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Killers dump the defending champs; GMs scrap

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Killers dump the defending champs;

GMs scrap after Red Devils’ latest trade

October 17th, 2011

There may be no better way to to start the new season than to beat the defending Stanley Cup champions.

That’s what the Fort Drum Killers did in Week 1. After a summer of changes including trading away superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, the Killers defeated the Washington Power by a final score of 6-4.

“It was in everyone’s mind that they won the Cup so it was exciting hockey,” said Killers goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff after the matchup. “Every single player in our locker room played well and we deserved to get this win.”

Fort Drum did everything well to hold off a deep, bruising team that clearly does not look the same after winning the Cup. The Killers got four point performances from Alex Burrows and Jussi Jokinen, and everyone had a hand in some physical, gritty play in the defensive zone.

“You know they’re going to play tough, play hard and play in your face,” said Killers forward Chris Stewart, who scored twice and fought twice  in the matchup. “We matched them hit for hit and punch for punch.”

The matchup was close from beginning to end and the final moments were intense.

“They won their scoring categories by a very small margin,” said Washington’s new GM Rick Charron. “Our goaltending was fantastic but at the end of the matchup we just ran out of gas and it just wasn’t enough for us to win. We’ve got lots of new faces in the locker room so it’s going to take some time to gel. Hats off to GM Stryska and the Killers… they played a hell of a matchup.”

It was a rewarding outcome for the Killers, who enter the new season with hopes of going deeper in the playoffs after two straight years of early first round exits. Stryska talked about the importance of a good start in an interview outside the Killers’ locker room shortly after the win on Sunday night.

“Coming into the season we had a lot of guys questioning the moves we made during the offseason,” said Stryska with a grin on his face referring to the Kovalchuk trade that he pulled the trigger on just days before the start of the new season. “The first week and half is very important and a win against the defending champs is huge. I told my guys we’re a team that needs an identity, everyone’s going to have to step up their game to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke.”

GM Stryska turned around and looked at his players in the locker room.

“It was tough all week but this group of guys behind me grinded it out and when the going got tough they pushed harder. I’m proud of them. They weren’t intimidated by the names on the backs of their jerseys. We went out there, played great hockey, and walked away with the W.”

* * *

Toronto GM Carbone and Lakehead GM Jason Briggs got into a heated conversation last week here on the Yuku Message Board shortly after Carbone announced the Red Devils’ latest trade.

“Sometimes it’s in good fun, sometimes it’s to try and irk your opponent to gain an edge,” said Carbone in a phone interview on Sunday night. “Whatever the intent behind it, trash talk is just a part of the game. Always has been, always will be. Nobody’s feelings got hurt so it’s all good.”

“All I can tell you is what happened,” said Briggs in a press conference after the Thunderwolves defeated the Mustangs on Sunday night. “He called me a vulgar name and implied that I was going to complain about the recent trade so I took offense and fired back at him because nobody is going to try and slam me and just get away with it.”

The war of words was kind of brought to a forefront when Briggs replied to Carbone’s comments by going on a rant that included Carbone being “a little teenager who plays with Power Rangers and finger-paints before nap time.”

Manhattan GM Tony Furino chuckled a bit after reading Briggs’ first rant.

“I thought what he said was actually quite funny,” said Furino on Monday morning after a Superman practice. “Trash talking is not bad. Trash talking is encouraged in this league because it’s entertaining. It’s fun. Firestorm GM Gates said he’s going to spank Carbone’s Red Devils in the next matchup and Briggs said he has absolutely no doubts about that whatsoever. Definitely makes things to look forward to.”

The reigning champion of the Best Trash Talker award, Deer Park GM Mike Nellany, has kind of become the lightning rod for discussion on trash talking. He agreed with Furino and said the scrap between Carbone and Briggs was very entertaining.

“Jordan is the kind of guy who is not afraid to say what’s on his mind at any time and I think that’s how everyone should be,” GM Nellany said before a Chiefs pregame skate tonight. “We shouldn’t have to think about what we’re going to say, if it’s a good thing or bad thing to say. Whatever you think, just say it. Simple as that. Trash talking is fun. Some take part, some don’t. In my opinion, trash talking is a great way to enjoy yourself.”

Carbone said he’s looking forward to the first matchup between the Red Devils and the Thunderwolves which is scheduled to take place in Week 8 of this year’s regular season.

“I go at this a certain way. I always have, always will,” Carbone said. “I don’t make any excuses about that or apologize for anything that I’ve said. I think I carry myself in a well-fashioned manner. I respect the game first off, I respect the GMs, and I’m having fun. The AFHL is for us to have fun. I’m a fun guy and at the same time I’m competitive. I want to win. If it comes off as something else, then that’s your problem.”

 

QUICK HITS:

- The biggest rivalry in the history of the AFHL still exists between the Fort Drum Killers GM Steven Stryska and the Deer Park Chiefs GM Mike Nellany. AFHL fans hope to see some drama between those teams once again as they are scheduled to meet in a Week 10 matchup of this year’s regular season. (Take a look at the history of their rivalry in the ‘Headlines‘ section of the site.)

- At the start of Week 2 matchups, Oshawa City’s John Tavares, Victoria’s Phil Kessel, and Hamilton’s David Legwand are in a three way tie for the league lead in points with 8 points each.

- Manhattan Supermen GM Tony Furino is not happy about his weakness on the left side of his offense and is reportedly very close to trading future franchise goaltender Jonathan Bernier to solve the problem at LW.

- GM Kyle Kebert is thrilled about the Heroes winning their first matchup of the season. “We want to get back to the Finals and hoist that Cup,” said Kebert after a Heroes practice on Monday. “It’s still early, but our approach is still pretty much the same as it was last year. It’s one game at a time.”

Categories : afhl

2 Comments

1
Lakehead GM Jason Briggs
October 17th, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Top-notch article Tony. I hope I’m making headlines each and every week one way or the other. Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. You’ll lose each and every time.

2
Hamilton GM Gates Imbeau
October 17th, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Another solid article! One of the many reasons to love the AFHL!

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