And so we look back on another weekend in the EIHL, with our weekly summary of Things We Learned This Week
Your Form Book Don’t Mean A Thing
Watching this weekend looking for trends and working out a form book proved one thing this weekend-there is no formbook. Edinburgh lost to Braehead then beat Fife, who beat Sheffield, who beat Belfast. About all we can judge from this weekend is that Hull, with two losses, are a bit crap right now.
The conference system was created with the goal of making for more competitive games-and right now it’s done a ruddy good job of it. There are very few games this season so far where you can confidently pick a winner, and that’s not been the case in previous EIHL seasons. Which is only a good thing for the league.
Jade Galbraith Is Really, REALLY Good…
Sure, we knew this already, but it’s always good to gather more evidence, and the fact that Galbraith is on an absolute tear since his arrival in the country is a pretty good addition to the evidence locker. Exhibit A: his 22-minute hat-trick vs Edinburgh on Friday night. Exhibit B: the fact that he’s played half the games of anyone else in the league and is already third in goalscoring with eight in six. Look out, Mac Faulkner. Your points lead may be under threat soon.
…And So (Still) is Rene Jarolin
The unheralded Slovak is once again quietly putting up the numbers in Edinburgh. A hat-trick vs Fife on Sunday night takes him to eleven goals, second in scoring.
Remember how everyone thought that the Gardiner Conference would be the weaker of the two conferences? And feared for some of the Scottish teams? Well, there’s something of a hockey renaissance going on north of the border in the early season-I’ve talked at length about the great work being done in Braehead, but Fife and Dundee too are making some major strides this season, with the Flyers probably just about edging it in the improvement stakes, although the Stars have been blessed with hot starts from Sami Ryhanen and Mike Wirll. Up in Edinburgh there are encouraging signs, too.
It seems Scottish hockey is “rising up, to be a nation again”, as the song has it.
Dude, There’s A Game On Here, Get Involved.
On Sunday night we saw the best of British hockey at the Skydome in a full-blooded encounter between the Blaze and the Panthers, but after all the pre-game hype about the two NHLers present, it seemed that only one was willing to turn up.
Matt Beleskey , Blaze’s NHLer went out with speed and grit every shift, hitting everything and playing near to the same level he’d show with the Anaheim Ducks. Anthony Stewart, meanwhile, had all the get-up-and-go of a eunuch’s dangly bits. He simply didn’t look interested apart from the brief moments when he found himself in front of the net…even then, despite scoring, he was outshone by his less illustrious team-mates.
Scapegoating The Fun Way
It seems that now David Ling is showing a little more effort but the Panthers still aren’t really burning the league up, the crosshairs have moved in the East Midlands, with Pat Galivan the latest one to be targeted.
Last night was my first sight of Galivan in the flesh and I thought he was a busy, skilled little forward who looked like a threat whenever he was on the ice-certainly far more than fan favourites like David Clarke (who I’ve never really got all the hype about). Ling, for his part looked a little slow and occasionally disinterested, but that may have been due to his using experience rather than hustle to get the job done.
I’m now fairly convinced that there’s simply a Scapegoat Tombola each Sunday night where Panthers fans pick who they’re going to attack that particular week.
And on that interesting thought, we should finish for now.
Until tomorrow, take a look at this article by four very good UK hockey writers debating the arrival of NHLers into the UK. It’s provoked the thinking caps and Chasing Dragons will have a response tomorrow…