared excellent in the circle (I have no real statistical evidence for this, but its true. Really it is. See it’s in writing). 
(Regardless) Stewart Shines
Yes, I understand this is an Everblades fan blog. However, there are times that other players capture my attention. Brian Stewart takes a lot of crap for his playing style. It’s different. He spends the time between plays stretching and focusing. Is it different? yes. Is it wrong? not necessarily. Everyone is different and I honestly believe that the better team won in the series, BUT after facing 186 shots in the series the dude deserves some credit. 
A Nod for Nagle
Since I gave some goalie love to the opposing teams net-minder I feel it’s only just to give a nod to Nagle. Nagle was steady in net for the Blades. Showing a stalwart determination that is essential for success. Nagle has posted W in his last three playoff starts, instilling confidence in his teammates and the ever skeptical seventh man. 
*Honorable Mention: This games honorable mention goes to Bobby Raymond. I almost spit my beer as he was whistled for slashing. Swamphockey (in jest, though she is a big fan), “Bobby Raymond? Slashing? Absolutely not. He’s perfect.”

So there we go. Up next? well that is the question isn’t it? Regardless we’ll next see the Everblades on the ice Friday night. I hope the support continues to grow for the team. #QuestforKelly

Oh and the real stats sheet!

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