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    Posts Tagged ‘fujita’

    AL Preseason Shorts + Ichiro

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 September 7日 Monday

    • Oji Eagles and Nippon Paper Cranes played a pair of free admission preseason games in Tomakomai, Hokkaido over the weekend. Results were 3-2 and 4-1 for an Oji sweep.
    • Tohoku Free Blades were officially admitted into the league on 5 September. Well, this was just a rubber stamping process since the club is starting out its life on stable grounds.

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    • Ex-Seibu Prince Rabbit D Ryuichi Kawai and (probably) his younger brother and ex-Gatineau Olympique Takuma Kawai are going to be on the ice for the University of Lethbridge team’s tryouts, even though they’re both not enrolled with the university. Apparently the training camp has guys trying to crack AHL and ECHL clubs, so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare. The brothers are staying and training with ex-Seibu Ryan Fujita whose home is about a 40 minute drive from Lethbridge, Alberta.
    • The immortal Ichiro earned his 2000th Major League hit in style with a double against the A’s. Always a showman who marks special occasions with crafty hits or big bombs more often than his usual slap and dash.

    Mariners Athletics Baseball

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    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, baseball, ECHL, hockey, information, MLB, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Blades – Bucks preseason results

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 August 30日 Sunday

    The new AL team Tohoku Free Blades faced off against the bolstered Nikko Ice Bucks over the weekend for two preseason games. These two games were the Blades first official games (their games up to now had been against understrengthed squads, non-AL teams or not full 3×20 games).

    29 August 2009

    Nikko Ice Bucks 4 (0-1, 2-0, 2-1) 2 Tohoku Free Blades

    SOG: 43 – 12

    Attendance: 872

    30 August 2009

    Nikko Ice Bucks 4 (1-0, 2-0, 1-1) 1 Tohoku Free Blades

    SOG: 30 – 16

    Attendance: 882

    The word is that Steve Munn and Jon Smyth were solid for the Blades, Bin Ishioka scored both goals in game 1, Michio Hashimoto kept the team in the game despite being vastly outshot in the first game, and the team was less tense in the second game and played a more overall solid game despite the untelling scoreline.

    Goalies in game 1 were starters and former Buck Michio Hashimoto for the Blades and national team goalie Naoya Kikuchi for the Bucks, backup goalies played in game 2 for both teams.

    Images from game 1 via Freeblades.jp

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    More images and game report here.

    On another note, national team defenceman and former Seibu Prince Rabbit Ryuichi Kawai and his younger brother and first Japanese player to appear in the Memorial Cup Takuma Kawai are in a small town near Lethbridge, Alberta at staying at Kiyoshi Ryan Fujita’s house and training. Not sure what they’re aim is but maybe they’re looking for some tryouts in the North American minor leagues.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

    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:
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    • 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.

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    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.

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

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

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    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 »

    Cranes Win! Seibu goes into history

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 March 26日 Thursday

    Monday 23 March 2009, Higashifushimi, Tokyo.

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    Game 7 of the 2009 Asia League Ice Hockey Finals. The full house witnessed history.

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    This was going to be the final game for the Seibu Prince Rabbits (formerly Kokudo and Seibu Railway hockey teams) no matter the team won or lost against the Nippon Paper Cranes. The two teams have been waging an epic battle for the championship with Seibu coming back from being down 1-3 in the series to force the deciding game.

    In fact, the Cranes themselves came back from being down 2-3 in their semifinals against Anyang Halla of Korea to reach the finals, and before that they dispatched the other Korean team in the league, High1, in the play-in round of the playoffs with a 2 game sweep (best of 3). Meanwhile, Seibu swept the semifinals against the Oji Eagles, but all games were decided by a 1 goal margin (excluding the empty netters).

    Game 7 started off quickly, like Game 6, on a Cranes goal as Darcy Mitani opened the game in the 4th minute with a power play tally. But unlike Game 6, the first period did not turn into a wild goalfest, and both teams played solidly, though not without chances.

    Crane (and former Seibu/Kokudo) Chris Yule sitting alone in the Cranes bench after the first period.

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    The Cranes added 2 more goals in the 2nd period and seemingly already wrote the end of the history for the Seibu hockey club. But captain Takahito Suzuki came out huge for Seibu as he scored with 4 seconds left in the period assisted by retiring Kiyoshi Fujita (thanks Ryan! you were the best player in the league for a long time, Theo Fleury of Japan in the best sense, and lots of fun to watch, you’ll be missed) and Daisuke Obara. This was a huge goal as going into the second intermission being 2 goals or 3 goals down makes a massive difference to team morale. 

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    In the third period, Seibu continued to pressure and kept on peppering the Cranes net with shots but Cranes goalie Hisashi Ishikawa totally stood on his head as he saved 54 of 56 shots (!) on net to earn the victory and championship for the Cranes.

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    Congratulations, the 2009 champion Cranes! And thank you Seibu for all the memories! (and hopefully the team will survive in one form or another and elite level hockey will be played in Tokyo next season.)

    Playoff MVP Hisashi Ishikawa who backstopped the Cranes to the championship capped off by his herculean efforts in Game 7. Ishikawa played 14 of the Cranes 16 playoff games, and was a well deserving recepient of the award.

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    Joel Dyck Oshiro holding up the AL Championship trophy properly (that is, sideways)

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    More random photos and videos from the game follows this break:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, ECHL, hockey, information, opinion, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Seibu Prince Rabbits German trip over

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 September 1日 Monday

    Seibu Prince Rabbits completed their tough training camp in Bavaria is over. Here are the results, the team played its best game against the DEL side Ingolstadt in a SO loss, and finally won a game against 3rd division Kaufbeauren in its last game on the 11 day 6 game trip. The first few days the team had to also fight off jet lag, which I think contributed to the poor showing overall, as the team only arrived in Germany on the 20th, the day before the first game.

    8.21 SEIBU 0 – 3 EHC Munchen

    8.22 SEIBU 4 (0-6, 3-1, 0-3) 9 EV Fussen

    8.24 SEIBU 2 (2-1, 0-1, 0-0, SO 0-1) 3 ERC Ingolstadt (DEL)

    8.26 SEIBU 0 (0-3, 0-0, 0-1) EV Ravensburg

    8.29 SEIBU 2 (1-1, 1-2, 0-1) 4 Ausburger Panther (DEL)

    0:1 (08:10) Gordon (Barney, Buzas)

    1:1 (18:24) Kamino (Kawai, Kawamura)

    1:2 (21:02) Gordon (Olimb, Hunt)

    1:3 (37:56) Engelhardt (Barney)

    2:3 (39:01) Fujita (Rochefort, Prpic)

    2:4 (49:18) Chartier (Junk)

    Attendance: 1,172

    8.31 SEIBU 4 (2-0, 0-1, 2-2) 3 ESV Kaufbeuren

    1:0 (13:22) Kawamura (Fujita, Kashino)

    2:0 (15:29) Miura (Tanaka, Okubo) SH

    2:1 (37:35) Saurette (McFeeters, Ekblad) PP

    3:1 (42:57) Okubo

    3:2 (48:06) Webb (Saurette, McFeeters)

    4:2 (51:31) Fujita (Ishioka, Uchiyama)

    4:3 (54:22) Hess

    Attendance: 1,274

    Fujita and Okubo (back in Japan after 2 seasons in Korea) are involved in a lot of scoring playing and they seem to be on form already. And Obara was trying out for Augsburg but didn’t make the cut and will be a hare again this season. Even if he did make the team though, it would’ve most likely have been just a 1 season rental type transfer, which doesn’t help that much in terms of raising the level of Japanese hockey as a whole. To do this players have to fully commit themselves to playing overseas, but playing hockey in Japan is financially secure compared to European leagues or North American minor leagues, so Japanese hockey national team isn’t getting better like its soccer counterpart. The equipment manager has some interesting photos from the the trip on his blog, outdoor rink with a roof, that’s very European (though German leagues are changing the rules next season so that these rinks will have walls), never seen one here in Japan or Canada.

    Next up in the Asia League preseason is the Anyang Cup. This season it will be contested between the hosts Anyang Halla, High1, Nippon Paper Cranes, Oji Eagles, and the China Sharks.

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