Catching Up: Comebacks, Controversy and New Arrivals

Due to Internet issues Chasing Dragons has been a little quiet over the past week or so. Now, with the Internet fixed, we catch up and consider signings, comebacks  and also why adversity is the best possible thing that could have happened for Coventry hockey right now. Settle in…it’s a long one.

End Of The Line?

Lste last week, it was revealed that Mike Danton’s visa appeal had been rejected after a Blaze fan posted the news on Twitter along with screenshots of personal conversations he’d had with the player.

As of now, the next move is unclear, with both sides waiting for the reasons for the rejection before proceeding. But it seems that the likelihood of Danton pulling on a Blaze jersey is still in the balance.

Blaze on the (Bay)rack

Aside from letting off a MASSIVE Twitter drama bomb on a Friday night, what this news did was mean the Blaze had to act quickly to ease fan concerns, and they did, bringing in former Belfast Giant and Braehead Clan forward Mike Bayrack.

This is a superb signing. As one of the KGB Line along with Jordan Krestanovich and Jade Galbraith last year, Bayrack tore up league defences at times-if he can repeat that form and click with a very talented set of Blaze forwards it could be another happy hunting ground-especially if he pairs up with the Leeb brothers, who are beginning to show some of their serious talent and heating up in a fashion that could be ominous for the rest of the league.

Neilson Hits The Panic Switch

Nottingham Panthers, meanwhile, have reacted to their poor start to the season as everyone expected…they’ve thrown money at the problem in the hope it’ll go away. Corey Neilson hopes that he’s found the solution to the Panthers’ early-season woes in the considerable size of Carolina Hurricanes forward Anthony Stewart, who is the first locked-out NHLer to sign in the UK this time round. Stewart is here initially on a three-month visa, and will make his debut this weekend in the nice, tranquil surroundings of a Sheffield-Nottingham match. In Sheffield.

Well, no-one said he’d come over for a holiday.

Predictably, this signing has caused joy in the Panthers camp and annoyance everywhere else, although the “who can stop the Panthers?” rhetoric has been dialed back a bit this time round-they’ve learned from the last lockout that signing NHLers does not necessarily mean success. We’ll see what effect Stewart has on waking up fellow “star” David Ling, who has been characterised as “lazy and uninterested” by Panthers fans for his performances so far this season.

Night Of The Living Dead (Comebacks)

This last weekend in the EIHL was perhaps the best indication yet of  how close the EIHL is this season. We saw both Belfast and Nottingham come back from horrible starts on Sunday and Coventry secure a battling point in Fife as three out of the five games saw comebacks of varying degrees-the night before Sheffield had taken a 3-0 lead against Nottingham before being pegged back to 3-2.

The comeback teams had varying success, with none of them taking both points (Nottingham lost in OT, Belfast and Coventry on penalty shots)-but the mere fact that these games went right to the final buzzer after one team built a seemingly uncatchable lead shows that there is no shortage of grit in the EIHL this season.

Flying High

Fife’s mercurial start continues too as they come away from another weekend with four points-the Flyers are playing some seriously exciting hockey this season so far with Bryan Pitton one of the emerging stars in the league. It’ll be interesting to see if they can sustain this as the season goes on, though…

That’s the league news caught up on. Expect normal (ish) service to be resumed now…


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