In case you missed it, I’ll recap was discussed (along with additional thoughts) during the online chat between Ted Nolan and Kevin Oklobzija of the Democrat and Chronicle. You can read the full chat here or continue reading here for a recap (a little lengthy). Below is not in the same order things were discussed but kind of grouped together by topic.
** Goals of the Amerks organization – “Goals of the organization are making The Blue Cross Arena vibrant and entertaining our fans on a game-to-game basis so they cannot wait to watch again. To me, that’s what sports is all about.”
** Asked about any concern from Curt Styres about his long term investment, Nolan said to ask Curt but added – “Is there concern, yes. As much as we are working on the affiliation and a good partner, we still need a better lease agreement with the City to make sure the franchise stays for another 55 years.”
** On when a new affiliation will be announced – “It’s highly unlikely that an announcement would come during the season.” Also asked about being an independent team or affiliated he said, “There are a lot of variables, but more than likely we will be affiliated with someone.”
Everyone asks what the options are but I believe there’s only a select few people who have any idea. Those people would be Ted Nolan, Jody Gage, Curt Styres, Lewis Staats, AHL President Dave Andrews and the NHL team(s) in discussion. The rest of us can discuss and come up with possibilities but the real truth is that only those people know.
Kevin O added, “In other words, the Amerks don’t need to be fined for tampering. It’s a subject that no one can discuss publicly, where it’s possible or isn’t even a pipe dream.
When asked again about being independent Nolan added, “Dave Andrews has worked too hard to get a league that everyone has a partner. That’s why I am saying that we will be partnered with an NHL team. BUT you have to be prepared if you cannot find the right partner.”
The Sabres will always be mentioned and thought about when it comes to affiliations and for obvious reasons. The Sabres currently have a long term deal with the Portland Pirates. Someone asked if that’s the case why are the Sabres brought up to which Kevin replied, “As Ted and Amerks owner Curt Styres have always said, any contract can be broken. Whether a re-marriage can take place, I don’t know. But often in business, money talks. It’s my understanding — straight from folks in Buffalo — that the deal is through 2013-14, with options for two more years. The options are mutual or at Buffalo’s desire? And were the Pirates saying they were leaving town last year? Well, someone was saying they were headed to Albany. Maybe it was people in Albany. We never know what will happen, only what does happen.”
** This is worth copying the entire question…
From scott scott:
I for one am willing to have next year be indy if it means the right relationship in the future. This is the Rochester Americans we root for not the NHL team we are affiliated with. I will wait …and root for rochester…and when we win again it will be worth the wait
I like your thoughts. Do we take what we get, or do we wait for what we want? This is Rochester’s team not Florida’s and it is not any other NHL team, it’s Rochester’s team.
** Chances of affiliating with the Panthers again – “As good as going anywhere else, but the key being the wording of the affiliation.”
It will not happen. There’s just way too much baggage and negativity around the Panthers for them to possibly stick around.
There was also a lot of talk about communication between the Amerks and Panthers and that will covered in the next article.
** Ted Nolans commitment to Rochester – “When Curt Styres asked me to come here to help rebuild and re-organize this organziation, I want to stay and see it to the end. I have been offered other jobs, yes. But 25 years ago, Rochester was a place that gave me the opportunity where no one else did. Maybe my vocabulary should be changed from Buffalo to Western NY. I like it here.”
** Some people believe every home game on TV hurts and Nolan said, “It is under review.”
When they first decided to put games on TV the Amerks have said that in their research they found that it typically does not harm teams. If the team was playing exciting hockey and winning the thought is that people will want to go and checkout a game in person. The issue is that when people see that the team stinks they stay home.
** On Amerks Coach Chuck Weber – “I think he has done an unbelieveable job. Coaching in the AHL is tough because you don’t have the same lineup from week to week.”
Sort of on the same topic, the question was asked if the season can be salvaged and also about fans not identifying with this years team. Nolan replied with, “I think Coach Weber will do everything in his power to instill hope into his team. We are working are behinds off so we do not have to go through any more of these years.”
** Responding to a question about finding players to sign – “All of the good players were signed this summer. What you are going to find are hole fillers and gap fillers and you don’t win championships by filling the holes.”
Really? The Amerks need a defenseman badly. Bryan Helmer, who won two championships with the Bears, was JUST signed by the Oklahoma City Barons and he has 4 goals and 7 assists in 7 games. I’d hardly call him a gap filler. We could probably find other examples as well.
** When asked about what he thinks the problem with the current Amerks is he said – “There is too much of the same thing. The chemistry is a little off and the mix of the players.”
The chemistry is likely off by the select few players who could possible get called up vs the ECHL players vs guys like Bates Battaglia and Chris Taylor who just want this season to be over.
** Asked about a big defenseman to protect the crease – “You have to protect your goaltender and big bruising defensemen usually do that. I am sure Florida is looking at all aspects of its organization. You don’t want a Markstrom or a Plante run over. They are two, young great prospects.”
The Panthers have been the sole affiliate for three seasons and for three seasons the goalies have consistently been taken advantage of. I don’t think Florida understands the idea of protecting a goalie.
** Clay Wilson has always been an offensive defenseman but this season has been asked to play a lockdown role. Nolan was asked if Wilson should’ve been asked this and he said, “Absolutely not. I am a believer that you dance with the girl you brought to the dance.”
So, if anyone is wondering about Clay Wilsons performance this season, don’t blame him, blame whoever has changed his role.
** On Jacob Markstroms performance – “I think it’s an adjustment when you come from Europe to North America. It’s an adjustment in and off itself. The rink is smaller, you have more games and I am a stronger believer there is no such thing as “can’t.” You just have to learn “how to.” Once he adjusts to life over here he will be a star in the National Hockey League.”
** First player on a shopping list in the summer – “A player that shoot, pass and score. We are looking for all kinds of leadership.”
** Starting from scratch next season but the ability to choose five players from this years team Nolan said – “Repik, Markstrom, Robak, Duco and Wilson. There are a few others, but if I had to pick five. They are a few more I would add.”
** Asked about Mike Duco – “Duco is like any young player that is finding his way to the NHL. He needs to be consistent game in and game out and he can play in the National Hockey League.”
Your third pro season Duco, where’s the consistency?
** Thoughts on some of the rookies – “I like their development. I think they have all contributed in their own unique way. Robak has size and skates well. Jenks looks to be improving on a game-to-game basis. Timmons is a very intelligent player and Markstrom is getting a good taste of game after game action that will do him well when he gets to the NHL. Selleck is a type of player the Rochester fans appreciate. He plays with energy and he plays with enthusiasm.”
If you follow the team closely it’s a lot of stuff already known. Stay tuned, there’s more to come in the months ahead.