The Angry Budgie Live

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Phoenix Summer Update Number 4

Phoenix keep the Faith

Ok so despite my best efforts not to fall into the obvious trap I cannot avoid it! There was only ever going to be one headline for the update! The Phoenix captured their final import forward, and another in the growing Slovak army on the Phoenix roster. None other than 35 year old Juraj Faith.

Over his career in Slovakia Juraj scored nearly a point a game, the majority in the top Slovakian league. Being the final import forward signed means, this guy will probably be amazing. Being on a line with Sir Tony Hand will ensure Juraj will have a career year at the Phoenix. Along with Cingel the Phoenix top line is looking impressive already. The only small fly in the ointment for me, and I admit to not knowing the reason why is, as per his elite prospect stats he has played the last two seasons across 6 clubs. This could be something, or absolutely nothing! Maybe the switch to a new country, new league will be just what Juraj needs!

Juraj also iced a season with EHC Freiburg, I know my colleague over a Banners on the Wall said not to read much into that year, but I look at it slightly differently. The DEL is one of the top leagues in Europe, even the bottom clubs in the DEL will offer far more quality as a whole when compared to the EPL. It would be Freiburg's only season in the DEL! In some ways, I would equate his experience in the DEL to that of Martin Cingel, able to regularly put up points in a terrible team!

It's always exciting when a club signs a player new to the league, slight nervousness as to his ability to adapt and fit in, and excitement to see what sort of skills he has. Juraj is 35 and has vast experience, so im looking forward to seeing his skill and hockey brain out on the ice. In fact with Cingel also at age 35, the average age of the Phoenix topline has gone up. But I do believe it will be a much improved line. No taking away from what Kristoffersson and Huppe did for the club last year. They were both guilty of going MIA. Cingel has been battle hardened in Edinburgh when he was the main source of points, and Faith has the extensive experience of Slovak hockey behind him. With Hand in the middle, its an exciting line for us Phoenix fan's!

CB Sport - Juraj Faith

Juraj Faith - Elite Hockey Prospects

El-Hage Back's up the Phoenix
Hot off the press, the Phoenix have sorted out their back up netminder position by promoting Jorge El-Hage from the Metro's through to the full EPL side. Jorge follows the path beaten my Adam Summerfield and is an example of Neil Morris desire to set up the Phoenix Academy. It's a clear example of the system working. Now we just have to see what he is like and how good he is, but he will learn so much training with the EPL side and being understudy to Stephen Fone!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Phoenix Summer Update Number 3

We've got Wood......well one at least!
Signing up for his third full season in Phoenix colours Ben Wood returns to the Ice Dome to fill in as one of a number of utility players the Phoenix will have this coming season. To be fair to Ben, he has been the Phoenix utility player all his career. Naturally a defenceman Ben was played as a forward for much of his time, before reverting back to his more natural defensive position during the latter stages of the season. I do like Ben as a player, he is tall, a good skater and uses his stick intelligently, being one of the best poke-checkers on the ice. However I will admit to being surprised he has signed up for this season. While he knew his ice time would be limited I really got the impression last season he was getting really frustrated with the lack of ice time he was getting. Plus he has now set up his own gym I naturally thought he may wish to leave and concentrate on that. But fair do's to the guy, he has committed to returning, working hard, and forcing his way onto the ice for more shift's. I am pleased he has returned, as are many Phoenix fan's. If Ben can continue to grow, and bulk up a little, he will become a great EPL defenceman.

Ryan Johnson plays for Phoenix, he has a porno tash.......

The Ryan Johnson chant will be back and sung from the Phoenix stands once more as Ryan Johnson is returning to the Phoenix. A surprising addition to the club, as the Sheffield native would have been an obvious target for Andre Payette's 'made in sheffield Steeldogs'. Johnson split his 10/11 season between the Steeldogs and Steelers playing 52 games for 20 points, including 4 points in 13 games for the EIHL side. I remember Ryan being a stocky lad, not tall but a solid player. Not the most spectacular on the ice, but he will make things difficult for opposition forwards. He add's much needed bulk to the Phoenix blue line and looks to be the Phoenix 3rd utility signing giving the roster much more flexibility that in previous seasons.

Tonight Matthew I will be mostly on the blue line!

James Neil becomes the latest returnee for the Phoenix signing on for his 3rd full season with the Phoenix James will be played predominantly as a defenceman. Round off the triumvirate of utility players James is comfortable playing both sides of the puck. James is a firm fan favorite and a thoroughly nice guy, he always has time for the fans and will stay and chat for hours if you want! He gives 100% on the ice too, which is a must at EPL level, he works hard, sees the ice well and is capable of looking after himself when involved in the rough stuff! James infections personality endears himself with fans and players alike, in fact James has often appeared on the Phoenix podcast and Phoenix TV and looked at ease. James Neil is another player who is quickly becoming Mr Manchester and I can guarantee most Phoenix fans would be only too happy to see James return year on year!