Just a few thoughts that there wasn’t space for in my This Week in Worcester post.
It’s a common occurrence for coaches to mix up their forward lines looking for the right combination. You don’t generally see coaches making mass changes in their defensive pairs, especially in the middle of a road trip, and yet Jamie Russell broke up all three of his usual pairings Saturday night and may have struck gold.
By splitting great two-way player Patrick McNally and the defense minded Justin Hamonic Russell essentially created two pairs that can compete in the Railers end against any opponent’s top line. Russell paired McNally with Josh Monk, while Hamonic partnered with Kyle McKenzie. Monks usual partner, Ben Masella, was paired with McKenzie’s old pair-mate Mike Cornell.
That helps the team in two ways; it will cut down the number of minutes McNally has to be on the ice (word is McNally was averaging close to 30 minutes a game), and it gives all the pairings good balance that will make each of them harder to match up against.
The defense looked real good without much practice time together, so one would think if Russell sticks with the new pairings over the coming week of practice we’ll see even better play from the blueliners next weekend against Adirondack and Manchester.
I like fighting in hockey as much as the next guy, provided the next guy isn’t Railers broadcaster Eric Lindquist. Usually when you see two players dropping the gloves off the opening face-off it’s a prearranged fight without any real connection to anything.
Those are the kind of fights I’m not a huge fan of.
That was not the case Saturday when Yanick Turcotte and Jeremy Beirnes went at it one second into the game in a fight that was entirely about the events on Wednesday, both during the overtime period and post-game after the shootout.
The same can be said about the altercation that took place after Saturday’s game when the Railers once again took exception to the actions of some of the Wheeling players.
Sometimes in hockey you need to fight to stick up for yourself or a teammate. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday, and what will likely happen when the Nailers visit Worcester in January.
If Railers fans were worried about the lack of a rival in the ECHL, those fears should be quelled after the last couple of games against Wheeling.
Allow me to do a bit of business for the Railers here at the end of this posting. Tomorrow (Monday, November 27th) the Railers are having a “Cyber Monday Deal”, where any ticket to a Railers home game in December is half-price. The deal is valid from 12am to 11:59pm Monday, and only available through ticketmaster.com. No code is needed to redeem this offer.