The Monday After – As clear as mud

As clear as mud

By this time, you start to have an idea of of who are going to be the main protagonists in the Elite League title race.  This year, we have no idea and it’s brilliant.

Sheffield Steelers play two games, losing both of them 4-3, to Cardiff Devils then Manchester Storm and come away with nothing to show for their efforts.

Belfast Giants lose two straight games to Nottingham Panthers, a team who have disappointed for most of the season already just when it looked like they were finding their rhythm.  Outcome, no points.

Then Glasgow Clan, who are top of the table, left it late to finally overcome Fife Flyers on Saturday then are roundly thumped 9-2 by Coventry Blaze on Sunday and somehow find themselves still at the summit.

So it begs the question?  Does anyone actually want to win this league title?

I’m being flippant of course and such is the bizarre nature of this campaign, it’s starting to pan out the way we thought it would go back at the beginning.

Between top and eighth place in the table, you’re looking at six points of a difference, which is not a lot and it’s a position where if you win a couple of games, you’re straight up there.  Lose a couple and you plunge the other way.

Glasgow Clan top the Elite League, but suffered a thumping 9-2 loss at Coventry Blaze on Sunday (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

If you’re a person who is partial to put some cash on a sporting event or match, then they would be well advised to steer clear of the Elite League.  It won’t be good for your wallet.

From a spectator point of view, it’s a great spectacle and seeing the lead change hands so often is a good thing as the unpredictability starts to really take hold.

Everyone is cutting each other’s throats and with not one team even breaching 20 points after playing somewhere 13 and 17 games, then it’s a real indicator of how tight the EIHL is.

If you’re a fan, your emotions are all over the place, as you witness your team go from highs through victories and lows through defeat and still be wading through treacle.

As things stand, it’s going to take at least one team to hit a run of form that could be enough, but who that’s going to be is far from certain right now.

It’s the league that the popcorn GIF is made for and there will be so many twists and turns that it’s got the potential to somehow go even further than how last season’s title race ended, with Belfast on their end of year night out when they learned Cardiff had stumbled at Coventry in their last game.

We know the league has its flaws, but we should all appreciate just how good and exciting this campaign is on the ice.  

This has the potential to be one of the most talked about seasons for a long time as things stand so let’s enjoy it.

Liam Stewart returned to UK hockey with four goals in two games with new side MK Lightning (PHOTO: Tony Sargent)

Could Liam be a game changer?

Milton Keynes Lightning have toiled at the wrong end of the NIHL National Division this season and after one of their new signings finally took to the ice, they pick up a four point weekend.

Liam Stewart, the former Coventry and Guildford forward, spent a year out of the game after picking up a bad concussion and decided to take his time in coming back.

A summer in New Zealand with Skycity Stampede – and a championship to his name – and he’s back and looking sharp after picking up four goals in his first two games for Lewis Clifford’s men.

Two against Bracknell Bees on Saturday followed by another two at Sheffield Steeldogs on Sunday and Stewart is off and running and Lightning are up two places in the NIHL National standings.

It’s early days, but you sense the mood is a different one after such a disappointing start to the campaign and with Raiders and Telford Tigers to come next week, the fans will hope Stewart is on form again.

They’re quite a bit away from the top of the table, but it could be the spark that helps lift them towards a top half finish.

Clan’s game night announcer Kevin McCoskrie returned to duties after illness on Saturday (PHOTO: Al Goold)

Clan’s Kevin one of the good guys

For the last four weeks, I’ve had the privilege of being Glasgow Clan’s game night announcer in the absence of Kevin McCoskrie, who suffered a heart attack and on Saturday, he made his return to a great reception from the Clan fans.

It was well deserved for someone who is such a well-loved figure at the club and the manner of how we announced his return was something I was keen to do, where I took on the duties until light outs and he took over – and boy, did he announce his return.

Kevin has been around ice hockey for a long time and performed the same duties and media work for the Ayr Scottish Eagles back in the late 90’s and early 00’s.

To me, he’s undoubtedly one of the nicest guys in ice hockey and the amount of messages and support he received during his spell recuperating shows how much he’s respected and appreciated in British ice hockey.

I admit to being a little reluctant in giving the mic back after having a great time working with DJ Andy and the Clan off-ice team, but it’s back in the hands of it’s rightful custodian and it’s definitely good to have him back.

GB’s Women’s Under 18 side won the 4Nations tournament in Dumfries at the weekend (PHOTO: Helen Hobbins/Charley Keen)

GB U18’s is great shape

Well done to Cheryl Smith and the Great Britain Under 18’s women’s team on winning the 4Nations tournament in Dumfries at the weekend.

There was plenty to be positive about in their three games and it left Cheryl, the head coach, satisfied that her team are in good shape before they head to Katowice for their World Championship campaign in early January.

The feelgood factor is continuing for all the GB national teams and if 2020 can be anywhere near as successful as 2019 was, then we’re in for the hell of a year.  Congratulations, everyone!

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