By Ed Kimberley
The Cardiff Devils stalwart player/coach and long term servant of the British league, Gerad Adams, has had a turbulent couple of weeks having been issued an ultimatum by owner Paul Ragan. He then decided to release long term Devil and local boy Phil Hill. It was a move that confused many onlookers and the decision created a lot of backlash from Devils alumni. It has now become clear that the Devils are gearing up to add to their roster and with Adams retiring from a playing role and not having to pay Hill’s wages, they have room to add some talent. As Adams is an import the Devils could look to North America to add a player coming off a pro tryout that has been affected by the veteran system. Also, Hill is going to be earning a lot as a top end British talent and as there is a degree of inflation on the good Brit’s wages, the Devils are legitimately in a position to add a top end import.
Top end imports have been added by one of Cardiff’s conference rivals in the Sheffield Steelers. In one of my pieces last week I examined Nate DiCasmirro who signed for the Steelers. In 4 games with the club so far he has added 1 goal and 3 assists and is being joined by his team mate from last year Rob Sirianni. This is quite the coup for the Steelers and it seems that they are determined to throw financial weight behind the campaign to try and unseat their rivals the Nottingham Panthers, who are sitting comfortably in Challenge Cup Group B having won 100% of their games and are 3rd in the league with only 1 loss in 6 games. Sirianni made an immediate impact for the Steelers. In his debut he bagged a hat trick in a 6-3 win against the Cardiff Devils. Both Sirianni and DiCasmirro were linemates last year in Valpellice and were the two leading points scorers and complement each other as players, DiCasmirro the playmaker and Sirianni the scorer. They combined for 114 points last year.
The Clan are another team who have bulked up their forward lines adding Neil Trimm, an all-round forward with a lot of offensive upside. He has 277 points in 277 games in the Central Hockey League and was an allstar with Laredo in 2010-2011. The Clan were firm favourites going in to the season to lift the Gardiner Conference but have been overtaken by the high flying Dundee Stars. Dundee are also in the same Challenge Cup group as the Clan and have a better record in this competition too.
The Coventry Blaze had two big losses this weekend, one away at Nottingham; a game that could have gone either way had it not been for two mistakes from Mike Zacharias in the Blaze net. Zacharias however stood on his head at times and I have never seen a goalie make so many good saves but give up two silly goals. My other highlights from this game was the two spectacular goals from Cale Tanaka. The pint sized speedster took advantage of a speed mismatch with Brent Henley on the Panthers blueline, going on a breakaway for his first and converting a penalty shot (drawn by a Henley penalty) for his second. The following day the Blaze went toe to toe with the Belfast Giants but fell apart in the 3rd period. The game also saw a candidate for hit of the season, from enforcer Kevin Harvery (who scored twice in the game) on Giants forward Dustin Whitecotton. The link below will take you to the highlights, the hit is at 6:40: