Let’s take a look at the five biggest things we’ve taken from the last week and weekend and what we’ve made of them.
1. Coventry Blaze win the ice hockey internet this week
On the back of Guildford Phoenix signing former Arsenal and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, Coventry Blaze moved quickly to quash rumours that former FA Cup winning former Coventry City goalie Steve Ogrizovic would not be making a making a comeback.
It was a great PR move that, as well as Cech’s story, found its way on the BBC social media channels and drew great praise across the internet.
Even better was the news that ‘Oggy’ was a guest of the Blaze in their game with Cardiff Devils on Sunday, performing the ceremonial puck drop and man of the match awards. Well done, Blaze!
2. We were wrong about Sheffield Steeldogs
Last week, we pondered whether Steeldogs were “showing the sort of form that could make them a force” as they began the NIHL National League in impressive fashion.
Seven days on, they’ve lost their first game and relinquished their lead at the top of the table, after going down 4-1 to Peterborough Phantoms and look up to Swindon Wildcats and Telford Tigers above them.
All three teams are locked on 12 points, but our assessment on whether they could be an unstoppable force fell flat as well as the praise we gave Vladimir Luka, who didn’t notch a point this weekend. Oops!
3. Nottingham Panthers won’t win the Elite League
You could file this under “No excrement, top detective from Baker Street” quite easily, but as Nottingham Panthers floundered again this weekend, we’re sticking our necks out to say they won’t be league champions this season.
Five points from their opening eight games isn’t a good return for Tim Wallace’s team and they’ll work tirelessly to fix what’s going on, whether it’s a change of players or anything else.
No wins in their last seven in all competitions doesn’t suggest they’ll suddenly turn it around and mix it at the top of the table any time soon, but stranger things have happened. Like Steelers finishing seventh last season.
4. The media have remembered about ice hockey
“When will all this ice hockey on the telly stop,” nobody pondered as Sky Sports, BBC, ITV and all the media big hitters have been training their coverage on Guildford this week after the signing of Petr Cech to Guildford Phoenix.
Between news of the signing itself and Sunday’s game with Swindon, where Cech’s penalty shots saves helped win Phoenix the points, the exposure on mainstream media has been magnificent to see from the sport.
Now, if they could look and see a sport that’s getting popular all the time with a title race that could go the wire, then we really could be in a great place in terms of how the sport is marketed.
5. Belfast Giants will find the net soon
Belfast are still without a win on the road after losing in both their games at Glasgow Clan and while Adam Keefe returns to the drawing board to figure out how to help his players find the net, he shouldn’t overthink it.
The chances are coming and after outshooting the Clan 94-41 over the two games and being denied by a combination of profligacy and Patrick Killeen in top form, there’s something to work on.
The Giants are on the verge of clicking and if those chances keep coming, the floodgates will open and whoever plays them in the next couple of weeks will have to be at their best to keep them out.