The Angry Budgie Live

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Manchester Phoenix 08/09 Season Review – The Attack

Number 9: Tony Hand Well, what can you say? The greatest player to have come out of and play in the UK. The British ‘Great One’ and the Phoenix coach. Manchester fans have been lucky to see Mr Hand play two full seasons at the Ice Dome and the great one gets better and better! There is no finer mind playing in the UK, at this moment! Many opposing fans bemoan their own team not taking him out and hitting him! That’s simply because… cant! He skates well, his stick handling is top notch and he can pick out a pass through a solid wall!

It is no surprise that since Tony has been playing for the Phoenix, Manchester have consistently had some of the leagues top point scorers. First Johan Molin, Second Joe Tallari and now David-Alexandre Beauregard! As you may have seen from my game review’s the only negative I will say regarding Mr Hand, is his frustratingly unwillingness to shoot the puck! So many times he has tried to find a pass when a shot would have been easier! Having said that Tony has showed great strides in his off ice development. Putting together another great team on a budget!

Re-Sign? Mr Hand’s ageing bones will decide this, im hoping he has at least one more season in them!

Season Stats: GP: 67, Goals: 21, Assists: 68, Points: 89, Pim: 84.

Number 10: David-Alexandre Beauregard Well what can you say about David-Alexandre Beauregard? Numerous Phoenix awards, numerous EIHL awards including Ice Hockey Journalists, and the EIHL top goal scorer and point’s scorer. David-Alexandre Beauregard has been, Tony Hand aside, the best player to pull on a Phoenix jersey! I would argue he has also been the best player to play hockey in Manchester! A player every other team would want, this guy just knows where the net is! His favorite haunt being un-marked on the back post, with Tony Hand usually finding him! Much has been made of his eyesight so I wont go into that. But the guy has been phenomenal!

David used his immense class and experience to lift the team when in a doldrums, and what makes it even sweeter? He is a thoroughly nice man! Always willing to spend time talking to the press and the fans, no wonder everyone loves him! The biggest surprise to those outside the Phoenix is, this man has been playing this great hockey all his life! So its not always down to being on the same line as Tony Hand! Even so David-Alexandre Beauregard had a career season with the Phoenix scoring an amazing 107 points. The man, the legend, David-Alexandre Beauregard!

Re-sign? Ask a silly question! Of course, he must be the first signature the Phoenix make! However the Phoenix will never be able to pay him what he could no doubt earn in Europe or back in the US. Plus with Nottingham/Sheffield and Coventry already rumored to be sniffing around, it will be hard for the Phoenix to hold on to him. This blogger will hope that his decision will not be totally reliant on money!

Season stats: GP: 69, Goals: 61, Assists: 46, Points: 107, Pim: 42

Number 11: Lucas Burnett Lucas came in a month into the season to fill the skates of the departing Grant Jacobsen. He took a while to settle in but he used his skill and speed to work tirelessly for the squad. Lucas slotted well into the second line and produced a near career high in terms of points for the season. A great team player, the British Columbian native worked hard every night.

After the anger from the fans had subsided following Jacobsen’s departure, out emerged Lucas Burnett and most fans were left thinking, Grant who……? While slightly smaller out on the ice the Phoenix did not miss Grant and, arguably, had replaced him with a better player!

Re-sign? His work on the second line had made him invaluable to the Phoenix all season! Yes please!

Season stats: GP: 56, Goals: 17, Assists: 27, Points: 44, Pim: 42

Number 14: Nathan Ward Another second line star, the centre man of that line and one of the teams highest scorers. Finishing up 4th in terms of scoring, a season where around 10 games were lost due to injury. Had it not been for those lost games Nate Ward would have finished closer to Luke Fulgham in the stats. Nathan almost bettered his 0708 season stats at Odessa but who knows what he may have finished with!

Nathan Ward was another fan favourite, who gave it his all every night. He also deputised on defence when needed and earned much respect while doing so!

Re-sign? As with Lucas, star second liners can be hard to find so once you have one, hold on to them! Yes please!

Season stats: GP: 69, Goals: 18, Assists: 38, Points: 56, Pim: 51

Number 16: Brett Clouthier The big man! Rapidly becoming the franchise player and a place in Phoenix fans hearts. Brett Clouthier commands instant respect the moment he steps on the ice. I would say Brett deserves to have number 16 retired at the Ice Dome the moment he decides to leave Manchester. His willingness to defend his team mates and work hard in the corners endear him to every fan in the stands.

An improvement in output when compared to his first full season in Manchester but a surprisingly quiet one in terms of Pim’s. It seemed like Tony had to rein him in a fair few times this season. His lack of Pim’s is highlighted when looking at the Phoenix roster where he only managed 3rd most number of Pim’s. Even so he is a Phoenix legend! Its an easy tag for Brett but appropriate, when the going got tough, Brett got going!

Re-sign? Another silly question, once you have Tony and David Beauregard signed up, the third signature must be Brett’s! Yes please!

Season stats: GP: 69, Goals: 12, Assists: 22, Points: 34, Pim: 175

Number 18: Bruce Mulherin The first of the Phoenix’ Brucie bonus! Along with Kyle Bruce, Bruce Mulherin had a fantastic season for the Phoenix. Hampered by a couple of injuries throughout the season it seemed that when Bruce played well, the Phoenix played well. Making up the last part of the second line offence, Bruce gave the Phoenix two strong lines to rely on all season!

Coming in at number 5 on the Phoenix scoring charts may seem a little unimpressive, but Bruce also brought toughness with him. Willing to mix it up when needed Bruce also racked up a fair few pim’s too! A career best season for Bruce also highlighted how valuable he was to the team.

Re-sign? As the final cog of the second line, his signature is also a must. To have that strength in dept is invaluable to a team!

Season stats: GP: 55, Goals: 25, Assists: 23, Points: 48, Pim: 115

Number 27: Luke Fulghum Often the forgotten man of the first line, and he probably likes it that way! Luke spent the season terrorising opposition defence with his skill and speed. Often difficult to stop and pin down Luke was not to be outdone by his line mates.

Another player who had a career season with the Phoenix, but some would argue playing on a line wit Tony Hand, most players would. It shows how well his season went in Manchester that his name often crops up on opposing fan hockey forum as a player they would want. All I, and the other Phoenix fans will say is, hands off he’s ours!

Re-sign? Yes, yes and errr yes! Being the club’s third highest point scorer you would need your head examining if you didn’t want Luke on your team!

Season stats: GP: 67, Goals: 34, Assists: 50, Points: 84, Pim: 38

Number 29: Adam Walker A resident of the Phoenix third line alongside Brett Clothier. Increased ice time this season saw Adam step up and provide the goods. Adam has had a fantastic season and has come out as a superb penalty shot taker. Now showing signs of developing into a class player, Adam has the raw skill to pull off some sublime moves. Hopefully, with another season under Tony Hand, Adam can polish those skills and start bothering the second line!

Adam stepped up and had his best season wearing a Phoenix shirt, including 17 goals and being the second least penalised player on the roster. With more ice time and further development Adam will soon become a main stay of the GB team.

Re-sign? As mentioned with Carl Graham, with the possibility of British EIHL players becoming rarer its important to hold on to them. For this reason and the prospect of developing another gem it will be important to make sure Adam stays in Manchester.
So yes please!!

Season stats: GP: 69, Goals: 17, Assists: 12, Points: 29, Pim: 8

Number 54: Kyle Bruce A player willing to rattle glass across the league, and a player who, almost, dethroned the resident Phoenix hard man Brett Clouthier! Despite his size Kyle would take on anyone, including the leagues bad boy Brad Voth, only to loose on reach alone! Kyle made up the second part of the Phoenix Brucie bonus. With his hard and physical style of play endearing him to the Phoenix faithful.

Yet another player having a career season here in Manchester, Kyle has the distinction of being another players with their own song:

‘If Cloots wont get you Brucie will, do dah do dah

Kyle is a gem of a player who gives 110% every shift every game, frequently giving the full blood, sweat and tears effort in a 60 minute game. Kyle was willing to put his body on the line for the team and always led by example. Kind of a Clouthier mini me too!

Re-sign? Absobluminlutely yes! Kyle is a pint sized pocket rocket. A Luke Stauffacher with more production!

Season stats: GP: 58, Goals: 13, Assists: 27, Points: 40, Pim: 179

Also Iced:

Number 19: Grant Jacobsen Grant was signed as the powerful centre man for the second line. He turned out to be just that, a big guy who led the rush for the net. Despite his size Grant also had the skill and was destined to be a staple of the team. However, he controversially left the team with 24 hours noticed and returned to Texas to play out the remained of the season with the team, from which the Phoenix signed him.

Widely condemned for this in the stands at the Ice Dome, Grant was not missed as the team brought in the superb Lucas Burnett. The worse thing for the Phoenix, it would seem Grant used the Phoenix for pre-season training for the CHL. With the EIHL beginning a month before the CHL, Grant arrived got in shape, played a couple of games before fleeing back to Texas.

Re-sign? Not a chance, with his actions being a disgrace the league is better off without him!

Season stats: GP: 8, Goals: 2, Assists: 2, Points: 4, Pim: 14

So thats my player by player season review, next up for the blog will be my own team by team review of the season! If you want to have a read of one done already, head on over the Paul's Breakaway Hockey Blog.

Meanwhile I hope you out there in readerland are ok, and enjoying the summer silly season!

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