On Tuesday night, the Kölner Haie
will visit Color Line Arena for the first time this season, and they have been sitting in first place of the standings for the last month, despite losing key members of their defensive unit to injuries in Brad Schlegel and Andreas Renz. CoLinA has been sold out for quite a while for this game, and we sure don’t want to disappoint our fans!! Losses in Nürnberg and Berlin
Our two losses since the break have been good performances in Nürnberg and Berlin, against two top-teams. In both games, we battled hard, and stayed head to head with these “powerhouses” of the league, which is a good sign... We have showed a lot of resilience as we battled back from deficits in each of the games, and forcing the play until the last seconds before surrendering... It is the attitude that we need to display game after game, no matter who we play or where we play. Injuries
Our team is playing with 15 skaters since the break is over, because of some roster changes and injuries. Hynesie [Wayne Hynes] left for the Hannover Scorpions
, Leonhard "Hardi" Wild was freed so he can go play with the Essen Moskitoes
(Division-2), and we lost Jacko (knee) [Jacek Plachta], Robert Francz (elbow), Smash (ribs) [Heiko Smazal] and Alan Letang (hand) to injuries. Only Smash might be ready to come back this week, so unless we find some help soon, it looks like we will play with the short bench a little longer. And to make things even more complicated, Hardi’s replacement, Jochen Reimer, has not yet received his release from his old team Kaufbeuren Buron Jokers, so Christian Krüger is logging some serious mileage between Bietigheim and Hamburg to back me up for every game.
Everybody stepped up to the plate though, and because of the increased ice time that all the skaters get, we seem to be playing with a lot more energy and flow. New rule
Since the league resumed on Nov. 16th, the referees have been instructed to call minor penalties when a player shoots the puck in the stands, intentionally or not. I guess the rule has always been there, but now, all of a sudden, somebody decides to enforce it to the extreme. I think that it is a stupid rule. I am in favor of a minor penalty if it is very obvious that a player deliberately throws the puck out, although I admit that it is sometimes hard to judge what is deliberate or not. A couple of our games have been affected by the new rule. One funny thing is that a couple of the refs refused to call it (Frank Awizus in Wolfsburg, and Willi Schimm in Berlin), while Martin Reichert against Augsburg, Gerhard Lichtnecker in Nürnberg and Heiko Dahle against Krefeld all called the infraction 4 or 5 times in the game. We all will have to adjust to it, and it probably won’t be an issue in a couple of weeks again... Coaching cemetery
Three coaches lost their jobs in the last couple of weeks, and if the changes in Kassel and Hannover were not so surprising if we look at where these teams are in the standings, the last coaching change in Mannheim came as a little shock for most of the DEL. They came out of the gate flying this season, but they have been inconsistent for the last month and a half or so... I am curious to see how they will play under Stephane Richer, who has no head coaching experience at all, but was a very respected leader and captain as a player. Or is the team just waiting to get an NHL coach when or if they wipe out their season?