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    China Sharks game times changed

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 December 29日 Monday

    All times for the China Sharks weekend home games in January 2009 have been changed to 15:00 starts. The 4 games will be on 10th and 11th against the Nippon Paper Cranes, and the 17th and 18th against the Oji Eagles to cap off the Sharks home schedule. The weekday dates against the same opponents will start at the originally scheduled 19:05 face off time. (There was a notice on the AL site landing page in Japanese but not English, so I’m just reproducing the notice in English here.)

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

    Claude Lemieux to Worcester Sharks?

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 20日 Thursday

    Well, the China Sharks are in Tokyo playing the Seibu Prince Rabbits, but Claude Lemieux is not on the roster. This could be because of visa problems, but it’s more likely that he’s managed to secure an AHL contract with the Worcester Sharks (a couple of unconfirmed sources, including an AL player). Who knew that playing for the China Sharks could be the first step in working your way up through the Sharks organization!?

    Finally, a notification on the official AL website. 

    2008.11.20
    シャークスから、クロード・ルミューの登録抹消、アダム・テイラーの再登録手続きが行われました。
    The China Sharks have deactivated Claude Lemieux and reactivated Adam Taylor.
    Plus, some interesting(?) marketing effort by the China Sharks as they’ve relocated to fashionable Shanghai from drab Beijing. Yup, that’s Wade Flaherty in the first picture, and Chinese players (and of course the model) in the other pictures.

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

    Claude Lemieux out of China?

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 19日 Wednesday

    Claude Lemieux‘s brief Asia League adventure with the China Sharks has apparently ended after only 2 games where he recorded 1 assist. Maybe someone saw that being good enough for an AHL contract, but he’s managed to get himself signed onto an AHL team. I wonder which AHL team? San Jose wouldn’t have sent him all the way to China only for a weekend, I guess Lemieux’s agent kept talking with potential suitors while Lemieux made his way over to Shanghai. Ah well, at least he’s not leaving the Asia League because of living condition issues like goalie Kelly Guard who also played for the China Sharks for only 2 games, last season.

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

    Claude Lemieux in China

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 November 17日 Monday

    Claude Lemieux, who had been working out in Arizona to prepare for an NHL comeback attempt, was somehow convinced to play hockey in Asia with the China Sharks. The move happened quickly and he has already suited up for the Chinese team against Anyang Halla in the Asia League games this past weekend and recorded his first point with an assist in the Sunday game

    I’m definitely going to go see their games against Seibu next weekend in Tokyo! Wade Flaherty is keeping the Sharks in many many games that they have no business being in either, but they’re falling just short of earning points. A legendary agitator making a comeback from retirement, this reminds me of Esa Tikkanen’s years with Anyang Halla.

    Shanghai’s far away from the NHL and this comment he made just recently:
    “I’m not doing this just to play one game in the NHL and that’s it. I really think I can still help a team make the playoffs, and into the playoffs,” he told the Post. “It would sure be nice to get that fifth Stanley Cup.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

    China Sharks Update

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 September 25日 Thursday

    The only team to not have opened their 2008-09 Asia League campaign, the China Sharks, will start their season on the road with a game against the Nikko IceBucks tonight.

    The team made a fairly bland press release on 17 September, but in it is a video of an in depth 20 minute press conference. And contained in it are some nuggets, like how:

    • The Sharks will instantaneously have, by far, the largest capacity arena in the league now as the brand new Shanghai arena seats 6000, I hope they do a hell of a marketing job to get enough butts into those seats to create some atmosphere and excitement. The Sharks management actively seeked out this arena, so they seem ready, let’s hope the Shanghai citizens are ready for some hockey!
    • The Sharks organization will, in effect, run the Chinese national hockey program through coaching, player selection, etc. (This is the Sharks side of the story, not sure if it’ll completely match up with the Chinese Ice Hockey Association’s story.)
    • China is going to make a run for the 2018, or more likely the 2022, Winter Olympics, and want to make sure that they have a competitive hockey team, and that is one of the reasons for the Sharks involvement.
    The new China Sharks uniform (home darks, I assume) was also unveiled. But ugh, the Chinese red completely clashes with the Sharks black and teal. Guess we’ll see what colours their helmets, pants, and socks will be from tonight’s Bucks game photos.
    Also, Kato “Kataribe” Jiro interviewed China Sharks head coach Derek Eisler and he said even though he is confident with the team, and found some good Chinese and import players through tryouts (as well as signing known quantities in Steve McKenna, Wade Flaherty, and Adam Taylor, and Harvard grad Kevin Du, and keeping Jason Beeman and Kevin Korol from last season, the former was a one man wrecking crew of the otherwise pathetic Sharks offense last season), playing coaches McKenna and Flaherty will see more time as coaches in the latter half of the season depending on how the season is progressing. (Sharks season opening roster)

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

    Oji Eagles win 2008 Anyang Cup

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 September 7日 Sunday

    We’re missing results from action on 5-6 Sept, but Oji Eagles have won the 2008 Anyang Cup with their win over hosts Anyang Halla earlier today.

    Sharks kept things respectable in the 0-3 loss to the Cranes with former Dayton Bomber and Team Japan member Nishiwaki scoring one and assisting on another. Oji cruised their way to their victory over the hosts with a hat trick by Kei Tonosaki.

    9.7

    CRANES 3-0 SHARKS
    1(1P)0
    2(2P)0
    0(3P)0
    19:54(NPC) G24 A11 A7
    24:11(NPC) G11 A24 A17
    30:07(NPC) G47 A16 A14

    HALLA 4 – 7 EAGLES
    0(1P)4
    1(2P)3
    3(3P)0
    06:50(OJI) G5 A9
    10:12(OJI) G16 A6 A7
    17:15(OJI) G82 A12
    19:18(OJI) G82
    24:42(OJI) G9 A12
    26:27(OJI) G34 A7 A3
    27:45(AHL) G36 A1 A25
    32:54(OJI) G82
    48:51(AHL) G1 A25 A36
    53:04(AHL) G25
    58:52(AHL) G36 A79

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

    Asia League 2008-09 (tentative)

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 17日 Thursday

    Still no official announcement yet but some details are trickling out about the upcoming Asia League Ice Hockey season (from International Hockey Forums). *My thoughts in italics.

    —————————–

    Per a top official from one the teams in the league, the following changes and schedules will apply the the 2008-09 Asia League season:

    1) This season and next, the China Sharks will be allowed to have a total of seven import players. As for the Korean teams the limit will be four imports until 2011.

    *Additionally, Sharks are supposed to have moved their team from Beijing to Shanghai. Hopefully they’ve found a permanent home now as they’ve been a rogue team changing hometowns every season (and consequently getting no local support or attendance, coupled with bad/lack of marketing probably). No word on the number of imports for Japanese teams, but they’ll probably remain the same with 2 per team, except for Nikko IceBucks who were allowed to ice 3-4 imports last season but were unable to afford them.

    2) Pre-season: A Total of 5 teams will participate (Halla, High1, Sharks, Cranes, Oji)

    *This is probably in reference to the preseason Anyang Cup which was held last season for the first time and AL wants to make it an annual tournament. Seoul’s Yonsei University also participated in the tournament last season and fared well (tying or playing a 1 goal game against an AL team last season). China Sharks replace SEIBU PrinceRabbits in the tournament this year, it seems.

    3) Shootout: Starting this season, there will be a shootout after overtime if the game is still tied. Three players from each team will shoot. If nothing is decided, next goal would be a winning goal. If nothing is decided after the 7th shooter, the same player can take the shot until the winning goal is scored

    With the introduction of the shootout, the regular-season point system also has been changed.

    New Point Format: W (3 point) L (0) OTW (2) OTL(1) SOW (2) SOL (1)
    Old point Format: W (3 point) L (0) OTW (2) OTL (1)

    *Though they’re exciting, I saw nothing wrong with having ties during the regular season. I mean if the teams couldn’t decide on a winner through regulation and overtime, then a tie is well deserved. But then again eliminating ties makes all games worth 3 points, and I guess that’s fair, since the 3 point win wasn’t brought into the AL to encourage scoring (the games already feature lots of scoring, unlike when soccer introduced the 3 point win).

    4) Playoff Format: Until last season, 6 teams out of 7 made the playoffs. Starting this season, five teams will make the playoffs. For the 1st Round, 4th vs 5th seeded team will play a best-of-three series. The 1st,2nd ,3rd seeded teams get a bye.

    For the second round, 1st seeded team plays the mini-series winner, and the second and third seeded teams play each other. It will be a best-of-seven series format.

    The finals, for the first time, will also be a best-of-seven series.

    *I like this change. It makes getting into the playoffs more difficult in this small 7 team league. And there is still value in finishing in the top 3, especially 1st as they get a bye and get to play a series worn 4th or 5th seed. Wonder if the Bucks and the Sharks will have a fighting chance for the last playoff position.

    5) There will be a total of 36 regular season games per club during the 2008-2009 regular season, up from 30 games last season.

    *Great improvement! The league has been reducing the number of regular season games (probably for cost cutting reasons). But this had been really hurting the only truly professional club in the league, Nikko, because the Bucks rely on gate receipts as their primary income, whereas other teams are sponsored by corporations/government. Plus hopefully I’ll get to catch more games live with this change.

    6) The pre-season starts Sept. 4th~7th for the clubs. The regular season runs Sept. 27 to Jan 25.

    7) The playoffs will start on Feb 19, ending no later than March 24.

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

    Swedish Murray UberTap

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 May 9日 Friday

    When browsing through the latest news from the IIHF World Championships, this caption caught my eye “Sweden, here with Douglas Murray, steamrolls Denmark with Kasper Degn. Photo: IIHF/HHoF/Matthew Manor” since there’s an older player with the same name who’s probably Canadian born and naturalized German playing in Germany.

    Turns out he’s pretty much all Swedish, but his father’s family immigrated to Sweden from Scotland in the 1730’s(!) now that’s old school.

    Plus, him and his friends invented the UberTap while in college to speed up beer pouring at keg parties, how cool is that.

    UberTap is a system that uses a foot pump to extract the liquid gold, and three spouts to fill the glasses.

    Imagine that. Three glasses being filled simultaneously.

    To borrow phrase sudsy connoisseurs know — brilliant.

    “It took too long to get beer in college. It’s about five times as fast to fill up,” Murray said. “Since I’ve been in the NHL, I haven’t been involved as much, my partner is running it. When I was in the minors, there was more time.”

    So much for the thought Murray was just another hulking defenceman.

    Actually, that tidbit is just the tip of the iceberg with him.

    He’s actually Swedish — his father’s family came from Scotland in the 1730s, so that explains the Anglicized names. His brothers are named Ted, Charles and his sister is Roseanna.

    “All my relatives and cousins have Swedish names, but my parents wanted their kids to have English names, which is different when you live back in Sweden,” Murray said.

    “But when you live over here, nobody believes you’re Swedish.”

    Murray left home to play junior and high school hockey in New York state, living with relatives on Long Island, because he figured it would be a fun experience for one year.

    Instead of returning home, he received a scholarship at Cornell, and became a two-time first-team all-American and team captain. He’s also rung the bell at the New York Mercantile Exchange in the summer of 2006.

    Posted in 02_English, culture, hockey, information, International, random | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    2007-08 Asia League Ice Hockey Regular Season Review and Playoff Preview

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 February 16日 Saturday

    The 2007-08 season of AL was competed with 7 teams (the league makeup changes every year, hopefully we’ll get some new teams entering the league in the near future). The top 6 teams make the playoffs (haha), the top 2 teams get a bye in the first round where 3rd plays 6th and 4th plays 5th.

    I was going to write a more thorough season review and playoff preview, but work and the recycle paper scandal (and the McLennan story that was too good to pass up) took up too much of my time, and the playoffs begin today, so here’s a quick summary. (EDIT: Or so I thought, this turned out to be, by far, the longest article I’ve written so far for my young blog. And it seriously needs editing and is full of grammatical and other errors… but I’ve got a real job and this is just a hobby so please bear with my late night stream of consciousness, thanks.)

    Final Standings

    RK

    Team

    G

    W

    OTW

    T

    OTL

    L

    GF – GA

    Points

    1

    Seibu Prince Rabbits

    30

    20

    0

    1

    0

    9

    138 – 73

    61

    2

    High1 Ice Hockey Team

    30

    17

    2

    1

    2

    8

    118 – 89

    58

    3

    Oji Ice Hockey Team

    30

    17

    1

    2

    2

    8

    112 – 74

    57

    4

    Nippon Paper Cranes

    30

    15

    1

    2

    1

    11

    97 – 85

    50

    5

    Anyang Halla Ice Hockey Club

    30

    13

    1

    2

    1

    13

    93 – 92

    44

    6

    HC Nikko IceBucks

    30

    8

    2

    2

    0

    18

    60 – 109

    30

    7

    China Sharks

    30

    3

    0

    0

    1

    26

    63 – 159

    10

    http://www.alhockey.com/popup/9/standings.html

    Scoring Leaders

    RK

    Player Name

    No

    Team

    GP

    G

    A

    P

    1

    KIM, Alex

    79

    HG1

    30

    23

    28

    51

    2

    PRPIC, Joel

    33

    SPR

    27

    17

    30

    47

    3

    SMITH, Tim

    21

    HG1

    30

    23

    23

    46

    4

    MARTINEC, Patrik

    43

    AHL

    29

    7

    29

    36

    5

    ENDICOTT, Shane

    12

    OJI

    30

    13

    22

    35

    5

    MITANI, Darcy Takeshi

    20

    NPC

    28

    13

    22

    35

    5

    SMITH, Bud

    58

    HG1

    30

    9

    26

    35

    5

    SUZUKI, Takahito

    18

    SPR

    30

    13

    22

    35

    5

    YULE, Chris

    75

    SPR

    30

    10

    25

    35

    10

    FUJITA, Kiyoshi

    40

    SPR

    28

    16

    18

    34

    10

    SAITO, Takeshi

    19

    OJI

    30

    11

    23

    34

    http://www.alhockey.com/popup/9/point_rank.html

    Goalie Stats (sorted by Save %, goalies who faced over 100 SOG in bold)

    RK

    Player Name

    Team

    No

    GP

    SOG

    GA

    Saves

    Sv%

    GAA

    1

    KATAYAMA, Kazuhito

    SPR

    20

    4

    79

    5

    74

    93.67

    1.88

    2

    McLENNAN, Jamie

    NPC

    29

    14

    415

    33

    382

    92.05

    2.5

    3

    KIKUCHI, Naoya

    SPR

    39

    29

    801

    64

    737

    92.01

    2.37

    4

    HARUNA, Masahito

    OJI

    61

    20

    513

    43

    470

    91.62

    2.22

    5

    KIM, Sun-Ki

    AHL

    32

    1

    23

    2

    21

    91.3

    2

    6

    EUM, Hyun-Seung

    HG1

    31

    29

    854

    78

    776

    90.87

    2.81

    7

    ISHIKAWA, Hisashi

    NPC

    61

    18

    538

    50

    488

    90.71

    2.97

    8

    KANAMARU, Hisashi

    HG1

    39

    4

    83

    8

    75

    90.36

    3.47

    9

    HASHIMOTO, Michio

    NIB

    1

    30

    1031

    100

    931

    90.3

    3.39

    10

    OGINO, Junji

    OJI

    30

    10

    228

    23

    205

    89.91

    2.5

    11

    GUARD, Kelly

    CSH

    1

    2

    59

    6

    53

    89.83

    3

    12

    SON, Ho-Seong

    AHL

    33

    27

    698

    77

    621

    88.97

    2.98

    13

    PARK, Jun-Soo

    AHL

    30

    5

    89

    12

    77

    86.52

    3.6

    14

    KIYOKAWA, Kazuhiko

    OJI

    45

    2

    41

    6

    35

    85.37

    4.2

    15

    KAWAGUCHI, Rei

    NIB

    30

    2

    22

    4

    18

    81.82

    6.95

    16

    YU Yang

    CSH

    30

    18

    428

    78

    350

    81.78

    6

    17

    XIE Ming

    CSH

    33

    8

    170

    33

    137

    80.59

    7.35

    18

    MATSUMOTO, Shiro

    SPR

    31

    1

    7

    2

    5

    71.43

    6

    19

    TADA, Kyohei

    OJI

    55

    1

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0

    http://www.alhockey.com/popup/9/gksp.html

    1.seibu Seibu Prince Rabbits (20-1-9, 61 pts) – First round bye

    Another solid season by the bunnies. Like in previous years, the team started training hard early in the summer with a regimented program under the guidance of their conditioning trainer. This worked as the team started off the season 7-1-1 (Sept-Oct) and solidly in first place. But this team can get sloppy and streaky during the regular season, and only the luck of their schedule allowed Seibu to claim top of the table. The Rabbits finished the season with 3 straight games against the lowly Bucks, easy 9 points (8-0, 4-1, and 8-2 wins) to overtake High1 for 1st place. But the bunnies went only 4-6 leading up to the Bucks games at the end of the season.

    Seibu did beat Oji and the Cranes to capture the All Japan Championship on 10 Feb, and the bunnies are deadly clinical on the power play leading the league with incredible 34% conversion rate. Seibu is definitely the favourite in the upcoming playoffs, especially with the unstable Cranes this year, and the unknown factor of High1 in the post season. Seibu features the highest scoring Asian trained player in the league in the veteran Takahito Suzuki, as well as Prpic, Fujita, and Yule who all cracked the top 10 in scoring. Then again, they did run up the score 15-3 against the Sharks one game, so the AL scoring leader board and goal differentials figures are still not very reliable. And all these players are on the wrong side of 30, so they have the skills and experience, but a youthful team may outskate and out-grit them.

    Okubo_Fujita

    Okubo (High1) and Fujita (Seibu)

     

    2. High1High1 (19-1-10, 58 pts) – First round bye

    21-1-12 for 62 points last season as Kangwon Land (34 game schedule in 2006-07). On a per game basis High1 earned 1.93 pts, with a GF of 3.93 and GA of 2.97. Whereas Kangwon last season was 1.82 pts, 4.5 GF, and 3.24 GA. Upon first glance it seems like the team did better last season, but there were two Chinese minnows last year, where as they combined to form the somewhat more competitive China Sharks this year. So, it’s difficult to compare with just those raw numbers.

    But one aspect of the team that definitely improved was the power play unit. It went from league average 24% (5th out of 8 teams) to an impressive 31%, good enough for 2nd in the league. Not taking stupid penalties, and containing the High1 power play will be the key for the team that meets them in the semifinal (Oji or Nikko). Korean teams did have an easier schedule than the Japanese teams though, as they got to beat up on the Sharks 3 extra times when compared to their Japanese counterparts. So this may really have been a 3rd place team had the schedule not been unbalanced with the extra regional games.

    The incredible aspect of the High1 season was that the team lost its starting goalie Ho-Seong Son (34GP, 89 Sv%, 3.14GAA), top scorer Kyu-Hyun Kim (26+38=64pts), and young national team player Kwon-Jae Lee (1+5=6pts) all to its archrival Anyang Halla. So, High1 was reasonably expected to struggle this season. But in their place Hyun-Seung Eum (29GP, 91 Sv%, 2.81GAA) and Korean-American import Alex Kim (23+28=51pts, good enough for the league scoring title) more than filled in. Japanese defenseman Tomohito Okubo continues to be crucial to the team’s success with 28 assists (2 shy of league leader Prpic’s 30) and 33 points to lead all defensemen, and he’s the only foreign based player, besides NHL experienced goalie Yutaka Fukufuji, to be invited to the national team selection camp. Together with D Byoung-Wook Hwang (8+12=20pts) and the Smith brother (Tim 23+23=46pts, Bud 9+26=35pts) the High1 fivesome is truly a force to be reckoned with.

    Read the rest of this entry »

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