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    2008-09 AL Season Review

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 9日 Thursday

    I’m currently lacking both the brain cells and the time to do this properly, so the 2008-09 Asia League Ice Hockey season will be reviewed in bullet point style.

    • Nippon Paper Cranes reign supreme again! Asia League power house returns to the top after fighting through 3 rounds of playoffs, and going the full 7 in both the semi and finals. The Cranes last won the trophy 2 seasons ago, so it was a short absence from the top.
    • Seibu Prince Rabbits fold. The tin foil hat says that this is part of Seibu Group’s attempt to rid of Tsutsumi colours (including the baseball team’s uniform colour, literally). There’s hope of the team being resurrected as an independent pro club team as seen in an earlier post on this blog.
    • Anyang Halla is back, but High1 falls back. Anyang Halla added quality imports, got its sniper Song Dong-Hwan back from 2 years of military service (he didn’t miss a beat, being 4th in league scoring 3 seasons ago as well as this past season), and rookies who immediately contributed by finishing top 10 in scoring (Kim Ki-Sung and Park Woo-Sang who were just from universities drafted in the offseason). High1 was 2nd in the 2007-08 regular season, but fell down to 5th place and immediately got swept in the first round play in against the Cranes. 1st to 4th this year was a complete toss up, but then there was a big gap to High1 in 4th. High1 will be looking to climb back up to the top half of the table next season, and especially not to finish the season below their Korean rivals Halla.
    • The bottom of the table was occupied by the usual suspects, the Nikko Ice Bucks and the Chinese entry, the China Sharks. But things were upside down this past season with the Sharks crawling out of the basement thanks in large part to Wade Flaherty’s Herculian efforts (he won the Best Goalie Award) and kicked the troubled Bucks down into the basement. 
    • Since there were no double digit blowouts like in previous seasons when teams could run up the score on Chinese teams, finally for the first time, stats in the Asia League is actually quite credible (no need to sift through strength of schedule, opponents, and run a query). So let’s take a look at the scoring board:
    • 0809_al_scoring
    • High powered offence of Halla has 5  players ranked in the top 11, including a rookie in Kim Ki-Sung, and sniper Song Dong-Hwan who returned to the league after missing the last 2 seasons due to mandatory military service for all Korean adult males (except big time celebrities and sports figures it seems, if they can win exemptions or wiggle their way out). There are many of the usual suspects on the list including Suzuki and Prpic of Seibu, but who knows what their future holds for now. And Chris Yule showed his former team that he was still an offensive force. 
    • Additionally, defenceman Jon Awe (AHL 12+17=29) finished on top of scoring for defencemen ahead of Asia League and national team vet Aaron Keller (OJI 5+19=24) and AL sophomore Richard Rochefort (SPR 7+17=24), and Halla’s other import Brad Fast (7+27 = 34) ranked high in league scoring, prompting an unprecedented move by an AL team when Anyang Halla re-signed all their imports to multi-year deals with scoring leader Brock Radunski signing a 3-year contract and the others to 2-years.
    • This was in part prompted by Halla’s awesome offence as they became the first non-Japanese team to win the regular season (and were one win away from becoming the first non-Japanese team in the playoff finals). The awesome Halla offence racked up 150 goals in 36 games for a very impressive 4.17 G/G with and converted astonishing 38% of their power play chances for 54 goals. I’m sure Halla is glad to have their offence intact for next season, as they were only a win away from reaching the finals.
    • While all other teams allowed 95 goals or more, the finally nicknamed Oji Eagles impressively only let in 77 goals, and were also 2nd in the league in both the power play and the penalty kill.
    • Finally, since Deanna brought her big camera with her to game 7 of the finals, we have some good pictures of the final game for the Seibu Prince Rabbits.

    (Photos courtesy of Deanna)

    Cranes celebrate first goal of the game by Darcy Mitani.


    Seibu Prince Rabbits and Japan national team captain Takahito Suzuki who almost singlehandedly won the championship for Seibu, scoring the game winner with 45 seconds left in game 6, then both of Seibu’s goals in game 7.


    Cranes goalie Hisashi Ishikawa, the playoff MVP, who unbelievably stopped 54 of 56 shots for the game 7 victory.


    Cranes with the Asia League trophy, congratulations!! (and let’s hope there are at least 7 teams in the league again next season..)


    more photos after this break:

    Read the rest of this entry »


    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion, statistics, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


    Posted by japanstats on 2008 August 7日 Thursday

    福藤豊選手が08-09 シーズンもECHL ベーカーズフィールド・コンドルズ(Bakersfield Condors)に戻る事が確定になったという記事がチームの公式サイトに掲載されました

    借金13のチームで勝率5割の18勝18敗1分、チームNo.1のGAA 3.39 とセーブ率.899、そしてプレーオフ直前の9試合が7-2-0でGAA 2.38 とセーブ率.930 と、プレーオフでの強豪ビクトリア相手に脅威の39セーブの延長勝ちと55セーブの延長負けが特に高く評価されたらしいです。そして福藤選手がこの若いチームでいくつもの通算記録保持者だという事も称えられています。

    チームも独立チームからNHL アナハイム・ダックスの傘下に入り、NHLからは2段下で野球で言うとAA 的存在なチームなので、今年もチームの成績以上の活躍が出来れば、AHL に上がれるかな。今シーズンはディフェンスがザルでなければ、より目立ちやすいのだが…頑張れFuji!!

    The Bakersfield Condors, official ECHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, announced today they have agreed to terms with goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji. The announcement was made by Condors Head Coach Marty Raymond.

    Fukufuji’s name is highlighted throughout the Condors record book, having climbed the ranks in almost every career category as the 2007-08 season progressed. He stands as the club’s all-time leader in wins (45), saves (2,401), minutes (4,944), appearances (90), and is tied for the club record with four shutouts. He ranks fourth in career save percentage (.910) and seventh with a 2.72 goals against average (GAA).

    Fukufuji, 25, has played more minutes between the pipes for Bakersfield than any goaltender in the history of the team. The 2008-09 campaign will be his third in Bakersfield. Last season he overcame a shaky start to carry the team into the post season, finishing with a record of 18-18-1, a .500 win percentage on a team that finished 13 games below .500 on the season. His 3.39 goals against average and .899 save percentage both led the team.

    It was at the end of the season that Fukufuji shined for the Condors. His 7-2-0 record down the stretch was accompanied by a 2.38 GAA and a .930 save percentage, and helped guide the team to a playoff spot. Fukufuji was a workhorse after returning from Injured Reserve in mid-February, appearing in 22 of the team’s last 23 games of the regular season, making 19 starts. In the playoffs, he went 2-4 while starting every game, and made 31 or more saves in each outing, highlighted by a 39-save overtime victory in Game 1 and a 55-save overtime loss in Game 6, both on the road in Victoria.

    そして昨シーズン終了後に日本製紙クレインズを退団になった36歳の元日本代表の桑原ライアン春男選手は、韓国のHigh1 と契約するという噂も流れています…昨シーズンは8G+6A=14P とイマイチパッとしない成績でしたが、若くて勢いのあるHigh1 でもう一花咲かす事が出来るんじゃないでしょうか?日本国籍所有者だから、外国籍選手にも数えられないので、両者にとって利益のある契約になると思います…もし実現されればですが(^^

    Posted in 01_日本語, Asia League Ice Hockey, ECHL, hockey, information, Japan, NHL, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 30日 Wednesday

    ありえへん!こんなの見たことな~い。なジャンルから、ドイツの名門サッカーチームFC バイエルン・ミュンヘンの新ユニフォーム発表会からの一シーン

    常にマッチョな北米スポーツファン達からすると、唖然、絶句らしいけど、日本に住んでる自分から見ると日本のチームもどっかやりかねないなぁ、て感じ。あと、モデルはまだいいとしてあの超ドイツなカクカクダンスをなんとかすれば、意外といけるかも?w でも、これをTechno Dance と呼んじゃってるとこも北米らしいなぁww

    Posted in 01_日本語, culture, football, information, music, opinion, soccer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    SEIBU Prince Rabbits August Germany Trip

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 27日 Sunday

    SEIBU Prince Rabbits of Asia League Ice Hockey is planning a late August training camp in Bavaria in southern Germany. They have scheduled 2 games against DEL (top German league, and one of the best in Europe) teams so this should be very interesting in gauging the strength of the team and the league, as Seibu are perenially one of the best teams in the league. All other opponents are in the Bundesliga, one level below the DEL.

    8/21 vs EHC Munchen
    8/22 vs EV Fussen
    8/24 vs ERC Ingolstadt (DEL)
    8/26 vs EV Ravensburg
    8/29 vs Ausburger Panther (DEL)
    8/31 vs ESV Kaufbeuren

    Also, the official 2008-09 AL schedule has been announced.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, International, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 16日 Wednesday


    1) 中国シャークスは本拠地を北京から上海に移転。また7チームのリーグ。中国や韓国で噂されていた新チームの加入は見送り(それもあるが、極東ロシアのチームにも復帰してもらいたいんだが…)

    2) 中国シャークスは外国籍選手(中国・韓国・日本以外)を7人使用できる、韓国の2チームは2011年までは4人ずつだそうです。日本の4チームは恐らく変わらないと思いますが…これについては何も聞いてません。

    3) ハルラの本拠地のアニャン(ソウルの郊外)で、去年開催したプレシーズントーナメントのアニャンカップをまた開催する模様(毎年恒例のイベントにしたかったコメントがあるので、これは想定内の良い事ですね)。アジアリーグからの参加チームはハルラ、High1、シャークス、日本製紙クレインズ、王子製紙の5チームが確実で、あと多分去年みたいに地元の延世大学かな?去年からの入れ替えがSEIBUプリンスラビッツ→中国シャークスですね。

    4) レギュラーシーズンでのシュートアウト(SO、ゲームウィニングショット)制導入。延長戦のあとまだ同点であれば、まずは3人ずつシュートをして、それでもまだ同点であれば1人ずつサドンデス形式で行う。8人目からはまた1人目の選手を使える。

    5) シュートアウト導入に従って、勝ち点制度も変更。



    6) プレーオフ制度の変更、去年は7チーム中6チーム参加できたのを、5チームに縮小。まず4位対5位が2戦先勝(ベスト・オブ・3)のシリーズを行い、その勝者が1位チームと準決勝で当たり、2位対3位でもう一つの準決勝を行う。準決勝と決勝は4戦先勝(ベスト・オブ・7)なので、NHLみたいな長いシリーズの戦い方を習得する必要がある。


    7) レギュラーシーズンは去年の30試合から36試合に拡大。年々試合数が減ってきていたので、これは改善です(特に資金難の日光アイスバックスは、試合数が少ない程収入が少ないので)。

    8 ) レギュラーシーズンは9月27日~1月25日。

    9) プレーオフは2月19日~3月24日。

    Posted in 01_日本語, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »